DART, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit, has decided to make the world a better place by engaging in a campaign to end domestic violence. Its a noble cause, one would think, even if a bit lofty for a company that cant turn a profit. But it seems that real nobility was a non arrival on the DART schedule when they opted in on this one.
Here is the ad campaign posters they are running
I have a suggestion for the news release.
Mass transit uses mass media to promote mass hysteria.
One of the pitfalls of writing honestly about gender issues is the necessity to repeat basic truths in the face of innumerable, universally accepted lies. Its like trying to collect donations for the Rainbow Coalition at a KKK rally.
What the hell, lets do it anyway.
Men and women commit violence with near equal frequency in relationships. I say near because women actually hold a slight edge over men. Every bit of reputable research proves it.
That women are more physically vulnerable to the problem is not in dispute. Their problems are serious, sometimes deadly and cannot be ignored. Still, men are the ones physically injured or killed in about 38% of cases.
Children are injured and killed in the home far more often by women than men. 70.8% of children killed in the home are killed by mothers. 70.6% of children abused by one parent are abused my mothers. 60% of those abused children are male. It would seem only reasonable to include them in the domestic picture.
Now compare this to the way we actually see domestic violence and treat it as a social issue. In other words, compare it to the way DART sees it.
One might think, if they are privy to the facts, that the DART posters are just a reflection of widespread ignorance about the problems it purports to illuminate. It is indeed that and much more.
Advertisers do everything with meticulous intent. Nothing you have ever seen in mass media is accidental. Every image, word and phrase has a specific purpose. The purpose here, and in the greatest majority of public information on the subject, is to keep the money for domestic violence in the hands of women. Damned men and damned the truth.
It is working like gang-busters.
Vice president elect Joe Biden authored the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Note that there was not even an attempt to hide the sexism in the legislation from its inception, as it assumes only women suffer violence. VAWA distributes billions annually to help ameliorate the problem through the provision of free counseling, shelters and other support services.
The distribution of funds by sex is as follows.
At least the numbers are nice and clean. The results are anything but. No shelters for men, no group counseling, no real support. In reality, no nothing. While some womens programs will accept men for individual sessions, the have no other resources to lead them to.
This doesnt fare well for the 800,000 plus men annually that are battered, abused and killed by wives, girlfriends and same sex partners. Women slapping and punching men might make for great entertainment on network television, but the reality is not so funny.
And pity the male victims who live in a world that refuses to recognize it is even happening. A staggering reality for many men naive enough to summon the police when they are being abused is that they will end up in jail for doing so.
Cops dont care who attacked who, or whether bruises are caused in self defense. They see a mark on a woman, even if she got it trying to claw his eyes out, the man is going to jail, no questions asked. They have become, perhaps unwittingly, the law and order back-up for abusive women who know that they dont even have to call for help. They can attack their husband, let him call the cops and then watch him go to jail.
It happens every day, in every city in this country.
Misguided chivalry and politically directed police policy have taken the place of justice. Its easier and simpler that way. After all, it must be the man, right? You saw the DART posters, didnt you?
There is nothing like putting the victim in jail to simplify paperwork, get D.A.s re-elected and serve the public interest.
If that werent enough to make even the most callous take pause, then consider the message the posters send to the boys and girls who see it.
For girls it promotes fear and mistrust, for boys, self-loathing. This is what it has come to. We live in a world where we now teach our children fear; to hate each other and themselves. And we stand by like watch it all happen uncomprehendingly, like chimpanzees in a physics class.
When what we teach our children is more dangerous than teaching them nothing, we had better start a new reckoning with the facts.
For those of you thinking this is a dismissal of womens struggles, please think again. I spent twenty years counseling drug addicts and alcoholics. The effects of family dysfunction and violence were written in every track mark, deviated septum and cirrhotic liver. I scarcely counseled an exotic dancer or drug dealer that didnt find their way into my office via the back of somebodys hand, or worse. Such abuse as children, in my opinion, is ultimately what leads most people to medicate their pain and destroy themselves in the process.
Id like to see the problem wiped from the planet.
But working with addictions taught me one thing if it taught me nothing else. We dont fix problems with denial and distortion. We aggravate them. There will be no solutions as long as we collectively deny that half the victims exist. Or, for that matter, half the perpetrators.