FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Candidates Must Speak About Domestic Violence

While the presidential candidates have been asked about their stance on many key issues, there are some major problems on which they have been notoriously silent to date. Here is one that I would love to see elevated as the campaigns move forward: no one is overtly discussing domestic violence, despite the fact that it is among the most prevalent forms of violence endured by women, children, and even men in the U.S and globally.

In a Huffington Post article almost a year ago, Alana Vagianos pointed out that, between 2001 and 2012, 11,766 women were murdered by current-or-ex male partners; nearly double the amount of casualties lost during the war in Afghanistan (6,488). Three women are murdered by current or former partners every day—the leading cause of homicide for women. Some one in four American women and one in seven men in the U.S. will endure serious violence by an intimate partner during their lives, while a ridiculous 70 percent of women globally will endure an abusive relationship. Between 40 and 45 percent of the women who are victimized will also be raped by their partners. Approximately 40 percent of gay men and 50 percent of lesbian women will domestic violence in their lifetime.

On the Democrat side, Hillary Clinton has long been an outspoken advocate for women’s rights, notably pronouncing that “women’s rights are human rights.”  The only attention she has made to domestic violence during this campaign, however, is to the issue of access to guns. While I wholeheartedly endorse her proposals to ensure that batterers do not have access to guns, it is not nearly enough.

What about the enforcement of restraining orders, which is so poor that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued a scathing condemnation in August 2011 after reviewing the case of Jessica Gonzales (Lenahan, now)? Her former husband took their three daughters despite a restraining order and the requirement that all visitation be supervised. Jessica called the Castle Rock, Colorado police multiple times to report the violation and was put off each time. Ultimately, Simon Gonzales pulled his vehicle into the police station, opened fire on officers who returned it, and the three girls were found dead in the aftermath.

While a year ago Clinton made some statements pronouncing it “embarrassing” that the U.S. is the only democratic country not to have ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), it has not been a component of her campaign speeches or debates this fall. No one else is touching it either.

Her primary competitor, Bernie Sanders, is perceived by many as far more progressive but doesn’t seem to have really addressed domestic violence, other than agreeing with Clinton that batterers should not have guns.

The Republican contenders, who have again been accused of waging a war on women, are noticeably silent on domestic violence. Except Jeb Bush, although his rhetoric is clearly greater than his reality. Bush’s wife, Columba, is a founding Board member of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Jeb often points to his work as a governor to protect women. Yet, as Jessica Valenti pointed out, simply saying “domestic violence” frequently doesn’t actually mean your actions were enough or your position adequate.  Indeed, other positions he supports put domestic violence victims at greater risk, including limiting access to abortion (as studies are clear that carrying out an unintended pregnancy puts women at greater risk for continued violence) and, as his Democratic challengers understand, limiting access to guns reduces the risk that victims will be murdered by abusers at least eight-fold.

Donald Trump has been accused of not only sexual harassment but also rape. Hard to imagine he will be an advocate for domestic violence victims nor a catalyst for change. Similarly, Ben Carson has previously cast doubt on the extent of domestic violence in the U.S. and has equated women who have abortions to slave owners. Brilliant.  Not likely to do much on these issues, it seems.

Perhaps these candidates could spend a little less time sniping at one another and at the media and instead provide their plans for how the U.S. can become safer for women.  Not holding my breath, though.

More articles by:

Laura Finley, Ph.D., teaches in the Barry University Department of Sociology & Criminology and is syndicated by PeaceVoice.

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
David Yearsley
Bikini by Rita, Voice by Anita
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail