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.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

EQUAL PARENTING: WHY IT MATTERS

By Kris Titus, Co-President Canadian Equal Parenting Council www.f4jcanada.ca; www.canadianepc.com Reprinted from REAL Women’s Canada News publication, Reality: March April 2009 issue. www.realwomenca.com When I was a little girl, I wanted to be the first female Prime Minister of Canada. Why not? Raised in a single parent matriarchal home, I was told on a daily basis that women were equal to men. “We can do anything men can do, if not better. You don’t need a man.” Unfortunately for me, Kim Campbell beat me to it. I was still a high school student when she became the first female Prime Minister. So, imagine my shock, when as a young mother, I divorced and realized that there was one area where women had MORE equal rights than men. Parenting. I was told by six lawyers that I had all the rights when it came to the children. I could have sole custody. I could sit back and focus on myself and my children because my husband would have to pay me for the privilege of seeing his children four days a month. I imagine that it is a very heady moment for some women when they are provided with this information: a moment of omnipotence; a moment of retribution. My former husband and I decided on Joint Custody, however, I’ve come to learn that regardless of what the law says, in the eyes of the courts, joint custody is really only sole custody with visitation. “But this is the way it is,” I was told. That is, with joint custody, children do not necessarily spend equal amounts of their time with each parent. Rather, one parent retains physical custody, usually the mother, and the father is left behind, often with relatively infrequent access rights, despite the fact both parties are supposed to have equal say about the child’s upbringing. After several months on my own with the children, I was beginning to feel far more like I was living in the underworld, rather than a specially ordained place called single motherhood. My young children were suffering and needed their father far more than four days a month. They were no longer being raised by their mother and father, but by their mother and a string of babysitters and daycare providers that would be better off caring for inanimate objects. Something had to change. I became involved with another man who was a great dad: one of the new generation of men we women have been seeking. Caring, involved in raising his children, a good provider, does dishes AND takes out the trash. He, unfortunately, went from being the primary caregiver to his own children to a non-custodial, four-day a month dad. And the pattern repeats. His children displayed all the same suffering and symptoms my own children did. I began to do research and in December of 1998, the government issued a report on child custody and access called “For the Sake of the Children.” The Joint Senate/House Committee made 48 recommendations, and one was for a presumption of shared parenting – a recommendation that has yet to be implemented. My ex-spouse and I decided, however, that a shared parenting arrangement would be much better for our own children. We made a joint motion to the court to vary our custody order to 50:50 time with equal rights and responsibilities and no child support. The judge, in his infinite wisdom, said no. We applied again. Our order was granted and for the past ten years I have had what I now call equal parenting. Our children live alternate weeks with each of us. The children benefit from not only both of their parents being continuously involved, but from their extended family, as well. Our children are being raised by the people who love and protect them most. As an adult, I realize how much I lost out on being raised in a single parent home and I have a different view on equality as a result. If I gain my rights by taking away someone else’s, I have gained nothing at all. It is now my life’s work to fight for equal parenting as a presumption in law. The welfare of women, men and children demands it and 80% of the population agrees.

Globe & Mail ~ Teen girls are swapping sex for ... just about anything

This problem clearly shows the girls don't have a moral compass and may well be, in part, a result of the social engineering by judges marginalizing fathers to the sidelines, feminist propaganda that may be suggestive to girls they can use their bodies to empower themselves but no matter the cause it is part of the tragedy of family breakdown and not enough parental intervention and guidance.MJM

From Thursday's Globe and Mail

Heather spent her teen years on Protection Island in Nanaimo, B.C. Blond and sun-kissed, the daughter of a geologist father and biologist mother grew up on Narnia books. But at 16, Heather was recounting another story. By 14, she was routinely blacking out on drugs, having sex with multiple partners at her house and partying with "Navy guys." At the start of Grade 9, she was sleeping with a 21-year-old drug dealer and heroin addict. Soon after, she was recruited to trade sex for clothes and drugs.

It sounds like an overblown cautionary tale for parents, but teen prostitution is an emerging middle-class phenomenon in Canada, says journalist and documentary filmmaker Sharlene Azam in her new book Oral Sex Is the New Goodnight Kiss (which is accompanied by a DVD).

One prostitution ring saw more than 15 girls aged 12 to 16 from several Edmonton middle and high schools offering their bodies to older men who gambled in a townhouse; another involved 15-year-old high-school girls charging college guys $20 for oral sex in Kelowna, B.C. In Surrey, B.C., pimps recruited 12-year-olds at their local mall.

Over four years, Ms. Azam tracked her subjects down through news stories, reaching them through school principals, counsellors and their arresting officers. The book is a series of interviews with the girls, their mothers, vice cops and pimps, as well as brazen teenaged women who recruit more inexperienced girls into prostitution from their communities.

The author argues that father absenteeism, ineffectual sexual education classes, Internet porn and a hypersexual, "poisonous culture" that promises status through the accumulation of luxury goods are to blame.

Ms. Azam, who splits her time between Vancouver and Los Angeles, spoke to The Globe and Mail about the book.

How did you gain such access to these girls?

Typically I would meet a girl at school, at her [guidance] counsellor's office. I would tell her what I was doing and give her my number. It depended on where she was in her story. I always got parents involved early. Once I found one girl at a school who was maybe trading sex or having oral sex at school in the bathroom, she then would introduce me to a couple of friends who were doing the same thing.

How does it go from some oral sex in a high-school bathroom stall to joining a prostitution ring?

It snowballs very quickly after being bullied or disappointed in love. Some of the girls I met just thought they were being sweet, generous girls by giving a blowjob to a guy, and then they're the go-to girls for anything sexual. And then a recruiter will say to them, "You can make $50." Once she gets $50 for something that in her mind only took two or three minutes, even if she was disgusted by the guy, she is addicted to that money.

You describe "luxury fever" as something that compels these girls to prostitute themselves.

They all feel this pressure to be able to go to the mall and buy something. Brands are so important now. It matters that you have money to burn.

Nearly all of the girls were living with single moms. What role do absent fathers play?

They're completely absent. And in a way, so are their mothers. What I saw a lot of was poor judgment. The mothers were so busy with their own lives. A lot of them were involved in their own romances. They just bury their heads because they don't know what to do.

You also point to the Web, teen dating sites like Nextopia, guys quietly setting up late night dates through MSN chat, and Yahoo.com and Craigslist.com linking to underage "cam girls" who advertise their services and then link to online gift registries like Wishlist, Amazon and Felicite.

Once a girl sees something like sending a couple of nude photos [in exchange for] a CD as benign, it snowballs very quickly for them. [For instance] with sexting, young boys are becoming the new pornographers, but the girls are also taking photos of themselves.

All of the girls talk about feeling 'empowered' by male attention, however dubious or short-lived it was. For example, Heather talks about experiencing 'personal power' when she made men 'make noises' during oral sex.

She really began to believe that being a sexual object was her identity. She became divorced from her body. Anything she could do to get attention made her feel good and powerful, even if she didn't know the guys' names.

You write that none of the girls, not even the recruiters, are willing to call what they do prostitution, even when cash is exchanged. They say 'hooking up' and 'one-night stands.'

It's become so twisted in their minds. [There was the] notion of 'I can be any kind of woman I want to be, including a prostitute.'

Is sex education failing?

Sex ed can't always do the job it's intended to because it just isn't current enough. If you don't know where to start you should probably start by talking to a public health nurse. They're informed and a little more progressive around what kids are doing because they see the diseases and statistics and they talk to kids, as opposed to a teacher doing a sex ed class who may be more uncomfortable. I guess you can learn by these parents' example, learn what not to do. It's not something you can recover from: Your family is destroyed.

How do the guys fit in?

Parents have a responsibility to teach boys not to use girls. But how do you do that? If you're just starting to look at what your kids are watching and trying to make them media literate at 12, it's kind of too late. Parents [can't] really keep up with the amount of sexual content their kids are seeing, and they don't really understand how deeply their kids are affected. You actually have to talk about sex. You have to clarify values and know what healthy sexuality is, versus porn sex. They need some way to critique their own experience against what people are telling them. They see something and mimic it at a party. [The boys] have this idea of what sexy is and it's a total fabrication. It has nothing to do with the girls that they know, but it's really influencing how they treat girls. They will have an inability to relate to a girl in a normal, healthy relationship. Girls have no expectations for their relationships — there's no 'the ideal relationship would include trust, friendship and not being coerced or manipulated.'

You write that Heather, now 19, emerged after seeing a therapist. But she told you, 'I still shift between not really valuing my body, not minding if I'm with more than one guy and freaking out if a guy even touches me.' How is it affecting intimacy later on in their lives?

This is going to be a huge problem. Right now, they're just too young to reflect on what it means to be in a bathroom giving oral sex to four or five boys. The girls always felt they could also have sex without any consequences or hook up without caring, the way they feel boys do. It's a badge for them but they always regret it. There's always a feeling of emptiness.

What's next for these girls?

Heather will probably be okay and will be one of those few lucky girls who can chalk this up to a wild youth. Her parents had enough money that they could try many treatment [options]. But for the girls whose one parent isn't very involved, like a father, and whose mother is very busy, after the interview with the cops and a little bit of intervention by a social worker, that's it. You just have to be okay, because there's nothing else.

Fathers' group asks for legislation review - North West Territories

NNSL Logo.

Cara Loverock Northern News Services Published Wednesday, April 22, 2009

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - A review of territorial legislation that one MLA called "unfair" is being considered by Western Arctic MP Dennis Bevington.

The Dads North Association asked Bevington for a review of both the NWT's Child and Family Services Act and the Divorce Act when they met with the NDP politician on April 2.

"I think there is a need for a review of the Divorce Act," Bevington said of the federal legislation, which he said relates to the question of equal parenting.

He said in the coming weeks he'll also talk with some MLAs concerning the Child and Family Services Act.

"I'm certainly looking forward (to) meeting with the MLAs and talking with them about directions they want to take, because (the child and family services act) is territorial legislation," said Bevington.

Great Slave MLA Glen Abernethy recently called for a review of the territorial act in a letter to Health Minister Sandy Lee dated March 13. He cited a specific case of a Yellowknife family that has had two children removed and given treatment that he called "patently unfair." According to Abernethy, the GNWT Department of Health and Social Services is in charge of reviewing the act.

"There's no doubt that some of the cases that we see are heartbreaking for all the individuals involved," said Bevington, speaking in general terms.

He said the important issue regarding the Child and Family Services Act is ensuring the rights and safety of the child are maintained.

"It's not an easy issue," Bevington added.

He said he would be researching the federal Divorce Act by looking at previous reviews that have been done "to see if whether all of the ideas there were instituted ... so we're going to do some research on that."

Bevington said another possibility discussed at the meeting was "the concept of a Northern ombudsperson that has the ability to interact with the government over specific cases."

Mark Bogan, president of the Dads North Association, said he thought the meeting went well, but time will tell if any changes come about.

"They are serious concerns. We've asked the NDP to take action for a while now," said Bogan. "I'm sure (Bevington) will open up a channel with the GNWT."

Bogan said some changes will be proposed, but it's a matter of what those changes are.

Bevington "said he wanted to bring us all back to the table and tell us what he's proposed to do," said Bogan of a follow-up meeting in the coming weeks with the MP.

He said Wendy Bisaro, MLA for Frame Lake, was also at the meeting.

"I think she's receptive to what we have to say," he said.

Bisaro did not return calls for comment by press time.