Thursday, November 4, 2010


In an article on Truthout, assigned to a female intern writer and dated October 30, 2010, it is announced that “the White House acknowledged October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month on Wednesday”.

It’s not worth my time or yours to conduct a stereotypical blog-investigation to find out whether this is a typo or not.

Perhaps it is a typo, although the site didn’t put it up until the end of the month. Perhaps it isn’t a typo and the site put it up at the end of the month because the editors figured it wasn’t all that important. Or perhaps the White House announcement itself was put out at the end of the putative Awareness Month as an election ploy (the ‘base’ presumably not having the memory capacity to remember at the beginning of November what it read at the beginning of October).

When anything’s possible, then not even the Powers That Be can control what might be considered possible. (That was the premise of many an episode of the comedy “Hogan’s Heroes” back in the 1960s: since life in the Third Reich was so far beyond rationality in the first place, then no Nazi colonel in a remote camp could afford to imagine that Hitler or Goering wasn’t out in the yard to conduct a distracting conversation just for the hey or that Himmler himself hadn’t come to Paris just to take a buxom Resistance prisoner out of Gestapo headquarters .)

At any rate, there are some classic ploys deployed in the whole thing that make it of interest to the SO community, just as a handy drill for honing your field-recognition skills.

“Many advocates” report themselves “heartened”, although the only one quoted is Eleanor Smeal, formerly of NOW and currently President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, who opines that “they’re really doing a lot on the subject”. Stupendously faint praise indeed.

It was a “government-wide effort”, although this should not be meant to imply that the government had organized itself to total and ultimate victory like it did in late 1941.

Rather, it appears that the President or his staff was in need of whatever ‘progress’ might be cobbled together that would satisfy the demands of some snippet of ‘the base’ but that wouldn’t cost much in the long run and that wouldn’t expose the government to having to defend yet more Constitutionally-dubious laws (the torture and Guantanamo stuff, itself following the same ‘emergency-necessity’ path as the original DoVi legislation in a hell-hot irony, has cost the Pres dearly in both image and substance and at this point the damage is probably irreparable).

So a Senior Adviser said “in a press conference call Wednesday” (there’s that date thing again; and this is only a call) that “various federal governments have taken a solid approach to how we have tried to manage [the] challenge” of domestic violence. The punctuation and placement of quotation marks is confusing, but then she herself seems confused in her comments, referring to what appears to be more than one federal government. And since Our Modern American Reality is so far beyond rationality, especially in the matter of the Mania Regimes, who can say, really?

This Senior Staffer also “chairs the White Council on Women and Girls” then went on and “lauded the accomplishments of the Violence Against Women Act, passed in 1994” which, in the event, ran into Constitutional problems in the eyes of the Supreme Court. But it provided over a billion dollars to “support the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women” (about which more later).

I don’t think there’s that kind of cash lying around any longer.

She tries to re-frame the thing: it’s not just a women’s issue – it’s a national issue”. I was half-expecting the next phrase to be “it’s a national security issue” but apparently things haven’t gone that far inside the Beltway.

I would think that to the extent it’s a legitimate issue it’s also a men’s issue, but she doesn’t go there.

It’s a “tragic and senseless crime”, she says – which I would say is true of almost all crime.

AND THEN We are treated to – wait for it – “statistics”. And “the statistics noted in the White House report are grim”: “One in four women will be the victim of domestic violence in the course of their lifetime” – and nobody familiar with the mini-series on Victimology on this site can help but wonder just how reliable such a statistic really is. Ditto that “one in six will be sexually assaulted” – presumably by a husband, significant other, or person staying overnight. Or whatever.

There is no mention of how many of these assaults – and (see below) they are verrrry broadly defined – are committed by same-sex partners and thus perpetrated by females. Nor is there any discussion of how many of the victims might be males, with the female initiating the assaulting.

“Currently more than twenty million women in the United States have been the victims of rape” – which is again a statistic that seems rather inflated, although the definition of ‘rape’ nowadays is broad enough to encompass an awful lot of behavior and situations that wouldn’t strike somebody as ‘rape’ in the dictionary sense of the word. Nor is the statistic completely relevant here, since there is no indication that these ‘rapes’ took place in the ‘domestic’ setting – although ‘domestic’ is itself perhaps broadly defined. It gets to be a hall of mirrors, as so often is the case in the Mania Regimes.

But “since fewer than one in six rapes are reported to police” than this number “may not reflect reality”. That ‘reality’ would then be that there may be 120 million rapes, although how one arrives at reliable numbers of un-reported acts is anybody’s guess. The evidence might be ‘anecdotal’ – which means that somebody ‘says’ it at some point afterwards, or the evidence might be arrived at merely by taking the number of reported ‘rapes’ and multiplying by a factor of somebody’s choice: two, ten, a hundred or more. Once ‘facts don’t matter’ then you are into verrry fuzzy territory indeed.

Ditto that “nearly 15.5 million children are exposed to domestic violence every year” – and how that number is arrived at is equally curious. But of course it gives the opportunity to bring ‘the children’ into the matter – almost a requirement of the form nowadays.

These are the White House equivalents, I would say, of legislative Findings, those weird and deathless creatures by which the SO Mania Regime has been fueled from Day One.

So then, true to the form, the White House must “address” the emergency.

There are – gently put – “several initiatives to strengthen the legal system”. And nobody in the SO community can read that bit without concern and a dark sense of déjà-vu. Especially since the police-state gambits already enshrined in the DoVi Regime (the ones that survived the Supreme Court’s scrutiny) are already ominous and lethal enough: police intrusion into the home; deprivation of property and family and residence on the say-so of a single (and hardly uninterested) party; removal of any discretion on the part of investigating officers or prosecutors; the placing of an impossible burden of proof (that he did NOT do it) on the accused; the truly frakkulent scam of claiming that the entire process is ‘merely civil’ (although the violation of any court Order resulting from the foregoing is instantly and most assuredly and lethally ‘criminal’); and the erection of nearly-ineradicable ‘registries’ of all accused persons even if they are found not-at-fault by the court Hearing.

The goal is “to increase sexual assault arrests”, charmingly. Although again, whether this refers to DoVi incidents or incidents of the even more broadly and nebulously defined ‘sexual assault’ is unclear. But then, clarity has never been a major concern and – in Mania dynamics – is considered something along the lines of obstructive and counter-productive. Reality and ‘facts’ are the enemies of Mania Stampedes as a result of the very dynamics of Mania and Stampede.

“There has never been this kind of focus on sexual assault” says a “domestic violence policy expert and the first-ever White House adviser on violence against women”, although she apparently has forgotten about the previous two decades of the DoVi Regime. Or doesn’t figure anybody will remember. And again, the confusion in terms between ‘domestic violence’ assaults and ‘sexual assaults’.

Getting a bit more specific as to just what is being newly promulgated now in this White House activity, We are told that HUD will now “provide guidance to housing authorities and landlords, allowing them to ‘evict perpetrators of abuse, keep their properties safe and make sure victims do not lose their housing due to crimes committed against them’". Just how “perpetrator” will be determined (Accusation? Conviction?) is left unsaid. Just what housing authorities and landlords will be empowered to do to “keep their properties safe” is also left unsaid.

Further, “the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women is launching a national campaign against sexual assault, holding regional forums throughout the country to stimulate public dialogue”. I am going to imagine that ‘public dialogue’ isn’t really going to be the objective here, but rather a bunch of ‘consciousness-raising’, klatschy type sessions which since the beginning have been the source of ‘stories’ and ‘anecdotal evidence’ that fuel – far more than any stringently-conducted research – the fuel to keep the fires burning among the faithful.

And I am going to imagine that staffers of this Office are not going to take kindly to any information or opinion to the effect that things might be somewhat overstated. Government ‘Offices’ erected specifically to deal with X are not greatly interested in evidence that there isn’t so much X out there.

Meanwhile “the National Institute of Justice will investigate the root causes of backlogs in rape kit processing”. At this point, after almost two decades of government pressure, I’m going to imagine that the reason for the lack of prompt processing is not that the police are a macho, rape-friendly organization besotted with ‘patriarchy’, but rather that there are now so many accusations – allowable under the broad and vague definitions and conflations and conceptual confusions – that no police department larger than Mayberry can handle the load, especially given the other crimes which the police must also handle.

But given the fact that accused persons might actually be exonerated – at least in those cases of rape where sexual penetration and ejaculation was achieved, which is not necessary in all definitions of ‘rape’ – then it would help to move the processing along.

Smeal asserts that “One of the major [excuses] we got was that there's not enough money" to process rape kits, Smeal said. "Police departments find another reason to spend it... now [that] money has been appropriated, they say there's not enough scientists and labs to process them." Which could well be true. It’s possible that the police are finally realizing that this type of beyond-factual evidentiary Mania is impossible to keep up with, and it’s highly probable that not even the labs – civilian as well as official – can keep up with it.

But the kicker in this whole Mania type of thing is that even when the plan is proving to be unworkable in the field and on the ground, the advocacies can simply claim that the ‘badges on the ground’ are dragging their feet and diverting funds and coming up with “excuses”. Perhaps they might take a lesson from the ‘boots on the ground’ in Iraq and Afghanistan: when you’ve been tasked with a poorly-conceived and impossible mission, ‘victory’ is not going to happen.

Then things get interesting indeed. A 2009 Navy ‘study’ is mentioned, by way of a study of the study by a sociology Ph.D. candidate. Apparently the Navy interviewed 1,146 newly-enlisted recruits in 2009. And apparently from the answers that these gentlemen gave in some form of questioning or questionnaire, the ‘study’ decided that “repeat offenders committed 95% of completed or attempted rapes”.

Thus, the White House is apparently convinced, “because of the high rate of recidivism” something has to be done about the rape-kit processing problem.

“High rate of recidivism” is a phrase that should set the whiskers of any SO community-member twitching.

More curiously, the 2009 Navy study – itself a replicant of a 2002 college-male study – seems clearly focused on non-domestic ‘rapes’ (and given the ‘college’ setting, probably a lot of the verrry nebulously defined ‘date rape’). So its relevance to a DoVi initiative seems tenuous at best.

Even more curiously, the gist of the 2002 and 2009 studies appears to be that only a small group of repeaters – between 4 and 9% - are responsible for the rapes. Which seems to work directly counter to the DoVi claims of millions of incidents and, given the DoVi setting by definition, millions of (male) perpetrators.

And the studies asked about incidents that fit “or approximated” the definitions and legal elements of ‘rape’ or ‘attempted rape’. So they are casting a net that will ‘approximate’ the incidences of what are already nebulous and elastic terms (sexual assault, rape, attempted rape, and date-rape). The possibilities for conceptual error – let alone mischief – are stupendous.

Further, you wonder if the Navy kept the fellows that were apparently witless enough to admit to such things or so morally challenged as to perpetrate them. Although, the researchers crow about how they cagily asked only questions about ‘activity’ without mentioning that to answer the questions in the affirmative would be admitting to the elements of a crime – such as these crimes are defined nowadays – and presumably didn’t give their game away by asking about ‘intent’ (i.e. Did you intend to rape the woman?)

Further, since the studies found that the majority of the repeaters said that they knew their partners and were not strangers, it’s legitimate to ask if ‘domestic’ has been expanded now to quietly include anybody who isn’t a stranger. That’s how far things have become debased in these matters.

Further there's a bit about some of the 'rapists' going to the trouble of "drugging" their (intended?) partners, although I'd want to know if alcohol is considered - at least in DoVi-land - a 'drug', especially since college and college-age folks seem rather familiar with alcohol. These are the type of suble definition-shifts that don't make it into the scare-stats, the 'reports', the Findings, and the press releases.

And as I’ve mentioned in prior Posts, the definition of “battering” in DoVi-speak includes not-talking-on-a-phone, so you really have to be inquisitive in order to get an accurate picture of the claims and assertions that are spewed into the air like smoke-stacks used to do it in the pre-EPA days.
Another piece by this same sociology Ph.D. candidate (not part of the White House material) gives you an indication of just what might be included in the range of DoVi actions: at the extreme end, there is “forcing a partner to have sex when they did not want to” and “threatening a partner with a gun” or “beating up a partner” or “choking a partner”. So far so good, as it were.

However, you then can wind up at the lower end of the spectrum: “slapping or hitting”, “pushing, grabbing or shoving a partner”, or “throwing something at a partner that could hurt”. It is hardly beyond reason to imagine that if these latter categories are feeding into the figures of ‘twenty million’ and such, then there is a big problem here – and it’s not domestic violence itself. Because if the advocacies and advocacy-friendly ‘researchers’ are including in their actual or statistically-derived ‘numbers’ every incident where two humans in a relationship push, grab, or shove … well, yes, I would imagine that you could easily reach a figure next to which ’20 million’ would be conservative.

But there’s no word – and this couldn’t be an oversight – as to where most of these incidents lie on the spectrum.

And there’s no word – ditto – on who initiated the violent act. Or – and this would be of more than passing interest – to what extent individuals, especially females, in same-sex relationships are involved in this sort of thing.

And, as a matter of good research procedure, it has to be said that if you’re only going to study males in regard to perpetrating ‘rape’ (however defined) then you are only going to wind up with male perpetrators. But you aren’t going to wind up with an accurate picture of the overall ‘rape’ situation in the country.

Joe Biden is mentioned. You may recall him as the Senator who, in response to an objection to his original Violence Against Women Act (later found to have notable un-Constitutional elements), brayed that “it may be a bad law but it sends a great message”. This gentleman is the former used-car salesman who also professed himself greatly “bored” during his time at his not-first-tier law school.

In 2008, angling for a higher office, he promised to introduce a bill in the Senate that would “train 100,000 lawyers to represent domestic violence victims”. I don’t know if he ever introduced it, or if he did, if it was ever passed.

But it isn’t hard to imagine that such a promise could be fulfilled by simply printing up a brochure or mailing out a Power-Point Presentation to every Member of every Bar Association in the country. Although you would think that the already-graduated attorneys would know how to conduct a case.

But then, of course, given the numerous hidden agendas, elastic definitions, systemic biases against the accused, and the general complexity of he said-she said (or he-he, or she-she) legal proceedings, perhaps even in these degraded times law schools don’t provide attorneys with clear training in the particular treacherous waters of DoVi cases. Or of any of the jurisprudential challenges that arise when trying to administer the laws in a time of Mania and under a Regime of Mania.

The article concludes by noting that Obama has put 130 million dollars into the budget for 2011 for all this stuff. But, the article hastens to add, 100 million of that will come “from the Crime Victims' Fund, which is supported by criminal fines, penalties and forfeited jail bonds rather than taxpayer money”.

That’s about one-seventh of all the monies available for annual distribution in the Fund (which holds about 4 billion this year) and if you take a look at its responsibilities, that money could – and apparently does – go quickly. (It also got itself into the Patriot Act, somehow.) I’m thinking that there’s going to be a lot of ‘resistance’ organizationally for dedicating a full seventh of its disbursable funds to so nebulous a crime-category. And no doubt that will fuel the claim of even more “excuses”.

Well, that’s my take on this curious article and even more curious ‘initiative’.

My assessment is that it’s yet another political effort to keep part of ‘the base’ happy in the run-up to a difficult election.

But it’s a sad state of affairs that the Mania Regimes are part of that ‘base’ to begin with, and a direct result of ‘pressure’ (in the Alinsky-ite sense) from various elements in that ‘base’.


Let me say again and again and again that I do not support the infliction of violence by any human being upon any other human being, sexual or otherwise, in the 'domestic' or any other setting. But when the Mania Regimes of Sex Offense and its immediate predecessor, Domestic Violence, are so arranged as to create Stampedes in public affairs and in law and law enforcement, and highly dubiously justified Stampedes (which almost goes without saying, given the nature of Stampedes and Manias) then I think a certain amount of Tire has to be Kicked.

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