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.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Convicted rapist Bill Coleman claims he's innocent, and he's starving himself to death to prove it.

A more recent column on Mr. Coleman's situation follows. Given the facts I cannot understand why the appeal is taking so long. False accusations during custody hearings by bitter ex's are prolific and how a conviction was registered is questionable.MJM Op-Ed: Hearing William Coleman’s Hunger Strike

by Jane Mills | September 19, 2008 8:59 AM Posted to Opinion

Photo courtesy of the DOC

Photo courtesy of the DOC

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this editorial are those of the author.

Connecticut prison inmate William Coleman has been on a hunger strike for a year and started refusing liquids on Tuesday, which means without intervention, he may not make it to the weekend.

In Connecticut, where autonomy in medical decisions and free speech rights do not particularly persuade in court, the Department of Correction won the power to force-feed Coleman in January. They have not acted on it, but may before the end of this week.

National and international medical ethics standards advise against any doctor in Connecticut forcing a feeding tube down his nose against his will.

His hunger strike should be protected political speech and a private medical decision. He’s been found competent to make those decisions. His living will directs doctors not to force-feed him and they are bound by it. In fact, Coleman has met every condition under the ethical guidelines of the World Medical Association that say force-feeding protesters is unjustifiable.

In August 2007, the American Medical Association, which is a member of the World Medical Association, published a commentary saying, “physicians can and should prevent the force-feeding of competent prisoners by refusing to approve or participate.” It particularly warned doctors working in prisons to resist dual loyalties to the patient and the prison and pressure to capitulate ethical decision-making.

The University of Connecticut Health Center, which provides the doctors and nurses to Connecticut’s prisons under a state contract won’t comment on the ethical dilemma, referring even this question to the Department of Correction. It is not clear whether UConn physicians would be involved.

The ACLU has been fighting for his rights.

There is a tradition of the Irish that when gravely wronged and denied all other recourse, an Irishman might sit on the doorstep of the party who wronged him in a hunger strike that forces that party to confront his rotting Irish corpse. Who gets to say this freedom will be denied anyone?

Coleman is protesting a criminal justice system he has observed to be susceptible to wrongful convictions and is therefore a threat to the public. He says the system is easily manipulated by spouses making criminal accusations during divorce or custody proceedings, according to court papers and a personal statement publicly released. He was accused by his ex-wife of rape while they were involved in a bitter custody dispute over their two young sons. No rape kit was ever performed. He was convicted by a jury in Waterbury Superior Court in 2005 in a case that was rife with worrisome questions about thin evidence covered at the time by the press and has served over four years of an eight year prison term. He will register as a sex offender upon his release if his conviction is not overturned and if he lives to see that day. He has not seen his sons since his incarceration. He says he is innocent and the signs read clearly to him: he and others would not be in prison but for lax, cynical, and downright corrupt practices by prosecutors, judges and defense attorneys. He filed a petition of Habeas Corpus in 2005 that is still pending in Rockville Superior Court seeking his release or a new trial.

Hunger strikes are last resort free speech. They are the voice of the voiceless. They are testimony that no one has listened to every other attempt to speak. They are testament of a voice robbed of credibility. The message of hunger strikes is just that. They should be provocative, causing the so-called “system” to reflect on whether it cares about truth and justice, it’s imperatives, or whether it has forsaken its highest duties. They ask the public to stop and listen with an open mind.

Coleman might be right. Has any close observer of the courts in the state of Connecticut not found the standards for reasonable suspicion, probable cause and beyond a reasonable doubt too often suspiciously the same?

Can any competent observer not acknowledge the open secret in the courts that prosecutors pass weak cases over to judges who pass weak cases over to juries, juries often consisting of members who have no idea of this virtuoso bureaucratic insensitivity to truth? Is any competent observer who is aware of this unaware that the motive for this is not devotion to truth and justice?

William Coleman does not appear to be a man trifling with the interests of the state, he appears to be pointing to fundamental issues of free speech, autonomy and justice and he seems only to be asking that people hear what he is saying.

He will either die this week or be violated by the state if he does not choose to eat or drink. Is it right that we have nearly ignored him for a year? Do we not believe that his First Amendment right is relevant to ours, his right to refuse medical treatment the same as our Aunt Bessie’s? Are they not identical? Is this where our tax money is going? From arrest to force-feeding, dare we ask if any of this six-year ordeal has served any legitimate government purpose?

No one wants William Coleman to die. So shall we allow the state to quash his speech and steal his medical choices or shall we urge him to eat so we can hear him out and look closely at his claims? The following are, in part, my comments left on the New Haven Advocate site. http://www.newhavenadvocate.com/article_print.cfm?aid=10323 This is an unbelievable story. The man has been painted as an evil abuser yet no evidence has been produced to prove his guilt other than the word of his spouse. Whatever happened to "beyond a reasonable doubt." If this was the 3rd world one could better understand an "immature" justice system. What is the USA coming too - a feminist dominated and controlled justice system and government where if a female yells rape a man is already convicted. Do you know what the proportion of false allegations of abuse are during divorce compared to proven abuse? I'm appalled and disappointed. Perhaps all the evidence presented at trial paints a different picture. I hope so. The relationship Coleman had with Parle, his ex, sounds pretty dysfunctional but its a big leap from two kinky people having threesomes to rape. Given some of the statements he admitted to, particularly the washing off the ex's family in the shower, it would certainly appear he was controlling. That is grounds for "dumping" him by his ex. but a far cry from rape. Having no knowledge of all the facts of the case gives one less than adequate insight. Given the ongoing false allegations that occur ( this week's edition is the female McCain campaign volunteer Ashley Todd blaming a non-existant black Obama supporter for a viscious assault comes to mind) . The http://falserapesociety.blogspot.com/ reports from the book "Until Proven Innocent," a painstaking study of the Duke Lacrosse case, Stuart Taylor and Professor K.C. Johnson examined all of the major studies dealing with false claims of sexual assault and explained that the exact number of false claims is elusive but "the standard assertion by feminists that only 2 percent" of sexual assault claims "are false, which traces to Susan Brownmiller's 1975 book "Against Our Will," is without empirical foundation and belied by a wealth of empirical data. These data suggest that at least 9 percent and probably closer to half" of all sexual assault claims "are false . . . ." (Page 374.)" The intense pressure and stress of a divorce does create many falsehoods about abuse. I have no sympathy for cowardly rapists and if Coleman did the deed he deserves what he gets - but if it is a "setup" one has to believe there is something very wrong in CT. It will be interesting to see how he makes out with the torture allegations and the writ of habeus corpus.
Posted by Mike Murphy on 10.28.08 at 12.36
New Haven Advocate Starvation Diet Convicted rapist Bill Coleman claims he's innocent, and he's starving himself to death to prove it. Thursday, October 30, 2008 By Daniel D'Ambrosio David McGuire, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, received a panicked call last Tuesday from hunger-striking inmate Bill Coleman in Suffield's McDougall-Walker prison. Down from 250 pounds to 128 pounds, Coleman had been moved from his room in the infirmary at Osborn prison in Somers to isolation at McDougall-Walker. Prison officials had begun force-feeding Coleman through an intravenous drip at Osborn in late September. A British citizen in the country illegally, Coleman began refusing solid food on Sept. 16, 2007, to protest what he claims was his wrongful conviction in 2005 of raping his wife. This September, on the one-year anniversary of his hunger strike, he began refusing liquids as well. Coleman, 48, told McGuire he'd had a tough night at McDougall-Walker. "He was cuffed up, shackled up, brought into the hospital unit and put in isolation," says McGuire. "There are orders that he has no inmate contact." Two days later, McGuire received another distressed call from Coleman, who said prison staff had unexpectedly taken him to a "medical appointment" he was unaware of, where he was strapped down and force-fed through a tube inserted in his nose and into his stomach. Coleman has not outlined any demands that would end his hunger strike. Instead, he maintains he is exercising his free-speech right to protest what he says is Connecticut's broken and corrupt judicial system. Coleman was convicted solely on the testimony of his ex-wife, without forensic evidence, and no witnesses were called on his behalf. Because of the continuing support of his family in England, his story has drawn international, as well as national, attention, and his ex-wife says she is being victimized all over again by his manipulation of the press. Force-Feeding In testimony before the Superior Court last January when the state Department of Correction was arguing for a temporary injunction to force-feed Coleman, Suzanne Ducate, DOC director of psychiatry, testified that a nasogastric tube is the "preferred means" of feeding an inmate on a hunger strike. She had been involved in ending six hunger strikes in the Texas prison system, where she previously worked. Ducate said the tube, inserted into a sedated prisoner, piped "nourishing liquid" directly into the stomach. "It is not a medically difficult procedure, and, in her experience, inmates who are so fed begin to eat normally soon thereafter," wrote Superior Court Judge James T. Graham in his decision granting the temporary injunction. But Coleman described a far different experience to McGuire. He said he was not sedated for the procedure, that his arms and legs were strapped down, and that a plastic mesh was secured over his chest and shoulders, leaving him able to move only his head. Coleman said cameras to videotape the procedure were turned off by Dr. Edward Blanchette, the DOC's clinical director, after things started to go wrong. He said Blanchette held his head while the tube was inserted in his nose. On the first attempt to insert the tube, it developed a kink and hung up in his nasal passage. "He was screaming in pain, begging them to stop," says Patrick Doyle, education program manager for the ACLU-CT. "Since the procedure, Mr. Coleman has been sneezing up blood." The medical staff was able to successfully insert the feeding tube, although Coleman claims the procedure remained torturous. "I could feel it going down my throat and into my stomach. I was gagging, choking and vomiting," he said in a statement released by the ACLU-CT. Coleman said the cameras weren't turned back on until the feeding was completed after about 30 minutes, and the room was cleaned up. When McGuire visited him later that day, he said Coleman still had vomit on him. Coleman's brother, Geoff, sent the Advocate an e-mail when he learned of the nasogastric feeding, calling it a "brutal and barbaric act." "I can never understand how a trained medical person can inflict this suffering on someone who does not wish it to happen," wrote Geoff Coleman. "This has set the medical profession back 200 years and puts the already corrupt justice system (in Connecticut) back to the stone-age." Brian Garnett, spokesman for the DOC, says he could not address a particular inmate's medical or mental health condition because of confidentiality concerns. In earlier comments, Garnett had characterized Coleman's hunger strike as the most prolonged in anyone's memory in Connecticut, and said the DOC had no choice but to begin feeding him. "In a very general sense, without talking about particular cases, inmates are placed in our care and custody by courts," said Garnett. "We have a legal as well as moral obligation to preserve that person's life." But Coleman says he has a constitutional right to starve himself as a form of political speech, and the ACLU-CT agrees. In January, the civil rights organization will argue against the DOC's attempt to get a permanent injunction to force-feed Coleman, and will seek to lift the temporary injunction. "We're arguing for his right to refuse medical treatment as a competent person," says McGuire. "We're arguing for his free-speech right, a form of political speech." Civil vs. Criminal Coleman's ex-wife Jillian Parle is also a British citizen. She is living and working in the Waterbury area, raising the couple's two young sons. I reached Parle, 45, on the telephone at work. Although reluctant to say anything on the record, she did send me a statement via e-mail. "The continued coverage of this story is re-victimizing my children and myself and allows the defendant to continually harass me through the media. I have received calls at home and at work and the facts about the assault have been printed several times, both of which are harmful to me," wrote Parle. "I am concerned that the media seems to be accepting as gospel the defendant's remarks and recitation of the facts of this case; yet he is a convicted felon who's attempting to manipulate the system through his acts." Parle did not address her ex-husband's hunger strike. The gist of Coleman's protest is his contention that Connecticut's criminal justice system can be manipulated to serve the purposes of those locked in civil litigation. Put simply, Coleman claims his wife made a false allegation against him to beat him in divorce court, where he had filed for sole custody of their two young sons. He points out that she went to the police three days after he filed his motion. "What Connecticut citizens should know, even if they don't care about my children and me, is that they are one 'falsely accused' arrest themselves away from my nightmare," wrote Coleman in a statement. Coleman was convicted of sexual assault in a spousal relationship and other charges in February 2005 after a jury of four men and two women deliberated for nearly four days. He was sentenced that May to 15 years, suspended after eight years, meaning he would be released on the last day of 2012. Coleman passed a lie detector test, but the tests are not admissible as evidence in Connecticut. Waterbury State's Attorney John A. Connelly, whose office prosecuted Coleman, says only that the jury "heard the evidence and reached a verdict." He says it is not unusual for a rape conviction to be based solely on the victim's testimony. Oddly, Coleman did not take the stand himself in his criminal trial, and no witnesses were called on his behalf by his defense attorney, Michael Gannon. Gannon's license to practice law was suspended in June 2007, and he was placed on a further administrative suspension this year for not paying fees required from all attorneys. Asked about the trial, Coleman declined to comment, saying it was "pertinent to current legal proceedings." The legal proceeding to which Coleman refers is the only one he has left: a pending writ of habeas corpus filed by the Office of the Chief Public Defender in Rocky Hill. Coleman lost an appeal of his conviction in a September 2007 decision. The following month the Connecticut Supreme Court declined to take up his case. A habeas corpus petition, which has roots in English law going back to the 14th century, must show that a legal or factual error was made in the trial. The U.S. Supreme Court has characterized the writ of habeas corpus as "the fundamental instrument for safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless state action." The odds are against Coleman, given the generally low success rate of the "great writ." Request Denied My contact with Coleman came solely through letters conveyed to me by McGuire, who visits Coleman regularly as his attorney. I had arranged through the Department of Correction to interview Coleman in person on Sept. 30, but, the day before, received a call telling me the interview was off. I was told only that a high-ranking official in the DOC had decided over the weekend that it would not be a good idea to allow the interview to go forward. My request to view the videotapes of Coleman's force-feedings was also refused. "At this point the videotapes are not going to be available for viewing for the reason this is an ongoing security operation," says Garnett. "We never want to tip our hand about how we do things." McGuire described Coleman's room at Osborn as measuring about 8 feet by 10 feet, with drab concrete walls lined to simulate cinder blocks, a stainless-steel sink and toilet, and a wall-mounted C-shaped "desk" stacked with files and paper. "He's a prolific writer," says McGuire. "He has written a lot of stuff for me." McGuire sat in one of two chairs in the room when he visited his client, glancing out the room's single window to the prison recreation yard beyond. In a corner of the room was Coleman's twin-sized bed with "DOC Infirmary Unit 3" written in marker on the pillow case, and four brown leather restraints for Coleman's hands and feet. This is where officials strapped him down. Coleman says prison staff treated him professionally during the IV drip feedings at Osborn, and he did not struggle with them. "Even though they follow the 'illegal' court order issued in Connecticut they nevertheless are very respectful," wrote Coleman in a letter. "My arms are placed in restraining straps and I lie on the bed for between 3 to 5 hours while fluids enter me." Before each videotaped session, Coleman made a statement for the camera. "My name is William Coleman. I'm a competent adult. I do not consent to this force feeding, which violates international law." A Marriage Unravels In August 2004, after a nine-day divorce trial in which Bill Coleman represented himself, Superior Court Judge Lynda B. Munro ordered the dissolution of the marriage, granting Parle sole legal custody of their children. The couple's life together had been tumultuous, as detailed in the decision written by Judge Munro. Coleman and Parle had immigrated to the United States in 1988 on temporary visas to work at a camp in Hebron after Coleman divorced his first wife. The couple returned to Liverpool, England, their hometown, in 1994 to marry. After a summer at the camp, Coleman held a variety of jobs, including management trainee at Dairy Mart, before landing a position in 1996 as the head women's soccer coach at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain. Coleman had played soccer all of his life, including years as a semi-professional player in England. Parle got a job at a family firm in the Waterbury area. In December 1998, Parle returned to England after learning her father was gravely ill, only to find out that he was already dead. The decision was made by her family not to tell her until she arrived. Coleman was left alone with the couple's two young children, one only six months old, and soon became overwhelmed. He claims it was this incident that sent his previously happy relationship with Parle into a tailspin. He admits his conduct at the time — insisting that Parle return to Connecticut eight days before her father's funeral, and raging against her family because of the way they had handled the death — was wrong. Parle said her homecoming was a nightmare "The plaintiff (Parle) stated that the defendant (Coleman) kicked her, spit on her and punched her, made her crawl outside on the deck and take showers to 'rub her family off her skin,'" wrote Judge Munro. "The defendant denied all of that other than insisting she take the shower to rub her family off her skin." Against this background, the couple's marriage slogged on. In February 1999, after a short stint in a women's shelter, Parle and her mother, who had come to be with her, took the kids back to England without telling Coleman. Coleman called Parle almost daily, alternately begging her to come back and suggesting they should get divorced, while also, unbeknownst to Parle, inquiring through the Hague Convention about forcibly getting his kids back. Parle finally agreed to return, but was refused entry into the country at JFK, later re-entering the country through Canada. It was August 1999. She went back to work at her previous employer, and moved back in with Coleman. All was not well. In 2000, Coleman's contract with CCSU was not renewed after it was revealed he'd had an affair with an assistant coach, and that his immigration status was illegal. (If Coleman survives and is eventually released from prison, it's almost certain he'll be deported.) After his affair was revealed, the couple separated and Coleman moved to Newport, R.I., where he began working with abused and neglected children and teaching parenting groups and anger management classes for an area agency. (Go figure.) Parle brought the boys to Newport for a visit every weekend, and, working steadily, was able to buy a house in Waterbury. She started a relationship of her own with another man around July 2002, just before Coleman decided he would move back in with Parle and the children some time in late August, 2002, according to Munro. Learning of her relationship with another man, Coleman alternated between imploring his wife to choose him and their boys over her lover, and asking her to sign a letter "resigning" from their family. By mid-September, Coleman had decided he would take the boys and return to England. In the days leading up to the alleged rape, Parle's car had broken down. Coleman at first refused to pick her up from the repair shop, but then showed up at the same time as friends she had called for a ride. They called the police when they saw the mood Coleman was in, but the responding officers determined Parle felt safe going home. Once home, Coleman told Parle he was filing for sole custody of their children and taking them back to England. Later that day, the family went for ice cream, meeting a friend to look at Parle's car. The next day, the couple drove to the Waterbury courthouse, where Coleman filed papers seeking sole custody. Over the next two days, Oct. 1 and Oct. 2, Coleman drove Parle to and from work, and searched for a bunk-bed for the boys, according to Judge Munro's account. The next morning, Parle told a friend that Coleman had raped her. She invited the friend to dinner that night, and testified later at the divorce trial the friend left around 10:30 p.m. Coleman claimed the friend stayed late into the night and that the three of them had sex. The friend testified she had no memory of what happened after dinner that night. On Oct. 4, Parle went to the police and Coleman was arrested. Family Relations Counselor Sylvia Richard wrote in a report for Judge Munro that Parle said Coleman had "held her hostage" and sexually assaulted her during that week. Coleman denied it. "The alleged sexual assault remains a he-said, she-said situation, as Ms. Coleman did not go for a medical exam subsequent to the abuse," wrote Richard. "It remains difficult to ascertain which client is actually telling the truth." In a story following Coleman's guilty verdict, the Waterbury Republican-American reported the case had "hinged on the victim's testimony," and quoted the prosecuting attorney as saying the absence of forensic evidence "is not necessarily conclusive to whether or not a crime took place." Richard's report for Munro included the fact that both Coleman and Parle acknowledged they shared a "non-traditional intimate sexual relationship where three-way sexual encounters were a fairly common practice for them." At trial, Parle contended she had been repulsed by the three-way sex and more, including pornography. But Munro remained unconvinced. "After listening to all of the evidence as to these three-party sexual encounters by these parties with others, the court concludes that both parties were consenting adults," wrote Munro. United Nations Called In On Monday, the national ACLU together with the ACLU-CT, called on the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture to review last week's forced nasogastric feeding of Coleman that allegedly went so wrong. The UN Commission on Human Rights established the special rapporteurs in 1985 to investigate claims of torture around the world. In a written statement, Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU Human Rights Program said "brutally force-feeding" Coleman violated his basic human rights and his right to make a political statement by refusing food. He said he is hopeful the Special Rapporteur will take up the case, and called on the DOC to immediately implement any suggestions the UN agency makes. "Bill's protest is passive, his treatment is aggressive," wrote Geoff Coleman in his e-mail to the Advocate. "Shame on the people who have violated his rights, his mind and his body, shame on a justice system that fails the very people it sets out to protect." editor@newhavenadvocate.com © 2008 New Haven Advocate

It is truly Inspiring to watch this 11 year old girl's reaction to seeing her dad

If you are a dad get a tissue before watching this video you will need it, especially if you have been emotionally and/or physically torn from your children. Read the story then click on the link below. Watch the video again...and again... As I understand it the couple are divorced but the mom has been a good parent in allowing her daughter to have a relationship with her dad. Kudo's to this mom. You are doing what all good parents should do - let your children love both mom and dad. What better reward could a parent have after putting your life on the line for your family and country than to see what is probably the most important person in his life. It is truly touching to observe a warrior have his child race toward him like that. The feeling he would have would be better than being a rock star in front of adoring fans for certain. When it happens to you - you clearly know it. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/27277530#27277530 By Bob Considine
TODAYShow.com contributor
updated 10:31 a.m. ET, Mon., Oct. 20, 2008

It is a scene that can melt the heart of anyone who has one: Eleven-year-old Siri Jordan reunited with her father, Dan, at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport when he made a surprise return home from the war in Iraq.

And the replay of it may be enough to help Siri when she misses her father again, after he goes back to serve his country once more.

“I thought that it was very surprising,” Siri told TODAY co-host Meredith Vieira on Monday. “I was wondering why he was here, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s here!’ ”

A white lie Carefully planned by Siri’s grandmother, Joyce, the tearful reunion was captured on video by NBC affiliate KARE-11. Because military plans can change at a moment’s notice, Joyce Jordan didn’t want Siri to endure the disappointment of expecting her father and then not seeing him. So she told the little girl from Burnsville, Minn., that they were going to the airport to pick up a friend.

“I lied!” Joyce Jordan told Vieira. “[But] I think God’s forgiven me.”

In the video, which TODAY replayed, a shocked Siri sees her father approaching after waiting several minutes near the baggage carousel. Then the powerful reunion takes place.

“That’s Dad! That’s Dad!” Siri shouts while running for her daddy’s arms. “Oh my God! Dad, what are you doing here? Oh my God! You didn’t tell me!”

The emotions also got the best of Dan Jordan.

“I just wanted to come home to my little one,” he said.

Long road home Sgt. 1st Class Dan Jordan has been a reservist with the National Guard for 25 years, and is currently part of the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade in Balad during his second tour of Iraq. He performs safety inspections of American combat units.

Jordan has not been home since June. But his unit provided him with an R&R opportunity this month, and he was keen to take the 12-day leave, knowing that he likely would face restrictions leaving in 2009.

“They had openings for October, and [Siri] had been calling me on the phone and telling me that ‘it would be really nice if you came home,’ ” said Jordan, who works as a trucker in Burnsville when he’s not serving.

Cameras captured Siri Jordan’s surprise reunion with her father, Sgt. Dan Jordan, at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Siri’s parents are divorced. While living with her mother, she has been able to talk or e-mail with her father just about every day. But her one repeated wish, particularly over the past few weeks, was for her father to come home.

While Jordan calls his daughter “resilient,” Siri has had nightmares of him getting hurt while overseas.

“I tell her we all hope that we will come home safe, but she knows that if I don't, I'll be up in heaven looking down,” Jordan said.

Until next time Dan and Siri arrived in New York over the weekend for some quality time. Their weekend of sightseeing included a visit to Times Square, a trip to Ellis Island and a carriage ride in Central Park.

“We got to go through Central Park and the gentleman was very nice to take us around,” Jordan said. “She saw places where they filmed ‘Enchanted.’ ” There’s also a plan for the family to appear on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show before returning to Minnesota.

But soon enough, Siri’s father will have to go back to Iraq. After this return home, Jordan cannot return again until next June. He is promising Siri he will be back for her 12th birthday on June 13 — one day before Flag Day.

The tough months ahead may be somewhat eased by the Webcam connection Jordan is setting up, so Siri can actually see her father, in addition to communicating with him via e-mail or phone calls.

But when those transmissions aren’t quite enough for Siri, she can still think back to the memory of her father’s unexpected return and a special weekend spent in New York.

“[Dad] told me that if you feel upset, just do something to make you feel happy or look at a picture,” Siri told Vieira.

Senator Ann Cools speaks to members of the Toronto Police Services on DV

Senator Ann Cools speaks to members of the Toronto Police Services on the subject of domestic violence and fraudulent information statistics being promoted by women shelter advocates.

Positive parenting

I don't believe in physical discipline of children of any kind and ran across this article this morning from the Philippines. I hadn't realized October 19 was the Global Day of Action for the Elimination of Corporal Punishment of Children. Physical punishment is just sending the wrong message to children. It is teaching them hitting is OK and it is not. If a mother or father hits a child what lesson does that teach. If a mother hits her son is she not teaching the son that it is OK to hit others. If a woman hits a boy does that not tell the boy that hitting a female is OK, especially if they are also taught about equality of the sexes? It can be a very confusing method of so-called discipline. Boys are naturally more rambunctious than girls and it is not the kind of lesson they need. Ask any teacher who has to manage boys and girls which group requires the most energy to supervise. I have been a volunteer on class outings and even in lower grades boys are far more energetic and potentially mischevious. That is not a bad thing but it is the way we are born and socialized. We ought not to be hitting our children at all for any reason. Yes - many of us were spanked and for those who went to catholic schools in the 50's we were also "strapped" by the nuns. A terrible lesson for children. All it did for boys was to ensure we put on our bravest face to show all the class how unafraid we were as the nun visciously beat us across the hands with her weapon, providing a humiliating experience for all to see.

Cebu Daily News / Opinion


THINK BITS Think Bits : Positive parenting

By Ricky Poca Cebu Daily News

Posted date: October 28, 2008

I’m sure not many knew that October 19 was the Global Day of Action for the Elimination of Corporal Punishment of Children. Allow me to share with you what corporal punishment is and its alternative.

It’s time to stop hitting our children.

This piece is by Maria Naomi N. Poca, M.D., member of the Central Visayas Cluster for Child Protection & Restorative Justice.

Maria, a four-year-old girl, suddenly lets go of her mom’s hand and runs across the street. For this, mom whacks her bottom for doing a bad thing. Now, Maria can’t sit to enjoy her fries and hamburger because her bottom hurts.

Tony, a nine-year-old boy, returns home from school after his family has had dinner. Father hits him with a belt causing Tony’s body to turn black and blue all over.

May, who is 15 years old, spent the night drinking with her barkada. On learning about this the following day, her father cuts her long, beautiful hair unevenly to stop her from leaving the house.

Junior eagerly helps mom serve drinks to their guests. While doing so, he spills a drink on the newly cleaned floor. Mom scolds him as a dozen pairs of eyes look at them and a dozen pairs of ears hear the harsh words coming from mom’s mouth.

There are many more of these stories from children who have been hurt and harmed by their loved ones. Children have been slapped, kicked, burned, choked, beaten, pinched, whipped, had their ears twisted, threatened, terrorized, ridiculed, cursed, belittled, etc. all because they behaved badly, disobeyed their parents or authorities, failed to perform tasks or chores to the satisfaction of adults, or because they did not listen to what the adults had just told them.

The infliction of such physical or emotional pain by adults on children because of an offense that they had committed is called corporal punishment. It is the use of physical force with the intention of causing some degree of pain or discomfort no matter how light or the use of humiliation, denigration or threats is practiced by adults for the purpose of disciplining, training or controlling the child.

Treating children this way must stop. Children do not benefit from corporal punishment. It hurts them physically and emotionally, leaving them with feelings of fear, pain and confusion. Children only remember such punishment as a painful experience.

Corporal punishment is harmful to children’s health and development. Its use only perpetuates violence in society as it teaches children to resolve conflicts by using violence and to believe that it is justifiable for strong people or groups to use violence against the vulnerable and powerless. Furthermore, corporal punishment is an ineffective means of disciplining children as it does not teach or give them guidelines. It does not help them learn self-discipline and to take responsibility for their actions.

More importantly, corporal punishment is a violation of children’s human rights. It violates the child’s rights to dignity, physical integrity and equal protection under the law, the very same rights that adults demand and enjoy.

What, then, should adults do to children who misbehave, are “hardheaded,” commit a mistake or disobey an adult while affording them respect and equal protection from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment? The answer is, POSITIVE DISCIPLINE.

Positive discipline is an approach to parenting that teaches children rules, values and good behavior that respect their rights and the rights of others. It is a technique that guides children’s behavior at the same time treating them with respect by listening to them and encouraging their participation in learning. Children learn more through cooperation and encouragement than through conflict and punishment.

The aim of positive discipline is to provide long-term solutions that develop children’s self-discipline and life-long skills. It is about teaching nonviolence, empathy, self-respect, human rights and respect for others.

The use of positive techniques in rearing and educating children will help them grow to be responsible and caring citizens as children are given the venue to learn, think for themselves, think of others and take responsibility for their actions.

Positive discipline is definitely not permissive parenting. In positive discipline, unacceptable behavior is not permitted to continue as the child’s attention to the negative behavior is called by the parents. The child is made to understand the harmful effects of such behavior on others, on property and on the child him/herself. The child and the parent discuss the consequences of the child’s action and the steps that could be taken to repair the harm that was done. Both decide on what will happen if the negative behavior is repeated or not corrected. Children say that such process where he/she is listened to and allowed to participate in decision-making encourages them to do better by not committing the same mistake in the future.

Maria’s Mom could have discussed with Maria what would happen to her if she suddenly crossed a street. Maria would not have only learned about looking right and left before crossing the street; her confusion as to where “right” or “left” is would have also lessened.

The fathers of Tony and May could have told their children how sickly worried they were as they had not gone home before dark. May’s father could have discussed the dangers of drinking at such a young age. With these actions, Tony and May would have felt their father’s love for them.

Junior’s mom could have gently said, “That’s okay, son, accidents do happen. Be careful next time. Please mop the floor before someone slips on it.” (Mom knows she, too, is not perfect.)

Let’s all stop hurting our children and begin a positive and caring relationship with them starting today. This may just be the answer to peace in our country and the world.

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