VAWA’s Culture of Denial and Disinformation

January 21, 2014

Domestic violence is a serious problem. Its solution demands good research and solid facts. Unfortunately, many groups supported by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) have opted to politicize the issue, cherry-picking the truth and fabricating falsehoods.
Dr. Denise Hines of Clark University recently reported on a survey of online fact sheets from 338 domestic violence agencies. Sadly, she found many of these sheets are not “factual.”
For example, 27% of these agencies made the claim that “domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44.” But that’s simply not true, according to the Centers for Disease Control:

Think about these cases that made national headlines in 2013:
• Jodi Arias, convicted for first-degree murder of her boyfriend on May 8, 2013
• Crystal Mangum, the former Duke U. lacrosse accuser, who was found guilty in November for the stabbing of her boyfriend
• The Montana bride who pled guilty in December to shoving her husband off a cliff.
In all three cases, the grisly homicide involved a female perpetrator and male victim. Indeed, the CDC National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey found that men represent 53% of all domestic violence victims.
But to many in the domestic violence industry, this is an “inconvenient truth.” As many DV representatives like to say, “We only care about women’s rights.”

AG Holder’s Faux Pas
Attorney General Eric Holder once stated, “Intimate partner violence is the leading cause of death for African-American women aged 15-45.”
But the statement is a complete fabrication. According to the Washington Post’s Fact-Checker, the claim is so wrong it qualifies for its notorious Four-Pinocchio rating:

International VAWA
The proposed International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA, H.R. 3571) features a series of findings. Sadly, only 3 of the 16 findings are accurate and truthful:
If almost all of the bill’s findings are wrong, what does that say about the effectiveness of the programs that I-VAWA would promote?

Systematic Disinformation
Advocates often make the claim that “domestic violence is all about power and control.” But this assertion “has no research support,” notes Hines.
When a lie is repeated to the point of being believed, policies become distorted and the needs of victims are subordinated to an ideological agenda.
As Professor Hines concludes, such programs “are unlikely to work if they have little basis in objective information about the problem.”


* Hines DA. Extent and implications of the presentation of false facts by domestic violence agencies in the United States. Partner Abuse, Volume 5, No. 1. 2014.