If Republicans are looking for a way to return to their principles of limited government and reduced federal spending, a good place to start would be rejection of the coming reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act sponsored by Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del. It's a mystery why Republicans continue to put a billion dollars a year of taxpayers' money into the hands of radical feminists who use it to preach their anti-marriage and anti-male ideology, promote divorce, corrupt the family court system, and engage in liberal political advocacy.
Accountability is supposed to be the watchword of the Bush administration, but there's been no accountability or oversight for the act's spending of many billions of dollars. There is no evidence that the Violence Against Women Act has benefited anyone except the radical feminists on its payroll.
The Senate Judiciary Committee, which is gearing up for a battle royal over the Supreme Court vacancy, has scheduled a hearing on the act for mid-July. It's apparently designed as a be-nice-to-Biden-before-the court-fight event, since no critic has been invited to speak.
Let's have a reality check. The Violence Against Women Act's gender-specific title is pejorative: it's based on the false, unscientific, unjust and blatantly offensive premise that men are innately violent and abusive toward women, making all women victims of men.
The president of Harvard University was publicly pilloried for months earlier this year for implying innate differences between men and women. But the act is spending a billion dollars a year to inculcate that very notion in the minds of men and women who are having marital difficulties, as well as police, prosecutors, psychologists and family court judges.
Feminists staged tantrums at the suggestion of innate math-aptitude differences between men and women, but the whole premise of the Violence Against Women Act is that men have an innate propensity to violence against women. It's not because some are bad individuals or drunks or psychologically troubled, but because men want to keep women subservient in an oppressive patriarchal society.
The Violence Against Women Act was passed using such bogus statistics as "a woman is beaten every 15 seconds" and "80 percent of fathers who seek custody of their children fit the profile of a batterer." Remember the Super Bowl hoax, the ridiculous claim that "the biggest day of the year for violence against women" is Super Bowl Sunday? It's an assertion conclusively refuted by Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers' research.
The Violence Against Women Act comes out of Andrea Dworkin's tirades of hate such as, "Under patriarchy, every woman's son is her betrayer and also the inevitable rapist or exploiter of another woman." The act comes out of Gloria Steinem's nonsense, such as "the patriarchy requires violence or the subliminal threat of violence in order to maintain itself."
Here is some mischief in act-funded activities that should be investigated in the coming Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
The act refuses to provide any help whatsoever for male victims of domestic violence. Let's hear from professor Martin Fiebert of California State University at Long Beach who compiled a bibliography of 170 scholarly investigations, 134 empirical studies and 36 analyses, which demonstrate that women are almost as physically abusive toward their partners as men.
The act encourages women to make false allegations, and then petition for full child custody and a denial of all fathers' rights to see their own children.
The act promotes the unrestrained use of restraining orders, which family courts issue on the woman's say-so. This powerful weapon (according to the Illinois Bar Journal) is "part of the gamesmanship of divorce" and virtually guarantees that fathers are expelled from the lives of their own children.
A woman seeking help from an act-funded center is not offered any options except to leave her husband, divorce him, accuse him of being a criminal and have her sons targeted as suspects in future crimes. The Violence Against Women Act ideology rejects joint counseling, reconciliation and saving marriages.
The act denies that alcohol and illegal drugs are a cause of domestic violence, a peculiar assumption contrary to all human experience. In fact, most domestic violence incidents involve those components.
The act uses a definition of domestic violence that blurs the difference between violent action and run-of-the-mill marital tiffs and arguments. Definitions of abuse can even include minor insults and refusing to help with child care or housework.
The act funds the re-education of judges and all law enforcement personnel to teach them feminist stereotypes about male abusers and female victims, how to game the system to empower women, and how to ride roughshod over the constitutional rights of men.
The act forces Soviet-style psychological re-education on men. The accused men are not given treatment for real problems, but are assigned to classes where feminists teach shame and guilt because of a vast male conspiracy to subjugate women.
The Violence Against Women Act-funded centers engage in political advocacy for feminist legislation such as the "must-arrest" laws even if there is no sign of violence and even if the woman doesn't want the man arrested, and political advocacy against non-feminist legislation such as shared parental rights.
It's time to stop the act from spending any more taxpayers' money to promote family dissolution and fatherless children.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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