Domestic Violence, Activist Paydays, and Gender Bias


No doubt, we’re all thrilled that the great minds at the Rhode Island State House have set their sights on solving the problem of domestic violence, largely by giving more of our money to activists.  According to the latest available IRS filing from the RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the organization receives almost all of its funding from government grants, and the state’s transparency site shows that the bulk of that money (about $2 million per year) comes from the taxpayers of the State of Rhode Island.

From that point, following the money is just a matter of how far one wants to go illustrating the activist jobs program that our tax dollars create in this area, as in so many others.  The Coalition’s filing, for example, shows that Executive Director Deborah DeBare made $102,431 in pay and another $10,311 in other compensation, in 2014, with another $414,070 in salaries and wages going to other employees.  Naturally, some additional money also goes to a lobbyist; $2,324 to Rachel Orsinger, of DR Communications, for the 2015 session.

The IRS filing also lists grants that the Coalition gave out in 2014, including the following:

  • $619,235 to Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center, for which there is no IRS filing I can find
  • $577,517 to the Women’s Resource Center of Newport, a “related organization” of which pays Executive Director Lori Dipersio $96,436 per year
  • $432,240 to the Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center, which pays Executive Director Judith Earle $91,730 per year and $9,134 in other compensation
  • $255,518 to the Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County, which pays Executive Director Mary Roda $87,493 per year, with $11,668 in other compensation
  • $217,864 to the Women’s Center of Rhode Island, which pays Executive Director Kris Lyons $77,936 per year, with $1,146 in other compensation
  • $210,575 to Sojourner House, which pays Executive Director Vanessa Volz $72,387 per year, with $4,151 in other compensation
  • $38,194 to Day One, which pays Executive Director Margaret Langhammer $143,366 per year, with $10,587 in other compensation

The government-funded non-profit sector is profitable, indeed.

But taking money out of the Rhode Island private sector — thus contributing to a struggling economy that increases stresses on residents and, we can surmise, exacerbates conditions that foster domestic violence — isn’t the only detrimental aspect of this transaction.  By the article’s reckoning (and these are activists’ statistics, so be wary), in the words of Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo, “One in 4 Rhode Islanders have experienced domestic violence in their lifetimes; 129,000 women and 76,000 men in Rhode Island are survivors of domestic violence.”

Depending what one includes, men can be as likely or more likely than women to be victims of domestic abuse.  If we’re talking severe violence, 40% of victims are men.  A comprehensive public discussion of how the interactions between men and women might build toward violence is practically verboten.  And yet, the activists are conspicuously interested in fixing men — especially targeting them when they’re boys.  Note this, from DeBare (ellipses in original):

… we are looking at some of the broader factors in society like the attitudes that people are socialized with when they are young… the way boys grow up using violence as a way of expressing their emotions. If we can start intervening and teaching different patterns of behavior… in classrooms, in youth groups with mentors, in sports arenas and with the media… we know we can prevent domestic violence

DeBare also expressed her “disappointment” that the General Assembly didn’t go so far as to violate the Second Amendment rights of “people who have been convicted of misdemeanor domestic abuse or under active restraining orders.”  The legislation in question, H7283, was ridiculously broad, and would have subjected anybody convicted of violations such as trespassing and disorderly conduct anywhere in the world to a lifelong ban of firearm ownership.

We can take comfort, though, in the knowledge that a six-figure salary confiscated from taxpayers surely works wonders in compensating for DeBare’s disappointment.

  • Raymond Carter

    Comfortable lives for the bosses are almost ALWAYS the main goal of do good non-profits.