NYS Troopers Support Gender-Biased DV Program
Nov. 28, 2012
I recently read in the news that I could “like” the Facebook page for the New York State police. I headed over to their Facebook page (1) and clicked Like. I was interested in the amber alerts, requests for the public help to find suspects, and recent arrests, etc.
I was surprised when I saw a caption proudly stating that, “Troop ‘A’ Headquarters Employees donated $500 to a domestic violence program.” (2) I know that there are some domestic violence programs that are gender biased, in that they only provide services to women and will not provide services to men. The implication is, of course, that men are the perpetrators of domestic violence and women and children are the only victims. I thought to myself, “surely the New York State troopers would not donate to such a backwards-thinking organization.”
I decided to check the organization’s website. In a matter of a few clicks of the mouse I was staring at the eligibility requirements of PathStone’s domestic violence program. The requirements for services as listed on PathStone’s website are: “Eligibility: Female victims of domestic violence and their children living in Orleans County or referred from surrounding counties.” (3)
I guess male victims of domestic violence and their children need not apply.
I work with Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) as the New York State coordinator, and in this role I have talked with a handful of organizations that provide domestic violence services. Most of the conversations center around how often or how open they are to providing services to men and woman. Most are very positive and are always looking for ways to expand their services to everyone. Most service providers emphatically state the obvious, that domestic violence itself does not discriminate and anyone can be a victim be they male or female.
I am always on the look out for gender bias when it comes to organizations which provide services to domestic violence victims especially those that receive public funds. This situation was quite different. I think employees have a right to donate to whatever not-for-profits they like. However, these are the folks that will be enforcing the domestic violence laws and deciding who will be going to jail when an incident occurs. I think providing funds to a group that implies woman (and children) are the only victims does not bode well for fairness, justice and equality for the people of New York State. A few clicks of the mouse would have told them that maybe they should ask some questions or think twice before donating.
I have to wonder how many other organizations involved in the application, disposition and/or enforcement of our domestic violence laws are supporting this gender bias without any thought whatsoever. It just doesn’t seem equitable to me.
If you feel the same way, please reach out to the state police via their Facebook page or perhaps your local police department and share your concern about all victims of domestic violence, regardless of gender. Perhaps share this story with them and let them know you would like to see them continue to support domestic violence services, but only those that provide services to all victims without bias. And add your concerns to media reports on NYS troopers. (4)(5)(6)
- The Wall Street Journal – NY state police invite Facebook, Twitter visits: http://online.wsj.com/article/APe02b10de3082490caef9cd3809c7f37c.html
- USA Today – N.Y. state troopers launch Facebook, Twitter initiatives: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/11/26/troopers-facebook-twitter/1727961/
- YNN – NY’ers can “like” and “follow” State Police: http://centralny.ynn.com/content/top_stories/616597/ny-ers-can–like–and–follow–state-police/