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Domestic Violence Delusions…a PBS documelodrama
December 29, 2004
by Harry Crouch

The evening of Wednesday, December 8, was reserved for the screening Breaking the Silence, Journeys of Hope, a new PBS documentary produced by KPBS, which operates from a large plush building on the main campus of San Diego State University, the home of the first women studies program in the United States.

The documentary was co-sponsored by The Waite Family Foundation, which funds many of San Diego family violence related events and organizations, including $125,000 of the San Diego Domestic Violence Council’s annual budget.

I walked into a party of sorts, thought I was in the wrong room; there was a stage, couple of podiums, nice chairs in neat rows, display tables filled with literature, and lots of good eats. There were all sorts of finger foods, including shrimp, pot-stickers, veggies, egg-rolls… Gourmet stuff, not that frozen in the box deep-fry. I guess the cash strapped domestic violence industry does better than they let on.

Thirty or forty people surrounded the food table, others gathered to talk, and more sauntered in. Someone was singing and strumming chords on a guitar. Maybe it was a wedding and I made a wrong turn. Nope, I spotted some DV industry operatives I knew. I brought a selection of brochures and put them conspicuously on a display table by the door. I really needed a cup of coffee, found it, and surveyed the room for allies. I spotted one, but not the one I had come with, Albert Schafer, a rehab therapist case manager and President of The Coalition of Parent Support. Albert was already lost lobbying somewhere in the growing crowd.

The coffee was decent. I grabbed a pot-sticker. Then, it hit me like a ton of frivolous restraining orders. One of men’s rights activist allies recently had to beg a local shelter for a hotel voucher for an abused man looking for a safe place to hide from his violent wife. Initially, the shelter refused. After more begging, the activist was able to secure a voucher for a roach motel. I imagined a junkie crash pad, mold in the walls comforting rats, and unwashed, stained sheets on a lumpy bed with squeaky, broken, box springs. The next day the advocate begged for a better and safer room for the abused man. The shelter relented and coughed up three days rent for a room minus my imagined roaches, mold, rats, and stained sheets. Here I was sucking down a fancy pot-sticker. I wanted to spit it out, but that would have been tacky, plus it was tasty. I ate nothing more, guzzled my coffee, and wondered how many hotel vouchers could have been bought instead of the gourmet frilly food. What a waste of supposedly precious resources. There must be an abuse excuse for that too… They should always have coffee.

One of the event’s opening speakers was a young woman from the Waite Family Foundation. After a few comments, she announced that 95% of all domestic violence perpetrators are men. Truth aside, the young woman delivered the party line straight faced like other victimhood party operatives. Her research apparently overlooked the recent assessment of domestic violence resources in San Diego. The County Office of Violence and Crime Prevention conducted the assessment and found that women accounted for 24% of domestic violence arrests, which is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, as most reputable family violence researchers and cops know.

Virtually every California police officer I have asked about male versus female aggressors, perhaps a 100 or so, gave roughly the same answer; about 50/50 with up to a 10% or less variance one way or the other.

Interestingly, I witnessed a San Diego Police Domestic Violence Unit Investigator announce the 95% myth in a training that I recently attended, and one Queen of Denial Long Beach Sergeant Sheriff’s deputy had never, ever, not once, heard of a woman perp. Hmm… Long Beach and San Diego must be safe places for heterosexual men and lesbians, which they are not, or the good Sergeant and SDPD Investigator work part-time in the misinformation office of the National Organization of Women.

Of course, the industry wants people to believe western women are still oppressed and suffer horrendous abuse simply because they are women. I wondered if they ever considered that men die six years earlier, suffer almost all work related deaths and injuries, die by the thousands in war, suffer the most alcoholism, and commit suicide 10 times more than women when intimate relationships end. Unfortunately, the male bias in the abuse industry directly contributes to the premature death of men, particularly suicides. Even so, everyone knows victims cannot be blamed, except for men, and, to reiterate, there is no excuse for abuse, except for women; hence, long live the 95% myth.

A local who’s who of San Diego’s domestic violence industry insiders comprise the Advisory Board of the KPBS Domestic Violence Awareness Campaign, a subcommittee of which appears to have guided the production of the documentary. However, none of the Who’s Who seemed to know the first thing about, or at least care about, male recipients of domestic abuse, unless they are gay.

Radical feminism’s influence on KPBS, local domestic violence industry operatives, and the industry’s disregard for heterosexual males came through loud and clear in what was shown of the documentary. Such bias permeates KPBS’s domestic violence campaign’s “Someone You Know Needs Help” website too. “Someone,” being women of course.

The website has sound bites like, “…teaching young boys that violence against women and children is wrong” and “…half of female victims of intimate violence live in households with children under the age of 12.” There is not one word I could find about teaching young girls that violence against men and women is wrong, so I guess female perpetrated violence is Ok, if not promoted, excuse or no excuse. The first sound bite, by omission, also implies it is fine if boys learn that violence against men is Ok. Moreover, I wonder which households the millions of abused men and boys live in, apparently none with children under 12? The link “Learn the Facts,” reveals a short list of me-ism Gender Feminist statistics with not one mention of an abused man or boy, like we only exist to beat women and deserve no further consideration. Violence is a high price to pay for ignorance, politics, and ideology.

The documentary is stale, rehashed, and stereotypical pandering propaganda. It has standard tear-jerk stories of beaten women, followed by a white heterosexual man’s rendition of life as a reformed woman beater. The film has a well-known actor, perhaps Hispanic, telling young school children about his saga growing up with an abusive father and beating bad dad into a fetal position until he blubbered like an idiot, just before our actor role model ran away to find fame and fortune in Hollywood.

With all the Law degrees and PhDs on the documentary subcommittee, one would think the slightest degree of fair and original thinking might shine through. However, the documentary is the same old gender biased stuff; bashing bad man breeders of European descent. It is just repackaged, in another, "We refuse to talk about women who kick, maim, and kill" documelodrama.

How do these professionals, some with graduate degrees in child psychology and family counseling, justify showing such incomplete and misleading drivel to children who may go home every afternoon from school, only to be beaten bloody by a drug addicted, alcoholic, or personality disordered mother?

The documentary played up the bad dad slight of hand, again blaming wife beaters for raising boys to beat women. Nevertheless, there was no mention of women like Texan Dena Schlosser, who cut off the legs and arms of her 11-month-old baby. I saw no reenactment of Waco whacko grandma Rose M. Cherry who daily whipped her 4-year-old granddaughter, until she died from blunt force trauma. The propaganda included nothing about New South Wales Kathleen Folbigg who killed in cold blood her four children over a ten year period because their crying annoyed her and the little buggers interrupted her gym time and dancing. I saw no segments about any of the millions of women who abuse men, women, or children.

The documentary did not even mention local Astrid Tepatti and her lesbian lover Ebony Wood, who unsuccessfully tried more than once to murder Tepatti’s Camp Pendleton Marine husband, Stephan Tepatti, for his insurance money. Earlier this year, Houston’s Dr. Rick Lohstroh’s, 10-year-old son pumped bullets into his Dad until dead. After a contentious divorce, ex-wife Deborah Geisler bought the gun and may have encouraged their son to use it. Moreover, let us not forget infamous women like Clara Harris with her Mercedes, her weapon of choice used to run circles over her estranged hubby. Harris even took their daughter along for the ride. Later, incarcerated murderer Harris was awarded legal custody of her children. Geisler and Harris did not make the documelodrama’s casting call either. Go figure…

I guess examples like those don’t qualify as domestic violence; either that, or, industry operatives can’t find a man to blame, like some blamed the husband of estrogen deficient mass murderer Andrea Yates, who snuffed out her five children in a matter of minutes. Obviously, such situations are a hard squeeze into the misogynistic patriarchal model of oppressed women victimhood, as are homosexual on homosexual violence, lesbian on lesbian violence, prison rape, and all those abused boys caught up in the continuing Catholic Church debacle, particularly the ones abused by Nuns. Then there’s Lynndie England’s having way too much fun smile as she tortured naked male prisoners in Iraq, but that’s foreign violence and doesn’t count here, or does it?

Men who beat women may be responsible for some boys growing up women beaters, but there is no question, none, nada, zero, zip, that westernized women commit the lion’s share of child abuse and a hefty hunk of adult on adult family violence; so, who really raises most of the boys that abuse women? If boys were raised by and survived Schlosser, Cherry, Folbigg, Geisler, Harris, or women like them, can anyone reasonably believe such boys would grow up with no propensity to abuse women?

Additionally, what happens to little girls and young women in analogous situations, like Clara Harris’s daughter along for the ride? Then there is the California woman convicted of stalking the foster family caring for her teenage daughter and soliciting a former client to kidnap her. Last month, a jury convicted the woman of residential burglary, child endangerment, and battery. The daughter was reportedly hit, kicked, and suffered years of physical and emotional abuse, though the mother maintained innocence, alleging her daughter invented the abuse charges after an argument. Regardless of truth, it appears the daughter may have continuing difficulties, particularly with her mother, family lawyer, Marilyn Freeman. Only wrongheaded ideologically driven politics keeps us from better protecting such children.

The KPBS documelodrama was apparently stopped short to make room for more speakers and a panel discussion. Two speakers of note were recipients and givers of abuse. The first was a young woman whose story was truly heart wrenching, then they paraded out the token gay guy. I had seen this trick before when I took a 40-hour volunteer course for the Family Justice Center, where, to offer up a victim and show gender inclusiveness, they paraded out a gay guy whose lover stuck a knife somewhere. Nevertheless, this gourmet bash was different; this gay guy was a reformed perp. Whoa! A reformed perp gay guy, how progressive is that? Moreover, he was Hispanic. One has to applaud the multi-faceted diversity. I felt honored just to be there, especially since so few heterosexual guys were in the group, relatively speaking.

Curiously, they had a gay guy who abused another gay guy, and a woman abused by many men, but no lesbian who abused another lesbian, or man abused by many women. No women who abused anyone? Now how did that happen?

A gnarly story about kinky lesbian intimate violence would have added a bit of color. Maybe even a passing mention about the lesbian dilemma and theoretical debate about lesbian consensual sadomasochism and how it squares with intimate abuse and the law.

But, Hey, why discuss anything relevant to help lesbians? No reason to “…disrupt certain dominant feminist homogenizing views,” as remarked by Janice Ristock in her landmark work No More Secrets: Violence in Lesbian Relationships, wherein she also reports that a whopping 48% of the lesbians she studied experienced sexual assaults by their lesbian lovers. Lesbian Ristock says,

“(Her) whole book is a refusal of the science/social drive to create all-explanatory models. (Her) point is that all such models, all monolithic understandings of abuse, are flawed. ‘Mutual abuse’ is wrong, ‘power and control’ is wrong, ‘effects of patriarchy’ is wrong when indiscriminately applied.”

Go girl! Ristock put herself at great risk in the feminist community by sharing her thoughts and findings.

KPBS’s monolithically myopic production Breaking the Silence, Journeys of Hope, took no risks and walks straight down the industry line of delusional sobriety. More apt is, Causing More Violence, Travels in Omission by the Politically Correct; or, perhaps, Blame the Big Bad Man and Shame the Male Child, Adventures in Misandry and Other Card Tricks.

The panel discussion came next. On stage were Sterling Alexander, PhD., licensed clinical psychologist and the Chair of San Diego County’s Commission on Children, Youth and Families Child Abuse Prevention Committee. To his left sat Pat McGrath, Deputy District Attorney, Assistant Chief of the Family Protection Division. Then came Aurora Zepeda, M.P.A., who advises various organizations on policies concerning the whole range of victimhood, from infancy until death. Last, was Vincent J. Felitti, M.D., Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California and founder of the California Institutes of Preventive Medicine. Dr. Felitti conducted research on the long-term relationship of adverse childhood experiences to adult health.

I must say, with no disrespect, that I don’t remember much of what this esteemed panel said, since I’d heard the bullet points many times before; so, the information bounced off me with the redundancy of Klingon torpedoes caroming off Starship Enterprise’s force field. When at such events, I hear a continuous subliminal chorus chanting, “bIjatlh ‘e’ yImev. naDevvo’ yIghoS. bIjatlh ‘e’ yImev. naDevvo’ yIghoS…,” which in Klingon means, “Shut up. Go away. Shut up. Go away…” Paranoia can be fun. No matter, there were a few memorable moments.

MC Gloria Penner, host of the popular local KPBS show “Editors Roundtable,” asked the panel a question about emotional abuse, which panel members seemed to quickly sidestep. The question also gave me a great lead for a question. I raised my hand when the question period began and was chosen. I offered something like, “I want to thank Ms. Penner for raising the issue of emotional abuse. I wonder if Mr. McGrath would explain how many emotional abusers the District Attorney’s Office has prosecuted for paternity fraud, parental alienation, and false accusations.” The room got quiet, but McGrath deftly fielded the question. His short answer, none. His long answer pitched such matters back to family court. McGrath was truthful, to his credit.

Nonetheless, such abuses are devastating and often life-threatening forms of premeditated emotional abuse and otherwise clearly satisfy legal definitions of criminal domestic violence, child abuse, and elder abuse, as applicable.

Fortunately, for the abuse industry, family courts are not overly encumbered by minor inconveniences like due process, witness testimony, physical evidence, pushy public defenders, and bail hearings. Of course, many in attendance knew that, some even worked hard to make it that way.

Without question, when one considers the high incidence of paternity fraud, parental alienation, and false accusations, women violently and maliciously abuse men overwhelmingly more than men violently and maliciously abuse women, including traumatizing forced rape for good measure. I guess many at the screening knew that too, which is why the room got so quiet and the industry shuffled such abuse over to family court, where it could be better hidden and manipulated, primarily in favor of violent women; again, in the best interests of children of course.

Now, I may have been remiss, since it appeared the entire documelodrama was not shown. So, let me apologize now to whomever I offended if it turns out the rest of the production shows violent and abusive women, lesbians even; and, abused men, like gays. Alas, I must confess, I still suspect there is nothing included about women abusing heterosexual men or transgenders abusing whomever transgenders abuse. Diversity is one of the best exclusive inclusiveness schemes ever conjured up.

In my view, the “Diversity Movement” mirrors a reverse hate group grope, like the KKK. Instead of hooded white guys, the Diversity Movement seems tightly controlled largely by pampered rich to upper middle class white women once uniformed in tie-dye cotton smocks with sandals, flapping around hand painted “Men are SCUM” signs; now turned contemporary custom English men’s business suits, Gucci pumps, thinking about flapping around “Men are SCUM” signs printed at Kinko’s. So showing women beating men in this documelodrama was surely considered counterproductive, even if men are abused regularly simply by omission? Talking about abused men, particularly heterosexual men, is apparently tantamount to sharing the location of the next cross burning with the FBI. Maybe these lateral thinking, connected way of knowing, Gender Feminist, documelodrama producers ought to come out of the closet and join the rest of us non-haters, if for no other reason than diversity. We can work on truth, understanding, and tolerance later.

I was anxious to leave and I suspect many others were equally, if not more, anxious for me to go, even though I was well behaved. As soon as all the mucky-muck thanking was over, I headed for the door shaking hands on the way. I forgot to mention that between the pot-stickers and first speaker, most of the brochures that I had earlier conspicuously placed on the table by the door disappeared and I had to go back to the parking garage, open my trunk, and drag some more back to the festivities. Leaving through the entry, I noticed a few second trip brochures still on the table; I strained my neck backwards looking at them, jeopardized my balance, stumbled over my own feet, and bumped into the gay guy.

“Whoops, Sorry, I appreciate very much you sharing your story with us,” I stammered quickly while regaining my balance and trying not to sound glib, since he deserved the compliment.

He was a bit nervous. Apparently, this was the largest group to which he had shared his soul, “Thanks, I appreciate you telling me.”

Now that we had appreciated each other with proper humanist protocol, I offered, “Yeah, they always parade out a gay guy, never a heterosexual. Go figure… I’m a men’s rights activist, did you get any of our brochures?”

Somewhat chagrined, he said, “No, I…”

I cut him off, put my arm around his shoulder, turned him around, and gave marching orders, “Come on obligatory gay guy, I’ve got some good brochures about gay victims of domestic violence in here. Let me show you…” and off we went.

We talked some more after I rescued copies of the brochures that I drug in, including the one about abused gay guys, and encouraged him to give me a call if he needed someone to talk with or whatever, but I don’t date. As far as I could see, no one else brought literature to help gays or lesbians, amazing, if true.

Then I butted into a conversation between Dr. Alexander and friend David Bruer, the other men’s rights advocate there. David operates the Fathers Resource Center in Encinitas, CA.

After some discussion, Dr. Alexander asked me if I had any solutions in mind. That threw me. In the last three years as an equity advocate, there were only two times I can remember when anyone in the San Diego abuse industry asked me about solutions. Those opportunities came from Linda Wong-Kerbert of the County Office of Crime Prevention and members of the non-denominational SAFE Place Faith Communities committee designing and implementing a broad based information, education, and referral program for area congregations. I was totally unprepared for Alexander’s question.

I started babbling incoherently and could not understand myself or shut up. Must be the better living through chemicals approach I adopted. No matter, I spit out in no particular order rough ideas about getting various abuse industries to talk with each other, better assessment, mostly health problem not criminal, long-term support systems, prosecuting false accusers, meaningful programs for abused men, and trashing the bad man, patriarchal, ideological garbage. I referred him to Linda Mill’s book, Insult to Injury: Rethinking our Responses to Intimate Abuse, and gave him a copy of Domestic Violence: The 12 Things You Aren't Supposed to Know, by Thomas James. We exchanged cards and I followed him out blah, blah, blah as we went. I would have driven me crazy. I have to get over those short periods of uncontrollable excitement when someone in the abuse industry shows interest in what I might know or have to say.

From beginning to end, the later of which we are approaching here, I judiciously gave away five copies of the Thomas James book, including one to the 95% young woman from the Waite Family Foundation. In handing it to her I said, “Here, I’d like you to have this. If you read it, you will find that men perpetrate nowhere near 95% of domestic violence.” They never have.

Maybe anyone who reads this should send a letter to their local PBS station denouncing the documelodrama, particularly NPR and PBS contributors. Several have done so in San Diego along with a comment that their donations will no longer be forthcoming.

Harry Crouch

NOTE: I took great liberty with dialog since I can never remember who says what to whom, and for brevity.

Harry Crouch is a full time men’s rights activist, co-proprietor of MENSBIZ, publisher of Women Industry News, member of the San Diego Domestic Violence Council, and Board Member of the National Coalition of Free Men Los Angeles. E-mail comments to: harryal55Z@earthlink.net, put in the subject line, “re KPBS Documelodrama.”

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