Former DV Shelter Director Was the First to Help Battered Men and is Honored by Men’s Rights Activists
8/12/11 – Los Angeles: Patricia Overberg, the first known domestic violence shelter director in the United States to help male victims along with female victims, passed away today (August 11, 2011). Patricia is being honored by men’s rights activists as a hero and civil rights pioneer, similar to the shelter director Erin Pizzey in England.
From 1990 to 1998, Patricia directed the Antelope Valley Domestic Violence Council in Lancaster, California, also known as the “Valley Oasis” shelter. After realizing male victims had no place to go, she courageously changed her women-only policy by setting aside one of her shelters for male victims and their children, and in rare cases of overflow she would obtain consent from residents in another one of her shelters to mix the sexes, which, she says, never created a problem. Nonetheless, Patricia was mistreated by other shelter directors who insisted services should only be for women. The mistreatment became so severe that she filed a complaint with the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, as she explains in her sworn declaration at www.ncfmla.org/pdf/overberg.pdf Patricia later joined NCFM’s Advisory Board and the Speaker’s Bureau of Stop Abuse For Everyone (SAFE) and remained closely in touch with battered men’s advocates until the date of her death.
In 2004 Patricia encouraged NCFM to file a lawsuit to end the discrimination against male victims and their children. NCFM filed the lawsuit in 2005 and in 2008 won a landmark appellate victory that held it is unconstitutional for the State of California to exclude male victims from the state laws that fund domestic violence services. The case is David Woods v. Horton (2008) 167 Cal.App.4th 658 and can be read at http://law.justia.com/cases/california/court-of-appeal/2008/c056072/
After the Woods decision, Patricia joined battered men’s advocates in a historic meeting with Los Angeles County Counsel, domestic violence shelters and others regarding enforcement of the Woods decision. In the attached photo taken after the meeting, Patricia is on the bottom left between Pasadena City College instructor Edgar Pacas and NCFM attorney Marc Angelucci. Until the date of her death, Patricia continued to encourage NCFM to file another lawsuit to enforce the Woods decision. To this date, advocates from NCFM and the Men’s Health Network continue meeting with the Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Counsel in an uphill battle for inclusiveness and equal access and treatment for male victims.
Patricia will be remembered by many as a hero to men’s rights and equality. Her policy of inclusion remains in place today under a new director.
Bio of Patricia Overberg http://ncfm.org/advisor-board/patricia-overberg-msw/
Sworn Declaration of Patricia Overberg www.ncfmla.org/pdf/overberg.pdf
Marc E. Angelucci, Esq.
National Coalition For Men (NCFM)
Statistics on Male Victims
The Centers for Disease Control recently funded a major study of heterosexual relationships throughout the U.S. and found: “Almost 24% of all relationships had some violence, and half (49.7%) of those were reciprocally violent. In nonreciprocally violent relationships, women were the perpetrators in more than 70% of the cases,” and both sexes suffered significant injuries. http://www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/97/5/941
The same study also found: “More women than men (25% versus 11%) were responsible. In fact, 71 percent of the instigators in nonreciprocal partner violence were women” and “while injury was more likely when violence was perpetrated by men, in relationships with reciprocal violence it was the men who were injured more often (25% of the time) than were women (20% of the time).” http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/42/15/31-a
Men are less likely to report it (which makes crime data unreliable), but almost 300 studies now confirm “women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners,” as California State University Professor Martin Fiebert shows in his online bibliography at http://www.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm
For example, a 32-nation study by the University of New Hampshire found women are as violent and controlling as men in dating relationships worldwide. http://www.unh.edu/news/cj_nr/2006/may/em_060519male.cfm?type=n
When children witness either parent hit the other, regardless of how severe or minor, it becomes a model for them to follow. Domestic violence is an intergenerational cycle, and we’ll never stop that cycle without being honest about it rather than following the politically correct gender paradigm that has been totally refuted by serious researchers like Professor Don Dutton of the University of British Columbia and many others.