An article I recently found brought up something that has bothered me for a long time, but has finally started to make some ground work to equality when a Californian judge ruled that California's exclusion of men from domestic violence violates men's constitutional equal protection rights. In 2007, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lloyd Connelly dismissed the case of four male victims of domestic violence, ruling that men are not entitled to equal protection regarding domestic violence because they statistically are not similarly situated with women. Today the Court of Appeal reversed that decision.
The story was brought more to light with the tale of young Maegan and her father David. David was disabled, and could not make money, and Maegan was 11 years old. Many times they had called shelters and programs for help, and were told that they do not help men. This might be part of the rule that boys 12 and older are not allowed in shelters with their mothers, while the daughters of any age are. If a mother goes to a shelter, her choice is to send the boy to an orphanage, or to go home to the abuse. We have a crisis in our country, and this is case is a fine step in paving the road to repairing it.
In the case of Maegan and her father, the case proved even more of what the actual problem is, as stated by the article, “During the 1995 shotgun incident, Ruth called the police after David wrestled the shotgun away from her. Maegan yelled to her mom, "Tell the truth!" and Ruth told the police she wanted them to come because she wanted to kill her husband. Nevertheless, when the police arrived and David opened the door to let them in, the officers immediately grabbed him by the wrist, wrestled him to the ground, and handcuffed him. They only un-cuffed him after Maegan told them that it was her mother who had the gun.” If the police decided to not listen to the daughter, his wife would, at that point, now have been free to go to one of the shelters because he now had a record of abuse; however, that wasn’t the case, and even after the police arrested her David still was not able to use any of the services. He often was told, “"we don't help men.” Even when his daughter called, desperate to get help, WEAVE said they do not help men, and that men are the perpetrators of domestic violence, not the victims.
This is just one example, while almost nobody would ever say that shelters do not do good work for women, they seem to cut the line at the other half of taxpayers who might need to use their services. This lawsuit, and case, may just be the inroads that our country needs to take a big bite out of the domestic abuse problem. Next would be the rest of the states allowing men to use their facilities, and this would even allow boys not to be sent to a foster home and being split up, again, after his mother and sisters run from an abusive situation. Imagine what this would do to the poor child, and family altogether. He just was taken from abuse, needs his family more than ever, and is told because he is a boy he has to go somewhere else because he is too dangerous to his mother and sisters. The very system that is setup to protect people is hurting them and destroying young boys. Now, with this, we have precedent that might allow some inroads in such laws as V.A.W.A. to maybe realize that men can be hurt as well, and sometimes need protection. It is truly a great step to real equality.
To read more on this article, go here.
Also: The actual court documents
I tried to find a spiffy picture, but alas none that would be appropriate.
Question: What do you think about the current state of our nations domestic violence support shelters, and ways to improve it?