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, November 21, 2008

SooTodays Carol Martin Reporting of Brian Vallee

The following report appeared on the SooToday.com web site. My response follows the report by Carol Martin. At the Toronto Star, dogs do better than women


By Carol Martin SooToday.com Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dogs are more important to the editors of the Toronto Star than women dying at the hands of their intimate partners. That's what author and Sault native Brian Vallée was suggesting last night to a roomful of advocates fighting abuse against women. "When I was about to release my latest book, The War on Women, I went into the Star out of some misplaced sense of loyalty or something," Vallée said. "I thought I'd give them this great scoop about these numbers and everything." Vallée figured it would be front-page news. Well, his story did get a single-column mention on the front page of the Star's living section, buried deep within the paper's stacks of newsprint. It didn't contain the numbers that Vallée considered the heart of the story. And in the days and weeks following, the Star's editors seemed more interested in dogs than women. "I looked on the front page and saw a story about a dog," the author said, holding up a paper and pointing to a picture above the fold that appeared in subsequent days. "Then I looked through it and found a bunch more stories about dogs," he said. "Big stories with nice colour photos." The fact that more women in Canada died at the hands of the men they trusted between 2000 and 2006 than the combined total of all Canadian military and law enforcement deaths was relegated to the living page, where readers would normally look to find cute stories about how to dress your dog to avoid being lonely. "There are really only three numbers that matter," Vallée told the people gathered at Algoma's Water Tower Inn for a community education forum entitled Understanding Domestic Violence. "Those would be: who is in the graveyard, in the hospitals and in the shelters," he said. "That's more than 500 women who were shot, stabbed, strangled, burned, or beaten to death by the intimate males in their lives in Canada in that time period." In 1987, Vallée released Life with Billy - the story of Jane Hurshman, an abused wife who took the law into her own hands. Since that time, Vallée said, he's heard from many other women who've asked him to write their stories. As heart-wrenching as those stories were, they were essentially the same story. Over and over again. As a journalist, Vallée wanted to move on to something else. But he started to keep track of the stories and he started to realize things were getting worse, not better. And no one was listening to the ones who knew. "The 2,500 womens shelters in North America are our refugee camps," he said. "Inequality has only hardened and it's left women helpless." While he was clipping stories from the papers and watching the pile grow, Vallée heard from Calgary music promoter Elly Armour. Her health was failing and she wanted him to tell her story because she was upset by the number of women still being abused by their intimate partners. She had once been a battered wife and as a teenaged mother of two with a third on the way, she shot her husband dead as he broke down the door to a room she was hiding in. It happened in Nova Scotia in 1951. She was charged with the capital murder of Vernon Ince. Like Vallée, she knew not much had changed since then. So her story became the one he used to pick up the battle again. In the course of researching The War on Women, Vallée found there's a movement afoot in Canada to remove references to gender while feminists are demonized and funding to programs for equality are quietly cut. "Women are still objectified in the media and we try to say we're equal but it's just not so," he said. "Calling it a 'war' on women is accurate and legitimate when you look at the numbers." Vallée said that the fallen in this war are more likely to be ignored than honoured. "This is just my little utopian vision - but what do you think would happen if, maybe a few weeks into November, Don Cherry were to hold up a picture of a murdered woman, maybe one with her children too, and tell the viewers about her?" he asked. Maybe Canadians would be more likely to speak out against the abuse. Maybe the murdered would be remembered. Vallee described another page from his little book of utopian dreams. He envisions white wooden ribbons, each about three feet tall, planted on the lawn at city halls across the country, each with a picture of a woman or child who's been murdered in that community. "And each November, I see groups of people bringing them to Ottawa to plant them on Parliament Hill for the month," Vallee said. "But, if the media doesn't care, the politicians don't care," he said. Inequality will harden even more and Canada will slip further behind other countries like the United States and India in its economic gender gap and more women will die at the hands of their intimate partners, Vallee said. The only answer is education and advocacy. We need to raise awareness and social consciousness of this issue like we have the issue of drinking and driving and to support abused women like we support our troops and our police officers, he said. We need to make sure that fewer men abuse women and abused women have access to safe places to live and work and to the treatments they need to recover from that abuse. This can come through education and advocacy that will lead to social and legislative change. But right now, Vallée said, Canada is headed in the wrong direction. After his presentation, Vallée stuck around to autograph books for some of the people who came to the session. Okay, for a lot of the people who came to the session. To learn more about Brian Vallée, visit his official website.

"Domestic violence 'research' has been misleading, in that data has been extracted from crime reports and/or 'crime victim surveys – in which men under report more than women – and have been publicized as indicating domestic violence is a gender issue (male-perpetrator/female-victims). In fact, when larger surveys with representative samples are examined, perpetration of domestic violence perpetration is slightly more common for females..."
Dr Don Dutton Professor of Psychology University of British Columbia From: Mike Murphy [mailto:m.j.murphy@nospam.com] Sent: Friday, November 21, 2008 1:34 PM To: news@sootoday.com Subject: Carol Martins Reporting of Brian Vallee http://www.sootoday.com/content/news/full_story.asp?StoryNumber=35858 Carol: Mr. Vallee is no stranger to the men's rights movement. Earlier this year in Whitby, Ontario he proclaimed. "Make the men wear electronic bracelets, track their movements and if they attempt to see the women or children, throw them in jail." Brian Valee, Canadian Author and Journalist May 2008. I don't know what motivates this man but it is clear his view of the problem is skewed in one direction only. Did you know that Domestic Violence (DV) is as likely to be initiated by a female against a man as it is vice versa. Family violence in Canada: A statistical profile, 2005, a comprehensive report also from Stats Can shows an estimated 7% of women and 6% of men representing 653,000 women and 546,000 men in a current or previous spousal relationship encountered spousal violence during the five years up to and including 2004. You can find the report at this link. http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/050714/d050714a.htm Domestic Violence it is less than 11% of all violence in Canada For every 6 battered women there are 5 battered men in Canada Men form more than 65% of the victims of violence in Canada For every 1 murdered woman there are 3 butchered men, For every 1 woman who ends her life, 3 men do the same William Levy-FRA-Montreal, Quebec Keep in mind what you see in the paper is what is reported to police. These appear to be the numbers used by Vallee. The figures above from Sats Canada are those based on surveys which are more comprehensive. Mr. Vallee is a panderer of misinformation and half truths. Based on a Stats Can 2008 report "Family Violence in Canada, http://www.statcan.ca/bsolc/english/bsolc?catno=85-224-X&CHROPG=1 chart 1.3, on Page 15 there is a demonstrated decline in police-reported spousal violence over the period 1998-2006. DV is far from an epidemic as he likes to pontificate. He likes to use hyperbole to sell his books and according to your report he had willing acolytes in attendance for his presentation. Mr. Vallee cherry picks his statistics to suit his agenda. We unkindly call men like him feminist lap dogs because he wants to be stroked by women as he tells them what they want to hear. It is a symbiotic relationship, partly motivated by the millions and millions of taxpayers dollars spent across the country in the women's support ecosystem including DV shelters. Mr. Vallee gets to market his books and those others get to market their need for more tax dollars. Out of the approximately 500 shelters in Canada not one provides support for battered men. As a battered man and father I can attest there are no services for me in our community. That is unconstitutional discrimination. Not only that but I have encountered blatant bias by support services in this community. In a recent court decision in California at http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/C056072.PDF it was determined it was unconstitutional for a DV shelter to deny services to a a man and his child. This will now spread across the United States and eventually reach Canada and there will be a requirement to supply these services to men who need it, There are a considerable number who do require help from which they are currently ostracized. In an Amicus Brief filed in the above mentioned California case by The National Family Violence Legislative Resource Center they outline many studies, including Canadian ones, indicating females initiate violence against males at least equally or in some cases at a higher rate than men. The brief can be viewed here. http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/C056072.PDF. Why the differences between police reported DV incidents and the survey reports? Men, and I can speak to this with experience, are socialized to internalize and "suck up" abuse. We do not want to demonstrate to others we are in pain or weak, when in fact, the pain may be overwhelming. We do not, for similar reasons, want to let others know we are fearful even in a life threatening situation, as witnessed by those police officers and firefighters, very likely all men, entering the twin towers of the World Trade Centre before they collapsed and they might even resort to black humour to shrug off the danger. Men do not want to have to face their colleagues for a perceived lack of manliness. In simple terms pride plays a lead role in most men not reporting DV from their female spouse. Another one which I pondered greatly as I was a stay-at-home dad due to the abuse I received was the issue of loss of the children. A dad in an abusive situation knows if he leaves his children they may be exposed to DV and if he takes them with him - where could he go! He will have fear the tables will be turned and he could be accused of kidnapping or falsely accused of abuse, which is very common. He is in a lose-lose situation as most contested and uncontested custody cases go to the female partner. The ratio of this is over 9-1 in favour of the mom. As I feared I lost custody of my children due to false allegations of abuse. The family court system and its support services clearly think men are inherently violent and are highly biased toward females.
The issue of DV is a complex and serious one and I won't go into great detail or quote specific studies other than those above. The Amicus Brief includes many citations and very succinctly describes the issues in its 42 pages. These issues are relevant in Canada. There are hundreds if not thousands of peer reviewed and valid scientific studies in existence. What I can tell you with clarity is the issue of intimate partner violence cannot be resolved by the Valee's of this world pandering to people who sit on only one side of the aisle. DV is a family issue and must be conducted with the involvement of all parties as a unit. Men need to have access to services and perhaps then it will become more socially acceptable to try and escape from their abuser and take the children with him who are also deeply affected. Treatment regimes need to involve each member in a holistic manner- I can't say this enough. Had there been services for men perhaps I would not now be divorced. In the interests of balance I would request SooToday publish my letter. I will be publishing it on my blog along with your report. You may also be interested in knowing your report has been distributed to a world wide group of mens/fathers rights activists. Perhaps you may receive more comments. Michael Murphy