Our Widget:: Why Don't They Just Leave?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Stark-Dutton Debate

One of the main strands of our domestic violence documentary film is a debate between leading lights of the mainstream domestic violence world and their critics, mostly from academia. In domestic violence, the mainstream approach is the view that at one time was radical, the viewpoint that was developed in the 1970s by the battered women's movement. The essential idea is that domestic violence stems from the patriarchal values of our society, and the related policy prescriptions have included mandatory arrest and batterer education programs.

The critics in academia claim to have an empirically based approach, one that challenges the mainstream assumptions. These critics question the significance of patriarchal values, and instead look at psychological and socio-economics factors.

A fascinating new window into this debate can be found -- of all places -- on the web sites of Fathers & Families and also on the site of Glenn Sacks, the men's rights radio host and pundit.
Evan Stark, a Rutgers professor and member of the "Power and Control" board of advisors, and Donald Dutton, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia who also appears in the film, engage in an online debate that's being carried jointly on the sites. The format is a point, counterpoint series of postings and responses from the two experts.

I was thrilled to come across this debate. It's great to see two impressive thinkers I've met in the course of shooting the film appearing in another forum. To follow the debate, go to these links:

Part I: Evan Stark on the prospects for changes in domestic violence policy during the Obama administration.

Part II: Dutton on the same question about domestic violence policy and Obama.

Part III: This is Part II of Evan's answer to the first question!

Part IV: Stark responds to Dutton.

Part V: Dutton responds to Stark

Part VI: Stark responds to Dutton. (Link good as of 10/20. Check back for updates)