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October 20, 2005

Supportive Article About "Breaking The Silence: Children's Stories"

Custody Fight: Documentary sheds light on system that lets children suffer at the hands of abusive fathers

By BOB PORT
First published: Sunday, October 16, 2005

This week, every judge, lawyer, psychiatrist, psychol social worker
with any connection to family law in New York ought to be taken into
custody, escorted to their local courthouse and forced to
watch "Breaking the Silence: Children's Stories," a PBS documentary
set to air in the Capital Region at 10 p.m. Thursday on WMHT Ch. 17.
Before coming to Albany, I worked for years at the New York Daily
News. I had occasion to cover stories from Family Court and custody
battles, largely in New York City. I've heard the tales of more than
a hundred people in recent years caught up in the "Twilight Zone" of
a custody dispute, as many of them identically refer to the legal
system.

This exquisite documentary, "Children's Stories," like no other
production I have seen, makes comprehensible the subtlety of a
scandal that recurs in custody proceedings in New York and other
states. It is an almost impossible story to tell, one from which
journalists flee, and it boils down to this: A judge, often misled by
self-interested lawyers and court-appointed professionals, ignores a
protective mother, ignores the wishes of children and awards custody
to a man who is an abuser, emotionally or physically, of his wife or
their children.

In a bitter irony, the judge orders this injustice wrapped in the
banner that is New York's legal standard for deciding custody: "best
interests of the child."

What our legal system has failed to grasp is that lust for vengeance
drives the worst of fathers to use litigation itself as a way to
abuse ex-wives. Their economic incentive has also grown. Winning
custody can be cheaper than child support.

"Children's Stories," filmed partly in Loudonville, will not try your
patience with he-said, she-said debate between couples or among
experts. Save that for later. Instead, the filmmakers select wise
experts to explain and ask that you do two things our courts easily
fail to do: Trust mothers to behave like mothers and listen to what
children say.

There is little Sarah, ordered to live with a father she feared. "You
feel like," she says, biting her lip, "you want to die."

There is the terror-stricken voice of Manya recorded on the phone,
pleading with her mother to rescue her from her father, who molested
her for years. "I don't care if you have to break the law," she
sobs, "get me out right now."

There are the observations of Jeff, who turned 18 and escaped, but
who remains haunted at having lain awake across the hall from his
little sister as she was raped and sodomized by his dad, who won
custody. "It's the most helpless feeling," Jeff laments.

These are the raw extremes of custody law gone awry. The typical
abusive parent is less severe or far less obvious, and abuse is
always difficult to discern. Two adult men speak in "Children's
Stories" with memories of their own abusive fathers to shed light.

One of them, Joe Torre, manager of the New York Yankees, who suffered
in the care of a violent father, recalls why he never called
police. "My father was the police," Torre says.

"It is never an event," says the other, Walter Anderson, CEO of
Parade magazine. "It is a pattern of behavior." Abuse, he explains,
is "the systematic diminishment of the child." This common sense can
elude family courts.

Some facts are in order here. We're talking about a big but very
narrow problem. Custody is not disputed in court in the overwhelming
majority of divorces as many as nine in 10 cases settle amicably,
according to studies. In uncontested custody, mothers win out over
fathers, taking custody about 2-1, although this is partly because
some fathers see trying to win custody as futile.

Contested custody, about 10 percent of break-ups, clogs courts. In
these disputes, some studies show, a mildly abusive, or brutally
battering or seriously molesting parent lurks in three fourths of
cases. It can be a mother, but mostly it tends to be a father, and
recent studies show fathers winning these battles 2-1.

Do the math. It's a problem.

Custody case law in New York, as in many states, enshrines one of the
most ridiculous legal principles ever to evolve, called "parental
alienation."

Conceived by the late Columbia University psychiatrist Richard
Gardner, "parental alienation syndrome" was a proposed name for a
mental illness in which a mother, to punish her ex-mate, alienates
kids against dad by coaching them to allege abuse.

The antidote for this alleged insanity, Gardner theorized, is to give
the kids to dad, thereby counteracting mom's alienation by removing
the kids from her control. It's the ultimate mind game in custody
battles. We can almost never prove what's really true in an abuse
allegation, and a bald abuse allegation, even if false or exaggerated
itself, can be symptomatic of a deeper, less severe pattern that is
true. The victim of abuse thus becomes the perpetrator and a villain
can win. Gardner's ideas became a playbook for fathers using
litigation to punish ex-lovers.

Gardner's colleagues rejected the addition of his theory to the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the peer-reviewed handbook of
mental illnesses. His work has been debunked by the American
Psychological Association and others. Parental alienation syndrome is
junk science.

Yet in a monument to ignorance, New York courts continue to
recognize "parental alienation" as if it were some psycho-law of
medicine and continue to give kids to oppressive, if not abusive
fathers simply when mothers make accusations. It's as if judges are
years behind in reading social science literature.

Father's rights groups have legitimate concerns about false abuse
allegations, but given the nature of contested custody, these
utterances should not trigger instant death for mothers. Yet,
Gardner's remedy for alienation is etched in precedent in our state
appellate law books. Judges continue to fall for it as medical dogma
when it comes from court-appointed forensic psychiatrists. These
experts, unregulated in the court system, are often ordered by a
judge to evaluate parents, but they answer to no one. They must be
right, judges are pressed to believe. After all, judges appointed
them.

In "Children's Stories," a judge, who happens to be a social worker,
as perhaps we should require of all our Family Court judges, tries to
set the record straight. Maybe our Court of Appeals will get the
message.

Also aired in this documentary are the problems with some law
guardians, lawyers appointed for children. The documentary shows us
how they can do more harm than good. They can be patronage-seeking
pals of judges who authorize legal fees billed to parents for
whatever the market will bear.

Law guardians may not listen to their clients, the children, and they
inevitably end up taking sides, then avoid communication with the
losing side. They can freely engage in what lawyers call ex-parte
communication they talk to one side without the other present. Judges
do it, too. It's unethical and it deprives one party of a fair
hearing. Yet, in our family courts, ex-parte exchanges, even
hearings, can be standard operating procedure.

Dominique Lasseur, the producer of "Children's Stories," told me he
expects to be sued, but I say he deserves a Nobel Prize for honesty
for his work here. The Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation, which
financed this effort, deserves our gratitude. And this documentary
should prove again the incalculable value of public broadcasting.

An annual event at Siena College became the setting for some
of "Children's Stories." Mo Therese Hannah, a psychology professor at
Siena, is already organizing the third Battered Mothers' Custody
Conference there, set for next January.

The judiciary in New York is aware of the problems you'll see on TV.
A 32-member Matrimonial Commission, appointed by our chief judge, has
heard from hundreds of citizens. Appellate Judge Sondra Miller of
Westchester County, chairwoman, says her commission is preparing its
report for release in December and it will recommend major changes.

"We hope that we can change the tenor of these proceedings," Miller
said. She intimated her commission is considering some new court
model for resolving custody, one based on principles of mediation and
arbitration more than advocacy.

We'll all be watching.

Bob Port is senior editor/investigations at the Times Union. He can
be reached at 454-5064 or by e-mail at bport@timesunion.com

Posted on October 20, 2005 at 10:20 PM | Permalink

Comments

If you were a father forced out of your home by specious accusations of abuse
If you were a father who believed that children need both parents in their lives
If you were a father being systematically removed from your children's lives
If you were a father repeatedly turned away by the courts
If you were a father whose desperation was routinely taken advantage of by lawyers
If you were a father facing
   the possibility of not seeing your kids for years
   the likelihood of a 14% or less participation in their lives and
   the certainty of a marginalized role as a parent
If you were a father terrified that your kids will succomb to relentless pressure to turn against you
If you were one of the genuine fathers that even this article admits to exist

    ... you would feel differently.

I do not need a "syndrome" to know child abuse when it is described like this:

"The Alienating Parent willfully and without regard to the child(ren) or the targeted parent's welfare, or the innocent extended family's welfare, continually violated their rights and disregarded their needs for a relationship. The Alienating Parent uses and exploits the children. The Alienating Parent isolates the children from a nurturing parent and family. The Alienating Parent denies the children their basic needs of love and belonging from the Targeted Parent. The Alienating Parent thus neglects the children's mental welfare. They rejected the children's and Targeted Parent's testimony of love and need for each other. The Alienating Parent terrorizes and corrupts the children. The Alienating Parent callously puts their own desires, wants and needs above those of everyone else including their own children. This all adds up to one thing, PAS is Domestic Violence in the form of Psychological Maltreatment." From here.

Parental alienation may not be an official "syndrome", but it certainly happens.

The only solution is a presumption of equal rights unless clear and present danger to the kids can be proven by people without an ax to grind with respect to either side and without regard to the other side's extraneous motivations to see those rights become unequal. Such unbiased people are rare. We should be training them as fast as we can.

I grew up being told that feminists were in favor of an increase of the part of fathers in children's lives. I thought this was a good idea, and subscribed to it, but I now know from direct personal experience that it applies only in as far as the mother wants it. If she wants you out, of her life and the children's, and you love your kids more than anything in the world, you're in big trouble these days, buddy boy.

So much for equality, girls. Thanks a bunch.

Posted by: Jadd at Oct 21, 2005 10:26:41 AM

Great. More fathers' rights nonsense. PAS is not accepted as a valid syndrome by the American Psychological Association. It's not in the DSM-IV, and it will never be. It is junk science used by abusers against protective mothers in court. The "presumption for equal rights" (a. k. a. 50/50 joint physical custody) has been rejected in numerous states as well as the U. K., Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. It's been rejected despite massive fathers' rights lobbying for it. "Breaking The Silence: Children's Stories" is an important documentary about how PAS is being used against mothers to take their children away from them. I'm glad that it is airing.

Posted by: The Countess at Oct 21, 2005 11:03:15 AM

The only solution is a presumption of equal rights unless clear and present danger to the kids can be proven by people without an ax to grind with respect to either side and without regard to the other side's extraneous motivations to see those rights become unequal. Such unbiased people are rare. We should be training them as fast as we can.

Problem is, the folks who would hand kids over to their abusers--even after the kids state quite clearly they don't want to live with them and were abused--are biased and DO have an axe to grind. They believe discredited junk-science like PAS, and cite the IWF as a source when the people who are experts in the field of psychology--namely, psychologists and psychaitrists--have dismissed it. It is not a syndrome, it's a poltical buzzword created to give abusers some cred.

And it creates situations like this:

There is little Sarah, ordered to live with a father she feared. "You
feel like," she says, biting her lip, "you want to die."

There is the terror-stricken voice of Manya recorded on the phone,
pleading with her mother to rescue her from her father, who molested
her for years. "I don't care if you have to break the law," she
sobs, "get me out right now."

There are the observations of Jeff, who turned 18 and escaped, but
who remains haunted at having lain awake across the hall from his
little sister as she was raped and sodomized by his dad, who won
custody. "It's the most helpless feeling," Jeff laments.

So much for the best interests of the children, Jadd. But we know that the only thing the FR wingnuts care about is themselves, not their kids or the welfare of kids in general.

Posted by: Sheelzebub at Oct 21, 2005 11:05:34 AM

The problem for you men's rights types Jadd is that fathers only seem to come up with the great idea of 50-50 childcare once divorce or the payment of child support is on the cards. Before that men are quite happy with the status quo of letting the woman do nearly all the child-care.

Custody of children should go to the primary carer, which, at the moment, is usually the mother.

Posted by: Hazel at Oct 21, 2005 11:18:28 AM

Countess:
I have not said that one needs to have a defined syndrome to identify a specific form of child abuse, in fact I have said that one does not need it. Come to that, is "child abuse syndrome" in the DSM-IV? (I actually don't know, I don't have it to hand.) If it weren't, would you still deny it's existence? Or call studies in it "junk science"?

That a policy is rejected by a state does not make it wrong, nor does its acceptance make it right. States make policies on the basis of politics, and only rarely on the basis of careful, unbiased research. 'Grief, if states made policies on that basis, we wouldn't have wars.

I confess I did not watch the PBS documentary, mostly because it would have upset (not angered) me too much. Just the blurb for it is riddled with distortions at the very least.

If you think that the people who made this movie are unbiased, consider this. There is a letter circulating on various sites which is believed to be written in response to some of the protests sent to PBS. It includes a comment from the producer and director that reads: "Research shows that [...] women are five to eight times more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate partner. [...] If we had featured the stories of one man and five women who had been victims of domestic abuse, statistically we would have grossly overstated the problems of men in this area." Leaving aside the possiblility that the letter is a fake (if it is, it's cleverer than I would have expected) and leaving aside the validity of the results cited, the statement made is blatantly self-contradictory. If the ratio of victimhood is 1:5-8, then featuring the stories at a ratio of 1:5 is absolutely not a gross statistical overstatement.

I know for a fact that certain unscrupulous parents will use stereotypical assertions to gain an unfair upper hand in a divorce/custody case. These will be both mothers and fathers, it isn't gender specific. Victims will be -- besides, of course, the children -- both mothers and fathers. If you cannot accept that, then you too are responsible for supporting and perpetrating injustice.

I'd like to see both sides fairly represented.

The other "Jadd":

I vehemently agree that it is wrong to hand kids over to their abusers. I believe that treatment of a child in the manner described in my first post above is child abuse. The abuser can be either the mother or the father. Any given anecdotal case, no matter how repugnant and outrageous, is not an argument against this in any sense. I have seen multitudinous examples of bias and injustice against fathers. Are you trying to say this can't be true?

Frankly, it never ceases to astonish me that so many so-called feminists will react with such vitriol against the idea that men can be victims too. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. You want us men to champion you poor victim women, but you aren't willing to back us up in our own fights against injustice in the cases where abusive women have the upper hand? Where's the equality in that? You aren't feminists, you're female-supremicists.

Feminism, in its reasonable forms, is not nonsense, why would you call a reasonable appeal for the rights of a father nonsense unless you are biased, you are bigotted, or you have an axe to grind? Ultimately, you'll just poison your own well.

Posted by: Jadd at Oct 21, 2005 11:45:35 AM

The letter you mentioned being circulated is from the Producer of the documentary...who stated "Research shows that [...] women are five to eight times more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate partner."

This was sent in reply to the 'rigged' flood of emails and letters MRAs were sending to PBS trying to stop the documentary from being shown.

The Producer also stated that he went into this research for a topic with an open mind and ultimately decided on this documentary based on what he subsequently found going on in courts...I'm sure MRAs would have liked it better if he had found that men were routinely discriminated against in courts; but unfortunately for them, he found the opposite.

FATHERS are NOT discriminated against in courts. MOTHERS win custody through negotiation and give up substantial property rights and other financial assets to win it. When mothers cannot negotiate and are forced in front of Judges and GALS, Evaluators and all the instruments of power that MEN have assembled to assist themselves, MOTHERS LOSE...


Posted by: NYMOM at Oct 21, 2005 1:07:06 PM

The letter you mentioned being circulated is from the Producer of the documentary...who stated "Research shows that [...] women are five to eight times more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate partner."

This was sent in reply to the 'rigged' flood of emails and letters MRAs were sending to PBS trying to stop the documentary from being shown.

The Producer also stated that he went into this research for a topic with an open mind and ultimately decided on this documentary based on what he subsequently found going on in courts...I'm sure MRAs would have liked it better if he had found that men were routinely discriminated against in courts; but unfortunately for them, he found the opposite.

FATHERS are NOT discriminated against in courts. MOTHERS win custody through negotiation and give up substantial property rights and other financial assets to win it. When mothers cannot negotiate and are forced in front of Judges and GALS, Evaluators and all the instruments of power that MEN have assembled to assist themselves, MOTHERS LOSE...


Posted by: NYMOM at Oct 21, 2005 1:09:07 PM

Actually, Jadd, it amazes me that so-called father's rights advocates react with such vitriol to abused kids. Talk about poisoning your own well.

Posted by: Sheelzebub at Oct 21, 2005 1:51:54 PM

"Actually, Jadd, it amazes me that so-called father's rights advocates react with such vitriol to abused kids. Talk about poisoning your own well."

Exactly. Joe Torre and Walter Anderson, two men who were abused as children and you don't see much sympathy for those two MEN by any of these MRAs...

Of course if they were claiming to be abused by their MOTHERS, then it would be a whole different story.

Posted by: NYMOM at Oct 21, 2005 2:24:45 PM

Quoting Dr. Robert Geffner, President of the Family Violence & Sexual Assault Institute: "The idea is absurd that social workers, pediatricians, and others can be easily persuaded to find abuse." "It's incredible when you look at these parental-alienation cases that anyone could have the ability not only to program their child but also to be able to convince all these outside people of abuse," Geffner says. "There is no research to show that a parent can program a child to make detailed sexual-abuse allegations against somebody who is in a close, loving relationship with them."

This last statement was also reiterated to me by a local psychologist with specialized expertise PTSD and other trauma-related anxiety disorders. In all her years of practice, she had never seen a case in which one parent can get a child to hate another parent with whom there was already a good relationship. To paraphrase comments from many mothers living the reality of parenting rather than just professing to be parenting, "I can't brainwash my children to clean their rooms, but somehow I'm supposed to be fully able of brainwashing them to hate their father and make up abuse allegations. The CIA should be gathering us moms up to learn from our expertise."

The parent who has not undertaken the day to day parent during the marriage is in no way "marginalized" by getting visitation orders that reflect their actual contributions to child raising. There is not a relationship between the quantity of time fathers spend post divorce and their importance in the children's lives. There is a relationship in the quality of the time they spend with their kids. Perhaps the whiners should be improving their relationships rather than demanding their minute-for-minute equal time.


Posted by: Strawberry Note at Oct 21, 2005 4:40:48 PM

One of the first rules of engagement, upon encountering an enemy is to look for reinforcements. The standard way to do this is identify the enemy with a larger group already known to be against your cause (e.g. fathers' rights advocates) and then accuse that group of something everyone can recognize as despicable (e.g. reacting with vitriol towards abused kids) and might therefore be expected to join you in the attack.

Hmm. OK. Let's see. Am I a fathers' rights advocate? Well, I advocate rights for fathers. I think that any father ought to have the right to defend his children against child abuse and I think that child abuse ought to incorporate the description I have given above. That is, if the mother is trying to alienate the child from the father, he ought to have the right to do something about it. Well, I guess that does make me a fathers' rights advocate.

So, would being a fathers' rights advocate necessarily make me an enemy? Well, it might if I reacted with vitriol towards abused children. But I'm pretty sure I haven't. In fact, I'm dead certain I haven't and I would find the implication insulting. It's OK, I know that none of you have explicitly accused me and even so, I guess I shouldn't be insulted because I know I'm not one of the bad guys even if you don't. Nevertheless, I'd be grateful if you'd read over what I've written and let me know what I've said that might be inappropriate or unreasonable. Then carefully consider whether or not I might be one of the people you are so incensed about and whether or not you should be getting upset with me.

Next point. I don't know about any flood of mails or emails to PBS. I didn't send one myself (various reasons), and I don't see anything wrong with anyone expressing their opinion whatever it is. I am curious to know, however, in what sense and to what extreme the "flood" was "rigged".

The producer did indeed say that he found evidence of prejudice against mothers. He backed this up with some numbers and then said that to make a proper representation of those numbers would be a gross statistical overstatement. I'm sorry, but with that his credibility went out the window (if it wasn't there already).

However, I am open minded enough to recognize that this may be his only failure of reasoning. As I said, I did not see the program, so here is your opportunity to educate me and other readers of this page. How exactly did he arrive at his conclusion? How many cases did he study? How did he select his statistical sample? Were there geographic limits? Were there demographic limits? Hard facts, please.

Or was this, in fact, anything more than an exercise in taking advantage of some carefully selected tragic cases to safely yank the public heartstrings by a publicity seeking TV producer and director? This is an honest question. We see this sort of thing every day. The media will manipulate you however they can to up the ratings. What makes this program special?

Really now, is it even all that courageous or even novel to showcase women and children who've been hurt by the failure of justice? No, it isn't. It fits the public stereotype like a glove. I'm not saying it shouldn't be done and I'm certainly not saying the victims aren't real and don't deserve better treatment, but it runs no risk of approbrium from any large, powerful group, a few vocal fathers' rights advocates notwithstanding. Now an investigation by PBS of how the legal system works against good fathers trying to remain so would be courageous even if they are, as you claim, in a minority (believe me, it's a pretty desperate and miserable minority). I suspect that it would have every "feminist" in the country up in arms and howling. Why? Because it doesn't fit the stereotype of abuser-man/martyr-woman that many fathers' and mens' rights activists are so sick of and that unscrupulous women can use so effectively in motivating their support. A true feminist should welcome such a thing in the name of exposing injustice of any kind, but I don't see any putting their hands up. Likewise, a true fathers' rights advocate will also recognize the positive side of "Breaking the silence" as an effort to expose injustice. Either way, I just wish that such expose's weren't necessary to begin with but, the human animal being what it is, they are.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think it is a real shame and a woefully lost opportunity for the producers not to have included a victimized father in his program. It would probably have given the whole thing many times more credibility. Oh well.

While I know perfectly well that some "MOTHERS win custody through negotiation and give up substantial property rights and other financial assets to win it", I also know that there are mothers who gain custody through lies and deceit and then use it to lever as much out of a loving father as they can, if not destroy him completely. Folks, not all mothers are good and not all fathers are bad. Likewise, in our big wide world, there will be courts in which fathers face discrimination and mothers have the distinct advantage. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that.

Finally, I'm sorry, but I don't know who Joe Torre and Walter Anderson are, but if they were abused as children, they have my every sympathy. Moreover, if I could, I would assure them that I do everything within my power to stop such a thing happening to another child. That was my point, after all, at the beginning of all this, that even if parental alienation is not a syndrome, I know that it happens and I know that it is child abuse.

Jadd

Posted by: Jadd at Oct 21, 2005 5:45:51 PM

"Or was this, in fact, anything more than an exercise in taking advantage of some carefully selected tragic cases to safely yank the public heartstrings by a publicity seeking TV producer and director? This is an honest question. We see this sort of thing every day. The media will manipulate you however they can to up the ratings. What makes this program special?"

No...I don't think it was just a few hard cases here.

Actually, back in the late 80s-early 90s Richard Gardner HIMSELF the PAS expert saw the writing on the wall here. What he had wrought probably. Gardner wrote an article about how many custodial fathers he was seeing who were emotionally abusive and alienating children from their mothers.

Even he was a little surprised as very few fathers even HAD custody then...YET 50% of his practice was, by that time, mothers being alienated from their children by custodial fathers.

So this producer didn't pick a few hard cases. As 10% is no small number considering 50% of marriage end in divorce here. That's probably hundreds of thousands of custodial fathers, who are monsters that abuse their exwives for spite and have no problem with destroying the lives of their children through this behavior...

NONE at all...

Actually every custodial father I've ever met or read, has done the same thing btw. Not even ONE has ever said anything GOOD about the mother of his children...Check it out yourself sometime...

EVERY single one I've ever known has tried to claim the mother of his kids was abusive, neglectful of the children, dirty, sleeping around with a lot of men., etc.,

This is very standard.

So this documentary is correct...you men are trying to get custody to psychologically abuse the mother of your children and/or to not pay child support.

Maybe both...or some combination thereof.

This documentary is just focusing on a problem that has been going on for years now and it's about time someone said something...It should have been addressed a decade earlier by women's groups, to their shame they said nothing...


Posted by: NYMOM at Oct 21, 2005 7:36:17 PM

"...This documentary is just focusing on a problem that has been going on for years now and it's about time someone said something...It should have been addressed a decade earlier by women's groups, to their shame they said nothing..."

Actually as soon as this is over...we are going to have to do something about the related problem that this documentary points out...which is WHY women, who were in power throughout our legal and political establishments for over two decades now, did NOTHING while this was going on.

With the exception of Trish Wilson I have to say and the Lizgate site, I think those were the only two speaking out about this for YEARS now, ALONE...

Where were all these women's organizations...what did they do with all that money they were collecting from people all over this country and from government grants????

Probably going to conferences and expensive dinners, shows, cocktails, etc., wining and dining at taxpayers' and due-paying members' expense and overlooking some of the most critical issues mothers have been facing for almost two decades now...

The women's movement is too young for our leaders to be complacent or become 'establishment' YET...

Posted by: NYMOM at Oct 21, 2005 8:14:03 PM

"It's been rejected despite massive fathers' rights lobbying for it"

You're exaggerating again. They don't even have Lobbying Firms working for them, and there aren't enough men in fathers' rights groups to do anything in a massive way. You give them too much credit. When are you going to get it through your brain that the hierarchy are sexist pigs? I can't figure out why you defend these people!

"PAS is not accepted as a valid syndrome by the American Psychological Association."

You don't believe everything the APA publishes seriously do you? Most Doctors and Phd's in the profession take what they publish a with grain of salt.

"It's not in the DSM-IV, and it will never be"

There's nothing in the DSM-IV about men who beat their wives and children, that doesn't mean it doesn't happen!

"The problem for you men's rights types Jadd is that fathers only seem to come up with the great idea of 50-50 childcare once divorce or the payment of child support is on the cards. Before that men are quite happy with the status quo of letting the woman do nearly all the child-care."

That's because most people are duked into believing that moms are capable of raising their kids by themselves. But it doesn't take long after the divorce for men to figure out that she may have been a good mom when she and the kids lived in his house and he was paying most if not all the bills.

"Custody of children should go to the primary carer, which, at the moment, is usually the mother."

Why shouldn't the kids go with the parent who is more grown up and more capable of raising the kids by himself? Wouldn't that be more fair for the children?

Posted by: MXer at Oct 21, 2005 9:22:56 PM

it's true mxer that men are usually 5 or 10 years older than their wife, and they're the one who owns the house and pay the bills, but when it comes
to the important part of raising kids they're not around. They're usually at work or playing golf or something. That's why moms have the expertise of raising kids. Look, even hired illegals raise most of the kids in Beverly Hills. You're better off paying one of them raise your kids than their father.

Posted by: pearlwisdom at Oct 22, 2005 12:26:28 AM

My daughter was sexually abused by her father when she was three and we were already divorced. I tried to tell CPS and others and was instantly perceived as vindictive ex-wife. The case went from criminal (he was arrested after a really bad weekend when he raped her.) Even though there was some medical evidence, she was too young to be a reliable witness, he threatened her and the civil courts mandated court-appointed therapy. Years passed. I became bankrupted, moved to another state with her-still allowing visitation. One day I put her on a plane for a four day visit and never saw her again. She was nine. I got a restraining order in the mail accusing me of false allegation and emotional abuse. I had a stress breakdown. He had brainwashed her, brainwashed the court personnel--everyone.

My life was ruined and hers is too in many ways. I was suicidally depressed for many years. I lost my job and all my money. She is now 19 and I have seen her once. I wrote her all those years but was not allowed to see her. We are like strangers now. I only hope that we can become close again in the future.

All because I tried to protect her and tell the authorities what was happening. Don't tell me that it's rigged for the Mom because it's not.

Posted by: Heartbroken at Oct 22, 2005 1:18:55 AM

"You're exaggerating again. They don't even have Lobbying Firms working for them, and there aren't enough men in fathers' rights groups to do anything in a massive way. You give them too much credit."

That's not true and you know it.

The Fathers' Rights Movement is a component of the Mens' Rights Movement and they have PLENTY of men supporting them...

They also have that internet newspaper mensnewsdaily. They have other sites...and even if they don't pay lobbying firms and attorneys for services many men in these firms are supporters of theirs, so provide services for free.

Just like at the county level, many courts are overrun with these mens/ fathers' rights advocates.

AND the news and entertainment media supports them too in ways both obvious and subtle.

Heck look at how the news media virtually ignores male murderers who kill their children. They get little or no news coverage, like that Marcus Wesson, for instance.

The guy killed NINE of his kids...just got the death penalty...but is he a household name like Susan Smith who killed two kids or Andrea Yates who killed five...

Even the entertainment industry supports mens' propaganda. I mean how many times did we have to sit through this phoney spin of the Disney clownfish or those ridiculous penguins.

It's ridiculous to act like these mens' groups have no real support.

Al Gore was in New York a few years back supporting fathers rights groups, he has stated that he strongly supports them and I believe he is now working in some capacity with a fathers' group even.

Alan Dersowitz supports them, he has even suggested a database on the internet for women making false abuse accusation, like what they do for sexual offenders now.

George Bush supported them enough to believe their bs about boys not having attention paid to them, so he had his wife make a statement at the beginning of this year, that NOW the gaze of the White House would be shifted from girls to boys...

Why...because boys get in more trouble then girls. Talk about rewarding bad behavior...

So these groups get support from plenty of influential people for free...from attorneys and probably lobbying firms too...they were able to generate about 1,500 emails and telephone calls to PBS in about 2 days so that's not bad.

Posted by: NYMOM at Oct 22, 2005 1:22:13 AM

it's the soccer moms and liberals who are the hypocrites when it comes to raising their children. They marry before they're mature enough to know what commitment is about. Then they talk about divorce and being independent but they manage to keep THEIR marriages together so they can live in the
nice homes and drive the SUVs. But they have no problem when other women
endup divorced and living on child support and alimony. If they practiced what the preached they'd buckup and file for divorce like the rest us, instead of taking on the passive/aggressive butchdike personality. They think they got everyone fooled, when their own husbands wish they'd leave them so they would have an excuse to date real women. Enough said.

Posted by: pearlwisdom at Oct 22, 2005 1:29:18 AM

"My life was ruined and hers is too in many ways. I was suicidally depressed for many years. I lost my job and all my money. She is now 19 and I have seen her once. I wrote her all those years but was not allowed to see her. We are like strangers now. I only hope that we can become close again in the future.

All because I tried to protect her and tell the authorities what was happening. Don't tell me that it's rigged for the Mom because it's not.

Exactly...It's rigged all right but for MEN...They rigged it.

Even this abduction business on visits...VERY common for men to do.

Actually over the last 20 years abductions of children has skyrocketed.

Hundreds of thousands of kids abducted and then custody switched to the fathers...

That's the NEXT documentary they need to do...

The FBI has a complete website now dedicated to abductions and who started all that...MEN, most trying to avoid child support as these two movements fathers' rights and child support enforcement have BOTH followed the same timeline...

That needs to be investigated next how they get away with this abduction business on visits...

Posted by: NYMOM at Oct 22, 2005 1:29:29 AM

"it's true mxer that men are usually 5 or 10 years older than their wife, and they're the one who owns the house and pay the bills, but when it comes to the important part of raising kids they're not around. They're usually at work or playing golf or something. That's why moms have the expertise of raising kids."

Mom have the 'expertise' of raising kids NOT because men have been off playing golf...but because the female of every SINGLE species, including our own, has always borne and raised their young...

We are no different from any other mothers that God, nature, evolution whatever has selected as the best, nature, caretaker of the young.

All this propaganda being put out now that mothers are not very important to children, anybody else can raise them better than us including fathers, grandparents, step-persons is just that: propaganda.

It's an attempt at social engineering by the elite of our society, encouraged by men many trying to avoid paying child support, taking our kids as if they were little guinea pigs and removing them from the care of the best natural guardian of them, which is and always has been their mothers.

Posted by: NYMOM at Oct 22, 2005 1:40:28 AM

Greetings Heartbroken, what actually did happen to your daughter?
My daughter was sodomized by her mother's boyfriend and I ended up in jail for several days until they did a blood test and found I did not have the V.D. they she got from him. But the authorities never made him a suspect because her mother spoke up for him. Two years later he raped another child and ran off to mexico. My ex apologized to me ect ect for blaming me, but the damage was already done. And he was never seen again. Ironically she was the only person that didn't contact a venereal disease from him. Then I tried to get custody through the court and she ran off with the kids and I haven't seen them since.

Posted by: pearlwisdom at Oct 22, 2005 1:41:39 AM

How could a man rape a 3-year-old and not leave CONCLUSIVE medical evidence?

Heartbroken, something's missing from your story.

Posted by: kohoutekdriver8 at Oct 22, 2005 1:42:10 AM

"How could a man rape a 3-year-old and not leave CONCLUSIVE medical evidence?

Heartbroken, something's missing from your story."

Well we don't know the entire story here as many of these cases are deemed inconclusive.

Even that fellow who was convicted of the rape and murder of Samantha Runnion was previously arrested, tried and found NOT GUILTY by a jury of sexually assaulting his girlfriend's child...

This was BEFORE he raped and killed Samantha Runnion.

So for whatever reason, sometimes these things happen and conclusive proof is not found or the jury just doesn't like the victim.

Like what happened with Michael Jackson or Robert Blake...

Posted by: NYMOM at Oct 22, 2005 2:08:35 AM

"And he was never seen again. Ironically she was the only person that didn't contact a venereal disease from him. Then I tried to get custody through the court and she ran off with the kids and I haven't seen them since."

Well even part of the problem with locating her and the kids is that so many parents are doing this abduction business now (mostly instigated by fathers over the years trying to get custody through loopholes in state laws)that the authorities don't even pay attention anymore when you go in to report an abduction.

You get fluffed off and told to get an attorney and go to court to address parental abductions now...

So really serious situations are getting swallowed up in waves of nonsense...

Unless you have money for a private detective really who knows when you'll find your kids...

Posted by: NYMOM at Oct 22, 2005 2:14:36 AM

There was conclusive evidence, he gave her a certain V.D. But when they figured out the NCF didn't have that desease they didn't pursue any
longer. I pointed out that it may have been a family member, but it turned out to be the mother's boyfriend. I was the only male questioned, beside the doctors report he had to submit to the county by law.

It's ironic because if they wanted to find who the biological father wa so they could collect child support they would make ten men take blood test until they found the right one and track him to the end of the earth. But since it was only a little girl who got sexually assaulted, they don't care.

Posted by: at Oct 22, 2005 2:26:59 PM

I came over via the fabulous Pinko Feminist Hellcat and read some of these comments a couple of days ago. I thought I'd digest things before making my first post on this blog. So I have and I just gotta say that when Jadd writes:

"So much for equality, girls. Thanks a bunch."

I get a good idea of the kind of respect and honesty to expect from his posts.

Here's what I really want to ask. If you have children who are suffering from child abuse, how does a documentary that focuses on child abuse cause problems for you? I am a survivor of child abuse and I can pretty much guarantee that this documentary will not show an example of the particular method of child abuse I survived.

So what? Does that mean that child abuse won't be properly addressed? Of course not! Does it have to be my particular story or Jadd's particular story that gets told for the documentary to be considered a fair report? Of course not! The world is not all about me or Jadd or anyone else in particular. It is about how our society deals with child abuse and what we need to do to make it better for the children.

Jadd wrote: "A true feminist should welcome such a thing in the name of exposing injustice of any kind, but I don't see any putting their hands up."

Jadd, why you are spending time deciding how other people should behave? You call the feminists who post here "girls" and then provide your opinion of how these "girls" should behave. If you don't plan on being a feminist, then why bother yourself at all with how feminists ought to behave? I'm not saying you don't have the right to do that, I'm just wondering why you bother.

Personally, I have no plans on becoming a father's rights advocate and I really don't care how any of them behave. What I do care about is the children. I am alive today because somebody else cared about children when I was in danger. So even if the attention given to this issue on PBS isn't exactly the specific attention I want personally, I'm going to be thankful that the issue is brought up for discussion and that some children may survive because of the documentary.

About 20 years ago I happened to stay overnight at the house of a woman who was a lawyer representing children in abuse situations. Her suggestion way back then still makes sense to me today. She believed that when abuse is suspected, the parents should be removed from the home, rather than the children. That way the children's lives would be affected less: they could stay in the same school, be in familiar surroundings, and feel much safer. I know, it's a pipedream, but it's a good dream!

Posted by: Ravenmn at Oct 24, 2005 12:06:38 AM

That was pretty touching Ravenmn. Especially the part that fathers should be kicked out of their homes. That's probably the only thing that will go over well on this blog. As you can see at the top of the page this is a feminism blog. Women are the primary focus, not kids. Unless kids can benefit mothers there's not a lot to be said here about children who are suffering from child abuse. Children are just the collateral damage in the feminist movement for sole mother custody.

Posted by: ben dover at Oct 24, 2005 12:34:59 AM

"Especially the part that fathers should be kicked out of their homes."

I used the word "parents". Yet the only person you're concerned about is the father. Obviously, kids are not your "primary focus."

Posted by: Ravenmn at Oct 24, 2005 7:44:35 AM

Oh boy, here we go again. More slanted, factually challenged propoganda from the "women's rights" groups! It's sad really that so many people like Trish Wilson care more about their own agenda, rather than what is most important, the children. As a mother, I welcome and encourage the involvement of my children's father. Unfortunately, in the minds of "feminists" fathers are marginalized and reduced to nothing more than an occasional visit and a check book. It makes me ill when I see shows like this last fictional movie.

Fortunately people are beginning to see through this "woe is me" garbage offered by many of the extreme feminists. As divorce and split families becomes more prevelant, people are realizing that gender should not be the basis for custody placement. Instead, it should be what is best for the children. Mothers are not automatically better parents simply because they are mothers.

Posted by: Jody at Oct 26, 2005 9:30:30 AM

Yes, the facts are slanted. The APA is completely slanted and biased because they don't recognize PAS as a syndrome. Rational and reasonable people assume that experts in the field--i.e., psychologists and psychaitrists--have no idea what they're talking about.

Up next: the world is actually flat, and anyone who doesn't believe this isn't listening to the facts!

Posted by: Sheelzebub at Oct 26, 2005 9:37:45 AM

Sheelzebub, Beezlebub

you people make me ill.

I am a woman whoes father life was ruined by a vindictive evil vile woman who knew how to work the system and used their child as a means of revenge against him. I cannot believe what I'm hearing. I am also the wife of a man whos father had to stay in an abusive relationship to keep his son safe from an abusive mother. Who had to watch his mother beat, stab, his father, steal from him and his father, be emotional abusive to the both of them. A woman who also knew how to work the system and usually got his father arrested when he called the police on HER! Then was told he if left her he wouldn't get custody.

You so called feminist are killing families with your bias and your propaganda. And if you think, think that mothers (sweet perfect mothers) will not use false allegations of abuse, poison their children against a father because SHE is mad at him, or ruin his life and the lives of their children with false allegatons of sexually abuse to not only get custody, but to turn the children against him and get revenge on him, YOUR DEAD WRONG. And children are paying for it every day. Men HARDLY ever get custody of their children. Divorce lawyers tell most of them to not even try. A mother can kill the children's father and still get custody. All she has to say is , " Oh he told me I was fat and I had battered woman's syndrome" yeah remember that, Battered Woman's syndrome. I bet you all believe that exist but low and behold a mother can't inject her child with hate towards a decent father for her own evil reasons. Not sweet perfect mothers. You have to wonder why mothers are the highest causes of domestic abuse and deaths of children? But you always give them excuses, oh they have Munchausen bi Proxy Syndrome( which by the way there is no conclusive medical proof that says it exist or what causes it), or wait they have Postpartum Stress disorder(which is not been proven to factually exist. It is more of a theory). They are poor, or blame it on the father somehow.

When a woman throws her children in the ocean or puts them in a microwave or drowns them in the bathtub, or turns to oven on and puts them inside to cook alive ,or puts them on top of the stove to burn to death or feeds them PineSol, or scalds them with hot water and then puts them in a bucket in a closet, or beats them to death for wetting their pants, and many other ways women torture and murder their children we guess thats all some Syndrome, or Poverty, or the man's fault.

You so called feminist don't care about mothers, you don't care about abused children, (wait you only care about them if the father is abusive), all you care about is hating and demonizing men in any way you can and pushing your own agenda. Because if you cared about children you would work your butts off to make sure both parents are in the child's life and see that as the standard. But I guess becaus mothers gift birth, and can't do any wrong, and the virgin mary is a woman, that makes mother default better parents. You delude yourselves with that and you mock any woman that doesn't jump on your bandwagon.

Jody I applaud you for being see these modern feminist for what they really are. Thankfully my mother was a decent woman that made sure that no matter what was between her and my father, that it had nothing to do with me and that he loved me, and she made sure she didn't get in the way of the two of us having a relationship. She also put in me common sense and and the belief that men are an important part of our lives and our families.

Posted by: Trina at Oct 26, 2005 10:45:08 AM

Way to go Trina!

Posted by: Jadd at Oct 26, 2005 12:44:18 PM

It amazes me that a documentary about abused children who have been given to their abusive fathers by the courts makes so many people so defensive and angry. I would hope that people would support the idea that abusive fathers should not have custody of their children, but it seems that's not the case. This documentary exposes a tragedy in family courts that has long needed to be addressed, and it is finally getting attention. Fathers' rights activists don't like that, because this documentary exposes Parental Alienation Syndrome for the junk science that it is. Parental Alienation Syndrome is a popular weapon in their arsenal against their ex's, and PAS is getting much-needed debunking.

For some reason, some people think that supporting a documentary that exposes the horrid practice of some courts of giving abusive fathers custody of their children denigrates all fathers. That's ridiculous. Children who are abused by their fathers need all the help they can get, and this documentary stands a good chance of educating the public about how dreadful this practice of awarding abusive fathers custody of their children really is. Anecdotes that amount to nothing more than mother-bashing and feminist-bashing won't change that. This issue IS about children. Children who are abused by their fathers are finally getting the attention they deserve.

Posted by: The Countess at Oct 26, 2005 1:36:09 PM

You said in your first paragraph: I am a woman whoes father life was ruined by a vindictive evil vile woman who knew how to work the system and used their child as a means of revenge against him."

"You said in your last paragraph: Jody I applaud you for being see these modern feminist for what they really are. Thankfully my mother was a decent woman that made sure that no matter what was between her and my father, that it had nothing to do with me and that he loved me, and she made sure she didn't get in the way of the two of us having a relationship. She also put in me common sense and and the belief that men are an important part of our lives and our families."

So which is it? Was your mother an evil vile woman or a decent woman.

Posted by: NYMOM at Oct 26, 2005 1:57:10 PM

"Why shouldn't the kids go with the parent who is more grown up and more capable of raising the kids by himself? Wouldn't that be more fair for the children?"

Why should a child be separated from the parent they spent most of their life with so the other won't have to pay child support?

That's not a reason for a child to lose their mother, you stingy cheapskate.

Posted by: NYMOM at Oct 26, 2005 2:00:42 PM

"Mothers are not automatically better parents simply because they are mothers."

No...but they are better mothers; unlike you a stepperson who has been here before complaing about another women's children.

Get your own kids and quit pestering other women and their children.

Posted by: NYMOM at Oct 26, 2005 2:04:20 PM

"So which is it? Was your mother an evil vile woman or a decent woman?"

I think she means her mother was the second wife.

"Anecdotes that amount to nothing more than mother-bashing and feminist-bashing won't change that."

But Trish, isn't the documentary made up of anecdotes as well?

Posted by: Anne at Oct 26, 2005 3:11:38 PM

The documentary focuses on the damage wrought by the acceptance of PAS as a legitmate mental health disorder by the courts (despite being roundly discredited by psychaitrists and psychologists), and how it's used by abusers to get custody of their kids. The point of the documentary was that the kids were abused, there was ample evidence, but even voicing this suspicion got the mothers labled as alienating and put their kids in danger. If the kids said anything, they were assumed to be brainwashed by their mothers. So, in their best interests, they were shipped off to their fathers, who were abusive.

Posted by: Sheelzebub at Oct 26, 2005 4:00:35 PM

The problem is that this isn't a documentary. This is a fictional motion-picture. Of course the feminists don't want to deal with the real issues surrounding what is best for the children, which, is why more and more women are seeing through the whole "movement."

The demonization of fathers is a terrible problem that is only causing more problems with our children in todays society. Young boys watch this and see their fathers, typically good men, trashed by feminists and politically correct politicians. This constant barrage of anti-male and anti-father messages has an incredible effect on the self-esteem of teenaged boys.

But that is not a concern to feminists, who many of which, see their own sons as nothing more than a necessary evil. Its disgusting and sad and confounded by fictional "documentaries" such as the one that PBS chose to air.

Again, it is my hope that someday, even the most radical feminists will put their own agendas aside and focus more on the kids of divorce. Obviously, based upon the drivel on this blog, we are years away from that.

Posted by: Jody at Oct 26, 2005 4:27:54 PM

It is so sickening when bitter ex-wives think that fathers only want to be around their children to avoid paying child support. Its sad and pathetic, but I have come to expect it from some of the sorry bitter ex wives on this blog. I pray for your children that they will adjust to life after divorce much better than you obviously have. Your bitterness is sad, and pathetic.

Posted by: Jody at Oct 26, 2005 4:30:58 PM

Oh, one other thing. I know that research isn't a strong point for most of the bitter ex-wives that constantly post here bashing fathers and whining about how they were scorned.

However, the APA has come out and said that the association's stance on Parental Alienation Syndrome was mis-reprented in the movie.

In the documentary Joan Meier, a professor of clinical law at George Washington University and one of the film's chief spokespersons, states that PAS "has been thoroughly debunked by the American Psychological Association." Connecticut Public Television, one of the film's producers, put out a press release promoting the film which stated that PAS had been "discredited by the American Psychological Association."

However, according to Rhea K. Farberman, Executive Director of Public and Member Communications of the American Psychological Association, these claims are "incorrect" and "inaccurate." Farberman says that the APA "does not have an official position on parental alienation syndrome--pro or con." She adds:

"The Connecticut Public Television press release is incorrect. I have notified both Connecticut Public Television and their PR firm of the inaccuracy in their press release."

Posted by: Jody at Oct 26, 2005 4:42:48 PM

The APA does not recognize PAS as a syndrome--thanks for proving my point. It is not recognized as a mental illness or syndrome. Moreover, the "fiction" in the film covers the stories of real survivors of abuse. One of whom now works with other people who was in his situation--under the custody of an abusive father who use PAS drek to get custody.

That you would silence and discredit these survivors speaks more to your venom than the facts. Then again, you're not interested in what they went throught--you're interested in bashing mothers and women in general, and being a shill for abusers.

Posted by: Sheelzebub at Oct 26, 2005 6:10:09 PM

"But Trish, isn't the documentary made up of anecdotes as well?"

Yes, probably.

But the producer of the documentary said he WANTED to include men in it but it wouldn't have been FAIR since STATISTICS show that it's mainly women who are abused...

AND he did not want to give a false impression that this was happening equally to both men and women, as he found from his investigation it was happening to mothers, not father.

This documentary was about abused women, whose exs continue the abuse by fighting for custody.

Anne, didn't you read that letter the producer wrote...

It would be equivalent to doing a documentary about Afr. Americans getting bad treatment before the Civil Rights Movement but then saying let's include a few white people in this for balance...

Would that have been FAIR in your opinion?

I'm sure we could have also found a Nazi or two wandering around Germany who had something bad happen to them during the war as well, should we drag a couple of them into every documentary about Jews in Germany???

For balance????

Do you think????

OR do you think?

The best evidence for ANYTHING is NOT just statistics and not just anecdotes but a combination of BOTH...as stats can never give us the whole story nor can anecdotes.

Posted by: NYMOM at Oct 26, 2005 6:47:10 PM

"Again, it is my hope that someday, even the most radical feminists will put their own agendas aside and focus more on the kids of divorce. Obviously, based upon the drivel on this blog, we are years away from that.

It is so sickening when bitter ex-wives think that fathers only want to be around their children to avoid paying child support. Its sad and pathetic, but I have come to expect it from some of the sorry bitter ex wives on this blog."

Then why don't you go and check out the drivel on a couple of father and mens rights sites if you want to see drivel...

It's interesting no western country had a Father's Rights Movement before; since according to them fathers are sooooo concerned about their children and NONE of this is about money.

I'm just curious why do you think men didn't start a fatherhood movement sooner, like during or after slavery, for instance, when hundreds of thousands of their children could have used their help?

Did Thomas Jefferson start a fatherhood movement. Did he even TALK or WRITE about one EVER?

He had a number of slave children...what was he doing for them or for other children in the same situation as his own???

What about Frederick Douglass's father? Have you read his biography by the way and seen what his father and his other males relatives were about with their children...Selling them or renting them out to total strangers to make money...that's what...

Poor little Frederick was LUCKY some totally strange woman took an interest in him and saved him from his OWN FATHER, after he worked poor Frederick's mother to death in his field. He almost killed little Frederick, his own son, by starvation and/or exposure dozens of times.

It was a miracle this poor boy made it to adulthood.

Where was the fatherhood movement then?

What about when hundreds of thousands of orphans roamed the streets of our cities in the late 1800s-early 1900s...DID men start a Fatherhood Movement then.

NO...

Actually a total stranger, a priest had to start Boys Town as there were so many young boys just roaming the streets homeless whose fathers paid NO ATTENTION TO THEM.

So it's a little late in the game for men to start walking the walk and expecting everyone to accept whatever they say at face value. We need to look at their actions here and from men's action over the last decade or so NOTHING HAS CHANGED...

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

We have over 300,000 children every year abducted in this country, many by fathers trying to get custody through a loophold in state laws.

Even Richard Gardner, their own PAS expert, saw how many custodial fathers were MONSTERS and that was in the 80s, before many men even had custody...

What would he be saying now I wonder?

So men have smeared their own image especially over the last decade by their own behavior, nothing to do with 'bitter ex wives' as you call them.

This documentary is just the tip of the iceberg demonstrating, once again, the bad behavior of men vis-a-vis their children.

Don't try to blame women for their latest escapade. Let them admit to their bad behavior and work on fixing it, not blaming women...

Posted by: NYMOM at Oct 26, 2005 7:23:29 PM

Jody: "However, the APA has come out and said that the association's stance on Parental Alienation Syndrome was mis-reprented in the movie."

Jody, what you've quoted is not from the APA. It's a statement being circulated by fathers' rights activists in their latest ugly attempt to attack the documentary. I have already seen it.

This is what the APA actually said about allegations of child abuse in the context of a custody case likely being false, including a reference to PAS. Please note what I've placed in bold. That is a clear denunciation of PAS and other forms of "alienation".

"Family courts frequently minimize the harmful impact of children's witnessing violence between their parents and sometimes are reluctant to believe mothers. If the court ignores the history of violence as the context for the mother's behavior in a custody evaluation, she may appear hostile, uncooperative, or mentally unstable. For example, she may refuse to disclose her address, or may resist unsupervised visitation, especially if she thinks her child is in danger. Psychological evaluators who minimize the importance of violence against the mother, or pathologize her responses to it, may accuse her of alienating the children from the father and may recommend giving the father custody in spite of his history of violence.

Some professionals assume that accusations of physical or sexual abuse of children that arise during divorce or custody disputes are likely to be false, but the empirical research to date shows no such increase in false reporting at that time. In many instances, children are frightened about being alone with a father they have seen use violence towards their mother or a father who has abused them. Sometimes children make it clear to the court that they wish to remain with the mother because they are afraid of the father, but their wishes are ignored."

Posted by: The Countess at Oct 26, 2005 7:42:15 PM

Jody, I'm tired of you bashing feminists and mothers with your comments. If you do it again, I will ban you.

Posted by: The Countess at Oct 26, 2005 7:44:39 PM

No, Anne, the cases in the documentary are not mere he-said/she-said anecdotes. They have medical records and lots of written verification of the domestic violence and child abuse. I know two of the mothers whose children's stories are covered in the documentary. Those cases are heinous, and I'm glad the documentary has brought their cases to light. I just wish the children would be returned to their protective mothers, and taken out of harm's way.

Posted by: The Countess at Oct 26, 2005 7:47:24 PM

"I just wish the children would be returned to their protective mothers, and taken out of harm's way."

I hate to say it but probably just the opposite will happen now, as frequently when women speak out they are threatened with never seeing their children again. That's what happened even with that Bridget Marks case. She was shut up BEFORE she even won the appeal by them giving her back unsupervised visitation.

Since the bottom line is if Bridget Marks was so horrible how come in a few weeks or so they gave her back unsupervised visitation of her kids? What was up with that???

It happened so quickly even I was surprised and then suddenly Bridget Marks stopped doing the newspaper interviews, no more talk shows, etc., everything quieted down.

AND a lot of non-custodial mothers have told me the same thing. I'm always trying to get more of them to have blogs, for instance, but they are always afraid their ex will find out and tell the Judge and they'll be punished by terminating visitation, which takes very little for Judges to terminate visitation, let me tell you. We've had a mother here in NY who had her visitation terminated for smoking, not even around her kid no less. I never found out what happened to her; but she went on the O'Reilly Show and I bet they didn't like that...

That's why so few people even realize how many mothers have lost custody because if they make waves about it, then they lose visitation as well and never can see their kids.

These threats have become a very effective tool to silence women...

Posted by: NYMOM at Oct 26, 2005 8:27:02 PM

Most people seem to forget every case is different. Fathers are an important part of children’s lives. And so are mothers. It is important for children to have two parents even if they are divorced. Most parents seem to be able to do this according to statistics.

For those children that are being abused everything must be done to protect them.
My father was an alcoholic who won custody of three children, the youngest who he handed over to his sister. He would not allow us to see our mother.

When I was divorced in 1992 and the father who was a drug addict was given full custody of our three children I was devastated.

Why aren’t judges looking out for the children? Children suffer for many years into adulthood over the abuses they endured during childhood.

When do we stop looking at the wife or the husband and look at the mother or the father and really look at what is best for the children. Why are men and women arguing in this blog, shouldn’t we all be fighting for what is best for the children.

Again two parents are best for a child; this should always be the case, with the abusive parent being supervised during visits. Children should always have access to both parents except where abuse in uncontrollable. This is a very small % of cases.

Let us unite and protect our children.

Posted by: ADA San Diego at Oct 27, 2005 4:38:53 AM

Exactly ADA. The problem is that people like Trish and those rallying behind this documentary aren't insterested in the children. They are interested in furthering the agenda of woman=good man=bad. Unless it is a man that hates himself and hates the very idea of man.

A good clue that this documentary isn't about children is that it only focuses on women. There are numerous children that are lost to abusive mothers and fathers, but isn't it suspect that stories of father's losing custody to abusive, drug addict, and so on mothers is totally absent from this film? That is because they hate men and fathers so much that they have to further stomp into the brains of the public that fathers are worthless, only good for child support, and don't love their own children. Otherwise this documentary would have shown all sides of this issue, I mean if it was REALLY about children.

These modern feminist prey on women's fears to control us. The want us terrified of all men and all things mascline. They want us to believe that men and women are equal in all ways, mentally, physically, and socially, when its not the truth. And they want mean to be afraid of women. They want children to believe that fathers aren't important to them and the world to believe that children don't need fathers. Fathers should be reduced to sperm donors and checks. They write books about it. They want to demolish the presence of the father in the family. Or at least his role in the family. Some of us see right through the crap, but alot don't.

They ridicule and dismiss the father's rights movement and men's activism. Which is good because it'll creep up until it slaps them in the face and crumbles their crystal palace. White people believed this about us black people when we tried to fight for our basic rights. Men originally did this to true feminist who respected men, but wanted to fight male bias and for women to be allowed into sectors that would enrich their contributions to society, such as politics, and employment, etc.

Many women who see this documentary (probably already with a low view of men) are going to think that this is rampant in the court system. When in actuality, false accusations,father smearing and fathers losing children in more rampant. Mothers abusing and killing children is more rampant, men being arrested and charged, or denied resources or help (and ridiculed) when they are abused by their female half is more rampant. (But of course males being abused by a female partner is a Myth according to Trish)

PAS is real, just as real as all those syndromes that gives excuses for women who murder their babies and their husbands.

If this documentary was about children, then it would be about children and not about mothers.

Posted by: Trina at Oct 27, 2005 10:18:22 AM

That you would silence and discredit these survivors speaks more to your venom than the facts. Then again, you're not interested in what they went throught--you're interested in bashing mothers and women in general, and being a shill for abusers.
Posted by: Sheelzebub


I like to remind everyone on this blog once in while that
this is a feminism blog. And that a feminist is someone who
believes that all women are the primary victims in every
situation. Feminists don't denounce PAS becuase it makes
children victims. They denounce it becuase it doesn't make
women the victim. Remember rule number 4 of the feminist
hand book. If a woman is a victim it's good, if a woman is
not a victim it's bad. PAS is bad by default. And rule 12, little girls are not quite women yet, so they don't count as real victims.

Posted by: mark aleck at Oct 27, 2005 1:44:32 PM

"No, Anne, the cases in the documentary are not mere he-said/she-said anecdotes. They have medical records and lots of written verification of the domestic violence and child abuse."

Well I'm glad to hear that, Trish. But somehow I have a feeling that similarly documented situations involving abusive women, if televised, would probably still be seen by many as anecdotal and "mother-bashing". When the fact is that, whether mothers or fathers, abusive parents are a small minority and should not be presented as characteristic of either gender.

"But the producer of the documentary said he WANTED to include men in it but it wouldn't have been FAIR since STATISTICS show that it's mainly women who are abused...AND he did not want to give a false impression that this was happening equally to both men and women, as he found from his investigation it was happening to mothers, not father... This documentary was about abused women, whose exs continue the abuse by fighting for custody."

Well, I'm not surprised that they found fewer men than women in these situations, since the documentary dealt with reported physical abuse. What's troublesome is the implication that men who have lost their children to abusive mothers is an insignificant problem.

It's just like your concern for noncustodial mothers having troubles with visitation and what-not. Statistically they constitute a small minority. But that doesn't mean that what they experience isn't significant. I for one feel just as bad for noncustodial moms who have their kids effectively stolen from them through unenforced visitation and moveaways and yes, alienation, as I do for dads whose kids are similarly stolen.

And as for PAS, in the sense that it's being discussed here, perhaps it's not a true syndrome, and perhaps it is used inadvisedly in court with some bad results. But I do know parental alienation exists, as I've lived it. It's certainly not a mental illness, for either the perpetrator (who is abusive and knows exactly what he/she is doing) or the kids (who don't stop loving the other parent but simply do whatever they must to cope with the parent who has the most control). It's a painful situation for everyone, even for the alienator as it eventually ruins their own relationship with the kids. If anyone doesn't believe it exists, it obviously hasn't touched their lives and I count them very lucky for that.

Posted by: Anne at Oct 27, 2005 3:48:23 PM

Two words:

"Genia Shockome"

Remember her Trish? She was the centerpiece of the Siena college battered mother's conference put on by Mo Hanna who's mentioned in the article above which appeared in my local paper in Albany, NY. You should remember her because I think you had something on this site about her.

Hanna championed Genia's case when she was sent to jail for contempt for 30 days while pregnant (which I agree is excessive).

But then the truth came out. Genia who had lost custody to her husband lost it because she was working to alienate him and the social workers at the supervised visitation center had it on video twice. She was making $60,000 a year and hadnt paid a dime of child support. She'd accused her husband of battery for which there wasn't a shred of evidence and it was eventually thrown out.

Her ex-husband had been primary care taker of the kids for something like two years and yet you all came out in her favor.

What happened was that an officer of the court released the transcrpts -- which I read -- and it was clear that Ms Shockome was not only in the wrong but had been warned 27 TIMES by the judge to stop interrupting or he'd charge her with contempt. 27 times.

My prediction at the time was that shortly after the truth coming out, Mo Hanna would drop Genia like a hot potato.

So why no mention of the battered women's custody conference poster subject in an article written locally about the subject?

Hot Potato

Posted by: jiminy at Oct 27, 2005 4:36:07 PM

No one ever disputed Shockome had a job that paid her well before that mess of a divorce. And you're twisting the facts of the case.

There was plenty of evidence of abuse, but the judge decided that taking it seriously would alienate the kids from their father. A court-appointed investigator found Shockome's charges of spousal abuse to be credible. Even the custody evaluator had to concede this, as his "evidence" (his only evidence), her ex submitted tapes of his phone calls that he made to her. He made 15-20 calls a day, some as late as 1 AM. That's harrassing and abusive behavior.

In contrast, Shockome had eleven witnesses testify to what they saw in her kids (including her son's therapist (NOT chosen by her), her daughter's school nurse, and a therapist ordered to treat both parties).

The court-appointed evaluator even conceded that Shockome's ex-husband was verbally and physically abusive, but decided her charges of child abuse and neglect on his part were exaggerated and that she was "too angry" to have full custody. Though apparently a father who beats the mother of his child isn't too angry. Why? Because the evaluator relied on the opinions of people who had no personal knowledge of the case. This, despite the fact that even during the court proceedings, her ex-husband demonstrated the very behavior she complained about.

That tape you're talking about? It was a tape Shockome made of her kids playing air hockey during supervised visitation that caught the supervisor sleeping. When she woke up, she pitched a fit and tried to get the tape. During the commotion, the kids made disparaging remarks about the judge and the evaluator, but not about their father.

You also fail to mention the next agency that demanded $2K for Shockome to see her children during supervised visitation. The supervisor lunged at Shockome and her son, knocking them to the ground. The police were called and found that the superviser had assaulted them.

The truth has been out. It's a pity that you lot twist the facts.

Posted by: Sheelzebub at Oct 27, 2005 7:23:20 PM

Sheelzebub is right about the Shockome case. Bringing up Shockome in such a misrepresented manner only distracts from the topic of this post - a documentary that highlights egregious examples of protective mothers who have lost custody of their children to abusive fathers. I won't allow the subject of this post to be taken drastically off topic by fathers' rights advocates.

Posted by: The Countess at Oct 27, 2005 7:51:21 PM

"Many women who see this documentary (probably already with a low view of men) are going to think that this is rampant in the court system. When in actuality, false accusations,father smearing and fathers losing children in more rampant. Mothers abusing and killing children is more rampant, men being arrested and charged, or denied resources or help (and ridiculed) when they are abused by their female half is more rampant. (But of course males being abused by a female partner is a Myth according to Trish)

No men lie about these things; that's why it appears that more women then men are doing these things.

MEN are telling you statistical lies.

Like the 'missile gap' during the cold war and 'the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq' these are statistical lies men tell to get their way.

However from reading the bile about mothers that you just vomited up I think you're mentally ill and should probably see a doctor. If you're an example of the sort of children your father raised, then he should have been kept away from his other kids.

Posted by: NYMOM at Oct 27, 2005 7:55:33 PM

Anne, no one here on my side of the issue has ever said that fathers are not falsely accuse of abuse. It does happen on occasion. That said, it is not the rampant problem that fathers' rights activists claim it is. It IS women who are mostly being abused, and it IS women and children who are overwhelmingly being told that they are lying when they claim domestic violence and abuse. The research shows that to be true. If they aren't told this through bogus "alienation" theory, they are told it through "friendly parent' theory. Existing research has shown that women and men are not equally abusive. I have posted that research and research that shows that false allegations of abuse made by mothers in the context of a child custody/divorce hearing are rare on many occasions here on my blog. PAS is not recognized as a valid syndrome by the APA. I've just posted a post earlier today that shows that the APA does not stand behind junk science such as alienation.

The point is that protective mothers who have been trying to protect themselves and their children from abuse and the use of junk science like Parental Alienation Syndrome have been trying to find their voice for a very long time. They have been drowned out by propaganda from fathers' rights activists who like to protray these women as lying alienators. These women finally have found a way to get their stories out via this documentary. That is the subject of this post. I don't feel that it is necessary to give a lot of time to propaganda put forth by fathers' rights activists who feel threatened by this documentary because it shows their propaganda up for what it is. This documentary shows Parental Alienation Syndrome up for the junk science and weapon for abusers that it is, and fathers' rights activists don't like that.

Posted by: The Countess at Oct 27, 2005 8:02:18 PM

"It's just like your concern for noncustodial mothers having troubles with visitation and what-not. Statistically they constitute a small minority. But that doesn't mean that what they experience isn't significant. I for one feel just as bad for noncustodial moms who have their kids effectively stolen from them through unenforced visitation and moveaways and yes, alienation, as I do for dads whose kids are similarly stolen.

I know it's a small minority right now but the numbers are growing. AND abduction are numbering about 300,000 annually, most of them fathers getting custody through loopholes in state laws.

Actually father custody increased by 67% during the last decade.

So women can't sit back and keep ignoring the mens/fathers rights movements' lies, as people in power believe them and it has significant impact upon mothers and children when they go to courts around the country.

I mean there are dozens of Judges out there who will quote this fathers' rights bs back to you verbatim.

So even if it's a small number NOW it can't be ignored since it will grow over time and spread like a cancer if we continue ignoring it...

Sorry.

Posted by: NYMOM at Oct 27, 2005 8:03:11 PM

It is pretty sad when a company's internal memo is so reviling to the personnel that one of them actually has the guts to release it to the media. The cats out of the bag. After reading PBS internal memo on how to handle protestor complaints for this sham of a documentary called "Breaking The Silence", I will never donate another dollar to PBS ever. Not only that, but I am advising my customers, affiliates and friends not to either. PBS is a public company. In case you didnt know it; that is what the P is for. That means the public has a very large say in what you transmit. To attempt to dismiss not hundreds but thousands of complaints in one broad stroke is a pathetic and cowardly way to address the issue. I will take monies normally reserved for PBS and give it to those who would fight to stop this kind of censorship.

Posted by: Jane Marie at Nov 22, 2005 7:57:43 AM

And rule 12, little girls are not quite women yet, so they don't count as real victims.

Or how about rule number one for the pro-abuse crowd: Bitches, even when they're children, don't count and shouldn't be heard. If they don't denounce mommy they're the opposition.

Posted by: Sheelzebub at Nov 22, 2005 9:56:31 AM

Recently, I have been struck by the fact that three recent cases of children being murdered by custodial fathers (mothers uniformaly "out of picture") all involved 6 and 7-year-old girls. Just the age when little girls start to assert their own personalities and independence. Just the age when abusers start killing them.

Jerica Rhodes, Aarone Thompson, Sierra Roberts...How many more?

Posted by: silverside at Nov 22, 2005 10:54:07 AM

Good for PBS. I'm not surprised it had to release an internal memo. PBS has angry and hostile fathers' rights activists to deal with. Anyone who has to deal with endless, relentless bile from fathers' rights activists in an ongoing manner should be given instructions regarding how to deal with all the hostility. I'm glad PBS is not backing down from supporting the documentary. I for one will thank PBS for its continued support.

It's good to know that typical fathers' rights bully tactics won't bring down PBS. I'm happy to hear it.

Posted by: The Countess at Nov 22, 2005 2:49:14 PM