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July 26, 1983 - Image 6

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Michigan Daily, 1983-07-26

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OPINION
Page 6 The Michigan Daily .Tuesday, July 26, 1983

A

The Michigan Daily
Vol. XCIII, No. 27-S
-x 93 Years of Editorial Freedom
Managed and Edited by students of
The University of Michigan
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the
Daily Editorial Board
TV news: A (pretty)
woman's world
OVER THE HILL at 38. That's what former
news anchorwoman, Christine Craft was
told by Kansas City's KMBC-TV. Too old, too
unattractive and "not deferential" enough to
male colleagues, her former employers repor-
tedly told her.
Craft, who now works as anchor for KEYT-
TV in California, appears to have been the vic-
tim of the double standard women must face in
television news: Male newscasters can age
gracefully with no fear of losing their job, while
women newscasters face an end to their
careers at the slightest sign of aging.
Seeking reinstatement to the co-anchor
position, lost wages and benefits, and damages
equal to that, Craft filed a sex-discrimination,
suit against Metromedia Inc., the former owner
of the television station.
It doesn't take much convincing to believe
Craft's charges. Anyone who watches television
news knows that anchorwomen are much
younger and are usually, "attractive" women.
Anchormen, on the other hand, don't have to be
handsome enough to be able to appear on the
cover of GQ magazine (most are pretty average
looking), can be a few pounds overweight, and
don't have to worry about graying hair.
What's so ironic about the Craft case is that
she is by most people's standards, quite attrac-
tive. The only problem is that she was fast ap-
proaching the age of 40 - a kiss of death for TV
newswomen.
The ridiculousness of the case, however, is
that if television news is supposed to inform the
public of the day's news, who cares what the
person looks like? In the past, our best and most
trusted male newscasters were not particularly
"good looking" - no disrespect, Messrs
Cronkite, Huntley, and Chancellor - and
people still tuned in regularly. So why should
the networks be any more concerned with the
way their anchorwomen look than they are with
the way their anchormen do?
The only explanation is that the networks
believe male viewers will only watch female
anchors if they look like Bo Derek. Although
there are men like that, most would probably
just as soon tune into an "average-looking" an-
chorwoman as they would an "average-
looking" anchorman. Besides, there is already
enough programming for the "cheesecake"
viewers.
If Ted Koppel, Roger Mudd, and David
Brinkley never had to win any beauty contests,
then why should Christine Craft or any other
female newscaster?

Cocaine's newest victims:
Battered women

By Mary Claire
Blakeman
In a famous letter to his
sweetheart, Sigmund Freud war-
ned her that she was no match for
"a big wild man who has cocaine
in his body."
Women still have reason to fear
coked-up lovers. In shelters for
battered women around the coun-
try, increasing numbers of wives
and girlfriends are showing up
with bruises given to them by
men who abuse cocaine.
The national toll-free Cocaine
Hotline (800 COCAINE) receives
between 750 and 800 calls a day,
according to Dr. Jane Jones, the
hotline's associate medical direc-
tor at Fair Oaks Hospital in Fair
Oaks, N.J. Calls from men out-
number those from women three
to one. Three-fourths of all
callers tell of fights and
arguments and half mention
thoughts of suicide.
In Oakland, Calif. a black
welfare mother fled to a
women's shelter with her three
children when her boyfriend, who
smoked cocaine base, started
slapping her and throwing dishes.
A wealthy young white woman
told counselors in Southern
California that she had traveled
to places like Tahiti and the
Caribbean with her coke-dealing
fiancee who beat her in hotel
rooms. "I've been assaulted in
some of the most beautiful places
in the world," she said.
Certainly not all people who use
cocaine turn violent, and alcohol
still leads among substances
abused by batterers. But in the
last two years the estimated
number of Americans who have
used cocaine jumped from 15 to
20 million, according to a poll
conducted by Time Magazine and
the opinon of drug abuse experts.
Counselors working with bat-
tered women say they have seen
an increase in cocaine-related
violence in the same time span.
Pamela Lincoln, who works with
the Coalition for Abused Women
on Long Island, N.Y., says,
"There's absolutely been an in-
crease in the last two or three
years with the number of women
coming in."
These counselors and
therapists are quick to point out
that a direct line can't be drawn
from substance abuse to violen-
ce, since that would excuse the
behavior of the batterer. "A man
who hits a woman still is respon-
sible for that action whether he's
using a drug or not," says Trish
Donahue of Marin County's
Abused Women Services in San
Rafael, Calif.
Dr. Richard Gelles, a
sociologist at the University of
Rhode Island who has studied
family violence for 10 years, says
society often lets drug and
alcohol abusers off the hook too

easily. "Plenty of people go out at
lunch and do cocaine," he says.
"Are those same people coming
back and being violent with their
co-workers or the boss? They'd
never take a swing at the boss.
But if they use cocaine and hit
their wives, people say, 'Oh, you
poor drug addict.' "
A recent California state study
of violence points out that many
factors - drugs, junk food,
unemployment and violence on
television - can exacerbate
violent tendencies, but there is no
absolute cause-and-effect
relationship between those fac-
tors and abusive behavior.
Still, cocaine is adding its own
unique tint to the picture of wife-
beating in America. Because it is
a stimulant, cocaine can heighten
feelings of anxiety, tension or
aggression. That effect coupled
with the drug's expense, can
create an explosive mixture.
David Griffis, a police officer in
San Rafael, recently responded
to a call from a home in affluent
Marin County where a stock-
broker who used cocaine was hit-
ting his girlfriend. "He started
beating on her when she started
asking where the money was
going," Griffis says.
Trish Donahue tells of a
California woman whose cocaine-
snorting husband gradually grew
more violent over the course of a
year. "He had bizarre suspicions
about her seeing other men,"
Donahue says. "He would beat
her because the way the gate on
the fence was closed indicated to
him that she was seeing someone.
Once he beat her because he
thought the way the food was
arranged in the refrigerator
meant she was having an affair."
On the other side of the coin
women who use cocaine may find
it more difficult to get out of a
relationship even if they are
abused.
"When a woman is getting
cocaine from her partner she
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doesn't want to let go of that con-
nection even if she's being bat-
tered," says Cindy Burton, who
has counseled battered women in
Marin County. "And because of
attitudes toward women who
use dugs, she feels she can't
reach out for help since so many
judgments will come down on
her."
Counselors say it's important
for women to realize drugs alone
may not be at the root of a man's
violence. Sociologist Gelles em-
phasizes the point.
"Battered women shouldn't be
lulled into thinking that their
husbands have a drug problem
and that's why they're getting
beaten," he says. "They
shouldn't hang around waiting
for the 'drug problem' to get bet-
ter. They should just clear out."
Sherry K., the welfare mother
in Oakland, learned that lesson
the hard way. For almost 10
years she lived with an abusive
husband who was involved with
drugs. 'Later, she let her
boyfriend - who drove a
Cadillac, wore designer clothes
"and was really popular" -
move in with her when he lost his
job. "I didn't know he was doing
cocaine at the time," she says.
"He started basing (smoking)
cocaine around the house and
quit caring about the way he
looked. He lost everything. He
never punched me, but when he
started to slap me I had a feeling
it would lead to that."
This time around, Sherry K.
got out quickly. She went to a
women's shelter. Now she is
working to complete her high
school education and find a job.
"He was going nowhere but
down," she says of her boyfriend,
"and he was taking me with
him."
Blakeman wrote this article
for the Pacific News Service.
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C0MTMENT To FOtRI&
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BE FULL OF PEOPLE
)EmA Dt DECAOCxy

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