Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Harry Reid Links Unemployment to Rise in Domestic Abuse

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Harry Reid Links Unemployment to Rise in Domestic Abuse

Article excerpt

Men's groups are demanding an apology after Harry Reid's comments linking a rise in unemployment with a rise in domestic abuse. But some studies support the Senate majority leader's claims.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid stated during a procedural vote Monday night that the Senate's jobs bill could do more than help people get back to work. It could bring down the rate of domestic violence.

"I met with some people while I was home dealing with domestic abuse. It has gotten out of hand," Senator Reid reportedly said on the Senate floor. "Why? Men don'thave jobs.... Men, when they're out of work, tend to become abusive.

Even though women are losing jobs as well, "women aren't abusive, most of the time," Reid added. "Men, when they're out of work, tendto become abusive."

Men's groups are demanding an apology for what they call "sexist" remarks. And political commentators of both stripes have had mixed reactions to Reid's comments.

"If passing a jobs bill is needed to rescue women (and men) in distress, then why didn't this moron and his caucus get to work on it earlier instead of focusing on ObamaCare to the exclusion of all else?" wrote Allahpundit atHotAir.com.

To go after Reid, however, is a "tempest in a tea pot" according to Sherry Jeffe, a political scientist at the University of Southern California. "People are arguing about semanticsso they don't have to argue about policy."

And Jessica Levinson, political reform director of the Center for Governmental Studies, says, "It's an awful situation when our legislative leaders have to sell a jobs package by saying it will reduce the incidence of men beating women."

But is Reid correct?

While the study refrains from drawing comprehensive conclusions about all men, unemployment is definitely a significant risk factor - along with poverty and a low level of educational attainment - an extensive 2004 report by the National Institute of Justice found. …

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