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February 6, 2013 at 4:00 PM

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Pass the Violence Against Women Act

Male victims of violence also need support

We need to protect all victims of intimate-partner violence, regardless of gender [“A second chance to protect abused women,” Opinion, Feb. 4].

The most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report on intimate-partner violence found that each year more men (5.36 million) than women (4.74 million) are victims of intimate-partner physical violence (Tables 4.1, 4.2 of full report) and psychological violence (20.5 vs. 16.5 million). Yet here in King County, there are no services for male victims. When I called I was referred to a program for male batterers.

Too often, men are told the programs only serve women, are accused of being the batterer or are laughed at. In one survey by Denise Hines & Emily Douglas, men who phoned the police were arrested more often than the women against whom they sought protection.

The Washington Constitution provides equal protection regardless of gender. Domestic-violence programs have been found to violate equal protection in California and West Virginia. Renewal of the gender-polarizing Violence Against Women Act while ignoring the real needs of male victims perpetrates this discrimination.

--Bert H. Hoff, Seattle

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