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Like slavery, Domestic Violence costs some and profits others. ARE we really all in this together??

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As we near the end of yet another Domestic Violence Awareness month, let’s evaluate the costs and benefits {say, what??} of domestic violence, and Let’sGetHonest — there IS a benefit to some folks for perpetuating it, and for some of the folks perpetually stopping it.

Face it:  An asset on one person (or institution’s) balance sheet is a liability on another.  An expense on one’s is income on another’s.  A loss on one’s may show up as a profit on another’s.  That’s called “transfer of wealth” and “marketing.” 

Right now, the American people (at least) have mortgaged their conscience (and families) to others in too many categories, and hopefully by paying taxes, the experts will take care of the major problems and the rest of us can get back to the grindstones, our passions, or whatever makes our days.

Hearing about slayings related to family breakups (innumerable and geographically widespread), or gangrapes after a homecoming dance (Richmond, CA — recent) , or workplace shootings by disgruntled ex-employees (Orlando, Florida), or international parental child abductions, asylum IN the United States from abuse abroad, or asylum abroad FROM abuse in the United States, and — now — at-home military massacres of  yet-to-be-determined cause (mental health caregiver stress + fundamentalist religious protest against the war in terror — Ft. Hood, TX — 13 dead) — and so forth.  These are high costs.  

How many common values do we really share?

The question is who’s invested in maintaining it, and who really is invested in stopping it.  Once that becomes clear, then another question is who is invested in the fruitless effort to turn a sheep into a goat, or a bad apple into a good apple. Are all apples really potentially good apples, or is this line of reasoning quack science?  And how long, and how much must WHO pay WHOM in trusting that the experts experimenting on — guess which communities — have those communities’ best interests at heart. 

Institutions do what institutions are designed to do — grow, and perpetuate themselves.  And pay employees to run them, PR to promote them, and advocates to advocate for them.  Face it, domestic violence is now an institution, and with many similarities to slavery.  And I do believe it has its own carpetbaggers — one reason I started this blog, too. 

I ran across TheLoop21.com, and was immediately taken by its common sense and uncommon points of view.  Here is one of their series on Domestic Violence:


By Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D.

Tue, 10/27/2009 – 07:18

Guns killed 305 Black women in 2006.

Read more of TheLoop21.com’s Red, Black and Green series on domestic violence.

Domestic violence in the African–American community must stop. It seems like an easy enough thing to say, but doing it seems like something else all together. We live in a society marked by violence. This country was founded on violent acts, many of which were against women, particularly Black women who were slaves


(2)  Second, consider whose loss == whose gain. 


now that we consider for whom DV is a literal $$$ EXPENSE, I suggest we consider, to which groups, businesses, entities, and/or individuals or professional classes of individuals DV is actually an INCOME, if not a business, a livelihood, a name, and a pretty solid cash flow, whether private or governmental. 

now here’s that article. . . .

Domestic violence in the African–American community must stop. It seems like an easy enough thing to say, but doing it seems like something else all together. We live in a society marked by violence. This country was founded on violent acts, many of which were against women, particularly Black women who were slaves. It would seem that having suffered such violence at the hands of former male and female slave owners, our cultural practices would demand that we respect and protect Black women from harm. It is truly sad, when the one thing that we can count on statistically speaking, is harm in the form of physical and emotional abuse from our intimate partners. 

According to the study “When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2006 Homicide Data,” released by The Violence Policy Center, a national non-profit organization that conducts research on violence in the United States, 551 African American women were murdered by males in 2006. The study stated that there were 1,818 race-identified females murdered by males. While white women accounted for the largest total of those killed (1,208), African American women were killed at a rate nearly three times higher. How did most of the murders occur? Guns killed 305 of those women.

Intimate partners are literally blowing Black women away for a variety of reasons that include stress, mental illness, control, narcissism and pathology. Mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces and cousins are leaving this earth with wounded bodies and spirits and sadly enough the numbers are increasing, not decreasing. What does this mean for the black community?

It means that we have to do something to break the cycle of abuse and violence in our homes. If the majority of Black households are headed by women, what happens when those women are killed or injured? Talking about domestic violence hasn’t helped. High profile cases like those involving Chris Brown and Rihanna, Bebe Winans, Big Pun, Don Cornelius, Jennifer Hudson’s sister and Tyrese Gibson haven’t helped. Women offering testimony in church and on YouTube hasn’t helped. Men and women creating awareness campaigns during the month of October hasn’t helped. 

If you turn on the television or read a newspaper, there is a very high likelihood that a woman murdered by an intimate partner is somewhere in the content.

We know that domestic violence breaks up families. We know that children suffer emotionally, financially and spiritually with the sudden loss of a parent. We know that it leaves irreparable mental and emotional scars on women and men. But do we know the economic costs of domestic violence to the black community? Let me break it down for you.

According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, in the United States, the cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, with $4.1 billion going towards direct medical and mental health services. 

Victims of intimate partner violence lost 8 million days of paid work because of violence committed against them by current or former husbands, boyfriends or dates. That equals 32,000 full-time jobs and almost 5.6 million days of household productivity.

According to the National Funeral Director’s Association, the average cost of a funeral in the U.S. is $7,323 thousand each year. In 2006, Black families spent over $4 million burying African American victims of domestic violence.

According to the World Health Organization, the cost of domestic violence in the United States amounts to 3.3 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

Sadly, I could go on but I’ll stop. Domestic violence is costing this country, and our community, much more than our mental, physical and spiritual health. It is costing us our economic viability and the ability to create financial freedom in our communities. How will we build wealth in our community, when so much of it is going towards costs related to domestic violence?

Appealing to the heart, mind and spirit has not worked in ending or decreasing domestic violence incidents in our country and in the Black community. While we are underachieving in so many arenas, we are overachieving in this one.

When strategizing on how to end domestic violence, think about it from more than an emotional, physical and spiritual perspective. Think about the economics of it. While we’re killing women, we’re killing the economy and our economic growth too.

Nsenga Burton, Ph.D. is managing editor of TheLoop21.com. She also writes the pop cultural blog Tune N, is a cultural clinic for Creative Loafing and an Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Goucher Collegelike it!

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Read more of TheLoop21.com’s Red, Black and Green series on domestic violence.



Dr. Burton, are you aware of IAADV?  May I also recommend randijames.com and rights4mothers.wordpress.com? 

Also, on my blog, I have a rather harsh, in some senses, response to a Kansas Legislator promoting another fatherhood initiative.  This is an African American woman raised by a pioneer activist, her own mother.  Yet the logic totally eludes me – – search “Oletha Faust-Goudeau” on this site.  I then researched her, a bit, and found that some key connections had convinced her to go in a certain direction, and not another. 

I personally wish more blacks could homeschool, rather than put their kids in HeadStart, then inferior K-12 school systems in which too many teachers have bad attitudes, but the one with great attitudes still have a bureaucracy to deal with.   The educational, economic, and court/law enforcement institutions, as well as our federal tax dollars are closely woven together in an operational LOOP. 

The comparison wish slavery is a good one.  Slaveholders profited, immensely, from free labor — obviously if you pay a slave nothing, or a subsistence wage, discourage literacy, break up families, rape enough of the women, and repeatedly tell them their problem is really discontent with their lot, that’s a lot of effort, but it’s also a lot of profit.  hmmm . .. kind of reminds me of aspects of our educational system, too.  but back to the point. . . . . . .        

Appealing to the costs of abuse to ‘us all’ as a society assumes that those economic costs to those profiting are actually higher than the benefits of abuse, in which those profiting from it have actually invested.

Following my line of reasoning yet?  . . . .  A chronic abuser does so because it is allowed, it produces benefits that that individual wants, and because no one has forced him, or her, to stop. . . . .      

I challenge “us” to consider — really consider — is ‘we’re all in this together’ a myth or not, in matters of DV, neighborhood violence, or national debt. 

In Richmond, California, a community is in shock – it will last a few weeks or months, I am sure — when a 15 year old girl leaving a homecoming dance and walking to be picked up by her father — there was a father involved — never made it there.  She took a detour with some friends, inhaled a lot of alcohol, it seems, and then she was no longer one of the gang, she was gang-raped.  And photographed.  And the gang was substantial.  This only stopped when someone at a nearby houseparty finally got outraged and called the police.  It is all over TV and newspapers.

People, where do we really think the gang mentality is formed???  Why was a 15 year old wanting to drink?  Why, in one of the highest homicide cities in the nation, and that’s the truth, was not her Dad able to show up at the FRONT door?  How could a young girl not have some friends (not the come, get loaded, and whoa — here are the rest of my male friends who’d ‘love’ to get to know you type of friend) walk her straight into her Dad’s car?  If her Mom and Dad were employed, were they paying taxes for an educational system where THIS happened, and where a 15 year old doesn’t have a real friend to support her even a few dozen yards after a dance, and set some better values?   Would the fatherhood movement have helped avert this situation?  I sincerely doubt it.

In the USA we have a remarkable thing happened.  We have an African American President and First Lady.  Not only, but our President was raised by a single mother and is bi-racial.  How much better hope can we have that someone at the top of the ladder of the top country in the free world, or at least one close to the “top,” would speak for us, feel for us, care for those hurting and those at the bottom, especially after what he went through as a youngster. 

I voted for President Obama.  Afterwards, and after losing my livelihood, and children, and watching friends also take repeated hits, because of family court corruption, I looked at whitehouse.gov and found out where the word “mother” stood, as far as usage.  I found uncomfortably close connections pre- and post-election between fatherhood groups and individuals, particularly Jeffery Leving, Esq., of Illinois, and the honorable stream of feminist backlash conservatives wanting to make sure the WOMEN (any color, but for sure African American) didn’t get too uppity and forget their place in life.  I learned that the Obamas were in 2007 the 10th richest US Congressman couple, somewhere underneath Rockefeller, Boxer, McCain, I think Feinstein?, and a Senator from Tennessee who was making a large profit in corporate daycare business, multinational.  How “us” is this Congress, really?  How many of their children went through the public school system and came from dangerous neighborhoods?  How many of them inherited no wealth or, what’s more, no business sense? 

How many of them are women??  Let alone African-American women.  Let alone African American Women who raised children alone?  Apply this also to the other institutions running national policy — I mean at the decision-making level, not the support staff level..  And where these top decisionmakers ARE women, how many of them are holding to policies which go against the grain in the matter of stopping domestic violence, vs. making a profit studying low-income people ground up by one system or another of many?

I fled my home yesterday, briefly I hope, because of a male without a professional or personal life of his own other than his refusal to acknowledge that in the USA, it is permissible to divorce, and no, you canNOT come back in my life.   I happen to know some of the fathers’ rights talks he has been egged on by, and this was after one of the firmest, plainest NOs it is possible to deliver.

This man alone was never the sole problem.  I survived and got out.  For years now, I have appealed to their own economic common sense in the enablers both local, familial, and in an everwidening circle, all I ran into, seeking my own life back, and if possible some contact with children who were being, in essence, held hostage to this IDEA that a single mother is a threat to society and her own children, per se — no evidence required, but proesting this in any form is evidence of bad character — and trust me.  For enablers, it has to hit VERY close to home economically or personally, to cause a change of position, opinion, or action.  And for those with the added religious gas in the tank — it’s an offence to their God, it’s disrupting society, it’s against nature, to let a competent woman leave a violent man with children in tow — and not go back!!!   their own life {and apparently maybe there wasn’t much life outside of dominating women} – – may not even be close enough.

I am typing on a strange computer from a strange place, struggling again with another technology, and I am getting damn tired of this of the stress on my friends, and acquaintances, children, and self. 

No struggle is without costs, and all worthwhile things are going to take a fight.  But maybe — TheLoop21 folks — we need to really understand that there are indeed sides, and who is on which one.  

The marginalized of society are the canaries in the coal mine.  They are the barometer and feedback to its institutions, because those institutions are run by like human beings with like instincts, only not so tested yet, perhaps. 

So are you a canary, a miner, or do you own the mine– or hope to?  The miners and the canaries had best know which one they are appealing to when it comes to domestic violence in the community.  Are you part of the Gold Rush, or did you have the foresight to invest in Levi Strauss, and the technology and suppliers of the gold rush folk?  Where’s the parallel in this topic?

I can tell you who some of the Levi Strauss investors, with real foresight and a replicatable business plan, were in the BUSINESS of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.  Can you?  If not poke around this blog, ones linked to it, or figure it out yourself.  HINT:   AFCC.  HINT:  MMPDI  HINT:  Center for Policy Research and a few others in the Denver area.  HINT:  practically the entire family law field.  Analyze a few of these, and you’ll recognize the business model.

Thank you for your tolerance, and hopefully this post offends someone enough to stop, pause, and ask other questions.



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