Wednesday, December 29, 2004


I was reading an article on by Wendy McElroy regarding a Washington Post article about violence against pregnant women called "Pregnancy and Homicide: The Known Toll" What really got me thinking was her response, not really the article itself. In the Fox article she refers to the National Institute of Justice study (NIJ) that agreed with the assertion that "couples living in disadvantaged neighborhoods, facing job instability and economic distress are at higher levels of probabilities of violence." I checked out the PDF link of the report and it seems to draw a conclusion that low income and even poverty leads to crime. Personally, I don't believe this but it does beg the question of if it is true as so many studies seem to imply this including the aforementioned.

According to this brief of the report, no efforts were made to examine and measure the individual and couples personal backgrounds, belief systems and practices. Only their job status, economic stability and neighborhood economy was taken into account. The report implies that the violent behavior is a result of the couples economic status. How so? A mighty flawed conclusion don't you think? Very one sided, no? Could it be that the economic status whether good or bad is a result of pre-existing behavior? What about historical data in relation to the Black community and White community? Is this a new phenomenon or has it been taking place for an extended length of time?

The NIJ report really doesn't do woman any real justice for it seems to leave out the actual cuases of violence against women, which by the way, I would contend is not economic instability, for how do they account for violence occurring in financially stable households? While the stats are lower, they still show that it occurs. Shouldn't the focus be on preventing all violence against all women, not just poor or rich? I would agree that low or no income can contribute to an already stressful situation as an added burden to an already unstable relationship. This report, doesn't speak to the real cause of violence against women and especially pregnant women in particular. If studies like this are to be done, there needs to be a truthful evaluation of the dynamics of a given relationship, i.e., were the spouses previously incarcerated? Did either party grow up in a two parent home? Were they married at any point during their relationship or just living together? Were there children involved other than the unborn? Did they attend church, synagogue, mosk regularly? Are the extended family, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, a regular staple in the couples lives? Was the violence provoked through acts of violence stemming from the woman? And I could go on and on. One big question that apparently wasn't asked was whether or not there was an abortion involved or any other highly emotional "choices" or incidents that could have lead up to said violence? None of these questions are asked or answered and all of them can and in most cases do contribute to the success or failure of a marital or live-in relationship and can agitate one towards violence. According to a Department Of Justice on-going study as reported by the Heritage Foundation, married women fair far better and have lesser risk of violence than unmarried women, as well as the children. Shouldn't this data have been included in such a report by the NIJ? Yet, this aspect of male/female relationships was not addressed in the brief, only economic status. Given that the focus is on economic status anyway, wouldn't it behoove the NIJ to address this particular data in support of marriage and encourage policy makers, especially those involved with regulating welfare benefits, to move to alter existing policies that look to undermine the institution of marriage, which in turn could lead to less violence against women and children in poorer communities? Yet, there is no connection made here, which seems to be an obvious one to make.

I agree that the Donna St. George article in the Washington Post completely misses the mark as McElroy's critique points out. One example is a comment given by Pat Brown, a criminal profiler; she states:
At any age, "pregnancy is a huge, life-altering event for both the male and the female,"... "It is certainly a more dangerous moment in life. You are escalating people's responsibilities and curtailing their freedoms."
Curtailing their freedoms? Who is the "you" in that statement and what freedoms are being curtailed? Shouldn't the notion of losing certain "freedoms" have been considered prior to getting pregnant? Why is the fear of responsibility all of a sudden an excuse for violence? These articles seem more like an attempt to paint pregnancy as a dangerous choice for women, almost as if to dissuade one from getting pregnant or even having a relationship with a man, but is that the real solution? The rest of her statement is quite telling though as she actually touches on a key lesson to be learned regarding the new mores of our culture. Brown goes on:
...If the woman doesn't want the baby, she can get an abortion. If the guy doesn't want it, he can't do a damn thing about it. He is stuck with a child for the rest of his life, he is stuck with child support for the rest of his life, and he's stuck with that woman for the rest of his life. If she goes away, the problem goes away.
This is my major problem with St. George, her premise only shows to bring attention to the issue of violence against pregnant women at the expense of painting male/female relationships with a broad brush, as if it is a matter of the women getting pregnant and somehow the man immediately gets scared and kills her. She stays away from pointing to factors that potentially lead to said violence such as the instability of the homes that the younger men and women came from, economic stresses, attitudes toward family and belief systems as well as whether or not the men who commit these murders have prior criminal records.

In addition, she and the many so called health experts and studies cited in the two articles so far don't bring to light the real and blindingly obvious issue involving violence against pregnant women and women in general, a lack of moral character among the men committing such acts. She and those interviewed seem to miss the mark as indicated here in talking about the high risk of violence among pregnant teenagers:
"It's something we need to look into more," said author Cara Krulewitch, wondering: "Is there a vulnerability factor we don't know about? Is there a social factor?"
Is there a social factor? What causes violence in anyone? I contend it is a lack of moral character. What leads to strong or at least acceptable moral character in our society? A stable upbringing in a two parent home, good life choices, a perceived or real commitment to the spouse (i.e. marriage), regular and consistent practice of character building activities, i.e. attending church, volunteering, organized sports and other types of positive group affiliations, which ironically, will probably be found prevalent in older, more affluent, and higher income earning households. Although I do agree with the article in that more needs to be done in documenting such incidents yet when the data is gathered, there needs to be a profoundly honest look at the facts in light of what we already know is true and works.

Overall, this seems like another blind attempt to paint a negative image of male/female relationships, pregnancy and ultimately family in our society. Isn't it ironic that such a strong front is made on behalf of these slain women, including strumming the heartstrings by giving names of mothers and the unborn, their ages, dreams, aspirations and quotes from family members, yet no stink is made over the amount of abortions performed each year? It seems more as an attempt to romanticize single motherhood rather than present an honest look at a potentially growing and gruesome trend.

Interesting though that some of the women mentioned in the article had had prior abortions before deciding to keep the last child. If we want to truly calculate the amount of violence against women, why not include the data from Planned Parenthood so that we can get a true picture? Isn't abortion, especially partial birth abortion, among the most violent acts committed against women and children? Unfortunately it is one that is pits mother against child. We consider a pregnant women's fetus to be a victim of homicide, yet in an abortion procedure, it isn't even human.

The new revelation of the increase in violence towards pregnant women(notice how the word mother isn't used) should be no surprise to those who understand the nature of man. The more we devalue the weakest among us, the less valuable we all become (i.e., only as strong as the weakest link) and whether you agree or not, women are the weaker vessel. They are the next logical step in being receptors of violence, even from other women. The next two WP articles in this series will be interesting to read indeed, hopefully they will actually hit at the heart of the causes of these unfortunate series of events and discontinue the disingenuous strumming of the heartstrings.


Anonymous said...

It seems to me that this article is nothing more than an endorsement of abortion.

Keith Harris

r said...

Jerry- I agree that poverty is the cause of violence against women. Sin is. I grew up in a wealthy home and had endured daily physical and mental abuse. We drove a BMW, Alpha Romeo, and Mercedes; my mother and step-father both had graduate degrees and surrounded themselves with intellectuals. Some may say that my situation is an exception, but having lived in many places, and befriended both rich and poor, I find that it had nothing to do with how much money was in the bank, and more to do with Jesus being in the heart.

Jerry McClellan said...

R, I am sorry for your troubled past. It is good to know that you came into the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. I wonder, will the rest of the world ever get that point? Will they really come to understand such a simple and basic fact of life?

Just imagine if we went from the generally accepted notion of good being in all people to a more biblical understanding of the nature of man? How our society would change for the better. It would profoundly change our current justice system.

I have a thoughtful question, what caused Adam and Eve to sin? We say that it is because of sin that people do wrong, but what exactly does that mean? Maybe I will post about that with your insites and answers.

Anonymous said...

"I checked out the PDF link of the report and it seems to draw a conclusion that low income and even poverty leads to crime. Personally, I don't believe this but it does beg the question of if it is true as so many studies seem to imply this including the aforementioned."

Jerry - my heavens, how old are you? Low income and poverty have led to crime for the last century. How you cannot believe this is, well, is just unbelievable to me.

Jerry McClellan said...

Anonymous, I will simply direct the question right back at you, how old are you if you believe that crime is a direct result of poverty?

Such a simple explanation, on the surface, yet when you really examine the implications of drawing such a conclusion it becomes quite a dangerous one indeed. For such generalities work only to justify bad behavior and puts the blame on external matters rather than fostering accountability on the individual. This study and many others focus only on the one aspect, economic stability, and not on potentially other damaging behaviors such as mental state, childhood development, and religious affiliation. All of these contribute to one's behavior, does it not? Yet, rare is it to find a credible study these days that include such information. No doubt, attempts at justifying deviance have been around for quite some time, i.e. the homosexual movement in America forcing the American Psychological Association to remove from its own clinical findings that homosexuality is a mental disorder, presenting false and misleading studies of a relatively few hypothalamus' in dead bodies that supposedly show that homosexuality is innate, equating studies of homosexual tendancies within the animal kingdom to human behavior, etc.

Concluding poverty equals crime is no exception. These studies are only done to suit a specific need at the time, they are not fact finding excercises nor do they serve to promote a public good. If anything, they are done with a preconcieved ideology and the study is persued only to justify that ideology, not to prove it true or false but only to find evidence in support of it. I believe this is why the NIJ study left out so much pertinent info, in order to "prove" a preconceived idea that poverty causes crime.