Friday, December 28, 2007
Now let's flip over to a different conversation with feminists on domestic violence. Now, the subject is domestic violence perpetrated by women against men. Suddenly, violence is no longer violence. A woman physically attacking her boyfriend or spouse is not the same thing as when the genders are reversed. The woman is weaker, so she doesn't inflict as much damage. The woman feels threatened by the man's greater physical power and her reactions, be they grabbing a knife or other weapon, are therefore justified. But, wait a minute....I thought violence was violence. I thought the severity or damage caused by the violent actions was irrelevant.
THIS is the degree of the hypocrisy embraced by feminism. This is the degree of injustice many women, along with the legal system, adhere to. Violence is violence, and there will be no justifications or excuses made if you are a man. However, if you're a woman, violence will be accepted and explained, rationalized and excused. Hmmm....and the feminists say THEY have a problem with double standards?
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Myth: Single-mother-headed households are not detrimental to children.
Truth: Single-mother-headed households are the most dangerous place a child can be.
The US Office of Technology Assessment (1987): "The increase in the number of mother-headed households and the corresponding decrease in father-headed households paralleled a 158% increase in child abuse and neglect in the 8 years from 1976 to 1984. 2.3% of sexual abuse of girls was by biological fathers, and 17% by stepfathers. 37% of child maltreatment occurred in mother-headed households, versus 23% in all US families. 44,700 children were sexually abused in 1979 which was .07% of all children below the age of 18 years of age." In 1983, a study found that 60% of perpetrators of child abuse were women with sole custody. According to the Department of Justice, 55% of child murders are by their own mothers, and 6% are by their biological fathers, making mothers 9 times more likely to murder their children than biological fathers.
The Third National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS-3) from the US Department of Health and Human Services paints an appalling picture.
According to this report, children in mother-only households are 4 times more likely to be fatally abused than children in father-only households. Children in mother-only households are 40% more likely to be sexually abused than children in father-only households. Women (mothers and female care givers) are 78% of the perpetrators of fatal child abuse, 81% of natural parents who seriously abuse their children, 72% of natural parents who moderately abuse their children, and 65% of natural parents who are inferred to have abused their children. Natural mothers are the perpetrators of 93% of physical neglect, 86% of educational neglect, 78% of emotional neglect, 60% of physical abuse, and 55% of emotional abuse.
Moreover, the lives of children are rarely improved when the custodial mother remarries. When the perpetrator of abuse is a non-natural parent, males [read: non-biological fathers] are the perpetrators of 90% of physical abuse, 97% of sexual abuse, 74% of emotional abuse, and 82% of educational neglect.
Between 1986 and 1993, as the number of single-mother households increased dramatically, fatal child abuse increased 46% and serious child abuse increased four fold. Clearly, eliminating fathers from the lives of our children has been a cultural catastrophe unmatched in history.
Myth: 95% of all Domestice Violence is perpetrated by Men.
Truth: Women assault men more often than men assault women.
Physical Assaults By Wives: A Major Social Problem Dr. Murray A. Straus, edited by Richard J. Gelles and Donileen R. Loseke. [1993, Current Controversies on Family Violence]. This report debunks many of the tabloid myths about domestic conflict in detail. (a) After adjusting for actual injuries, the numbers of cases of severe spousal abuse is only about 10% of the 1.8-million cases claimed by the domestic violence lobby ("one every 14 seconds...). (b) Women initiate serious spousal conflict more often than do men. (c) Studies generated by "women's centers" intentionally suppress unfavorable data and avoid questions that would lead to unfavorable responses. (d) Data generated from police reports is unreliable. (e) Murder rates for women are higher than than of men. (f) "the Clinical Fallacy": public policy responses to domestic conflict behave as if all conflict were clinical in nature, and do not reflect the fact the most domestic conflict is minor and infrequent in nature. (g) Cultural norms encouraging minor assaults by wives encourages wife beating.
The May/June 1999 issue of Mother Jones magazine has an article by Nancy Updike titled "Hitting the Wall: After 20 years of domestic violence resarch, scientists can't void hard facts." It focuses on research showing that women are perpetrators as well victims of domestic violence. Here is the opening paragraph:
"A surprising fact has turned up in the grimly familiar world of domestic violence: Women report using violence in their relationships more often than men. This is not a crack by some antifeminist cad; the information will soon be published by the Justice Department in a report summarizing the results of in-depth, face-to-face interviews with a representative sample of 860 men and women whom researchers have been following since birth. Conducted in New Zealand by Terrie Moffitt, a University of Wisconsin psychology professor, the study suports data published in 1980 indicating that wives hit their husbands at least as often as husbands hit their wives."
The article then goes on to discuss the generally unreliable and ideology-driven state of domestic violence research, and analyzes Moffitt's research:
"What she found was that the women in her study who were in violent relationships were more like their partners, in many ways, than they were like the other women in the study. Both the victims and the aggressors in violent relationships, Moffitt found, were more likely to be unemployed and less educated than couples in nonviolent relationships. Moff also found that 'female perpetrators of partner violence differed from nonviolent women with respect to factors that could not be solely the result of being a violent relationship.' Her research disputes a long-held belief about the nature of domestic violence: If a woman hits, it's only in response to her partner's attacks. The study suggests that some women may be prone to violence - by nature and circumstance - just as some men may be." ------------- Citation: Mother Jones May/June 1999, Hitting the Wall: After 20 years of domestic violence resarch, scientists can't avoid hard facts, Nancy Updike
A 1994 British study by Michelle Carrado and others, interviewed 1,800 men and women with heterosexual partners. Some 11% of the men but only 5% of the women said heir current partner had committed acts of violence towards them, ranging from pushing, through hitting, to stabbing. Five per cent of married or cohabiting men ported two or more acts of violence against them in a current relationship, compared with only 1% of women. A further 10% of men but 11% of women said they had ommitted one of these violent acts.
Study after study shows women are not merely violent in self-defence but strike the first blow in about half of all disputes. The American social scientists Murray Straus and Richard Gelles reported from two large national surveys that husbands and wives had assaulted each other at approximately equal rates, with women engaging in minor acts of violence more frequently. Elsewhere, they found more wives than husbands were severely violent towards their spouses.
Moreover, there is now considerable evidence that women initiate severe violence more frequently than men. A survey of 1,037 young adults born between 1972 and 1973 in Dunedin, New Zealand, found that 18.6% of young women said they had perpetrated severe physical violence against their partners, compared with 5.7% of young men. Three times more women than men said they had kicked or bitten their partners, or hit them with their fists or with an object. (Quoted: The Sunday Times, 24 October 1999, NEWS REVIEW, "Women are at least as violent as men, but the evidence is everywhere being dismissed or ignored", By Melanie Phillips
Myth: Domestic Violence is a prevalent problem in our nation's families.
Truth: Less that 1% of families in America experience serious domestic violence. REPEAT SEVERE DV OCCURS IN LESS THAN 1% of COUPLES
16% of American couples experience physical assault in any given year. Slapping, pushing, shoving, etc.
6% or 3,000,000 couples experience severe assaults choking, severe beating, etc.
1% experience repeated severe violence (you know, the ones that restraining orders are supposed to protect!)
Source: Intimate Violence, Simon & Shuster, 1998 Richard Gelles & Murray Strauss.
Myth: Child support and visitation are two separate issues.
Truth: They are intimately connected.
"Paying child support, visiting and participating in childrearing decisions are activities that "go together"...Fathers who engage in any one of those three activities are likely to engage in the other two activities perhaps to maintain parallel responsibilities with those fulfilled by fathers who live with their children." (pg. 96, Col. 2, 3, Lines 4 - 11) Relationships between Fathers and Children Who Live Apart: The Father's Role after Separation - Judith A. Seltzer, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 53, No. 1, February 1991
"Paternal visitation has been found to consistently be positively related to payment of child support" (pg. 134, col. 1, 2, lines 16 - 18) The Role of Paternal Variables in Divorced and Married Families - Amanda Thomas and Rex Forehand, American Journal of Othopsychiatry, Vol. 63, No. 1, January 1993
"90.2% of fathers with joint custody pay the child support due." (pg. 7, col. 1, 2, lines 1 - 2) U.S. Bureau of the Census: 1988
"79.1 % of fathers with visitation privileges pay the child support due." (pg. 7, col. 1, 2, lines 2 - 3) U.S. Bureau of the Census: 1988
Myth: Fathers really don't want to be involved with their children after divorce:
Truth: Fathers care deeply about their children and suffer sever consequences as a result of divorce.
"Fathers often experience intense conflicts with their former spouses, and these conflicts typically interfere with their on- going parent-child relationships." (pg. 279, col. 2, 2, lines 15 - 19) Increasing Our Understanding of Fathers Who Have Infrequent Contact With Their Children - James R. Dudley, Professor, University North Carolina, under a grant from Temple University, Family Relations, Vol. 4, No. 3, July 1991
"Fathers felt their bargaining power to be weaker than the mother's and mentioned the repeated need for compromise and negotiation to maintain regular involvement with the children." (pg. 60, 3, lines 13 - 15) Visitation and the Noncustodial Father - Mary Ann P. Koch, Carol R. Lowery, Journal of Divorce, Vol. 8, No. 2, Winter 1984
"Most men were dissatisfied with the frequency of visitation" (pg. 54, 4 lines 5) Visitation and the Noncustodial Father - Mary Ann P. Koch, Carol R. Lowery, Journal of Divorce, Vol. 8, No. 2, Winter 1984
"70% of fathers felt they had too little time with their children." (pg 54, 4, lines 5 - 7) Visitation and the Noncustodial Father - Mary Ann P. Koch, Carol R. Lowery, Journal of Divorce, Vol. 8, No. 2, Winter 1984
"Non custodial parents, who are usually men, are likely to be negatively affected in psychological ways. A most pervasive problem is suffering caused by the feeling that they have lost their children." (pg. 279, col. 2, 2, lines 1 - 5) Increasing Our Understanding of Fathers Who Have Infrequent Contact With Their Children - James R. Dudley, Professor, University North Carolina, under a grant from Temple University, Family Relations, Vol. 4, No. 3, July 1991
"Divorced fathers reported significantly more depressive symptoms than did married fathers." (pg. 130 Col. 2, 2, lines 6 - 10) The Role of Paternal Variables in Divorced and Married Families - Amanda Thomas and Rex Forehand, American Journal of Othopsychiatry, Vol. 63, No. 1, January 1993
Myth: Children adjust to divorce.
Truth: Divorce is devastating to children.
"Very few of the children were satisfied with the amount of contact with their fathers, after divorce." (pg. 50, 2, lines 1 - 3) Visitation and the Noncustodial Father - Mary Ann P. Koch, Carol R. Lowery, Journal of Divorce, Vol. 8, No. 2, Winter 1984
"A child living with his/her divorced mother, compared to a child living with both parents is 375% more likely to need professional treatment for emotional or behavioral problems and is almost twice as likely to repeat a grade of school, is more likely to suffer chronic asthma, frequent headaches, and/or bedwetting, develop a stammer or speech defect, suffer from anxiety or depression, and be diagnosed as hyperactive." National Center for Health Statistics
"55.3% of children living with divorced mothers and 59.2% of children living with remarried mothers, suffer from anxiety or depression."National Center for Health Statistics
"In 21 of 27 social adjustment measures and 8 of 9 academic measures, children of divorce show lower performance than children in two parent families. The results were far more pronounced for boys, than for girls." Nationwide Impact on Children of Divorce Study, John Guidubaldi, Ph.D., former President, School Psychologists Association
"Daughters in single mother homes have more negative attitudes toward men in general and their fathers in particular." (pg. 146 , 2, lines 5 - 8) Interparental Conflict, Relationship with the Noncustodial Father, and Adolescent Post-Divorced Adjustment - Gene Brody and Rex Forehand, University of Georgia, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 11, No. 2, April - June 1990
Myth: Sole custody provides a more stable environment for children and is better in the long run.
Truth: Joint custody is better for children.
"One clear message from the accumulated divorce research is that children profit by continued exposure to both parents" (pg. 61, 1, lines 1 - 3) Visitation and the Noncustodial Father - Mary Ann P. Koch, Carol R. Lowery, Journal of Divorce, Vol. 8, No. 2, Winter 1984
"Children who were able to maintain post-divorce relationships with both parents were better able to adjust to the divorce." ( pg. 50, 3, lines 5 -7) Visitation and the Noncustodial Father - Mary Ann P. Koch, Carol R. Lowery, Journal of Divorce, Vol. 8, No. 2, Winter 1984
"The continuing involvement of divorced fathers in families where mothers maintain physical custody has become recognized as an important mediating factor in the adjustment and well-being of children of divorce." (pg. 441, col. 2, 1, lines 4 - 9) The Effect of the Post Divorce Relationship on Paternal Involvement: A Longitudinal Analysis - Constance R. Ahrons, Ph.D., and Richard B. Miller, Ph.D., American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Vol. 63, No. 3, July 1993
"Children recover more rapidly from the emotional trauma of parents' separation when they maintain close ties with their fathers." (pg. 1013, Col. 2, 2, lines 13 - 24 continued on pg. 1014, Col. 1, 1, lines 1) Family Ties after Divorce: The Relationship Between Visiting and Paying Support - Judith A. Seltzer, Nora Shaeffer, Hong-wen Charing, University of Wisconsin, Journal of Marriage & the Family, Vol. 51, No. 4, November 1989.
"Adolescents who reported closer relationships with their non custodial fathers were assessed as displaying fewer internalizing problems." (pg. 139, 1, lines 8 - 10) Interparental Conflict, Relationship with the Noncustodial Father, and Adolescent Post- Divorced Adjustment - Gene Brody and Rex Forehand, University of Georgia, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 11, No. 2, April - June 1990
"Fathers who have frequent contact with their children are also more likely to discuss the children with the mother." (pg. 89, Col. 1, 2, Lines 10 - 13) Relationships between Fathers and Children Who Live Apart: The Father's Role after Separation - Judith A. Seltzer, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 53, No. 1, February 1991
"Fathers who visit their children are most likely to have a voice in major child-rearing decisions." (pg. 90, Col. 1, 2, Lines 8 - 10) Relationships between Fathers and Children Who Live Apart: The Father's Role after Separation - Judith A. Seltzer, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 53, No. 1, February 1991
"When both parents share the social and economic responsibilities of child care, children appear to adapt better to their changed living arrangements than when mothers bear these responsibilities alone." (pg. 79, Col. 1, 1, Lines 18 - 24) Relationships between Fathers and Children Who Live Apart: The Father's Role after Separation - Judith A. Seltzer, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 53, No. 1, February 1991
"Friendliness [between parents] increased with greater contact frequency" Post-divorce Relationships between Ex-Spouses: The Roles of Attachment and Interpersonal Conflict - Carol Masheter, University of Utah, Journal of Marriage and the Family, Volume 53, (February 1991): 103 110
Myth: Fathers are easily replaced after divorce.
Truth: Fathers are irreplaceable.
"Fathers have much to offer their adolescent children in many areas, including their career development, moral development, and sex role identification." (pg. 284, col. 2, 5, lines 6 - 10) Increasing Our Understanding of Fathers Who Have Infrequent Contact With Their Children - James R. Dudley, Professor, University North Carolina, under a grant from Temple University, Family Relations, Vol. 40, No. 3, July 1991
"Fathers who spend time with their children teach them values." (pg. 87, Col. 1, 2, Lines 23 - 26) Relationships between Fathers and Children Who Live Apart: The Father's Role after Separation - Judith A. Seltzer, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 53, No. 1, February 1991
"Fathers and children who maintain close touch through visiting communicate regularly in other ways as well." (pg. 85, Col. 2, 1, Lines 23 - 25) Relationships between Fathers and Children Who Live Apart: The Father's Role after Separation - Judith A. Seltzer, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 53, No. 1, February 1991
"Frequent contact with the father is associated with positive adjustment of the children." (pg. 441, col. 2, 1, lines 18 - 20) The Effect of the Post Divorce Relationship on Paternal Involvement: A Longitudinal Analysis - Constance R. Ahrons, Ph.D., and Richard B. Miller, Ph.D., American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Vol. 63, No. 3, July 1993
"Fathers play a significant role in terms of adolescent functioning" (pg. 134, col. 2, 2, lines 21 - 23) The Role of Paternal Variables in Divorced and Married Families - Amanda Thomas and Rex Forehand, American Journal of Othopsychiatry, Vol. 63, No. 1, January 1993
"Males who reported high levels of inter-parental conflict and a good relationship with their fathers were perceived [by their teachers] to have fewer internalizing problems. A similar set of results emerged for the female adolescents" (pg. 144, 1, lines 1 - 3 and pg. 144, 2, line 1) Interparental Conflict, Relationship with the Noncustodial Father, and Adolescent Post- Divorced Adjustment - Gene Brody and Rex Forehand, University of Georgia, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 11, No. 2, April - June 1990
"Significant correlations were found between the father's reports of positive relationships with their adolescent offspring and teacher reports of less anxiety/withdrawal on the part of the adolescents." (pg. 130, col. 2, 3, lines 7 - 12) The Role of Paternal Variables in Divorced and Married Families - Amanda Thomas and Rex Forehand, American Journal of Othopsychiatry, Vol. 63, No. 1, January 1993
Myth: There is about $34 Billion in unpaid child support waiting to be collected.
Truth: This figure is vastly overstated:
"In 1992 the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin found that 52% of obligors who are delinquent in their child support payments earn less than $6155 per year. That's not enough to support one person. And in a report by the General Accounting Office, 66% of mothers who do not receive support report that the fathers cannot afford to pay the support ordered. (The report also found that up to 14% of child support obligors are deceased.)
Other government reports show that in cases where there are court orders for support, 76% of fathers pay. According to Justice Department statistics, there are about 950,000 men in state and federal prisons. A survey of these inmates found that 76% of federal prisoners and 64% of state prisoners have one or more children. And there are thousands of men in mental institutions, drug rehab centers and homeless shelters. When you consider the numbers of unemployed, disabled or ill, the portrait of the deadbeat dad as callous falls apart. (quoted in Playboy article, DEAD-BROKE DADS, Why cold, hard cash just isn't enough by Stuart A. Miller and Armin A. Brott, February 1996 - Playboy Magazine)
Florida conducted a test in order to determine the feasibility of contracting out their child support collections to private firms. In their test, two very large firms, Maximus, and Lockheed-Martin, were contracted to perform two tasks: 1) to investigate a number of cases and close those that were uncollectible, for whatever reason; and, 2) to collect whatever they could. Lockheed was assigned 101,325 cases and closed 37,270, for which the company was paid roughly $2.2 million. For its efforts during 14 months, it managed to collect $137,839 in child-support payments. This means they collected an average of only $2.00 per case. Maximus closed 46,692 of 89,560 cases and was paid $2.25 million. Out of the remaining 42,868 cases, it got 12 individuals to cough up a total of $5,867. Put more simply and directly, Florida spent $4.5 million to collect about $162,000. They also proved that approximately 44% of the cases in their files were either duplicates, which doubled the indicated child support owed, or were completely uncollectible, for any number of reasons. (Kathleen Parker s commentary that appeared in the Orlando Sentinel on January 24, 1999. Additional data supplied by by Donna O Neal whose title is Taxpayer Education Director for the Florida Department of Revenue )
Myth: Child support obligors have the money to pay their child support. Their arrears are the result of willful non-payment.
Truth: Most child support arrears are owed by fathers who have no money and no hope of paying.
In a recent study performed by the State of Colorado concerning the effect of license suspension and child support collection, only 35% of those who were threatened with license suspension even had a valid drivers license.
Threats of license suspension yielded an average of only $9 per month per case increase in child support collection.
Colorado Model Office Project EVALUATION OF COLORADO'S DRIVER'S LICENSE SUSPENSION INITIATIVE Jessica Pearson, Ph.D. , Nancy Thoennes, Ph.D., Esther Ann Griswold, M.A. Center for Policy Research 1720 Emerson Street, Denver, Colorado 80218 303/837-1555
Quotes from this study indicate clearly that so called "Deadbeat Dads" are very often not well-to-do: From the Department of Motor Vehicles we found that most obligors were in the DMV system. About two-thirds of the obligors had been issued a regular adult license by the DMV. About 8 percent had been issued temporary licenses, provisional permits (the license issued to drivers between 18-21 years of age), or minor's permits. Approximately 6 percent had been issued commercial licenses. Approximately 20 percent had never been issued a license, although some of these obligors (8%) were in the DMV system because they had applied for an adult identification card.
Knowing whether an obligor had ever been issued a license, however, did little to predict who had a valid license when the notification of suspension was sent. As Table 3 indicates, only about 35 percent had a valid license on the eve of reporting to the DMV. Thirty-eight percent had a license that had been suspended or revoked, and 23 percent did not have licenses but were eligible to apply.
We also extracted information on the total number of citations received by obligors who had been issued licenses. About 11 percent of the obligors had never been ticketed. Overall, each obligor received an average of 10 violations, and the median was 7. Forty percent had been ticketed most recently in either 1996 and/or 1997. Approximately 40 percent of the obligors who had been issued licenses had violations, actions or judgments related to alcohol, 55 percent had violations related to lack of proper insurance, and 39 percent had been cited for driving without a valid license. We reported in Table 3 that 38 percent of all obligors who qualified for DLS reporting had a revoked or suspended license at the time DLS notification went out and 35 percent had a valid license. But even among many of those with a valid license, their license had expired.
Two-thirds of the obligors eligible for DLS notification (66%) been the subject of a license revocation or susension at some time in the past. The two most common reasons for the revocations were lack of insurance (25%) and alcohol related violations (23%). Other common reasons included excessive points (17%) or habitual offender status (16%). The profile of obligors eligible for suspension from the DMV data would lead us to expect that notification of driver's license suspension would prompt action by only a small percentage. Less than half of those notified had a valid non-commercial driver's license at the time of the DLS reporting, about two-thirds had had a license suspended in the past, and well over a third had been cited in the past for driving without a valid license.
These calculations suggest that every eight months $7,287 additional child support is collected for each 100 cases with driver's license notification. Steven K. Buster, the new head of Los Angeles County's child support operation, has said that, based on the agency's previous experience with parents who are criminally charged or child support delinquency, about 35% will ultimately pay support. This means that fully 65% don't pay, even though they are charged with criminal delinquency.
(Los Angeles Times, Saturday, August 7, 1999, D.A.'s Sweep of Delinquent Parents Also Nets Criticism , By GREG KRIKORIAN, NICHOLAS RICCARDI, Times Staff Writers)
Myth: Child support is absolutely necessary for child well being.
Truth: When child well being is measured, money is not a relevant factor.
A recent study of 273,000 kids conducted by Peter Benson and Judy Galbraith, authors of What Kids Need to Succeed: Proven, Practical Ways to Raise Good Kids, reports 30 requirements necessary to a child's development. Benson and Galbraith divide those assets into two categories--internal and external. Of the 16 external assets, more than half are parental contributions, including approachability, communicativeness, and involvement at school. Financial support is not mentioned as being essential to the emotional well-being of a child. Many of our greatest citizens grew up in poverty, but they managed to succeed because both parents were involved in their lives.
Myth: Unwed fathers typically abandon the mother and child.
Truth: Unwed fathers are most often closely tied to their offspring and the mother:
A recent study conducted in Washington with low-income fathers ages 16 to 25 found that 63 percent had only one child; 82 percent had children by only one mother; 50 percent had been in a serious relationship with the mother at the time of pregnancy; only 3 percent knew the mother of their child only a little; 75 percent visited their child in the hospital; 70 percent saw their children at least once a week; 50 percent took their child to the doctor; large percentages reported bathing, feeding, dressing and playing with their children; and 85 percent provided informal child support in the form of cash or purchased goods such as diapers, clothing and toys.
(From Insight Magazine Vol. 15, No. 28 -- August 2, 1999 By Stephen Baskerville)
Myth: Mothers in divorce proceedings don't misuse restraining orders.
Truth: This is a common practice fraught with abuse.
BOSTON GLOBE: C.YOUNG: "The abuse of restraining orders"- Boston Globe-08/30/99 In a 1993 article in the Massachusetts Bar Association Newsletter, Elaine Epstein, then president of the Massachusetts Bar Association, warned that the ''frenzy surrounding domestic violence'' was leading to disturbing excesses: ''Restraining orders ... are granted to virtually all who apply... In many [divorce] cases, allegations of abuse are now used for tactical advantage.'' Under the Abuse Prevention Act of 1978, a temporary restraining order can be issued ex parte, without the defendant being notified - much less informed of the specific charges. In theory, he can present his side at a later hearing to determine if the order should be made permanent. At these hearings, however, the defendant has none of the safeguards of a criminal trial.
Cross-examination of witnesses may be severely limited, and many attorneys say that exculpatory evidence is unlikely to be given serious weight. A 1995 study by the Massachusetts courts found that of the nearly 60,000 orders issued annually, fewer than half involve even an allegation of physical violence. Epstein says that she has seen ''affidavits which just said someone was in fear, or there had been an argument or yelling.'' In 1990, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a claim of ''fear'' was not enough to support a restraining order: there had to be ''reasonable'' fear of ''imminent serious physical harm.'' But often, judges who worry about being perceived as insensitive to women are satisfied with an affirmative reply to ''Are you afraid of bodily harm by the defendant?'' Indeed, former state Representative Barbara Gray, a sponsor of the Abuse Prevention Act, told me three years ago that ''judges grant the restraining orders without asking too many questions'' - though she saw nothing wrong with that.
With the order in effect, any contact becomes punishable by up to two and half years of imprisonment. Legally, it doesn't matter if the contact is accidental, or if it happened with the purported victim's consent or at her initiative. Fathers hit with restraining orders based on trivial or uncorroborated allegations have been jailed for sending their kids a Christmas card, asking a telephone operator to convey the message that a gravely ill grandmother would like to see her grandchildren, or returning a child's phone call.
Critics of the law claim that a majority of restraining orders are obtained under false pretenses; defenders say that it's no more than 5 percent. But even the low estimate adds up to about 2,000 a year - hardly a trifle when individuals lose their homes, their children, and sometimes their freedom.
To many feminists, talk of vindictive, manipulative ex-wives smacks of misogyny. But to recognize that women may sometimes abuse the power they have is simply to recognize that women are human. And men, too, have misused restraining orders. In 1995, Stephen Gruning stormed into the home of ex-girlfriend Rhonda Stuart, shot and wounded her and killed her brother and her new boyfriend. He had earlier been granted two temporary restraining orders against Stuart. On that occasion, women's advocates were quick to point out that a restraining order was very easy to get and could be used as a ''coercive tool, regardless of the facts.''
When I spoke to Gray, she conceded that the use of restraining orders as weapons in divorce cases was ''always a possibility,'' but insisted that there was no way to curb such abuses without endangering women who need protection. This typical attitude bodes ill for civil rights - and it may not do victims much good. Several studies suggest that restraining orders have little, if any, protective effect. Indeed, a system bogged down in trivial pursuit may fail to single out cases of real danger.
Change in the current law is badly needed. Yet, as Senate minority leader Brian P. Lees (R-Hampden) noted, women's groups have opposed any proposal to protect the rights of defendants under restraining orders.
Charges of domestic violence, by women or men, must be taken seriously. But in the American system of justice, sensitivity to victims should never turn into a presumption of guilt.
*Cathy Young is author of ''Ceasefire!: Why Women and Men Must Join Forces to Achieve True Equality.''
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
NHS U-turn on prostate cancer treatment
By Laura Donnelly, Health Correspondent
Last Updated: 2:55am GMT 17/12/2007
A life-saving treatment will be denied to tens of thousands of victims of Britain's most common male cancer after a U-turn by the NHS rationing body.
The groundbreaking ultrasound therapy has been shown to kill nine out of 10 prostate tumours, and five years after treatment, 80 per cent of patients show no sign of the cancer recurring.
Compared with surgery or conventional radiotherapy treatment, it is not invasive and is far less likely to lead to devastating side effects such as impotence or incontinence.
Suitable for treatment in the early stages of the disease, when it is not known how quickly it will spread, the ultrasound therapy is regarded by doctors as a vital new weapon in the battle against prostate cancer.
The UK's most prevalent cancer among men, prostate cancer kills 10,000 a year, with 35,000 more cases diagnosed annually. A third of men over 50 contract it.
Three years ago, the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) said men across the country should be offered the treatment, called High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (Hifu), free on the NHS.
But The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that Nice has now decided to reverse that decision. In the New Year, the controversial rationing body will massively restrict the use of the HIFU treatment.
Instead of it being available to all prostate cancer sufferers, it will now be restricted only to those who have already failed to respond to conventional treatment and whose cancer has returned.
The decision, set to be made in February, means Hifu will not be available to the vast majority of prostate cancer sufferers.
Cancer charities and senior doctors last night attacked the move as a U-turn.
Mark Emberton, a consultant urologist at University College Hospital, London, said he was worried that patients would be forced into the private sector, "which would be a disaster", if they wanted the treatment.
He also questioned the logic of only offering Hifu to men whose cancer had returned, while denying it to patients in the early stages of the disease.
Meanwhile, Stephen Brown, a consultant urologist at Stepping Hill hospital, Stockport, said: "We think Hifu is a really good option for patients who want a lesser procedure."
Prof Roger Kirby, who chairs the Prostate UK charity, also decried the decision. He said: "Restricting the treatments available will have a massive impact on the patient."
Since Nice made its original ruling, permitting the use of Hifu, just 300 men have been given the treatment on the NHS.
Primary care trusts have so far been slow to foot the bill for the treatment, which is one-off but costs about £13,000.
This amount compares with £3,000 for radiotherapy, which takes six weeks, and £5,000 for surgery.
It is understood that Nice, which has refused to comment on its new guidelines, will rule that there is insufficient evidence to prove that Hifu has long-term value.
The U-turn comes despite the research published last month in the European Journal of Urology which found that eight out of 10 men were healthy five years after being treated with Hifu.
O.K., just so we're on the same page....there's a new, non-invasive medical procedure with far fewer negative side effects available for fighting prostate cancer, an affliction that 1/3 of men will suffer from by the time they reach 50. This procedure is 90% effective against tumors....but they're not going to make it available to men unless other more invasive, more damaging procedures have already failed, a point at which things could conceivably have progressed to where treatment is no longer effectual. Their reasoning appears to be because the new procedure is more expensive. I'm betting, if you figure the costs of multiple procedures along with the costs of treating the damaging side effects of the more invasive treatments, ultrasound therapy is probably pretty cost effective in the long run.
It's quite clear how much value Britain's NHS places on the health and lives of men. If they found a 90% effective, highly non-invasive treatment for breast cancer, do you think they'd deny women the opportunity to undergo it? If they did, the backlash would be immediate and I've not doubt their decision would be quickly rescinded. This is the message men get time and time again about how much value society places on them. Do you see millions of ribbons for prostate cancer everywhere you look? You're probably wondering if they even have a ribbon for prostate cancer. They do, it's blue...but the fact that most people don't know that is enough said, in my opinion.
In case you're hoping the U.S. is a little less biased concerning gender in health care, think again. Here are a few enlightening statistics for you from National Prostate Cancer Coalition,
On average, more men are diagnosed with prostate cancer annually than women are with breast cancer. While the fatality rate is higher for breast cancer - about 40,000, compared to prostate cancer's 31,000 (these figures averaged due to discrepancies in the multiple reporting sources) - the funding disparity is beyond debate. According to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition, "only about 7 percent of federal cancer research dollars are spent on prostate cancer research." That is about $485 million for prostate research, compared to nearly $870 million for breast cancer research, or, if broken down per fatality, equals, $21,800 per breast cancer fatality, as opposed to $16,700 per prostate cancer fatality.
The discrepancies are obvious and appalling.Here is NICE's email address in case anyone would care to voice their opinions on this new policy.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Now, just in case you're like those who create these shows and movies and are unclear as to what the problem is, I want you to take a minute, close your eyes and imagine the exact same scene with the roles reversed. Imagine it's the husband telling his wife if she doesn't do something then he'll take their baby and leave her. Imagine a man telling the mother of his children that he'll take the kids, go far away and she'll never see them again. The only time such a scene would exist is if they're trying to make a man look as horrible as possible. People can imagine little worse than a man depriving a woman of her children. What kind of man would threaten a mother with her children? What kind of cruel, depraved monster would take away a woman's children? The thing is, I agree. I think it is monstrous and cruel to deprive a mother of her children, BUT, and this is the point here, it goes both ways. What kind of woman would threaten a father with his children? What kind of cruel, depraved monster would take away a father's children? Yes, it is an act of cruelty to intentionally estrange a parent from their children. Let's not forget that it is also a cruelty to the children. We have to ask ourselves why society accepts, even promotes a woman separating a man from his children. We have to ask why the double standard,why the bias...and, finally, why do we accept it? In the same way that we would be outraged by a man keeping a mother from her children, should we be outraged about a woman keeping a father from his kids.
Not only do we see this bias in the media, we see it all the time in real life. Every day the courts deny a father his right to see his children. Every day another woman is allowed to estrange a father from his children. It's not only accepted and promoted in the media and society, but it's even encouraged by the state. How was a system ever put in place that rewarded a mother for separating her children from their father? Do you think I'm being melodramatic? I'm not. Look at child support. If a woman has joint custody, well she'll recieve either no or notably less money from her ex-husband, but if she can get sole custody, well, she'll be getting significantly more. The state supplies a motivation for women to keep fathers away from their children. The funny part is, I saw a situation once where the father recieved full custody and the mother had to pay him support. Women who heard about it were outraged. It was so wrong for a mother to only be able to see her children every other weekend and holidays, and then to have to pay her ex money to raise the children she was being restricted from seeing...what a travesty! Here again, I agree...it is a travesty, but this same travesty is commonplace for fathers. That's just how it is. Nobody questions it or gives it a second thought. If a father should try to fight against it then he's either an *sshole or a loser who just doesn't want to help support his children. As a parent I can't imagine many things worse than being denied access to my children. I'm sure many divorced mothers feel the same as I do. It's unfortunate that so few bother placing themselves in the shoes of their exes, to imagine how it must feel for these fathers, being kept from seeing their children.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
When Women Rule the World will feature 12 unsuspecting chauvinistic men becoming slaves in a new primitive Survivor-like "society" ruled by 12 "strong, educated and independent" women who are "tired of living in a man's world."
When Women Rule the World will reportedly begin with the men and women arriving on an island that features only partially-completed living accommodations. Similar to Survivor, the group will have to complete their shelters and find their own water and heat. However unlike the long-running CBS reality show, only the male contestants -- who will have to "accede to the women's every command, 24/7" -- will be doing any of the work.
One of the men will be "traded for supplies" -- aka eliminated -- during each episode of the 11-episode series, with the last man standing winning $250,000.
It's still unknown if the women -- who remain in the competition even after their assigned "manservent" is eliminated -- receive any compensation other than the satisfaction they get from bossing the men around.
Reality T.V. World
Ofcourse, I can already foresee where this is headed. It'll go in much the same direction as other reality t.v. series....with the women giving females everwhere reason to want to disavow their gender. They'll be catty and b*tchy, have stupid, petty fights, possibly culminating in hair pulling. Women such as myself will roll their eyes and offer a silent prayer that surely most women aren't really like this, while silently fearing they are. While feminists are applauding the idea of a matriarchy promoting series, they don't realize that this should be their worst fear realized. I'm guessing any series where women are given full and total power will serve it's highest purpose as a vehicle to make us realize that a matriarchy is a really, really bad idea. Ofcourse, I could be wrong and the women on the show will defy the reality television norm and behave calmly, fairly, judiciously and with dignity....I'm not holding my breath.
Ofcourse, one has to ask oneself, "what of the men?" What kind of men would volunteer to be part of such a disgusting travesty? Well, for starters, obviously the kind that are hoping to win $250,000. You almost have to wonder if they're actually saboteurs; men who foresaw the possibilities, the likelihood that this would be one of the best ways to denounce the concept of matriarchy and figured, "heck, maybe I can win $250,000 in the process." A nice, solid blow to feminism and a quarter of a million dollars to boot...not a bad turn of events.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
I've been aware for some time of gender inequality and bias in our school systems. It manifests itself in many forms, but the one I'm interested in addressing here is in student reprimands and punishments. My best friend has three boys. As a mother of three boys, she is often angry at injustices she sees occurring within the school system. One example, on the bus one day, her oldest son was quietly sitting, minding his own business when a group of giggling, scheming girls decided to target him by throwing paper and pens at him. He told them several times to stop, to which he got a giggled response of, "make us". When the bus arrived at the school, the girls followed him out on the playground, continuing their antics until finally, at a loss he turned around, pushed on of the girls, grabbed the pencil another girl was holding, broke it in half and threw it at her. The girls ran and told the teacher on duty and my friend's son was hauled into the principals office. He told the principal the entire story but it was my friend who got called into the school about her child's behavior and nothing was done to the girls. My friend was very angry with the unfair treatment and threw a big enough fit that they dropped the punishment they were going to give him of in-school suspension. My friend told me that although it wasn't said in so many words, the attitude was obvious that it was different with the other children because they were girls. That her son shouldn't treat girls like that because they were probably only teasing him because they liked him and he should have taken their behavior as a compliment.
Keep in mind that my friend's son is a sensitive child. He's always been shy and struggled with anxiety. He's done wonderfully and gone from crying every day at school when he was little to doing quite well and having a circle of good friends. However, while sitting on the bus enduring the behavior of the girls, all he really wanted to do was cry. He's not a mean kid. In fact, he's a very sweet boy who, under normal circumstances would never consider pushing another child. He was pushed to this point by the girls and then, when an authority figure was alerted to the incident, treated like a trouble maker, threatened with suspension and had his mom brought into the school to discuss his behavior. Meanwhile, the girls, the instigators and real trouble makers, went back to their classrooms giggling about what happened. The message is quite clear to both my friend's son and the little girls. If you're a girl, you can do what you want with zero reprecussions and Heaven help anyone who should act up against you. Those in charge will make sure anyone who opposes you, even if in their own defense, is put firmly in their place. If you're boy, the message is quite simply that you are far less important and less valuable than a girl. This is the message, this is what our children are hearing loud and clear, not only in our schools, but in society as well. This is not an isolated incident I protray, either. It is representative of what you'll find happening every day, in every school in America.
My recent holiday efforts towards charity for homeless veterans, along with recent events in the news got me thinking of a favorite poem of mine. I'll preface this with a disclaimer that it is quite religious in nature, but I think even those that are not religious can find much to appreciate in it.
THE TOUCH OF THE MASTER'S HAND
'Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
But he held it up with a smile.
"What am I bid, good friends?" He cried.
"Who'll start the bidding for me?
One dollar! Only one? And who will make it two?
Two dollars, once. And Three!
Three dollars, once. And three dollars, twice.
And going, and going," but no
From the back of the room a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow.
And wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As caroling angels sing.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said, "What am I bid for the old violin?"
As he held up the bow.
"One thousand dollars, and who'll make it two?
Two thousand dollars, and three!
Three thousand, once. And three thousand, twice.
And going, and going, and gone!" said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
"We don't quite understand
What changed its worth." Swift came the reply.
"'Twas the touch of the master's hand.'"
And many a man with life out of tune
And battered and scarred with sin,
Much like this old violin.
A mess of pottage, a glass of wine.
A game and he travels on.
He's going once, and going twice.
And going, and almost gone.
But the Master comes, and the thoughtless crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul, and the change that is wrought
By the touch of the Master's hand.
--Myra Brooks Welch
How many lives are deemed of no value today and scorned by the thoughtless crowd? How many lives that have boundless potential are deemed worthless and then tossed aside by society? Look at homeless men wandering our streets, look at the elderly left dying and alone. How many times has a man been deemed worthless by society and discarded as such? We should remember when we look at those who are lost, defeated, broken and alone that there, but for the grace of God, go I. Before we express our scorn, cast aspersions or look away in embarassment or disgust, we should remember that the worth of an individual soul, of a life, is....immeassurable.
Take Mr. Hawkins, for example. In the four years prior to killing 9 people and then turning the gun on himself, he bounced back and forth between treatment centers, group homes and foster care. He had apparently been kicked out of his home at around 15 for threatening to kill his mother-in-law. We don't know all the details, but we can safely say he had a dysfunctional family environment. Evidence shows he was a troubled youth, harboring a fascination with violence. Evidence also shows that many people who knew him felt sorry for him because he seemed alone and in need of help. You could, and I'm sure many will, say society failed him, and in many ways it did. Obviously the group and foster homes did him little good. I have to wonder though, regardless of how the harsh, cruel world may have treated him, what his home life was like. I have to wonder if these young men, who have so little empathy or regard for human life, including their own, could have easily shouldered the trials in their lives if they had always had their family standing firmly behind them, an anchor in deep waters, a shelter from the storm. I've always felt a person could handle just about anything if they had the things that are truly important. If we have the unconditional love and support of our family, if we know we are loved, wanted and of worth to those we care about, we can handle much of what the world throws at us. I know how young men are treated in today's world. They are taught to hate themselves from grade school through adulthood. I'm sure this isn't easy for anyone, but a strong home environment would do much to counter the wrongs of society. Even if the rest of the world tells you you are of little worth, if you're brought up from infancy by a mother and father who love you and tell you you are of infinite worth, there lies all the difference. I don't think anyone bothered telling these boys they were of worth. I don't think anyone told them they were unique, wonderful and precious. I know society didn't and I sadly doubt anyone else did, either.
I think, instead of pointing the finger at guns or even at society (although Heaven knows there's much to blame there) we need to start by looking at the home. We need to wonder what effect the destruction of the nuclear family has had. We need to look at what daycare, divorce, neglect and general selfishness has done to our children. Along with everything else, children first learn their sense of self and self-worth in the home. Judging from the number of young people who feel lost, alone, and worthless, it's pretty obvious that our homes are failing our children. Until we accept this and do what needs to be done to counter it, I'm afraid we will be seeing many more incidences such as the tragedy that occurred in Nebraska.