Just as I am adjusting to the fact that we are once again discussing whether all women should have access to affordable birth control I am confronted by debates surrounding family and intimate partner violence I thought long dead. As presented here on the Diane Rehm show on NPR this week, conservatives are challenging the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act on some shaky ground. Suggestions are made that over-zealous protections for women lead to men being seen as “always guilty”, the dissolution of families that should be kept together with counseling for the sake of children, and an increase in single-parent families living in poverty. There are certainly weaknesses within this legislation, but these are not they.
The interview does address the serious issue of male victims of intimate partner violence. There is not doubt that there is under-reporting in this area. Men who are victimized by their partners-whether women or men- do deserve the same resources as women. However, women are still much more likely to be victims of family violence, sexual assault, and stalking. They are also on the receiving end of much more serious injury. There is every reason to address this issues of men here, but that does not mean we ignore the reality of the situation.