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Stop the Violence Against Women Act’s war on men

While the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) claims to fairly protect all victims of domestic violence, in reality it intentionally discriminates against about half of the victims — men (“Progressive groups pressure House GOP to pass Violence Against Women Act,” Dec. 11). 

First, social science research literature is unambiguously clear. Domestic violence is initiated about equally by men and women; slightly more women than men are physically harmed, but men nonetheless still represent more than 40 percent of the physically harmed victims; the domestic violence initiation rates for women, and especially young women, have been rising; and the domestic violence rates for bisexuals, gays and lesbians all are higher than for heterosexual couples. Yet men receive no protection under the current versions of VAWA under consideration.

Second, the ideological foundations of VAWA discriminate against men. Conceptually, VAWA is based on the Duluth Power and Control Wheel model, which falsely presumes that all domestic violence is perpetrated by evil patriarchal males against virtuously innocent females. There is no research support for this false gender ideology.

Finally, by title alone VAWA discriminates against men. Given that domestic violence approaches 50-50 on most indexes, why does Congress want to serve only half of the victims? Where are the programs for male victims of domestic violence? Where is the money for fathers and their children who have been victimized by violent and abusive wives and mothers?

Standing in stark contrast to VAWA as written today are the words engraved above the entrance to the U.S. Supreme Court: Equal Justice Under Law. Fairness demands a new law in the next congressional session that provides genuine protection for all victims — including the male half of the population. 

— Miami

Empty ‘consequences’ don’t have any effect

From Bert Watson

It seems that the administration is very publicly adamant that if Syrian President Bashar Assad uses sarin gas against his people, “There will be consequences.” One might wonder just what those consequences might be, and if they would be as substantial as the consequences that the administration has taken against those in Libya who killed four Americans, including a U.S. ambassador. And, because Russian President Vladimir Putin is a supporter of Assad, will the administration have to get permission from Russia before it does anything? Is that part of the “message” that President Obama gave Dmitry Medvedev to give to Putin in March? 

And, what good will an empty threat of “consequences” do to those who died as a result of the use of the gas? All the Syrians, or Russians, or Iranians, need do is mention Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the American Civil War and the number of casualties those conflict caused, and the United Nations will condemn any response the U.S. might consider. Other than that, it sounds like a flawless, smooth, effective strategy.

— Jacksonville, Fla.

Obesity crisis isn’t over despite some good news

From Helen Durkin, executive vice president of public policy, International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association

Don’t be fooled. While reports of falling childhood obesity rates are greatly welcome, buried behind the good news are three hard truths (“Childhood obesity rates tick down in major cities,” Dec. 11). First, America is changing ethnically and culturally. The populations who suffer most from obesity are increasing in number. Second, one-time, short-term initiatives to combat obesity don’t work. Third, a sustained, multipolicy effort that focuses on nutrition, lifestyle and exercise is the only way to decrease obesity, improve our nation’s health and decrease the cost burden of healthcare.  

It is important for our policymakers to hear, understand and act upon this triad of truths. After all, the obesity “cliff” that we face is just as real and as daunting as any fiscal one before us.

— Boston, Mass.

United States should not support any dictators

From Chuck Mann

Our federal government has been giving billions of dollars to Egypt for years. They gave billions when Hosni Mubarak was dictator, now they are giving billions to Mohammed Morsi. Our government doesn’t seem to care if the Egyptian dictatorship is military, civilian, secular or religious. 

For some reason, the Republican and Democratic parties that rule the U.S. government think it is all right to support some dictators, rather than opposing ALL dictators, warlords, despots and tyrants. Our government should cut off all foreign aid to all dictators. In fact, our government should cut off all foreign aid to the Middle East.

— Greensboro, N.C.

Raise the debt ceiling, move on to bigger issues

From Wes Pedersen

Everyone seems to see the ceiling on U.S. debt as if it had been created by God. It isn’t and wasn’t. Ergo, it is not untouchable. Congress and the president should raise it immediately and use the time gained to achieve fiscal solutions that will not, as is the case with the present recommendations, rip this country apart.

— Chevy Chase, Md.

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