Thursday, February 19, 2009
Conway Selectmen against taxpayer support for victims of domestic violence
The online version of the Conway Daily Sun newspaper is behind a paywall. This means that unless you pay to subscribe, the bulk of the online paper is not available for viewing.
This also means that today you’re missing the front-page story entitled, “Selectmen Vote Against Town Funding for Domestic Violence Organization,” by Andrea Osmun. On Tuesday, in Conway, the town selectmen (yep – 5 men) voted 4-1 NOT to provide any town funds to Starting Point, a non-profit that provides shelter and support for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. One selectman, Mark Hounsell later explained his no vote as a mistake, and plans to clarify it at the deliberative portion of the town meeting.
The deliberate ignorance of many local men on the topic of rape and domestic violence are no longer a surprise to me. What did, however, come as something of a surprise, were the comments made by selectman Crow Dickinson. This is the kind of thing that most adult men know better than to say in public, no matter how much they loathe women:
"I don't think taxpayers should be responsible for funding a program that takes in abused women," Dickinson said. "The church should, the neighbors should, and anybody who's interested should. But not taxpayers. " Dickinson said, "Clearly, there's a need" for such a program. But he also said Starting Point is a "new program" that "needs to demonstrate they can do whatever they're doing and be successful and show a big need. " Starting Point has been in existence since 1981. "There are a lot of women who use (domestic violence) as a gimmick in divorce proceedings," Dickinson said. "All they have to do is call the police and get the person thrown out. If I call the police and say you're abusing me, they'd have to believe me. I wish people would split up and be more polite about it. " Although Dickinson said he had "absolutely no question" that there are legitimate cases of domestic violence, he added, "Just because you have a worthy cause doesn't mean we should put money in a tin cup. Some people are very convincing. It's not an easy thing to say no. " Instead of taxpayers being asked to give the organization money, Dickinson said, "A lot of people could make contributions to this effort."
The church and the neighbors should fund this organization, but not the taxpayers. Apparently Mr. Dickinson needs to jar his memory some – seeing as how WOMEN are half of the taxpayers.
I don’t know Crow Dickinson all that well. Perhaps all of his relationships with women have been conducted strictly on a cash basis, which is why he assumes all women are gold diggers. I do have a news flash for him – the police do not automatically believe women who call and say they are being abused. Many times they don’t take it seriously at all. In the case of a stalking complaint, the police are even less likely to pay attention. A number of years ago I went to the police with a stalking complaint. The officer told me that since I had not been threatened or hurt, there wasn’t anything they could do for me, despite the fact that this man had at least 6 restraining orders taken out against him. Apparently they viewed all of us as hysterical women. We were probably having our periods at the same time. Fortunately this unbalanced individual didn’t kill anyone. He died before he could.
Battering is not used as a “gimmick” in divorce cases. There has to be proof. Clearly Mr. Dickinson is harkening back to the days of his dinosaur youth, when women knew their place. Back then, women knew that if a man hit them it was because the bitches were asking for it.
• Nearly one in every 4 NH women has been raped or sexually assaulted.
• Over half of the women in our state have experienced sexual or physical assault in their lifetime.
This is not the reality for most men. Because they don’t have to fear rape and assault, they pooh-pooh the notion that women do.
Women are raped, beaten, and killed by their husbands and boyfriends every single day. Our society does not take crimes against women seriously.
We taxpayers pay for police to protect us. It’s a public service. So is shelter for women who are being terrorized and beaten in their very own homes. If we cannot protect them from being beaten, we certainly owe it to them to provide a safe place while they heal and make plans to go on with their lives. This is what a community is supposed to do – provide safety and nurture. The idea that these men could be opposed to such a consideration is sick-making.
In times of financial crisis, domestic violence escalates. I would urge the myopic, misogynistic, selectmen of Conway to reconsider their recommendation. I encourage the voters of Conway to go against the recommendation of the selectmen, and vote for Starting Point. As you vote, pray that a woman that you love will never require their services, but know that you're making sure those services will be available if she does.
The tee shirt in the picture is the new uniform for the Conway Selectmen.
Posted by susanthe at 3:41 PM