Thursday, October 20, 2005

PBS Response To The "Breaking the Silence" Outcry

I have yet to receive a response to my letter, but I was emailed a copy of one received by someone else. If you have yet to pen your letter (considering it airs today you are kind of running out of time) you could use this to anticipate their BS reply to our concerns.

I am copying the response verbatim here:

Dear Mr. :

Thank you for taking the time to write to PBS about your concerns regarding BREAKING THE SILENCE: CHILDREN'S STORIES. Comments from our viewers - both positive and negative - are the best guides we have to make future programming decisions.

We have forwarded your observations to the filmmakers - producer Dominique Lasseur and director Catherine Tatge - who have asked us to share their thoughts about the documentary with you.

"When we began this project over a year ago, our goal was to produce a documentary about domestic violence and children. We had no preconceived notions about the issue... no specific agenda to prove or disprove. The finished documentary is simply a result of where countless hours of extensive research and interviews took us. These are the real stories of real women who lost custody of their children when Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) was used as scientific proof in their family court cases. These were the stories we found over and over again.

There have been a number of concerns raised regarding Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) and how it is addressed in the piece. We do not make the assertion that the phenomenon of alienation does not exist, simply that PAS is wrongly used as scientific proof to justify taking children away from a protective parent. We as filmmakers are in no position to determine the scientific validity of PAS. However, the fact remains that the American Psychological Association (APA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) have not recognized PAS as legitimate science.

Some individuals have expressed concern that the documentary only features the stories of women as the victims of domestic violence. Research shows that while women are less likely than men to be victims of violent crimes overall, women are five to eight times more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate partner. (U.S. Department of Justice, Violence by Intimates: Analysis of Data on Crimes by Current or Former Spouses, Boyfriends, and Girlfriends, March 1998). If we had featured the stories of one man and five women who had been victims of domestic abuse, statistically we would have grossly overstated the problems of men in this area. Nevertheless, we recognize that men are also victims and men are also sometimes victimized by family courts, but it is overwhelmingly women who are victims. In all cases, the children are the victims.

These are difficult and controversial issues that stir human emotions. Nothing can galvanize one's passion like the welfare of a child. We understand certain individuals will never be completely satisfied with the information presented in the documentary. All we can do is offer, in the most open and transparent manner, the reasoning and research that went into this program."

We appreciate your interest in PBS programming and hope that you will continue to enjoy and support your local PBS member station.

PBS Viewer Services


My email is out of control today but I just received the following in regard to the PBS response and I think it needs to be printed.

In reference to the claim that women are "five to eight times more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate partner:"

This is not precisely true. Here are the REAL numbers from the REAL report:

LETHAL:"* In 1996 just over 1,800 murders were attributable to intimates; nearly 3 out of 4 of these had a female victim.

"That means that over 1 out of 4 had a male victim. Females, according to the report, therefore, had an intimate murder rate a little over 2 times that of men.

NON-LETHAL:"* ... In 1996 women experienced an estimated 840,000 rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault victimizations at the hands of an intimate ...""

* Intimate violence against men did not vary significantly from 1992 to 1996. In 1996 men were victims of about 150,000 violent crimes committed by an intimate."

That were REPORTED!

The ratio is 5.6:1 female to male non-lethal violent crimes -- NOT 8:1.

In reference to "If we had featured the stories of one man and five women who had been victims of domestic abuse, statistically we would have grossly overstated the problems of men in this area:"

How is it "grossly overstating" the problem when the ratio is FIVE TO ONE???

From the same report used by filmakers to support their positions you can also find:

"For female victims of violence, strangers and friends or acquaintances rather than intimates were responsible for the highest rates of crime."

Intimates for the NCVS include current or former spouses, boyfriends, and girlfriends.

"So-called "intimate" violence against women represented only 21% of all violence against women in 1996. That means that that 5.6:1 ratio may have just become ONE TO ONE, when adjusted for, ahem, reality.



Blogger Vinayak said...

this is great

do you have similar statistics for the latest years ?


11:04 AM  

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