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February 10, 2005

Domestic Violence Shelter In Maine Under Attack By Men's Rights Activists

Update - February 16, 2005: Men's rights activists lost another case where they have attacked domestic violence shelters. This time, they lost an appeal in California. The case is Blumhorst v. Jewish Family Services of Los Angeles. To read more about this story, go to this link.

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Update: Ha! Looks like Trudy Schuett at the anti-feminist and pro-men's and fathers' rights DesertLight Journal was scared by this post. I won't link to it. Just Google it if you want to find it. She knows that men's and fathers' rights activists have been unsuccessful in their attempts to attack domestic violence centers, and that pisses her off. She ranted about me, linking to my blog in a trackback. This is what she wrote: "This blog has all the elements: the fuzzy logic, the neglect of facts in favor of convenient fictions with more emotional impact, and the sheer hatred expressed by this angry woman. If you read the entire thing, you soon realize she doesn't even understand her own advocacy; she confuses the issues of intimate partner abuse and divorce, which are separate issues, and would have remained so, had not the feminist shelter programs created a new, more difficult (and entirely bogus) issue."

I like getting under their skin. It's amusing. I guess I should expect more men's rights trolls any second now.

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In a move that I've seen occur in other states, men's rights activists have filed a discrimination suit against a domestic violence shelter in Maine, and it looks like the case is going to be heard by Maine courts.

The women's shelter must appeal the denial of summary judgement.

The men's rights activists claim that the shelter discriminates against men. I've said it before and I'll say it again - men's activists need to do for abused men what domestic violence workers have done for decades for women - set up their own shelters and go through the proper channels to receive funding. Don't attack women's shelters and complain about alleged discrimination. Domestic violence victims are primarily women, so it is not discriminatory to provide services for them.

Besides that, how can a "helpline for men" claim that is it being discriminated against on the basis of gender?

Court Decides Abused Men and Their Children Will Not be Bullied

On January 26, in the case of Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men et al v Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, Docket # CV-04-186, the Maine Superior Court in Penobscot County denied Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence's motion to dismiss the lawsuit alleging sexual discrimination brought against
them by the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and "John Doe," a male victim of domestic violence. The lawsuit filed in August 2004 alleges MCEDV engages in sexual discrimination against men and their children under current policies and practices of the organization.

(PRWEB) February 8, 2005 -- On January 26, the Maine Superior Court in Penobscot County denied Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence's motion to dismiss the lawsuit alleging sexual discrimination brought against them by the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and "John Doe," a male victim of domestic violence. The lawsuit filed in August 2004 alleges MCEDV engages in sexual discrimination against men and their children under current policies and practices of the organization.

MCEDV asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit because Helpline has no gender and therefore can not be discriminated against and "John Doe" didn't file a complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission so his claim should be dismissed also. The Superior Court disagreed and denied the motion to dismiss the matter.

MCEDV refuses to provide the Helpline with an application for membership in the coalition because the primary purpose of the Helpline is to provide relief and resources to men and their children and not only battered women and their children. Member organizations refused to provide relief or
services to "John Doe" because of his gender.

The Helpline claims this is a common occurrence. Men that seek the assistance of coalition members are turned away because of their gender.

MCEDV is a coalition of member organizations working to educate and "empower" victims of domestic abuse and communities. The MCEDV operates using federal and other public funding, and Helpline believes the coalition should be open to all otherwise-qualified agencies without regard to the gender of the victims that seek the agency's assistance. Helpline assists those that current member agencies cannot or will not offer assistance.

"John Doe" charges that MCEDV, through their member organization, denied services to him as a victim of domestic violence based only on his gender. "John Doe" called one of the member programs hotlines for help while in crisis and was denied assistance because he was a male. Had Helpline been allowed membership in MCEDV "John Doe" would have been directed to an organization that would have assisted him and his child to get to safety.

Helpline has been pursuing membership with MCEDV in order to have access to the same funding and networking opportunities given the other nine domestic violence shelter programs in the state of Maine. Their request for application had been repeatedly ignored and then finally rejected, because Helpline serves male victims of domestic violence and their children, and the purpose of the Coalition is to serve women and children.

Kim Roberts, director of the coalition said, "The word ''women'' is in our bylaws. It's not meant to be exclusive but reflect the focus of the people we serve. That doesn't mean it's the only thing [member agencies do]."

Yet information on their website reflects something else: "MCEDV advocates on behalf of battered women through policy development and legislative initiatives that support battered women and hold batterers accountable." According to policies of this and the other state coalitions,only women are deserving of help. The MCEDV, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and similar organizations in other states operate under grants provided by the federal Violence Against Women Office.

"Times are changing," says Jan Brown, Founder and Executive Director of DAHM. "While it once was reasonable to think only women were in need of help in partner abuse cases, that‚s no longer true. All victims should be offered the same services, services should be based on need not gender. I'm very
pleased to see that the State of Maine is a leader in responding to the changing needs of its citizens, and I hope this will set the tone for changes nationwide."


Here is my previous post about how men's rights activists have been unsuccessful in their attacks against domestic violence shelters in California:

The men's/fathers' rights group National Coalition of Free Men failed in its attack against domestic violence shelters in southern California. Free Men attorney Marc Angelucci headed the lawsuits. Free Men and other men's/fathers' rights groups and individual men have engaged in similar attacks against domestic violence services and laws in other states. Men's/fathers' rights groups like Free Men are not interested in establishing services for battered men. They are interested in preventing battered women from obtaining help. The few battered men out there that do exist get no help from men's rights groups.


LAWSUIT AGAINST WOMEN'S SHELTERS DISMISSED A VICTORY FOR COMMON SENSE AND JUSTICE

The California Women's Law Center is delighted that common sense and justice prevailed today when the Los Angeles Superior Court dismissed a lawsuit against ten Southern California shelters for battered women and their children.  The shelters are located in: Artesia, Canoga Park, Carson, Claremont, Glendale, Los Angeles, Newhall, Pasadena, and San Pedro.

The lawsuit, filed by representatives of the National Coalition of Free Men, claimed that the ten shelters engaged in unlawful sex discrimination by not accepting men at their emergency shelters for battered women and children.  The California Women's Law Center and the law firm of O'Melveny & Myers LLP, representing a majority of the shelters pro bono, argued successfully that the lawsuit had no merit.

"This lawsuit should never have been filed in the first place.  It's great news for our community and for battered women and their children that these ten shelters will be able to again focus all their resource on what's important: saving the lives of victims of domestic violence," said Marci Fukuroda, staff attorney at the California Women's Law Center.

California law (CA Government Code, Section 11135) states that no state-funded program shall discriminate against any person on the basis of "race, national origin, ethnic group identification, religion, age, sex, color or disability."  Section 11139 of the law, however, clarifies that this prohibition against discrimination must not "be interpreted in a manner that would adversely affect lawful programs which benefit the disabled, the aged, minorities, and women."  The shelters in question all receive state funding under the California Battered Women Shelter Program, a program created by the legislature in 1994 specifically to aid battered women and their children.

"Rainbow Services has chosen to address the massive societal problem of violence against women.  Others are of course free to address other problems, whether it's violence against men, drug addiction, homelessness or something else," explained Ben Schirmer, Executive Director of Rainbow Services in San Pedro.  "I wish the National Coalition of Free Men luck if they choose to establish services for battered men.  In the meantime, Rainbow Services will continue to provide badly needed emergency shelter for battered women and their children."


Posted on February 10, 2005 at 09:37 AM | Permalink

Comments

Apart from my interests in feminist and mother issues, I have been involved in low-income housing for 15 years. From the perspective of a housing provider, what these men are doing makes no sense. Discrimination in housing is defined differently in special needs housing. It is perfectly acceptable to construct subsidized senior housing in a particular market area, as long as you can produce a market study showing a demonstrated need (I do the market studies). Senior housing, in and of itself, does not discriminate against low-income families. Personally, I think families often get the shaft because family projects are less popular politically, but that's another matter. Some developers do one, some do the other, some do both. If non-profit A develops senior housing, there is nothing to stop non-profit B from developing family housing in the same location. Non-profit B might have trouble getting funding for doing another senior project in the same location though, especially if A is having trouble renting up their units.

Transitional housing can also be developed for persons with persistent mental illness, drug and alcohol addictions, and other issues in addition to people (typically women) fleeing situations of domestic violence. Usually these housing situations are designed to meet the needs of a particular population. DV housing obviously presents special requirements in terms of security and in terms of housing both adults and children (many transitional housing situations take only single persons, and are not equipped to deal with families. Same with fully accessible units for some reason. They are typically one-BR, as if disabled people never had partners or children.Or WERE children. Don't ask me why. I have no idea this is so.). Since abusers often try to gain access to these places, it is very difficult for them to take men. In addition, realize that most dv shelters are having to turn away women in need already. And even if they didn't have to turn down women, there would be additional costs in terms of new bathrooms, etc. Funding to renovate shelters is very limited and very competitive. I know, I've done the grants before.

Some have proposed building transitional housing that includes EVERYBODY under one roof (parolees, dv survivors, drug and alcohol, disabled, etc.) but the logistics seem a little crazy to me. One was proposed in the City of Olean, NY, but was eventually defeated. You are not doing all these people a favor by mixing persons with very different needs under one roof and waiting for something to combust and explode. However, with funding becoming ever more scarce, this is what you are up against. Trying to "max out" points for "populations served" on your funding applications.

At least in my locale, there is one homeless shelter for men, one for women and children (mostly, but not always dv-related), and one for
runaway youth. If a man is homeless and claims abuse, he could always go to the men's shelter and ask for dv services. I don't know that there is anything to stop him. But I don't see that he has some "right" to crash the women's shelter, or get senior housing if he is under 65, or go to a transitional housing program for alcoholics if he doesn't drink. For most people, these "restrictions" are not onerous, and are for the benefit of everyone. They represent an efficient use of resources.

I suspect that in an environment of ever-shrinking funding, our friends in Maine would find it a challenge to fund a dv center just for men. In an atmosphere of ever shrinking resources, they would have to justify that there is a DOCUMENTED need for such a facility, and that this need is more severe, say, than the need for a transitional housing program for youths aging out of foster care. They probably know they couldn't come up with much in terms of hard data. A few sob stories of dubious merit aren't gonna get you the money, and it's not because these agencies are full of hardcore feminists. It's because EVERYBODY is looking for money, and in most cases, many populations are unserved or underserved under the current system, not just some elusive number of battered men.

I'll concede that local conditions could change the equation. There might be a need for emergency shelter for gay battered men or transitional housing for transexuals with drug addictions in San Francisco. But probably not in Peoria or the rest of the country.

Sorry for rambling on so long!

Posted by: silverside at Feb 10, 2005 3:50:00 PM

"Had Helpline been allowed membership in MCEDV "John Doe" would have been directed to an organization that would have assisted him and his child to get to safety."

This is the crux of the matter...

I predict men will win one of these court cases and eventually begin using the shelters system as another way to continue the judicially-sanctioned abduction of children in order to get custody of them.

So ironically allowing men into the shelter system will be a way to enable them to continue abuse of women...as I predict many of the men being allowed into the shelters will be abusers themselves who learned how to work the system...

So once again something we have set up for women that really need help will be twisted and turned into a tool to be used against them...like the must arrest laws in many states...

Women generally will lie about domestic violence in the early stages and try to STOP men from being arrested; thus getting more seriously injured over time...so using that psychology of women, many states passed must arrest laws to ensure that a man would get arrested in spite of a woman lying for him...

Well guess what...in many states more women are now arrested under these laws then men...it's ridiculous...

Actually I think many male police officers are twisting these laws and deliberately misapplying them to help other men...

It's endless really...where we do something to help women and men turn it around to help themselves and hurt us...it's just endless...


Posted by: NYMOM at Feb 10, 2005 10:42:21 PM

"Some have proposed building transitional housing that includes EVERYBODY under one roof (parolees, dv survivors, drug and alcohol, disabled, etc.) but the logistics seem a little crazy to me."

It would be impossible to construct this kind of setup...a place for women and children WITH male parolees and drug and alcoholic men...

To even conceive of an idea like this is beyond comprehension...

I mean women and children just would NOT go there...it's like what happened with childrens' parks in NYC and why we had to pass laws finally that adults w/o children could NOT enter them...since drug addict and drunk men had no problem invading these spaces and hanging around drunk and high all day...and there was no way to legally get them to leave...

So, of course, the police would leave them there for a bunch of women and children to deal with...eventually these laws were passed (gender neutralized, of course, even though it was men doing these things) that adults w/o children could not enter these parks (they STILL are not really enforced, but that's another story)...

It will be the same thing with domestic violence shelters eventually driving women, who really need them, from the system...

Posted by: NYMOM at Feb 10, 2005 10:56:26 PM

I work in a domestic violence shelter and housing men, who may also victims of domestic violence with women will not work. One reason is our shelter is community living and sharing space with another female and their children can be stressful. Secondly many women in my experience who have been in domestic violence situations have an overall distrust of men and talking with a male police officer is difficult for them or if the shelter needs some type of maintainance the presence of a male worker is enough to make some women fearful and feel unsafe.

In the abscence of a conflict of interest our program provides services to men who are victims. Services include everything but housing in our DV shelter. For shelter, referrals are made which includes the local homeless shelter. I believe that if this area had a high male domestic violence rate, which it doesn't, I'm the one that does the statistics, then they should campaign and raise funds like we had to get our shelter.

Posted by: Shelterworker at Feb 11, 2005 1:52:53 AM

I am disgusted that feminists like you deny that battered men exist. A woman definitely can injire a man if he doesn't hit back, if the woman has a weapon, if the man is attacked when he is sleeping, etc. Think about if every time you went to sleep you had to worry about being stabbed. Or perhaps the man thinks he "shouldn't hit women" or will be arrested if he defends himself. And if man tries to call the police, the police actually do arrest him (rather than her) because they believe the feminist lie that only women are abused.

As numerous studies have shown, women abuse men as often as the reverse. Feminists claim to have "discredited" these surveys, but that is a lie. They "discredited" one such survey, the strauss-gelles survey. But pretty much every other unbiased survey has come to the same conclusion, and these surveys have used widely varying methodologies. Personally, I've frequently seen women hit men, but I've never seen a man hit a woman.

It's very important that we fight against the femininist myth that only women are abused. That's why I think it is so important to fight against feminism. I fully support equality, but I am disgusted by the anti-male bias in modern femimism. So I will continue to take a stand against people like Trish and their anti-male propaganda, despite the false accusations of sexism that will no doubt be thrown at me.

Posted by: Adam at Feb 16, 2005 12:05:45 AM

". I believe that if this area had a high male domestic violence rate, which it doesn't, I'm the one that does the statistics, then they should campaign and raise funds like we had to get our shelter."

Ok, how do you "do the statistics"? Do you count the number of men who call your shelter vs the number of women who call your shelter? Obviously, men are less likely to call a battered *women's* shelter, because they know they won't get help. Do you look at police statistics? Those are biased in favor of women, because male victims are less likely to call the police, and when they do, they are less likely to be believed.

Posted by: Adam at Feb 16, 2005 12:09:12 AM

"As numerous studies have shown, women abuse men as often as the reverse. Feminists claim to have "discredited" these surveys, but that is a lie. They "discredited" one such survey, the strauss-gelles survey. But pretty much every other unbiased survey has come to the same conclusion, and these surveys have used widely varying methodologies. Personally, I've frequently seen women hit men, but I've never seen a man hit a woman."

What numerous studies...put out by men trying to gain advantage?

Please...

AND if you've never seen a man hit a woman you must be walking around with your eyes closed...

We just had two horrible murders in New York, probably more if I paid as much attention as people like you do, where a 7 year old was stabbed 16 times by her father and then a mother, while holding her baby, had her throat cut by the child's father...

So actually maybe now that I think of it, maybe you're right, men don't hit women, they just stab them to dead...

Posted by: NYMOM at Feb 16, 2005 1:28:56 AM

"Ok, how do you "do the statistics"? Do you count the number of men who call your shelter vs the number of women who call your shelter? Obviously, men are less likely to call a battered *women's* shelter, because they know they won't get help. Do you look at police statistics? Those are biased in favor of women, because male victims are less likely to call the police, and when they do, they are less likely to be believed.'

Well let's not overlook the obvious shall we...maybe men don't call the shelter system or the police BECAUSE they are NOT getting abused...

What about that explanation...

After all a quick look at prison statistics show that men commit more crimes then women at a rate of 10 to 1 in the US and 30 to 1 in EVERY OTHER SOCIETY...so is that just bias too...the prison stats even in OTHER COUNTRIES...that's all made up as well I suppose...What would be the reason that a patriachal society like India or China, which is not women centered at ALL, what would bet he reason for THEM to lie...to help American women too, I suppose...

It doesn't even make sense...

The bottom line is that the male of every species, including our own, is the larger, stronger and more aggressive as compared to the female and thus commits more violent acts, for men it's domestic violence and other crimes, for male bears, it's killing and eating cubs...that's just the way it is...

So work on changing yourselves not the statistics, as they are true, it you who are the liars...

Posted by: NYMOM at Feb 16, 2005 1:40:09 AM

The stats that are collected are a combination of crisis line calls, those going into the walk in program and outcalls either with police involvement or non police involvement, such responding to a call at the hospital or in some cases the victim's home. I don't know about the claim that men won't be believed. I know that they are in this area because I've responded to calls where I've spoken to the victim who was male and his offender, who was female had been arrested. As I've said, men get the same services, at least in this area that females do EXCEPT we can't house them in the same shelter due to the set up of the shelter. I can't speak for others in the domestic violence field but I have never heard anyone here EVER saying that men cannot be victims. The reality though is in this area the stats that we have of people we come in contact with is that women are victims more often AND are more violently attacked than men are, keeping in mind that victims of both genders don't call or seek help.

Posted by: shelterworker at Feb 16, 2005 5:15:03 AM

"As numerous studies have shown, women abuse men as often as the reverse. Feminists claim to have "discredited" these surveys, but that is a lie. They "discredited" one such survey, the strauss-gelles survey. But pretty much every other unbiased survey has come to the same conclusion, and these surveys have used widely varying methodologies. Personally, I've frequently seen women hit men, but I've never seen a man hit a woman."

Before I got involved working with victims of domestic violence I would fequently see men hitting women, namely my father hitting my mother. I don't know how many times this occured. Seemed like weekly when I was growing up. Sometimes the police were called, sometimes they were not. He has only been arrested twice. (after they made it mandatory for arrest in the evidence of abuse) More often the police would ask one of my parents to leave. Sometimes my dad left and we would get to sleep in our own beds and other times we went to our grandmothers.
I can't tell you how many times he verbally abused her, threw food at her and hit her simply because the food wasn't hot and on the table the minute he walked in the door. It didn't matter that she didn't know the exact time that he would be home because that varied. He also hit and verbally abuse us kids, my one brother getting the brunt of the physical abuse. Mom never abuse or neglected us and only "hit" our father once and that was because he came home and was upset because there was dishes in the sink. When mom went to do them he pushed her head and held it down under the water in the sink. He intended to drown her. The only way she got away was by reaching behind her and grabbing his testicles. When he let go of her she ran out the door. That was the first night that he was arrested and when the officer showed up to arrest him he also assaulted the officer. Each protective order that my dad had against him he violated. It's also sad that two out of my three brothers have also been arrested for domestic violence and the other one while not physically abusive is verbally abusive towards his girlfriend and our mother.

Another example of men hitting women that I've seen outside my work is a friend of mine. Thanks to her abuser her nose and two front teeth are fake. She has had to have plastic surgery to fix the damage that her husband did to her. The police described the scene of their house as one consistant with a murder scene because there was so much blood. There was only one time where she had assaulted him, and that was to keep him from beating her children.

I could go on and on but the fact does remain that men do beat women and I don't see it in the same rate or severity that women do it to men and if a woman does admit that she hit back when he had assaulted her it has been in self defense of her or her children. I'm not saying that a man fighting back couldn't be self defense but I've only seen it in cases of women.

Posted by: shelterworker at Feb 16, 2005 6:02:35 AM

Adam: "As numerous studies have shown, women abuse men as often as the reverse. Feminists claim to have "discredited" these surveys, but that is a lie. They "discredited" one such survey, the strauss-gelles survey. But pretty much every other unbiased survey has come to the same conclusion, and these surveys have used widely varying methodologies. Personally, I've frequently seen women hit men, but I've never seen a man hit a woman."

NYMOM: "What numerous studies...put out by men trying to gain advantage?"

The studies he's referring to are those that utilize the Conflict Tactic Scales created by Straus, Gelles, and Steinmetz. The CTS are loaded with problems. For more on the CTS and the myth that men and women are equally abusive, go to this link.

Posted by: Trish Wilson at Feb 16, 2005 8:28:40 AM

I don't know of anyone who has ever said that men can't be victims of domestic violence. I know they can. My colleagues have never said that men can't be abused. However, it is not true that men and women are equally abusive. That is men's rights propaganda used to denigrate abused women and services for abused women.

Posted by: Trish Wilson at Feb 16, 2005 8:30:16 AM

Just to expand on Trish's point, the debate isn't whether there are some men who are abused in a relationship context (most appear to be gay men, but this is another issue). The point was on whether existing dv shelters that are oriented toward women and children can or should house them. As has been made plain, most appear to offer services or counseling (our local one does). They are just not in the position to provide shelter. For that matter, if I show up at the our local Union Mission (which serves men only), I won't be housed either, though they will provide me with a meal. They will refer me to the women's facility for shelter, which is administered/managed by another group.

I know that locally oriented statistics on homelessness and dv are hard to get in any case, but if you really want to make the argument that there is a SIGNFICANT number of abused men requiring special dv shelter within your community (as opposed to generic homeless shelter assistance), you have to get the numbers. When a local church group established our local runaway teen shelter a few years ago, they contacted DSS, the schools, anyone they could think of to document the need so they could pursue funding.

I think they also realized that it made no sense to put a homeless 14-year-old runaway boy in the same shelter as the 44-year-old homeless man with multiple mental health and alcohol issues. So it made no sense to convince the Union Mission that they should take kids. The populations just don't mix. There is too much potential for abuse or other problems.

I would say the same of the dv population - there are just too many issues involved in mixing men and women as I have outlined before. Abusers who try to "crash" shelters, women who are already being turned away for lack of beds, lack of bathroom facilities, privacy issues, trauma issues related to men for some of the shelter dwellers, etc.

That's the same point here. If there is a need for a male dv shelter, then you are going to have to document it and pursue the funding just like this church group did. Got to do the leg work, there's just no way around it. And realize, too, that there is an emphasis on "signficant." As I mentioned before, there may be a "signficant" number of, say, battered gay men requiring shelter in San Franciso, or at least enough to warrant a separate shelter or facility. But in reality, this is a pretty tiny population overall, and I just don't know that the numbers will add up in the same way as, say, homeless youths aging out of foster care, homeless vets (the numbers of which are exploding, according to what I see in the news), homeless families, or other groups that are also in competition for the same funding. That's just a political reality, especially in our current funding crisis, where the money to do any of these projects is disappearing very fast.

Posted by: silverside at Feb 16, 2005 12:40:20 PM

Any chance of a nagging refuge? Return of the scold's bridle?

Posted by: Steve at Feb 16, 2005 1:05:22 PM

If that's the problem, then get a case of beer and hole up with your buddies at your local Super 8. Enjoy the game.

Posted by: at Feb 16, 2005 1:14:09 PM

Silverside: "I would say the same of the dv population - there are just too many issues involved in mixing men and women as I have outlined before. Abusers who try to "crash" shelters, women who are already being turned away for lack of beds, lack of bathroom facilities, privacy issues, trauma issues related to men for some of the shelter dwellers, etc."

I have the impression that a lot of men's rights activists think all a woman has to do is make an allegation of abuse to a domestic violence center and she will immediately be set up with housing. That's not the case at all. As you said, women are already being turned away for lack of beds, etc. Plus, the shelters admit abused women who are likely to end up homeless, assuming there is room. A shelter is unlikely to give a woman a bed when she has alternatives available to getting out of an abusive living arrangment, such as moving in with her parents, other relatives, or friends. Housing is meant to be temporary. How many men actually need housing if they say they are abused? That is part of the issue, too. When a man in league with a men's rights group calls a shelter demanding housing, even if he had been abused, there is no guarantee that he would get a bed. Abused women aren't guaranteed a bed. This ploy by Free Men was nothing more than an attack against California domestic violence centers. There is really no concern for abused men at all. If there had been, the activists would do what they could to ensure men have services, including housing if necessary. They'd apply for funding and support. That's not what they do - they attack women's centers.

Posted by: Trish Wilson at Feb 16, 2005 1:28:16 PM

Exactly. If you are truly dealing with a homeless male in need of dv and/or other services, then you hook him up with emergency shelter (probably male only) and find whatever services he needs, whether it's dv counseling, drug and alcohol assistance (not unusual with dv victims), or whatever. There's no problem.

If someone is truly interested in assisting a particular homeless subpopulation in your community that you feel is substantial and underserved by the existing facilities, then you have to roll up your sleeves and get to work. It just makes no sense crashing one incompatible group with another. To take it out of the dv context, I wouldn't necessarily want to house the 14-year-old runaway boy with the 44-year-old homeless guy with multiple mental health and alcohol issues (to take the example I utilized before). It's not particularly helpful to either and I think that is perfectly clear to any rational person. If someone was on some sort of campaign to get the 44-year-old into the runaway youth shelter, you'd have to wonder what kind of weird agenda is going on, since it just makes no sense. Same with this campaign to get men into women-only dv-oriented homeless shelters.

Posted by: silverside at Feb 16, 2005 2:18:20 PM

"...Any chance of a nagging refuge? Return of the scold's bridle?"

As long as EVERY remedy you come up with for women applies EQUALLY to men...so men who are verbally abusive will just be tied up with the scold's bridle (whatever the heck that is)...and dragged around with it for 30 days or so...

Fine...

Posted by: NYMOM at Feb 16, 2005 2:23:25 PM

Plus, it has also occurred to me that if male victims of domestic violence do in fact face very different issues in terms of disclosure, self-esteem, and so forth (as some of the posters above have argued), then it seems to me that by your own logic you would want to develop programs and counseling services that reflect that and are in a sense tailored to that reality. If you argue that the existing dv shelters are anti-male, etc. (or at least missing a complete understanding of the battered male), then it seems to me that you have an even stronger and more compelling case for developing your own programs and/or shelters.

So good luck, and get to work.

Posted by: silverside at Feb 16, 2005 2:26:16 PM

Oh, and just one other thought. Though I greatly admire the work of people who run these shelters, no one has ever claimed that staying in a shelter is like a vacation at a five star hotel. If you have other options, you generally don't go to a shelter. It's noisy, you don't have much privacy, your dealing with other traumatized people and possibly their kids, lots of rules you may not like but which are necessary when that many people are under the same roof. I have known women who have been to them through lack of choice, and they just can't wait to get out (again, I'm not putting down any providers! You do great work!). Most people want to live in their own home and get on with their lives. So if somebody thinks all these women are getting a free vacation -- well, I don't think so.

Posted by: silverside at Feb 16, 2005 2:40:34 PM

"The studies he's referring to are those that utilize the Conflict Tactic Scales created by Straus, Gelles, and Steinmetz. The CTS are loaded with problems."

This is a lie. Trish is using the struass gelles survey and is trying to generalize it
to all DV surveys that show that women abuse men at an equal rate.
It's a sneaky debate tactic, but she's been caught. What about all the surveys that
actually do ask who struck first? They come to the same conclusions.
the fact is, the surveys prove that women abuse men at equal rates, and they do not use the
methods of the strauss gelles survey.

Posted by: Adam at Feb 17, 2005 11:08:12 AM

The surveys about who struck first started with Straus. Those surveys that isolate individual "hits" don't take the entire abusive relationship into account. They also don't take the abusive incident into account. Individual "hits" oversimplify domestic violence. You end up with a false positive that indicts women who strike first. Domestic violence is about much more than hitting or who hits first. Women and men do not abuse each other at equal rates. Richard Gelles himself said that "[W]hen we look at injuries resulting from violence involving male and female partners, it is categorically false to imply that there are the same number of "battered" men as there are battered women. Research shows that nearly 90 percent of battering victims are women and only about ten percent are men."

Posted by: Trish Wilson at Feb 17, 2005 11:14:51 AM

Adam, the point of all this is whether women-only dv shelters must admit men. Assuming for the sake of argument that your point is true, than you should have ample evidence to support an application for an all male dv shelter that will address all the unique needs of male dv clients, and not generate the problems we have outlined that come with mixing incompatible homeless populations. On one hand, you argue that you can't find the evidence in any of the standard places to look (point of contact referrals, police calls, etc.) and then you argue that it's at least 50/50. Where are these guys? Yea, maybe some are a little shy, but still. They have to be showing up somewhere, or it becomes like a phantom sighting, like the ghost someone swears they saw in the haunted house but can't document scientifically.

Posted by: silverside at Feb 17, 2005 11:20:42 AM

Trish is doing it again! She's trying to generalize the strauss gelles survey to
all surveys that find that men abuse women as often as women abuse men. Even after
she was caught doing that very thing.

"On one hand, you argue that you can't find the evidence in any of the standard places to look"

This is because feminists will only accept "evidence" that supports their views. They also try to excuse all violence by women. For instance, if a man yells at a woman and the woman physically attacks him, feminists seem to regard the man as the violent one and will say that the women acted in self defense. Of course, if the situation were reversed, they wouldn't argue that the man was acting in self defense.

"Well let's not overlook the obvious shall we...maybe men don't call the shelter system or the police BECAUSE they are NOT getting abused..." -nymom

I was pointing out that, since men are less likely to call battered women's shelters, you
can't use that to figure out how many men are abused. If you count how many women call and
how many men call, you'll get distorted figures, since men are clearly less likely to call
a battered women's shelter.

"That is men's rights propaganda used to denigrate abused women and services for abused women." - Trish"

No, the "men are never victims" line is women's rights propaganda designed to denigrate abused men and services for abused men. You've got it backwards.

Posted by: Adam at Feb 17, 2005 11:47:59 AM

It isn't a question of only accepting evidence that supports my views, or "feminist" views, whatever that it. It's standard procedure for trying to document the existence of particular homeless subpopulations. When I used to do HUD Consolidated Plans, HUD used to ask for data like this all the time. The Census only reports visible people on the street, so it's pretty useless. You have no choice but to go with surveys that are done by homeless service and shelter providers, the VA, soup kitchens,point in time counts, etc. If, as you say, these battered men don't call shelters or the police, and they don't report dv as a reason for their homeless, than how can I or you or anybody else document their existence?

Frankly, I think a lot of this boils down to a "me too-ism" that does not serve homeless men. Many years ago, I attended a meeting having to do with gay and lesbian health issues, and one lesbian presenter was discussing the importance of raising AIDS awareness in the lesbian community. Had grant money to do so. The fact that very few lesbians then (or now for that matter) acquire AIDS unless they were bisexual or IV drug users didn't phase her. The fact that there was apparently no money or interest in major factors affecting women or lesbian health and mortality rates (such as heart disease, lung cancer/smoking, breast cancer) in favor of something that was more or less a phantom seemed ridiculous to me. (The situation regarding AIDS and women, especially black women has changed tremendously since then).

In the same way, I have worked on issues related to homelessness for years, and it's important to really examine why men and women in your area are homeless. It is silly to go after funding for a subpopulation that barely exists when there are other homeless populations that do need services. If most of the homeless in your area are families, why would you build single room occupancy (SRO) for individuals that will go unused? Why would you build facilities for homeless persons with substance abuse problems when most of your local homeless population is being generated by skyrocketing rents and gentrification?

In other words, if you are truly concerned about homeless people, men included, it behooves you to pay attention to the real reasons they are homeless rather than attach yourself to a MR fad. Let's help the homeless men (and women) with the problems that they do have and say they have, rather than the problems we find it politically expedient to say they have with no documentary evidence.

Or chasing some agenda related to trashing women's homeless/dv shelters while actually ignoring homeless men and their needs.

Posted by: silverside at Feb 17, 2005 12:42:19 PM

Just to give Adam and his friends a heads up. A Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) should be coming out of HUD relatively soon regarding the availability of McKinney-Vento Continnum of Care Homeless Assistance Program funding. Your primary interest will probably be in the Supportive Housing Program (SHP) part, which provides funding for supportive housing that helps homeless persons transition from homelessness to independent living. (The other parts are Shelter Care Plus, which provides permanent housing for homeless persons with disabilities, and the Section 8 Moderate Rehab Single Room Occupany Program, which provides rental subsidies for permanent housing for homeless individuals). Realize, however, that at least in my state, that there is such a backlog of unfunded projects that you will probably have to wait about five years to get funding. And yes, you will need documentation. You can't just say "we just know" there are these people out there needing these services. You will have to find a way, creative or otherwise, to document the need. It's no feminist conspiracy. It's just how you get projects funded.

Posted by: silverside at Feb 17, 2005 2:33:24 PM

"I was pointing out that, since men are less likely to call battered women's shelters, you
can't use that to figure out how many men are abused. If you count how many women call and
how many men call, you'll get distorted figures, since men are clearly less likely to call
a battered women's shelter."

Are all domestic violence crisis line phone numbers listed under battered women's shelter? I've only seen where it's listed under domestic violence hotline, violence intervention program, domestic violence advocacy program or an equivalent using gender neutral languages. If the crisis line rings into a woman's shelter a male caller wouldn't know that unless it specifically was listed under battered woman's shelter.

Posted by: shelterworker at Feb 18, 2005 12:35:12 AM

Plus, I know that at least in my neck of the woods, if someone shows up as homeless and is looking for services (whether it's emergency shelter, emergency rent assistance, security deposit assistance, etc.), you typically have a case worker sit down with that person and identify the all the reasons they are homeless and what services can help them: Budget counseling, hygiene, mental health services, drug and alcohol, job training, dv, and others If a caseworker was sitting with a man and he was able to (apparently) disclose a cocaine addiction and the lack of high school diploma and a job, he should surely be able to discuss any dv in the family that may have contributed, especially when asked about it in a non-threatening sort of way. Yes, you can make the argument that men don't want to disclose. Well, in general, a lot of people hate going over their business with case workers, and that's understandable. And yet I don't know that Adam et al. are going to able to argue that this same man who fessed up to a drug and education/employment problem won't disclose this other stuff.

Posted by: silverside at Feb 18, 2005 7:16:58 AM

"if someone shows up as homeless and is looking for services (whether it's emergency shelter, emergency rent assistance, security deposit assistance, etc.), you typically have a case worker sit down with that person and identify the all the reasons they are homeless and what services can help them: Budget counseling, hygiene, mental health services, drug and alcohol, job training, dv, and others..."

If a man tells a "caseworker" that he's a dv victim and if that caseworker is a feminist, she'll generally assume that he's the violent one and is trying to take advantage of the system. When a feminist hears a man claim that he's been abused, she'll usually think that he's actually an abuser. So these men will be counted as abusers rather than victims.

Posted by: Adam at Feb 19, 2005 4:23:51 AM

There is a shelter in California that serves men and women equally. They've been doing it for over a decade, and it's worked fine for them. They get much more women than men, but at least they serve men that seek out their help.

To me this issue is like gays in the military. The domestic violence shelters think it will harm the shelters to accept abused men, but shelters that have actually tried it have told me it works fine.

Posted by: Stop Abuse For Everyone at Feb 24, 2005 4:50:41 PM

Can you tell us the name of the shelter or shelters?

I'd like to see how they handle the voyeuristic sex calls and abusers trying to crash the place, problems that shelter workers have here already described.

Do you then believe that if one shelter is integrated, then all must be?

Should prisons be integrated too?

Some colleges and dorms are single-sex by choice. Must they integrate, or is there a choice?

Shoot, if one shelter in CA wants to accept men and women as a pilot program and see what happens, why should I be opposed? But I don't see how this relates to shelters being forced to accept men under threat of lawsuit. Especially if there are homeless shelter facilities that house men that are already in the area and offer dv services through case management (should the need come up), and there have been no complaints that I know of. Perhaps you can identify your objections to why this is not an adequate solution IF OR WHEN the problem comes up.

Putting both genders in the same residential facility is a little different challenge than integrating on the basis of race or sexual orientation, for what I think are pretty obvious reasons. In addition, integrating both sexes in a school or business setting is very different than in a residential setting.

As I have pointed out, the law allows for all kinds of special needs housing to exist. So would you feel discriminated against if they wouldn't let you rent at a senior complex if you were under 65 and over income? Would you feel discriminated against if I didn't let you into a transitional housing program for substance abusers when you've been a teetotaler all your life? Am I discriminated against if I show up at our local Union Mission (for homeless men) and they don't let me in because there's a women's shelter available?

Posted by: silverside at Feb 24, 2005 6:39:51 PM

Trish, the shelter is here:

http://www.safe4all.org/resource-list/view/10205.

You can contact the shelter and ask them yourself. They still mostly serve women, but when they get calls from abused men, they treat them respectfully and actually offer them services.

They're not the only ones doing so, but they're one of the ones who've done it the longest. It's not a pilot program -- it's a very established program that's been around for a long time.

The military in England complained a great deal about integrating gays into their military before they did so. Now they actually are recruiting in the gay and lesbian community. I think this is in some ways a similar issue. Yes, there are going to be issues of triaging victims and protecting them from abusers. But those issues are present anyway, and they're not as serious as many would like to believe.

I don't believe all shelters should be integrated. If they want to segregate services, that's fine, as long as there are services available for abused men (who are abused by other men or by women). Currently, that's not the case at all. Separating the genders may simplify things a little. But I think people exaggerate the necessity of it.

Also, if they're not publically funded, I don't think anybody has the right to complain.

The reason I call this discrimination is that often times what the person is suffering is exactly the same, but the reason they're denied services is only because of their gender or sexual orientation.

I've been an activist against domestic violence for almost ten years now, and during that time, I've talked with hundreds of men and women who have been abused or are being abused. The severity of what some of these people have experienced is truly appaling.

Yet the stories the men and women tell me are remarkably similar. And the blank, empty look on their faces is the same, regardless of whether they're a man or woman, gay or straight.

I've also participated in mixed-gender support groups, where both abused men and women participated. Contrary to what you might expect, it was a remarkable experience. I think it was because it allowed these survivors of domestic violence to see that it wasn't all men or all women that had done this to them.

Posted by: Stop Abuse For Everyone at Mar 9, 2005 11:16:30 PM

At least at my computer, the link doesn't work.

Does this shelter offer services as in counseling (which many do) or shelter? These are different things. In addition, "treating people with respect" is hardly at issue here, and is something of a red herring. No one is advocating that people not be treated with respect.

You say that you believe that not all shelters should be integrated, but this discussion originally concerned shelters being FORCED to admit men under force of lawsuit. I presume that existing capacity or privacy issues regarding accomodations for both genders would not be addressed, as I doubt that there would be additional funding attached to this to increase capacity or allow for other renovations.

Your post still does not answer my question regarding why a homeless man needing dv services could not receive shelter at a facility designed for men and receive all services he should need, including dv counseling, on a case management basis.

Given the fairly extensive research showing that women tend to participate differently in single-sex groups as opposed to mixed-sex groups, I'd like to see a study that actually examined the intensity and openness of women's participation in a mixed dv support group. In most situations studied, women tend to say less and with more reluctance when men are present.

In addition, as I have repeated before, the law does not consider discrimination an issue in emergency and special needs transitional housing, which nearly always involves public funds. Services are available, yes, to all. Special housing services? No. See earlier posts regarding this.

Posted by: silverside at Mar 10, 2005 9:29:44 AM

Services are not available to all. Otherwise organizations like Stop Abuse For Everyone wouldn't need to exist. Otherwise we wouldn't receive the many stories we get from people who are turned away from domestic violence shelters.

Here's the link again:

http://www.safe4all.org/resource-list/view/10205

At the last International Family Violence Conference, Carol Ensign and Patricia Jones of the Antelope Valley Domestic Violence Council (same organization as the url above), presented on ''An Examination of Violent Couples and Treating Male Victims in a Co-Ed Environment''. This focused on techniques for addressing family violence while recognizing the experiences of male victims. Most importantly, the history of the Antelope Valley shelter, which for years has accepted abused men, clearly shows that the provision of services to men is beneficial to all at the shelter, including women.

I wasn't at their presentation, but that's what they presented on. Might be interesting.

I agree that further research is needed on how male and female victims respond to being in mixed-gender groups together.

The reason I consider this to be discriminatory is because it's not based on the what the person is undergoing, it's based on WHO the person is, or WHAT TYPE of person they are.

Posted by: Stop Abuse For Everyone at Mar 10, 2005 8:14:08 PM

From description of Antelope Valley: "The services for shelter residents include: three nutritious meals per day, prepared by residents in their cottages..."

Wow, this is quite a facility. Private cottages for residents? Wow, unbelievably posh. Locally, We'd KILL to have this level of luxury in a dv facility. Even the City of Buffalo, NY, which just opened a brand new DV facility doesn't offer private cottages. This is really quite extraordinary. That they could house all kinds of people is self-evident. You're not mixing people under the same roof! However, this is not a typical facility, believe me. That Antelope Valley can function with being coed is one thing. That a humble facility offering dorm-style beds can go co-ed is another.

Posted by: silverside at Mar 10, 2005 8:52:18 PM

The shelter I worked at would frequently put men, when they required emergency shelter services, up in a local hotel using a voucher for up to a week while hopefully other shelter would become avalible. At least once I know that we put a man who needed longer term housing in a transitional housing unit. We never wanted to make the women in the emergency shelter feel exposed, endangered or uncomfortable; yet we did want to offer similar services to men who were victims as well. In the almost 2 years I worked there, we had 3 male victims, the one who stayed in the TH unit and was a repeat visitor and then 2 more who stayed in the hotel for not more than 2 nights. It seems to me having worked in a shelter and still working with domestic violence victims that these lawsuits are nothing more than an attempt to victimize those that help victims. Most domestic violence victims are women and children, men are not often victimized, and frequently when they are it is in retaliation for years of abuse; and yes, I have seen those cases. The man pleads out on his case and receives probation. He goes home to face one unhappy victim who decides her justice will be faced, and within 24 hours she is in jail facing domestic violence charges. (This is one of the reasons all prosecutors should have dedicated domestic violence units, so that the victim's name is recognized and these kinds of cases can be dealt with appropriately.)
Okay I am going off on a tangent...

Posted by: Rugo at Mar 10, 2005 9:04:40 PM

"The man pleads out on his case and receives probation. He goes home to face one unhappy victim who decides her justice will be faced, and within 24 hours she is in jail facing domestic violence charges."

EXACTLY...what is what victims in courts across America face on a daily basis...Judges being TOO lenient with these men who beat up women and that's why they have to take justice into their own hands...and plenty of these abusive men get custody of kids too and then continue their abuse only NOW with the power of the state behind them...like that OJ Simpson... getting custody of those kids after beating their mother up for years...What's the first thing he does...move them to Florida, all the way across the country so their grandparents and Nicole Simpson's sisters can't even see them...more abuse...

What a joke our court system is...

That Judge who gave him custody should have been fired...actually I think she might have been fired eventually, but for something else...

People like Stop Abuse For Everyone aid and abet men like OJ Simpson...

Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 10, 2005 11:21:02 PM

Interesting thing, this blowback concept. It is has been observed by certain scholars that the rate of women killing men has gone DOWN since the widespread development of dv shelters. It has been theorized that shelters give women a place to cool down and develop a sense of hope that they can get on with their lives. Meanwhile, the rate of men killing women hasn't gone down at all. In fact, it has also been argued that shelters may provide women with a false sense of security in regard to their own safety. Not that this is the fault of shelters per se. Just one of those unintended consequences.

Interesting to speculate what might happen if these men's groups succeed in shutting down all these shelters. With more women figuring he's just gonna kill me anyway, maybe they might decide to take him out first, whether consciously or in pure desperation. These men's activists might find that their activism has resulted in more men getting killed in self-defense because women no longer have a safe place to go and get away from the violence.

Posted by: silverside at Mar 11, 2005 6:57:57 AM

Wow, NYMOM speaks again. Serving GLBT victims and abusive men = support of abusive men? Wow, didn't know that.

Here is a shelter in Rhode Island that changed its name to reflect the fact that they're serving a wider group of people:

http://www.safe4all.org/resource-list/view/35409

I'm not a men's rights person myself, but I have talked to some of them, and the ones I've talked to have not advocated shutting down dv shelters. Most of them just want some services to be available to abused men.

This isn't a men's rights issue, although they are a vocal part of it. It's also a gay rights issue, and just a human issue. Why not serve all victims?

Posted by: Stop Abuse For Everyone at Mar 12, 2005 1:09:21 PM

"Interesting to speculate what might happen if these men's groups succeed in shutting down all these shelters. With more women figuring he's just gonna kill me anyway, maybe they might decide to take him out first, whether consciously or in pure desperation. These men's activists might find that their activism has resulted in more men getting killed in self-defense because women no longer have a safe place to go and get away from the violence."


A decade or so from now we'll look back on the landscape for domestic violence and probably see most of the shelters dismantled, arrests for dv rare (just like they used to be) and restraining orders nearly impossible to get (just like they used to be) so women will be right back where they started from with no place to go, so they'll just have to finish off their abusive partner on their own...

Which might be for the best anyway...

I mean look at this character is Atlanta. Can anyone really argue that the world wouldn't have been a better place if his girlfriend had just finished him off after he raped her for three days? Now 4 others people are dead. AND I guarantee you it will come out now; that he was abusing her throughout their entire 8 year relationship.

Another example: Chai Vang, the man who shot eight hunters, killing 6 in Wisconsin...Yes, he too was arrested on a domestic violence charge involving a gun...but, of course, that wasn't considered a big deal, probably only threatening to kill his wife with it, so he remained free with his gun license and now look...6 other people dead...

So, in the end, closing these shelters down, might ironically enough, be doing a service to the American people...in finishing off these guys earlier and saving countless other lives in the bargain...

Sorry to have to be the one to say it but Stop Abuse for Everyone and his mysterious supporters COULD be onto something...

Posted by: NYMOM at Mar 12, 2005 3:23:53 PM

Unfortunately, people who are stalked and abused for years, even to the point where the abuser breaks into their house and rapes them, don't seem to have much luck pleading self-defense or battered women's syndrome and the like. There are an awful lot of them that are sitting in prison for life.

Posted by: silverside at Mar 12, 2005 4:30:05 PM