©1999 - 2012
Edward D. Reuss
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Much too often I find training material for law enforcement agencies that makes me wonder if I have just dropped in from another planet. Last year the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance published a, Training Manual for Civilian Domestic Violence Victim Advocates in Police Departments. On page 26 of that manual is some information that has made me wonder for what purpose this information is presented?

The first three sentences are as follows, "Violence is learned behavior. It is taught specifically to the males in many if not most societies. Itís purpose is to control and exert power andóit works!" However further down the page we read,

"To see how both men and women become acclimated to violence as a right of the powerful we need look no further than the punishment of young children. If corporal (bodily) punishment, hitting or spanking, is used as the ultimate form of child discipline, the child learns that it is appropriate for the larger, more powerful person to hit the smaller, less powerful, "bad," person."

At the end of page 26 is the following: "A society which condones violence as a proper means of discipline allows very little credibility for teaching that there is absolutely no valid reason to hit anyone at anytime." For those of you who have read some of my prior columns you know that I do not disagree with the latter two quotes. In fact I unconditionally believe them to be true. However corporal punishment [violent behavior] is not behavior that is, "taught specifically to males," in our society or any other that I know of.

Perhaps the authors of that training manual donít know about a study, The Violent Home, by Richard Gelles that found 94 percent of the mothers, compared to 65 percent of the fathers, physically mistreated their children at least once. A study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Child Maltreatment 1996, documents that 17, 590 males compared to 21,757 females physically abused their children. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that of children who were maltreated by their birth parents, the majority, 75 percent, were maltreated by their mothers and 46 percent were maltreated by their fathers.

Ellen Pence, the author of the feminist model the "Duluth Curriculum," batterer programs, in describing the dynamics existing in violent relationships between men and women contends that violence is used by a person to maintain power and control over another. Of course Pence and the vast majority of womenís rights advocates contend that this form of behavior is something exhibited almost exclusively by men over women. I wonder why Pence and whoever wrote the information on page 26 [Massachusetts batterer programs are expected to use the "Duluth Curriculum"] can not connect the dots. I agree that violence exhibited by many people is learned behavior, but it should be obvious to all of us, and that includes the authors of this training manual, it is not learned or used exclusively by males.

Richard L. Davis, the author of "Domestic Violence: Facts and Fallacies", Praeger Publishers, Westport CT (1998), retired after 21 years of service with the Brockton, Massachusetts Police Department, he is a Domestic Violence Intervention and Programs consultant.

Copyright © 2000 Richard L. Davis



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