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, 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.