The beat goes on

Letters to the Boston editor, January 19, 2007
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  January 17, 2007

I would like to thank the Boston Phoenix for choosing to speak the truth in your article “The Year Women Got Beat Up” when it could have easily chosen something more circulation-friendly. I have always hated watching the news or reading the newspapers, as I found that the media were just another form of entertainment coming from a perspective far from my own. I commend you for refusing to comply with that trend.

What struck me most about the article was something quite simple, yet so grand: your gender, Mr. Bernstein. As a student, as an athlete, as a domestic-violence survivor, I always felt like my life was an uphill battle. As a (quite green and eager) feminist, I never wanted to have an “us vs. them” mentality, but I felt that because most men (and sometimes women) cannot empathize, they do not care.

But then I read your article. As it only took a few men to almost destroy my confidence, you sincerely gave me hope. I cannot explain how much that means to me and many women like myself searching for answers, for equality, and, most important, for something they fear might not exist.

Last name witheld by request

As a physician, I marvel at what type of cerebral network must be at play for a seemingly educated man to see the barest fraction of an issue and be blind to so many facts that don’t fit his scheme. I guess Mr. Bernstein needed a story and never stopped long enough to worry about fairness, accuracy, comprehensiveness, and just simple truth. Further, he seems to believe “women advocates” are all knowing and not what many are — political activists. Consider a few other facts:

Domestic violence, according to federal statistics, has dropped more than 50 percent in the last 12 years.

Domestic violence is not gender specific; the number of men killed or maimed is growing at an alarming rate.

Statistics on the number of male victims are not kept by state agencies or police departments.

The highest proportion of domestic violence in any group occurs in lesbian relationships.

False accusations are increasing rapidly as restraining-order laws are bent and abused to settle arguments over child custody, finances, and infidelity.

Despite federal recommendations, the term “domestic violence” does not include violence and abuse to children, which is reaching epidemic proportions, and is far more frequent in mothers than in fathers.

About 80 percent of domestic violence, whomever the perpetrator, is associated with serious substance abuse and dependence and yet there are few, if any, programs dealing with this in a preventative way. Thoughtful, caring people must work together against violence of any type. To do this, we must be factual, honest, discerning, and comprehensive — all capacities that Mr. Bernstein could use plenty more of.

Arnold Robbins, MD

Thanks for your coverage of the continuing violence against women. In most reports I’ve seen, there’s no acknowledgement of a link between the idea that boys and men are being shortchanged and discriminated against in our schools, while girls are being catered to. The fact that schoolgirls are being singled out as a gender to be killed is rarely mentioned. Yet it would seem these two things are reciprocal.

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