I just read Morissa Lou Williams "My Turn" piece about domestic violence and found it to be nothing more than pure militant, femi-Nazi blather.
While I understand that domestic violence is a huge issue and that October is Domestic Violence Month (I thought it was Major League Baseball playoff month), what I don't understand is why Ms. Williams' focus is entirely on men.
If you are going to talk about domestic violence, let's remember that women beat on husbands and boyfriends, too. In fact, we just had an incident where a guy was stabbed to death in Hoonah in a domestic violence incident. If you read the police and fire in the paper for the past week - go back to Oct. 7 - there are three incidents of reported domestic violence and one of those was a woman violating her husband. That is 33 percent or so. I don't think that number is insignificant and I bet it holds up over time.
So let's not try to have a pity party for the beat-up women at the AWARE shelter - sure they have it tough, but they at least have a place to go. I don't see an UNAWARE shelter for men.
When we start asking for dollars for diversion programs let's make sure those dollars fund programs that address the entire spectrum of abusers and not just one segment, as the author would have it. And when we start looking at programs as models, let's look at some numbers that tell us something and not take the word of someone who obviously has an agenda.
Massachusetts, where the EMERGE program is located, has one of the highest state income taxes (needed to fund useless programs), and coincidentally it also has a fairly high rate of domestic violence. That EMERGE program needs to emerge from the ivy and brownstone confines of Harvard's backyard and explore some neighborhoods where people have serious issues. Perhaps New Bedford and Fall River would be good cities to test the effectiveness of this program. Or closer to the city, perhaps see how effective your program works in Roxbury or Mattapan. I'd like to see one of these counselors go for a stroll in Jamaica Plains. Your going to need counselors for your counselors after a trip there!
Oh wait a second! I see why there is no EMERGE program in those neighborhoods: it isn't free, it costs money (http://www.emergedv.com/client_online_payment.htm). So if I am whacking my wife around, I can save up my beer money and pay for some counseling - yeah that will work! I can see the men lining up for this program.
Let's be realistic, pretty much nobody goes to counseling unless the court makes them. Does anybody really think that some state-funded counseling is going to prevent domestic violence? Do you think that highly trained counselors with doctorates from the University of Chicago are going to come flocking to Juneau to run this program? Nope - it will be the same folks from the now-defunct TCCC running this program teaching people about self-control. And I'll tell you right now if I have to decide what programs I want funded I'd rather see things done for children and education. I'd rather see cheaper housing programs, more programs for first-time homebuyers. I'd rather see more trails, more rinks, clean water for everyone, food for everyone. I'd rather see people getting job training and college scholarships, or winter boots. Domestic violence counseling for offenders is way down on my list of things I'm interested in. Dealing with them is easy. You put them in jail - male or female! Isn't that what jail is for - rehabilitation?
Art Hughes is a Juneau publications technician and former Tongass Community Counseling participant.