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Responding to the Feminist Backlash Against Me (Part I)–Restraining Orders

October 10th, 2007 by Glenn Sacks, MA for Fathers & Families

Background: There has been a backlash against me in the feminist blogosphere since Pajamas Media advice columnist Dr. Helen Smith interviewed me recently on the subject of the Violence Against Women Act, the way our legal system handles domestic violence, and related issues. The interview is Fighting for Men’s Rights (Pajamas Media, 10/8/07). To learn more about the backlash, click here.

So many terrible and ridiculous things are being said about me at the moment that it would be impossible to respond to all of them, but I’ve selected a few below that deal with the issue of restraining orders. They are from leading feminist blogger Amanda Marcotte and her blog Pandagon. To read Amanda’s comments in full, see her blog post The country started going to hell when they told women they don’t have to just buckle immediately.

1) Amanda writes:

“From what I understand, there are different kinds of restraining orders, and some are probably more likely to be abused than others. Glenn, however, singles out the kind that’s pretty specific to situations where men are caught beating the ever-living shit out of their wives and, as an emergency stopgap measure, are restrained from the house.

“I suppose what he’d want is for the victim to bear the price of the immediate and necessary separation. Because, um, women should have to pay most of the price? Because it’s her fault he hit her? I’m really at a loss on how you justify making the victim bear the price instead of the victimizer in a DV situation outside of plain ol’ misogyny.”

The restraining orders I criticized have nothing to do with Marcotte’s scenario here–I criticized restraining orders that are used as custody maneuvers against decent fathers by divorcing women and their unscrupulous attorneys. Marcotte says that’s just my crazy misogynist contention, but I guess some of the women on the Family Law Section of the State Bar of California are crazy misogynists, too. In an article in the Family Law News, the Section’s official publication, family law attorneys Lynette Berg Robe, C.F.L.S. and Melvyn Jay Ross, C.F.L.S. wrote:

“Protective orders are increasingly being used in family law cases to help one side jockey for an advantage in child custody…[the orders are] almost routinely issued by the court in family law proceedings even when there is relatively meager evidence and usually without notice to the restrained person.”

2) Marcotte implies that I believe “it’s her fault he hit her.”

I never said that or anything close to it. My argument is that many of these men are innocent, but Marcotte keeps trying to twist that into “he beat her and that’s OK.”

If one would like to see how I describe a case where we know that the husband really did beat his wife, I suggest looking at my blog post Wife-Beater Signs $25 Million Contract about Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Brett Myers. After Myers attacked his wife in July of 2006, I wrote in my E-Newsletter, “Myers is being skewered–correctly–for his despicable assault on his wife in Boston last week.”

3) Amanda says that I “advocate banning restraining orders, giving abusers full access to victims, and criminalizing self-defense.” I certainly don’t advocate giving abusers full access–or any access–to victims, and I don’t advocate banning restraining orders. I’m publicly on the record with this view numerous times in my columns, all of which can be seen here. To pick just a few:

a) In the Albuquerque Tribune (1/17/06), I wrote:

“Beginning in the 1970s, restraining orders became a tool to help protect battered women. This is as it should be. However, in the rush to protect the abused, the rights of the accused are being violated on an arguably unprecedented scale…”

b) In the Long Beach Press-Telegram (4/21/07), I wrote:

“While restraining orders can be a useful tool to help protect battered women, they are often misused.”

c) In the Riverside Press-Enterprise (12/5/06), I wrote:

“Restraining orders can be a useful tool to help protect battered women.”

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