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
National Co-Director FathersCan