“The up-to-date research and information now available makes it clear that the present practices can no longer be justified and the custody court system must create the necessary reforms to protect the safety of children and protective mothers in domestic violence custody cases. This article will discuss ten reasons we know the custody court system is broken and must be reformed.”
If there is one symbol of misogyny and patriarchy within family law it must be the use of the concept of parental alienation.
Parental alienation epitomises how the patriarchal legal system has viewed women within our western civilisation.
It views women as vindictive liars – out to destroy men and fatherhood. It deems women as pathological – not the norm; not male.
And the intended result is to negate and trivialise male abuse of women and children. It denies and minimises the impact and severity of domestic violence and child abuse.
In basic terms, parental alienation takes the position that when a mother raises concerns about child abuse and domestic violence following separation – in a bid to protect her children from exposure to further abuse – that her allegations are likely to be false. That her motivations include revenge and vindictiveness against her ex-partner.
And most importantly it is seen as an effort to deny men/fathers the inalienable right to their children.
It is about male ownership and control.
The parental alienation syndrome was originally developed by Richard Gardner (1931-2003). It was based solely on his own (biased) clinical experience with little objective basis and lacks any empirical basis.
Gardner also had bizarre beliefs about sexuality. He is quoted as stating that:
“adult-child sex need not be intrinsically harmful to children.”
Parental alienation syndrome is grounded in misogynistic views and reflects a mother-blaming ideology.
ALIENATION AS A DYNAMIC OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
What we do know – and there is empirical evidence – is that alienation is a pattern of control used by male abusers in domestic violence and child sexual abuse.
The use of denigration of mothers is part of the pattern of both child sexual abuse and domestic violence.
And then when the mother separates from the abuser, perpetrators of domestic violence use custody litigation as a form of ongoing harassment and abuse of mother.
Alienation theory and its continued use reflect historical and societal denial of the extent of male violence within the family.
I would highly recommend Liz Library – lots of useful information about child custody, family law and parental alienation.
Other websites: Women’s Safety After Separation
And another useful book which examines how perpetrators use of controlling tactics: