Indeed, the most serious health issue related to domestic violence of course is mortality, and the California Women's Law Center (CWLC) conducted a survey of 100 murders of women by their male intimate partners. The results are very germane for those interested in health-related gender fairness through the law in California.
CWLC found that in 59% of the surveyed cases of women homicide victims the murder was not the first abusive episode; and a "history of threats to the victims' life" by the killer was available in 47% of the cases. Because seeking a "restraining order" and/or domestic violence services increases a victim's safety in many cases, 68% of abused murder victims "...never obtained, or attempted to obtain, a protective order against their abusive partner" (CWLC, 2003). Just 20% of those women killed by intimate partners had an active restraining order against their abuser at the time they were murdered.
But where were the family members when it came to protecting the health of these women? CWLC writes that in 76% of the cases involving "a history of abuse," friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members were aware of the violence in the relationship. In 56% of the cases where women were murdered, law enforcement had been called to the house, and in 22% of the cases, cops had been called multiple times. And in 51% of the cases, the wife or girlfriend had separated from the abuser at the time of the killing.
Meanwhile, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 407 into law in September 2007, which, according to the CWLC, "...rectifies a potentially life-threatening oversight which formally allowed a person accused of battering a victim to act as the 'holder of privilege' on behalf of that victim" (CWLC, 2007). In other words, this bill "ensures" that female victims of domestic violence and their children "will have a secure and safe environment to disclose sensitive information" to domestic violence therapists and counselors. This establishes through law that the domestic violence counselor have a minimum of 40 hours of training and be responsible for not disclosing "sensitive information" with reference to the victim's plight (CWLC, 2007).
As for teenage women, the CWLC reports that 9% of dating ninth-graders and 13% of dating 11th graders "reported abuse in a dating relationship in the previous 12 months" (CWLC, 2007). What is more egregious is that 43% of teen dating violence occurs in a school building, or on school property, meaning schools officials are not protecting girls from violence visited upon them by boys - unfairness compounded.
Approximately 1 in 5 high school-aged girls report having been physically and/or sexually abused by an intimate partner" (Austin, 2006). Testifying before the California Commission on the Status of Women, Emily Austin, a Fellow at CWLC, reports that young women (ages 16 to 24) are "the most vulnerable to intimate partner violence...and the prevalence of intimate partner violence for young women [is] three times higher than any other age group" (Austin, 2006). Rarely is the male in the relationship harmed, Austin explains, excepting in cases where the girl fights back in self-defense. The CWLC calls out schools' failure to "take formal and informal complaints seriously" from girls who have been subjected to date-related violence. Does this sound like fairness for young women? Certainly not, and this is not a new phenomenon.
Women's hormone creams are carcinogenic: Men are not being sought as customers for testosterone-laced creams, but women have become consumers of creams that are promoted as "alternatives to hormone replacement therapy" and as preventative medication to treat "numerous diseases including osteoporosis and cancer" (CWLC, 2005). However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that these creams - which contain "progesterone," "medroxyprogesterone acetate," "methyitestosterone," among other toxic chemicals - are not "safe and effective." With that as a backdrop, the CWLC sued 35 companies that manufacture hormone creams.
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