The Los Angeles Daily Journal, which is the primary legal newspaper in California, last week confirmed that they scheduled for publication Mr. Angelucci’s op ed below in yesterdays edition… for DV Awareness Month. Unfortunately, the Daily Journal is subscription only so there is no link we can provide to the published article.
By Marc E. Angelucci
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. And on Oct. 4, President Barack Obama made his yearly speech to raise awareness about this serious problem in the U.S. Unfortunately, like other presidents before him, his speech only referred to victims as “women,” leaving male victims and their children invisible as usual.
When Obama mentions our soldiers fighting overseas, he rightfully says “men and women” to include the minority. Why don’t domestic violence victims don’t deserve the same dignity?
Numbers shouldn’t matter. All victims, male or female, should be recognized. But it is worth mentioning that male victims are not a tiny number. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than one in three women and more than one in four men have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime, while one in four women and one in seven men have experienced “severe” forms of the same.
I became an advocate for male victims over 10 years ago when my best friend’s wife, an alcoholic, repeatedly assaulted him when she was drunk. She would punch him, kick him, throw furniture at him and even try to stab him. He refused to hit back because he knew he would be arrested. He did not want his wife arrested. And he couldn’t afford to take the kids anywhere else. So he and I called several domestic violence shelters in Los Angeles. But none would help a male victim even with just a hotel voucher or counseling. These were state-funded programs that men pay at least half of the taxes toward. Rather than help all victims, they referred male victims to the remote desert community of Lancaster where a shelter called Valley Oasis sets aside one home for battered men. That was too far for my friend and his kids who went to school in Alhambra. So the violence continued. Eventually he called police and she was convicted. Then he obtained a restraining order and had her kicked out of the house.
While nobody was seriously hurt, the psychological harm to the kids is immeasurable.
Eventually I filed a lawsuit on behalf of four battered men against the state of California, which resulted in a landmark appellate decision holding it is unconstitutional for the law to exclude male victims and their children from state-funded domestic violence services. This was a step in the right direction, but was not enough. Enforcement of the decision is still weak. Thankfully, the Los Angeles County Domestic Violence recently approved an official task force on male victims.
Abraham Lincoln, John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart, Al Green, Phil Hartman and Chuck Finley are among many famous male victims. And I’m hopeful that one day all victims will be treated with the same dignity and respect regardless of sex. Nov. 19 is International Men’s Day, and I invite people to do something on that day to raise awareness about this long neglected side of domestic violence.
Marc E. Angelucci is an attorney and the vice president of the National Coalition For Men.