March 24, 2011
Come To My New Blog And Web Site!
I have a new blog and web site, and I'm inviting everyone to it. This blog/web site focuses on my erotic writing. I will continue to post sex toys reviews on this blog. So, if you want to keep up with me, visit me at my new digs.
See you there!
December 03, 2010
Richard Warshak Responds To Critics - And The Countess Responds To Him
So look at this. After all the attention Richard Warshak's critics have received - including dominating Google searches - he finally addresses them - and completely misses the boat. His comments are indented and in italics. My responses are in between.
Parental Alienation: Impracticality & Impressions. Dr. Richard Warshak Answers Critics
Answering Critics by Dr. Richard Warshak
The many parents I have helped, women and men, express astonishment that some people demonize me, attempt to tarnish my reputation, and spread misleading and false information about my work and me. Although my supporters far outweigh my detractors, the people seeking to quiet my voice yell loudly and work hard to circulate their misinformation.
Your critics and critics of parental alienation have been out there for a very long time. What the most recent critics have been saying is nothing new. However, this is the first time they've found a real voice on the internet, and we can't have that, can we?
Until now I have allowed the personal attacks and gross misrepresentations to go without answer.
Good. So you're finally going to address the facts that parental alienation is not going to be in the DSM-V, that it has never been peer reviewed, that it is not accepted as a valid disorder in the general scientific, medical, psychological, and legal communities, that it has become a huge cottage industry that makes lots of money for the people who make a living using it in divorce and child custody cases, that the man who coined it (original term "parental alienation syndrome") made statements supportive of incest and pedophilia (and he's your mentor), that parental alienation does not meet Frye and Daubert standards for admissibility in court, and that it is the most common weapon used in court by abusive fathers to get custody of their children away from the mothers they've been threatening and abusing.
By the way, you did answer. You and the Huffington Post deleted most comments, most very well-thought out, reasonable, and backed up by research, that criticized you and parental alienation in your "Stop Divorce Poison" HuffPost article.
I understand the mentality of a true believer and realize that clarification of reality and objective evidence will hit the brick wall of a closed mind. For various reasons, these people want to hold on to their beliefs. They cling to misguided ideas rather than acknowledge the widespread mistreatment of children described in Divorce Poison and my other works. In some respects, they resemble people from earlier generations who refused to acknowledge the evidence of their senses that children were being physically and sexually abused with alarming frequency. Just as the professionals who first pointed an accusing finger at a society that tolerated such abuse were attacked, I suppose it is my fate to be the target of similar attacks.
Interesting statement there, since your mentor Dr. Richard Gardner, who created Parental Alienation Syndrome, was one of those people who refused to acknowledge that children were being physically and sexually abused with alarming frequency. He believed most allegations moms and children made of sexual abuse were false. He also claimed that 90% of his PAS caseload was mothers. People who fought for children's welfare in the face of abuse were ridiculed as being "child savers" who were delusional. Fanatics. On a witch hunt. Demonizers. True believers. The same terms you are using to demean professionals and lay people who speak out against parental alienation and work to help abused mothers and children. Ironically, that's the same language used by the false-acc witchhunt sex abuser defense crowd.
More below the fold.
And I continue with my response to Richard Warshak's weak response to his critics. Warshak's statements are indented and in italics. Mine are in between.
Defending myself against such attacks feels a bit undignified. It seems an unnecessary waste of time, and gives currency to a few fanatics who attempt to alienate my audience from me using the same tactics that some parents use to alienate their children from the other parent. Some of these extremists have lost custody of their children in a ruling that seeks to protect the children from severe doses of divorce poison. Rather than recognize the rationale for the court's decision, these people believe that the judge either was biased or was foolishly taken in by the other parent's allegations.
Smooth move, there. You just bashed and minimized abused women who criticized you. And you call yourself a friend of abused women!
Some of these people would have you believe that there is an epidemic of judges who take joy in placing children with parents who beat or sexually molest them. In fact, one website claims a conspiracy of Masonic judges who, in every family court across North America (I am not exaggerating), automatically give custody to pedophiliac fathers who in turn pimp their children to pedophiliac members of the Illuminati (the group profiled in Dan Brown's novel Angels & Demons). I am not kidding. . . . Nor are they.
Now that's a sleight-of-hand move! When I first read this paragraph I wondered what the hell was he talking about. I had to read it a couple of times to make sure I was reading it correctly. I'd never heard of any such thing. So I did a Google search. You found one - one - article by a woman and you try to paint all your critics as crazy fanatics. That article is not on a custody site. There is only one person I know of who believes all that, and she wasn't one of the people commenting on your HuffPost article. I know of only one other person who believes something similar to what you say, minus all the Masonic and Illuminati stuff. The domestic violence community at large doesn't believe any of that. But don't let those facts get in your way of painting all domestic violence critics of you and parental alienation with a broad brush.
As I say in the Afterword to the revised edition of my book, when my wife reads these vicious and absurd accounts, she shakes her head in disbelief at the raw animosity that greets the work I do on behalf of suffering families. She asks, "Don't they know that you've devoted your career to the welfare of children?" The many women I have helped through my writing, consultations, and courtroom testimony cannot understand what motivates the detractors, who claim to be advocates for women.
It's nice your wife supports you. That's what wives are supposed to do. It's also nice your have women who support you. However, your wife's support and the support of some women isn't what matters here. What experts have written about you and parental alienation does matter. See below:
The National Association Of Juvenile And Family Court Judges
A Judicial Guide To Safety In Child Custody Cases - see page 12.
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. (2006).
Navigating Custody & Visitation Evaluations in Cases with Domestic Violence: A Judge’s Guide (2nd edition)
"The discredited "diagnosis" of "PAS" (or allegation of "parental alienation"), quite apart from its scientific invalidity, inappropriately asks the court to assume that the children's behaviors and attitudes toward the parent who claims to be "alienated" have no grounding in reality. It also diverts attention away from the behaviors of the abusive parent, who may have directly influenced the children's responses by acting in violent, disrespectful, intimidating, humiliating and/or discrediting ways toward the children themselves, or the children's other parent. The task for the court is to distinguish between situations in which children are critical of one parent because they have been inappropriately manipulated by the other (taking care not to rely solely on subtle indications), and situations in which children have their own legitimate grounds for criticism or fear of a parent, which will likely be the case when that parent has perpetrated domestic violence. Those grounds do not become less legitimate because the abused parent shares them, and seeks to advocate for the children by voicing their concerns." - page 24
American Psychological Association. (1996).
Report of the APA Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family
Noting that custody and visitation disputes appear to occur more frequently when there is a history of domestic violence. Family courts often do not consider the history of violence between the parents in making custody and visitation decisions. In this context, the nonviolent parent may be at a disadvantage, and behavior that would seem reasonable as a protection from abuse may be misinterpreted as a sign of instability. Psychological evaluators not trained in domestic violence may contribute to this process by ignoring or minimizing the violence and by giving inappropriate pathological labels to women's responses to chronic victimization. Terms such as `parental alienation' may be used to blame the women for the children's reasonable fear or anger toward their violent father." (p. 100).
The American Psychological Association
Statement On Parental Alienation Syndrome
"The American Psychological Association (APA) believes that all mental health practitioners as well as law enforcement officials and the courts must take any reports of domestic violence in divorce and child custody cases seriously. An APA 1996 Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family noted the lack of data to support so-called "parental alienation syndrome", and raised concern about the term's use. However, we have no official position on the purported syndrome."
Bruch, Carol S. Parental (2001).
Parental Alienation Syndrome and Parental Alienation: Getting It Wrong in Child Custody Cases.
Family Law Quarterly, 35, 527
Meier, Joan S. (January 2009).
Parental Alienation Syndrome & Parental Alienation: Research Reviews.
VAWnet: The National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women.
Jennifer Hoult. (Spring 2006).
The Evidentiary Admissibility of Parental Alienation Syndrome: Science, Law, and Policy
Children's Legal Rights Journal
Court-Appointed Parenting Evaluators And Guardians Ad Litem:
Practical Realities And An Argument For Abolition
Margaret K. Dore, Esq.
Domestic Violence (DV) By Proxy: Why Terrorist Tactics Employed By Batterers Are Not "PAS"
The Leadership Council
A Critique of Richard Warshak's book "Divorce Poison"
National District Attorneys Association
Parental Alienation Syndrome: What Professionals Need To Know - Part 1 of 2
Parental Alienation Syndrome: What Professionals Need To Know - Part 2 of 2
Justice For Children
Parental Alienation "Syndrome"
"It is the position of Justice For Children that PAS is junk science."
In 1998, Jon Conte [Professor of Law University of the Pacific McGeorge School] wrote that Gardner's Sex Abuse Legitimacy Scale is "probably the most unscientific piece of garbage I've seen in the field in all my time. To base social policy on something as flimsy as this is exceedingly dangerous." (Moss, 1988)
There are many more legitimate organizations that have come down over the years against Parental Alienation Syndrome and it's watered-down cousin Parental Alienation (and Parental Alienation Disorder... how many times are you guys going to reinvent yourselves?). I've listed more than enough here to prove my point.
So why am I writing this article? It occurred to me that those who find value in my work might be confused by the drumbeat of misinformation. The downside of responding to critics is that it fuels their zeal and brings more attention to their smears. They live for the battle and are gratified when anyone takes them seriously. I would rather spend my time providing guidance on how to understand, prevent, and repair damaged parent-child relationships. But, for the sake of those who really want to know, here is some clarification.
So... when are you going to address parental alienation not being in the DSM-V, not being considered valid in the general scientific community, etc. ... I'm waiting...
Are you really afraid your supporters will drop you like a hot potato because of the alleged "drumbeat of misinformation" and "smears"? Or are you really afraid that those who matter most - people in the legal, psychological, and medical communities - will read what has really been published lately about you and parental alienation, such as the statements above, and realize that parental alienation is junk science that is harmful for children and that it's used as a weapon by abusive fathers? And therefore no longer recommend your Bridges program?
One smear that has been making the rounds involves a case where I helped a mother whose children were irrationally alienated. Some important details I cannot divulge because they are not a matter of public record and I wish to protect the family's privacy. Were these details known, domestic violence activists who criticize my involvement in this case would surely regret their words. They would think twice about circulating the innuendos and arguments raised by the father's lawyer in his attempt to defeat the mother.
Parental alienation isn't going to be in the DSM-V. It doesn't meet accepted standards for allowing expert testimony in court. It has no known error rate. Abusive fathers have successfully used parental alienation to wrest child custody away from the abused mothers trying to protect their children. ... Still waiting for you to address all this. I have a feeling I'm going to wait a very long time...
And why focus so much attention on this case when your critics have focused so much more on what I list in my previous paragraph? Is it because this case came out in your favor? One case doesn't prove your program works. It only proves you have one happy customer.
Several mental health professionals concluded that the children's estrangement from their mother was unreasonable. Even the father's own expert witness recommended that the one child under the age of 18 be removed from the father's home (but, for reasons unclear, not placed with his mother).
That's not what the critics have been talking about with that case. They mention the cost - $40,000. For four days. I've seen a report of another case where the program cost $20,000. For four days. Also, critics have pointed out that the program is unproven and untested. We have only your word that it works and you're biased in your own favor, of course.
The case was heard before an arbitrator. The arbitrator found that "the mother was the intentional victim of irrational alienation by her sons, designed and orchestrated by the father." The decision awarded sole custody to the mother and gave her the authority to make decisions on behalf of her son including, at her discretion, enrolling him in my educational workshop. The Arbitrator's decision was appealed to the Family Court. The Court did not dispute the findings of irrational alienation. But the judge did rule that the Arbitrator should have ordered another evaluation. In the decision the judge pointed out that I gave no recommendations because, as I made clear to the Arbitrator, I had not conducted a custody evaluation. The judge set aside the Arbitrator's award and allowed the case to go to a new trial.
You never interviewed the two boys in question before recommending your Bridges Family workshop - at $40,000 for four days. How can you recommend your program when you don't even know if it's appropriate for the family in question? You haven't mentioned the cost here at all.
Here is where the smears begin. The purpose of my testimony was to educate the court about general issues and the state of knowledge regarding parent-child conflicts and children's rejection of a parent, and to describe various interventions for families in which the court finds that the children's rejection of a parent is unjustified, irrational, disproportionate to the child's experience of the parent, and not in the children's best interests. An expert witness who testifies in this capacity is obliged to explain the limitations of his work in the case. As is my duty, I clarified the purpose of my testimony and volunteered the information that I had not conducted an evaluation and was not there to make a specific recommendation for this family.
You still haven't addressed my concerns from the top of this article. Parental alienation isn't accepted by the scientific community at large. It's vague and untested. It won't be in the DSM-V. You have a product to sell and you go to court to do that. Now you're on the Huffington Post Divorce section doing just that - with a dangerous and unproven disorder that has been used by abusive dads in court against the moms they abuse.
Rather than point out that I had testified in a professionally ethical and objective manner and properly apprised the court of the scope of my work in the case, including limitations, some bloggers imply that the Family Court Judge "discovered" the limitations and that I then had to "admit" that I had not seen the children. This is not what happened. I never testified before the Family Court Judge. The Judge simply noted what I had volunteered in my testimony in the Arbitration. My professional colleagues understand that what I did was precisely in accord with professional ethics.
Now it gets interesting, and this is the part critics conceal from their blogs. This was not the conclusion of the case. A new custody assessment was conducted. The assessment results strongly supported the mother's position, recommended giving her the authority to enroll her son in Family Bridges, and concluded that the workshop was the best option for this family.
So you win after all. Another $40,000 goes into your pocket. All for an unproven program.
The case did go to trial. But, on the eve of the trial, the father's lawyer, in what appeared to me to be a desperate last-ditch attempt to try his case in the media when it was clear that the evidence favored the mother, submitted an article to Canada's Law Times that attacked my workshop as unscientific. Fortunately, the editor recognized distortions in the lawyer's submission and asked me to submit commentary to set the record straight. My article was published. It effectively refutes the lawyer's arguments. You do not learn about my article by reading the advocate's blog posts. (See The Slanted Truth for the use of such tactics by alienating parents.) It is as if it did not exist. You can read my article by clicking here.
I read that article. We have only your word that your program (which is similar to the same used by the debunked and abusive Rachel Foundation) has been subjected to peer review and passes Daubert standards. Richard Gardner said the same about Parental Alienation Syndrome, too, when nothing could be further from the truth. Don't forget that Gardner had his own deprogramming program he called "threat therapy", which was very similar to the Rachel Foundation program and Bridges. One child who refused to go committed suicide. That case made the news and tarnished Gardner's reputation even further. He also claimed PAS had been peer reviewed, enjoyed general acceptance in the scientific community, and passed acceptance standards. None of this was true.
And here are statements by other custody evaluators who didn't think very highly of your "The Warshak Parenting Questionnaire 2nd Edition" or "WPQ":
"...We custody evaluators are appointed to do our own work, at least in interviewing and evaluating... I would think that part of my job would be to generate my OWN follow-up questions... don't know how any computerized questionnaire can do that... also a little troubled by the intent that evaluators "cut and paste"... interpretive language of any kind... into their reports... what "follow up" questions will pop up based on the parent's responses?... how would the evaluator-user justify, on the witness stand, why they chose to ask alienation questions... if neither parent has raised that as an allegation? ..." (California Ph.D., September 10, 2006).
"...the section on "Differential Treatment of Parents" (about two-thirds through the sample report (at w w w. wpqonline.com), under "Symptoms of Possible Mental Health Problems") seems to invite alienation claims if parent was not thinking of such claims, and seems to suggest strongly how to support such a claim if parent is thinking of it. It seems to me to be way too suggestive/leading. In effect: Now, parent, would you like to consider making a claim of PAS? If so, have you considered claiming that your child does X? How about claiming that your child does Y? And don't forget Z, have you considered that as possibly supporting a PAS claim? (This is assuming that the questions posed to the parent closely parallel the topics covered in this section of the report, and I suppose I could be wrong in making that assumption.)" (Ohio Ph.D., February 22, 2007).
What you also never learn from reading the blogger's accounts of this case is the ultimate outcome. Notwithstanding the father's lawyer's maneuvers, again, the mother prevailed on all counts. After hearing all the evidence, the judge concluded that "Mother should have sole legal and residential custody of [the child]. Mother shall have complete authority to make decisions regarding [the child's] welfare. She is not required to consult with anyone before doing so; Mother is specifically authorized to obtain any treatment and/or intervention for [the child] as she, in her sole discretion, deems necessary and appropriate for [the child's] best interests; Mother's authority described above includes, but is not limited to `Family Bridges: A Workshop for Troubled and Alienated Parent-Child Relationships,' to enable and assist [the child] in adjusting to living with her."
The program remains unproven. You claim a high success rate. And it's very expensive. Parents of lesser means who are having problems with alleged "alienation" are not able to afford you.
By selectively citing the earlier Family Court decision, and concealing the trial outcome, the bloggers leave the impression that the court was critical of Family Bridges and blocked the family from participating in the workshop. In the end, the truth is the exact opposite. (Selective attention is another tactic of alienating parents that critics adopt to try to alienate audiences from my work.)
Still waiting... parental alienation is not in the DSM... doesn't meet scientific standards for admission into a courtroom ... unknown error rate ... untested ... you aren't going to address those criticisms, are you? You're only going to claim your detractors are as alienated as your clients.
Here is what the judge wrote in her opinion: "This leaves the Workshop, coupled with a change in custody, as the only potential remedy with any chance of success in this difficult case. . . . The court is faced with compelling evidence that a change in custody, coupled with the Workshop is best for [the child]. . . . The Workshop is a last resort. Obviously it would have been better had these problems been identified and corrected early on. . . . Unfortunately, they were not. This leaves the Workshop as [the child's] best last hope." [Emphasis added.]
That's not exactly a ringing endorsement. Your program is the "last best hope"? The "only potential remedy"? Were other remedies even looked at?
I fully expect detractors to post other information attempting to cast doubt on the wisdom of the judge's decision in this case (which was essentially identical to the arbitrator's decision; that is, two different triers of fact, after hearing all the evidence, concluded that the mother should have custody and have the right to enroll her child in Family Bridges). I do not intend to respond to such posts.
The issue isn't whether or not the mother should have custody. It's that your program is a huge money-maker for you, it's unproven, and it's never been tested. All those questions of mine and others that you never answered have gone unanswered. Parental alienation is not regarded as a valid disorder in the general scientific community. It doesn't meet Frye and Daubert standards. It has an unknown rate of error. It's never been peer reviewed. It's never been tested. It's defined in layman's terms you gleaned from the dictionary.
As rebuttal to any future innuendoes and misrepresentations, I can state the following. The mother has authorized me to state that she is very pleased with the ultimate outcome of her case. Her formerly alienated son, estranged for six years, participated in, and greatly benefitted from, the four day Family Bridges workshop. He rapidly restored his loving relationship with his mother and they now live happily together.
One case doesn't make parental alienation valid, and we have only your word that your program works. It's never been tested and its error rate is unknown. It's very expensive. What about parents who can't afford your services?
There are other cases involving reunification programs and parental alienation:
You never address the primary criticisms made by your critics. Parental alienation is an untested theory that has never been up for peer review. It's not accepted by the legal, medical, scientific, and psychological community at large as valid. Parental alienation has been used by abusive fathers and their hired lawyers, evaluators, and psychs to wrest child custody away from mothers. Rather than point fingers at the Illuminati and one case supporting your Bridges program, and demonize your critics, you need to address your critic's primary criticisms ... which you haven't done. And I'm not surprised.
December 02, 2010
Do As I Demand Or The Kids Die!
This post is a riff of two earlier posts I wrote, Do As We Demand Or The Bitch Dies - Part 1 and Do As We Demand Or The Bitch Dies - Part 2. Over the past couple of years there has been a rash of dads murdering their exes and children (as reported on Dastardly Dads).
The latest case making the news is giving feelings of doom for three missing children that I and other people I've talked to suspect with a sinking feeling are already dead. We now have the case of John Skelton a dad who supposedly sent his three young sons off with a woman (who likely doesn't exist) and then attempted suicide. Mom, Tanya Skelton, is obviously beside herself since her sons have been missing since Thanksgiving. Skelton had court-ordered visitation, something that shouldn't be allowed in cases with a history like this one. This isn't the first time John Skelton ran off with his boys. The day Tanya Skelton filed for divorce, John Skelton took two of the boys and spirited them to Florida. After this stunt, Tanya Skelton was awarded custody but later she and Skelton agreed to visitation with a judge's encouragement.
This story is bad enough, but the rats are coming out of the woodwork latching onto this case to promote their propaganda and to advertise their "services". More below the fold.
In 2009, we had fathers' rights advocate Jeffrey Leving pontificating about how families need supervised visitation centers to help both parents have continuing access to their children. The father's rights group The Children's Rights Council also got in on the gravy train. Lo and behold - CRC has visitation centers! Can you hear the money? The articles below are bald ploys to attract more attention - and more clients and money - for CRC's visitation centers and for Jeffery Leving. Oh, yeah, visitation centers work well. Pay the father's rights group fees for supervised visitation for fifteen years. Teenagers especially love to be in a room with toys for three hours.
Here's the piggyback-onto-a-tragedy article by an Ohio chapter of the father's rights group The Children's Rights Council. CRC is not a child welfare group. It is a male supremacy group that has made lots of money over the years from supervised visitation centers. No link. Not giving this garbage traffic.
So what's the implication here? To keep children "safe", or to give abusive dads their access regardless of how little that benefits the children? Child welfare is given lip service in this article. It's all about father supremacy and getting more clients and money for CRC visitation centers.
And national leader? Of a tiny chapter in Ohio? Oh, please...
I won't give a link to this article below by Jeffery Leving because I don't want to give it traffic, but here it is in full. It's pretty heinous, piggybacking on a tragedy of children who have been murdered - at the hands of their father. He blames these deaths on alleged bias against fathers in divorce and custody cases, and does not hold these men responsible in any way for the murders they commit.
Leving's brand of giving access to even violent fathers because it's society and its horrid attitudes about fathers that causes these tragedies is nothing new. Want to see some comments from father's rights activists about dads murdering their children and exes? These are some pretty noxious comments that give you an idea of the real nature of the father's rights movement, and it's not concern with children's welfare. It's all about male supremacy. Well, here you go:
From my article, Do As We Demand Or The Bitch Dies - Part 1:
Quotes from father's rights activists from the same article, referencing Darren Mack murdering his ex-wife and shooting the judge who heard his case. Mack got lots of sympathy from father's rights activists. No surprise there. Would you as a mom (or dad) want to give these guys access to your children? Hell, no!
Jeffrey Leving and his ilk don't care about child welfare, "equality", or giving dads a fair shake. They care only about making sure men, especially the mad dads of the father's rights movement, have the ability to lord it over the women who try to leave them. They use the children to get back at the women who have the audacity to leave them. Remember that a Florida Bar Journal article noted that abusive fathers are much more likely than nonabusive parents contest custody, not pay child support, and kidnap children. You can add killing exes and children to that list. Comments such as the above prove those facts.
More On Warshak, Parental Alienation, and Brainwashing Of Children
[From Miss Fidget.com.]
Canadian Brainwashing Custody Battle
Posted by on May 17, 2009 in FELONIOUSNESS, FORTEANA
With divorce as common as it is it’s about time, “parental alienation syndrome” were recognized, however as this story shows, how to handle it in a legal setting is still being figured out. For a story about the legal resolution of this case, click here. Kudos to P.F. for being an advocate for his younger siblings.
The 18-year-old who negotiated the truce between mom and dad
Son’s birthday pact with parents leads to ceasefire in bitter eight-year dispute
KIRK MAKIN | April 28, 2009 | JUSTICE REPORTER | www.theglobeandmail.com
When an 18-year-old man arrived for a birthday dinner at his mother’s house a few days ago, he never dreamed it would end one of the most bitter disputes in Canadian family court history.
Having barely spoken to one another in years, the young man and his Brampton, Ont., mother found themselves calmly discussing a resolution to an eight-year battle that caused a judge to order deprogramming therapy for the man’s two younger brothers and turned parental alienation syndrome into a nationally recognized phenomenon.
“We realized that we were talking all right with each other,” the young man, known as P.F., said in an interview yesterday. “We weren’t jumping at each other’s throats. The idea occurred to us that we might be able to work this out with each other.”
That birthday pact led directly to a firm agreement, signed over the weekend at an emotional meeting attended by lawyers and family members. Under its terms, the family’s three sons cannot be separated or forcibly sent to a parental alienation centre for treatment. All three children will live with their mother, and P.F. may contact his father freely.
His 12- and 14-year-old brothers can contact their father with their mother’s consent.
“My dad came up and shook my mom’s hand,” recalled P.F., a tall, long-haired teen with a reflective intellect and an articulate, soft-spoken manner. “That was something I hadn’t seen in a very long time. It was generally a very happy situation.”
The family burst into the news last fall, when a judge ordered that the two youngest boys be sent to a U.S. treatment facility to be deprogrammed. A judge gave the youth legal standing in the case after he said he wanted to raise his brothers apart from either parent.
Yesterday, in a revealing conversation, P.F. criticized therapists and child welfare authorities in the case for clutching to pet theories about parental alienation syndrome. Under the controversial PAS diagnosis, children who are seen to have been systematically poisoned toward one parent by the other cannot evaluate their emotions accurately.
“I think they have done a lot more harm than good for our family,” P.F. said. “I think they were tilting the whole case in a direction that was more favourable to them, which was a more costly and stressful and damaging alternative for us. We don’t need all these people getting into our lives and directing the way things go.”
He also criticized the justice system for too easily sidelining children who are caught up in their parents’ warfare.
“Where people are making decisions, the kids should at least be heard and their opinions thoroughly considered; not interpreted or cast aside, as they were here,” he said. “When it is possible to simply walk up and say, ‘This kid is parentally alienated,’ that instantly takes away all their credibility. Our family made their minds up for themselves. In a way, we emancipated ourselves from these professionals that have been breathing down our necks the whole time.”
Those who signed the weekend peace accord included P.F., his parents and their lawyers: Jeffery Wilson, Marvin Kurz and Terrence Edgar. P.F. said his mother and her former lawyer, Beverley Martel, wept from the emotion of the moment.
In brokering the deal that ended the family hostilities, P.F. also put the lie to allegations that his father had transformed the youth into his agent.
The agreement provides for all of the family members to be enrolled in therapy sessions – at the mother’s expense – “to achieve the objective of the children eventually enjoying a relationship with both of their parents, wherever they reside.”
Mr. Wilson said in an interview yesterday that the parties were optimistic that Ontario Court Judge Steven Clark would endorse the agreement this week.
P.F. agreed, saying: “I trust that Justice Clark will respect our efforts and our sacrifices and our trust for each other. Because this is really what it is. We are trusting each other.”
November 27, 2010
Richard Warshak Dances Around Parental Alienation - Part Two
[Part one of this article is here.]
A father's abusive behavior towards the mother is most definitely a problem with the label of parental alienation because these same abusive men are using parental alienation (with their lawyer's and psych's blessings) as a weapon in court to get child custody away from protective mothers! Ms lc pointed out all that below. Also, see my quote from Silverberg in my previous post. Warshak continues to ignore that parental alienation is used as a weapon by abusive, controlling, and hostile men!
Warshak makes it sound like parental alienation is a problem of epic proportions - an epidemic in contested custody and divorce cases. How common is alienation, after all? Meier reported in "Parental Alienation Syndrome and Parental Alienation: Research Reviews" that "no more than 10% of all children were alienated in a way that fits the alienation paradigm, for example, alienating conduct by an otherwise non-abusive aligned parent. In short, alienation theorists’ own research demonstrates that wrongful “child alienation” (that which is not simply part of a pattern of abuse) is remarkably rare in divorcing and separating families." Johnson, one of alienation's primary researchers, found that (per Meier) "even where the vast majority of both parents used alienating behaviors, only 6% of children were "extremely rejecting" and only 20% "showed indication of being consistently negative." Those percentages included mothers who were victims of domestic violence who were counted as victims of alienation. Those children are more accurately described as victims of abuse rather than victims of alienation.
Ms lc's responses to Warshak's comment below never went live, presumably because he doesn't want to bring any attention to that Canadian case where a judge ruled against forcing a teenaged Canadian boy into deprogramming from alienation at Warshak's Bridges treatment program in California - at a cost of $40,000 for four days worth of "treatment". Another activist had commented about the case earlier this month, and her comment never saw the light of day.
"I appreciate your passion..."??? So he demeans ms lc by saying she's too emotional? Slick way to insult your critics.
Note Warshak's vague and circular statements about the nature of "alienation" below. Then read more from Meier:
Notice how vague he is in describing alienation? No wonder everyone commenting "sees" alienation. That kind of behavior is common in all kinds of families, even married ones, as ms lc wrote. Alienation doesn't take into account normal behavior children and teens exhibit as a reaction to their parent's divorce. It also doesn't take into account normal and expected belligerent and surly behavior from children and teens that they exhibit as their way of distancing themselves from their parents - as a normal part of of the stages of childhood development. Since parental alienation isn't concerned with the causes of behavior it won't detect any of this. Keep in mind that Wallerstein found that typically children grow out of difficult divorce-related behavior in about two years.
In addition, in his paper "Current Controversies Regarding Parental Alienation Syndrome" (2001), Warshak admitted that "To date, no study has directly measured the extent to which different examiners, with the same data, can agree on the presence or absence of PAS (or, for that matter, alienation in a child). Until a sufficiently high rate of agreement on the presence or absence of PAS is established through systematic research, the diagnosis will not attain the empirical support which is probably necessary to achieve acceptance on a par with the disorders recognized in the American Psychiatric Association’s official description of diagnoses. And, until such data exist, the reliability of PAS cannot be supported by reference to scientific literature."
Even Warshak admitted that parental alienation is hooey.
And now the Canadian alienation case. For more on this case, go to this web site: Deprogramming Treatment Blocked In Child Custody Case (2009):
Pertinent sections about Warshak:
Ms lc didn't bring up the case of Bianca H. (Texas) so I will. It's another case where Warshak recommended his "treatment" for parental alienation and the court put a stop to it. As in the Canadian case, Warshak never met with the child. He viewed a tape of the child interacting with the plaintiff.
The appeals court affirmed the ruling.
In conclusion, Richard Warshak's own statements show how specious and vague parental alienation really is. It is a layman's description of an opinion about observed behavior. There are better ways to deal with problems in divorce and custody cases than pretending they can be solved by smacking them with a parental alienation label. And abused mothers and children are not alienated. That label undermines the seriousness and importance of what they experience. They are victims of child abuse and domestic violence, intimate terrorism, control, and hostility. Parental alienation belongs in neither a court of law or in a psychiatrists or therapists office. It's a money-maker for greedy people taking advantage of the new cottage industries springing up around family law cases.
Richard Warshak Dances Around Parental Alienation - Part One
[Part two of this article is here]
Dr. Richard Warshak, one of the top promoters of the debunked and unscientific Parental Alienation, now has a column at the Huffington Post in its new Divorce section. Domestic violence activists and protective mothers descended upon his first article, "Stop Divorce Poison", to alert readers as to how bogus parental alienation really is. I won't link to the article, but here is the URL for reference: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-warshak/stop-divorce-poison_b_778889.html
The response? The Huffington Post (and most likely Warshak himself) have removed nearly all the comments critical of parental alienation, leaving up the glad-handing ones from parental alienation supporters. Two domestic violence activists saw their HuffPost accounts cancelled. What's the matter? Can't take the heat? In addition, possibly due to reading the massive amount of critical commentary all over the web about the Warshak/HuffPost/censorship/parental alienation issue, Warshak had even tried to present himself in a few comments as a friend to abused women. He is anything but.
While a few comments remain up, most notably ones by Morning Show, ms lc, and FamilyCourtInAmerica, Warshak saw fit to respond only to ms lc. This post will critically analyze his own statements and show how specious parental alienation really is and how Richard Warshak is no friend to abused women.
He is completely missing the point. The kids aren't brainwashed by an abusive father. They are terrified of him and want to be out of his line of fire. They want to be with their mothers, but they are afraid, and the mere act of bringing up child abuse or domestic violence is enough for a mother to be labeled an alienator. In addition, domestic violence is not "divorce poison". As ms lc wrote below, call it was it is - abuse. Domestic violence. I'll add wife-beating, intimidation, and terrorism. The problem is that if you call it what it is and refrain from downgrading it to something as vague and dismissive as "divorce poison", you can't get the kids into expensive treatment designed with parental alienation in mind and make tons of money from the allegation of alienation. First and foremost, parental alienation is a huge moneymaker for the psychs who make their livings from it. To admit that it's vague and specious junk science means the cash cow disappears.
Take special note of what Warshak writes below. He dances around ms lc's statement that abusive men use parental alienation as a weapon in court against mothers and children reporting abuse. He refuses to even acknowledge this is happening.
Also notice how he defines "alienation". Does he get the definition from a peer-reviewed journal? No. From the DSM-IV? No, he can't because parental alienation is not considered a valid medical disorder by the American Psychological Association so it doesn't even appear in the DSM-IV. It's not going to appear in the upcoming DSM-V, either, despite heavy lobbying by father's rights groups and parental alienation supporters and profiteers. Richard Gardner, the founder of parental alienation (back when it was called "parental alienation syndrome" - more on that in a minute), had even tried to get parental alienation into the DSM to no avail. Did Warshak look to a medical journal for a description of parental alienation? No.
He looked to the dictionary. Webster's definition. In other words, "alienation" is a layman's term, as ms lc says. It has no scientific basis at all, and Warshak outright admitted it.
Warshak also admitted that "alienation, like the word "attachment", carried no implication about the causes of the state of the relationship." So there is no concern or investigation into why a child may reject a parent? Only behavior that in someone's opinion is "alienation" (whatever that is) and it must be "treated"?
And how can you treat something that isn't medically based? After all, Warshak's definition of alienation came from the dictionary, not a valid, peer-reviewed medical journal. If it's only a layman's term, i.e., anyone can "see" it and "diagnose" it, why the need for expertise to treat it?
There has been lots of criticism that "parental alienation syndrome" and "parental alienation" are not the same thing. In some respects that's correct since Gardner's parental alienation syndrome was primarily used by fathers as a defense against child sexual abuse allegations raised by the mother. It's much more limited in its application. Gardner also stated that in his caseload, 90% of alienating parents were mothers. With the evolution from PAS into the more general parental alienation, the focus has broadened from child sexual abuse allegations to include any complaint by a parent about behavior by the other parent or child. There doesn't have to be allegations of abuse for a charge of parental alienation to be tossed out. Now, both fathers and mothers may be accused of parental alienation although the primary accused alienators continue to be mothers. In addition, parental alienation has become quite a lucrative cottage industry for psychs, especially since the advent of new HMO rules that affect those working in the mental health profession. There's money to be made in contested custody cases and divorces and parental alienation is one great way to make a lot of cash. Regarding the switch from parental alienation syndrome to parental alienation, Richard Gardner himself admitted in his article "Basic Facts About The Parental Alienation Syndrome" that several reasons for the switch in terminology were that parental alienation supporters wanted to distance themselves from him ("lest they be somehow tainted" - because of his misogynistic statements and statements praising pedophilia and incest) and they moved away from the use of alienation as a syndrome because it was "politically incorrect" and falling out of favor in courts. He also wrote "changing the name of an entity because of political and other unreasonable considerations generally does more harm than good." Gardner said that for all intents and purposes, parental alienation syndrome and parental alienation were the same thing. So, it evolved to be the vague moneymaker that it is today.
Warshak stated that he "helped many parents, women and men, whose former spouses, though not violent, have turned the children against them." How does he know this? On the say-so of the allegedly "alienated" parent? After all, there is no search for a cause for alienation, only treatment of it based on lay observation of vague behavior. In addition, Warshak did not state the main scenarios in which so-called alienation plays out, which is between warring parents where the child does not exhibit "alienating" behavior. What about those cases? If parents are so easily able to brainwash their children into hating the other parent, why do most cases involve children of warring parents who don't reject either parent? And what about the other common scenario, that of children who do reject a parent yet the "aligned" parent is not badmouthing or otherwise demeaning the other parent? Since the cause is of no concern when it comes to so-called alienation, these children are likely to end up in treatment just because the rejected parent hires a psych partial to "treating" parental alienation.
He pays lip service to abused women by continuing to try to claim that abused women who have difficulty interacting with their children because of the abusive behavior of their ex's are experiencing alienation. That's not what it is. As I've already stated, it's abuse, domestic violence, terrorism, dealing with a controlling and hostile man (as ms lc wrote). Another term for what these women go through is "domestic violence by proxy", but alienation proponents don't like that term because they think it sounds too feminist.
And finally, Warshak still does not acknowledge that abusive fathers, their lawyers, and their hired-hand psychs use parental alienation in court to take child custody away from abused mothers. Parental alienation is now the leading defense for parents accused of abuse in custody cases. Harvard's Jay Silverman found in his 2004 survey in Massachusetts that 54 percent of custody cases involving documented spousal abuse were decided in favor of the batterers. Parental alienation was used as an argument in nearly every case.
What does Warshak have to say about all that? Nothing. And he presents himself as a friend of abused women.
More in the next post.
November 19, 2010
RH Reality Check - HuffPo's Divorce Section: No Room for Reason on Domestic Violence?
[This article is reprinted at AngelGroup.com - AngelGroup: HuffPo's Divorce Section: No Room for Reason on Domestic Violence?]
HuffPo's Divorce Section: No Room for Reason on Domestic Violence?
By Joan Dawson
RH Reality Check
November 17, 2010
The Huffington Post, in an effort to beef up its divorce section, is featuring controversial psychologist and author, Richard Warshak. In his first column “Stop Divorce Poison,” Warshak speaks of the equally controversial topic of parental alienation (PA); he or HuffPo have censored comments made by domestic violence advocates and survivors, and many of the remaining comments espouse misinformation, stereotypes, and sexist remarks.
Why should this concern women and those in the reproductive rights community?
"Parent Alienation," the idea that one parent (typically the mother) poisons the mind of the child against the other parent, is dangerous because it casts doubt on mothers’ claims of child abuse; the more she tries to protect her child and gather evidence, the more she exhibits “parental alienation.” If she fails--and she’ll face an uphill battle fighting bias, paying exhorborant fees, and fearing for her child(ren)’s safety trying to succeed--she can be fined, jailed and/or she could lose custody. PAS can and has turned the table on women trying to protect themselves or their child(ren) from abuse. (Several cases that have received media attention can be found here, here, and here.
We fight for rights during pregnancy; we can’t leave women in the dust after they deliver. Villifying a protective mother, jailing her or taking her offspring is the worse you can do to a woman – abusers understand this, it’s time we do, too.
Warshak and the idea of PA
Warshak starts off with, “Mother Theresa does not marry Saddam Hussein.” But then we would have to ask, what was Hussein’s wife like?, because Warshak is making a comparison between spouses. Perhaps she was no Mother Theresa, but surely she wasn’t as evil as Saddam. Already we have an imbalance. All human beings can exhibit evil or wrong-doing, but not all humans are equal in this respect, as Warshak wants us to believe. Some are worse than others. And while women are far from perfect, many women in abusive relationships fall in love with a guy only to find out months or years later that he is abusive. Abusers, unfortunately, don’t come with a sign on their forehead.
Warshak then explains that parents who alienate their child(ren) cannot “harness the emotions unleashed by divorce and they exhibit “rage,” “enlist children as allies,” and use “bad-mouthing, lies, exaggerations…,” which Warshak likens to political mud-slinging campaigns. Some parents may deliberately or inadvertently denigrate the other parent. This may be evident in their parenting skills, but the main problem with PA is that it’s indistinguishable from the fear that comes from an abusive situation and can harm protective parents while rewarding abusive ones.
Jay Silverman’s study at Harvard, as reported in Newsweek, found 54 percent of custody cases were in favor of the batterer and nearly every case used parental alienation to counter the claims of abuse.
Warshak’s belief that “abused children cling tightly to their abuser” must explain why he seeks to reunite children with potential abusers then. Warshak runs a “treatment facility” in Texas that, for the whopping price tag of $40,000, reunites child(ren), at times forcibly, with the denigrated parent. I’ve included a link to a case in Canada, where an alienated mother, who had the financial resources, sought to reunify with her sons at his center. Note Warshak never actually met the sons but called it alienation nonetheless.
Domestic violence advocates and censorship
The domestic violence community, along with many major medical and psychological associations, and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, rejects PA as a legitimate diagnosis. At least eight of us, representing domestic violence advocates and survivors, tried to post comments on Warshak’s article explaining our position. While a few posts remained, most, in our supposition, were deleted because they disagreed with the author. One advocate was banned. Apparently, this is not the first time people have complained about the comment section of the Huffington Post.
Nearly all the comments were citations to research, quotes and other factual information, including how PAS does not meet the standard of scientific reliability, about Warshak’s reunification center and its $40,000 price tag, and quotes from experts in the field, among other comments calling into question his analysis.
I included this quote from Dr. Paul Fink, President of the Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence and a former President of the Amercian Psychiatric Association:
“PAS is junk science at its worst…Science tells us that the most likely reason that a child becomes estranged from a parent is that parent’s own behavior. Labels, such as PAS, serve to deflect attention away from those behaviors.”
Mothers have informed us that when they make a good faith allegation, it is they who are doubted (see, for instance, cases such as those of Katie Tagle, where the judge called her a liar, gave the ex custody, and her baby was murdered by its father; or Amy Castillo, another woman who was denied a protective order and lost three children when her ex-husband drowned them in a hotel bathtub) and labeled abusive or ordered to undergo a polygraph test or psychiatric evaluation. The stereotype that women lie to gain the upperhand in custody cases, which occurs in only a fraction of cases, has more branding power than do mere facts. According to research, men in cases where both abuse and custody are in question actually make more false claims, according to research. The American Bar Association provides further information on custody myths.
Many of us understand the origins of PA are rooted in the misogynist and pro-pedophilia attitudes of Dr. Richard Gardner, who thought the mass sexual-abuse hysteria was caused by vindictive women falsely accusing fathers of abuse. (8) In reality, many protective parents feel as if this were a witchhunt against them -- mothers are not trusted, they’ve cast a spell on the kids to hate Dad --they must be punished! Jail them! Fine them! Take away their children! Like the “witches” of long past who would either sink or swim, mothers are in a similar bind – if they report abuse, they’re punished for being an alienator; if they don’t report it, they can be punished for failure to report.
Meanwhile, many of the alienating behaviors readers commented on can be attributed to personalities, parenting skills, or, in cases of abuse, domestic violence by proxy, whereby one parent continues to exert control and/or abuse over another. One advocate keeps a blog of parents that kill their child(ren) in cases pertaining to divorce and custody. She’s up to 136. Despite the fact that these marriages ended, the domestic violence continues and these deaths would be classified as domestic violence fatalities.Overwhelmingly, these killings are committed by men – with no tango partner, Mr. Warshak. In other words, party of one.
You can tell from the comment section how much these guys like women. If they got together, I can just imagine them in a big smokey room with leather chairs giving each other the wink and nod about the comment pertaining to Mother Theresa and Saddam Hussein. The idea of ‘equality with a vengeance’ comes to mind.
One poster, Target NoMore, refers to those opposing PA as a ‘special interest group’ that doesn’t want to stop the problem. People who want to protect children are not “special interest groups.
If HuffPo is going to feature controversial authors whose work is not only rejected by the scientific community but also puts children at risk, why not at least allow evidence to be introduced in the comments section? What are they afraid of?
U. S. Courts And Protective Mothers - HuffPost
By Dianne Post
Ten mothers, one victimized child now an adult, and six organizations working in the field of child abuse and family law filed a petition on April 10, 2007, at the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights in Washington, D.C., against the United States for the pattern and practice of courts awarding custody or unsupervised visitation to child abusers and molesters. The petitioners come from Kansas, Georgia, California, New York, Arizona, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, Illinois and Nevada.
Ten years earlier, on Mother's Day, May 11, 1997, a group of mothers who lost custody of their children gathered on the steps of the U. S. Capitol in Washington, D. C. Entitled "Give Us Back Our Children," the event was held to represent the increasing numbers of women who are losing custody of their children to batterers and child abusers. This event, co-sponsored by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Family Violence Prevention Fund, the House of Ruth, My Sister's Place, Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Rep. Connie Morella (R-MD), and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), brought attention to the plight of women and children unfairly victimized by the legal system, and to dispel the myth that women always win custody of their children. That was 13 years ago. The situation today is even worse. The stories of these petitioners are not unique. They are the tip of the proverbial iceberg indicating a grave and growing injury to human rights.
Wendy Titelman is one of the petitioners. Her attorney, Richard Ducote, who has represented battered women for years, said:
Sol Gothard, Judge of the Court of Appeals in Louisiana said:
Karen Anderson has been fighting for her children for 17 years. Her son Jeff Hoverson, now of age, has joined in the petition. He recounts that the day he was taken from his mother at 10 years of age was traumatizing:
The facts of the individual cases are a catalog of proven domestic violence and child sexual molestation ignored by the courts. The mothers are labeled as mentally ill or having Parental Alienation Syndrome, though PAS has absolutely no scientific validity and is used in a very discriminatory way to remove children from mothers who try to protect the children and themselves from violence and abuse. Yet in these petitioners' cases it is used over and over to punish the protective parent.
This problem has been brought to the attention of family court systems, states and the national government all to no avail. In 1990, Congress passed a resolution recommending the prohibition of giving joint or sole custody to abusers. 20 years later, it continues unabated. Legislation has been passed. Judges have been educated. Still it continues. Thus petitioners are turning to international courts to protect their human rights and the rights and safety of their children.
While state courts are responsible for custody cases, the federal government is responsible to ensure that their judicial systems operate in accordance with the Organization of American States Declaration of the Rights and Responsibilities of Man. The specific articles the petitioners claim to have been violated are:
Article I. Every human being has the right to life, liberty and the security of his person.
The courts place the children directly in danger without regard to their right to life, liberty or security of person. In addition, often the arrangements made for visitation are unsafe to the mother as well.
Article II. All persons are equal before the law and have the rights and duties established in this Declaration, without distinction as to race, sex, language, creed or any other factor.
The gender discrimination both in the courts in general and in custody cases in particular has been known, studied and proven for years. The gender bias studies in the 1980's showed bias that has never been corrected. The studies of custody have shown that it is a complete myth that women get custody over men or that men are disfavored in family court. It is such a pervasive myth that years of litigation and proof has not shaken it -- to the harm of the victims of violence.
Article IV. Every person has the right to freedom of investigation, of opinion, and of the expression and dissemination of ideas, by any medium whatsoever.
Litigants, especially mothers, who report child abuse are punished with jail or the loss of custody of their children. The protective parents are in a Catch-22 situation. If they do not protect their children, they are charged with failure to protect and the child protection agencies take their children. If they do act to protect, the courts put the children directly into the arms of the abuser.
Article V. Every person has the right to the protection of the law against abusive attacks upon his honor, his reputation, and his private and family life.
Often the protective parents who report abuse are labeled mentally ill or diagnosed with such imaginative syndromes as parental alienation or munchhausen's by proxy. Often they are ordered into counseling or in the case of one petitioner, taken to the mental hospital.
Article VI. Every person has the right to establish a family, the basic element of society, and to receive protection therefor.
By separating the protective parents from their children for no valid reason, the parent is denied the right to establish a family. Some of these petitioners have not seen their children for years. Every single petitioner was denied contact with their child for some period of time though none was ever proven to have harmed them.
Article VII. All women, during pregnancy and the nursing period, and all children have the right to special protection, care and aid.
Often battering begins during pregnancy, yet special protection is not afforded the mothers, even when they have an order of protection. Much research has proven that children of abusers are likely to be abused themselves and have a higher rate of sexual molest. Yet courts continue to refuse to protect the children. The U.S. Supreme Court decided in the DeSheney case that the state does not owe any right of protection to children even when they know of the abuse and have in fact placed that child in that home with the father. This is in plain violation of the Declaration.
Article XVIII. Every person may resort to the courts to ensure respect for his legal rights. There should likewise be available to him a simple, brief procedure whereby the courts will protect him from acts of authority that, to his prejudice, violate any fundamental constitutional rights.
The lack of due process in family court is legion. Ex parte hearings and communications, decisions without hearings, refusal to admit the mother, refusal to admit evidence of violence is rampant in the cases and violates the most basic principles of due process. Little attention or time is given to these decisions that shape a child's life forever.
Article XXIV. Every person has the right to submit respectful petitions to any competent authority, for reasons of either general or private interest, and the right to obtain a prompt decision thereon.
The gender bias studies of the 1980's showed that courts are not competent when dealing with women. Unfortunately, things have not improved. In spite of training, legislation and lobbying, judges continue to ignore statutes that mandate no custody to abusers. The petitioners have tried to hold the judges accountable by appeal or disciplinary procedures, all to no avail.
Article XXV. No person may be deprived of his liberty except in the cases and according to the procedures established by pre-existing law.
The many children who are put directly into harms way by being placed with an abuser or molester are deprived of their liberty. When courts ignore evidence of violence, they are not following pre-existing law. It is commonplace for judges to completely ignore state statutes that mandate that custody will not go to a perpetrator thereby violating state law as well as putting children in danger.
Article XXX. It is the duty of every person to aid, support, educate and protect his minor children, and it is the duty of children to honor their parents always and to aid, support and protect them when they need it.
These petitioners have tried to protect their children. It is the courts that have prohibited them. The cost to both child and parent is overwhelming and devastating.
The Gonzales case, also filed at the InterAmerican Commission, illustrated in their hearing the failure of the American justice system to protect battered women and children. That case dealt with the failure of the police department. This case deals with legal abuse -- the failure of the legal system, the courts, the guardians ad litem, the attorneys for the children, the state protective agencies to both follow the law and to protect the helpless children who face the horror of violence daily.
Unfortunately, the IACHR has not moved on the case. After more than three years, they have not even examined it or forwarded it to the U.S. government. How many children have to suffer before justice is done?
November 15, 2010
My Ms. Mag Article: Huffington Post Censor's Mother's Rights Activists
This week, Arianna Huffington announced the Huffington Post's latest section: HuffPost Divorce. Her plug: "Breaking up is hard to do - but reading about it isn’t." Upon Monday's launch, however, there appeared a column that women's rights advocates took very hard: a piece by Dr. Richard Warshak promoting the discredited "Parental Alienation Syndrome," or PAS.
Parental alienation is a dangerous custody-battle concept that has been used primarily against mothers – and in particular, mothers trying to protect themselves and their children from hostile or abusive ex-partners and fathers. As R. Dianne Bartlow explained in her Summer 2010 Ms. article, “There’s Nothing Friendly About Abuse”:
Frighteningly, PAS has allowed abusive or otherwise hostile fathers to gain custody of their children and then forbid the children contact with their mothers.
Yet parental alienation is not accepted as a valid theory by the American Psychological Association, and was rejected from the DSM-V. Without a real psychological definition, it has devolved over the years into a label for any negative testimony about the father by the mother (even if it’s true). It’s also now promoted as gender-neutral, but the parent most often labeled the "alienator" remains the mother. It's also one hell of a cash cow for psychologists who make a living from it.
In keeping with all this, Warshak’s post, "Stop Divorce Poison", gives an overly simplified description of "alienation" that could describe nearly any hostile or cantankerous relationship: "persistent bad-mouthing, lies, exaggerations, overlooking positives, and drum-beating negatives."
A half dozen domestic violence and motherhood activists, including myself, descended upon Warshak’s column to leave comments describing how discredited PAS really is. But, as I witnessed and others report, by the evening of November 9, most of the comments (nearly a dozen) posted by critics had been deleted in the space of five minutes. According to those I've spoken with, deleted comments contained valid source material from professional organizations citing:
* how discredited parental alienation really is
* how parental alienation did not make it into the DSM-V
* how it is used primarily as a weapon by abusive fathers against protective mothers
Here is an example of a comment that was removed:
Another activist and I wrote to David Flumenbaum and Arianna Huffington to inform them about the censorship of opposing, critical views. Both of us received an email in return from Social News Editor Adam Clark Estes, who wrote:
I've double-checked the comments and all of those missing were removed in accordance with HuffPost's commenting guidelines. You can read more about those here:
That said, we're in touch with Dr. Warshak about his comments and will do our best to keep the conversation flowing in the future.
When considering the above screenshots (pure facts devoid of non-objective commentary) it's unclear which part of these guidelines apply:
(I) The Huffington Post welcomes all users to join our community and to comment and treats all members of the community equally.
(II) We want the Huffington Post to be home to open, transparent conversations in which people connect, discuss, share ideas, and debate the issues.
(III) We are also committed to maintaining a non-toxic atmosphere.
(IV) In order to preserve a functional and civil conversation, we do not allow trolls, trollish behavior, or stalking.
(V) Members of the HuffPost community deserve to be free from spam, and we do not allow posting the same comment multiple times within one thread or on multiple threads.
It's frustrating that the supposedly progressive HuffPost has given a platform to Dr. Richard Warshak, one of parental alienation’s most fervent supporters, but won’t give the same platform to its commenters. We are the pioneers in providing 650-296 and itil v3 certification tutorials with 100% exam pass guarantee. Download our latest pass4sure 70-271 & JN0-332 questions to pass real exam of testking 640-816 in time.
On November 10, activists returned to the article to comment; it remains to be seen if their comments will be deleted–or whether they’ll fall victim to HuffPost-moderation's thin skin. If a blog can delete comments opposing their viewpoint, then what's the point of comments? You might as well change the name to “compliments.”
August 18, 2010
Skype For Visitation
At first, Skype for visitation sounds like a wonderful idea. Using in this court case enabled a mom to relocate out of state with her children - something that courts aren't allowing as much in the past ten years.
There are problems, though. Skype has security issues.
Also, if dad in the case in question is not a nice sort, he can encourage the kids to download files from the internet that contain malware so he can track his ex-wife's computer usage. Not good.
Full disclosure: I use Skype and so do my husband and son. We also use Ventrilo. I conduct interviews about sex, vibrators, and human sexuality experts on Skype. My husband and I use cell phones so I have no way of recording my interviews that way. I use Skype to discuss article topics and assignments with my editors. Besides, Skype-To-Skype is free and long distance phone calls are prohibitively expensive. I like Skype very much and I am willing to use it knowing of the security issues but I'm not all that concerned because I know the people I talk to and I don't download anything unless I know exactly what it is. I know I'm not entirely safe but I'm less likely to get viruses, trojans, spyware, and malware since I use a Mac.
Still, Skype for visitation with an abuser or hostile dad or mom could be problematic. When I won a moveaway from Maryland to Massachusetts with my son Skype wasn't around yet. We used e-mail, which to me is considerably safer. No downloads allowed and my son didn't download anyway. Frankly, I don't think my ex was computer savvy enough to know about spyware or malware. I have always been careful about what I download onto my computer and I've never downloaded anything nasty. I understand the thought behind court ordering a mom in this case to set up Skype for herself, her ex, and the kids but I recognize that there could be problems.