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.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Barbara Kay ~ The National Post ~ Brainwashing the kids to spite the ex

Barbara Kay

Published: Friday, January 30, 2009

http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/story.html?id=1461e08b-4fa2-49b1-9df2-3d00cda9b9b5

In what has been called a "stunning and unusual family law decision" released Jan. 16, a Toronto father was awarded sole custody of his three daughters, aged nine to 14. The "persistent and overwhelming" campaign by the mother over the course of more than a decade was recognized as emotional abuse by Ontario Superior Court Justice Faye McWatt, and the children have been sent to a California therapeutic recovery centre for treatment.

The couple, known as A. L. and K. D., have had a volatile relationship since they met 15 years ago. In spite of K. D. falsely alleging that A. L. sexually abused their first child, the couple had two more children between bouts of disaffection. K. D. -- herself dominated by a vindictive mother who had beaten her in childhood-- repeatedly called police after provoking physical confrontations with A. L., and frequently bad-mouthed him in front of the children.

According to the judgment against K. D., she is denied all contact with the girls, even by telephone or text messages She has been ordered not to come closer to them than 300 metres. A. L. has been given the right to confiscate their computers and cellphones. This is necessary, Justice McWatt said, because the mother had so poisoned her children's feelings toward their father that they had lost their capacity for independent judgment in relating to him.

The father's lawyer, Harold Niman, said the decision is a wake-up call to vengeful parents. The message: They cannot punish their former spouses through their children with impunity. "Maybe if they realize the courts will actually step in and do something and there is a risk of not only losing custody, but having no contact with their children, they'll think twice about it," he said in an interview.

In fact, I don't share Mr. Niman's optimism that this represents a sea change in the fortunes of the legions of alienated partners desperately seeking redress for the baseless loss of their children's affection.

My files bulge with parental alienation stories in which this well-documented form of child abuse is ignored by judges. In this case, even just from media accounts, I note the following disturbing facts that suggest this judgment is an exception, rather than the harbinger of a rule:

-In the case of the eldest child, the mother's obsessive demonization of the father was flagged eight years ago by a Toronto mediator and clinical psychologist who testified the mother would alienate the children from their father: Where was "the court" eight years ago?

-The mother has been flouting the court-ordered visitation rights of the father since their separation, to the point of refusing his court-permitted thrice-weekly telephone calls (desperate for contact, he shouted good-night to the children through the doors): Where were the police who should have enforced access?

-The Office of the Children's Lawyer, which alone decides which children it will assess and/or represent, did not get involved until the process was so far advanced that the damage was already done: Why did it take them so long?

-Even the judge noted that the father's unrelenting determination to see this battle through was unique, and only possible to someone with an unusually high income (A. L. is a vascular surgeon): How are ordinary people without resources supposed to fight on their children's behalf ?

Sadly, what this case tells me is that only Herculean efforts by a well-heeled non-custodial parent can break through the Kafkaesque family law system. But at least it shines some light on Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), a term describing the often-irreversible damage done to children brainwashed by an alienating parent into groundless hatred of the other parent.

An alienator can be a mother or a father. But, since high-conflict court battles are almost always resolved with the mother having sole custody -- mothers are better placed to indulge this pathology without binding intervention.

Indeed, in a long-term 2007 study published by developmental psychologist and PAS expert Amy Baker on adult survivors of PAS, the mother was the alienator in 36 of 40 cases. Baker's subjects reported that "their alienating parents behaved like cult leaders ... withdrawing love and affection when the child showed any positive feelings for the targeted parent."

PAS is as real a form of child abuse as any other, and one that witnesses should report. The obvious sign is routine flouting of rightful access to the non-custodial parent -- a clear sign of contempt for the other parent's role in the children's lives.

It is a moral scandal that such visitation rights are virtually never enforced, the violators never punished. Unless custodial parents who deny rightful access start going to jail, this exceptional victory will likely be remembered as a one-off before a return to the default "snooze" mode we are accustomed to in Canadian family courts.

bkay@videotron.ca

Freeing 'hostage children'
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Re: Brainwashing The Kids To Spite The Ex, Barbara Kay, Jan. 30.

Barbara Kay's column -- about a Toronto father being awarded sole custody of his three daughters after more than a decade of emotional abuse by the mother -- should be read by every person who interfaces with the family court system, and by every separated parent.

I have been conducting custody-access assessments since 1978 and have seen this phenomenon, which I call "hostage children," many times. Alienating parents learn quickly how to manipulate the system and prevailing social concerns, such as domestic violence, to further their cause. False allegations are the fuel that runs these engines, and many professionals will privately admit that they are afraid of these parents and end up finding some way not to confront them.

Intimidation is a fact of life within the family court system. I have risked complaints on several occasions by identifying what I have come to see as a form of Stockholm Syndrome. I worked on one case in which one parent successfully alienated a child twice, the second time being after a successful seven-year reconciliation in which the child developed a strong bond with the rejected parent.

The power of a vengeful custodial parent, backed up by the courts, the police and the Children's Aid Society, is a virtually unstoppable force. So kudos to Justice Faye McWatt for this decision and to Ms. Kay for making this story public. The interventions need to be sooner, though, before so much psychological damage is done.

Marty McKay, psychologist, Toronto.

Battered Men’s Shelter and Counselling Resources in Canada

The following is part of a dialogue with an individual named Karen Anne Stephenson who believes fervently that tax supported resources are available in Canada for battered men. We wait with bated breath for the information so we men, looking for these services, can get them.

As of February 2/09 she still hasn't got back to me. If you are interested in reading the original article it is here. http://abuse-recovery.suite101.com/article.cfm/husband_abuse_support_and_recovery

She went to the trouble of stating no reproduction without permission. Given it is largely fiction I won't waste space here with it.

From: Mike Murphy [mailto:mike.murphy@nospam.ca] Sent: January 30, 2009 10:00 AM To: 'karenanne24@hotmail.com' Subject: Battered Men's Emergency Shelters

Karen:

I'm not sure who or what your sources are but you do indeed have a very big credibility problem when it comes to identifying real, identifiable, battered men's shelters equivalent to those 557 or so women's emergency shelters across Canada and the concomitant tax supported counselling services available for dad's and their children. I'm not talking soup kitchens or "mission" houses that serve both men and women for emergency shelter.

I live in Sault Ste. Marie, ON and they don't exist here or in our closest community of any size Sudbury. It is 3.5 hours from my community. Not much good even if they did have such a facility, don't you think.

I checked the federal government produced book you referenced in your original article and it must have been a summer/make work project because the references for men's services in my community do not provide help for battered men. As is the case with many federally produced directories of this type no one actually called these places to verify the information. I suspect you are in the same boat but hopefully you can prove me wrong as I have been looking for help for 14 years with no success. The books are a waste of taxpayer's money.

The Algoma Family Services, listed in the directory, provide anger management and supervised access for men (I guess for women too but it would be rare) who have been found in need of this but that is all. They, in fact, appear to be a feminist run organization and my own experience has been they are biased toward women and see men as nothing but a problem. It took me 72 days to get a response about counselling for my children despite it being the law and I had a court order as well. The only way I finally got a response was to threaten the feminist Executive Director with court action. They then saw fit to have their own lawyer give me the information I wanted originally which they could easily have provided, in an attempt to intimidate me. As it turned out they could not provide any counselling for my child for 12 months but had enough money to have a lawyer write a minimum $200.00 letter to me. You can read the correspondence here if you like in Chapter 59 of the raw material on my blog which may someday turn into a book on my journey through the dysfunctional family court system. http://parentalalienationcanada.blogspot.com/2007_04_01_archive.html You are now part of that journey and I would like to quote you accurately in my blog and perhaps in the book. I wait to see your list of equal tax supported counselling and shelter services for men. If you cannot do this then I also expect to see a retraction and given the embarrassment you will suffer perhaps you could join with us as an advocate for equal access to these resources. I may be sending in a human rights complaint very soon to see if that will light a fire under the "gluteus maximi" of the politicians who are nothing more than a festering boil on the ass of progress when it comes to dealing with fathers in many areas of the social functioning of Ontario. That is also true of other provinces in this great nation. Please provide me with the accurate information that a typical Canadian father can easily access with his children, and is equivalent to the current services offered females. I do not want pay as you go. I cannot afford the $150.00 per hour charge of professional counselling.