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Westminster Man's Groundbreaking Domestic Violence Study To Get Exposure

By Ed Oliver, Massachusetts News, September 6, 2002

A groundbreaking study of Restraining Orders by a Westminster man shatters feminist myths about domestic violence. The findings will be presented at a major family violence conference in California this month and is scheduled to be published in a future edition of the Journal of Family Violence.

Steve Basile, 41, tells Massachusetts News that few people have attempted to conduct this type of politically incorrect research before, and he is glad that future authors and researchers will be able to use his data to begin to correct the falsehoods that permeate conventional wisdom about domestic violence.

Basile spent four years studying nearly 400 Restraining Orders issued by Gardner District Court in 1997.

The first phase of the study examined the degree of the abuse and/or violence allegedly perpetrated by both male and female defendants in 209A restraining order cases.

Basile found that female defendants were just as abusive as male defendants in terms of both physical and psychological aggression.

The results fly in the face of feminist orthodoxy on which the domestic violence industry has been built.

"Domestic violence is time and time again painted exclusively as something male batterers do to their innocent female victims," said Basile. "Our laws, policies and practices unfortunately reflect this myth."

The second phase examined the court's response to requests for protection. The results showed that despite the gender-neutral language in the law, the court's response highly favored the female plaintiffs.

Basile's research has withstood review by an academic journal, but it will be more than a year before it gets published. He told Massachusetts News that in order to get his results into the mainstream more quickly, he will present his papers at the 2002 Family Violence Conference in San Diego, CA on September 27.

The conference attendees will include a spectrum of the domestic violence industry, such as social workers, psychologists, nurses, military personnel, attorneys, law enforcement, researchers, advocates, marriage & family therapists, policy-makers, physicians, shelter & crisis center staff, survivors, etc.

Basile's research initiative gained notoriety in March 1999 after Jane Doe, Inc, a feminist "battered women's" advocacy organization, lobbied key legislators to stop the research. Attorney General Thomas Reilly filed legislation designed to pull all contact information found on 209A restraining orders out of the public domain, making domestic violence surveys nearly impossible for those researchers who lacked special access to victims. However, victims already had the power to keep their information secret if they chose ("impounding the file") by simply checking a checkbox on the 209A request form.

The bill is now law and Basile says it will most likely have a chilling effect on the type of research that can be conducted by those researchers who question current law and policy.

The intense pressure forced the Gardner researchers to shut down a planned third phase of the research initiative, which involved a phone survey of litigants. The researchers intended to query both plaintiffs and defendants regarding their overall satisfaction with the process, if they felt the protection orders reduced or escalated tensions, to determine who initiated attacks, as well as other key characteristics not found in the official court record.

Steve Basile is a software engineer who resides with his wife Clara and two children in Westminster Massachusetts. He has an undergraduate degree in Computer Science and a Masters Degree in Mathematics. He has been co-director of the North Central Chapter of the Fatherhood Coalition for the past five years.


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