[Special call out to the Kansas Peace Initiative - Alternatives to Battering Program (with their so called 80% success rate), it is time to re-evaluate, and place PROTECTION over profit.]
By Barry Goldstein
A few years ago, I attended a national conference for and about batterer programs. One of my colleagues aptly referred to it as a marketing conference for the batterer program industry. I am sure there were many people at the conference that sincerely sought to reduce domestic violence and believed their programs could help accomplish this. Nevertheless, I was appalled at practices that undermined the safety of women partnered with abusive men and frequent inaccurate claims that their programs could change men’s behavior and make it safe for women to live with them.
The modern movement to end domestic violence began in the mid to late 1970s and helped make men’s violence against women a public issue. This focused attention on the question of how to stop men in heterosexual relationships from abusing their partners. At the time, there was little research available to help policy makers and most of the decisions on how to respond to domestic violence were made by people who did not understand domestic violence dynamics. This led to attempts to promote partner safety through ineffective approaches that continue to the present.
One of the fundamental questions was whether to respond by changing individuals one at a time or to promote societal changes. The primary response has been to focus on the individual such as by creating shelters and counseling for survivors and batterer programs and forms of treatment for abusers. This has undermined recognition of the need to make fundamental changes to the status quo by creating an appearance that society is engaged in an effective response to domestic violence. Ironically, the present response has resulted in a substantial reduction in the number of men killed by their heterosexual partners, but only a small decrease in the number of women murdered by their abusers.
Common Practices Providing Little Protection for Women (read the rest of the article here)