by Barry Goldstein
The United States Department of Justice offered some good news to long suffering protective mothers and their children when it announced grants to courts in Illinois, Delaware, Minnesota and Oregon to develop improved practices to protect battered women and their children. Incredibly, the abusers’ lobby objects to any possible reforms to promote children’s safety out of concern the improved practices might undermine the privilege of abusive fathers to maintain strict control over their victims. The National Parents Association, formerly Fathers and Families wrote a distorted article attacking the Office on Violence Against Women and the Battered Mothers Justice Project, which is one of the organizations working to help the courts create effective reforms.
I normally try not to pay much attention to these male supremacist groups because I witness enough traumas without listening to their attempted justifications and they tend to live in a reality deprived world. My friend Eileen King, the founder and director of Child Justice asked me to write an article to correct the misinformation that permeates the article from the National Parents Association. In reading their article I was reminded of a friendly disagreement I sometimes have with Joan Meier of DVLEAP. I am a strong supporter of the use of current scientific research because the use of good research would inform the courts and create better outcomes for children. Joan often expresses concerns that the abuser groups will use their bogus research to justify continued harm to our children. This is exactly the kind of material relied on in their article. Joan is, of course, right that flawed research can and is used to mislead the courts and they do not always recognize the difference.
While I regularly discuss research that comes from the Department of Justice and Center for Disease Control, the abuser rights groups rely on “research” based only on the personal beliefs and biases of a man who made many public statements to the effect that sex between adults and children can be acceptable. It is hard to imagine that judges could not appreciate the difference if the lawyers present the information effectively. Nevertheless we have seen all too many cases where bogus studies are the ones relied on by the courts.
In deep appreciation of the wonderful work Eileen does, I will go through some of the false claims made in their article and then discuss the more encouraging topic about the impact of the grants to the four court systems.
What about Male Victims?
There are men who are assaulted and seriously mistreated by their female partners. This is a horrendous situation and should not be tolerated, period. There are sincere people working on this issue and it is a worthy cause. Unfortunately many abusive fathers use and exaggerate this issue as a way to nullify and negate the work to end men’s violence against women.
One of the first articles I wrote for this blog demonstrated the falsity of articles and “research” claiming that women abuse men about as often as men abuse women. Some of this propaganda such as those cited by the abuser lobby is produced by professionals who are part of the cottage industry that makes its money helping abusive fathers gain custody from safe, protective mothers. Some of this research is produced by sincere but unqualified researchers who do not understand domestic violence dynamics and fail to consult with genuine experts. These researchers like the court professionals we see in custody cases possess a false sense of competence about domestic violence and so don’t seek the help and expertise they need.
A good example of this came in a workshop I attended at an IVAT conference in Hawaii. Two young female psychologists who had been students of the conference organizer presented their findings based on a grant they had received. They claimed their research proved that abuse by men and women was roughly equal and described their methodology. It turned out they got their information from questionnaires filled out by men they found on web sites. Most of the men came from “fathers’ rights” organizations. This was hardly a neutral or reliable source, but they accepted everything the men said uncritically. At one point they said that the police refused to bring charges against the men’s alleged abusers because of the bias against men who claim to be assaulted. It never occurred to the psychologists that the police did not bring charges after investigating the claims and finding a lack of evidence.
There are many common mistakes unqualified researchers make that lead to the mistaken results. This “research” is often based on phone calls to the general population and reliance on the discredited conflict tactics scales. Results from phone calls to the general public distort the results because it will usually be safe for the men but not the women to reveal assaults. It would also focus on less serious assaults than would be found in a survey from emergency rooms or shelters. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that abusive men are more likely to make false allegations and women routinely minimize the abuse committed by their partners. The researchers’ lack of familiarity with domestic violence dynamics means they are not even aware of the inevitable distortions in their data.
The conflict tactics scales are designed to just count the hits. No distinction is made based on the fact that in general men are bigger and stronger than women, hit harder and cause more serious injuries. The findings by the unqualified researchers are belied by good research that demonstrates women are far more likely to need treatment in the emergency room and are at least three times more likely to be murdered. Research based on murders is particularly reliable because there is a body so no one can claim she is lying about his abuse. Another problem with these methods is that men and women hit their partners for very different reasons. Men usually do this to maintain control while women assault men in self-defense and out of frustration at his abuse. The researchers do not understand and so make no effort to differentiate the pattern of coercive and controlling behavior; most of which does not involve physical abuse. Perhaps the most important difference is that it is common for women to be so afraid that her partner will kill or seriously injure her that she will give in and do whatever he wants just to protect her safety. This is rarely true of men. This is the essence of domestic violence and no accurate analysis is possible without taking this into consideration. These studies also do not include rape which in heterosexual relationships is something overwhelmingly done by men to women.
One of the fundamental problems both with the abuser rights perspective and of the courts is that they want to treat people and groups the same even though they are very different. There is a long history of husbands being entitled and even encouraged to assault their wives, control them and make the decisions for the family. The first law in the United States about what we would now call domestic violence said that husbands may not beat their wives ON SUNDAY. In other words beating her any other time was acceptable. There was never the equivalent expectation or permission for wives to assault their husbands. Although the laws have changed, this history means there are still many men who feel entitled to control their partners and use abusive tactics to do so. An individual woman might repeatedly assault her male partner but it is not based and supported by beliefs that wives are entitled to control their husbands.
My friend, Molly Dragiewicz wrote an important book, Equality with a Vengeance that includes a ton of good research that disproves the frivolous claims coming from abuser groups. The research is clear that men commit most violent crime both in this country and throughout the world. Well over ninety percent of familicides, crimes in which an individual kills the spouse and children are committed by men. As I write this article there have been more than one hundred mass murders in the year since the Newtown tragedy and all but one were committed by males.
The research about batterer narratives helps us understand how abusive men can appear so sincere when they confidently repeat their misinformation. Many will say that it is wrong for a man to assault a woman EXCEPT if she does something he defines as improper or she is a (insert the slur). They then view their attack on her as justified and even self-defense. Again there is nothing remotely similar for women.
Mothers Make False Claims
The “fathers’ rights” movement and cottage industry that supports abusive fathers are permeated with the belief that most abuse allegations made by mothers are false. This is really based on ideology and assumption because there is no valid research to support it. PAS is based on this assumption. Significantly, the Saunders’ study (from the U.S. Department of Justice) found that professionals with inadequate training tended to believe the myth that women frequently make false allegations and unscientific alienation theories. So when their propagandists encourage courts to disbelieve mothers’ complaints they are demonstrated their lack of training and qualifications.
Nicholas Bala led one of the leading studies about false allegations in the context of custody and in fact it was a study that looked at many other studies. He found that mothers make deliberately false allegations less than two percent of the time. Any “research” with significantly higher numbers reflects the frequency that true allegations of abuse are disbelieved. Interestingly the Bala study found that fathers involved in contested custody are 16 times more likely than mothers to make deliberately false allegations. The common abuser tactics of claiming alienation and claiming mothers lie about their abuse are examples of these false allegations by abusive fathers. In fairness the Bala study is not saying that all men are this dishonest. The study applies only to contested custody and a large majority of these cases involve abusive fathers who feel entitled to use any tactic including false allegations to regain the control over their partner they believe had no right to leave.
At least 40 states and many districts created court-sponsored gender bias commissions. They found that there is widespread gender bias against women and particular woman litigants. Common examples are that mothers are given less credibility than fathers, are held to a higher standard of proof and blamed for the actions of their abuser. These findings help explain why so many true allegations of abuse are disbelieved by the courts.
Shared Parenting Benefits Children
Shared parenting is another ideological belief of abuser groups that is not supported by valid research and is not beneficial to children. Many of us can remember when shared parenting was either not permitted or strongly discouraged. An initial study based on a small population and short time period found that shared parenting could be beneficial to children under the best of circumstances. This encouraged courts to promote shared parenting as a way to resolve difficult and contentious cases. Abusers have promoted shared parenting as a way for fathers to gain control when they otherwise would have difficulty winning custody because of their abuse and the mother provided most of the children care.
Later research based on a larger population and a longer period of time found that shared parenting is actually harmful to children. Constantly going back and forth is disruptive, having two homes is really having none and needed items are often in the wrong home.
There is legitimate research that shared parenting can benefit children under the best of circumstances. This would include a voluntary desire by both parents to share parenting, an ability of the parents to cooperate and living nearby. There is other good research that found shared parenting is never a good idea for children. Indeed most cases in which shared parenting are initially tried are quickly changed because of the problems it creates. There is no need to reconcile this dispute in the context of contested custody and domestic violence as these cases are not close to the best of circumstances.
Shared parenting laws usually include exceptions for domestic violence, but this does not protect the children when courts have difficulty recognizing true allegations of abuse. The courts are littered with cases in which mothers are pressured to accept shared parenting with their abuser and often severely punished if they object. The Saunders’ study found that abusers use decision making authority to control the mother and hurt the children. They use the exchanges to harass the mothers and although contradictory to try to resume the relationship. If the court is not inclined to limit an abuser to supervised visitation, parallel parenting would work far better for the children. Until the courts create the necessary training and reforms to improve its response to domestic violence consideration of shared parenting is a particularly bad idea that causes enormous mischief.
Children Need Both Parents Equally
This statement is effective in misleading people because it sounds so reasonable and fair. It is really based on an ideological belief in treating individuals the same even when they are very different. This approach is designed to treat the mother and father the same REGARDLESS OF PAST PARENTING. This is not in a child’s best interests. The truth is that children do not need both parents equally. They need their primary attachment figure more than the other parent and the safe parent more than the abusive one. In domestic violence cases courts should stop pressuring the victim to cooperate with the abuser and instead force the abuser to stop the abuse in order to gain time with the children.
The reach and harm of this misleading statement is illustrated by a statement by one of the leading family court judges in the United Kingdom. In a speech to an abuser rights group he said that the worst thing that can happen to children is for the mother to bad mouth the father. We have heard judges in the United States make similar statements. It is hard to imagine that this is meant literally. I would hope the judge realizes that assaulting, killing or sexually abusing a child and many other abusive actions are far more harmful. The ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) studies demonstrate the profound harm to children’s health caused by trauma which is not true about negative statements. Indeed some negative statements are beneficial for children to learn. When children see an abusive father mistreat them or their mother it is important for the mother to tell them that such behavior is not acceptable in our society.
The misuse of the belief that mothers should not make negative statements about the father was taken to the extreme in a notorious case in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The court found the mother to have engaged in alienating behavior because she encouraged the children to eat healthy foods, dress appropriately for the weather and avoid adult oriented television programs. This was considered alienation because the father encouraged all of these harmful activities. In the world outside of family courts this would just be considered good advice that any parent would be expected to give their children. As a result of widespread gender bias in the courts more serious negative comments by fathers are routinely ignored or minimized.
Mothers Most Often Already Receive Custody
This is a statement we often hear from those supporting abusive fathers. It is literally true, but highly misleading. Over 95% of custody cases are settled more or less amicably. Some involve abusive fathers who love their children enough that they would not deliberately hurt them by separating them from their mothers. Accordingly these cases tend to be settled with the mother giving up economic benefits she and the children deserve in order to retain custody. In the more common cases that do not involve domestic violence the parents work out a truly voluntary arrangement they believe will benefit their children. In this still sexist society, mothers continue to provide most of the child care and loving fathers sacrifice their personal interests for their children to create arrangements where the children live with the mother and spend significant time with the father. This is why mothers receive custody far more than fathers, but it is based on voluntary agreements and not favoritism from the courts.
The problem in the custody court system is the less than 5% of cases that cannot be settled and continue to trial and usually far beyond. Most of these cases involve abusive fathers who seek custody as a tactic to regain control over their victims. These are the most dangerous abusers because they believe the mother has no right to leave them. This is why three-fourths of all women killed by their male partners are killed after they have left. It is why in a recent two year period we found news stories about 175 children murdered by abusive fathers involved in contested custody. More commonly the abusers seek custody as a way to regain control and punish the mothers for leaving. The abusive fathers understand that the best way to hurt a mother is to hurt the children, but the courts routinely just assume the father is seeking custody out of love for the children.
Although contested custody cases overwhelmingly involve true complaints of domestic violence by mothers, most of the time the dangerous abuser receives custody or joint custody. One troubling finding is that abusive fathers are more likely to win custody than safe fathers. The flawed practices, gender bias, and reliance on unqualified professionals, result in 58,000 children being sent for custody or unprotected visitation with dangerous abusers every year. Although mothers rarely make false allegations of abuse, the courts routinely disbelieve or minimize their complaints.
The significance of the Saunders’ study is that it explains why the courts so frequently mishandle domestic violence cases and give control to dangerous abusers. Saunders found that we now have substantial scientific research that courts could use to inform their decisions about domestic violence allegations. Unfortunately judges never developed the practice of looking to this research because it was not available when courts were first creating responses to domestic violence. Saunders specifically found that the standard and required training for evaluators, judges and lawyers does not provide them with the specific information needed to respond effectively to domestic violence cases. This is the worst of all possible situations because the training received does not make these professionals qualified to recognize and respond to domestic violence but gives them a false sense of competence so they refuse to consult with genuine experts.
Saunders recommends that evaluators and other professionals receive training in screening for domestic violence, risk assessment, post-separation violence and the impact of domestic violence on children. Most of the evaluators claimed to have training in these subjects, but when tested with vignettes they demonstrated they did not have the needed understanding. Most of the evaluators claimed they screened for domestic violence by using standard psychological tests that tell them nothing about domestic violence. This means they are not screening for domestic violence and routinely disbelieve true allegations because they don’t know what to look for. This failing undermines the entire court system because lawyers and judges look to psychologists and other mental health professionals for expertise in cases and training. The misinformation they receive in one case poisons many other cases. After hearing the outdated and discredited claims throughout their careers it becomes deeply ingrained so that many judges and lawyers are resistant to accurate information. It sounds so different from what they constantly hear from the “experts.”
Saunders found that evaluators and other professionals without the needed training tend to focus on the myth that mothers frequently make false allegations, unscientific alienation theories and the mistaken assumption that attempts to protect children from dangerous abusers are harmful to the children. These false beliefs lead to outcomes that hurt children.
The problem is compounded by the development of a cottage industry of psychologists and attorneys who make their living promoting approaches biased in favor of abusive fathers. Domestic violence are tactics men use to coerce and control partners. Economic control is a common form of domestic violence and this means that in most contested custody cases (which are really domestic violence cases) the abusive father controls most of the family’s resources. Accordingly the best way to earn a large income is to support practices that help abusers. Unfortunately courts do not tend to be skeptical of these biased professionals and in many cases we see courts appoint “fathers’ rights” attorneys and psychologists for neutral roles such as GAL and evaluator. Good mothers have no chance to win the support of professionals who are part of the cottage industry.
The Saunders’ report found that domestic violence advocates possess exactly the training and expertise needed to help courts on domestic violence cases. They knew more about the specific topics recommended by Saunders than evaluators, judges and lawyers. Nevertheless we repeatedly see courts refuse to listen or minimize the testimony of genuine experts claiming they are biased because “they always oppose domestic violence.” The courts also place great weight on academic degrees that provide no domestic violence training. The cottage industry seeks to undermine domestic violence laws while advocates try to support them. And yet it is the advocates who are treated as if they were biased.
The research suggests that a multi-disciplinary approach works best in domestic violence custody cases. Mental health professionals have expertise in psychology and mental illness. Lawyers and judges are experts in the law. Doctors can be used for medical issues and other experts for substance abuse and sexual abuse. Domestic violence advocates are the experts in domestic violence. The Saunders study demonstrated support for a multi-disciplinary approach by favorably citing many of the chapters in my book co-edited with Dr. Mo Therese Hannah.
The findings about inadequate training, flawed and outdated practices and gender bias are incompatible with any view that the courts are responding properly to domestic violence cases much less the abuser fantasy that mothers are favored. Judges cannot do their job of protecting children while they continue to be burdened by outdated and discredited practices.
Mothers Commit Child Abuse More than Fathers
This is another example of the National Parents Association taking information out of context in order to distort the circumstances. It is true that mothers commit more child abuse and neglect than fathers, but that is because they provide so much more of the child care. If the statistics were adjusted based on the amount of child care provided, it would be clear that fathers are far more dangerous to children. The problem is further compounded by the tendency of child protective agencies to always focus on the mother because moms are easier to find and far more compliant.
Courts Receive Grants to Reform Practices
Those of us who work to protect children from abuse are reminded every day of the enormous pain and ruined lives caused by the failure of the court system to recognize and respond effectively to domestic violence and child abuse allegations. When our book, Domestic Violence, Abuse and Child Custody came out, I wrote an article about the ten ways we knew the custody court system was broken. This was based on the frequency of harmful outcomes, denials of true allegations and deeply flawed practices that undermine the ability of courts to get it right.
It seems obvious that what we need to do is meet with court administrators; present the overwhelming research and work together to create the needed reforms. So far the courts have been resistant, if not hostile to considering the adoption of best practices based on new research that was not available when the courts created the present practices. Each time important new research came out whether it was our book, The Batterer as Parent, the Saunders’ study or the new ACES research; we have hoped that it would create the impetus for courts to discuss the needed reforms.
One problem is that fundamental to our jurisprudence is the doctrine of res judicata which requires that once a decision and finding is made, it can no longer be challenged (aside from appeals) and it is assumed to be right. This is an important and valuable principle because otherwise you would have to constantly relitigate the same issues over and over and just imagine what wealthy abusers could do with that. This is working particularly badly in domestic violence cases both because courts frequently fail to recognize true allegations of abuse and often refuse to look at new evidence of the pattern of abuse in the context of the previous evidence that was rejected. Context is critical to understanding domestic violence, but many of the court practices and abuser strategies prevent courts from understanding the facts in context. I have seen many cases in which the court disbelieved allegations of abuse and forced children not only to live with the abuser but to engage in therapy based on that assumption. When new information comes out demonstrating the initial decision was a mistake the professionals believe they must ignore it and silence the children.
In the next volume of Domestic Violence, Abuse and Child Custody which we hope to submit to the publisher this month, we have a chapter following up on the 175 children murdered by abusive fathers involved in custody disputes. We asked judges and court administrators in the communities where the tragedies occurred what reforms they had created in response in order to safeguard other children. The judges interviewed were the best and most knowledgeable which is why they agreed to be interviewed. Nevertheless the answer was that they created no reforms because they assumed the murder was an exception. Domestic violence experts recognize the problems in the court because we look at the patterns both within a case and over many cases. The courts seem never to look for patterns and thus have not been open to research that proves the present practices routinely place children at risk.
Some of the judges interviewed said that they regularly participated in meetings that included domestic violence advocates and these experts helped with training judges and other professionals. These are good practices that promote a multi-disciplinary approach and would tend to lead to better results. The problem is that these good practices are rare in the court system.
More common is for courts to rely on the same small group of psychologists and other mental health professionals for expertise in domestic violence cases. They are expert in mental illness and psychology but not domestic violence. Hearing from the same often unqualified experts creates an insularity in the custody courts that contributes to their satisfaction with the failed practices. Other courts, government agencies and civilian organizations look to a much wider group of experts with knowledge of current research. This is why other parts of society respond more effectively to domestic violence and are less likely to repeat the myths that are so prevalent in family court.
So the problem is how do we create a dialogue with court leaders and encourage them to be open to considering how the new research impacts old practices that have been shown to hurt children. This is why the grants to courts in four states is such an encouraging sign and why the National Parents Organization was so aggressive and unreasonable in attacking the Justice Department, Battered Women’s Justice Project and the grants to state courts.
The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) conducted an impressive and lengthy investigation about concerns the custody courts are failing children. Every day I hear stories of children’s lives ruined I wish they could have moved more quickly. But I recognize that by doing a thorough job they could make sure their findings are correct and they will not be vulnerable to the unreasoned attacks from abuser groups and the professionals who make their money off the misery of children.
OVW reviewed much of the newest research including the Saunders’ study. I know that staffers read our book. They created roundtable discussions with leading experts to present current research and experience. Significantly, the experts they listened to are very different from the mental health professionals relied on by the courts who know little about domestic violence. The courts rarely hear from a professional who would be considered one of the nation’s leading experts and indeed in some cases the courts refuse to consider testimony from genuine experts without irrelevant mental health degrees or people they are used to seeing in their courts.
I know something of the process because I had the honor of being selected as one of the experts to participate in the roundtable discussions. My colleagues on the panel are the very best experts in this nation and provided a wealth of information for OVW to study. I believe the quality and quantity of research and information made it easy for OVW to make findings that the present practices in custody courts are failing to protect children. I greatly appreciate my colleagues at the Battered Women’s Justice Project who are knowledgeable and caring. I often turn to them for research for the books I am working on. I am sure they will do a wonderful job in implementing this grant project.
The four states are being asked to create models for responding to domestic violence cases based on current scientific research and the widespread problems caused by the present flawed approaches. It is extremely valuable to include court systems in the process of creating needed reforms. Inevitably the new practices tried in these four states will work far better than what we have now. Coming from state court systems, other courts will be more open to adopting these reforms. Accordingly this is an encouraging development and one we hope will lead all courts to finally make the safety of children the first priority.
I am deeply grateful for the work of the staff at OVW, the National Institute of Justice, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the Battered Women’s Justice Project and the experts and victims who participated in the discussions that led to this potential breakthrough. They deserve praise and encouragement because work to prevent domestic violence and child abuse must never again be viewed as an attack on fathers. Good men and good fathers want all children to live in a world without trauma. I hope that this project will be an important step in bringing the custody courts into a coalition of people and organizations working together to prevent domestic violence and child abuse. Ending domestic violence is not a biased position---IT’S THE LAW.
Barry Goldstein is a nationally recognized domestic violence expert, speaker, writer and consultant. He is the co-editor with Mo Therese Hannah of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, ABUSE and CHILD CUSTODY. Representing the Domestic Violence Survivor, co- authored with Elizabeth Liu is designed to train attorneys to present domestic violence cases and was released in April of 2013. Barry can be reached by email at Barryg78@aol.com
For more information about the new book, including access to the first approximately 50 pages or to purchase the book go to the publisher’s web site at http://civicresearchinstitute.com/rdv.html Elizabeth Liu and I have convinced our publisher to make available the last section of our chapter about GALs that lists and explains the best practices for GALs in domestic violence cases. You can now download and print this information and share it with your GAL. Everyone is welcome to share this information. I also hope you will check out my new Face book page, Barry Goldsteins Representing the Domestic Violence Survivor. Barry’s web site, www.Barrygoldstein.net is back up and running with new material.
What a comprehensive and accurate accounting of the situation for so many protective parents. It's appalling what the courts are doing, and shameful what the so called fathers' rights lobby is doing. Thank you for bringing attention to this situation.ReplyDelete
^What a load of nonsense. Barry Goldstein is a man who makes a living off creating victims. Labeling NPA as an abuser's lobby is digusting. NPA stands up for fathers as well as mothers that are NCPs. They've stood up for Lesbian NCPs. Barry's screed offers no facts at all and I'll bet 100 years ago would have worked well when the KKK was trying to raise recruit with minimal edits. Barry Goldstein you are child exploiting bigot plain and simple.ReplyDelete
That would be a great critique if it had any merit. In fact, Goldstein's assertions are well grounded in the most current research, much of it definitive.Delete
This comment reeks of an abuserDelete
As a female who endured DV, I find this artide to be very accurate. Though the abuse was mostly verbal, it took only 1 physical act to land me in the hospital needing plastic surgery to close a severe gash on my forehead. Did he get arrested? NO! He Made up a whopper of a story that I Iunged @ him w/a knife & tripped over his foot! The truth was he threw me into the corner edge of a glass table, knocking me out, blood all over. I knew better than to attack him. He was a cop w/a gun!ReplyDelete
Not all females support those who are victims of DV. Some even contribute as was the case when my female cousin, 16 yrs my senior, came to the ER upon receiving a frantic call from my teen son. Her 1st words: "what did you do to make him do this?"
Note: My last comment went immediately into moderation (I don't think it had any links). I blogged as myself ("Lets Get Honest") with a link to my blog which has been reporting consistently over at word press on "familycourtmatters" since 2009. The level of detail and concepts introduced there are not found in enough other places. I hail from Northern California and know from acquaintance (not just by on-line facts) and at least a conference or so -- some of the groups referred to above. I did save my comment, and this is a test to see if ALL comments disappear (without the words "in moderation" showing) on this blogpost. Mr. Goldstein, we need to talk, SOON, and you know where to contact me. I am a protective mother in touch with mothers from different regions of the country and consistently am teaching them how to follow the grants, and how to look up nonprofits, including some of your friends (your term). What you call friends, I might call something else, collectively. I am a member of the class your writings purport to be helping, and they do NOT speak for me effectively, or accurately. I just submitted a comment to a Minnesota blog, including some parents I know, and asked them, the women in particular, to start vetting the groups they reblog for honesty, and transparency in reporting. You have previously censored my comments on this blog (which I have saved evidence of), though I am nonviolent ,have not threatened anyone, do not stalk (I have been stalked), and do not defame. I attempt to speak accurately -- but my voice is strong because I know that to perpetuate abuse (including economic abuse) requires a lot of uninformed people, and some passive, and others simply dishonest. The people purporting to be leaders and reformers ought to be held to a high standard of accountability. It took me years to figure out that the key to the systems was the courts themselves and losing my kids to even hear the word "access/visitation" which you continue NOT to report on, or even mention. That, in a word, is unacceptable.Delete
It's not time-efficient to continue submitting comments (especially ones that are later deleted, or don't get posted). I am not the only mother whose comments on these matters have been ignored - on this blog. I wonder if others' have also "disappeared" into electronic space after raising the similar issues. be informed, the material HAS been disseminated, and will continue to be disseminated.
Another site, not that I have met or endorse the writer, who at least talks about the corporate angle, in the San Diego Calfornia area, is family law courts (com, and run the three words together), Bonnie Russell. See the section on "nonprofits" and the National Family Justice Center Alliance, etc. I don't think she's incorporated either, but at least it mentions the corporate angle in re: the courts, which is a start.
My children and I have been through 13 years of this nonsense. We entered the family court with a substantial and documented history of criminal abuse. My ex husband had a long term treatment history for problems that he admitted. He also admitted horrible abuse at the onset of the case. The problem is, I was a stay at home mother with four children and he was a surgeon funding the case for both of us. All of the abuse was ignored and never reported. I was threatened with foster care for my children if I reported, for not protecting them while my ex husband admitted holding butcher knives to my throat and telling the children to "say goodbye to mommy". The father's rights movement, that is federally funded, is discriminating against women and children. There should be no funds given to men to initiate and fight custody cases while mothers and children are forced to use child support to ask for protection ending in poverty and then dumped on the taxpayer. When criminal charges were filed against my ex husband three years into the family case, and five custody trials later, for crimes reported to the family court at the onset of the case, the family court retaliated economically. The judge left us with no healthcare, child support, no divorce settlement (a tax bill instead for a 20 year marriage), foreclosure, bankruptcy and no way to recover from 20 years of criminal abuse. The long term picture for what this is doing to society, is catastrophic. Women will no longer reproduce. The family court system will end up destroying the race over greed, power and control. It is a sad commentary on human decency and what the world has become.ReplyDelete
I agree - my daughter will hopefully never marry and only have children "on her own" to avoid the abuses of the current system. The courts left us pennyless and in debt - I had already lost my career when I became pregnant - and now 12 years later, I have been the only supporter/caregiver this child has ever known - the ex refused to do either - but each round in court was "either let him have unsupervised visitation or give up support" (and he's a known addict - at least 2 failed trips to rehab). That's how you legally extort money from mom's. Even when the ex wanted to give up parental rights - the judge refused to let him - AFTER making me pay for an expert to be sure it was in the child's best interest....it's insane. The only concern the court ever showed was for HIS visitation. Never his responsibilities, his criminal behaviour, past history (the other 4 children he also failed to raise or support). Family court is a travesty.Delete
This is utterly brilliant. This describes the UK family courts, so well.ReplyDelete
This article is so true to my story with the court system. My ex was abusive and the moment he went to jail for family violence the judge took my 2 year old son away from me because she accused me of making false claims... even though his case had not gone to trial and the DA was prosecuting the case. Women of Domestic Violence with Children live in hell. The men try to gain control over the women by taking the children. This is tragic. I am so relieved to see someone fighting for women. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the research you do.ReplyDelete
Barry let me be the first to thank you for my next article.ReplyDelete
I've taken screen grabs of the whole slanderous and libelous article for future use.
I'm glad you're friends with Dragewitz, I've got a bit of a file on her and other so called D.V. 'experts' much like yourself.
Do you work for the SPLC Barry?
They ain't doing so well right now with their allegations against father's rights groups and the MHRM despite their enormous legal 'war chest'
Again Barry thanks for making my job so much easier.
I'm looking forward to sinking my teeth into this one
Here is what I truly enjoy doing, which is exposing you and your ilk for the frauds they are.
(NB Barry the D.V. 'experts' involved in this paper)
Thank you Barry for this article. As a mother of one, only one child I went through hell for the 16 years in a custody battle that left me penniless. The courts did not take my reports on abuse as important, but took my ex husband's parental right as sacred. He my ex even acussed me of hitting him after an incident where he hit me during supervised visitation of our child. The police did not come when I called (3 times I called), instead they came and took His story. I called the fourth time and finally they came. My ex lied effortlessly.ReplyDelete
After spending lots of money on useless lawyers, I had to agree to share custody with a mysoginist who would use his position (as the person with whom I would have to make decisions concerning my daughter) to belittle me, to slander to vilify and to contradict every step of my parenting ways. Eventually my daughter ran away at 16 before she went in to a life of drugs and maladaptive behavior. She is now OK and is doing well. Thank God. Neddless to say, she has NO contact with her father.
The only thing I can think of when I look back at the courts bias is that there is something very deep and irrational deep in the psyche of most of so called "professionals" that blinds them to look at how their prejudices color their decisions as to who to believe.
It is very clear to see how these men who so oppose this writer do so with an intense rage, ready to strike with venenous anger and vengeance.ReplyDelete
Not all men, just this type of men who would feel entittled and have no capacity to see their own state of mind
Nope guess again.Delete
Men and women hate the the lies Barry put in his piece.
See there is 20 yrs worth of statistics Canada research that shows almost parity in D.V. Not to mention the largest study on D.V done by Martin Fiebert
SUMMARY: This bibliography examines 286 scholarly investigations: 221 empirical studies and 65 reviews and/or analyses, which demonstrate that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners. The aggregate sample size in the reviewed studies exceeds 371,600. "
This is something Barry should know so he is either incompetent or intentionally misleading his audience.
And the study Barry links to is almost 20 yrs old, he cherry picked it as it fit his narrative of blaming one gender for a gender-less problem.
But I'm sure Barry op was written for altruistic reasons, and not so his bank account grows.
Just a quick update for your benefit: the Fiebert bibliography is constantly growing, and now contains 340 listings.Delete
The Partner Abuse State of Knowledge project (P.A.S.K.) is about as state-of-the-art as it gets these days, and overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that men and women commit domestic violence at roughly equal rates:
The feminist lie that men are battering women disproportionately, has been discredited for years, and more nails are being pounded in the coffin of that lie every day. Barry Goldstein is a reactionary, helping to keep that lie alive so that it will continue to poison society.
Apart from that, this entire article is studded with lies, distortions, omissions, misrepresentations and misleading statements like quills on a porcupine.
[quote] "Domestic violence experts recognize the problems in the court because we look at the patterns both within a case and over many cases. The courts seem never to look for patterns and thus have not been open to research that proves the present practices routinely place children at risk." [end quote]Delete
This is a crucial statement about "recognizing patterns both within a case and over many cases" and speaks directly to questions of research validity historically for this specific body of knowledge; i.e., custody issues that emerge from a broader issue of domestic violence and abuse --- especially in light of disqualification of PAS theory as a recognized diagnostic category. Research question(s) posed will frame the parameters for what the "field of view" becomes, permitting scientific evaluation of the phenomena domestic violence and abuse in and of itself, thereby widening the lens of understanding in terms of how this impacts custody issues and their outcomes as they progress through the family court. This is the "practical-based knowledge base" component so woefully absent in family court operations in terms of domestic violence and abuse.
Anonymous above, prompted this reply. A central feature of "battering behavior" is boundary violations. Why do they feel the need to come to a social media site that stands diametrically opposed to what they are all about? Why chase the "competing view" if you are running a platform that is honest --- people will seek your information and decide of their own accord. Not surprisingly, Anonymous demonstrates characteristic "battering behavior" of those they are defending in leaving their mark upon this work. Not surprisingly, there is a total lack of civil discourse and absence of opportunity for fair debate on the issues, as Anonymous pre-empts this with the villifying thrust of his comment. You see, to have civil discourse requires involved parties to "play fair". This is a foreign concept to batterers and the last thing they want to do, as in order to "play fair" they would have to first relinquish control.
OBSERVATION: Anonymous reproduces battering behavior in the comment. Social exchanges in real-time will always reproduce grounded intention in the action, as above.
Dr. Robert Geffner the organizer of the IVAT conference contacted me to deny the unqualified professors had been his students. He offered no explanation of why they made this statement but he should know if they were his students.ReplyDelete
I see the 4,096 word limit got to me (clearly doesn't apply to the blog posts) and so may address this off-line. Thanks,ReplyDelete
The total lack of truth in this article is the same that got your license suspended the first time Barry. I would have thought you would have learned your lesson by now.ReplyDelete
Hmmm... well, that's a snarky smarmy comment if I ever heard one! I find Barry's article to be filled with fact and accurately mentions many of the things that have involved my case over the years. However, FReaks, such as this FReak who can't even publish his or her name because she's or he's such a coward and manipulator always resort to the same ol' failing strategy: complete and utter denial accompanied by vague personal attacks. YAWN! The fact of the matter is that the tide is turning, and all abusive parents are going to be held accountable in family court and we are getting more and more data all the time that further illuminates just where the problems occur. So, go ahead and spout off, "Anonymous," because as so many in Congress have already told me -- you've already lost the debate. We're moving on and we're not going to stop and the abusers and the courts and the greedy quasi-court officials are going to be held accountable and be outed by name. Qui male agit odit lucem. You won't remain "Anonymous" for much longer!Delete
"To the contrary, we find the respondent’s utter failure to appreciate the fact that his conduct exceeded the bounds of propriety as a courtroom advocate, his complete lack of remorse, and the pervasive nature of his deceptive conduct to be aggravating factors. Irrespective of the respondent’s sincerity in his beliefs, his overzealous behavior which took the form of disparaging remarks on the court, false accusations about Judge Amodeo disseminated in a public forum as part of a campaign to pressure the court into changing its rulings, and noncompliance with multiple court orders, truly constituted conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice."ReplyDelete
Excellent article, Barry. The level of control abusers are gaining via their legal abuse combined with stalking, high tech proxy stalking and networking in cyberspace (I suspect) is astounding and truly horrific. Women find combat duty much easier and less traumatic, even when they are the only woman serving in their unit. The abuse abuse goes on and on years after losing custody and escalates secondary to the lack of accountability. It can be extremely difficult for an overly stressed, severely and chronically traumatized victim to present a stable impression while the abusers appear calm and collected. The venomous comments made by other posters identify abusers and trolls posting here. Thank you, Barry, for your hard work, courage and in- depth reporting. You and your friends are clearly saving lives.Delete
Well this was a colossal waste of my time. I come here to see what the "other side" has to say about the court system, looking for some actual reference material to review and evaluate. Instead, I get zero references for any of the claims made, just a bunch of assertions and vague anecdotes I'm meant to take on pure faith... oh, and the obligatory plugs for you and your friends' books.ReplyDelete
Look at some of this nonsense:
"A good example of this came in a workshop I attended at an IVAT conference in Hawaii. Two young female psychologists who had been students of the conference organizer presented their findings based on a grant they had received. They claimed their research proved that abuse by men and women was roughly equal and described their methodology. It turned out they got their information from questionnaires filled out by men they found on web sites."
Right so, from what I'm reading some study somewhere had flawed methodology. What study? Oh... you know. The one where they did that thing at that conference...
Yeah okay. Just toss out an anecdote about alleged research bias and that's good enough, right? To hell with actually identifying a so-called "reality-deprived", "male supremacist" group, obtaining a study actively being cited by them somewhere, and then analyzing it's validity and methodology; just make a passing reference and a few unverifiable claims and hope the gullible and stupid buy it. And by "it" I mean "your books".
Another quote: "The reach and harm of this misleading statement is illustrated by a statement by one of the leading family court judges in the United Kingdom. In a speech to an abuser rights group he said that the worst thing that can happen to children is for the mother to bad mouth the father."
So, one of the leading family court judges (no name given) in the UK said (no quote given) in a speech (where? when?) something to an "abuser rights group" (no name given). Wow, some quality citations right there. Really going the full 9 yards to tie up all the loose ends and make sure your in-depth analysis of strictly the facts is as persuasive as possible.
*Eye-roll* Another whiny little abuser, projecting all over the place. Seriously, what is it with you abusers? If you've met one, you've met them all. You all use the same, tired old tactics and delude yourselves into believing you're so clever and sneaky that no-one can see through them.Delete
I am afraid to stay at home with my child. We were emotionally abused by my ex, called the police and nothing was done.... So afraid that I recorded arguments and the physical abuse we endured. My ex slapped me on more than one occassion... I tried to get him to leave the home I own and live in with my kid. Instead, he filed for an order of protection and claimed rape and physical abuse of absurd made up stories. I requested an order in return. The OFP was dismissed. My child and I are afraid to be where we are. A judge simply dismissed my ability to be afraid of him, slapping me, hurting me more, or continuing the emotional and physical abuse. The judges allow this abuse to occur while his is perfectly validated.ReplyDelete
Well, if you only read the statement above you are most likely inclined to say how can people allow this to happen. How can an OFP not exist for someone who is slapping someone around... You're absolutely right, its much less likely to occur... If I was really a woman... but I am a man and I wrote the above quote changing the genders... Its OK for my child and I to be emotionally abused... Because I am a man and should be able to take it... That is what this system and society does... And no one is here helping us... We are doing everything on our own... But gender roles reversed there would be so much help for us from state assistance to shelters and more. What a messed up system we live in. It only hurts our kids.Delete
It is due to the overwhelming "father's rights" propaganda that abuse is so discredited and used against parents. The propaganda has tugged at the heartstrings of men and women under the false representation that father's have no rights. When, in actuality, fathers are the only parents who do have legislated rights to their children. Abusers should not have their children, whether it is a mother or a father. Unfortunately, it is primarily abusive fathers overpowering the courts and crying foul. Do mothers most often win custody? No. Mothers often retain custody when it is uncontested, or when a father does not seek to take the children away from their mother. When a father seeks custody, they most often get it, regardless of their background. When a father with a conviction for domestic violence directly witnessed by the children, substantiated by CPS for physical abuse of one child and investigated multiple times for complaints filed by outside agencies (doctors, therapists, daycare), who has a history of drug and alcohol abuse as documented by criminal court, admission of outpatient treatment, and admission of attending AA and NA, but who admits to FOC he still drinks, and whose children know he broke into their and their mother's home because they saw missing items in their and their father's home files for custody based on the children not wanting to take his calls or go for parenting time and wins sole custody, because the mother is poor and has concerns about the children's safety, there is a problem. What kind of GOOD father wants to associate with groups that work toward giving an abuser more rights than a child has to be safe?Delete
Women and men fighting for a mother's right to both protect and parent her children are not against good fathers. We are against abusers. The "friendly parent" stipulations in custody evaluations was lobbied for by father's rights groups. It was a measure to counter domestic abuse. How can a woman who has been beaten, raped, emotionally scarred, etc be reasonably expected to be in constant contact and work with her abuser? Virginia was able to make an amendment that the "friendly parent" consideration would be void in domestic abuse cases. It was a minor win for abuse survivors.
I don't understand your reference to assistance and shelters. If your income qualifies, you are just as much eligible for assistance as any woman with the same qualifications. And shelters? There were two men in the dv shelter my children and I were staying in. But, my being in a dv shelter got me labeled "selfish" by our judge for denying our children a stable life with their father while I kept them in shelter with me. Considering we were in shelter because of the previous, physical abuse and the current stalking situation witnessed by our children, I think it's our system that is messed up, not the people who are fighting for safe childhoods for the children of domestic abuse.
It happened to me too. My ex got the temporary order of protection against him dropped and then took me to court to pay for his legal fees and won. The judge punished me for protecting my children by not immediately handing over the children to their abuser. The police made the decision for him to get a court order to take the children. I haven't seem my children in over 2 month now and they are already estranged from me just speaking to the oldest on the phone. I feel like the ex has taken my children as ransom and has stripped me of everything--no child support, no alimony, no assets. He still hasn't given me my property that he threatened to destroy. He took my name off the deed to the house with NO PAPERWORK with my SIGNATURE--just the divorce decree that the judge allowed him to take. A quit claim deed should have been filed but it wasn't and nobody at the courthouse cares. And these fathers rights groups say women have more rights than men. Are they insane?! Women still only make $0.72 on the dollar compared to men and they try to get US to pay THEM child support.Delete
You're on crack. Every major study, both in the US and UK, has indicated that domestic abuse is perpetrated on a roughly equal basis by men AND women. Any claim to the contrary is merely a lie used for propaganda purposes--or perhaps also a symptom of mental illness. Victim-playing, delusions of exclusive victimhood, and gender opposition are all symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder.
Abusers come in both genders. So do victims. Evidence must be the sole basis for judgment in each and every case. The sooner you come to terms with that, the sooner we will solve the disastrous problem known as Family Court.
Kaboom! Only correct thing said in this entire blogDelete