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Women's Refuge Claims Misguided

Women's Refuge Claims Misguided

ACT MP Muriel Newman, is today under attack from the Women's Refuge for stating that the most unsafe environment in which to raise a child is in a family headed by a solo mother with a series of different partners.

"I am sure Muriel Newman will verify this claim but what I would particularly like to respond to," says Lindsay Mitchell, petitioner for a parliamentary review of the DPB, "Is the Women's Refuge National Coordinator's statement that, 'Single mothers are not to blame for men's violence.' "

"This understandable but misguided absolving people of any responsibility for their circumstances is never going to solve the problem of violence. An expert in dealing with the victims of domestic violence, British psychiatrist, Theodore Dalrymple, makes the following observation;

'At first, of course, my female patients deny that the violence of their men was foreseeable. But when I ask them whether they think I would have recognised it in advance, the great majority - nine out of ten - reply, yes, of course. And when asked how they think I would have done so, they enumerate precisely the factors that would have led me to that conclusion. So their blindness is wilful.'

"It is tragic that this 'blindness' ends up badly affecting not only the women but her children also. Of course violent men should be held responsible for their actions in a court of law and dealt with decisively, but by the same token, women should give these men a wide berth in the first place."

"One of the reasons that insecure and controlling men latch on to single mothers is that she provides a source of income through a benefit. So instead of being a way out of a violent relationship the DPB becomes an attractant to the wrong sort of partner. Tony Ryall, National MP, has previously described how gangs get into state houses on the backs of their women and children."

"Benefits and 'blindness' then, are two aggravating factors in the growth of domestic violence," concludes Mitchell. "It is interesting to note that the Christian Heritage Party, whose deputy leader is Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, the previous head of the Women's Refuge, has a policy to phase out the DPB."

Lindsay Mitchell
Petitioner for a Parliamentary review of the DPB
ph/fx 04 562 7944
e-mail dandl.mitchell@clear.net.nz

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