Obama's Domestic Violence Initiative: Hope, Hype, and Hogwash

Folks, this is really the best part. But before we plunge any farther into President Obama’s domestic violence rabbit hole, let’s get a firm grip on reality. (For the skeptics, I’m providing the links below.)

In the area of child abuse, the federal Administration for Children and Families somberly notes, “In 2008, approximately 56% of child abuse and child neglect perpetrators were women and 42% were men.”

As far as dating violence, girls win the battle of sexes hands down. According to a national survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, 9% of teenage girls, compared to 11% of adolescent boys, have been slapped, hit, or otherwise hurt by their opposite-sex partner. (See Table 11 on this page.)

And in a landmark 2007 article published in the American Journal of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control researchers reported 7 out of 10 instigators of one-way partner violence are … can we break the spell? ... female.

Scholarly research echoes the same theme: “Women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners,” according to a recent summary of 275 studies by California State University researcher Martin Feibert, PhD.

The evidence is conclusive: Government surveys and scholarly research point to members of the fairer sex as the persons who are more likely to abuse. But not a single word of the president’s carefully orchestrated White House event even hinted as to the existence of aggressive women or abused men.

The truth about female-initiated violence should be vexatious to persons who fancy themselves the champions of women. Because if the abuse escalates, it’s more likely the female who will be harmed. As CDC lead researcher Daniel Whitaker explains, “a woman’s perpetration of violence was the strongest predictor of her being a victim of partner violence.”

So in a sane world, we would get more help for stressed-out moms, teach conflict resolution skills to teenage girls, and provide drug and alcohol treatment for violence-prone women. We might even devise a few programs to help abused men.

According to a 2006 Harris Poll, 88% of Americans have seen or heard of a male abuse victim in the past year. So most voters, men and women alike, will view the administration’s domestic violence initiative as a cynical political ploy.

But Barack Obama is seemingly enamored of a different logic: As long as we can sway unsuspecting women into believing their husband is a closet batterer, we can justify the unfettered governmental intrusion into the private affairs of citizens, and the continued expansion of the power of the state.