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Nevada's Senator Harry Reid Plays the Domestic Violence Card

In the 19th century, Mark Twain opined that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. In the 21st century, domestic violence has replaced patriotism. Yesterday on the Senate floor, Nevada's Senator Harry Reid made the following comments in support of a bill that purports to create jobs: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTc8X9AJpmE)

"I met with some people while I was home dealing with domestic abuse. It has gotten out of hand. ... Why? Men don't have jobs. ... Women don't have jobs either, but women aren't abusive, most of the time. ... Men, when they're out of work, tend to become abusive."

Reid is wrong on two counts. He's wrong when he says, "women don't have jobs either," and he's wrong when he says, "women aren't abusive, most of the time."

Contrary to Reid's politically-convenient claims, reputable researchers have found time and time again that women perpetrate domestic violence at rates comparable to that of men.

Researchers from the CDC reported in the American Journal of Public Health that in half of all relationships in which violence occurs, the violence is reciprocal. And surprisingly, the CDC researchers found that "in nonreciprocally violent relationships, women were the perpetrators in more than 70% of the cases." (http://ajph.aphapublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/97/5/941)

And the CDC researchers are not the only scientists who've found that result. Psychology Professor Martin Fiebert of California State Univ. has compiled a bibliography, available from his Cal. State webpage, that lists more than 270 scholarly investigations, with an aggregate sample size of over 365,000, all of which find that women are at least as physically aggressive as men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners. (http://www.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm)

It's noteworthy that Senator Reid is finally acknowledging that men don't have jobs. He was, after all, the one who pushed the $787 billion stimulus bill through the Senate last year. That was the bill that was touted as funding "shovel-ready" projects. So why is it that so many men don't have jobs? Could it be that last year's bill wasn't anything like what Reid promised? In the current recession, 80% of those who have lost jobs are men. Yet, as a result of pressure from N.O.W. and similar groups, the bill was altered to funnel close to half of the stimulus spending to women. No wonder the majority of those still unemployed are men! (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/07/13/the_raw_deal_and_americas_he-cession_97384.html)

Grant for the moment that, in spite of all the scientific research to the contrary, Senator Reid truly is naive enough to believe that only men, and not women, turn violent to their partners when unemployed. What kind of misogynist promotes a bill as unjust as last year's massive stimulus package while sincerely believing that doing so will cause more women to be beaten?

Date of RADAR Release: Febuary 23, 2010

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