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RADAR ALERT:
2008: Building Success Upon Success!

In 2008, the Violence Against Women Act was thrust into the national political arena. Selected as the vice presidential candidate, Sen. Joe Biden repeatedly highlighted his role in securing passage of the Violence Against Women Act. In addition, Republican nomination candidate Mitt Romney was asked at one campaign stop to state his views on bogus restraining orders: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pcJ6VxDQjQ&feature=related.

By year's end, 2008 turned out to be a time of unprecedented success. Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting (RADAR), along with the VAWA Reform Coalition and other persons, notched impressive legislative victories, substantially expanded our media efforts, and broadened the coalition to reform the Violence Against Women Act.

This report is organized into three sections:

  1. RADAR
  2. VAWA Reform Coalition
  3. Others' Activities

 

  1. RADAR

    Legislative

    In 2008, four domestic violence bills were introduced in Congress:

    1. International Violence Against Women Act (S. 2279 and H.R. 5927)
    2. National Domestic Violence Volunteer Attorney Network Act (S. 1515 and H.R. 6088)
    3. Domestic Violence Victim Protection Act (H.R. 203)
    4. Commending the important achievements of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence as it celebrates 30 years of service to local domestic violence shelter and service programs (H. Res. 1397)

    In all four cases, we succeeded in blocking passage of these bills, even though in every case we were out-manned and out-spent. More information on these bills can be obtained by going to the Thomas database (http://thomas.loc.gov/home/c110query.html) and searching under the bill number.

    Special Reports

    RADAR released four new Special Reports and one Analysis during the year:

    1. VAWA-Funded Immigration Fraud Costs Taxpayers $170 Million a Year: http://www.mediaradar.org/docs/RADARreport-VAWA-Funded-Immigration-Fraud.pdf
    2. False Allegations of Domestic Violence Cost Taxpayers $20 Billion a Year: http://www.mediaradar.org/docs/RADARreport-False-DV-Allegations-Cost-20-Billion.pdf
    3. Summary: Myths of ABA Commission on Domestic Violence: http://www.mediaradar.org/docs/RADARreport-Myths-of-ABA-Commission-on-DV-Summary.pdf
    4. Detailed Findings: Myths of the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence: http://www.mediaradar.org/docs/RADARreport-Myths-of-ABA-Commission-on-DV-Detailed.pdf
    5. DV Volunteer Attorney Act -- $55 Million Earmark for Lawyers: http://mediaradar.org/docs/RADARanalysis-HR6088-S1515-55-million-earmark-for-lawyers.pdf

    Campaigns

    RADAR launched four major campaigns during the course of the year:

    1. I-VAWA: Globalizing a Failed Social Policy

      Following introduction of the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) bill (S. 2297 and H.R. 5927), RADAR successfully thwarted passage of this flawed bill that baldly ignores the problem of domestic violence against men and advocates policies have been found to be ineffective or harmful.

    2. Get Your Facts Straight, ABA!

      RADAR released two Special Reports that debunked most of the claims in the American Bar Association's flyer, "10 Myths about Custody and Domestic Violence and How to Counter Them." Despite RADAR's best efforts, we did not succeed in getting the ABA to remove or correct the myth-filled sheet. (But we will persist.)

    3. Fix VAWA Now!

      On July 4, Independence Day, RADAR launched a 4-month campaign designed to heighten public awareness of the necessity to reform the Violence Against Women Act. Several million persons heard the phrase "Fix VAWA Now!" during the course of the political campaigns. RADAR representatives gave 45 radio interviews, and RADAR spots were aired on radio stations in Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, and Colorado.

      RADAR identified VAWA Reform Captains to disseminate Fix VAWA Now! information at the local level. Quentin Durrstein of Ohio reported, "Since I am in a battleground state, I hit every rally for both sides I could, passing out flyers on the campaign and Senate bill 1515. I distributed about 3,000 flyers to interested persons, and leaving them at doctor's offices, store bulletin boards, and the like. On May 23 I spoke to Rush Limbaugh on the air to discuss S. 1515."

    4. False Claims Hurt True Victims

      Domestic Violence Awareness Month began with a highly acclaimed conference at the Heritage Conference, "The Conflict between Federal Domestic Violence Policies and Traditional Family Values." Extensive activities were held at the state and local levels - see discussions below under VAWA Reform Coalition and Op-Ed Columns.

    Other RADAR Activities

    • In January, RADAR challenged the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding its misuse of the Conflict Tactics Scales in assessing partner abuse: http://mediaradar.org/alert20080211.php.
    • In January, RADAR unveiled its Civil Rights Project: http://mediaradar.org/civilrights_discrimination.php.
    • In August, RADAR representatives made a series of presentations at the DC Rally.
    • In August, RADAR sponsored a Candlelight Vigil and distributing flyers to delegates attending the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colo.
    • In November, RADAR applied pressure on the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (D.A.R.T.) to remove its misandrous advertisements.
    • Overall, RADAR distributed 42 Alerts and 11 press releases during the year.
  2. VAWA REFORM COALITION

    The VAWA Reform Coalition gained momentum at the state and local levels, and by year's end over 80 organizations had endorsed the VRC's Declaration: http://mediaradar.org/docs/VAWA-Reform-Coalition-Declaration.pdf. Following are examples of the activities of VRC members:

    African-Americans for VAWA Reform (AAVR, website at http://www.aavreform.org) sponsored 5 educational forums on "Domestic Violence in the African American Community" in July, August, September, October and November. AAVR participated in the RADAR Conference at the Heritage Foundation on October 1. AAVR co-sponsored a Domestic Violence Awareness Dinner on October 24 in Charleston, WV, with 55 persons in attendance. The keynote speaker was General Parker. A West Virgina state Senator, Dr. Dan Foster, attended the event and the candidate (Mark Plants) for Kanawha County Prosecutor (who was successful in his bid for prosecutor) attended. AAVR did four press releases highlighting Mr. General Parker, the impact of VAWA on his relationship with his son, and his role as a Democratic delegate. Other AAVR-sponsored events included:

    • March 14: Lobbied Congress about the impact of VAWA on African-American communities.
    • August 26: Did a national radio interview during the Democratic National Convention with Cordell and Cordell.
    • November 5: Gave a presentation at Illinois Central College about false accusations of domestic violence.
    • November 11: Gave a presentation to the Central Illinois Chapter of the ACLU in Peoria, IL.
    • November 15: Gave a presentation at the "Issues and Challenges" meeting organized by the State of Illinois' Human Service Center.

    The California Men's Centers (http://www.californiamenscenters.org) houses the national offices of the National Coalition for Men. Since 2004 the center has helped hundreds of men and women each year with issues related to domestic violence, false accusations, child custody disputes, paternity, and court mediation preparation; as well as emergency shelter services for primarily men and their children, as applicable. Members participate in the San Diego Domestic Violence Council, the Council's Men's Leadership Forum, and help train volunteer workers for the Safe Faith Place Communities faith based domestic violence education, information, and referral program - we also helped design the program. We testify at various local political meetings as necessary and several members are active in local politics.

    Daddy Justice produced numerous videos on false allegations of domestic violence and the perjury trial of Wendy Flanders. We are pursuing the option of utilizing our library of footage in the can to generate a "reality series" for television. The videos can be viewed at: http://www.daddyjustice.com.

    Equal is Equal president Bob Batterbee included "Fix VAWA Now!" information in campaign packets for Republican candidates that were distributed door-to-door by precinct chairs to about 1,000 homes in Oklahoma. Batterbee also addressed VAWA issues during his campaign for state house.

    Falseallegations.com began in 1998 to educate persons caught up in the vortex of family and criminal court proceedings. The Drano Series, which started on Falseallegations.com in 2000, presently contains almost 200 pleadings filed by the creator of the website in both federal and state courts on behalf of persons looking for remedies from problems encountered in family and criminal courts. Falseallegations.com has assisted reform efforts by circulating calls-to-action to thousands of persons.

    FATHERS of Kentucky has undertaken a variety of efforts to rein in the over-funded, under-regulated Violence Against Women Act and other programs that separate fathers from children:

    • Communications with the state legislators via email, faxes, letters, and face-to-face meetings.
    • Meetings with Governor Steve Beshear
    • Conversations with U.S. Representative Ed Whitfield
    • Reports of this abuse to U.S. Senator McConnell
    • Work with Take Back Kentucky, a grass roots political reform organization with over 60,000 subscribers.
    • Raised the awareness of the Kentucky judiciary, including state Supreme Court Justices.

    Men and Women Against Discrimination (MAWAD) in West Virginia attended several high school and college football games and distributed information on Fix VAWA Now! In October MAWAD and African Americans for VAWA Reform attended a campaign rally in Marietta, OH. Joe Biden was the featured speaker. We displayed signs that read, "Fix VAWA Now." MAWAD got new legislation passed that makes it a crime to make false claims of domestic violence to influence court proceedings over custody. It also allows for civil suits to recover the costs associated with the false allegations: http://www.legis.state.wv.us/Bill_Text_HTML/2008_SESSIONS/RS/BILLS/HB3065%20ENG%20SUB.htm

    The National Coalition for Men (NCFM) has been on the cutting edge of the DV industry legislative reform movement for well over a decade. Several of its members have had numerous articles published, been involved in academic research, written related books including text books, and appeared on international, national, and local television and radio shows. Attorney NCFM members have successfully filed related lawsuits including most recently, Marc Angelucci's extraordinary victory against the State of California in Woods v. Shewry.

    Voices of American Immigration Fraud Victims were heard many times and in many locations this past year. They were heard on Capitol Hill, where the VAIFV team lobbied six times this year in an effort to highlight the need to reform VAWA's immigration provisions. The VAIFV voice was heard at the DC Festival for Family Preservation, emphasizing that VAWA harms multi-cultural families. VAIFV voice was heard at a Heritage Foundation conference where all the participants were shown and received a copy of the VAIFV produced documentary film that dissects VAWA immigration fraud through real life stories of real people. VAIFV's web site http://www.immigrationfraudvictims.com is becoming increasingly helpful for Immigration VAWA victims and their attorneys to prepare them to expose VAWA legalized fraud.

  3. OTHERS' ACHIEVEMENTS

    Other important efforts were noted around the country:

    Conference

    The California Alliance for Families and Children sponsored a ground-breaking conference February 15-16, "Evidence-Based Policy and Intervention in Domestic Violence." The conference was attended by over 200 persons and received extensive media attention.

    Books

    Two important books on domestic violence were published in 2008:

    1. Linda Mills: Violent Partners: A Breakthrough Plan for Ending the Cycle of Abuse. Basic Books.
    2. Richard Davis: Domestic Violence: Intervention, Prevention, Policies, and Solutions. CRC Press.

    Op-Ed Columns

    Op-ed columnists afforded unprecedented visibility to the problems caused by domestic violence laws:

    1. Richard Davis wrote a series of articles on the need to reform law enforcement approaches and published this compendium: http://www.policeone.com/pdfs/Unintended_Social_Implications.pdf
    2. Gordon Finley published three articles:
      1. "Facing Reality on Domestic Violence." July 10.
      2. "Macy's DisRESPECT for Men." September 21.
      3. "Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2008 - California Leads the Way." October 17.
    3. Gregory Hession published an article on "Restraining Orders Out of Control" in the August issue of The New American. http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/crime/173-restraining-orders-out-of-control
    4. Barbara Kay, columnist for the Canadian National Post, wrote several columns on the problems of false allegations and the misrepresentation of statistics by the DV industry.
    5. Reporter Neil Munro wrote an article, "Domestic Politics" in the National Journal.
    6. Washington Post Group columnist Kathleen Parker wrote an article on "Politically Incorrect Domestic Violence."
    7. Bob Parks wrote two columns on the need for domestic violence reform:
      1. http://www.black-and-right.com/2008/09/11/correct-%E2%80%9Cthe-violence-against-women-act%E2%80%9D/
      2. http://www.black-and-right.com/2008/11/22/domestic-violence-race-baiting/
    8. Carey Roberts published a series of exposes on abuse shelters and the domestic violence industry: http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/roberts
    9. Phyllis Schlafly published articles on "Feminist Fatherphobia and Domestic Violence," "ABA Joins Feminists' War on Fathers," and "One Brave Judge Resists Feminist Agenda."
    10. Helen Smith wrote a number of blogs on the issue: http://drhelen.blogspot.com/search?q=domestic+violence

    Other

    1. Bernard Chapin did a video on "RADAR and VAWA:" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1-hBHogh0Y
    2. Media commentator Marc Rudov spoke dozens of times on the unfairness of the domestic violence system and wrote this column: "Will YOU Elect GynObama & VAWA Joe?"
    3. In late November WCVB in Boston aired a four-minute report, "Innocent Men Permanently On Restraining Order Registry:" http://www.thebostonchannel.com/video/18047516/index.html

    Legal Victories

    Three notable legal victories occurred during the year:

    1. Giles v. California: The Supreme Court found that the Sixth Amendment, which affords persons the right to confront and cross-examine their accusers, held in domestic violence cases.
    2. Woods v. Shewry. Found that male victims of domestic violence are "similarly situated to women," so California statutes that define only women as domestic violence victims violate equal protection: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/C056072.PDF. The decision garnered extensive media attention, both in the U.S. and internationally.
    3. Crespo v. Crespo: Ruled the "preponderance of evidence" standard of the New Jersey Domestic Violence Act was unconstitutional because it violates Constitutionally-protected parental rights: http://www.true-equality.org/reports/crespo_decision.pdf

Date of RADAR Release: December 22, 2008

R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's approach to solving domestic violence. http://mediaradar.org