Totally False Conservative Rhetoric: VAWA Will Limit Men’s Rights

In their continuing fight against the Violence Against Women Act, conservative groups have found a new ally: Men’s Rights Advocates.

The conservative opposition was not enough to derail VAWA in the Senate – it was passed on Tuesday by a 78-22 vote (all 22 no votes were men, by the way) — but the bill must still pass through the GOP-controlled House, and opposition by conservative groups could continue hold up approval of the bill.

Conservative advocacy groups FreedomWorks and The Heritage Foundation came out Monday with broadsides against re-authorization of VAWA that were filled with the rhetoric of the soi-disant Men’s Rights Movement.

“This unconstitutional law was originally signed by President Clinton in 1994 and has shown no signs of actually reducing violence against women,” said FreedomWorks in a blog post. The post, authored by Julie Borowski, went on to say that VAWA has a “vague and broad” definition of abuse.

“A man that raises his voice at his partner, calls her an offensive name, stalks her, causes her any emotional distress, or simply just annoys her can potentially be prosecuted under the VAWA. Calling your spouse a mean name is not advised or polite, but it isn’t the same thing as violence towards her,” Borowski wrote.

The Heritage Foundation echoed FreedomWorks in declaring that they would score VAWA as a “key vote.”

“Under VAWA, men effectively lose their constitutional rights to due process, presumption of innocence, equal treatment under the law, the right to a fair trial and to confront one’s accusers, the right to bear arms, and all custody/visitation rights.  It is unprecedented, unnecessary and dangerous,” they wrote.

Here’s the thing: these assertions are simply false. Since VAWA was enacted in 1994, violence against women has fallen by 64 percent. Nothing in VAWA would strip men of their right to due process. The definition of abuse in the bill to re-authorize VAWA has not changed from existing law.

That FreedomWorks and Heritage are lying isn’t surprising or interesting; it’s what they do. What’s more interesting is the lies they’re telling, because they come directly out of the anti-feminist, deeply misogynistic Men’s Rights Movement.

“VAWA has been pivotal in the destruction of the family by depriving fathers of their civil rights, due process rights, and their right to cross-examine those who falsely accuse them of DV — most notably during divorce proceedings,” wrote Gordon Finley of Men’s Rights site A Voice For Men back in 2012.

A January article on A Voice For Men, this one by Tara Palmatier, says, “Thanks primarily to the Violence Against Women Act, DV has become a multi-billion dollar industry.  This industry employs many thousands of people throughout the nation, paying them with federal VAWA grant money.  And those thousands of people have made relatively little headway in achieving their “goal” of reducing DV.  Indeed they perpetuate it.”

These arguments have little factual basis, but Men’s Rights Advocates have advanced them nonetheless in their continuing quest to roll back women’s rights to the Mad Men era.

Now, the MRA arguments are going mainstream, as conservative groups parrot them. This is, in a word, despicable. Men’s Rights Groups are hate groups, pure and simple. Like “white pride” groups, they exist not to advance anyone, but to roll back the gains made by oppressed groups over the past century

It’s not surprising that a movement as committed to destroying women’s rights as today’s GOP would find fellow travelers in MRAs, but it is dispiriting. Once more, given a choice between defending people and advancing hatred, conservatives have come down on the side of hatred.


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John W.
.5 months ago

The VAWA was a completely sexist piece of legislation that ignored that men can be the victims of domestic violence (making up at least 40% of the victims.)
Men can also be stalked (making up at least 30% of the victims.) This act also ignored that the majority of people stalking other women are women!

James Wilcox
James Wilcox3 years ago

Dennis & Marvin: Still waiting for your VAWA solutions to maternal domestic violence, a major source of violence against people, including women (and that would be bad). In the meantime, you could learn a lot from this video:

James Wilcox
James Wilcox3 years ago

@ Dennis: "Nothing in VAWA would strip men of their right to due process."

Do you know the meaning of "warrantless arrests"? If so, can you see lack of due process here? Let alone trashing the Constitutional right of innocent until proven guilty?

James Wilcox
James Wilcox3 years ago

Dennis, I am neither a Republican or a Tea Partier. The suggestion implies your own bigotry. I am a children's rights advocate. Obviously you, like the majority of feminists, are not. Those who are, like Erin Pizzy, are subject to death threats and having their family dogs killed.

You and Marvin have still failed to answer my question. I'll be even more specific. Do you think maternal violence against boys, and the total lack of social services available to them, creates the potential for subsequent criminal behavior, including "violence against women & girls" (and that would be bad, right)? If so, what does VAWA offer as proactive solutions?

I'll watch another GirlWritesWhat video on utube while you come up with your answer.

Dennis D.
Dennis D.3 years ago

@James you have just proved that you are not interested in facts or the truth.. Pathetically, your mind set is all to typical of a lot of republican/tea party members.

James Wilcox
James Wilcox3 years ago

Dennis D. All crime has fallen by more than 64% since 1994. The irony is that violence against women has lagged behind the national average for other crimes.

Answer my question to Marvin. More specifically, do you think the boy in the Phoenix case would have a greater potential to grow up to be a criminal, including a sex offender, had his mother not been caught? If so, what proactive solutions does VAWA offer?

Dennis D.
Dennis D.3 years ago

@James here is why the law is necessary. BECAUSE IT WORKS! Any more questions...

"Here’s the thing: these assertions are simply false. Since VAWA was enacted in 1994, violence against women has fallen by 64 percent. Nothing in VAWA would strip men of their right to due process. The definition of abuse in the bill to re-authorize VAWA has not changed from existing law."

Read more:

James Wilcox
James Wilcox3 years ago

The thing to note is that this was not the first time this woman raped her son. The article states the boy had other rectal injuries. The only reason the police found out about this one was because Burns’ could not deal with it herself. Like many abusers, she went too far and had no way of covering it up. She had no choice but to take the boy to the hospital.

Her mistake, if you can call it that, was concocting an improbable story. Had she blamed a neighbor’s son or some man she hung around chances are she would have gotten away with it. That is something people should note. Women who abuse will sometimes blame boys and men for the abuse knowing that the police will assume the accusation is true and investigate that. The younger the child, the harder it will be for the accused to refute the claim. After all, who will the police believe: some man or boy accused of child rape or an angry mother protecting her child?

This does not mean that every case that mothers report are lies, only that some of them are, and it is very difficult to catch unless the woman comes up with a bad story.

So how does VAWA protect children from maternal domestic violence and rape? You tell me Marvin.

James Wilcox
James Wilcox3 years ago

According to court documents obtained by the Phoenix New Times, police said they responded to a 911 call from Burns’ home on March 24. On their arrival they found the boy crying and bleeding from his rectum.

The child was rushed to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where doctors discovered a foreign object lodged in his body. They noted that he was also suffering from other rectal injuries as well as a “hanger-type” bruise on his hip and another bruise on his neck.

That the sex toy had to be surgically removed tells you how violently Burns’ attacked this child. Of course, Burns is not charged with child rape. She is charged with child abuse and sexual misconduct with a minor.

When asked how this happened, Burns claimed that a boy in a park assaulted her son when she turned away for a moment. How that boy got hold of Burns’ vibrator and managed to pull down her son’s pants, shove it into him, and run away without the toddler saying a word or Burns’ noticing was not explained. Of all the lies I have read and heard, that is easily one of the worst.

According to the article, child services investigated Burns’ for child abuse in 2011, however, nothing came of it. They returned the boy to her, and charges were never filed. The article does not state why the police were called in that previous case or whether child services kept tabs on Burns.

The thing to note is that this was not the first time this woman raped her

James Wilcox
James Wilcox3 years ago

I'm with Damian R. Here's from the thread "4 Easy Ways Schools Can Stop Rape Culture"

The first way to stop rape is to include boys in discussions about sexual violence against children. Feminists do the exact opposite.

@Promoting Healthy Masculinity PCAR (PA Coalition Against Rape)
Although the anti-sexual violence and feminist movements have done tremendous work and education around sexism and how harmful it is to women and girls, men and boys have not historically been part of this conversation.

Then they can include women as perpetrators of horrific child abuse in the discussions.
National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey ...
1. According to the NISVS 2010 Report approximately every 5th rape* victim have a female perpetrator. According to Bureau of Justice Statistics 66,700 men were incarcerated** under state jurisdiction for rape while only 600 women were incarcerated** for rape.

Here's an example:

Mother rapes 2-year-old son with sex toy
by Toysoldier
This is a fairly horrific case of child rape and abuse. But in keeping with the need to talk about female sex offenders, I think it is important to mention this case:

A 21-year-old mother from Phoenix, Arizona has been charged with sexually abusing her two-year-old son with a vibrator.

Rickesha Burns is accused of assaulting the toddler by forcing the sex toy into his anus. The object had to be surgically removed.