The home's windows were blocked off with shades or other items, and a judge found the boy was deprived of contact with peers, medical care and education. Testimony later revealed the boy was allowed outside only at night or in a fenced-in area not visible to passers-by.The child lived most of his life indoors. He didn't attend school. His social life consisted almost exclusively of contact with his mother and grandmother. Meanwhile, his father searched frantically for him. Two years after his abduction, he was found in his grandmother's home and placed first in foster care and then gradually returned to his father. Chekevdia is a former police officer and a lieutenant in the Illinois National Guard. It took months for him to be permanently reunited with his son. That's because Wilfong, once she was apprehended, claimed he'd abused him. No evidence of abuse by Chekevdia has ever been produced and no court, police agency, medical provider, child welfare agency or indeed anyone else has ever found him to have abused his son. Wilfong and her mother, Diane Dobbs were each charged with various criminal offenses, and those have finally reached an end with a plea bargain.
Shannon Wilfong, 32, pleaded guilty Monday in Franklin County to five misdemeanors, including obstructing a peace officer. Wilfong was sentenced to $1,500 in fines and 30 days in jail -- a judge credited her with time she already has served -- on that count and fines of $100 on each of four counts of unlawful interference with child visitation.
Wilfong's mother, Diane Dobbs, also pleaded guilty to obstruction and escaped additional jail time when the judge credited her with the 12 days she'd already been behind bars. Dobbs, 53, was fined $1,000.I'd say those sentences send a definite message. It goes something like this: "Parental child abduction is no big deal. We'd prefer that you not do it, but if you do, the consequences to you will not be serious. So by all means abduct your child. You might not get caught and if you do, all we'll give you is a tap on the wrist." The prosecutor that agreed to that plea bargain and the judge who approved it might want to read some of the science on parental child abduction that pointedly calls it child abuse. If they had, maybe they'd have taken Wilfong's abuse of her son more seriously. As it stands, they've told Wilfong and all other mothers thinking about doing what she did, that they might as well go ahead. The scientific literature on parental child abduction is not ambiguous. It clearly shows that children abducted by their parents are profoundly affected by the experience. That's for a number of reasons. One is the personality of the abducting parent who tends toward the narcissistic desire to have the child all to herself and to have the child live entirely for the parent. A parent like that is going to be a problem for any child whether abducted or not. But the fact that abducted children lose all their other sources of support and stability makes the situation far worse. They no longer go to the same school, associate with the same friends, attend the same church, doctor, etc. Abducted children lose their extended families. They have to hide out, and come to see every person other than the abducting parent as a potential threat. Perhaps most importantly, they lose the non-abducting parent. In short, it's no way for a child to live and not surprisingly, abduction can have profound and long-lasting emotional/psychological consequences for the child. I suppose none of that occurred to the prosecutor or the judge. My guess is they missed the irony of the situation too. Shannon Wilfong claimed she abducted the child to prevent his abuse by his father; that abuse never happened, but by abducting the boy, she abused him. Her abuse of her son lasted two years, a long time in the life of a five-year-old. Shannon Wilfong punished Michael Wilfong for two long years. Once caught, the legal system punished her barely at all. As if to reinforce the message that parental child abduction shouldn't be taken very seriously, it looks like Wilfong will be able to have visitation with the boy in the near future.
Dobbs said the case's "dragging on" in court spurred Monday's guilty pleas, which she said would allow Wilfong to seek visitation with the boy she hasn't seen in four months.
"She wants to start getting a life with her son," the (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan quoted Dobbs as saying. "We just want Shannon and (the child) reunited."My guess is that she won't have much trouble. Once that happens, the ways are many in which she can marginalize Chekevdia in the life of his son, and they're all nice and legal too. A couple of spurious allegations of child abuse, coupled with demands for maternal custody should do the trick. We'll see.
And while most of the affluent well-educated women she interviewed had worked full time after college, they left high-powered jobs to stay at home full-time when they began having children, a choice she calls self-destructive and self-defeating.True. Those women would be like the ones in the numerous studies of highly educated women who do just that. Studies I'm aware of include those of graduates of the University of Michigan Law School, the University of Chicago MBA program and three of graduates in S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) curricula. Like Hirshman's interviewees, they started out working full time and then dropped out in whole or in part when children came along. Of course those women are among the most intelligent, highly educated ones anywhere in the country. So it's remarkable the disdain Hirshman has for them. Face it, if she can't muster a bit of respect for women like that, what must she think of the rest of womankind? "Self-destructive and self-defeating?" I wonder what those women said when Hirshman mentioned her low opinion of them. Of course she did no such thing; she reserved that for her book. But I suspect Hirshman's not just being tactful; cowardly is more like it. She didn't want to confront these women for fear of being contradicted with intelligent, well thought out responses. That approach makes it easier to maintain opinions that one cherishes but are less well-reasoned. Such in any case is my guess. After all, those women might have the type of well-formed ideas you'd expect of anyone with their education. They might think that working for a living is fine and necessary but one-dimensional. They might have told Hirshman that they were powerfully motivated to bear and rear children and that personal fulfillment for them was hard or impossible without that. They might have said that bearing a child and then turning it over to daycare at the earliest possible time thwarts one of the greatest reasons for having it in the first place - the caring for an infant of your own flesh and blood. But Hirshman didn't want to hear it. Since Hirshman is coming at the whole work/life balance debate from an exclusively ideological standpoint, it's no surprise that she gets a lot of things wrong.
Hirshman, who"s married with three children and seven grandchildren, argues that opting out makes a woman completely financially dependent on her husband and reduces her lifetime earning potential if she returns to work. It prevents her from sharing her knowledge, skills and talents with the world, and from gaining more workplace experience.No and no. Actually, opting out is almost always temporary. SAHMs tend to stay home when the kids are of pre-school age and, once they're out of the house, the mothers start opting back into paid work. Yes, they've cut their lifetime earnings which means their retirement savings may not be as much. But the notion that they're "completely financially dependent" on their husbands is absurd. And since these women are unquestionably smart and educated, my guess is that they understand the financial consequences of their actions. Equally absurd is the idea that a mother's opting out of paid work to raise her kids "prevents her from sharing her knowledge, skills and talents with the world..." Actually, that's precisely what parenting is. Admittedly, parents don't do that "with the world," but next to no one else does either, so they're not exactly unique. One of the main claims of Women's Studies is the great value of listening to the personal stories (actually "herstories") of women and honoring their understanding of them. As Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge point out in Professing Feminism, for feminists in Women's Studies, women's narratives of their own experiences take precedence over virtually all else. Not for Hirshman they don't. For her, any woman with an opinion on work and motherhood different from hers is a dupe of the patriarchy.
Not surprisingly, many readers disagreed and blew up the blogosphere, defending their choices.
"I think that women did not like being told that they had chosen lesser lives. It"s understandable,' Hirshman says.It is indeed. That's partly because Hirshman takes it upon herself to judge the legitimate behavior of other women. It's also because, by any stretch of the imagination, taking a balanced approach to paid work and childcare is imminently reasonable. As the Families and Work Institute reported not long ago, men much more than women suffer the stress of trying to balance the two. And it's not just that men suffer more, the FWI analysis shows why they do. It turns out that it is precisely work that's the culprit. Women balance work and family in ways that are far more agreeable to them than do men. They work less and parent more. The none too subtle message seems to be that if men behaved more like women, they'd be less stressed. But Hirshman, if she's even aware of the data on the subject, isn't having any of it. She wants women working. Period. If it means they're more stressed and less happy, that's their tough luck. Big Sister has spoken. Now, the article doesn't mention it, but there's a great irony in a feminist like Hirshman excoriating women for failing to behave as she thinks they should. Actually there are so many ironies I can't count them, but here's one: Feminist Hirshman wants women to "opt out" of childcare, but every feminist organization I know of has consistently opposed even the slightest improvement in fathers' rights in family courts. Feminists don't want women to care for children and they don't want men to do it either. I'm not sure who that leaves other than the state, but no one believes we're going there, so it's beginning to look like something in feminist ideology has to give. I've argued long and hard that what needs to go is their almost universal opposition to equal rights and equal treatment of fathers by laws and family courts. That would help dads, it would help children and it would help women to take greater part in paid work. It would also help feminism to be seen as less misandric than it has been for so many years. So where's the downside for feminists? It's hard to see, but if Linda Hirshman's any indication, I won't expect good sense or rationality any time soon.
The biology of fatherhood doesn't get much play -- dad manuals and parenting advice usually focus on how a man can support his partner and take care of her, so she can in turn take care of the baby. But it's becoming increasingly clear that being a dad (and even preparing to be a dad) programs men differently, down to the level of brain cells and hormones...
When scientists look at the brains of these primates (marmosets), they find that after mom gives birth, the dads actually grow more neuron connections in certain areas of the brain's prefrontal cortex -- regions involved in caretaking and bonding. After becoming fathers, they have more receptors for the chemical vasopressin, which is related to nurturing and attachment...
Not only that, male hormones change while mom is pregnant. Prolactin levels go up in the male marmoset and cotton-top monkeys during pregnancy. And after childbirth, human dads have a drop in cortisol and testosterone (which scientists think makes them less likely to fight and more likely to devote energy to caretaking).So the human father's connection to his child exists at the most basic level - the biological. It exists, that is, if Mom allows it. A mother who keeps dad in the dark about a pregnancy or bars him from being present during her pregnancy effectively prevents him from forming those all-important bonds. But Turgeon tells us Dad's not the only one effected.
And as Dad is changing, want to guess who else is being affected? Last month, a Scientific American article highlighted research that suggests babies change when dad is around.That research is on laboratory rats, so it may not be applicable to humans.
The research, however, is strong enough for us to assume that, in humans as in rats, dads and babies change each other. We tend to see characteristically maternal behaviors as the gold standard for attachment, but dads can have just as strong a drive to attach (for example, a recent study found that oxytocin levels rise equally in new moms and dads), even if the result looks different on the outside -- moms" soft cuddles and high-pitched "motherese" voices vs. dads" physical play and a tendency to show objects to the baby.
But these are all attachment behaviors, and they all reveal a deeper biological drive to bond, teach, and care for our kids. My husband says that as a father he sees the world through a new lens -- it's part of his identity and he almost can't remember what life was like before. Becoming a parent changes both mom and dad at the core.The scientific inquiry into the biology of fathers' attachment to their children and how those children are impacted by it has barely gotten off the ground. Obviously, that science can and should make an enormous impact on fathers' rights in the future. I'm no biologist, but I'd welcome any information readers can provide about advances in research on those topics.
C. J. Wood will tell you that being a father is about answering questions, going fishing and wearing out the swings at the local playground.
But sometimes, a father"s willingness to do those things does not guarantee an ability to do them.
Wood is among a number of parents fighting for access to their children. A 2008 U.S. Census Bureau report found more than 35 percent of children whose parents live separately had no contact with their noncustodial parent in 2007. However, advocates and state researchers said it"s impossible to know how many of those cases involved parents who were denied access to their children.Notice that the non-custodial parent is assumed to be Dad. That of course is accurate. About 84% of non-custodial parents are fathers, so it's appropriate to illustrate non-custodial parents with dads. But according to sociologist Susan Stewart who studied non-custodial parents, mothers in that role are as likely to become "Disneyland Parents" as are fathers. That strongly suggests it's the system of custodial/non-custodial care that's at fault for separating children from one parent post-divorce, not the parents themselves.
Locally, though, "it"s extremely common for us to get calls from fathers who want to be in their children"s lives more than anything, but someone, or something, is stopping them,' said Eve Presler, director of Advocacy for La Plata, an organization that helps at-risk families and operates a fatherhood program aimed at helping dads increase their parenting time and comply with child-support agreements."Someone or something is stopping them." That puts it in a nutshell. The "someone" is the custodial parent, usually the mother, who interferes with visitation knowing full well that the "something" - the court - likely won't lift a finger to stop her. But that "something" does far more to separate children from fathers than just non-enforcement of visitation. Daily, thousands of times a day, it looks at fit fathers and consigns them to the role of visitor for the rest of their children's lives as minors. It does that time and again all the while waving the banner of the "best interests of the child" even though mountains of data on child well-being show it's that very separation that harms children. One of the ways that "something" goes about separating fathers from children is by accepting allegations of abuse or domestic violence when made by mothers virtually at face value. It's one of the most common stories we hear: Mom levels an allegation of abuse or violence at Dad for the first time in a custody case. Little or no evidence of actual abuse or violence is required for a no-contact order to be issued, and so one duly is. Dad is separated from his kids for the duration of the divorce case at the end of which time he's consigned to the role of visitor. Fathers know this all too well.
For Bret Burrows, who began working for the fatherhood program at Advocacy for La Plata a year ago, the situation is alarming and somewhat repetitious.
"It"s almost like every story is the same with a few details changed,' Burrows said.
He sees parents fighting over support payments and dodging visitation schedules. Some even have kidnapped their own children, leaving the other parent to fight for months or years just to see their children...
"It"s painful,' Wood said of the children"s absence. "They"re growing, and I"m missing it.'
Burrows said he sees both positive changes and old stereotypes playing out in courtrooms as the families sort through their concerns. Though the laws try to ensure equal rights and responsibilities for both parents, there still are times when "a knee-jerk reaction' in the mother"s favor is apparent, Burrows said. "Fathers are not only having to fight mom for access to their kids, but they"re having to fight the system, too,' Burrows said.That's pretty much the size of it. And let's not forget that the "system" Burrows refers to includes state legislatures, parts of the federal government and the news media that too seldom do what the Durango Herald did in the linked-to article - tell the truth about what it's like to be a father in the family court system. Let's be clear. There are over one million divorces a year in this country. Millions of children have divorced parents. The fact that 35% of them have no contact with their non-custodial parent is far beyond disgraceful. It indicts the entire system of the way we handle divorce and child custody. More than anything I can think of, that one fact fairly screams that what we are doing is morally wrong and destructive of the legitimate needs of children and fathers. Children need both parents. Our system of family courts and family laws resolutely accomplishes the opposite. That must change.
During the second season of The Sopranos (still generally considered to be one of the best television shows of all time), Janice Soprano was totally in love with and happily engaged to Richie Aprile. But when Richie hit her in the face for the first time, Janice picked Richie's own gun off of the table and shot him dead.
Did Janice Soprano have it right? And would the epidemic of violence against women in this country be halted if, for a short time, every woman who was physically or sexually abused killed her abuser immediately? Certainly the word would get out that women are no longer to be beaten, raped and terrorized by their intimate partners. And I am guessing that in a few months, levels of violence against women would drop dramatically.Now, having titled her article as she did, having led off the piece with two paragraphs wondering oh-so-pointedly if maybe women murdering their husbands/boyfriends might be a good idea, Lowry ducks for cover. She calls herself a pacifist; she wants us to know that shooting a man is the furthest thing from her mind. And by the end of the piece she tells readers that she would "never advocate for women who have been abused to take such action in real life." Except of course she already has. Oh, I believe Lowry when she says she's a pacifist. After all, I have nothing with which to contradict the claim. But her readers may not be so discerning. Face it, when you construct a piece the way Lowry did, boilerplate denials take a backseat to the compelling scene of Janice Soprano murdering Richie Aprile. Count on it, non-pacifist women will notice and may take action. (Did you know that Sharon Osbourne of the afternoon women's talk show "The Talk", on reading of Arnold Schwarzenegger's infidelity, said his wife should slice off his penis and throw it in the garbage disposal? Two months later, Catherine Kieu Becker did exactly that.) But irrespective of whether Lowry's piece sets off a wave of vigilante slayings, her recommendation of a fictional female character's murder of her fictional boyfriend as causing her to feel a "thrill of justice" has deep roots in America's mythologizing of the West. That mythic narrative originated in dime novels and in Buffalo Bill's Wild West. Western novels of the Zane Grey and Louis L'Amour type took up the theme, followed shortly by movies and later by television. The astonishing popularity of mythologized western fiction played out in the 1960s, but the genre has been continued in the guise of the urban crime drama. Compare Kiefer Sutherland's role in the TV series 24 to any of a number of tough-guy western heroes and you'll see what I mean. The set-up in our western mythology runs to type. The West is presented as a place in which the law is unable to control the evil impulses of the powerful or the desperate. The cavalry is too distant to help or, more often, the local sheriff is too weak to do his job. This void in the police power allows evil to flourish and evil in this context means unchecked power. Often as not, there's a local cattle baron who, because he's got money and muscle, does what he wants, up to and including murder. Think Shane. Into this situation of "might makes right" strides the western hero. He's a lone man, skilled with a six-gun and impelled by a strong sense of right and wrong. His courage and moral conviction allow him to stand up to evil and prevail, which he usually does. High Noon is the classic of the genre, but there are countless others. One of Wayne's best was The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence. That of course is what happened in The Sopranos episode lauded by Lowry, and the realization that it could be a scene from a western movie (picture Janice and Richie standing in the middle of a dusty street, hands poised over pistols on their hips) helps understand the mindset of the DV establishment as expressed by her. According to that mindset, like the wild West, a woman's home is a lawless place. Inside the home, men are freed from all restrictions on their behavior which is naturally violent toward the women there. Because in the home, might makes right and the man has the might, he can get away with anything he pleases. He's the Miller Gang in High Noon; he's Lee Marvin in Liberty Valence. He's every man in the radical feminist imagination. And, like them, he'll continue his evil ways until superior force stops him. That force can't come from the police or courts; remember, the home is a lawless place, a place beyond the reach of civilization. So the only person who can provide the moral wherewithal to stand up to the evil-doer is the woman. But does she have the western hero's skill with firearms? Janice Soprano did and Lowry was thrilled to see it. Justice! The justice she did was of the quick and dirty variety so beloved of the mythology of the American West. Let some pointy-headed judge quibble with her methods, she did what had to be done. Or, as Catherine Kieu Becker said, "he deserved it." My purpose is not to point out the glaring hypocrisy of a DV advocate's encouragement of spousal murder; I only want to show the cultural source of that encouragement. In so doing, some of the many astonishing fallacies of the DV establishment come to light. For example, like the mythologizing of the West, The Sopranos is fiction. Fiction of course is different from fact in several important details, one of which is the position of the narrator. In fiction, we're often told what happened and, unless the fiction is of the postmodern variety, there is no competing reality. So when Richie Aprile hit Janice Soprano, we know that happened because we saw it. But in domestic violence situations, that's often not the case. There's often a he said/she said that someone must sort out and no objective camera to help in the task. So Lowry's affinity for the television scene is also an affinity for a story to which there's only one side. As DV incidents usually work out, that side is the woman's because police are trained to arrest men when DV is alleged. One undeniable effect of a woman's murdering her husband/boyfriend is that his side of the story won't be told. Not coincidentally, that's the scene being played out in a Queens courtroom right now in the case of Barbara Sheehan who's on trial for shooting her husband 11 times, killing him. She says it was self-defense. What would Raymond Sheehan say if he could? Another aspect of the Western myth is that due process of law is a superfluous nicety. Gary Cooper and John Wayne didn't need due process of law because they were in the right and no one else could stand up to evil. Indeed, they couldn't afford due process of law because resort to it would allow evil to prevail. Similarly, much of the history of domestic violence law is the relentless erosion of due process. Does a woman allege that she's "in fear" of her husband/boyfriend? Then he's committed a crime. Never mind that it's beyond his or anyone else's power to disprove her subjective state of mind. Never mind that there is no evidence of wrongdoing against him. Those are the quibbles of due process that must be sacrificed to the higher good of preventing domestic violence. Finally, there's the concept of the home, like the wild West, as a lawless place in which its residents are beyond the protection of the state. That's a trope that's literally as old as the DV movement itself. Radical feminists in and out of the DV movement have long claimed that the home was uniquely dangerous to women because the legal concept of privacy shielded men's violence against them. So once again, and sagging under the weight of irony, the touchstone for the DV movement is our mythologized American West. The confusion of myth and reality can have tragic consequences. When a DV advocate urges us to think that vigilantism by women against men is not merely acceptable, but an affirmative good (remember, according to Lowry, incidents of DV against women would "drop dramatically" if more women emulated Janice Soprano), they court tragedy. DV advocates likely wouldn't see it as tragic, but many others would. But more to the point, Lowry wants us to only hear the woman's account of what happened; she prefers her men voiceless, and she views due process of law as an unnecessary encumbrance. In that, she accurately reflects the values of the domestic violence industry since its inception. The last important line in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence is delivered by a newspaper editor. He says, "This is the West, sir. When the facts meet the legend, print the legend." That could be the motto of the DV establishment.
"This is a terrific step forward. It is a win for both men and women. Men will not usually be required to pay forever. Women who deserve short-term alimony will now get it.
"But this law only gets half the job done. The next step is to rid the alimony issue of gender bias -- the idea that only men should pay it and only women should receive it. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in two-earner couples today, women out-earn men in about 33% of couples. Yet women are alimony payers in only 4% of cases. We need an even-handed approach."The Boston Globe explains:
The measure adds some consistency to alimony judgments by curbing lifetime alimony payments and providing caps on the number of years a spouse can receive alimony. The legislation also allows judges more flexibility to make determinations based on a family"s specific circumstances.
In most cases, it will put an end to lifetime alimony payments, instead capping the number of years of payment according to the length of marriage.
But family law attorneys are also hoping that the law will allow people divorcing from shorter marriages - people who previously would have received no alimony - to receive a brief period of payments, just enough to get them through the transition period after the divorce.
Under the new law, a judge can rule to end alimony payments if the recipient is living with a new partner in a marriage-like situation.Fathers and Families congratulates Steve Hitner of Massachusetts Alimony Reform and all the others whose hard work helped lead to this reform.
Late last summer, the man said, his wife told him she"d had an affair with Matt. The man said he didn"t even consider the possibility of Matt being his child"s father.
But the next week, he said, "I asked her if there was a chance (the boy) wasn"t mine, and she goes, ‘It"s possible." But she"d never tried to find out.'He then confronted Matt who acknowledged the affair and that it had gone on a long time. Matt was later transferred to another church. He paid for genetic testing that proved the child was his.
A week later, he said, "They called me at my work, the DNA people, and told me that (the boy) wasn"t mine.'
"I lost it,' the man said, his voice breaking...
"It"s been a nightmare,' the man said in an interview with The Kansas City Star. "It"s not a good thing to find out that your son is not yours and the father is actually a priest that you thought you could trust. I still can"t believe it.'Not surprisingly, the man divorced his wife but intends to continue raising the boy as his own.
"I never thought I"d have to experience something like this,' he said.
As for the child, he added, "Someday, he"ll have to know. I"ve just got to figure out the right time to tell him.'The man has sued both Matt and the Catholic Diocese, but apparently not his ex-wife, for fraud among other things. (He's done so anonymously in order to protect his son, hence the absence of names in the article.) I assume the legal theory is that Matt had a duty to disclose his relationship with the woman to the man as well as the possibility that the child might be his. In the meantime, the church has managed to make a bad situation worse.
The man, who has filed for divorce, said he and his attorney met with [Bishop Robert] Finn and a diocesan attorney earlier this year.
"My lawyer asked Bishop Finn what they were going to do about Joe Matt,' he said. "And his answer was, well, Joe Matt"s done all these great things, he"s been a good guy, he takes care of his brother. All he did was compliment how good of a guy Matt was.'
During the meeting, the man said, "Never once did Finn apologize for what Matt did.'Not only that, but the church has also left Matt on its Marriage Tribunal.
The tribunal gathers information and then decides whether the couple is still bound to the former marriage or may be free to enter into another one.
Rebecca Randles, the plaintiff"s lawyer, said Matt"s position on the tribunal was "completely outrageous.'
The man said he was shocked that the diocese placed Matt back at St. Joseph the Worker parish earlier this year and left him on the Marriage Tribunal.
"If I wanted to get an annulment, I"d have to go in front of him,' he said.The Catholic Church generally has been in bad odor for years due mostly to priests seducing minors and the Church's covering up those scandals. It's established a pretty unsavory reputation in cases of priests and their illicit sexual behavior, so predictably, that's the slant of the Star piece. It's mostly about the callousness of the Church generally and Matt in particular. Lost in the shuffle is the behavior of the man's wife. She lied to him about the affair, lied to him about the child's parentage, lied to the state about the same and allowed the man to develop a bond with the child without telling him he might not be the dad. My guess is that was calculated. After all, if she'd told him straight away, he might have divorced her then and obviously a Catholic priest is not going to marry her. So she'd be on her own but receiving child support from the meager earnings of a priest. Not a good prospect. And it seems to have worked. The man indeed bonded with the boy he thought was his son and he's not about to give him up now. Is he paying child support? Is Matt? Is she? The article doesn't tell us. It only says the former couple have a shared parenting arrangement for all three of their children. Thanks to Ron for the heads-up.
For Emily V. Gordon, a therapist and Huffington Post blogger, it may because men don't have the sort of support women do post-divorce:
"In my experience as a therapist and as a friend, it seems that the majority of the breakup resources available are for women and not men. Women, who tend to be more vocal about their emotional struggles, are the squeaky wheel that gets the grease from friends, from online communities, from books, and from therapeutic approaches. Women are encouraged to go on an emotional journey of self-care after a divorce, while men are expected to need help learning how to cook and parent on their own. When you Google "how men handle divorce," many of the links advise women on what to do if their husbands become violent during the divorce process. Why is there so little focus on how men can heal after a divorce?"It's an interesting point. Men don't tend to complain or seek support; women do. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of support services, both formal and informal for women, and relatively few for men. But I suspect there's more to it than that. Gordon's question about the lack of attention paid to men's pain post-divorce is surely answered in part by the different ways in which men and women are viewed by society generally. The simple fact is that we still tend to expect men to "stiff-upper-lip" their way through accident, injury, illness, war, depression and of course divorce. The way the news media treat male suffering strongly indicates the double standard that pervades society and public discourse. An article recently in The Guardian about the rape of males in the various African civil wars was notable for many reasons. One was that it was the first of its kind; another was the astonishing prevalence of rape of men and boys and still another was the revelation that international organizations that oppose rape as a weapon of war uniformly opposed the publication of the article. Their reason? Bringing attention to the rape of men might siphon off resources from efforts to curtail the rape of women. Back during the war in Bosnia in the 90s, it was well known to policy-makers, the press and the United Nations that it was Serbian policy to exterminate as many Bosnian men and boys of military age as possible. The various atrocities, so widely publicized, were all aimed at precisely that, and yet the press was astonishingly hesitant to state the fact. An excellent analysis of five international news outlets' coverage of the conflict revealed that, over years of articles and commentary, almost no mention was made of the fact that it was precisely men and boys who were targeted for death. So I'd say that one of the reasons for the lack of attention paid to the pain men experience on divorce is, in addition to the choices men and women make, also a matter of good old-fashioned sexism. Speaking of which, Larson quotes "Hugo Schwyzer, a professor of history and gender studies at Pasadena City College." Now what do you think a professor of "gender studies" would have to say on the subject? I wonder if he would take the opportunity to denigrate men. Let's see.
A working woman doesn't necessarily want to "walk right back into the same sort of situation from which she just extricated herself," he said, and the unequal distribution of household chores may have something to do with it. He also wonders about the marriageability of men:
"I'm convinced that one reason that so many divorced women are so reluctant to remarry (and so many women unwilling to marry in the first place) is that frankly, marriage doesn't seem to be a very appealing deal for most women. And one of the reasons why marriage seems unappealing is that the sacrifices of marriage are many, and the benefits increasingly few -- especially considering that an extraordinary number of men may not be worth marrying!"Larson squelches that misandric nonsense, but one must ask why she included it in the first place. It's valuable to get competing views on a subject, but if it were me, I'd try to make sure they all at least made sense. Women don't want to remarry because they do too much of the housework? Well, why don't men reject remarriage because they do too much of the paid work? Schwyzer doesn't let on because the fact that men and women do equal amounts of combined paid and unpaid work conflicts with his mythology about the sexes, specifically that men are louts. Most importantly, what neither Larson nor any of her expert" mention is children. It's been known for a good many years that women are far more likely to file for divorce than are men, and we also know why. The reason, as Douglas Allen and Margaret Brinig have shown, is that women know they won't lose their children when they divorce. The overwhelming preference of courts for maternal custody is the greatest encouragement to women to divorce, and correspondingly the greatest discouragement to men. So it seems to me that remarriage holds a promise for men that women simply have no need for - children. Yes, divorce is painful and marriage means the possiblity of divorce. Indeed, divorce is probably more painful for men than for women for that very reason - they lose their children. But remarriage means they can reacquire a family, either by having more children of their own or because their new mate brings children with her. Women, by contrast already have their families, courtesy of the courts. Remarriage for them would simply be a duplication of what they already have. It's a pretty straightforward concept, but one that escaped Larson and all the people she quoted. I'd be interested to know if my speculations are borne out by any science on the matter.
Gavaghan had told a circle of acquaintances in Toronto -- people who risked breaking the law to keep her Parkdale whereabouts secret -- that Da Massa had been abusive toward Pearl, which is why she fled England six months after a High Court issued a shared residency order...
[Mennonite Pastor Doug] Hatlem was totally convinced by Gavaghan"s account of child abuse and remains so. "Helen was completely believable. She discussed Pearl"s experiences in front of the child.
"I have enough confidence in the story that I was willing to risk a deep, deep involvement in the case.'
The pastor understood that Gavaghan had lost faith in the judicial system. He helped put her in contact with a lawyer who advised resuming the legal battle in court but Gavaghan was fearful of putting her daughter on the stand.I suppose it never occurred to Hatlem or any of the others who abetted the abduction of a little girl that there might be a perfectly plausible reason why Gavaghan was "fearful of putting her daughter on the stand." After all, she might tell the truth. And I suppose it never occurred to them that the British police and courts had gotten it right when they concluded that Henry da Massa was not a child abuser and that he was entitled to participate fully in his daughter's care and upbringing. And it clearly never occurred to them that depriving a young child of her father might have any adverse consequences for her. What did they think about the fact that Gavaghan had told Pearl that she didn't have a father, while telling them that he was an abuser? My guess is that some people are unduly susceptible to a fable of a mother's lonely stand against injustice to save her daughter from the depredations of an evil father. It's the type of hero myth that appeals to some people, it seems. Still, when you read what Gavaghan posted on her website prior to fleeing the U.K., what comes through is not so much heroism as paranoia.
"He is a very rare (or at least little-acknowledged) type of mentally sick person. The ways he went about damaging me (and now my daughter) are subtle, unbelievably contrived and almost inarticulable (sic) ...'
Gavaghan added: "I am leaving the UK with my daughter soon for the States to escape this dark character"s hold on us..."The mental illness that only she can see, the great damage to her and the child that's unknown to all but her, the need to flee and hide out from authority, would all be red flags for anyone who cared to look. Hatlem and the others didn't. In what may be a harbinger of things to come, this article goes to considerable lengths to let Gavaghan tell her side of the story (Toronto Star, 9/28/11). We see this pretty routinely; the press often treats female and male wrongdoers differently. Women tend to have their actions understood and excused while male malefactors are condemned out of hand. Part of that process is the silencing of the men while women are offered the type of forum the Toronto Star gave Gavaghan. So we're told in Gavaghan's words how "shocked" she was to not be seeing her daughter in court or in jail. She tells us how "worried" she is about Pearl and how uniquely close the two are. "I'm suffering on many different levels," Gavaghan informs us. As much as we learn about Gavaghan's travails, it's equally noteworthy what the article doesn't tell us. It says nothing about the debts she left unpaid back in the U.K. or the apparent fraud she committed on (my guess) a credit card company. Those are the type of inconvenient details people leave out when they're trying to recruit sympathy from readers. Whatever the motivations of the writer, I have a feeling Helen Gavaghan will fail in her role as the victim in this drama. My guess is that she'll be seen for who she is - a mother bent on depriving her child of her father who stopped at nothing, including child abuse, to accomplish her goal. We'll see.
There are two ways of clearing a case. One is by making an arrest and charging the person (s) with the offense. The second is known as an exceptional clearance. Exceptional clearance means the police know the identity and location of the person (s) who committed the offense and have enough information to arrest them. However, there is some reason beyond their control that prevents them from making the arrest.In short, Maryland is a mandatory arrest state. Police either arrest someone or for some reason they're unable to. Now, there are some provocative data from several sources that suggest that people don't call the police in DV incidents because they don't want them or the courts involved. That seems particularly true in mandatory arrest states because partners know that a call to the police means that someone's going to jail. My guess is that at least some of the drop in arrests for DV in Maryland reflect that very hesitation on the part of everyday citizens to involve the entire system of law enforcement in what they often view as a private matter. Thanks to Michael for the heads-up.
The meeting was very positive. Senator LaRose intends to devote attention to issues involving family court reform and asked me to help organize a meeting in a month in Columbus, Ohio to bring interested parties to the table to discuss ideas for legislation. He said he will have someone from the Ohio Legislative Commission, the organization which bills must initially pass through, at the meeting.
We discussed various aspects of family court reform, including some issues which the Senator was not previously familiar with. Domanick explained some of the cost savings that many of our proposals would mean for Ohio. These include shared parenting, which frees up the considerable court time spent on needless child custody battles, and our family access motions proposal, which will provide an expedited means for courts to enforce parents' parenting time rights.Senator LaRose called Hubin afterwards and they spoke at some length about F & F of Ohio's legislative initiatives. Our current Ohio legislative projects include:
1. Presumption of Shared Parenting during Temporary Orders 2. Parenting Time Enforcement 3. Disabled Parents Protection Bill 4. Presumptive Child Support in Shared Parenting Cases 5. Child Support Self-Support Reserve Correction
Tonight, CBS premieres How To Be A Gentleman, a brainless buddy comedy presenting a dichotomy in which men can be either delicate, ineffectual, sexless weaklings or ill-mannered but physically powerful meatheads. Says this show -- over and over, in both its marketing and in its actual dialogue -- there are gentlemen, and there are real men, and each might need to be a little more like the other.
Yes, yes, it's a sitcom, and caricatures are common, and on its own, this wouldn't make much of an impression. But this is not just any season. It's a season that also brings Tim Allen whining about what ever happened to "real men" in Last Man Standing, three guys lost in a universe of "pomegranate body wash" in Man Up, and -- sometime in midseason, unless the universe blissfully swallows us all before then -- two men in drag in Work It trying to overcome the entirely female-driven economy in which they literally cannot support themselves without dressing as women.Yes, the question burning on the lips of TV producers from L.A. to Burbank is "whatever happened to 'real men'?" Interestingly, Holmes has the answer.
Where, on television, are the men who both like football and remember birthdays? Where are the men who can have a highly insightful drink-and-talk with friends? Where are the men who are great dads, great husbands, great boyfriends? Where are the men who are dedicated to important jobs? Where are the men who aren't seeking reassurance about what it means to be men? Where are, in short, all the men I rely on in my day-to-day life?Bingo. Holmes is smart enough to realize that 'real men' are all around her in her everyday life, just not on television. That means that, far more than the producers of those shows, Holmes has the ability to look around her and see what's there. It's an ability that's surprisingly absent in many people. The willingness to mentally cram reality into scripted myth is as common as dirt and not surprisingly distorts reality for those who do it. And it's not like the producers of these shows are without their political/social agendas. Holmes gets it right when she uses the word "hectoring" to describe the programs' sense of driving home a message they're sure we all need to learn.
But there is something about this narrative hectoring about men not understanding manhood that seems particularly brutal in that it specifically attacks them for emotional ineptitude while simultaneously attacking them for having emotions. Men who are emotionally reactive (like Hornsby's character here) are weak; men who are emotionally inert (like the Man Up guys) are clueless. In both cases, women don't want to have sex with them, even if they're married to them.In short, a man can be either of two things - Rambo or Mr. Rogers - but whatever his personal bent, he's wrong and women are right to dislike him. It's a limited and not very inviting world. And it is that very 'hectoring' quality that makes me care at all. As I said, most people navigate the shoals of masculinity and femininity very well. They do that in part by ignoring stereotypes peddled by TV shows. But I get the sense that the purveyors of popular culture won't stop until we've absorbed their message, until they've actually had their perverse effect on people's views of themselves and their sex. I think the whole matter becomes important, to the extent it does, because the message of universal masculine deficiency doesn't stand alone on television between the hours of 7 and 10 PM. It taps into a larger social message that's anything but recent in provenance. Over 40 years ago, radical feminists saw that characterizing men in particular ways could pay big dividends. Specifically, if men could be seen to be stupid, brutish louts, it would be far easier to marginalize them in society generally, imprison them, divorce them, take their children, etc. After all, a man without feelings and with Rambo's penchant for violence is good as part of the armed services (i.e. OK to be killed or maimed in battle), but stateside, we're all better off if he's in prison. Failing that, he should be the subject of a TRO and kept strictly away from women and children. Whatever may be said of a few silly sitcoms, most of which won't last the season, the feminist view of men has gotten plenty of traction over the years. So it's no accident that what's now almost universally referred to as a "real man" is in fact only that feminist caricature of us. Over the millennia, far more sensible societies than ours have realized that men and women come in an astonishing variety of packages, all of them 'real.' They've been able to look at Catherine the Great of Russia and Mary mother of Jesus and notice that both were women, however radically different. In the same way, the Buddha was a man as surely as Julius Caesar, Einstein and Oscar Wilde, to which I say "VIVE LA DIFFÉRENCE!" We took a wrong turn 40 years ago in agreeing to the feminist view of men and masculinity. We haven't recovered yet, and TV sitcoms aren't helping. To her credit, Linda Holmes is.
My Children I take my pen in hand to rite you A few lines to let you know that I have not forgot you and that I want to see you as bad as ever now my Dear Children I want you to be contented with whatever may be your lots be assured that I will have you if it cost me my life on the 28th of the mounth. 8 hundred White and 8 hundred blacke solders expects to start up the rivore to Glasgow and above there thats to be jeneraled by a jeneral that will give me both of you when they Come I expect to be with, them and expect to get you both in return. Dont be uneasy my children I expect to have you. If Diggs dont give you up this Government will and I feel confident that I will get you Your Miss Kaitty said that I tried to steal you But I'll let her know that god never intended for man to steal his own flesh and blood. If I had no cofidence in God I could have confidence in her But as it is If I ever had any Confidence in her I have none now and never expect to have And I want her to remember if she meets me with ten thousand soldiers she [will?] meet her enemy I once [thought] that I had some respect for them but now my respects is worn out and have no sympathy for Slaveholders. And as for her cristianantty I expect the Devil has Such in hell You tell her from me that She is the frist Christian that I ever hard say that aman could Steal his own child especially out of human bondage You can tell her that She can hold to you as long as she can I never would expect to ask her again to let you come to me because I know that the devil has got her hot set againsts that that is write now my Dear children I am a going to close my letter to you Give my love to all enquiring friends tell them all that we are well and want to see them very much and Corra and Mary receive the greater part of it you sefves and dont think hard of us not sending you any thing I you father have a plenty for you when I see you Spott & Noah sends their love to both of you Oh! My Dear children how I do want to see youThis second letter is to the owner of one of his children.
I received a leteter from Cariline telling me that you say I tried to steal to plunder my child away from you now I want you to understand that mary is my Child and she is a God given rite of my own and you may hold on to hear as long as you can but I want you to remembor this one thing that the longor you keep my Child from me the longor you will have to burn in hell and the qwicer youll get their for we are now makeing up a bout one thoughsand blacke troops to Come up tharough and wont to come through Glasgow and when we come wo be to Copperhood rabbels and to the Slaveholding rebbels for we dont expect to leave them there root neor branch but we thinke how ever that we that have Children in the hands of you devels we will trie your [vertues?] the day that we enter Glasgow I want you to understand kittey diggs that where ever you and I meets we are enmays to each orthere I offered once to pay you forty dollers for my own Child but I am glad now that you did not accept it Just hold on now as long as you can and the worse it will be for you you never in you life befor I came down hear did you give Children any thing not eny thing whatever not even a dollers worth of expencs now you call my children your pro[per]ty not so with me my Children is my own and I expect to get them and when I get ready to come after mary I will have bout a powrer and autherity to bring hear away and to exacute vengencens on them that holds my Child you will then know how to talke to me I will assure that and you will know how to talk rite too I want you now to just hold on to hear if you want to iff your conchosence tells thats the road go that road and what it will brig you to kittey diggs I have no fears about geting mary out of your hands this whole Government gives chear to me and you cannot help your self Spotswood Rice Spotswood Rice to Kittey diggs, [3 Sept. 1864], enclosed in F. W. Diggs to Genl. Rosecrans, 10 Sept. 1864, D-296 1864, Letters Received, ser. 2593, Department of the MO, U.S. Army Continental Commands, Record Group 393 Pt. 1, National Archives.Here's a father, a slave, who escapes and manages to join the Union army to fight the Confederacy and what is most on his mind is the freedom of his children and reunification with them. As Thomas says, "remind you of any fathers today?" While nothing fathers experience in family court today resembles the brutality of slavery in the old South, the concept that children are their mothers' first and that any claim on them by fathers is a kind of theft of what rightfully belongs to mothers, has a certain resonance. More than that, though is the sense of deep connection to his children that Spottswood Rice vowed to maintain against the evil institution of slavery, the military might of nations and his own illness.
"She was beat up quite a bit. There was the running away. She has braces and the wires were literally falling off of her teeth," Ketterman said.That of course is not at all unusual. Foster care generally has a far worse record of abuse and neglect than families of any other kind, and group homes have a worse record still. Richard Wexler, Executive Director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, said
"Tens of thousands of times every year, all across America, children are needlessly taken from everyone they know and love. The emotional trauma is, in itself, devastating. But several studies have found abuse in one-quarter to one-third of foster homes and the record of group homes and institutions is even worse."That proved tragically true in a case I reported on last year of a teenage boy who was killed by staff in a group home administered by the same county CPS that oversaw Christianne's. That home was finally closed by the State of Texas; the boy was the third death at the home in five years. Eventually, Christianne voted with her feet and ran away from the home to parts unknown. The case worker who had taken her originally displayed a remarkable attitude about that.
'The case worker called (her) mom and said she ran away, but you find her, you can keep her," said Julie Ketterman, the Brown"s attorney.Let's see. The caseworker takes the child, keeps her away from her family for almost two years and, when the child runs away, says "you find her, you can keep her." What happened to the original reason for her being removed from her mother in the first place? If those conditions were no longer present, why hadn't the two been reunited? It looks like a blatant admission that the child's presence in foster care was unnecessary. My guess is that CPS had known that from the start. Whatever the case, Brown eventually turned to Ketterman who had one of those "moments of crystal clarity." It's not legal to abuse or neglect a child, right? Anyone who does that can have a TRO issued against them. So why not CPS? After all, abuse was exactly what Christianne was experiencing in the group home, the home was overseen by CPS who knew about the abuse, so it seemed reasonable that a court would order CPS to stop allowing the abuse. And that's exactly what happened. A court in Brazoria County, just south of Houston ordered CPS to stay away from Jaime Brown's daughter due to its history of abuse while in foster care that was supposedly supervised by Children's Protective Services. There are some things I'd like to know about this case. For example, CPS is charged by law with protecting children and that can't be undone by a judge's order. The obvious question arises, "what if the child is truly abused while in her parent's care?" Are CPS caseworkers supposed to sit idly by while that happens because a judge has told them they can't do their job? Of course the order is a temporary one. What happens after it expires? Is it business as usual or is there some sort of continuing limitation on what CSP can and can't do? Ketterman plans to go to court to extend the order for two years. In any event, it's a very interesting development in parent's fight to rein in the overreaching of CPS. Expect to see more attorneys trying what Julie Ketterman did successfully - apply laws for children's protection to Children's Protective Services.
"It could snowball," said Ketterman.I can't wait for winter.