Friday, August 29, 2008

Another woman

As Pablo has been diligently reporting, John McCain has chosen Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. I watched the speech. I wasn't terribly impressed by her, not least of all because of what she represents coming out of the McCain campaign.

The commentary on the cable news channel I was watching described this pick as a chance for McCain to get into the "Change" narrative proactively. Of course, he's trying to win over Clinton supporters who feel slighted because their candidate lost. I'm not sure it will be effective (mostly because I'm not sure there are all that many disaffected Clintonites to recruit) and I can tell you it could turn a lot of women off.

Why Sarah Palin? Because McCain needs "a woman or minority to counter Hillary or Obama and put to rest the idea that America only elects white males".

Well, point one, America pretty much does only elect White males. But moreover, "to counter" Clinton or Obama?

Look, I do look at every female candidate with pride, because it's important to represent a whole spectrum of female experiences--and that includes those of conservative women like Palin--but I don't vote for every one of them.

Sarah Palin is not going to talk about equal pay. Sarah Palin is not going to talk about gender discrimination in the workplace. She isn't going to talk about how the economy affects women differently, and she isn't going to talk about family and medical leave. She's not going to talk about violence against women.

I don't want a woman who isn't going to represent women. I don't want a candidate who isn't going to represent women. I need someone who understands what women my age are talking about when we tell them about the price of birth control, or the problem of sexual assault on college campuses. I need someone who understands that I need medical care that respects me, and not my potential motherhood.

Maybe I'll be wrong, and Palin will stand up for women who don't have the privilege of not caring about those problems. Maybe. But maybe not. It's another 10% chance I'm not willing to take.


RS said...

This is why violence against women has become a particularly difficult issue politically.

Senator Joe Biden proudly proclaims that he was regularly and severely beaten by his older sister as a child and as an adolescent. This is the same sister that raised his two sons after his wife and daughter were killed in an auto accident.

Biden has often claimed that the Violence against Women Act is the greatest achievement of his career. He also claims that a woman cannot be a perpetrator of domestic violence, despite the fact that hundreds of studies show that women commit acts of domestic violence as often as, or more often than men. Many studies also show that lesbian women physically attack their intimate partners at least as often as heterosexual men.

As a result of Biden's Violence against Women Act, the federal government pays states to create laws effectively requiring that men be removed from their homes and families without even an allegation of violence, with no legitimate standards of evidence, when a woman makes a claim that she is afraid.

Elaine Epstein, president of the Massachusetts Bar Association (1999), has said "the facts have become irrelevant... restraining orders are granted to virtually all who apply. Regarding divorce cases, she states "allegations of abuse are now used for tactical advantage". According to Epstein, who is also a former president of the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association, restraining orders are doled out "like candy" and "in virtually all cases, no notice, meaningful hearing, or impartial weighing of evidence is to be had."

State restraining order laws are starting to fall because they're unconstitutional. The federal law behind them, written by Joe Biden, is likely to fall as well, not because it isn’t popular, but because it is clearly unconstitutional.

Supporting Documentation

Here are some of the facts regarding Biden's abuse at the hand of his sister. During senate hearings held on December 11, 1990, Biden testified to the abuse.

This recent CDC study indicates that women between the ages of 18 and 28 initiate reciprocal violence against their intimate partners about as often as men. It also indicates that women initiate non-reciprocal violence against their intimate partners more than twice as often as men.

Here is a link to a bibliography of over 200 studies indicating that women are as violent as men in their intimate relationships:

According to the US Department of Justice, women also abuse, neglect and kill their children at significantly higher rates than men. Here’s some of the data on child homicides.

Research clearly indicates that lesbian battery is at least as common as heterosexual battery.

Cathy Young reports on the Elaine Epstein quote and the broader issue at here:

and provides in depth analysis here:

Jill Rodde said...

RS, I'm not sure whether you're trolling because this doesn't really address what my post was about, but I think this message deserves a response.

I definitely agree with you that men can be victims of partner abuse (or random assault) and that is in no way okay. We need to work toward a more nonviolent society in general.

However, you need to recognize that women experience this violence differently from men for several reasons. First, if she is sexually assaulted by a man, she can become pregnant, which is a uniquely female burden. Furthermore, homicide (often by a partner, the baby's father or not) is the most common cause of maternal death.

Second, in terms of spousal abuse, women who make less than their male partners often have a financial incentive to stay in the relationship--if they have been out of the workforce for several years, or working part-time to spend more time with their children, they may not be able to afford to leave an abusive partner. Women who do leave are also at risk for further abuse, especially if they cannot afford to move away, or if their partner has some visitation rights with the children.

Third, the type of violence is often different, with women more likely to do things like slap or punch their partner once, or throw something at him, and men more likely to engage in beating (i.e. repeated violence in one incident).

Again, these are generalizations, and many men make less than their female partners, while many women might engage in repeated beatings of their male partners. But these disadvantages are more likely to fall upon women, and therefore partner violence has a unique meaning for women.

And again, I absolutely do not condone unprovoked violence against male partners. Ever.

But women (especially those with children) less often have the ability to escape an abusive relationship, or even diffuse the violence (which is often why women invoke VAWA and have their partners removed from the situation). So, to suggest that men are being deprived of "family time" just because their partners feel "afraid" isn't telling the whole story.

But I appreciate your point of view , thanks for the comment.

RS said...

Please consider the families of the 5,000 men who are murdered by their wives or female partners every year in America. Mary Winkler shot her husband in the back with a shotgun as he slept, watched him bleed to death for 20 minutes then took the kids on vacation. After serving 67 days in custody, she was released and now has her children back.

RS said...

NJ DV Law Overturned Amid Epidemic of False Allegations

New Jersey's domestic violence statute has recently been found unconstitutional. The New Jersey Attorney General is taking this case to the state's Supreme Court.

The New Jersey Law Journal reports that Judge Richard Russell of Ocean City made the following remarks on tape during a judicial training session regarding the issuance of restraining orders.

(source – scan of print copy:

“If I had one message to give you today, it is that your job is not to weigh the parties’ rights as you might be inclined to do as having been private practitioners. Your job is not to become concerned about all the constitutional rights of the man that you’re violating as you grant a restraining order. Throw him out on the street, give him the clothes on his back and tell him, ‘See ya’ around.’ “

A new municipal judge attending the training session stated “The statute says we should apply just cause in issuing the order.” “You seem to be saying to grant every order.” Russell quickly replied, “Yeah, that’s what I seem to be saying.”

The article is full of comments from Russell and his colleagues that are equally inflammatory.

Perhaps you think Russell should have been disbarred for instructing judges to ignore the constitution. In doing so, he violated his greatest responsibility as a judge in the most blatant way possible. Perhaps you think he should have gone to prison.

Russell now serves on the New Jersey Supreme Court's State Domestic Violence Working Group, the Executive Committee of the State Bar's Family Law Section, and the New Jersey Supreme Court's Family Practice Committee. He currently is the chair of the court's Child Support Subcommittee.

Given a recent ruling declaring New Jersey’s domestic violence statute unconstitutional and given the imminent Supreme Court challenge, the truth regarding the real practices that are being used to separate men from their children and their homes must be heard.