Domestic violence law abuses
rights of men
By Phyllis Schlafly; May 12, 2006
In January, President George W. Bush signed the reauthorization of the Violence
Against Women Act without public debate, even though evidence has surfaced that
Congress should have examined it before the law was extended.
The act, which costs nearly $1 billion per year, is one of the major ways former
President Bill Clinton bought the support of radical feminists.
Why Republicans passed this bill is a mystery. It's unlikely that the feminists
who will spend all that money will ever vote Republican. Passage of the Violence
Against Women Act was a major priority of the American Bar Association for whose
members it is a cash cow.
More than 300 courts have implemented specialized docket processes to address
the cases stemming from the act, more than 1 million women have obtained
protection orders from the courts, and more than 660 new state laws pertaining
to domestic violence have been passed, all of which produce profitable work for
A recently issued ABA document called "Tool for Attorneys" provides lawyers with
a list of suggestive questions to encourage their clients to make
domestic-violence charges. Knowing that a woman can get a restraining order
against the father of her children in an ex parte proceeding without any
evidence, and that she will never be punished for lying, domestic-violence
accusations have become a major tactic for securing sole child custody.
Voluminous documentation to dispel the feminist myths that created and have
perpetuated the act are spelled out in seven reports just issued by an
organization called Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting, or RADAR,
and in an 80-page report called "Family Violence in America"
published by the American Coalition for Fathers & Children.
For example, it is a shocker to discover that acts don't have to be violent to
be punished under the definition of domestic violence. Name-calling, put-downs,
shouting, negative looks or gestures, ignoring opinions or constant criticizing
can all be legally labeled domestic violence.
The ABA report states flatly: "Domestic violence does not necessarily involve
physical violence." The feminists' mantra is, "You don't have to be beaten to be
abused." Advocates of the Violence Against Women Act assert that domestic
violence is a crime, yet family courts often adjudicate domestic violence as a
civil (not a criminal) matter. This enables courts to deny the accused all Bill
of Rights and due process protections that are granted to even the most heinous
Specifically, the accused is not innocent until proven guilty but is presumed
guilty, and he doesn't have to be convicted "beyond a reasonable doubt." Due
process rights, such as trial by jury and the right of free counsel to poor
defendants, are regularly denied, and false accusations are not covered by
perjury law. The act provides funding for legal representation for accusers but
not for defendants.
Those concerned about judicial activism, i.e., judges legislating from the
bench, could observe judges doing this every day in domestic violence cases.
Every time a judge issues a restraining order, the judge creates new crimes for
which an individual can be arrested and jailed without trial for doing what no
statute prohibits and what anyone else may lawfully do.
This criminalizing of ordinary private behavior and incarceration without due
process follows classic police-state practices. Evidence is irrelevant, hearsay
is admissible, defendants have no right to confront their accusers, and forced
confessions are a common feature. Some of these injustices result from
overzealous law enforcement officials (sometimes running for office), and some
from timid judges who grant restraining orders and deny due process to
defendants for fear of being blamed for subsequent violence.
Most of this, however, is the result of feminist activism and the taxpayer money
given them by Congress. The ease and speed with which women can get restraining
orders without fear of punishment for lying indicates that the dynamic driving
domestic-violence accusations is child custody rather than violence. Restraining
orders don't prevent violence, but they do have the immediate effect of
separating fathers from their children and imprisoning fathers for acts that are
perfectly legal if done by anyone else (such as attending a public event at
which his child is performing).
The restraining order issued against TV talk show host David Letterman,
allegedly to protect a woman who claimed he was harassing her through his TV
broadcasts, is a good example of how easy it is to get a court order based on
false allegations. Another ridiculous restraining order was issued against
celebutante Paris Hilton to protect a man she had bad-mouthed.
Violence Against Women Act money is used by anti-male feminists to train judges,
prosecutors and police in the feminist myths that domestic violence is a
contagious epidemic, and that men are naturally batterers and women are
naturally victims. Feminists lobby state legislators to pass must-arrest and
must-prosecute laws even when police don't observe any crime and can't produce a
witness to testify about an alleged crime.
Assault and battery are crimes in every state and should be prosecuted. But
people so accused should be entitled to their constitutional rights. After all,
is this America?
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