FLINT logo
Families Link International
Tel:0781 886 1724

home | issues | policies | family groups | courts | court reporters | research | law | contacts | donations | Useful Quotes |

Issues -Domestic Violence -
Harvard and DV

July 6, 2004
by Richard L. Davis

The reader needs to be forewarned that this is not a satirical article although it may appear to be. It’s also true that many other District Attorneys think, act and behave very much like this one. The first thing the reader needs to do is to go to this Cumberland County, Maine District Attorney’s website and read her mission statement. I have pasted it in below, however, I have added my comments because it is so unreal that I thought the readers might not believe it unless they went to the site itself. Again, this really is from a real DAs website in Maine.
Mission Statement: The District Attorney is committed to ensuring public safety and promoting public respect for government through the prompt, effective, and compassionate prosecution of cases in a manner that advocates for the interests of all victims, [emphasis added] respects law enforcement agencies, holds offenders accountable while at the same time protecting the constitutional and legal rights of the accused, and responsibly stewards public resources.
All that is changed above is the fact, as noted, I highlighted the “all victims.” Because of her very myopic and limited understanding of domestic violence she can not advocate, in an unbiased manner, the interest males accused of domestic violence. I can not fathom how a District Attorney can be so uninformed about such an important issue. Next the reader needs to visit her domestic violence statement. After reading that page please read my comments in bold below.
The District Attorney's Office:
Domestic Violence

"He doesn't allow her to see certain friends, or to have a job, or to leave the house, or to call the police. He takes the phone, the car keys, her money, her purse, her clothes. He insists that they have a conversation in the middle of the night, or that she must be having an affair."
These are all examples of domestic violence. Domestic violence is an extremely serious and rampant problem. The National Crime Victimization Survey conducted yearly by the National Institute of Justice documents that less than 1/2 of 1% of households surveyed report incidents of domestic violence. The National Violence Against Women Survey documents that 1,510,455 women and 834,732 men are victims of physical violence by an intimate. It is the number one cause of injury to women in the United States, more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. The National Institute of Justice documents that approximately 3% of women’s visits to emergency rooms are from ALL forms of violent behavior and 1% of that total is from domestic violence. One in five women admitted to emergency rooms is there due to battering. The Centers for Disease Control study “National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Cary Survey” documents that 13.6% of injuries to women seen in emergency rooms are from car accidents. The CDC reports that is approximately 10 times the number of injuries from domestic violence. The Official Journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians reports that women do suffer more injuries from domestic violence than do men. However, it also documents that 28% of men and 33% of women report they had experienced domestic violence.
Please note that we refer to the abuser as "he" because most often the abuser is male. Most often the abuser or victim is from the lower end of the socioeconomic educational strata, however, she doesn’t say "when the poor and uneducated" when she makes reference to offenders and victims. Clearly the "he" is intended to paint the picture of abusers as being male. However, please be aware that abuse can be - and is - perpetrated by women against men, This is the only passing mention of men as victims. Although there is an acknowledgement that men can be victims nowhere on the DAs site does it mention statistics for male abuse and no where in the resource section is there any assistance for male victims. There are only “batter programs” for men or in same sex relationships. The National Institute of Justice reports that lesbian domestic abuse is reported at a higher rate than that of gay men. The common element is one person in a domestic relationship with superior status, who uses that status to emotionally, financially, and/or physically keep the other in a powerless position. This is far from the truth. The vast majority of academics, researchers and professionals agree there IS NO COMMON CAUSE, VARIABLE, OR CURE. What the DA demonstrates here, for all to read, is her very intentional bias against men as she has chosen to cite only from the Sociocultural Model of Domestic Violence. She must be very well aware that what she cites is only ONE of a myriad of theories. However, because she, as noted above, believes that domestic violence abusers are those with a “superior status” in the relationship she and others in her office, regardless of the evidence, must because of her beliefs, continue to view males as the perpetrators and females their victims. Thus the criminal justice hallowed presumptions of innocence becomes, in her office a presumption of guilt. While the DA's Office may only be able to prosecute violent acts or threats of violence, all of these factors and tactics are indicators of chronic domestic violence, and they are considered for sentencing purposes.
Other problems spin off domestic violence and contribute to the erosion of our community. Children are especially affected. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services documents that more women physical abuse their children than do men. The single greatest variable for child abuse is that the abuse will come from a non-biological parent or caregiver. In a 1998 study of 2245 children and teenagers cited by the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, recent exposure to violence in the home was found to be a significant factor in predicting a child's violent behavior. Children who witnessed violence have also been found to show more anxiety, self-esteem, depression, and anger problems than children who did not witness violence in the home.
It is the strict policy of the Cumberland County District Attorney's Office and the State of Maine to take important steps toward enforcing and expanding the criminal laws of the state against perpetrators of domestic violence. As prosecutors and public servants, the District Attorney's Office must do their best to effectively intervene and break the cycle of violence. The DA's Office owes it to the community to make it safer, both on the streets and in the home.
The DA’s Office owes it to the community to tell the truth. What other than a bias against males can cause the DA’s Office to really believe that domestic violence is the number one cause of injury to women in the United States, more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined? If it is not bias it must be ignorance and I don’t know which is worse.
Until this DAs office recognizes there is more than one “theory” concerning domestic violence, justice for all will not be served in her county. Only when she recognizes domestic violence for what it really is, can her office expect to intervene into domestic violence incidents without bias.
There is little doubt that until she removes the gender “he” from her public statements and until she recognizes domestic violence is much more complex and multifaceted than those with a “superior” social status (read males), will males receive unbiased justice in Cumberland County Maine.
If she, or in fact anyone else involved in the criminal justice system in Cumberland County Maine would read the following studies, all sponsored by the National Institute of Justice, their extremely biased domestic violence intervention policies would be changed. Until then, men enter her system with the bias and presumption of guilt before any evidence is presented against them.
Richard L. Davis
The Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women at http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/183781.pdf, Batterer Programs: What Criminal Justice Agencies Need to Know at http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles/171683.pdf, and The Criminalization of Domestic Violence at http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles/crimdom.pdf, and Findings About Partner Violence From the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study at http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/170018.pdf.

Richard L. Davis served in the United States Marine Corps from 1960 to 1964. He is a retired lieutenant from the Brockton, Massachusetts police department. He has a graduate degree in criminal justice from Anna Maria College and another in liberal arts from Harvard University. He has a BA from Bridgewater State College in History and he minored in secondary education. He is a member of the International Honor Society of Historians and an instructor of Criminology, Group Violence and Terrorism, Criminal Justice and Domestic Violence at Quincy College in Plymouth, MA. He is a past president of the Community Center for Non-Violence in New Bedford, Massachusetts and the vice president for Family Nonviolence, Inc. www.familynonviolence.com in Fairhaven, MA. He is an independent consultant for criminal justice agencies concerning policies, procedures, and programs concerning domestic violence. He is the author of Domestic Violence: Facts and Fallacies by Praeger publishers and has written numerous articles for newspapers, journals, and magazines concerning the issue of domestic violence. He has columns concerning domestic violence at www.policeone.com, and www.nycop.com, is a distance learner instructor in Introduction to Criminal Justice and Domestic Violence for the Online Police Academy and has a website at www.policewriter.com. He and Kim Eyer have a domestic violence website The Cop and the Survivor at http://www.rhiannon3.net/cs/. He lives in Plymouth, Massachusetts with his wife and the two youngest of five children. He experienced domestic violence professionally for 21 years as a police officer and personally as a child and as an adult. In his retirement he continues to use his education, experience, and training to help the children, women, and men who have had to endure violence from those who profess to love them. He may be reached at rldavis@post.harvard.edu.

The contents on these pages are provided as information only. No responsibility or liability is accepted by or on behalf of FLINT for any errors, omissions, or misleading statements on these pages, or any site to which these pages connect, whether provided by FLINT or by any organisation, company or individual. No mention of any organisation, company or individual, whether on these pages or on other sites to which these pages are linked, shall imply any approval or warranty as to the standing and capability of any such organisations, companies or individuals on the part of FLINT. All rights reserved.