Fatherhood Coalition

Devaluing of men's lives in US must be brought to a halt

By Earl Henry Sholley, Attleboro Sun Chronicle

July 1, 2000

In 1993, Dr. Warren Farrel, in his best-selling book "The "Myth of Male Power" noted that Congress was debating a Violence Against Women Act. He went on to say that it is probably unconstitutional because the overwhelming amount of violence in our society is committed against men. Not only that, but they constitute over 90 percent of industrial deaths, over 80 percent of suicides, and almost all fatalities of police, fire and national defense. His conclusion was that a Violence Against Men Act, unlike VAWA, would probably be constitutional.

I would like to remind Hillary Clinton, in response to her recent article to call violence against women what it is: A crime, that we are a nation based upon individual rights, not village rights. Groups such as women do not have special rights or protection. Equal justice under law is the American birthright. Violence is a crime, and we already have laws that prohibit physical abuse, assault, battery and murder.

Jim Crow laws have become Jane Doe laws. The only difference is we no longer lynch the troublemakers from a tree. We now break their hearts and kill them slowly by stealing their property and robbing them of their most precious posterity: their children.

VAWA is just another politically correct agenda to allow the government to intrude more and more in our lives. It has been pushed by the radical feminists and the do-gooders and fueled by hysteria, lies, and cowardly lawyers and judges. There have been too many innocent male victims of this bad law, not to mention the many children who have been deprived of their fathers because of allegations of false abuse, especially in divorce.

Ever since the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Child Abuse Prevention Act of 1974, and the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 our society has actually become more divided along racial, age, and gender lines than it has ever been. I predict that the Hate Crimes Act of 2004 will add sexual orientation to the list. We have gone from a nation of laws to a nation of designated victims and too many bad laws. If it continues, our society will self-destruct. Enough is enough.

VAWA has spawned a domestic violence multi-billion dollar industry that benefits lawyers, guardian as litems, shelter, batters' groups, visitation centers ad nauseum. It is not only federal money, but state money. United Way funding, grants from foundations, corporate gift giving, donations from private social and fraternal organizations, prestigious law firms donating money and pro bono work, law school and bar association free legal assistance, bake sales, and I could go on and on. The money rolls in and the truth and evidence and the facts roll out. Greed trumps truth and justice. Divorce has always been the second biggest money maker for lawyers and now others are getting in on this despicable feeding frenzy.

It all benefits women to the detriment of fathers and children and society as a whole. Jim Crow laws have become Jane Doe laws. The only difference is we no longer lynch the troublemakers from a tree. We now break their hearts and kill them slowly by stealing their property and robbing them of their most precious posterity: their children. What really breeds violence is too many young boys growing up without fathers in their lives. They lack a proper male role model for self-control and proper socialization. They end up resenting and even hating women. It often turns to violence. That is the single best predictor of juvenile delinquency and criminality.

The goal of keeping women and children safe is a noble one, and it is certainly one that almost all of us could support. However, when judges take a better safe than sorry approach to this perceived social problem, they are not adjudicating law fairly and impartially. When newspapers run a domestic violence murder of a woman on the front page while the murder of a man under similar circumstances is place on page 30, it shows that they are less than objective. When the many men who commit suicide because of blatant sex discrimination by the criminal justice system are barely reported on, it shows that a man's life is worth less than a womens life in our culture. When all the facts in the debate are distorted, omitted or mostly fabricated, the first casualty of the gender war becomes truth, so says Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Law professor.

All the critical studies indicate that domestic violence is bilateral with women abusing men as much as vice versa. So says Richard Gelles of the University of Rhode Island. Murray Strauss of the University of New Hampshire, Susan Steinmetz of Indiana University and Judith Sherven, a psychologist from Los Angeles, to name a few. A couple of facts show that this is not a male disease. First of all, women and mothers abuse children at double the rate of men and fathers. Secondly, I am familiar with at least four studies or reports that indicate that lesbians have the highest rate of abuse or domestic violence in our culture. Almost 60 percent of them report that they are in abusive relationships, which is almost five times the rate for heterosexual couples. That shows that it is not an exclusive male problem. In addition, as reported by John Leo, in U.S. News and World Report, May 13, 1996, according to the National Family Violence Survey of 1992, the rate of dangerous female assaults on males in the home is now twice as high as the male rate.

So what is going on here, Hillary Clinton? I know what it is from experience. It is more government intrusion, more families destroyed, more innocent men thrown out of their homes based on hearsay and the subjective fear of the alleged victim, no due process, more fathers and children deprived of one another's love, more and more men going to jail for violating a civil restraining order merely by making a telephone call to a son or sending a birthday card to a daughter and a lot of people making money off the misery of divorce further complicated by gender politics.

As long as we have 5 percent of the worlds population and 70 percent of the worlds lawyers we will continue to see full-employment laws such as VAWA that benefit mostly attorneys, such as the National Association of Attorneys General, Hillary Clinton and many of our lawmakers who are themselves lawyers.

It is mostly political pandering, it is legal extortion, and it actually promotes conflict and more violence. Prohibition of any type, or zero tolerance as we now call it, will not work. Using the courts to solve family problems is failing. Laws that harm the innocent are bad laws. VAWA must be repealed.

A few years ago, a certain first lady was said to have thrown an ashtray at the president of the United States. Many people probably said that she might have had a good reason for her anger. Had it been reversed, it would not have been an option. She calls violence a crime, but apparently there is a different standard for women. According to a female friend of mine, a retired doctor, if the ashtray incident were true, it would make Hillary the first lady of spousal abuse. I say with all due respect, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

Earl Henry Sholley is a candidate for state senator. He is the director of the Fatherhood Coalition's Southwest Metro chapter.

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