Insult to Injury: A Feminist Critique of Feminist Domestic Violence Law and Policy
Linda Mills is one of, if not the, most educated, experienced, and thoughtful feminist legal scholars in America–indeed the world. In her decades of scholarship, research, counseling, and writing, she has developed an outstanding body of independent and unique feminist perspectives on domestic violence and criminal justice that is exponentially more sophisticated than her ideological colleagues. This article will attempt to digest her outstanding work and synthesize it with other related information to enable families to improve their understanding of the dynamics of domestic violence, become aware of the ideological biases of what Mills calls “Mainstream Feminism,” and hopefully improve families’ ability to cope with conflict, and avoid violence in their own homes.
A Non-Mainstream Feminist Scholar’s Feminist Perspective
Mills’ accomplishments establish her as a most credible source of quality research, analysis, and opinion. As a scholar she has achieved three advanced degrees—law, social work, and health policy.
Her roles include serving as the Lisa Ellen Goldberg Professor and Vice-Chancellor for Global Programs and University Life at New York University, the Executive Director of NYU Center on Violence and Recovery, and a lecturer at UCLA law school—to name but a few. As a writer and producer she has published four books on intimate partner violence and judicial process relating to violence, and authored, edited, produced or contributed to dozens of articles, book chapters, encyclopedia entries and volumes, visual artwork, papers, symposia, and lectures. As a researcher and educator, her projects have been awarded well over twelve million dollars in grant funding.
Like Galileo and Gandhi, she is blessed with a genius, yet cursed with an integrity that places her at odds with predominating assumptions of a very powerful American elite—a movement she describes as “Mainstream Feminism.” Within the Mainstream Feminist community she is branded a heretic. What makes her so is her insistence on honesty and self-reflection in analyzing and designing prevention of and remedy to domestic violence.
Insult To Injury: Masterpiece Before its Time, or Feminist Heresy?
Mills is a feminist who challenges the intellectual foundations of Mainstream Feminism. In her 2003 book, Insult to Injury: Rethinking Our Responses to Intimate Abuse, Mills embarks on a heresy against her ideological kindred feminists.
Mainstream Feminism Assumptions as Foundation for Domestic Violence Policy and Law
Mills describes the “Mainstream Feminist” as “privileged, white, heterosexual women” who have advanced “an agenda that has benefited [them] at the expense of the concerns of women who are different from them.” She describes the Mainstream Feminist “agenda” of a “monolithic criminal justice system response” to domestic violence:
[T]he mainstream feminist response to domestic violence represents the views of a relatively small minority of women who have the resources and political strength to aggressively assert their narrow explanations for domestic violence. Whether by virtue of denial, projection, or privilege, mainstream feminists have been able to advocate for a uniform, and ironically conservative, law-and-order response to intimate abuse that blames men and ultimately treats women as innocent victims.
Mainstream Feminists observe a common set of assumptions which invigorate their advocacy
within governmental, social, and legal systems:
The assumption underpinning mainstream feminist advocacy efforts are that all intimate abuse is heterosexual, that violence is a oneway street (male to female), that all violence warrants a state response, and that women want to leave rather than stay in their abusive relationships.
She details, then refutes, the four central Mainstream Feminist assumptions:
Men batter because a “patriarchy” (rule by the eldest males) permits it. Men are privileged physically, financially, and socially—privileges that are holdovers from a history of oppression of women. Anything short of incarceration of males to defeat this “patriarchy” is an unacceptable response to historical male oppression of females.
Women stay in abusive relationships because of this “patriarchy.” They fear their abuser, but lack resources and social support to leave. Women who stay in abusive relationships are weak, lack “feminist consciousness,” and are unable to act decisively. If given proper support, sane, “conscious” women will always leave an abusive relationship.
The criminal justice system is sexist. Police, prosecutors, and judges minimize the problem of male domestic violence by falsely denying and discrediting women’s accounts of violence. This systemic sexism justifies Mainstream Feminists’ agenda of a “homogenous and extreme—perhaps even violent—response now.”
Only extraordinary measures such as mandatory arrest, no-drop prosecution, and long-term sentences against men will counteract men’s patriarchal power, women’s weakness, and the justice system’s sexism. Prison is the only appropriate response to intimate abuse.
Mills describes how central these assumptions are to Mainstream Feminism, and how Mainstream Feminists punish any official or citizen who dares question them:
The movement has persuaded citizen and lawmaker alike of the indisputable veracity of these assumptions, which are so significant to the movement to end violence against women that they have become markers for feminism. As they have become so ingrained in our political culture, few have questioned them. If you do question them, you have abandoned the movement.
Debunking Mainstream Feminist Assumptions
Mills—unlike Mainstream Feminists who assert these assumptions as empirical fact—acknowledges these foundations mere assumptions. Articles of faith that are not, at least in 21st Century America, accurate representations of reality. Mills applies her decades of research and experience in intimate partner abuse to refute each of the assumptions:
Violence is never as simple as men’s power over women, although it may be a feature of some relationships. Empirical research supports the assertion that men and women abuse each other.
Mills’ first point is that “violence” includes more behavior than simply intentionally causing physical injury:
Violence is a continuum” “It includes emotional, financial, physical, and sexual violence”
Mills identifies many forms of violence inflicted by both men and women, and calls out characteristic forms of psychological violence women inflict on other women, and on men, that the Mainstream Feminists ignore. She describes “passive-aggressive” behavior such as spreading rumors, keeping secrets, isolating, exaggerating, and public humiliation exhibited within female communities around the world. She points to studies showing that such forms of passive aggression are intended and do cause shame in the target. She draws a correlation between a female’s shaming of her male partner and subsequent male aggression—noting that that men who are the targets of shame are five times more likely to abuse their wives.
If we could stop the emotional abuse of shaming as part of the abusive dynamic, we might be able to prevent other form of abuse that are expressed in reaction to these shaming practices.
It is startling, in the fact of the studies described here, to realize that mainstream feminists have been so successful at repressing altogether the effect of women’s aggression on intimate abuse.
[F]eminist activists of the 1960s strategically uncoupled physical from emotional abuse to protect judges and the larger society from ‘the pain involved in acknowledging that issues of power and control are troublingly characteristic of all intimate relationships.
Once uncoupled, Mainstream Feminists proceeded to minimize—even ignore women’s “power and control” aggression, while highlighting men’s.
Mainstream feminists will frequently ignore things they do not wish to hear and override them with assumptions of which even they may not be conscious.
She identifies some of the extensive research demonstrating that women are equally physically abusive toward their intimate partners. She notes that in self-reporting studies, men tend to under-report violence because they do not identify many forms of aggression as assaultive.
Men in general minimize women’s violence and, as such, are less likely to identify it as abuse. . . [In self-reporting studies] men are much less likely to identify women’s acts of aggression as “assault,” whereas women were much more likely to label men’s acts of aggression as “assault.” (2.7 men vs. 11.3 women). On the other hand, women are much more likely to identify any aggressive action by their male partner as “violent.”
She notes that Mainstream Feminists rely on this discrepancy in men’s vs. women’s definition of violence when claiming that men are factually “more violent” when, generations of independent crime statistics studies show men and women commit acts of physical aggression such as assault in roughly equal proportions.
Researchers have found that when they inquire into “physical violence” rather than “injury”, they are more likely to elicit admissions by women that they too have been violent. In one study, 37 percent of the women admitted that they had perpetrated physical aggression against their male partners, compared with 22 percent of men who admitted perpetrating physical aggression against their female partners (Magdol, Moffitt, Caspi, Newman, Fagan & Silva, 1997).
Severe physical aggression by women also measured at significant rates. Nineteen percent of women, versus 6 percent of men, reported using such behaviors as kicking, hitting, biting, hitting with an object, using or threatening the use of a knife or gun, and beating up. In this same study, 95 percent of women and 86 percent of men reported at least one act of verbal aggression against a partner (Magdol et. al., 1997).
The assumption that “patriarchy” is the sole explanation for intimate partner abuse ignores the fact that violence exists in gay and lesbian relationships.
Violence in lesbian relationships also sheds light on the issue of female aggression. Bowman and Morgan (1998) who studied verbal and physical abuse in homosexual and heterosexual college students, found that in same-sex relationships, lesbians reported statistically significant higher levels of violence in all instances than women in heterosexual relationships.
Mills also distinguishes between various types of physical violence–some of which falls within the “patriarchy” assumption, other that don’t.
It is important to distinguish between that end of the spectrum that sociologist Michael Johnson dubs “patriarchal terrorism” and “common couple violence” which reflects the more common dynamic.
Mills explains Mainstream Feminists adopted ideological extremism in the 1960’s as a tactic to overcome resistance to feminist reforms, during a time in which the battered women’s movement felt that the criminal justice system was sexist in favor of males.
The social construction of domestic violence . . . was in part a reaction to the desperation women in abusive relationships and advocates felt historically as they faced the criminal justice system’s indifference to their suffering. This was an urgent time. . . . To get the nation’s attention, feminists had to be loud, unwavering, and wholly righteous. . . . Domestic violence involved violent men-batterers-and the women they injured. Whatever women did in response, physical or emotional, was irrelevant. This strategy worked. Emotional abuse, indeed, all women’s aggression, was deliberately disentangled from physical abuse to achieve the instrumental purpose of legal reform.
Mills notes that such tactics were “overwhelmingly successful” in changing the criminal justice system’s approach to intimate abuse, and by the 1990’s “[W]omen were essentially removed from the violent dynamic and men were held entirely accountable for it.” In other words, within criminal justice systems, all intimate partner violence and aggression was due exclusively to maleness—even when non-feminist legal analysis would plainly hold the woman accountable for her own violent behavior. Ironically, the feminists did not seek to eliminate the gender bias they perceived, but simply to turn the (perceived) bias around against males.
It has served mainstream feminism both socially and politically to simplify and reduce the violence continuum to include only physical abuse perpetrated by men. Mainstream feminists made domestic violence unilateral. A violence that was a facet of a family or domestic scene was portrayed as an inevitable, if unfortunate, expression of patriarchy.
Mainstream Feminists’ “Accomplishments”:
Mandatory Arrest, No Dual Arrest, No Drop Prosecution, Criminalization of Liberties, Stiff Sentencing for Misdemeanors, Easy Domestic Violence Protective Orders
Mandatory arrest and prosecution, as they have come to be called, became the battle cry of mainstream feminists
“Mandatory Arrest” or “Pro-Arrest”  and “No drop” prosecution policies are today evident in many jurisdictions. They have propagated into even the “policy statements” of professional prosecutor organizations such as the NDAA and nationwide “Technical Assistance” organizations such as the National Family Justice Center Alliance, which promotes Mainstream Feminist ideology and assists in indoctrinating and integrating police, prosecutors, judges, and politicians involved with domestic violence throughout the nation. A recent National District Attorney’s Association policy statement records the development:
Over the last three decades public policy regarding the handling of domestic violence has varied significantly. Initially, the violence was treated as a private family matter to be mediated by the police and kept out of the court system. Due to the ineffectiveness of the police mediation approach, a series of mandatory arrest statutes were adopted by the states in response to the violence problem. Prosecutors’ offices began to evaluate how to handle the domestic violence cases making their way into the court system and to evaluate the need for office policies on the issue. Many offices have adopted a variety of policies for dealing with such crimes. Specifically, many have adopted “no drop” policies prohibiting the dismissal of charges assuming there are no evidentiary or ethical prohibitions against prosecuting the matter. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, such policies have not necessarily resolved the rate of recidivism.
In adopting the Mainstream Feminist’s policy stance on protective orders to prevent “battering,” the NDAA acknowledged that most such behavior is constitutionally protected:
The National District Attorneys Association recognizes that there are behaviors, such as psychological and emotional abuse, that qualify as domestic violence but which are not acts punishable as crimes.
(emphasis added). Most states have adopted similar policies despite their illegality.
California Coalition is currently seeking an injunction in United States District Court to prevent the State of California from issuing such illegal protective orders, arguing the orders violate freedoms of speech, association, access to courts, due process, and equal protection.
To her credit—and no doubt to the horror of Mainstream Feminists and the prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement who are in Mainstream Feminists’ ideological grip—Mills recognizes that this swing has itself resulted in a criminal justice approach to intimate partner violence that uses women in abusive relationships as “pawns” of Mainstream Feminist control.
People were so concerned about promoting a universal explanation for violence against women that nobody listened to the people involved in abusive relationships.”
The effects of this contradiction, particularly on the battered women themselves, are exacerbated by the additional burden on survivors bringing legal actions-they become the political tool, a pawn if you will, for battered women’s advocates who believe that each survivor’s court victory sends a loud and clear message to the patriarchal community that abuse will not be tolerated.
Mills also acknowledges that the policies discriminate against men.
[Mainstream feminists] do not see that these mandatory policies are also sexist and discriminatory
One obvious by-product . . . is that policy makers, judges, and other professionals came to see intimate violence as exclusively male.
She points out that the policies also discriminate against heterosexual women, who are judged to be be “weak” or mentally ill if they choose to confront abuse in a relationship rather than leave.
Conveniently, the Mainstream Feminist assumptions enable feminists to conclude that anyone–man or woman–who disagrees with the assumptions is mentally or morally deficient. Mainstream Feminists seem to miss the disturbing reality that law, policies, and private behaviors based on malicious ideology is quite illegal under federal law and in most states. Invidious discrimination under color of law is a heinous and despicable crime. See 18 U.S.C. 241, 242. Even among private parties, a victim of such discrimination can bring suit in federal court to restrain it and recover for damages. See 42 U.S.C. 1985(3). Despite Mills’ and others noting the disturbing reality, Mainstream Feminists apparently have failed to purge their ideology of such malice–leaving open the likelihood that they will be targets of civil rights prosecution and litigation.
Mills notes this dramatic swing in domestic violence arrest and prosecution policies “created four distinct problems.”
Criminalization of being male in a domestic dispute;
Erases emotional abuse from analysis of abusive relationships;
Prohibits recognition of male victims of domestic violence; and
Female and LGBT violence is rendered invisible.
The Success of Mainstream Feminist Assumptions Despite Their Falsehoods
By 2003 when Insult to Injury was published, Mills observed that Mainstream Feminists had substantially advanced their agenda:
Mandatory arrest and prosecution, as they have come to be called, became the battle cry of mainstream feminists. Their efforts were overwhelmingly successful. . . . After relentless and successful effort, . . . . the feminist strategy to construct domestic violence as a gender issue has worked.
Mills identifies one major instigator of the rapid shift—the tens of billions of federal tax dollars showered upon state and local prosecutors, law enforcement, judges, court staff, and social workers by the United States Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women:
Under the Violence Against Women Act, $59 million was spent on “grants to encourage arrest” in 2001. These funds were allocated to police agencies, prosecutors’ offices, and mainstream feminist groups to develop programs that promote arresting and prosecuting domestic violence crimes. These funds could be better spent on programs designed to address and reduce violence rather than on encouraging policies that have questionable effectiveness. As researchers Lawrence Sherman recently observed: “Until you admit that mandatory arrest is a failure in our inner cities, you won’t get anybody to spend a penny on looking for other alternatives.”
These are 2001 figures—since then OVW has continued its back-channel influence to the tune of billions of federal taxpayer dollars into Mainstream Feminist-governed courts, judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement.
For example, in 2010, OVW awarded a total of $389 million to state and local Mainstream Feminist-governed entities. Of that, the programs that induce state and local agencies to adopt Mainstream-Feminist assumptions and policies—the “Grants to Encourage Arrest Policies and Enforcement of and Enforcement of Protective Orders” (“Arrest”) program–awarded $4.2 million to local agencies to encourage Mainstream Feminist mandatory arrest and prosecution practices. The state-wide “Service Training Officers Program Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program” (“STOP”) awarded $135.3 million.
In 2011 the Arrest awards skyrocketed to $45 million, and STOP jumped to about $140 million. In 2012 Arrest awarded $36 million and STOP about $133 million. In 2012 OVW awarded $378 million total, with $31 million to Arrest, and $127 million to STOP. In 2013 OVW handed out $379 million with $31 million to Arrest and $126 million to STOP. The latest 2014 figures show OVW continued its generosity to Mainstream Feminists with $395 million in total hand-outs, with $30 million to Arrest and $140 million to STOP.
While the Arrest and STOP programs are among the richest, smaller programs which similarly induce adoption of Mainstream Feminist policies are also getting rich, including the “technical assistance” programs such as the Family Justice Center Alliance, which assists local agencies in lobbying and indoctrination of judges, courts, prosecutors, and law enforcement in Mainstream Feminist ideology. The “Justice For Families” programs subsidizes visitation exchange centers and special domestic violence court “training” (indoctrination) for juvenile and family court judges and staff. Such programs receive billions more dollars annually from OVW.
Mainstream Feminism Not a Victory for Women, Men, or Children
Despite that Mills identifies herself as a feminist, she does not see the Mainstream Feminists’ victory as a victory for women. By ignoring women’s contribution to violence, Mainstream Feminism has in fact dis-empowered women from taking control of their abusive relationships by altering their own behavior. Moreover, by blinding itself to female aggression, Mainstream Feminism has propagated child abuse, which is perpetrated far more frequently by mothers than fathers.
Her solution is to abandon Mainstream Feminist’s flawed ideological assumptions, revisit the analysis of actual causes of violence, and in that clearer light examine alternatives to criminal justice intervention that would more effectively prevent violence by all.
Years of research, which mainstream feminism has glossed over or ignored, shows that when it comes to intimate abuse, women are far from powerless and seldom, if ever, just victims. . . . Like men, women are frequently aggressive in intimate settings and therefore may be more accurately referred to as “women in abusive relationships” (rather than battered women, victim, or survivor)
Insult To Injury Page-Turner Version; Complete Book Available at Amazon
Mills describes numerous alternative dispute resolution processes which do not require police-state intervention, such as “restorative justice” circles which permit intimates to improve communication skills, involve non-state communities, and are far less expensive in terms of dollars and tears than Mainstream Feminist’s statist intervention. Sadly, though these processes have been available to the domestic dispute industry for years, they have been drowned out in the “battle cry” of Mainstream Feminists, and billions of dollars in OVW funding exclusively supporting statist solutions. California Coalition’s efforts to advance a more humane dialogue within the domestic dispute industry have been met with anti-competitive behavior, racketeering, and violence.
Most troubling is the absence of evidence that the radical policies of the “battle cry” prevent domestic violence. In the 2012 Biennial Report to Congress, OVW reports a disturbing reality:
Demonstrating the effectiveness of services provided to victims and families and the effectiveness of the criminal and civil justice response to violence against women by agencies funded under VAWA presents a challenge for those charged with meeting the reporting mandate of VAWA 2000.
OVW goes on to report voluminous statistics about “served populations”–proclaiming effectiveness by the number of persons receiving services at, for example, domestic violence restraining order clinics which promote Mainstream Feminist policing and prosecution policies. However, the Biennial nowhere reports crime statistics over time. OVW seems to claim that by providing service alone, the programs are effective. However, Congress’s intent in funding VAWA is obvious: Reduce domestic violence. OVW’s only response? Demonstrating any reduction in domestic violence “presents a challenge.”
In other words, OVW claims it does not know—and suggests no one can ever know–whether Mainstream Feminist policies are effective at reducing domestic violence.
Case Study–San Diego, California
Though OVW claims it can’t determine whether Mainstream Feminist policing, prosecution, and adjudication is reducing domestic violence nationwide, we can. In fact, by focusing on domestic violence crime statistics and fatality studies performed in counties where feminist policies have been implemented for a generation, it’s clear the policies are not only ineffective, they’re increasing risks for domestic violence homicide.
In San Diego County, for example, where the National Family Justice Center Alliance is headquartered, and where the first Family Justice Center began to implement Mainstream Feminist policies in 2001, domestic violence homicides have fluctuated greatly, and longer term have increased.
In fact, homicide rates for all types of perpetrator (intimate partner and non-intimate partner) follow the same pattern of fluctuation despite the San Diego Family Justice Center’s deployment of Mainstream Feminist policing and prosecution in 2001.
More recently, since 2007 violent crime throughout California–including all types of homicide and assault–has decreased by about 50%. Domestic violence homicides on the other hand have fluctuated tremendously, but overall haven’t decreased. In fact, from 2013 to 2014 the family/domestic violence homicide rate jumped dramatically by 43%.
Mainstream Feminists justify their policing and prosecution policies primarily by focusing on the discrepancies between homicide rates between male and female victims–reasoning that increased policing and prosecution of misdemeanor (simple assault) domestic violence will reduce the homicide rate. However, analysis of the actual statistics has shown otherwise.
We must realize that true success is not prosecuting a murderer, it is preventing the murder. It is not locking up offenders for decades, it is stopping the violence so that escalating violence does not require prison beds for most domestic violence offenders. Misdemeanor prosecution is building the fence at the top of the cliff instead of sending ambulances to the bottom of the cliff. Aggressive misdemeanor prosecution prevents the misdemeanor offenders of today from becoming the felons of tomorrow” Casey Gwinn, President, Family Justice Center Alliance, “Making Misdemeanors Matter”, HomeFront vol. 3, No. 2 (1998) (newsletter of California District Attorneys Association)
However, numerous studies by federal agencies show that prosecution of misdemeanor domestic violence has no deterrent effect whatsoever. One study from the National Institutes of Justice found that prosecution was ineffective, and that attention to other “complex forces” in interpersonal relationships was more likely to be fruitful.
The criminal justice system has an important role in protecting victims from abuse by more powerful persons, but criminal justice intervention is not always the controlling factor in interpersonal relationships governed by complex forces.” R. Davis, B. Shaw, L. Nickles, “Deterrent Effect of Prosecuting Domestic Violence Misdemeanors” 44 Crime & Delinquency 434 (1998)
In short, billions of taxpayer dollars profligately wasted, dramatic changes in policing and prosecution in the epicenter of Mainstream Feminist policing and prosecution–the Family Justice Center model–and rampant violations of the constitutional rights of families and men have had no discernible impact on domestic violence homicides. In fact domestic violence homicide rates have resisted the general decrease in homicides from 2001 to 2014.
By exposing the flawed foundational assumptions of Mainstream Feminism, Mills spotlights the Achilles tendon of the soft-science sociological theorists. Expanding unchallenged for decades, these fallacious assumptions have effectively corrupted the policy debate and law based thereon–law that Mills says is clearly intended to subject men to onerous criminal and civil penalties, but also, she explains, results in additional harms to women and children.
Even so, her decades of research and cry for more effective, fair, and safe alternatives have been ignored or, worse, condemned by Mainstream Feminists and their captive audience of grant-funded policymakers, police, prosecutors, and judges.
Mainstream Feminism Assumptions Perhaps A Main Cause of Domestic Violence Homicides
The table below shows how poorly the Mainstream Feminists’ ideological explanations of the causes of domestic violence (“power and control”) relate to actual murders. In the table, “power and control” causes are in orange–they rarely are present in domestic violence homicides. Other causes such as criminal threats and past acts of violence have well-established criminal justice system responses (in red). Other risk factors include “life stressors” such as job loss, a badly-managed breakup, jealousy, and substance abuse. The social support responses to such risk factors are varied–marked in green.
Mills suggests that Mainstream Feminism ignores non-interventionist and collaborative preventative measures in favor of ideological options such as arrest, prosecution, imprisonment, and “batterer’s intervention”–which she notes we have seen over the last twenty years are ineffective at reducing violence. The options which Mainstream Feminism crowds out are well-known–substance abuse treatment, community-based counseling (restorative justice, therapy), and simple micro-economic (family/community) stability. Mills’ current research is focused on analyzing such methods to determine which are most effective. Given that Mainstream Feminism’s existing institutionalized response competes for grant dollars with such research, one might reasonably conclude that our ability to identify and implement responses that actually prevent homicides is menaced by Mainstream Feminism.
The second and sixth major risk factors–alcohol and drug abuse–have well-known treatment options, yet Mainstream Feminists emphatically deny that alcohol or drug use cause domestic violence. This assumption is compounded by Mainstream Feminism’s and current OVW policy that penalizes criminal justice systems utilizing diversion programs, alcohol and drug counseling, or therapy. OVW actually prohibits recipients of certain Arrest and STOP grantees from deploying diversion programs. OVW instead insists that grant recipients deploy “batterer’s intervention” programs.
It is perhaps most striking that three of the most prevalent risk factors–“significant life stressors”–such as loss of a job, relationship breakup, and a pending dissolution proceeding–are not only ignored by Mainstream Feminists–Mainstream Feminist policies work only because they pose the very coercion that leads to the risk factors. According to Mills:
What may come as a surprise to many people is that study after study confirms that arrest, prosecution, and incarceration do not necessarily reduce the problem of domestic violence and may even be making the problem worse. Arrest has been shown to have a positive deterrent effect on men who are “good risk” perpetrators, that is, people who have something to lose by being incarcerated. The men most likely to be arrested because of the criminal justice system’s inherent class and race bias can become more violent in response to arrest. Even a coordinated response that includes arrest, prosecution, and incarceration has not shown better outcomes.”
In other words, mandatory or preferred arrest and prosecution work best when they pose a threat to the accused’s job–which may lead to a job loss. Yet risk or actual job loss is clearly a “life stressor”–and thus a major risk factor for domestic homicide. A man accused of even minor “abuse” (defined broadly in California to capture anything from “annoying”, “contacting” or just innocently going to the mall, church, or school where the “protected person” happens to be present) is at jeopardy for major and immediate consequences of a protective order which–if violated even innocently–can wreck his life. “Stay away” orders prohibit an accused of access to his or her home, property, community, and family–which may lead to loss of all of the above, clearly a major life stressor and thus risk factor–particularly in minority communities.
[A]cross the board policy of mandatory arrest prevents 2,504 acts fo violence against primarily white women at the price of 5,400 acts of violence against primarily black women” .
In sum–Mainstream Feminist policing, prosecution, and judging have failed to decrease homicides and in fact are expressly intended to create the very major risk factors that statistics show do lead to domestic homicides. If a policy that causes the major risks for what the policy is attempting to prevent isn’t horrifically misguided, what is?
The Take-Away For Parents and Children
Family conflict–whether defined as “violence,” “aggression,” “battering,” or “abuse” is never pleasant, often harmful, and may rise to the level of a crime. We tell ourselves, “if only everyone could just see things the way they truly are (which is, of course, my way), then violence would never be a problem.” Yet reasonable minds, perceptions, values, and personalities differ, and we must be able to cope with conflict–and its fallout when unmanaged.
Yet in coping, parents can and should appreciate the many resources available to them including most importantly their own psychological resources, but also collaborative processes and tools that enable self-determination. Mills makes a compelling case that an intimate partner’s decision to stay in an abusive relationship and confront the abuse (rather than abandon the relationship and all that one may benefit from if healthier) is perhaps a far more dynamic expression of self-empowerment. While the solution may not seem fair or ideologically appropriate to Mainstream Feminists, Mills notes that women (and men) have enormous power to end a cycle of abuse by confronting their own contributions to it.
While there certainly is a point at which intervention into a family’s self-determination is appropriate to prevent or redress real harm, reaching out to ideological conveniences, or authoritarian dogma in a “power and control” struggle is short-sighted. As we’ve seen, the heavy hand of police, prosecutors, courts, divorce attorneys, psychologists, guardians, and so many others not known for their delicacy–can be counterproductive, and even dangerous.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they are the children of God.”
We suggest that before you lash yourself, your family, and your future to an agenda that requires others to change by force, take inventory of your own strengths–and weaknesses–to discover how, by accommodating, compromising, negotiating, empathizing, or even forgiving, you can achieve for yourself and your family a truly powerful accomplishment–self-empowerment.
Watch Linda Mills Explain Mainstream Feminism’s Fallacies
The social science laboratory, unlike a sterile STEM lab, is society at large. Social, legal, and economic theorists develop an idea based on observation, articulate hypotheses about how humans in society function—or should function—erect social policies, laws, or other methods of influence or control based on the hypotheses, and watch what happens. Like STEM researchers, social scientists test the results against the hypotheses to either confirm or deny them. Social hypotheses are confirmed when predicted social consequences occur as expected. For example, an economic theory suggesting that lower taxes increases economic activity is strengthened if, after a planned tax cut, economic activity in the affected economy increases. The hypothesis is weakened, on the other hand, if economic activity slumps.
But unlike STEM research, deduction in complex societies is rarely so linear. Multiple factors of course impact a given social, legal, or economic state, making social engineering far more complex than its hard-science cousins.
Yet the Mainstream Feminist’s hypothesis–that increased policing and prosecution of male aggression (while simultaneously ignoring women’s) will decrease domestic violence–has been tested for over a decade in California. Though the OVW claims it cannot measure the effectiveness of its policies, crime statistics indicate otherwise, and the conclusion is clear: Domestic violence homicides fluctuate greatly, and have resisted an overall decrease in homicide. Non-fatal domestic violence has decreased at the same rate of all violence, severely undermining the hypothesis that Mainstream Feminist policies are responsible for the decrease in non-fatal domestic violence. If there is any conclusion to be drawn, it is that Mainstream Feminist’s assumptions–and all policies and laws based thereon–are wildly invalid. And given the grave consequences from such inaccuracy–tragically so.
Given that we know economic and familial stress are major risk factors, we’d probably do better to simply cut a check to anyone encountering domestic strife than pay to train, staff, and equip police, prosecutors, courts, judges, social workers and shelters to pick up the pieces of the inevitable. Short of that, funding family dispute resolution such as restorative justice, mediation, collaborative divorce, and the many other voluntary solutions are at least as promising, and most importantly are entirely legal (unlike sexist policing and prosecution). Divorce and custody battles are by design enormously stressful and expensive–both major “life stressors.” Simplifying divorce, eliminating custody battles based on fraudulent “forensic psychology” traps, and abandoning the whimsical “best interests of the child” standard are within our reach today. Drug and alcohol treatment and education are dramatically underfunded. Simply lowering taxes alone will increase economic activity, create jobs, and improve familial stability.
We know what contributes to domestic violence, and after fifteen years of observing violence rates, we also know that Mainstream Feminism’s policing, prosecution, and judicial policies don’t prevent it, but instead precipitate its risk factors. How long will we continue to permit a politically-inspired boondoggle and twentieth century ideologies to blind us from implementing today what we know will save lives?
Both STEM and social sciences share a common scourge: invalid assumptions. If we assume, as did sixteenth and seventeenth century religious ideologues, that the solar system orbits the earth and not the sun, and similarly reject any theory inconsistent with that assumption, then we will have created a belief system based upon an assumption which—though widely and vehemently held—is demonstrably false. The difference between science and ideology is that science can accommodate the inconsistency between widely-held (but false) assumptions and fact by rejecting the inaccurate assumption.
Science’s ability to reject invalid assumptions—and ideology’s inability to do so—has obvious real-world consequences, even beyond the sentencing of a heretic such as Galileo Galilei to life in prison despite that his hypothesis was demonstrably correct. Imagine a world in which the Copernican terra-centric model were enforced against not just Galileo, but all astronomers, scientists, and engineers. But for the Catholic church’s eventual rejection of dogma and embrace of heliocentrism, we would today likely be living in caves.
The courage of the heretic is itself an act of faith—a faith that by helping others reject predominating beliefs which are demonstrably incorrect, the heretic will eventually assist his or her fellows toward a more accurate vision and prosperous society. Gandhi called this practice “Satyagraha”, or “firmness in truth.” Gandhi, too, spent years in jail for his entirely accurate observations of fundamental truth. Many more like him did too.
Unfortunately for heretics and Satyagrahi, such faith in our fellows’ eventual understanding often means ostracization or worse–prison sentences–while awaiting the powerful-yet-dim to see the light.
Until they do, we should remain grateful for faithful heretic/saints like Linda Mills.
RELATED: Watch Christina Hoff Sommers discuss “How Feminism Went Awry” with Bill Kristol.
 “While some states allow police a great deal of discretion, many states require more aggressive intervention. While a mandatory arrest law states that an officer must make an arrest if (s)he finds probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed, a preferred arrest law instructs the responding officer that arrest is the preferred response.” David Hirschel, Eve Buzawa, April Pattavina, Don Faggiani, Domestic Violence and Mandatory Arrest Laws: To What Extent Do They Influence Police Arrest Decisions, 98 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 255 (2007-2008)
 “Any policy that prohibits dropping, dismissing or not filing a case at the request of the victim is a “no-drop” policy.” A Comparison of Two Prosecution Policies in Cases of Intimate Partner Violence Mandatory Case Filing vs. Following the Victim’s Lead Chris S. O’Sullivan, Final Report Submitted to the National Institute of Justice by Safe Horizon September 2007.
 See http://www.ndaa.org/pdf/domestic_violence_policy_oct_23_2004.pdf (“ADOPTION OF OFFICE POLICIES-“NO DROP” POLICIES VERSUS PROSECUTORIAL DISCRETION Policy Positions: Prosecutors should treat all cases involving domestic violence in such a manner that: 1. Victims understand that their safety is the paramount concern of law enforcement and the prosecutor; 2. Abusers and potential abusers understand that they will be held accountable for such acts; and 3. The community is acutely aware of the importance and serious ramifications of these cases.”)
 See http://www.familyjusticecenter.org/domestic-violence-101.html ( The phrase “mandatory prosecution” or “no-drop prosecution” is used to mean that the state proceeds with a case based upon considerations of evidence, seriousness of the crime, and/or defendant prior record regardless of what the victim wants (Mills, 1998), with the variants of evidence-based prosecution, mandatory victim participation, and mandatory case filing. “No-drop” prosecution, in the form of an evidence-based policy, was pioneered by the San Diego City Attorney’s Office. In the late 1980s, that office realized that there were other forms of evidence besides the testimony of victims that could be collected and presented in domestic violence cases. The City Attorney became convinced that domestic violence could be treated like other crimes, in that the victim’s interest was not the determining factor in deciding whether [to prosecute.]”