Virginia’s Ken Cuccinelli worked with group that thinks the VAWA encourages women to fake domestic abuse

Via Politico

Via Politico

Virginia’s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli wants to be governor but throughout this process of running more and more information about his extreme views are being revealed. Before transvaginal ultrasounds were a household term, thanks to Cuccinelli and his buddy Bob McDonnell, he was a private attorney who was very active in the Father’s Rights movement. With regards to the Violence Against Women Act, these Father’s Rights groups have been called out for essentially operating as an organization that discriminates against women who are suffering at the hands of their abusive partners.

Via The Washington Post:

A National Organization for Women advisory committee on family law wrote last year that fathers’ rights groups’ “true objectives are to discriminate against, control and punish women by gaining custody of children and to denigrate the personal and economic sacrifices made by mothers for their children.”

Nationally, fathers’ rights groups also have opposed the federal Violence Against Women Act, partly because they think it has fueled false abuse allegations. A group previously run by Grignol, Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting, claimed in a 2007 report that because of the Violence Against Women Act, “over 1 million false allegations of domestic violence are filed each year.” Women’s rights groups and other critics strongly dispute that false claims are so widespread.

This year, 47 state attorneys general sent a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. Cuccinelli was one of three who did not sign it. His spokesman said at the time that Cuccinelli would not support a bill that was still subject to change.

The updated legislation has been law since March, and Virginia Democrats have run ads against Cuccinelli on the issue. He still has not articulated a firm position on the issue, though Nix said he and “other law enforcement in Virginia are highly motivated to do everything in their power to protect women and children within the commonwealth.”

Cuccinelli seems to have left off his history with Father’s Rights groups from his campaign website but the record still stands.  It’s one thing to defend a guilty client to make sure the criminal justice system is working fairly, it’s a whole different thing to defend clients as part of an agenda that believes women lie about domestic violence and to help facilitate child custody for the abuser so they can continue to harass the victim.  Here’s hoping Virginians won’t elect the second coming of Bob McDonnell as their next governor.

Join the Conversation

  • QuantumInc

    Unfortunately I have to strongly disagree with the assumptions that seem to underlie this post.

    To claim that abusive women are rare compared to abusive men is not only empirically wrong, but also a case of oppositional sexism similar to 19th century thinking. The dark side of equality is that women are just as horrible as men under the same socialization. As society moves towards the ratio of abuse committed by women and by men will equalize, with the possible exception physical abuse.

    Currently men are significantly more likely to commit violent or sexual abuse, because men are encouraged to be violent and sexually domineering, and even sexually violent. However the difference is not so great that we can afford to ignore or excuse acts committed by women.

    I would imagine that even out of the female abusers who do exist, the ones who are malicious enough and legally savvy enough to fake an abuse case are pretty rare, but they do exist; and many of the laws designed to protect women from abuse include nothing to prevent someone from taking advantage of the system. A million false reports is an exaggeration, even a pretty severe exaggeration, but is is merely an exaggeration. It does happen, and the next version of VAWA and similar laws need SOMETHING to prevent them from being abused, even if it slightly reduces their effectiveness.

    The Good Men Project posted a moving story that changed my mind. I realize they have posted some things that are absolutely wrong, but that doesn’t mean everything they do is wrong. Trigger warning for abuse. The man is beat, he has the physical capability and military training to easily stop his wife, but he doesn’t because he generally doesn’t want to hurt his wife, and realizes there would be legal consecquences. She kicks his head into a wall, and his injuries are documented.

    However she soon reports that she is scared of him and a judge issues a restraining order that isolated him from her, their children, and their house. She also drains his bank account, leaving him completely homeless. To be fair he had the muscles and military training to do damage, but he had always avoided hurting her, he didn’t even attempt to physically restrain her, and she had repeatedly hit him, but that wasn’t considered when issuing the restraining order. He asked his lawyer what to do when a woman hits a man and the response was “Run. Run and don’t go to the police.”

    In addition there is the oppositional sexism often causes women to be awarded custody of children because women are thought to be the primary caregivers. I doubt it is as bad as Father’s Rights group claim, but it certainly exists. Any feminist will agree that women are stereotyped as being the primary caregivers to children, even in situations where that is clearly untrue, it should be obvious that this will have an influence in divorce courts. And again, it is utterly absurd that primary aggressor laws apparently don’t take the presence of injuries, or other evidence of specific violence in specific acts into account.

    Meanwhile this is also the country where a woman can get arrested for firing a warning shot vicinity of her raging husband, or report a rape to the police and have a police man demand that she retract her accusation (and then give him a hug) or any of the numerous stories one sees reading feminist blogs, or taking a college course on the subject.

    Personally I see the case in the Good Men Project article to be another case of the same social sickness. It primarily affects women, but it also hurts men; and we can’t afford to ignore the harm men face due to sexism. Father’s Rights groups and The Good Men Project attempt deal with the other side of the sexism coin, they just do it extremely clumsily. I believe we will have to tackle both female and male gender issues in order to actually end the problems posed by sexism.

  • John

    “A National Organization for Women advisory committee on family law wrote last year that fathers’ rights groups’ “true objectives are to discriminate against, control and punish women by gaining custody of children and to denigrate the personal and economic sacrifices made by mothers for their children.”

    Why do they believe that a father wants to punish an ex-wife by gaining custody of his child rather than a father wanting to gain custody of his child because he loves his child and wants to be involved in the decision making in his child’s life?

    “Women’s rights groups and other critics strongly dispute that false claims are so widespread.”

    Why would they believe that a mother wouldn’t use a false abuse allegation to get back at her ex-husband while simultaneously stating that a father’s primary reason for seeking custody is to get back at his ex-wife?

    Apparently there are some people who believe that a person’s parental love and moral compass are determined by their gender. It seems many of these people identify as feminist and they have the temerity to say that feminism is all about gender equality and breaking people out of the gender box. I guess unless it inconveniences women.