I have met and heard the tragic stories of many parents. PA is a function, by and large, of a custodial ex-partner, although some alienation can start while the couple is still together.

This blog is a story of experiences and observations of dysfunctional Family Law (FLAW), an arena pitting parent against parent, with children as the prize. Due to the gender bias in Family Law, that I have observed, this Blog has evolved from a focus solely on PA to one of the broader Family/Children's Rights area and the impact of Feminist mythology on Canadian Jurisprudence and the Divorce Industry.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Is history in Shared Parenting being made in Florida?

Print This Article bradenton.com
Tuesday, Sep 30, 2008

New law removes old custody labels

NATALIE NEYSA ALUND

Visitation. Primary parent. Secondary parent. Legal terms like these will soon be eliminated from divorce and separation proceedings. That's because on Wednesday, Oct. 1, a new law goes into effect in Florida that removes those labels from the state statute and creates new terms. Previously, Florida courts identified a primary and secondary parent; children lived with the former and visited the latter. But next month custody will be called "shared parental responsibility" and visitation will be called "time sharing."

The new law is intended to promote co-parenting, said Greg Lewen, an attorney who handles divorce cases throughout the state, including in Sarasota. "These labels become very problematic for the children and the parents getting divorced, and this is a progressive step forward," Lewen said. "Visitation shows you don't really have a home at that other person's residence. Instead you take a toothbrush. . . . If you think about it, you come in as a visitor." "When you think about divorce and custody, somebody is going to own this child like they own a piece of property and that is destructive. What we've done is said . . . it takes two to parent."

Because labels will be stripped, something was needed to govern the relationships. So moms and dads will be required to craft parenting plans, which will designate parental responsibilities and put parents on an even playing field. Under the new law, they will submit a parenting plan to the court. If they can't agree, a judge will decide the time-sharing schedule. "I feel like my prayers have been answered." said Stephen Pere, of Sarasota, who has a temporary visitation schedule for his 2-year-old daughter. For two years, Pere — never married — spent two overnights a month with his daughter. Her mom gets her the rest of the time, he said. "I've been wanting shared parenting time with our child since her birth," said Pere. "Hopefully my prayers and that of many other parents will be answered." Robert Levine, of Sarasota, also welcomes the new law.

"I hope it gives me and other fathers who have shown they can parent more child time sharing than every other weekend and a Wednesday night," said Levine, whose wife filed for divorce and wants be the primary parent of their 7-year-old daughter. "I do not support that," said Levine, 55. "I'm a good father, I can flex my schedule. I would like to be considered for equal share." Expecting that the bill would pass, the custody and visitation guidelines committee of the Family Law Advisory Group of the 12th Judicial Circuit developed proposed parenting plans. The committee originally formed to revise already existing shared parental responsibility guidelines created in 2002. The four optional parenting plans — basic, long-distant, highly structured and safety focused — contain the detail and diversity contemplated by the state statute, said Michelle Artman-Smith, 12th Circuit family court manager.

As a supplement to each parenting plan, the circuit created "Instructions and Assessments for Your Parenting Plan" to assist parties in making the most appropriate selection, Artman-Smith said. The family law section of the Florida Bar is reviewing the local 12th Circuit's plans to determine if it wants the Florida Supreme Court to adopt them statewide, said Judge Diana Moreland, chair of the local custody and visitation guidelines committee. "We started 15 months ago with the idea of addressing the needs of our local visitation guidelines, only to have our parenting plan goals be the same as those mandated by recent legislature," Moreland said. "The flood of phone calls we get saying (other circuits) are incorporating our plans is a huge accomplishment. I know it is something our circuit can be proud of." Parenting plans, Pere said, are in the best interest of the child.

"These new plans, as opposed to what existed, spell out so many details . . . as far as holidays, pick up, drop off, so it will reduce any manipulation," said Pere. "I don't want to be a visiting dad — visiting is for grandparents, relatives and friends," Pere said. "I hope that I will be able to get substantial, equal time sharing with my daughter." The primary goal, Moreland said, is to assist those individuals representing themselves by fashioning a legally binding parenting plan that meets their particular needs. "In addition, we hope the variety of plans will assist all jurists faced with unrepresented litigants, focus the litigants' attention and create thoughtful parenting plans which will meet the specific needs of that family appearing in front of them," Moreland said.

Florida is the first state to change the language, said Elisha D. Roy, a West Palm Beach divorce attorney who conducted research for the new law. Currently, 27 states have proposed parenting plans to be used as guidelines, said Roy, who chaired the Florida Bar's Family Law Legislative Committee this past session. "This is a giant step into the future for Florida families in meeting the goal of a less adversarial process for dealing with the dissolution of not just marriage, but of the child's family," Roy said. Removing the previous labels, she said, will allow attorneys to focus their client's concentration on making decisions about what is best for their children and their families as opposed to fighting over meaningless labels.

In the end, parents might divorce, but the law reminds them they're not divorcing their kids, Roy said. Just because this law goes into effect this week doesn't mean parents who already have court-ordered parental designation — primary or secondary parent — and visitation guidelines can have them changed.

"People seeking modification would likely still have to show substantial change of circumstances affecting the best interest of the children," Moreland said. In the end, whether a person's previous court order warrants modification is up to the presiding family trial judge, Artman-Smith said. Lewen said some people may look at the new law and try to manipulate it.

"It will give them an opportunity to say I want more in the parenting plan," he said. "The safeguard is the statute still provides for a number of specific factors for the courts to use in determining how the parenting plan should be created for a particular family. Just because there is a parenting plan doesn't mean one parent can't get 99 percent of the time and other some parents get supervised visitation on a very short leash."

Debra Carter, a Bradenton psychologist who helped develop the 12th Circuit's proposed parenting plans, said five factors should be considered when developing parenting plans — minimizing loss, maximizing e relationships, ensuring security, avoiding interparental conflict and acknowledging age-related needs. Children, she said, benefit from having predictable, positive times with their parents.

"The needs they get met from a mother are different than the needs they get met from a father," Carter said. "But one is not more important than the other, they need both." In the end, Levine said the law might prove to be a little of an uphill battle.

"But if these fathers show they're capable . . . that the father and mother can show they're both focused on the child's needs as No. 1, it's going to work out," he said.

© 2008 Bradenton.com and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved. http://www.bradenton.com

Parental Alienation Syndrome and the APA ~ By Les Veskrna, MD

Tuesday September 30, 2008 www.glennsacks.com
PAS and the APA By Les Veskrna, MD
The Public Affairs Office of the American Psychological Association has put out the following press release to answer questions generated by PBS’s recent documentary Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories regarding APA’s official position on Parental Alienation Syndrome:
“The American Psychological Association (APA) believes that all mental health practitioners as well as law enforcement officials and the courts must take any reports of domestic violence in divorce and child custody cases seriously. An APA 1996 Presidential Task Force on Domestic Violence and the Family noted the lack of data to support so-called “parental alienation syndrome”, and raised concern about the term’s use. However, we have no official position on the purported syndrome.”
Highlighting the word “lack” and using the words “so-called” and “purported” in this press release seems to suggest the APA presumes PAS to be fallacious while, at the same time, uncommitted regarding its validity.
This official statement comes a few days after the APA’s Executive Director of Public and Member Communications, criticized Breaking the Silence for misrepresenting the APA’s position on PAS.
In spite of these puzzling pronouncements, it is apparent that the APA has, in fact, heretofore made a significant endorsement of the validity of PAS, which may be confirmed by simply searching the content of their website at www.apa.org.
The APA has well-known guidelines for child-custody evaluations in divorce proceedings. These are the guidelines the APA proposes examiners use when conducting such evaluations. The guidelines refer to three books of Dr. Gardner’s as “pertinent literature.” One book is completely devoted to the PAS and two make significant reference to the disorder:
  • Gardner, R.A. (1989), Family Evaluation in Child Custody Mediation, Arbitration, and Litigation. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.
  • Gardner, R. A. (1992), The Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Guide for Mental Health and Legal Professionals. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.
  • Gardner, R. A. (1992), True and False Accusations of Child Sex Abuse. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.
Furthermore, the APA has provided a workshop for its member psychologists in recent years that has included a definition and identification of Parental Alienation Syndrome. In addition, the APA publishes a book (Divorce Wars: Interventions with Families in Conflict by Elizabeth Ellis, PhD, May, 2000) with a chapter specifically devoted to Parental Alienation Syndrome (Chapter 8: A New Challenge for Family Courts).
As we try to understand the motives of the APA and others, who discount the validity of PAS, we must realize that they often do so for reasons other than compelling scientific or empiric evidence.
Many discount the existence of PAS simply because it is not listed in the most current edition of the America Psychiatry Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders. To understand why PAS is not in the most current edition of the DSM requires a little insight into the dynamics of how it is constructed. First of all, the DSM is an evolving document that reflects knowledge and perspectives at the time it is published. For example, at one time, the DSM listed homosexuality as a disorder. Homosexuality, as we all know, is no longer considered a “disorder,” and is no longer described as one in the current DSM. Conversely, Giles de la Tourette first produced a detailed account of several patients with Tourette’s Syndrome in 1885. But it was not included in the DSM until 1980. Inclusion of a disorder in the DSM is a very conservative process that requires a comprehensive review of the scientific literature regarding a particular diagnostic entity. The criteria and classification system of the DSM are based on a majority opinion of mental health specialists at the time it is published, and therefore does not reflect all valid opinion, and does not reflect all new knowledge and opinion. The last major update of the DSM was in 1994 (DSM-IV). The literature review for this edition actually ended in 1992. Since Dr. Gardner’s first description of Parental Alienation Syndrome was in 1985, there were too few peer-reviewed articles about PAS in the literature at that point in time to warrant submission of PAS to the DSM development workgroup for this (DSM-IV) edition. Time has now allowed for the proliferation of research and clinical experience with PAS. There now exists a substantial body of knowledge and understanding of this disorder, so that it’s very possible PAS will appear in DSM-V (which is not scheduled for publication until 2010, or later).
It is important to recognize that sometimes scientific concepts (like PAS) become “controversial” only when they are brought into the courtroom. This is because attorneys, due to the adversarial nature of our legal system, are required to take an opposite stand and create doubt and uncertainty where it may not otherwise exist as a strategy to win their case
Finally, dismissing the validity of PAS, by claiming there is a “lack of data” may reflect the influence of a very common informational fallacy: the notion that something must be true (or not true) because there is no evidence to the contrary. For how many years did we hear (and believe) the argument from tobacco companies that cigarette smoking was OK because there was no proof that smoking was harmful to health?And now, all cigarette packages carry health warnings. Absence of proof is not necessarily proof of absence.
The APA deserves significant criticism for only offering a 1996 APA report (Presidential Task Force Report on Domestic Violence and the Family), formed with an immature and incomplete knowledge base regarding PAS, as proof to justify their current position regarding Parental Alienation Syndrome.

Monday, September 29, 2008

NBC, Columbus, Ohio update on 2 dads on a crane, Day 3

Day 3 For 2 Dads On A Crane
Monday, Sep 29, 2008 - 02:19 PM
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By Donna Willis

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- It's the third day for two fathers who are protesting for the rights of fathers.

Paul Fischer, who is an Ohio father dressed like Superman, and Donald Tenn, a California father who was wearing a Spiderman suit, were protesting for the rights of dads who are in custody disputes with ex-spouses.

NBC 4's Paul Stelzer reported from the scene Monday on the Ohio State campus.

The men were up on the large crane with a banner that reads, "Stop the War on Fatherhood" and "Fathers 4 Justice."

The two first started a stir Saturday morning when police and OSU fans spotted them on the crane.

PREVIOUS STORY Sept. 29: Crane Perchers Look For Dads' Rights

"We have supplies. We brought supplies up with us -- enough for an extended stay, Tenn said. "We're going to stay up here until our demands are met."

Fischer and Tenn want their respective governors, Ted Strickland and Arnold Schwarzenegger, to investigate what two men call corruption in the family courts.

"Specifically, why the courts are not prosecuting perjury for false accusations," Tenn said.

Tenn said fathers like him don't get a fair shake in child-custody disputes with their ex-wives.

After flying their banner over the weekend, Monday was the first day their spot on top of the crane affected the construction work on OSU's new student academic-services building.

When asked if the men felt it was OK to get in the way of the construction, Terry Kee, team captain for Fathers 4 Justice said, "Sometimes, civil disobedience in a peaceful manner is what it takes to open the eyes of America."

The construction manager said his workers don't need the crane right now because they have plenty of other work to do at the site.

Kee told the construction company the fathers would not get in the way of the crane operator. Due to safety and other concerns, though, the company did not send anyone on to the crane.

Stelzer also talked with Keith Dailey, a spokesperson for Strickland, said the governor has no plans to investigate the family court system in Ohio.

OSU campus police continued to monitor the situation, but the university had no official comment.

Stay tuned to NBC 4 and refresh nbc4i.com for more information on this developing story.

To send a news tip or submit a story idea, e-mail stories@nbc4i.com.

My email to NBC Ohio:

From: Mike Murphy Date: 2008/9/29 Subject: Fathers 4 Justice atop crane ~ Columbus, OH To: stories@nbc4i.com, lomness@wcmh.com

The protest going on atop the crane in your community is an outgrowth of misandric family courts who are systemically removing fathers from the lives of their children in the USA and other countries including mine here in Canada. It is turning loving, caring fathers into criminals and causing children to be left in a situation that will contribute to them having higher rates of suicide, pregnancy, interaction with criminal courts and being less stable as compared to a two parent family.

It is a tragedy of epidemic proportions and needs fixing so that on divorce or separation there is a presumption of equality for both parents in terms of custody of the affected children.

This will lead to less divorce, less need for litigation, less money going to greedy lawyers who feed off the adversarial system like vultures taking money from the pockets of the children, and better adjusted children.

Michael Murphy cid:000a01c705ad$0add39e0$6400a8c0@mikeA2GJRT6TF9

Real Woman of Canada ~ By David Warren ~ Ottawa Citizen

In praise of the real women of Canada

David Warren, The Ottawa Citizen

Published: Sunday, September 28, 2008

http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/views/story.html?id=e9f533e0-080f-40b1-adbc-ae3d54254110

I missed my opportunity to mark the precise 25th anniversary of REAL Women of Canada, celebrated at the Ch√Ęteau Laurier last weekend, owing to distraction with market meltdowns and other little things.

The acronym stands for "Realistic, Equal, Active, for Life." I know some of the ladies who started the thing, back in 1983, and who continue to fight for what they consider to be the full range of women's real interests against Canada's heavily subsidized, rigidly Left-feminist "official" women's lobbies.

The founders and leaders of REAL Women are among my personal heroes, or "heroines" as we used to say: Gwen Landolt, Judy Anderson, et al. A quarter-century before Sarah Palin suddenly emerged as a U.S. vice-presidential candidate, these Canadian women were showing the take-charge attitudes we now associate with Alaska's governor.

The spirit of the thing is renewed, in Canada today, by, for example, Andrea Mrozek and the girls at the Ottawa website,ProWomanProLife.

Just as strident feminism renews itself, by finding a new generation of embittered young women and confused men, attracted to the task of infiltrating our legal and political bureaucracies, so also we find a new generation of women determined to resist them, and to defend common sense with unflappable courage.

For to paraphrase the old Burkean adage, "When bad women combine, good women must associate."

And yet I make this point more forcefully than any of these women do. As their statements of purpose have always made clear, REAL Women do not consider themselves the only legitimate champions of women's interests. They have consistently stated that they take women for individuals, as diverse in their wants and needs as men.

The difference from "movement feminism" is not only one of attitude -- the positive, unwhining, "men and women are in this together" approach of REAL Women, as against the opposite, "victimhood" approach of movement feminism. The question of subsidy is also important, and one of the many pocks on the face of our decreasingly free, democratic order is the provision of taxpayer funding to lobbies, of any sort.

REAL Women thrive on the fees of their 55,000 members, and don't get handouts. Typically, the various feminist and leftist lobbies derive most of their large budgets from the taxpayer. The unwillingness of their supporters to put their own money on the line is not only a confession of moral weakness. It also represents a severe tactical weakness, for a government of the day could pull the plug on them, and after a moment of shrieking they would fall silent.

One of the greatest accomplishments of REAL Women has been their effective attack on the Canadian state's "court challenges program" -- by which taxpayer money is used to finance Charter challenges to standing Parliamentary legislation, as a way around having to get laws changed democratically. The reader who is familiar with the extraordinary efforts made by movement feminists to "marginalize" REAL Women will understand what a large accomplishment this was -- the product of tireless, unselfish labour.

From their beginnings to the present day, and by their very existence and perseverance, these women have been defending a natural political and social order in which the family is at the root of society, and is secured in law by civilized nations against intrusions by commissars with various schemes of social engineering.

Over millennia, families have had not only the right but the solemn primary responsibility to "care for the young, protect the weak, and attend the elderly."

It is the family that has always provided these "social services," by human nature from out of the inspiration of love.

The Nanny State cannot provide the human touch, can only provide ukases and directives and the horror of vast, Procrustean bureaucracies that dole out resources with ludicrous inefficiency, on the inevitable principle of "one size fits all."

The sheer, pathological hatred directed by movement feminists against Sarah Palin, for instance, is nothing new. The notion that, as Heather Mallick wrote for the CBC, Mrs. Palin "isn't even female really," that she "has a toned-down version of the porn actress look," that she comes from "white trash," that the men around her are "sexual inadequates" -- and so on and on -- is what feminists have been dishing out to independent women for a long time. It takes backbone and a thick skin to stand up to such filth.

It takes backbone to refuse to play the victim, to refuse to quit, to refuse to be intimidated, to take your lumps. These are fine qualities in men and women alike, at their best, and in the long run they prevail.

There is probably no member of REAL Women who has not experienced such an attack in person, while making a stand for herself, for her children, for her whole family, for what she thinks is right. I know many of them, and I know them to be of far more independent mind and spirit than the slogan-guided feminists I also know.

As I said, they are my heroines. But we also need men with the guts to stand up against feminist intimidation.

David Warren's column appears Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday.

© The Ottawa Citizen 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dr. Phil ! October 3, 2008 ~ Parental Alienation ~ Check it out

This is a short blurb that may be of interest to those of you affected by PA. It is climbing out of the underbrush into the mainstream and greater awareness is what, I for one, have been fighting for. Alec Baldwin's book will be one of the main vehicles to help it out and hopefully we can get rid of some of the urban myths and outright lies associated with it as they will also have some of the feminist propagandists involved on the same show.
Date: 10/3/2008 - 10/3/2008
Time: 3 p.m. central time. 4 PM Eastern
Location: The Dr.Phil Show on NBC.
Category: Parenting
Summary: We (Glen C Schulz ) discuss our story and my book "Unlawful Flight" with Dr.Phil
Details:

Last month we flew to Hollywood and spent two days filming a Dr.Phil show about parental alienation syndrome, PAS for short. It is when one parent alienates the other from the children. Think about it, all it takes is a divorcing parent, either one, to implant seeds by saying something like "Your mother always put herself before you anyways" or "He would beat me and abuse me after you kids were asleep". Or while the NCP, or non custodial parent, is having his or her one phone call with the child per week per lousy court order, the other parent dangles car keys right away saying "Hurry up, let's go shopping, or let's go get a movie or some ice cream." Folks sadly it happens hundreds of times a day.

There are those who say this syndrome doesn't exist, that it's a made up story that abusive parents use to be able to continue to abuse their children, how disgusting.

Yes, there are those kinds of sick people in our society and the lousy lawyers who will fight to get them their children again without conscience as to why. And yes, pas is abused; good Lord, what isn't abused in todays world?

In any event, PAS is real and my book explains it in very real and painful ways as do the other guests on the show. And we believe now that Dr.Phil agrees that it's real. Watch and see! Friday, 10/3/2008. The Dr.Phil Show

Telephone:
Website: Unlawful Flight, a parental kidnapping.
-- Mike Murphy F4J, Soo, ON

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Do many Father's get the death sentence by biased Family Court Judges?

MEDIA RELEASE

September 28th, 2008

For Immediate Release

FathersCan, the National Voice for Canadian Fathers, estimates that the Family Justice system in Canada is directly responsible for the deaths of up to 2000 divorced and separated men in Canada every year. Figures from Statistics Canada provide evidence that over the past 10 years this is approximately the number of divorced and separated men in the country who commit suicide annually.

Numerous studies in Canada, the U.S., and around the world indicate that suicide is the leading cause of death for divorced and separated men through middle age, with suicide rates from two to three times that of men in the general population and up to eight times that for women in the general population. In fact, suicide is the leading cause of all deaths for men in the 18 – 49 age group, ahead of murder, ahead of traffic accidents, and ahead of all other causes of death in that age group.

Each year between 50 and 60 women are, tragically, killed by their male partners. A 2 billion dollar per year Domestic Abuse industry has been established to respond to this issue. The news media in Canada are constantly bombarding the public with stories of the horror of this statistic. Consumers are subject to a constant barrage of public appeals for donations to fight domestic abuse, which, of course, is defined as only women being abused. Yet in that same one year period 40 times as many separated and divorced men die by suicide.

Jeremy Swanson, National Director of FathersCan asks, “Where is the media reporting of this catastrophic problem? Where are the public appeals for money to fight this devastating issue? Where is the public outrage over this senseless loss of Canadian men – many of whom are fathers who leave children behind? Why don’t we care about these men as much as we care about women who lose their lives through domestic violence? Is this not also a case of domestic violence – albeit one perpetrated by the Family Justice system?”

Men across the country want to know how many male suicides in this demographic are caused by the devastating loss that men feel at being booted out of their children’s lives by an uncaring, unsympathetic, and – some would say – demonstrably biased Family Law system. The majority of studies of depression after divorce show that men are far more likely to suffer severe depression at the loss of their families and their children than are women. Yet where is the government funding to address this issue?

Mr. Swanson went on to ask how many of these suicides were, at their root cause, because of the fact that these men were themselves the victims of domestic violence and were able to escape from their abusers only by fleeing into death. “How many of these suicides could have been prevented had there been even a little funding to establish shelters for abused men or suicide prevention programs for divorced and separated men,” he continued.

“Canadian men have been told for decades that the government is not interested in funding programs for men. Hedy Fry, who was the Secretary of State Status of Women in the former Liberal government, stated unequivocally that she would be glad to fund men’s programs, even if the men were Martians, so long as the program had a clearly demonstrated benefit to women. “

“Which party and which leader out there are willing to commit to action to end this epidemic that is claiming Canadian men at an alarming rate? Which of them is willing to commit funding to help men with the programs and life saving options they need? Which of them cares about this life and death situation? There are a large number of votes out there that are waiting to be cast for the party that does.”

Media contact: James Williams 905-608-1880

nationaldirector@fatherscan.com

National Co-Director FathersCan

fatherscan.blogspot.com

The Effect of Feminism on Canadian Society ~ Speech by National Post Columnist Barbara Kay

The Effect of Feminism on Canadian Society Speech REAL Women Conference

http://www.realwomenca.com/page/confprogram.html

Barbara Kay

Website: http://www.barbarakay.ca/

Email bkay@videotron.ca

An attendee at an academic conference a few years ago was in conversation with a woman who happened to mention a book called Fat is a Feminist Issue. He starts to say, “Can you give me an example...” and the woman eagerly breaks in, “...of why fat is a feminist issue?” “No,” he says, “I was going to ask for an example of something that is NOT a feminist issue.”

I know just how he feels. Some days it seems everything I read or see offers fresh evidence of society’s obsession with the health and self-realization of women. There seems to be no public issue that isn’t linked to concern over its impact on girls and women. Concern for men and boys? Not so much...

This is the second time in a space of five months that I have been privileged to share a conference platform with Gwen. In May we both attended an ideas forum of which we are members, and sat on a panel entitled “Men: The new Second Sex?”

The question was rhetorical. We share the belief that the pendulum of feminism, which began as a reform movement to redress iniquities in our social and legal environments, passed the centre long ago and has swung way too far in the wrong direction. We also share the belief that many of our present social ills can be traced not only to the breakdown of the traditional family, but to a methodical breakdown of respect for the idea of the traditional family – which in turn can be traced back to the feminist revolution.

My talk today will be critical of feminism as an ideology, so I had better begin by saying the obvious. The patriarchy existed, and from the standpoint of political and legal rights, yes, it was unfair to women. But let’s keep a sense of perspective. In 1963 when Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique lit the fuse of the feminist revolution, the measures usually cited to establish a group’s well-being – freedom, income, status, family situation – would have ranked the women of that decade one standard deviation above any female population in all of previous human history. I was there. I had young children and stayed home to care for them. My life was not a “comfortable concentration camp” as Friedan described it.

This isn’t the forum to examine the sociology of the patriarchy, but one thing it is important to say is that the patriarchy was not about men’s hatred or contempt for women. Men never considered women to be their enemy. At least not in our Judeo-Christian culture. The Taliban are a product of their culture, not their DNA.

Conversely, in feminists’ zeal to redress past imbalances, men became the collective enemy in a gender war individual men have no wish to engage in, and never really fought. As a result, their sex as a whole – heterosexual men, that is - has become the target of free-floating suspicion and resentment, a phenomenon that has called forth a new word to describe it: misandry.

I would not define misandry as a hatred of men, although it is true that some radical feminists do hate men, and it is true that the effects of misandry sometimes seem inspired by hatred. But in the general population misandry is a more nuanced prejudice, which is why most women are unaware they they have absorbed it by osmosis.

I would describe misandry as a gendered worldview, a kind of photographic negative of feminist philo-gyny, in which the positive aspects of manliness vis a vis women - man as devoted father, responsible provider and risk-taking protector, the traits displayed by most men – will be acknowledged in individual men – my husband treats me with respect, ours was a good father, those firefighters are brave, your son looks out for his sister.

But negative aspects of manliness vis a vis women exhibited by a minority of individual men – sexual aggression, brutality and territoriality – are portrayed as the masculine default: genetically inherent, resistant to modification, and culturally significant in a negative way. In this misandric worldview, the reverse holds true for women. Positive womanly traits – nurturance, empathy, peace-making – are assumed to be the rule, while discordant behaviours – say, child abuse (70% of child abuse is perpetrated by women) intimate partner violence or indeed any brutal behaviour exhibited by women at all - are treated as exceptional or excusable (post-partum depression, “legacy of the patriarchy”) and culturally insignificant.

And I would add one other characteristic of misandry: a penchant for many half-truths about men’s lives that amount in the end to a lie. How many times have we heard the expression the “glass ceiling”? Why do we never hear about the dirt floor, below which most men’s working lives take place.

There is a reason we now call a chairman a chairperson, but never refer to a manhole cover as a personhole cover. It is because women aspire to become, and have become, the chairs of any number of committees. But when was the last time you heard a woman express an interest in sewer work? It is difficult to take seriously a revolution for equality that demands air-conditioning and power suits for its “victims,” but balks not only at assuming the physical risks and unpleasantness that real equality with men implies, but even balks at expressing gratitude for the fact that only men volunteer for the high-risk and physically demanding work upon which society depends to function at the most basic level. The privileges of manliness are relentlessly publicized. The sacrifices and hardshis remain literally and figuratively out of sight.

Culturally, misandry is what I would call the most troubling fallout from the feminist revolution, because it seeks to suppress exactly those qualities – trust, the instinct for collaboration and mutual gratitude for the sacrifices and strengths of the other sex – that a healthy society demands for civility and confidence.

For laws can change where there is a political will to change them, but a political will for change can only come about in an informed society.There’s the rub. When irrational prejudice, amounting to contempt for an identifiable group of people and indifference to their pain, whether another race, religion, tribe, nation, linguistic group or sex, is part of the cultural air we breathe, accurate information has a hard time breaking through.

Once entrenched, prejudice is extremely difficult to uproot. Because it is not perceived by the population as discrimination or iniquity by those who practice it. The opposite. The application of the prejudice is perceived as beneficial to society.

In this case I am speaking of a prejudice that is not only tolerated but naively, guiltlessly, even proudly consulted: by governments in assigning public money to women’s groups or for academic research on women’s issues; by judges in handing down mother-friendly family law decisions; by school boards in designing men-bashing domestic violence material in their curricula, illogically based n the Montreal Massacre, a freak tragedy perpetuated by a lone psychopath with neither precedent nor sequel, materials that inculcate negative perceptions of men’s natures in youngsters; by umbrella charities like the United Way in allocating funds for women’s programs, never for men; by hospitals in creating outreach programs to discover past histories of sexual abuse, in which girls are pro-actively questioned about abuse in order to provide treatment, but boys (statistically equally abused in childhood) are not; by social services in providing sympathetic counsel and resources to women, virtually none to men; by police in automatically ascribing blame to men in cases of intimate partner violence; and of course by marketing firms and media in providing advertising and entertainment, in which women are portrayed as competent, smart and attractive – men as crude, ineffectual and infantile.

All of these examples reflect topics I have written about. I take no pride, rather it troubles me to say that I am one of the few opinion columnists in the mainstream media who are preoccupied with the marginalization of men’s rights and the denigration of their character. The disenfranchisement of men in our culture is an orphan subject in the media. Thus misandry flies beneath most people’s radar, because with only one side of the story dominating the public forum, we have become compliant in the acceptance of theories that have nothing to do with reality, and compliant in the speech codes that accompany that tendency.

It is fitting that in the anecdote I mentioned the book the woman was talking about was Fat is a Feminist Issue. The ideology of feminism – in fact of all reform movements that go on to become utopian revolutions – can be likened to an overweight woman struggling to lose weight by conventional methods, who finds herself impatient with her steady but very slow loss of weight through healthy eating and exercise. She is suddenly afflicted by extreme anorexia. At first, the effects are exhilarating. The disease strips away all the weight she was better off without: legal inequality, the old boy network, educational and career opportunity obstacles, paternalism, sexual double standards, etc.

But just when she looks wholesome and attractive, she begins to distrust the mirror. She still believes she is overweight. Even as people are averting their eyes from her cadaverous frame and sunken face, she longs to be thinner.

We have arrived in theory at the moment when the feminist revolution has become a spent force. All revolutions run a course and peter out as reason reasserts itself. The population has wearied of feminism in its revolutionary form, it is true. They see that women are now in the majority in university classrooms, will soon become the majority of lawyers and doctors, are already the majority of journalists.

But as with all utopian revolutions, even when the masses are satisfied, the revolutionaries themselves, for whom on principle the battle can never be said to be won, won’t take yes for an answer. So, even though Womens Studies classes are emptying out, the anorexics have “captured the culture” by means of the “the long march through the institutions,” as Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci recommended for advancing the communist agenda. Primarily academia.

The anorexics are still teaching that women are victims of a patriarchy that has in fact become a matriarchy. More important, they still have the power to hire their ideological clones.

So in academia the beat goes on, and those whose research leads them down politically incorrect paths continue at their career peril.

Those the anorexics have been teaching for thirty years are now family law lawyers, or staffing the Status of women Council or briefing premiers on women’s issues, using deliberately falsified statistics and data, or sitting on the Supreme Court, or chairing boards of education or running the registered nurses associations or working as family therapists.

Or writing high school curricula. I learned just the other day that the secondary school materials for a new compulsory course, ostensibly on Ethics and Religion, to be taught in all Quebec schools contains six pages on Catholicism and 40 pages on feminism.

These are the women – and some fellow-travelling men - who believe in their hearts they are doing women good by perpetuating the idea that men are inherently violent, but women never are except in self-defense, who truly believe that mothers, but not fathers, are all children really need, and that violence against women is a subject of national urgency, but that unprovoked abuse of men by women is a myth.

Domestic violence is worth lingering over because it is the single most effective propaganda tool feminists have found for entrenching misandry in the general population. The truth is that domestic violence affects perhaps 7% of the population, is initiated in near-equal proportion by men and women and results in Canada in about 70 intimate partner deaths a year – yes, more women are killed than men, but the overall figure is so nugatory in a country of 35 million people that clearly individual dysfunction accounts for all of it, and no possible generalization about the nature of one sex or the other can be drawn from it.

But this is exactly the kind of information that can’t get past our cultural gatekeepers. Indeed, the foremost authority on domestic violence in our country, Prof Don Dutton, in 25 years of impeccable researching and writing peer-reviewed articles on the subject, which unfortunately arrives at conclusions displeasing to feminists, has never once been asked by a government agency to consult on a task force or make recommendations.

Or for that matter to speak at conferences specializing in the subject of domestic violence.

Roma Balzer of New Zealand was one of 800 delegates who attended the first World Conference of Women's Shelters, held in Edmonton two weeks ago. In her speech she deplored exactly the kind of research Prof Dutton does, because his findings point to relationship dysfunction as the problem. She called for more politicization of the subject, more insistence that the reason for domestic violence lies in men’s nature and the patriarchy. She openly warned against allowing any talk of relationship factors being the cause of DV.

I know this because Roma Balzer was featured on a CBC radio program and I heard her lies, instead of Prof Dutton, who would have told the truth.

No talk on feminism in September 2008 would be complete without a reference to the electrifying entry onto the political stage of Republican V-P candidate, Sarah Palin.

After her galvanizing speech at the Republican convention, Palin subsequently became the focus of a media frenzy, which included near-hysterical wrath from clearly threatened feminist observers. I cannot remember witnessing such intense media obsession with a public figure since the death of Princess Diana. It was clear in retrospect that Palin’s convention speech had been more than the sum of its parts, and that what Sarah Palin represented might result in significant cultural reverberations.

As I noted in a column the week after the speech, perhaps over-optimistically:

But win or lose the election, Sarah Palin has already altered the cultural landscape of America, possibly of the Western world. In years to come, social archaeologists will mark her speech as the official beginning of an end to the gender wars, and, one hopes, a return to trust and collaboration between the sexes.

Palin represents what would have happened to American women without a feminist revolution. For legal and social equity for women was bound to arise organically through political and cultural reform, as more and more women entered university and the work force, a process well underway before feminism became an organized movement.

After all, from 1940 to 1970 the number of female college graduates in America more than tripled (to about 5 million). With or without a movement, such education would have created a labour market whose momentum could not be stopped. And as a significant number of women entered the market, they would have changed the working environments they entered in large numbers in a natural way.

And that’s what I find so culturally tantalizing about Palin’s successful bypass of the feminist movement: She seems to represent an idea of what might have happened to women if women’s legal and social rights had been brought into alignment with men through an organic process and a win-win model rather than through politically aroused animosity and an adversarial model of ‘if men win, women lose.’

As an example of the win-win organic process model, I would adduce an example very close to home. In my own lifetime I have seen Jews go from being discriminated against in public institutions, in education, in social life and career opportunities to become fully integrated peers with non-Jews in every walk of life.

Not all that long ago, universities had quotas for Jews, hospitals would not admit Jewish doctors, law firms would not admit Jewish lawyers and so forth.

Jews lobbied for reform, but there was no demand for affirmative action, simply for equal opportunity. Jews did not take to the streets or organize demonstrations or denounce their enemies. Instead, they opened their own hospitals, started their own law firms, built their own golf and social clubs. It became clear that if Canadian universities persisted in quotas, Jews would take their high marks and ambition elsewhere, if gentile firms didn’t hire Jewish lawyers they would lose business, that if hospitals didn’t accept Jewish doctors, they were denying themselves badly-needed talent, and if social clubs excluded Jews they were missing out on a lot of laughs.

If Jews had followed the revolutionary feminist model, they would have said, well the legacy of anti-Semitism shows us that Jews have a right to be bitter and angry, the right to demand special entitlements, and the right to proclaim our superiority to gentiles. After all, since we have suffered so much under non-Jewish regimes, it must be true that all non-Jews are intrinsically racist and hateful people, and that our battle for equality can never truly be said to be won.

Obviously that didn’t happen, and as a Jew I would be horrified if it had, which is precisely why I am so embarrassed for my sex when I see and hear feminist diatribes perpetrated in my name against men today because of the patriarchy.

In a healthy society in which all citizens may vote, desirable reforms are worth fighting for in democratic ways, but revolutions are never necessary. The resolution of past grievances should result in what Jews do rejoice in and women should rejoice in: a normalization of relations, in which collaboration and trust are the standard between the formerly privileged and the formerly disenfranchised group, not, as happens with revolutions, a reversal of roles, not a situation in which the previously disadvantaged group seizes the moment of potential normalization to establish a new imbalance of power, far harsher and more consciously punitive than what had fomented the push for change, as we saw in the French, Russian and Chinese communist revolutions.

Nothing is more illustrative of the punitive character of feminist excesses than family court. Here is where misandry in its most open, cynical and pernicious form is found. Over 85% of contested custody suits end with mothers receiving sole custody over children. The remaining 15% divide children between other family members, agencies and fathers, so in fact fathers arrive at sole custody about 7% of the time.

Only an extreme systemic contempt for the value of a father’s role in the life of a child can explain such a disparity, and only an extreme prejudice against men in general can explain that contempt, and nobody pretends otherwise.

Indeed, one of the more chilling statements I have ever read, one that captures the casual acceptance of democracy’s fall from grace in family court was this from the National Association of Women and the Law: "Courts may treat parents unequally and deny them basic civil liberties and rights, as long as their motives are good."

Here we are truly in George Orwell country. In simple words this statement means “The end justifies the means” and there is not a totalitarian regime in the world that does not espouse that exact excuse for their seizure of entitlements for one group at the expense of another. In totalitarian societies, some people are more equal than others, and in the totalitarian world of family court, it is mothers who are more equal than fathers.

I hear from many fathers whose lives have been ruined by the iniquities of misandric courts. One wrote me that after awarding sole custody of his children to the mother, the judge, noting his distress, offered “solace” with the words, “Don’t feel bad. You’re still young enough to have children of your own...”

Family Court is the visible shame, the Berlin Wall, erected by feminism, that stands between men and their human rights. It must come down.

Ten years ago, Senator Anne Cools and MP Roger Galloway wrote a landmark report, For the Sake of the Children, recommending equal parenting as the post-divorce default for child custody, only to see it tossed into the oubliette of history. Every healthy individual knows that children want, and have a right to, the love of both their parents in equal measure. It is time – past time - to entrench this principle in law.

For if women continue to privilege their own autonomy more than their children’s need for a father, sooner or later men will learn to preserve their sanity by distancing themselves from women. And then, as journalist Kathleen Parker put it so eloquently in her book, “Save the Males”: “When women no longer care about children, and men no longer care about women, we will have accomplished what millions of radical jihadists could only dream about: cultural suicide and an unraveling of the civilizing forces that millions of men perished to preserve.”


Thursday, September 25, 2008

More dad is just bad complexities arise

The question of child custody can get quite complex in same sex relationships. I mentioned in a previous post my head started to hurt when one looked at all the permutations one could think about with "what if" analysis. The one following is related to the Mindy Jacobs column and propaganda piece "when dad is just bad" of Sept. 10/08 and my response letter to the Edmonton Sun posted shortly after it appeared. In that article Jacobs quoted Rita Smith, Executive Director of National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, as saying leaders of father's rights groups are abusers. That must mean I am an abuser despite having an ex who committed theft, fraud and forgery against my FORMER employer, served jail time for it, was ordered to pay restitution of $50,000.00, ruining my reputation and a host of other actions criminal and otherwise since, including the worst one of all with the pathological alienation of my children from me and then physically kidnapping them into one of the very shelters Smith promotes, all based on lies and the committing of criminal actions prior to going. That I have suffered physical, emotional and financial abuse is immaterial. I am a man and expected to suck it up. No bias here at all. So much for blanket characterizations by leaders in the Domestic Violence Industry. The portion of this industry I refer to is DV allegedly performed by men. There are no services from tax payers money to support male victims of DV in North America even though men are abused almost as often as women. What does that do to Smith's credibility in my eyes. I use the term Poverty Pimp to describe those who live off the avails of the poor. Smith has a vested interest in keeping her industry in a "growth stage" as she can garner more money from taxpayers to get more false accusations of abuse in divorce cases which are now around 85%. This will keep her employed at a very well paid salary with perks like attending conventions in foreign countries and getting sycophants like Jacob's, of the Edmonton Sun, to regurgitate their unsubstantiated vitriol. Should I coin a new term and describe a position like this as a DV Pimp or just stay with the former one above? I like to have reasonable discourse but I find the radical feminist activists like Smith to be not interested in truthful discourse only furthering their own vested interest in a very well funded industry. The problem is when comments like this arise it is counter productive for those women who have actually suffered from the horrors of abuse whether from a male or female partner. Yes there is female on female abuse. Nevertheless, Sarah finds herself in a plight similar to most men with respect to custody although she is not a dad nor is she a biological relative. It is highly complex but that is where we are going in this country and one would think she has even fewer rights than a biological father. Will the radical feminists jump all over this one now. Who will they support given both parties are female? It is indeed a conundrum. We shall watch and wait with great anticipation. In the meantime she has my unfettered sympathy. I understand your plight Sarah. It is not a happy one at all. Good luck.

Lesbian Social/Noncustodial Mom: 'Put yourself in the position of a father upon separation'

September 24th, 2008 by Glenn Sacks

One of my readers is a lesbian social/noncustodial mother named Sarah. Sarah is a lesbian woman who, while in a committed relationship with her partner, agreed to have a child via artificial insemination from an anonymous donor. Her partner carried the child for them.

As often happens in lesbian breakups, the biological mom has been determined to drive her former partner out of their child's life.

Sarah has been following the controversy over National Coalition Against Domestic Violence executive director Rita Smith's accusations that the leaders of some fathers' rights groups are "abusers." Mindy Jacobs of the Edmonton Sun reported this in her recent column When dad is just bad (9/10/08).

Below is Sarah's letter to Mindy Jacobs. Sarah jokes that she is "The Great Canadian Lesbian-Father" and gave me permission to reprint her letter to Jacobs. It is below.

Dear Mindy, I am a Canadian female lesbian-father of a young child. You might want to ask yourself why I've labeled myself as being my daughter's father. Well, it's simple to explain. After years of access rights with my daughter, my same-sex ex-spouse notified my daughter's doctor that she had been visiting her "father" on the weekend and had been exposed to cigarette smoke the whole time. I don't smoke, and I am certainly not a father, am I? So why then does the doctor's report state that I am my daughter's father? Okay, I've adjusted to being my daughter's father minus the anatomy. But, if you think for one second that all mothers of children out there deserve the right to control a father's relationship with their own child, then you are wrong. You are also wrong if you think that upon separation that any father is given adequate rights with their child.

Perhaps laws should be altered to give fathers decent access rights, decent financial responsibilities, and perhaps the "abusive behavior" you are talking about will disappear!

For just one second, put yourself in the position of a father upon separation. Stand before a judge and hear your destiny.

Do us all a big favor and alter your thinking to fight for changes to our legal system to initiate and protect a father's right to access, custody, and basic human decency.

I challenge you to take the father's seat in family court for just one sitting.