• 21Oct

    Update:

    “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.”

    http://www.nomas.org/node/168

    Parental Alienation

    family law hammer

    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.

    problems with feminism

    (Taken from https://www.facebook.com/shoutoutaustralia)

    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.

     

    Chesler

    Alienation theory and its continued use reflect historical and societal denial of the extent of male violence within the family.

    wsas

    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

      WEAVE Inc

     

    And another useful book which examines how perpetrators use of controlling tactics:

    Batterer as Parent

     

  • 15Oct

    Sexual assault, rape, child sexual abuse – whatever it is called is about power not sex.

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    (From Greens Senator Sarah Hanson Young)
    And nowhere can this be exemplified but at Nauru where reports of sexual abuse of children in the Detention Centre have come to light.

    “The claims included that women inside the centre were being forced to strip and exchange sexual favours with guards so they could have access to the showers.
    There were also claims that children were being forced to have sex in front of guards at the centre.”

    Vulnerable and traumatised women and children.

    Refugees who have escaped horrific situations – war, torture and civil conflict – who have often spent years seeking refuge and safety.

    The most vulnerable of humanity. Locked up in concentration camps (detention centres) on a foreign, alien remote island.
    And those charged with their ‘care’. Working in an organisation whose structure is developed under an ideology of racism and misogyny which attempt in every way to dehumanise these vulnerable people.

    Every aspect of the detention of these people has been designed to humiliate and demean.
    So it is no surprise that in such an environment those in charge will abuse their power and sexually abuse women and children.
    And Scott Morrison, on behalf of the Australian government has responded in a typically patriarchal pattern.

    “The public don’t want to be played for mugs with allegations being used as some sort of political tactic in all of this.”
    “However, we note that the allegations by Senator Hanson-Young have been made publicly and in the context of broader political statements to discredit the government’s involvement in offshore processing.”

    Morrison

    For centuries women’s and children’s claims of male sexual violence have been met with suspicion, disbelief and contempt.

    When women and children have raised concerns of rape and sexual assault they have been dismissed, demonised and vilified.

    Called liars. Blamed for asking for it.
    This is a culture where the most vulnerable of women and children are dehumanised, called illegals, their human rights ignored.
    Treated with such inhumanity.
    It is therefore believable that those charged with “guarding” them would abuse their power to rape women and children – to treat them as less than human.
    This is patriarchy at its worst – misogynistic, racist and inhumane.
    When will this stop?

  • 01Oct

    Update:

    chief-justice-warns-lawyers-against-custody-case-pressure

    Chief Justice is asking that lawyers not pressure women into making agreements where there are concerns about violence and abuse.
    Of course what she is doing is deflecting responsibility from the court which we know is just as likely to order unsafe arrangements for women and children.

    And women face the possibility of punitive measures by the Family Court for raising allegations of abuse and violence.

    Abbey’s mother said this in response:

    “However, Abbey’s mother said she had spent 11 years navigating the family law and child-protection systems and did not give her consent willingly.

    She said she could not afford to challenge final orders in court, ­especially when she would have to fight the recommendations of the psychologist.”

    In May last year, Abbey (surname withheld) disclosed to her mother that her father sexually assaulted her repeatedly between the ages of three and seven.

    At 17 this Western Australian girl took her own life.

    Her father had just been released from jail after having been convicted of abusing her friend during sleepover visits. He was granted access visits to his children upon release from prison.

    “In my attempts to protect my children, I was treated as a hysterical woman by the Family Court, even though [the father] had been charged with child sexual offences at the time,” Abbey’s mother said.

    “I was made to look like a vindictive wife instead of what I was, a protective mother.”

    “Every week in Australia, the Family Courts are ordering children into contact with, and even into the custody of. parents who are dangerous, toxic and abusive because Family Courts do not have the powers, expertise, and resources to competently investigate allegations of child abuse,” Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston

    Tragically there exists within the family law system, within child protection systems and in our community more broadly the belief that women vindictively make allegations of both domestic violence and child abuse, either to punish their ex-partner or to gain some kind of advantage in the family court.

    This has consistently been disseminated widely –  at the time of the Federal Parliamentary Inquiries into Family Law in 1996 and 2006.

    It is not based on reality.

    Numerous studies, both in Australia and overseas have unswervingly found that false allegations of child sexual abuse are rare indeed. (See also ‘Child Sexual Abuse Allegations and the Family Court‘)

    Let us look at some of the reasons why child sexual abuse allegations may arise following separation.

    1. Sexual abuse occurs after separation.

    Sexual abuse may occur when an abuser has unconstrained access to children, without the restrictions of the mother being present.
    The abuser may also sexually abuse children in order to punish the mother – as a result of his anger at the separation and loss of control over the mother.

    2. Disclosure of abuse following separation

    There are several reasons abused children may be more likely to disclose abuse and to be believed by the other parent.
    Children who are sexually abused sometimes experience a sense of responsibility for keeping the family together, and can be coerced to do so by the offending parent. This pressure lessens when the family splits.
    There is also diminished opportunity for the abusing parent to enforce secrecy, and increased opportunity for children to disclose abuse separately to their mother. The child may feel safe to report because the perpetrator is out of the picture and no longer able to punish her for disclosure.
    A child may disclose abuse when she realises that despite the separation she will continue to have unsupervised contact with the abuser during contact visits.

    3. Disclosure leads to separation

    A significant proportion of mothers on learning that their partner is sexually abusing the children will separate from him.
    It is likely that the sexual abuse, for a number of reasons, will not be revealed to any authorities, and it is only when the offender seeks contact with the child that the mother discloses the sexual abuse.

    The structure of the patriarchal family can be a perilous place for women and children.

    And the patriarchal systems – our legal systems and our child protection systems – are not going to seriously address this. Dealing with the reality of child sexual abuse confronts the whole ideology of patriarchy, the institution of the family, and male control.

    Bravehearts has launched a privately funded inquiry titled Abbey’s Project to uncover and reflect the experiences, testimony and outcomes for families and other stakeholders in their dealings with the Family Courts (and related child protection agencies) to better protect children against child sexual assault.

    “The community has had enough of these courts ignoring the testimony of children, banning access to all support to the families and children making allegations of harm for fear of the courts retribution, demonising the credibility of protective parents and destroying the lives of children.

    “We have seen the courts continually put the rights of repeat, dangerous and /or violent offenders and child sex predators above the safety of the most vulnerable members of the community.”

    For information on Abbey’s Project and how to make submissions to the royal commission, visit www.bravehearts.org.au

  • 24Sep
    bastard out of carolina

    “The grief. The anger. The guilt and the shame. It would come back later. It would come back forever. We had all wanted the simplest thing, to love and be loved and be safe together, but we had lost it and I didn’t know how to get it back.”

     

    This is the story of Bone (Ruth Anne). It is told in her voice – a strong, heart-breaking voice. It is Bone’s story of growing up in poverty in Carolina. It is a story of childhood abuse – physical and sexual.
    We come to know intimately Bone’s experiences of being part of a poor, extended family in America’s south, which is told exquisitely by Dorothy Alison. We become immersed in this family – its trial and tribulations, its warmth and connectiveness.
    But it is not a ‘nice’ family. It is a macho world where her uncles are proud of their violent reputations, consistently getting into brawls, drink heavily and are always in and out of jail.
    But it is the aunts that we are drawn to. This community of women who are immersed in poverty, struggling to survive, who are there for each other, who support and care for each other. They are strong women. We get to know them intimately through Bone’s eyes. These are women who are the core of Bone’s life.
    Bone is subjected to episodes of extreme violence and sexual abuse by her step-father. Her mother becomes increasingly aware of the violence and attempts to protect her such as ensuring that Bone is not left alone with him. But of course the abuse continues.
    What is told so poignantly in this book, are Bone’s feelings and experiences – her grief, her shame, her anger – and her desire to protect her mother and her happiness.
    As Dorothy Allison says in the Afterword:
    “I made her brave and stubborn and resilient. I made her want to protect her little sister and her mother. I made her a child full of hope as well as despair; and while I worked carefully at all the ways she learned to hate herself, I also made it plain to the reader that she was not hateful in any way.”
    This book does not have a happy ending. I fought against the inevitable result. But I was left feeling hope for Bone – hope that she would survive, hope that her gritty determination would lead to a happier life.
    I applaud Dorothy Allison’s courage in bringing Bone’s story to us, and for the empathy and understanding that she sensitively and skilfully she shows – for she is writing for all of the children who suffer horrendous abuse and violence.
    However, the Afterword also tells us that this book has been banned in several school districts in America.

    Dorothy Allison responds:
    “I want the society in which I live to be clear about the reality of our families; to know all the ways in which we avoid the issues of violence, abuse, and societal contempt; and to see survivors as more than victims. If we know more about what it means to survive abuse, we will better able those still caught in the whole shameful secret world of physical and sexual violence.”

     

    This book is a beautiful book. It is heartbreaking to read. But it is a courageous testament to women and children who suffer at the hands of male violence.
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