Feminist recipients of VAWA handouts lobby legislators, judges and prosecutors on the taxpayers' dime (which is contrary to Section 1913 of Title 18, U.S. Code), and the results are generally harmful to all concerned. This lobbying has resulted in laws calling for mandatory arrest (i.e., the police must arrest someone -- guess who) of the predominant aggressor (i.e., ignore the facts and assume the man is the aggressor) and no-drop prosecution (i.e., prosecute the man even if the woman has withdrawn her accusation or refuses to testify).
The feminists' determination to punish men, guilty or innocent, is illustrated by the capricious April 4 "Dear Colleague" letter issued by the feminists in the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. It's not a law (Congress would never pass it), and it's not even a regulation required to be published in the Federal Register -- it's just a peremptory order to scare colleges into compliance by pretending it's an implementation of the law called Title IX.
This letter orders colleges to use a "preponderance of the evidence" standard of proof in sexual harassment and sexual assault cases, replacing the traditionally accepted "clear and convincing" standard of proof. The new rule means that the feminist academics sitting in judgment on male college students need to be only 50.01 percent confident a woman is telling the truth (i.e., that the woman must be believed whether or not she has any credible evidence).
The way the Duke lacrosse players' reputations and college education were destroyed is typical of feminist control of university attitudes. The prosecutor who falsely accused the men was disbarred, but there were no sanctions against the professors and college administrators who rushed to public judgment against the guys.
The definition of domestic violence and the standard of proof are so important because about one-fourth of divorces involve allegations of domestic violence. Judges are required to consider allegations of domestic violence in awarding child custody, even if no evidence of abuse is ever presented.
VAWA should encourage counseling when appropriate and voluntary, as well as programs to help couples terminate use of illegal drugs. When the abuse is only minor, divorce and/or prosecution should not be routine or the first choice of dealing with domestic conflict. Minor partner discord should not be overcriminalized.
VAWA should be subject to rigorous auditing procedures in order to curb waste and fraud and to establish accountability.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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