Maine OUI Lawyer

Maine OUI Attorney

GENDER POLITICS UPDATE ON MAINE’S CERTIFIED BATTERERS’ INTERVENTION PROGRAM

Update bulletin.  The other day, I posted a story on the litigation surrounding Maine’s statutory/regulatory scheme for certified batterers’ intervention programs.  The governing regulations allow certification only of programs for men convicted of certain violent crimes against intimate female partners.    Oddly, they also contain the directive that Maine’s State certified batterers’ intervention programs must take certain measures to ensure that they “hold themselves accountable to the battered women’s movement.”   The effect of these regulations is that a woman convicted of a domestic violence offense can only be sentenced to a maximum of one year of probation while a man can be sentenced to two years.   In today’s Portland Press Herald, it was reported that the Maine Legislature is dealing with the gender bias issue by crafting legislation to establish gender-neutral rules for certifying batterers’ intervention programs.   I hope the rules are written to insulate them from the long-dominant influence of gender politics.    In today’s Portland Press Herald article, a quote appeared from Sherry Edwards, assistant director of Caring Unlimited, which for approximately the last year has held an uncertified batterers’ intervention program for women.    To quote the Press Herald, Edwards explained:  “Men and women are violent for different reasons, so they need separate treatment programs that ultimately have the same goals:  reducing future risk to victims, and teaching participants healthier relationship skills.”   Who can argue with the stated goals?    But what’s with the part about men and women being violent for different reasons?  Are all men violent for the same reason and all women violent for a different one?  Apparently Edwards thinks so.   Imagine if she proclaimed that Hispanics and Anglos are violent for different reasons and so need separate batterers’ intervention programs.  Who could take that seriously?   Hers is the agenda-think that got us man-specific batterers’ intervention programs to begin with.  Maybe at this point we should consider that people are violent for different reasons, and then build a batterers’ intervention scheme around that.   The male-only rules were first enacted on April 29, 1998—nearly 15 years ago.   Evidently, within the last year or so, a few uncertified programs have sprung up for women.    One can only speculate as to the timing.    That aside, how about stripping out the gender politics and getting down to what’s really going on with people—individuals– convicted of committing violent crimes against intimate partners and household family members?  Surely, I speak heresy. 

 

 

Fri, February 8 2013 » Maine Law