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, December 8, 2006

The £20 billion annual cost of family breakdown


Last updated at 22:00 08 December 2006

The report notes the disparity in family background between children most likely to do well in school and those who fail

Family breakdown costs the country £20 billion a year, a report produced for the Tory party found yesterday.

It estimated the cost of family collapse including the burden of welfare benefits on the taxpayer, the amount of debt incurred by single parents trying to survive, and the price to society of coping with associated problems like drug abuse.

And the inquiry set up to provide a basis for party leader David Cameron's policy reviews linked the failures of white boys at school to the increasing likelihood that boys from poor white backgrounds will come from families without fathers.

The full report of the Tory's social justice review group, called Breakdown Britain, is to be published on Monday.

It puts Mr Cameron under pressure to reverse Labour's attempt to sideline marriage and put support for the married family at the heart of party policy when he produces firm ideas to back his promises of cutting poverty next year.

The social justice group, led by former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, said that half of all live-in cohabiting couples who have children have split by the time the child reaches the age of five.

But only one in 12 married couples break up in the first five years of their child's life.

The report also notes the disparity in family background between children most likely to do well in school and those who fail.

Last month the Daily Mail revealed figures showing that poor white boys have now become the worst-performing group in schools, falling behind poor Caribbean boys who have in the past been expected to do worst. The report links performance with family background. Children from Indian families - only 15 per cent of whom come from broken or single-parent families - do best in schools. Poor white boys, as measured by whether they get free school meals, come from single parent families more frequently than the national average, which shows that just under one in four children are brought up by one parent. Caribbean boys have the highest rate of single parent families of all. More than half are brought up by one parent.

Mr Duncan Smith told the BBC yesterday: "What we found was one of the fastest growing groups that are having children in society are cohabting parents. "But what was startling about the figures was that among cohabitees one in two are going to break up and leave a single parent household before the child is five." He said the state was left to 'pick up the pieces' of impoverished broken homes. "We can't have a stable workforce and a productive economy if a grwoing number of people at the bottom end of society are workless and without hope," he added.

The report suggests the welfare state has replaced the 'welfare society' of self-supporting stable married families and the links between them. Labour ministers have increasingly sought to intervene in family life to try to improve the lives of poor children.

Chancellor Gordon Brown's welfare system of tax credits has pumped more than £15 billion a year in extra benefits mainly into single parent families, while projects like the £3 billion Sure Start system have tried to supervise the upbringing of their children. Ministers have advised on how children should brush their teeth and called for classes to teach mothers how to sing their children nursery rhymes. But at the same time remaining tax support for married couples has been stripped away, and the Government insists that marriage is a mere lifestyle choice that has no bearing on the success of families.

Monday, October 9, 2006

Chapter 32 ~ A dishonouring letter from my ex's Lawyer

This is an excerpt of a letter from my ex's lawyer, Romuald Kwolak, dishonouring a verbal agreement to give me wider access to my children stated before Justice Gladys Pardu at a Case Conference on September 1, 2006. Rather than commence it in September as agreed he says it will be reviewed after October 10, 2006. Talk about putting the "screws" to someone. That is my 60th birthday. My wife hasn't produced the children for interview by the Children's Lawyer and it is just another stalling tactic so she doesn't lose control any sooner than she has to.

With respect to the issue of access, we are suggesting that:
l. Supervised access continue at the present time. Any other access should wait until we get some direction from the Office of the Children's Lawyer. I understand that he will viewing supervised access on September 17, 2006. Hopefully, we would get some direction from Mr. Zuliani, from the Office of the Children's Lawyer, as to how to proceed by the end of October. Access would be reviewed, in any event, after October 10th.

Pretty duplicitous by any standard! The interesting thing is he will eventually write me letters wondering why there is so much animosity. One such letter will say he is downright unhappy about how I refer to his client with such descriptive terms. Does this guy think memories are erased after the month end in the same manner his client erased financial records at the business.

Friday, September 1, 2006

Chapter 26, Case Conference September 1, 2006

I had spent a great deal of preparation on this Case Conference as I had hoped to make a break through with the courts for access to the children. I guess I just didn’t completely understand that it was more for discussion than to get court orders accomplished. We did have a discussion and there was agreement I should see the children in other venues but it would take a couple of weeks as Mr. Kwolek’s secretary was going on Holiday. (Mr. Kwolek is my wife’s lawyer if you just joined my drama) Due to the nature and volume of paper a lawyer generates a secretary is indispensable. For many of us though the Personal Computer was a major break through where we can get a lot of what we used to write in long hand or dictate to the secretary done ourselves in the same amount of time freeing up the secretary for more complex work. I digress again. I still haven’t had a chance to present my evidence formally with respect to fraud and other financial matters associated with the business. I did get a previous agreement on an order for financial documents that are missing but that was through consent. I brought up the matter of missing business documents, like the Bank of Montreal monthly statements and cancelled cheques, going back many years that only my wife had access to. At least the Judge indicated to M the seriousness of not returning them if she knew where they were. She doesn’t seem to understand that when we go to trial on this all of the evidence and witnesses will be brought to bear on her and I think she is going to be quite surprised at the outcome. Her credibility will be devastated and I don’t want to see her have to go through it. A person can hope that reason will prevail before then. In a week or so I will send a letter off to a few lawyers in town to see if they are interested in doing a joint civil/divorce trial against her. There is absolutely no way I will stand by and let her get a piece of my pension – my only source of income - and 50% of my financial assets after what she has done to me since 1994. It will also be accountability time for Tossell and the City of Sault Ste. Marie (see Chapter 17 for the activity here. It got personal) as well as the Children’s Aid Society. I believe Justice Pardu was more balanced in her approach this time and I agreed with her that giving the children aliases in this blog was a good idea. I did that the same evening. I was struck by the ex's composure at this session. She looked like she had a rough night with some tossing and turning as did I; I just don’t show it as much on my features. She didn’t say too much at all but she sat up straight and tall and remained very dignified with one exception. When the judge suggested she return the documents M went on about all the abuse I had heaped on her such as calling her lazy, incompetent and a few other things and that I should get the statements from the bank. (in the heat of family arguments much name calling can occur and she gave as good as she got) Lazy, however, would be a rare word I would use. The ex is the antithesis of lazy. She is a workaholic and far from such an inaccurate description. I could have said it in a moment of irrationality though – who knows. She did make me "crazy" for a good many years!!! The judge responded that her story might be true but if she was holding back on the financial documents it would not help her. She was trying to steer away from directly answering the question of whether she had them. Her deviousness was telling and it was then that I truly believed she does probably still have them in storage. She seldom throws stuff like that out and her guile was true to form when she does not want to directly answer a question. (AKA telling the truth). Oddly I was proud of her composure though. It was much better than normal and makes it easier for me to present my case. (I’m still self-represented) The empathy I have for her can stay deeply subdued and I can concentrate on my delivery and thought process better. It is still pretty emotional though. It would be incredibly incriminating for her if these missing bank statements surface as it would show all the personal items for which she used the account. It is supposed to be a business account. I was only able to get one that showed activity while she was at the store but meals at Swiss Chalet aren’t business expenses and the cash withdrawals for personal use are income as far as the Canadian Revenue Agency are concerned. I don’t understand why she doesn’t “get” the seriousness of what she has done, especially when she is showing less than $5,000.00 in income for 2005 in her court documents yet she signed the children up for a private Christian School in September 2005. The normal fee at this school is $250.00 per pupil per month. I’m no rocket scientist but I was pretty good in business math – not accounting though - and this doesn’t add up. The implications for her are tremendous financially as the Revenue Agency may want to audit her income going back a great many years and could cost her 10’s of thousands of dollars. She has received child tax benefits which are based on income as well and could have implications for welfare as she probably told them an understated income story. That’s fraud isn’t it? If you read Chapter 17, however, you may get the impression the welfare people don’t care about fraud but spend more of their time sending libelous cheerleading letters off maligning innocent Dad’s. I remain a very perplexed person but that is par for the course. If she continues to refuse to return the financial documents I will get the statements from the bank or try and convince the court she is in contempt. It will be costly and won’t have the cancelled cheques but the information is essential. I further become the “bad guy” trying to sort out the financial mess. I keep hoping we can have a more two-way approach but she may be in too deep to even think about collaborating as it might expose what she has done. I hope not and remain open to a less adversarial approach. I’ve had no luck so far with my gestures.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Women more likely to be perpetrators of abuse as well as victims

Filed under Education, Family, Gender, Law, Research on Thursday, July 13, 2006.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Women are more likely than men to stalk, attack and psychologically abuse their partners, according to a University of Florida study that finds college women have a new view of the dating scene.

“We’re seeing women in relationships acting differently nowadays than we have in the past,” said Angela Gover, a UF criminologist who led the research. “The nature of criminality has been changing for females, and this change is reflected in intimate relationships as well.”

In a survey of 2,500 students at UF and the University of South Carolina between August and December 2005, more than a quarter (29 percent) reported physically assaulting their dates and 22 percent reported being the victims of attacks during the past year. Thirty-two percent of women reported being the perpetrators of this violence, compared with 24 percent of men. The students took selected liberal arts and sciences courses. Forty percent were men and 60 percent were women, reflecting the gender composition of these classes.

In a separate survey of 1,490 UF students, one quarter (25 percent) said they had been stalked during the past year and 7 percent reported engaging in stalking, of whom a majority (58 percent) were female.

Although women were the predominant abusers, they still made up the largest number of victims in both surveys, accounting for 70 percent of those being stalked, for example.

The reason more college men weren’t victims may be that women in the study did not exclusively date them, preferring men who had already graduated, not yet enrolled in college or chose not to attend college at all, Gover said. “It shows that students who are perpetrating these attacks aren’t just targeting other students on campus,” she said.

It also is possible that some of the physical attacks women claim they are responsible for are actually acts of self-defense, Gover added. “Maybe some of these women have been abused by their partner for some time and they’re finally fighting back,” she said.

Recent studies on domestic violence suggest that whereas in the past victims might have felt trapped in violent situations, today’s women are more likely to understand they have options instead of putting up with mistreatment, she said.

“I think we may also be seeing sort of a new dynamic in dating relationships in terms of women feeling more empowered,” she said. “They recognize they don’t have to be in a dating relationship forever. They can get out of it.”

Child abuse was the single biggest determining factor for men and women becoming perpetrators or victims of either dating violence or stalking, Gover said. Even if one never personally experienced abuse, witnessing violence between one’s parents as a child increased the likelihood of stalking or being stalked as a young adult and it made girls more susceptible to becoming victims of dating violence when they grew up, she said.

The survey found that men and women who were abused as children were 43 percent more likely than their peers who were not mistreated to perpetrate physical violence and 51 percent more likely to be victims of physical violence in a dating relationship. Violent acts included kicking or slapping, pushing or shoving, punching or hitting with a hand or object, slamming someone against a wall and using force to make a partner have sex, she said.

Sexual risk-taking – the age when survey respondents first had sex and the number of sexual partners in their lifetime – was another important risk factor, but surprisingly, attitudes toward women made no difference, said Gover, who did her research with Catherine Kaukinen, a University of South Carolina criminology professor, and Kathleen Fox, a UF graduate student in criminology. Some of the findings were presented at the American Society of Criminology annual meeting in November in Toronto.

The study also was among the first to look at psychological abuse. Examples included preventing partners from seeing family or friends, shouting at them and using threats to have sex. Fifty-four percent of respondents reported being psychologically abusive, and 52 percent said they were victims of this type of behavior. Women were more likely to be psychologically abusive, with 57 percent saying they were perpetrators versus 50 percent of males.

Shelley Serdahely, executive director of Men Stopping Violence, in Decatur, Ga., questions the validity of studies showing women are more violent. “Women might be more likely to get frustrated because men are not taught how to be active listeners and women feel like they are not being heard,” she said. “Often women are more emotional because the relationship matters a lot to them, and while that may come out in a push or a shove or a grab, all of which are considered dating violence, it doesn’t have the effect of intimidating the man.”

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Chapter 11-12 The long gap till Christmas

I went out and searched for my girls every chance I could for the next 7 months. I would go out 2, sometimes 3 times on Sundays, my only day off, to see if I could observe them. Other times I would take out all my paper work and lap top computer at home in the hope I would see them drive by. In the evenings when chance allowed I would go out for a drive in the hope I would just see the van as I knew they would be in it. Every now and then I did see the van and once gave chase for a short period then thought better of it. My wife could panic easily and indeed has panic attacks which could cause an accident and that was not worth any fun or excitement the kids might get out of Daddy behind them. They always contemplated it was great entertainment when someone they knew was following behind and would get keyed up as though it were a game. I would grieve daily for them and unlike a death where the person is gone, my grief continued day after day because I knew they were out there somewhere in Sault Ste. Marie. I had solace the Children’s Aid Society was supervising the girls and would receive information every now and then they were happy. Without that my grief would have been greater as I had nightmares she would kill the children as pressure mounted like the ones you read in the newspaper where a Mother drowns her children. I could never trust her then, and don’t trust her now (June 2006) to care for the children without some form of supervision. I am the worlds leading expert on her behaviour having known her for 32 years and lived with her for 28. I believe she is capable of anything and I still have nightmares of her standing over me with a knife, albeit they are fewer at this writing. The next 6 months were the loneliest of my life and it culminated at Christmas in the following chapter which I put on my family blog. It was written as a letter to the girls. Chapter 12: A Christmas Eve/Day without my Children My first Christmas without My Princess’ of Ireland my daughters Peigi & Delia I am trying to be brave as I sit here alone in this house that on previous Christmas Eves was alive with the sounds and excitement of my 2 youngest girls waiting with anticipation for the stuff that Santa would bring. I am trying to convince myself that my sorrow is just self pity - that this is a time for giving and as long as they are happy that is what matters. I am having trouble though, nevertheless. It is 11:08 and I would usually be wrapping presents and ensuring Santa’s milk and cookies were safely on the table where the girls wanted it. I would have checked on them several times ensuring they were sleeping the peaceful sleep that only children can. I would have gazed in wonder for a moment or two and silently thanked my God in my own way for these two blessings given me. Tonight it is different. They are not here but a nice lady has taken to them the presents Santa and I have obtained from their wish list. I hope they like them as it gives me some comfort to think they will open them with great anticipation and joy. Peigi likes to take charge of these things and identify who the presents are for and even assist in opening them if allowed. I miss them both so much. It still hurts greatly – more than I thought it could – even after more than six months without them in my everyday life. I know I will get through this and I will be a stronger and better man for it. This is but a moment of sadness in the many years of joy my children have given me. I spent many hours on the Murphy Family Calendar for 2006 and my worst moments came and passed while going through the photos of the girls I would use in it. At one point I had to leave the store as my sadness was interfering with my ability to work. I was on the verge of crying in front of the staff and customers because I missed them so much. I came home and worked here for several hours and called my oldest daughter Shannon for comfort. It’s not what I envisaged a grown man would do but my love for my children explodes any myths that men don’t cry. I’ve cried a great deal more in the past 6 months than I thought possible and it isn’t just self pity. It is real hurt and a longing to see and hold in my arms and give a reassuring hug to my dear children. The writing down of these thoughts is therapeutic for me. The only thing that doesn’t show on the page is the tears – the tears of love for the children I miss so much. I’ve been their Mister Mom since they were infants. It is what I chose to do after retiring from my job and it is what has given me happiness. I’ve changed hundreds – no thousands - of diapers when they were babies. I’ve been with them almost every day of their lives up until they were taken by their Mother in June. I’ve been with them learning to walk, dress themselves, put bandaids on their cuts, participated in many school activities and field trips, skating lessons, swimming lessons, become young gymnasts at the gym club, good students, skip stones on the water, taught Peigi to ride her bike and all the other things parents do. I miss it – I miss them. It’s 12:01 now – officially Christmas day. The 8 foot Santa and snowman stand up straight outside. The little animated train flashes its lights as though moving through the snow. I’ll leave them on all night and all day tomorrow. If the children drive by I want them to know their spirit of Christmas is still alive in me in this house. They have provided the guidance and direction on previous Christmas’ on when and where the decorations outside should go. (I miss Peigi's certainty and direction as to where to put stuff.) I still have some of their spirit inside and it helps sustain me. Sleep well tonight my angels. Know your Daddy loves you dearly and misses you so much but wants your happiness more than anything. I’ll dream dreams of what was and see visions of what might be in my sleep tonight - and later this morning I hope you enjoy the gifts you receive. Good Night All my love Daddy Christmas Day 2005 Dear Peigi & Delia: This is my first Christmas Day without you. So far I’ve survived but it has been difficult. Last year you came to my room about 10 to 6 in the morning. I’d heard you in the living room before that and heard your hushed whispers about the “stuff” Santa had put under the tree. It was such a wonderful sound to hear your voices in those hushed but excited tones. It was what I had always considered as my gift from you on this most wonderful of mornings. I needed no other present but to hear your excitement at what might be under the wrappings. I heard you come into my room and tell me it was time to see what was under the tree. You included me in your anticipation and enthusiasm. It was most wonderful and I have the memory of it firmly entrenched in my mind. It was your special gift to me and it helped me get through the 6:00 am silence this morning. (I was awake but alone) Once I passed through that it was better. Lonely for certain but I didn’t cry. I had done that the night before when it was my job to be Santa’s helper and indeed Santa in my own way. I didn’t have anything to do this year and it was troubling for me. But that is past and Christmas Day is almost over. I went looking for you today as I have many times since you left. It was pretty mild and not very good for Delia to go down-hill on her new toboggan. You had other good stuff though that I was able to pre-book through Santa and I hope you enjoyed them. The radio/cd/mp3 boom box for Peigi is cool and the disk with mp3’s I made will play on and on for ever. I will try and get some more Hillary Duff music for you to play on it. You can transfer some of it from your computer to Delia’s MP3 player. I hope Delia liked all her Little Pony stuff from Shannon and Sean and some from Santa too! While I was out looking for you today Shannon called on my cell phone. I was watching a boat go down the Saint Mary’s River at Bellevue Park. I was looking at it and thought it was a bit odd to see a small boat doing that in the winter when the phone rang. I talked to Shannon, Erin and Sean who all miss you greatly. Shannon and Sean were going to go to Hamilton to see Sean’s Mom and then his Dad. You will remember them from the wedding.Your Sisters liked the Murphy Family calendar’s I made for each family member including you two. It was a labour of love and was focused on both of you this year. That’s why I changed some birthdate messages to Daddy, Mommy and Gramma. I hope you liked them. I also made a card for your future niece or nephew. This was his/her first Christmas alive but still in her Mommy’s tummy and though not yet born was still a member of the Family just in a different form. I want you to know that I’m OK and I love you both dearly. I will be a better and stronger Daddy for having gone through this without you and I will make every attempt to be able to see and hold you in my arms in the new year. Take care and I hope your Christmas was happy and that you enjoyed the gifts. All my love Daddy

Friday, June 23, 2006

What is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation involves the systematic brainwashing and manipulation of children with the sole purpose of destroying a loving and warm relationship they once shared with a parent.

This means that through verbal and non verbal actions and mannerisms, a child is emotionally abused (brainwashed) into thinking the other parent is the enemy. This ranges from bad mouthing the other parent in front of the children, to withholding visits, to pre-arranging the activities for the children while visiting with the other parent.

Alienated children can experience low self-esteem, self-destructive behaviors, anger, aggression, cruelty, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and may have suicidal tendencies. (Exerpted from the brochure produced by http://www.parental-alienation-awareness.com/)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Domestic violence isn't one-sided ~ Don Dutton

National Post

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Domestic violence isn't one-sided

Don Dutton, National Post Published: Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A few years ago, a woman arrived home from work in Saskatoon to find her husband, who had obviously spent the day drinking, complaining of irritation with their fractious child. She insisted she needed to rest before making dinner. She awoke to find him in a rage straddling her and brandishing a kitchen knife, which he used to cut her abdomen. Bleeding, terrified, she managed to call 911. The police arrived within minutes. They observed her plight, spoke to her husband and then, responding to the unspoken but powerful institutional guidelines routinely applied in such cases, arrested ... her. In spite of her wound, she spent the night in a jail cell, and was released the next morning.

As it stands, this story makes no sense -- and indeed would have aroused national indignation if it were completely true. But I deliberately misled the reader on one particular. In the real story, by no means a unique one in police archives, the genders were reversed: The man arrived home after a 12-hour shift; the child's mother was drunk; the man lay down; the woman stabbed him in a rage; the police didn't take his injuries seriously; they accepted the woman's explanation -- probably self-defence -- and arrested the man.

Unfortunately, such gender bias in the law-enforcement system and beyond is typical, not exceptional. A double standard for men and women, applied in cases of intimate partner violence (IPV) -- as well as in family law, including spousal support and child custody cases -- has become commonplace in most Western societies over the last 25 years. And in spite of a widening stream of incontrovertible statistical evidence to the contrary, the myth persists that it is women, and only women, who are the victims of IPV.

The stereotype that unprovoked men purposefully assault women, and never the reverse, is so ingrained in our public discourse that participants in research on IPV -- not just lay people but health professionals as well -- presented with a scenario in which one partner abuses another, perceive it as abuse only if the assaulter is identified as male.

The reality, borne out by independent peer-reviewed studies as well as StatsCan, is that women commit more severe IPV, and more IPV in general, than men. For all kinds of relationship types, females are unilaterally more violent than males to non-violent partners. More females strike first in IPV (men are conditioned not to strike first in our society) and, contradicting received wisdom, fear of their male partner is rarely a factor amongst violent women. Actually, both male and female victims of IPV report equal fear levels of "intimate terrorism".

Of course, some battering males abuse passive women -- about 3% annually, far fewer than implied in skewed studies by women's groups. But in spite of sensationalized cases, spousal homicide perpetrated by either sex is extremely rare. As many mothers as fathers practice child abuse alone or in tandem, and far more women than men murder their children.

Interestingly, IPV occurs more frequently in lesbian than in heterosexual relationships, supporting the view that relationship dynamics, not gender, fuel domestic violence. Honest research points to a norm of "assortative mating": The violence-prone tend to seek each other out for anti-social behaviour.

And yet our government, our social services and our judiciary prescribe remedies based on a false and simplistic view that denies not just the unprovoked violence committed by women in relationships, but the number and severity of the assaults engaged in by both partners in mutually violent couples.

Indeed, it is fair to say that no other area of established social welfare, criminal justice or public health depends on such weak and biased evidence in support of mandated practice as does IPV. The model of "treatment" for IPV that flows from this false understanding is not the kind of therapy that could benefit both male and female perpetrators. Instead, our system prefers "intervention" -- against men, never women --and a "psychoeducational" model of behaviour modification that essentially amounts to inculcating the radical feminist political viewpoint.

Where does the gender bias come from? Ideology. Radical feminism insists that men -- all men -- by their nature pursue power and control for its own sake. As a result, we become complicit in the myths of gender politics. So when a crazed individual male with a bizarre personal back story shoots women, we hold candlelight vigils. But when a vengeful woman cuts off a man's penis, he becomes fodder for standup comedians, while she is hailed as a symbol of female empowerment.

IPV is a serious issue in our society. Responding to it through the default demonization of one sex and victimization of the other is an insult to scientific integrity, a stumbling block to rehabilitation, a strong contributing factor in many arbitrarily ruined lives, and a shameful blot on our human rights record.

- Don Dutton is Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia and the author of Rethinking Domestic Violence.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Feminists Deny Truth on Domestic Violence


Tuesday , May 30, 2006

By Wendy McElroy

In the last three decades, feminism has revolutionized daily life from the legal system and social mores down to the story books children use in kindergarten. Feminist discussion seems to be 'always' and 'everywhere'.

But I believe the contrary is true. Genuine discussion of feminist issues ended in the 1970s when one school came to dominate and moved to silence competing views both within the movement and outside.

Politically correct feminists maintain that women as a class are politically oppressed by men as a class, which means that every woman is oppressed by every man. Class oppression is the ideological lens through which PC feminism views all issues.

Tammy Bruce's book "The New Thought Police" (2001) received media buzz as a former insider's expose of how PC feminists smear their intellectual opponents in an attempt to silence and discredit them. For example, Bruce described how PC feminists led a campaign of defamation against the conservative Dr. Laura Schlessinger by misrepresenting her as homophobic.

Joan Garry, executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, was quoted as saying, "If she can't be controlled, she must be stopped."

The PC treatment of heretics within feminism has been no less brutal. Indeed, heretics are commonly reviled more than infidels.

Consider Erin Pizzey.

In 1971, Pizzey opened the first battered wives shelter in England, which she ran until 1982. Arguably, the Chiswick Family Rescue was the second domestic violence shelter in the world. Pizzey's book "Scream Quietly or the Neighbours Will Hear" (1974, out of print) was one of the first to explore and expose wife battering.

Today, the shelter Pizzey founded denies her entry; her name does not appear in its official history.

Pizzey's 'mistake' was to diverge from the theory of domestic violence that feminists at the time insisted dominate all discussion. She believed that men could also be the victims of domestic violence, and that women could be as violent toward their partners as men.

Pizzey's views put her on a collision course with PC feminists who, according to Pizzey's own published account of events, initiated a campaign of harassment and violence against her.

Pizzey described this harassment in an article she published in the Scotsman in 1999.

"Because of my opposition to the hijacking of the refuge movement, I was a target for abuse. Anywhere I spoke there was a contingent of screaming, heckling feminists waiting for me," Pizzey wrote. "Abusive telephone calls to my home, death threats and bomb scares, became a way of living for me and for my family. Finally, the bomb squad, asked me to have all my mail delivered to their head quarters."

One night, the family dog was killed.

Eventually, "exhausted and disillusioned," Pizzey said she went into "exile with her children and grandchildren," leaving England in 1982 to live in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Pizzey returned to England that same year for the book tour of her next book, "Prone to Violence," which once again ignited a violent reaction among feminists. Pizzey wrote that when she arrived in England for her book tour, she was "met with a solid wall of feminist demonstrators" carrying signs that read "ALL MEN ARE RAPISTS, ALL MEN ARE BATTERERS."

"The police insisted that I have an escort all round England for my book tour," Pizzey wrote in the Scotsman.

There is some reason to believe that "Prone to Violence" has been the target of a campaign of suppression by PC feminists. According to the web site Wikepedia, in 1996 an internet search of the world libraries that can be accessed through the Library of Congress uncovered only 13 listings for the book: an astonishingly low number for a pioneering work that caused a sensation.

Why would PC feminists nearly riot over a book and, then, ignore it?

Because Pizzey advanced a competing theory of domestic violence.

When viewed through the PC lens of class oppression, domestic violence is not an act of violence committed by one individual against another. It is an act committed by men that must be correctly understood within the larger context of women's class oppression.

"Prone to Violence" spelled out some of Pizzey's disagreements with that view.

Disagreement #1: Of the first 100 women who entered Chiswick, Pizzey found that over 60 percent were as violent or more violent than the men they were fleeing. In short, a significant percentage of the women were also batterers or otherwise active participants in the violence.

Disagreement #2: Pizzey developed the theory that many battered women were psychologically drawn to abusive relationships and they sought them out. To PC feminists, such analysis was tantamount to 'blaming the victim.'

Disagreement #3: She explained why the existing model of domestic violence shelters was ineffective. PC feminists were attempting then (and now) to secure ever greater financing for these operations. Sandra Horley, director of Chiswick in 1992, reportedly complained, "if we put across this idea that the abuse of men is as great as the abuse of women, then it could seriously affect our funding."

Pizzey may or may not have been correct; I believe she was and is.

Neverthless, her book drew upon over 10 years at the Chiswick shelter during which time Pizzey dealt with some 5,000 women and children.

"Prone to Violence" is an extremely early and honest overview of domestic violence from a woman with extensive experience of its daily realities. The book cried out to be taken seriously. At minimum, it deserved a thorough rebuttal from its PC feminist critics--not death threats directed at its author nor the ultimate silence it received.

Pizzey is not alone. In America, Suzanne Steinmetz -- author of the book "The Battered Husband" and a co-author of the much-cited "First National Family Violence Survey" -- experienced a similar drama. She and her children received death threats; an ACLU meeting at which she spoke received a bomb threat.

The reason: her research indicated that the rate at which men were victimized by domestic violence was similar to the rate for women.

In large and small ways -- from shrill protests to the tearing down of announcements, from blocking university promotions to threats and defamation -- PC feminism has attempted to stop voices it could not control.

Feminism is dying not from a backlash but from an orthodoxy that cannot tolerate real discussion...and never could.

Wendy McElroy is the editor of ifeminists.com and a research fellow for The Independent Institute in Oakland, Calif. She is the author and editor of many books and articles, including the new book, "Liberty for Women: Freedom and Feminism in the 21st Century" (Ivan R. Dee/Independent Institute, 2002). She lives with her husband in Canada.

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

'Parallel Parents' ~ A new concept in Divorce Law

'Parallel Parents' A New Concept In Divorce Law

National Post (Canada) - Monday, 21st July 2003

By Janice Tibbetts

Judges Change Focus Duties to children split by couples, even if they loathe each other. Ottawa - Judges in child custody disputes are beginning to embrace a new concept dubbed "parallel parenting" for mothers and fathers who cannot get along after divorce. Unlike joint custody and co-operative parenting arrangements, judges are imposing the new regime on feuding parents by handing out orders that clearly split up their responsibilities to minimize the need to communicate. In the current issue of Canadian Lawyer magazine, Toronto family lawyer Nathalie Boutet describes parallel parenting as a "funky new trend." Judges in Ontario, in particular, appear to be adopting parallel parenting to get a jump on proposed changes to the Divorce Act, which replace the contentious terms "custody" and "access" and focus on parental responsibility instead of winners and losers. "The new language lends itself to these more creative, boilerplate type of agreements," Julia Cornish, a family law expert in Dartmouth, N.S. Ms. Cornish praised the parallel parenting concept for recognizing that it might be in the best interest of children to have equal involvement with both their mother and father, even if the parents are hostile toward each other. "In a high conflict situation you find ways to reduce the parents' opportunities to have conflict. The idea is, you can't expect some parents to have meaningful conversation because they've got the track record that that is not going to happen. Nevertheless they've both been involved parents and it's not appropriate to put one parent as the one who's doing the huge majority of the parenting and the other parent very much sidelined." Judges, for example, are setting up parenting orders that would have one parent responsible for such things as education and religion, while the other parent would take over recreation and heath care, Ms. Cornish said. The Ontario Court of Appeal, which is about to consider the worthiness of parallel parenting in the case of Lefebvre vs. Lefebvre, describes the new trend as: "The parents are given equal status, but exercise the rights and responsibilities associated with custody independently from each other." The concept, which until now has not been tested in appeal courts, has sparked controversy in family law circles. Some lawyers say that it contradicts an established legal premise that warring parents should not be awarded joint custody. In Lefebvre vs. Lefebvre, an Ontario judge imposed parallel parenting on the parents of three-year-old Gabrielle, despite a recommendation from a social worker that they were too hostile toward each other to effectively co-parent. At the time of seperation, Gabrielle's father, Stephane Lefebvre, took over her care, has recommended by the social worker. But the social worker also noted that Gabrielle "appeared to be equally comfortable with either parent" and "while they have different parenting styles, the child would continue to thrive and be well cared for by either parent." Ontario Superior Court Justice Heidi Levenson Polowin, in ordering parallel parenting, divided up responsibilities, giving the mother the final say on medical and dental decisions affecting Gabrielle. Stephane Lefebvre contends the order flies in the face of legal precedent, which emphasizes that shared custody should only be awarded when parents have shown an ability to co-operate.