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October 16, 1977 - Image 9

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Michigan Daily, 1977-10-16
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Page 12-Sunday, October 16, 1977-The Michigan Daily

abuse
(Continued from Page 11)

-

alcoholism, work or counseling
programs available to felony convicts
on probation, according to Detroit
Recorders Court Judge Patricia Boyle.
The misdemeanor conviction thus
becomes somewhat ineffective.
"Still," says Bannon, "judges are not
going to send that violent male to jail.
Their logic is that that man is not a total
criminal. And they are afraid of the
economic hardship it would impose on
his family."
* * *
"Aside' from being battered, a woman's
biggest single problem is not being able to
find a place to stay. If you have a fat bank
account or a mother who'll take you in then
you're lucky but many women just don't
have those resources. "-Sue Wallendorf,
Washtenaw County Domestic Violence Task
Force.
IF THE legal maze presents the vic-
tim of a spouse assault with an un-
wieldly and uncertain avenue of
complaint, the necessary social and
emotional resources available are scat-
tered at best, and in many places
across the state, simply non-existent.
During a question and answer period
at last week's conference, a gesture
made by two women summed up the
dearth of services. Standing up they
announced simply, "We're from the
Macomb County YMCA and we don't
have anything out here."
A counselor from a fledgling crisis in-
tervention program in Muskegon
poured out her frustrations to a con-
ference discussion group. "I don't know
how to deal with this. I am being swami-
ed with women who have fled, taking
nothing with them. They need food,
they need shelter, they need clothing,
money and they need protection. Some
need to get out of town quickly with
their children and I am tempted to help
them-even tempted to do something
illegal to get them out quick. Others
return to their homes to find their
possessions ruined, their refrigerators
smashed. We need more money
resources but I don't have time to sit
down and document it. I don't have
time to fill, out your fucking forms.
What I need are answers, quick."
In Washtenaw County, the newly-
christened Assault Crisis Center has
initiated a counseling and referral
program for the victims of spouse
abuse and domestic assault, which has
been hailed as one of the best in the
state. Of the 555 clients who have con-
tacted the clinic during its first ten
months of operation, 423 of them have
called in regard to a domestic assault.
Although a large percentage of the
women are seeking shelter, according
to director Bisdee, the Center has been
able to house only a select group in a
network of volunteer homes, or in
motels for three days at most.

whereabouts. He can obtain informa-
tion from the welfare office regard-
ing his wife's whereabouts by merely
problems of battered women. During
Even the most recently devised
welfare programs reflect a high level of
ignorance or insensitivity to the
problems of battered women.During
debate on a victim recompensation act
which took effect October 1, the State
House of Representatives voted
specifically to reject an amendment
that would have made indigent victims
of, spouse assault eligible for compen-
sation for medical expense.
S* * *
"I am tired of going to men and having to
count up how many bruises, how many
broken bones, how many black eyes in order
to demonstrate the need for services. The
time for that is past"-Director of a shelter
for battered women.
N AN ATTEMPT to document, con-
clusively, the need for attending to
the problem of domestic assault,
the Michigan Women's Commission
published last month a report based on
public testimony from experts and vic-
tims. Meanwhile, the push for social
services, police reform and legislative
change seems to be r:Aing some
momentum across the :date in connec-
tion with a number of recent develop-
ments:
" In Lansing, a package of eight bills
submitted last month by Represen-
tative Connie Binsfeld (R-Maple City)
in the state House, represents the most
far ranging attempt as yet to legislate
changes in the treatment of abused
women.
" In a separate move, Rep. Barbara
Rose Collins, chairwoman of a joint
state House and Senate committee on
spouse abuse formed last spring, said
last week that she hopes to have
recommendations ready for the
legislature when it reconvenes after
Christmas. However, that timetable
could be unrealistic as the committee
has not yet convened due to scheduling
conflicts.
" Also last month, Detroit Metro
NOW, in conjunction with the Detroit
Police Department, presented a report
to the Detroit Police Board of Com-
missioners which outlined a plan for
reform of the handling of spouse assault
cases. The Department has made the
reforms a priority item, according to
Bannon. He hopes to move soon to
eliminate call screening, upgrade data
collection on domestic cases and begin
some -sort of "conflict intervention"
training for police officers.
" Locally, members of the Domestic
Violence Project announced last week
that they hope to establish a shelter in
Washtenaw County by January 1978.
" In Detroit, the two-day Cobo con-
ference on battered women concluded
last weekend with resolutions which,
while not always realistic in goal, sym-
bolized a state-wide call for change.
Although over a dozen bills dealing
with the subject of wife abuse have
been introduced into the state House of
Representatives, not one has made it
out of committee chambers for a floor
vote.
The legislation proposed by House
members has taken two different
forms. Bills sponsored by Rep. Daisy
Elliott (D-Detroit) would set up pilot
shelters, counseling and job training
programs for displaced and battered
,women. Binsfed's.bills focus more on
'police,, prcedural and penal code
changes. But bne iihportant provision

goes a step further than Elliott's bills,
in providing for a statewide system of
shelters as well.
"I am hoping that the pilot programs
would demonstrate the need for per-
manent shelters throughout the state,"
says Elliott. However, the $200,000
requested in the job training bill and the
$500,000 request for three pilot shelters
failed to be appropriated for the '77-78
fiscal year, which began October 1.
Says Elliott, "We hope to have the
money before the 1978 session ends."
Although the funds Elliott's bills
would require are not substantial, some
legislators are questioning what it
would cost if the pilot programs were to
be implemented state-wide.
-Says Rep. Raymond Cehres (D-
Monroe), whose Social Welfare Sub-
committee of the House Appropriations
Committee will make recommen-
dations on the bills, "My eyes are not
completely shut. I know these needs
exist but it's a question of where
your're going to put your priorities.
You're setting up a whole separate
bureaucracy to deal with a very small
target area relative to the rest of
society. What I'm looking at is what
such a project would cost if you were to
implement it throughout the state."
Cehres later acknowledged that the
prograi would be administered under
already existing bureaucracies such as
the labor and welfare departments. But
he voiced further reservations, saying,
"you already have private sector agen-
cies dealing with this problem-the
police department, the Department of
Social Services, churches, and there
are places for them (battered women)
to go in their own neighborhoods. We
have job training now, I'm not so sure
we need another program."
THOUGH HE conceded the inci-
dence of spouse abuse is high, he
added "There's an awful lot
more of this problem with people who
are living together than with people who
are married." He indicated, finally,
that he might be more inclined to favor
some sort of state support to already
existing shelters in the private sector,
than initiate a welfare administered
state program.
The shelter bill in the package in-
troduced by Binsfeld, takes that kind of
approach. It would authorize the
Department of Social Services to con-
tract with private agencies for the
provision of shelter and related support
services.
Other bills proposed by Binsfeld
would:
" give police the power to make an
arrest without a warrant in cases where
there is probably cause that a domestic
assault has occurred, even if it is only
a misdemeanor
* Give police the same power to
arrest if there is probably cause to
believe that a restraining order issued
during a divorce has been violated
" Improve record keeping and
statistical reporting for both domestic
assault cases and restraining orders
w Require police training for the han-
dling of domestic assault cases
Establish counseling programs in
misdemeanor assault cases
" A bill still being drafted would
mandate a jail sentence with an op-
tional fine for the violation of a
restraining order, issued during divorce
proceedings.
Rep. Paul Rosenbaum (D-Battle
,.Creek),. hairman of te. House
Judiciary Committee where the bills
rare now under rev-iew, forsees op-

position to the arrest clause crucial to
Binsfeld's penal code revisions.
"There may be a number of
representatives whowould oppose that
arrest power as a violation of civil liber-
ties. That brings up a practical question
in terms of votes."
But at least one civil libertarian,
Howard Simon, state executive director
of the American Civil Liberties Union,
had no negative reaction to the proposal
when contacted last week. Though
he condeded that he was not completely
familiar with domestic assault arrest
procedures, he said, "If there's
probably cause of a crime having been
committed, that's a justifiable in-
trusion of privacy."
Whatever opposition may develop to
Binsfeld's legislation-both over her
proposals for penal code changes and
for a statewide shelter network-some
Democratic House members are ap-
parently not yet ready to accept her
proposals as a definitive package. .
Rosenbaum has said the judiciary
committee "won't move" on the. Bins-
feld bills until it has also reviewed the
yet-to-bedeveloped recommendations of
the joint House-Senate committee
headed by Collins. Meanwhile, accor-
ding to another member of the Collins
committee, those recommendations
could come in the form of a "completely
new set of bills."
The fate of any spouse assault
legislation, noted Lee Kefauver, former
NOW legislative liaison in Wayne Coun-
ty, could be decided by nature of the
1978 House election campaigns.
"No bills will get through unless
women running opposite some of the in-
cumbents are able, with some success,
to make it an election issue. The House
Judiciary Committee, for example, is
packed' against women by the
previous voting records of its members.
But if a woman, say, runs opposite Rep.
Rosenbaum with domestic assault as
her issue and makes good headway,
Rep. Rosenbaum will make sure the
issue moves very quickly through the
legislature.
"He is, after all, an expedient liberal."
film-
(Continued from Page 4)
ering circumference of an automo-
bile. Rudolph does wondrous things
with his camera, bathing his subjects
in dark purples or blistering gold sun-
light, often spotlighting them in soft,
center-lit cameos, enshrouded on all
sides by darkness.
. The film returns again and again to
the setting of a recording studio,
where Baskin's lvely, haunting song
score serves as the thematic corner-
stone for the picture. While the same
technique failed in 0 Lucky Man! due
to Alan Price's turgidly monotonous
songs, Baskin gives L.A.'s people the
tragic deep-focus to 'justify their
night wanderings.
A social critic whose name escapes
me commented recently on the state
of literature and film and how we fool
ourselves with one-dimensional ster-
eotypes; There are no heroes and no
villains - there are only victims, and
all the artist can do is forgive. While
Robert Altman may never under-
standthis truth, it is encouraging to
. both art ad -life to discover that,
some of his -pupils,,,gently and
passionately, do understand..

N

l4

U

This system is inadequate, says Sue
Wallendorf of the separately-run
Domestic Violence Project, a group
trying to gather funds for a formal
shelter. She points out -that the nearest
Michigan shelter is in Kalamazoo.
At the Assault Crisis Center, Bisdee
outlines a plethora of other problems._
Women can not go to school even for job
training and remain on public assist-
ance. The welfare office does not classify
domestic disputes as "emergencies.'
For this reason abused women who are:
not on public assistance cannot be
housed in the shelter system main-
tained by that department. Meanwlile,
an application forwlfaremayprovide
a tipoff. to the husbhand of*,hts wi 'g

inside:-

Wife-beating:
The neglected
epidemic

Books: More
wackiness
from DeVries

I-

Film:
and h
protel

;1n

-

Supplem-ent to ThaMichigin Daily

I' -I-
prote~

-Ilr-

Ann Arbor,l

Michigan-Sunday, October 16, 1977

F.

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