Everyone who cares about the fight to end domestic violence should know about a group called “SAVE”, Stop Abusive and Violent Environments. If you want to know who the enemy is, SAVE is at the forefront: they are launching national efforts on many fronts to undermine the anti-abuse cause. And they’re everywhere: they have pages on Facebook, Yahoo, Linkedin, and elsewhere, using clever code words like Gender-Neutral, Feminism, Saving Families.
It’s good for us to know this stuff, because the strategies and tactics of SAVE are the same stuff that abusers and their lawyers use in court: if you’re about to take your abuser to trial for assault or custody or whatever, the tactics and arguments below are the stuff you’re likely to hear from the opposing attorney, aimed at you.
The strategy of SAVE is four-fold: they undermine the DV victims themselves, they attack DV centers and shelters, they attack the laws and rules which put DV violators in jail, and they go after people who are fighting DV, like the authors of the VAWA act, the ABA, and even people like Verizon.
First, the SAVE people attack DV victims, claiming incorrectly that women make false accusations, that women hit men as often as men hit women, and that DV victims are mostly the poor, the gays and lesbians, people living out of wedlock, and people committing immigration fraud, as though that makes it okay (and then they contradict themselves by implying that women using DV services are actually too wealthy and should be means-tested before they get to use the services).
Then they attack the DV centers and shelters, claiming that they are run by people who aren’t qualified and who disseminate anti-male lies because they don’t know what they’re talking about, and that DV programs spend too much with too little progress and too little accountability. But then in the same breath they claim that America has already made plenty of progress fighting DV, implying that the services should be cut.
Then they go after the laws and the people who enforce them, claiming that abuse laws violate the rights of men, that the protective-order tool is abused, that mandatory-arrest rules increase the odds on homicide (rubbish), that college rape rules are unfair to men, that domestic abuse is a mental illness with many causes (i.e. “It’s not my fault!”), and that abusers should get counseling rather than incarceration (which seldom works).
And finally they go after the people who try to help solve the problem. It’s rather stunning, but SAVE is attacking the Violence Against Women Act. They claim that this “dangerous”, “harmful” act is unfair to men, encourages false accusations, makes victims out of women who are not “real victims”, wastes money on DV centers and shelters, encourages judges, prosecutors and policemen to be biased against men, increases demand for welfare services, fosters the overuse of arrests and protective orders, is overzealous in fighting marital rape, and damages families with separations (invoking the canard that it is still better for an abusive parent to have custody of a child). All of which is hogwash.
SAVE is also attacking the American Bar Association for publishing information about domestic violence. The ABA’s information was perfectly accurate, but the SAVE people insisted that the ABA was unfairly protecting women and persecuting abusers. SAVE claims the ABA lied about the frequency of female abusers, lied about women fabricating abuse claims, lied about how many abusive relationships happen outside of wedlock, and lied about abusers trying to increase their efforts to control their victim after separation. In attempting to refute the ABA, SAVE claimed that abuse is just a mental illness (i.e. rather than a crime), that victims don’t really suffer from PTSD, that wife-beaters aren’t also child-beaters, and that abuse doesn’t endanger or damage kids. The ABA pointed out (from experience, being lawyers), that in custody cases, abusers are much more likely to seek custody, make false accusations, and win their claims, and that child abuse claims are rare, but invariably true when they surface; SAVE attempted to refute all these facts.
SAVE is launching an attack on Verizon, which is distributing a video “Monsters” aimed at protecting kids from the effects of domestic violence ( http://www.multivu.com/mnr/52044-verizon-foundation-national-domestic-hotline-video-launch-monsters ). They’re furious because Verizon portrayed the abuser as a male, which is true in an overwhelming majority of cases. This attack on Verizon was carried in the Wall Street Journal, which didn’t bother to check and debunk SAVE’s inaccurate claims about the video.
They are also attacking Doctor Phil, claiming he lied when he told Congress that DV is the leading cause of women’s injuries – which is perfectly true – and that DV isn’t taken as seriously as it should be in America – which is proven by the very existence of SAVE and everything the group says and does.
SAVE is particularly ingenious in tricking legitimate outlets like MSNBC, the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, the Daily Caller, Yahoo and Roll Call to publish their propaganda as straight news, without checking their “facts” first. They have also conned Doctor Laura into fighting their fights for them.
Perhaps the most fascinating part of all this, is that a key member of the SAVE group has been Natasha Spivack, who trafficks in mail-order brides – a business which the VAWA act restricts. Spivack arranged a marriage between a Ukrainian girl and an American man with a known history of abusing women. When the husband unsurprisingly abused his new bride, Spivack and her firm were convicted on a long list of charges and ordered to pay $433,000. So it’s not just divorce lawyers who have a motive for undermining VAWA.
Here’s their link -- http://www.saveservices.org/ .