Some Good News About Batterers (Really!): Q&A With Dr. Amie Zarling

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Frequent visitors to This Space know I talk a lot about batterers. More specifically, I complain about them: how destructive they are, how the culture sometimes tolerates or even condones their violence. But these days, what bothers me most about batterers is how poorly society deals with them. [Read more…]

What Keeps Me in My Seat

puzzlepiecesI have to tell you guys, today was a BUMMER. Slow news day, dull paperwork, depressing winter weather and, oh yeah,  I spent most of the day thinking about America’s epidemic of intimate partner violence, so there was that. This particular occupational hazard, the fact that it’s just plain depressing sometimes to spend so much of your life thinking about the horrors human beings visit on each other, isn’t one I complain about much. For the most part I’ve acclimated (read: “compartmentalized”), but it’s definitely the case that my kind of job weeds out the lightweights fast. [Read more…]

Happy New Year! VAWA’s Dead

VAWA Demonstrators 1.3.12

Sorry, activist lady, Congress will not be doing its job anytime soon.

The Violence Against Women Act is dead. Defunct, extinct, “expired” in both the legislative and the Victorian senses of the word. At least that’s what you’d think if you read headlines about it in the last day or so, many of which emphasize the drama of the bill’s expiration, without describing what will happen to domestic violence victims as a result. [Read more…]

Blind Spot (Part 2)

So now we have this: NFL player Jovan Belcher murders his girlfriend, then drives to the Kansas City Chiefs’ football stadium and shoots himself in the head. All I had to read was the headline to know that this was the awful but predictable outcome of an abusive relationship. There may not be a paper trail of arrests or restraining orders to prove it, but it’s rare for incidents like this to be the first violent encounter. [Read more…]

Blind Spot

(Part 1 of 2)

My Google alerts at work read like the clips file of an unfocused true crime writer, they’re all “husband and wife arrested,” “parent kidnaps child,” “lawyer threatened,” “pet killed.” What I’m looking for, of course, is domestic violence, which is something that’s both very visible and strangely obscured, so it can be hard to track. [Read more…]

How Not to Talk About Yourself at Parties

Old dudes have always liked me; I couldn’t tell you why. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the South and consequently call everyone “sir,” or perhaps it’s because one of my grandmothers was almost lethally imperious, which left me with a healthy respect for the elderly. Whatever the case, I collect old-guy buddies wherever I go, and I’ve come to value their curmudgeonly opinions. When an old guy tells me something, I listen, unlike the rest of you whippersnappers. [Read more…]

Happy Anniversary, Joe Biden (A Political Love Story)

I’ve been looking forward to the Vice Presidential debate ever since Paul Ryan’s candidacy was announced, because I fully expect that Joe Biden is going to eat that smirking plutocrat for lunch. The media narrative of Biden as America’s Daffy Uncle belies the accomplished legislator and ass-kicking partisan he really is. But so much the better; low expectations, plus Ryan’s entirely undeserved reputation as a policy wonk can only work to Old Uncle Joe’s benefit. He will smile genially, wave to the crowd, then rip Paul Ryan a new one. I cannot wait. I heart Joe.

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Beat Cops

Do you remember that recent case out of NYC in which a patrol officer was accused of raping an intoxicated woman while his partner stood guard outside her apartment? And then they were both acquitted despite a mountain of convincing evidence, and people were horrified and everything was gross, the end? Well, as it turns out that wasn’t the end, because another woman has emerged to say that she was mistreated by the same pair of cops several months earlier—not raped, but physically abused and personally degraded in a circumstance in which the two were charged to assist her. There are records of the complaints she filed at the time, so taken together with the alleged rape it’s all a little fishy, no? One might deduce—if one were an extremely jaded feminist blogger, for example—that Officer Kenneth Moreno has a problem with the ladies. [Read more…]

Low-Hanging Fruit: Charlie Freaking Sheen

Low-Hanging Fruit is an occasional feature in which I ridicule people who have already been so thoroughly castigated that they really don’t need me piling on to make the point. But then I go ahead and pile on anyway, because I’m just trivial enough to enjoy that sort of thing.

I had sincerely hoped never to have to mention Mr. Sheen again. As far as I was concerned, the Warlock and I had achieved a sort of detente. While his crazy misogynist shenanigans continued unabated, I had already covered the only aspect of them I thought was genuinely interesting—the fact that we know so little about what motivates serial batterers that we’re generally unable to rehabilitate them. That was the extent of anything useful I had to say on the subject, so I decided to leave the balance of the commentary to the prurient chattering class, who can’t seem to get enough of his coke-headed whore-mongering ways. Me, I’d had enough. [Read more…]

Chris Brown and the Uses of Compassion

Welcome back, Chris Brown! Honestly, I thought we’d finished with you when you completed your entirely inadequate community service sentence for 1. beating Rihanna to a pulp and 2. repeatedly demonstrating that you had no real understanding of, let alone remorse for, what you’d done. Though the story’s ending was unsatisfying, I was just glad when it was over. But then you went on GMA and got asked a couple of totally softball questions about your lady-smacking ways, and you threw a tantrum, and broke a mirror, and also ripped your shirt off because sometimes, when The Man is keeping you down, the only thing left to do is show him your pecs. So much for the anger management classes, and hey, good to know you don’t limit your violent outbursts to women you’re dating. Female morning show anchors: check yourselves.
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