Via Tiny Pasture, we learn that Martin Kennedy might want to read the studies he’s drawing conclusions from before he draws conclusions from them. (Sorry, Martin. You know I love you, but I can’t let this nonsense stand.)
So, women are more likely to report violence against them and less likely to kill those who smack them around when we adopt policies that prevent them from dropping the case against their abusers.
Women are better off if we take away their choice?
Now, I know that, when pulled out like this, you can already see some flaws in his line of reasoning. For one “taking away women’s choice” does not equal “women are more likely to choose to report violence against them and less likely to choose to kill their abusers.” See, by providing abused women protection from their abusers when they do report violence (and making it more difficult for their abusers to manipulate them into dropping charges), it makes it easier for them to choose to report it and to choose courses of action that don’t lead them to feeling like killing their abusers is their only choice.
I’m linking to the original paper here so that you can see the real problem.
Note Kennedy’s language. “Women are better off…” “Well it is better if they, the women, don’t have a choice with respect to prosecution…”
But look at the paper. Men are better off if women don’t have a choice with respect to prosecution. Over twenty years, we’ve seen “the number of men killed by wives has declined dramatically from 1400 to less than 500 annually.” (p. 23)
How are things working out for women?
According to the authors of the paper that Kennedy thinks proves that women have it better when our choices are limited:
the annual number of female intimate partner homicides nationally has declined slightly from 1500 to 1250 over the nearly 20 year period (p. 23)
Finally, we find no evidence that no drop policies lead to a reduction in domestic violence as measured by the number of women killed by intimate partners or the number of women admitted to the hospital for an assault. (p. 4)
and (most disturbingly)
We find that counties that adopt a no-drop policy witness a 14-17 percent higher rate of arrest for domestic violence relative to counties that do not adopt such a policy over this period. However it is not clear from this analysis if this finding is due to an increase in reporting, or an increase in domestic violence as a result of no-drop policies (p. 31)
Let us recap. Due to the no-drop policy, we see very little change in the amount of women killed by their partners each year, no evidence that it leads to a reduction in domestic violence, and uncertainty about whether it leads to an increase in domestic violence against women.
And this is what Kennedy calls “better” for women? Perhaps the good professor has a different definition of “better” than I do? Perhaps he meant to say “men” and not “women”?
Don’t get me wrong. I think the no-drop policy is a sound one. Batterers should be prosecuted and they should not have the opportunity to terrorize or manipulate the battered party into backing out of pressing charges. And, frankly, the less murdered people, the better, so I consider it a good if battered spouses aren’t running around killing their abusers.
But to jump from “some good has come out of proceeding with prosecutions in spite of the wishes of the victim” to “women are better off when we tell them what to do, so let’s take away their right to an abortion!” is a leap no mere mortal should try to make, so it’s no surprise that not only does Kennedy fail to stick the landing, he seems to have left a couple of footprints in the plasticine after the takeoff board.
Ha, it’s not every day that you’re going to read an elaborate long jump metaphor here at Tiny Cat Pants. Enjoy!