Thank you for your letter of 9-11-02 in response to my previous letter
voicing my concerns about the VAWA and the resulting sexism.
I have followed your suggestion and contacted the Family Violence Council
within the office of the Attorney General of Maryland. I had a refreshing
conversation with Ms Smith about the invisibility of male victims of
domestic violence and the lack of treatment options open to them. She
offered both surprise and concern over the new information of our
conversation. She was very helpful in both listening to my concerns
and in sending me a number of informative brochures. I found in one
of the brochures a telephone number of a statewide hotline for information
on issues related to domestic violence. I called them and asked about the
treatment of male victims. I was told that statewide the men were placed in motels.
They are not allowed into the shelters. This is true across the entire
state of Maryland. There is not a single facility in Maryland that will accept a male victim.
This even though men comprise 38% of the victims. I asked her why this was
the policy and she said that it was for the safety and comfort of the women victims.
This seems prepostorous to me. In order to have one victim feel comfortable
you deny services to others? Ridiculous! I asked her for her name but she
refused to identify herself.
This is sexism. There is no other explanation. I am asking you as my
Senator to take action to insure that the gender neutral intent of the VAWA,
as you have claimed it to be, is carried out in our state. As of this
moment it is certainly not being carried out in a gender neutral manner.
Men are being denied equal services.
Furthermore, I think it is critical that the types of treatment offered by
these groups be evaluated immediately. Their unwillingness to even admit men
into their shelters seems suspect and calls into question their potential misandry.
I would appreciate your help in finding details about the treatment regimes of
these facilities. What are the underlying theorhetical frameworks they utilize? Importantly, what are their feelings towards men? Have there been previous peer reviewed
evaluations on the clinical treatments offered? Have these evaluations been done by professionals familiar with the treamtent of men? I would very much appreciate it if you would send to me information that may answer these questions.
Please let me know what action you will be taking in this serious matter.