Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Battle of the Sexes: Domestic Violence

It is very important that when one is a member of the Legislature, they remain free from bias and look to the truth in situations that arise in our society. Unfortunately, laws made do not always reflect the reality of what they were based on.

In the news, you will see the headlines that read about a man killing his wife or killing his girlfriend and their children. Or a boyfriend killing the children of the mother. And you will read sometimes a story about a mother killing herself and her children or a girlfriend cutting off the penis of her boyfriend.

But for the most part, the tragedy revolves around men harming women and children. Unfortunately, the news organizations have taken it upon themselves to pick the sensational stories that stay in the reader's mind, thus creating a perception that may not be what the reality is.

The reader/voter becomes the innocent target of the news organization's reporting and the legislator either searches for the truth or becomes an enabler to the reader's/voter's perception by letting the perception influence the decision-making process in drafting legislation.

Everyone that has picked up the Anchorage Daily News has come across an individual who was a legislator and has become a writer of sorts. The individual is Andrew Halcro who it is rumored is considering a run to become Governor.

Mr. Halcro wrote a piece for the Anchorage Daily News Opinion section and it dealt with domestic violence.

Overall, the opinion was very one-sided and gave the impression that domestic violence is mainly perpetrated by men. His opinion can be found on his website here:

In response to Mr. Halcro's opinion, I had drafted a letter to the editor for the Anchorage Daily News.

After reading Andrew Halcro's commentary on Domestic Violence, one can see his bias and his shortsightedness.

He tells only part of the story. Nationwide statistics show up in Alaska.

Nationwide, in 81% of the cases of child abuse, at least one parent was the person responsible for child maltreatment. 58% of perpetrators were female.

Sexual abuse was far more likely when the perpetrator was an unmarried partner. Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2004). Child Maltreatment 2002.U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2002). National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System.

Mr. Halcro, review the Duffus case where a known convicted child molester, unattended, watched his girlfriend's children. The Alaska Supreme Court at the time, determined that the children were in no danger.

Then a seven year old was sexually assaulted by a man who had sex with the mother in the same bed.

Then we read about a Judge who orders joint custody and the mother kills herself and the children. Pile of Evidence Pointed To Murder Anchorage Daily News January 16, 2005

This month, a very biased, agenda driven and highly inaccurate program called "Breaking the Silence: Children's Stories" aired this month attacking fathers.

The program was silent on the child abuse committed by mothers and their boyfriends.

Mr. Halcro did you cite these statistics? No, you were silent. One can only wonder why.

As Mr. Halcro correctly cites, October was domestic violence awareness month. And across the nation, as well as here in Alaska, PBS aired a program called "Breaking the Silence: Children's Stories.

At the time that I wrote the letter, there was a campaign to protest the airing of the program. Father's rights groups protested and called the program unfair and biased.

Since the airing, I sent Representative Croft an e-mail that stated the following:

Dear Representative Croft,

I am enclosing a link to a recent study that was done by the New Hampshire legislature. It was a study done on the status of men in the state of New Hampshire.

In it, you will find some enlightening statistics that prove that the states are not balanced in their laws when it comes to family issues.

As you know I have sent you my brief that is before the Alaska Supreme Court and many of the statistics that show up in New Hampshire are reflected nationwide and show up here in Alaska.

It is unfortunate that you have ignored my concerns on the matter. And as such, the laws that deal with family matters will become an election issue this coming November of 2006.

As many who know me through school board races, I will raise issues that need to be corrected and my stance has been proven right by the outcomes.

Just recently, we have seen biased opinions on family matters published on air in both the print media and televised media.

Case in point was Mr. Andrew Halcro's biased opinion in the Anchorage Daily News on domestic violence. And then on PBS a program titled Breaking the Silence: Children's Stories which was aired, is patently false on the assertion that Parental Alienation Syndrome is junk science and that most dads who seek custody of their kids are abusers.

Since it has aired, there has been great criticism towards PBS in choosing to show the program.

The results can be seen here.

I am sending this e-mail to you and other legislators and various news media to bring more awareness to the matter.

If you decide to run in the House election, and if I am the Republican candidate, I will look forward to debating the issue with you this November of 2006.


Tom Lamb

Note: Letter corrected for this publication.

What has transpired is that there were many statements made in the program that were not factual. The program was aired to influence legislators and court officials.

Now, back to Andrew Halcro's opinion piece.

Here are the facts from the Child Protective Services in Alaska on harm to children.

In a graph that is on the website you will find with 33% of single women there was a report of harm to the children, while with 4.5% of single fathers, there was a report of harm. When you look at the mother/partner relationship, 7.9% a report of harm while the father/partner relationship had 0.6 % report of harm. Mother/Stepfather 5.2% report of harm vs. Father/Stepmother 1.1% report of harm.

Where the statistics get grey is on the two parent family where there was a 45.7% report of harm to children.

In summary on a Men's Health Network site, some surprising statistics jump out and they need to be looked at carefully. The site is found here:

Over 2/3 of the child abuse committed by a parent is committed by the mother.(4)
Mothers (55%) are more likely the fathers (45%) to murder their children.(5)
Mothers kill sons (64%) more often than daughters (36%) and 78% of the child victims are under age 11.(6)

4) Data provided by the Child Protective Service agencies of Virginia (67% mothers, 33% fathers), New Jersey (70% mothers, 30% fathers), Texas (68% mothers, 32% fathers), and Minnesota (62% mothers, 38% fathers) , and Alaska (67% mothers, 33% fathers).

5) Bureau of Justice, "Murder in Families", NCJ-143498.

6) Ibid.

What can be seen from Mr. Halcro's opinion is; he carries a perception that is biased, but more importantly it shows a perception that may have found or could find its way into the decision-making process that has no room for such bias.

A good legislator will search for the truth and act accordingly in a balanced manner. Unfortunately, at the hands of a majority of mothers, abusers are being molded and groomed by mothers that we later read about who are abusing women and men in the headlines.

It is time the laws address this fact.

Update: According to people who work in the field on helping families, the AWAIC shelter does not adhere to an abstinence policy on drug and alcohol use and they do accept women who are abusers themselves.

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