The terror of the politically correct; on silence, assumption and overcoming good intentions.

I returned to my desk this week full of good intentions. Having been attacked recently in the court process, by a firm of lawyers for expressing my views on the issue of fatherhood after separation, I had resolved that I would not comment further on the politics of family separation. I decided that I would, instead, confine my writing to my therapeutic work with alienated children and their families. Several people have suggested to me in recent times, that to be so outspoken on the subject of fatherhood after separation is to somehow compromise my ability to be neutral in the work that I do with families. In practice, nothing could be further from the truth. The foundation stone of my work with families is my understanding of equality and the ways in which I must adjust my delivery to meet the different needs of mothers and fathers. In short, the equal opportunities statement which reads that ‘in order to treat you equally I may have to treat you differently‘ is at play right across my work with families.

My work with family separation is and always has been, undertaken within a framework of gender mainstreaming. That means that I view the experience of separation as an equalities issue because I know that the way in which mothers and fathers are supported in their parenthood after separation is unequal.

I have undertaken several years of work in this field, I have studied the issue, held interviews with mothers and fathers, analysed the legislation and I have published a lengthy report on the issue for Oxfam1. I consider myself therefore, to be well versed in the different ways in which mothers and fathers are advantaged and disadvantaged after family separation. I know that in order to treat mothers and fathers equally, I have to treat them differently and I have to work hard to even up the playing field so that fathers get the same kind of support that mothers can take for granted.

And so I speak up for fathers not only because I know how disadvantaged they are after family separation but because I know that the disadvantage that they face has lead to discrimination on a widespread scale. Discrimination in terms of their access to services, in terms of the funding for those services and in terms of the clear and present danger of their loss of relationships with children and to being blamed for that, just for being a dad.

I was reminded of this all over again this week when I attended an event on domestic violence and family separation. I was also reminded that to keep my mouth shut, when I am faced with the dangerous discriminatory attitudes that abound in this field, would be to render my work with families almost meaningless. I speak because I understand what we are doing to families after separation and most of all because of the damage we are doing to children. This does not make me less impartial, it makes me more effective in my understanding of the blocks and barriers that face mothers and fathers. And it means that my practice with families delivers an equality of opportunity to continue to be mum and dad, an opportunity which parents do not have to fight for through the clouds of my assumptions or stereotypes. This does not mean assuming that dad is good and mum is bad or vice versa, it means understanding the reality of the lives lived by each and the ways in which this affects the choices that they make and the opportunities open to them. This understanding then allows interventions to be planned that are effective and that help parents to overcome barriers to collaboration instead of deepening the divide between them. It is basic equalities work, which, in any other field of practice, race, disability, age etc, would be expected as standard. Mysteriously, it is missing in the field of family separation and with devastating consequences.

Attending the domestic violence event this week I was confronted once again with that reality. Domestic violence, it would seem, is another field in which basic equalities standards are absent. In fact, my attendance at this event lead me to wonder whether, in line with women’s refuges, there was some kind of exemption from having to adhere to equalities law. Certainly the confident way in which flawed statistics, discredited reports and gendered narratives were being bandied around, would suggest that here is a field in which the dominant group feels entirely comfortable with prejudice.

Working as I do, on a daily basis, with mums and dads who are separating, I know that each are capable of unleashing the very worst of human behaviour on each other. Violence at the end of a relationship is not uncommon and is perpetrated by both men and women, many of whom lose their minds as well as their self control as they struggle to separate emotionally as well as physically. False allegations of violence are common too, on both sides of the fence and so the task of working with families in these situations is delicate, requiring deep levels of understanding and sophisticated routes to differentiation and diagnosis.

Not in the world that the women at this event live in it seems. In this world the rules appear to be very simple.

  1. There is only one framework in which dv should be understood and that is patriarchy and the permission it gives to men to control women.
  2. Domestic violence is about male perpetrators and female victims
  3. Men are in need of control and punishment by the state and women are in need of protection.
  4. women never make false allegations
  5. one act of violence automatically leads to more.

You can imagine the reaction then to the idea that domestic violence can be differentiated and that it is possible for couples who have been violent to overcome that behaviour and go on to collaborate.

Family separation and domestic violence are issues which go hand in hand and in the work that I do, varying degrees of violence, emotional, mental and physical are often part and parcel of the conflicted landscape that a family inhabits. Sometimes the violence is coercive, that is it is about power and control over someone else, over their choices, their life and their very sense of self. This coercive control is the kind of violence which terrorises someone into being unable to leave a relationship for fear of retribution and it is often the kind of violence that is ongoing after a relationship ends.

Much of the violence that is experienced at the end of a relationship however, is what is called by researchers Kelly and Johnson2 separation instigated violence. Further, there is a developing body of research that demonstrates that intimate partner violence is not just one type of violence but can be differentiated into four different and distinct patterns of violence. These four patterns are Coercive and controlling, Violent Resistance, Situational Couple Violence and Separation Instigated Violence. For those of us working with separated families from a relational and therapeutic perspective, these four categories are instantly recognisable and offer us a more nuanced, better targeted approach to supporting families where conflict and violence are a feature. Just as in my work with alienated children, differentiation between contributing factors, the role of each person and the possibilities for change are an essential part of intervening in troubled families. Getting the treatment route right and ensuring that each person in the family drama is engaged with the process is a tricky but essential task for therapists working with highly conflicted families. Using a differentiation approach to understanding domestic violence is, in my view, a huge step forward in being able to help in such situations.

Expressing that view at the domestic violence event however was a bit like telling flat earth people that the world is round. Gasps of disbelief greeted the idea that violence could be something that both people engaged in and the idea that a woman who has been in a violent situation with a man could actually recover and even, dare I say it, go on to co-parent with him after separation was horrifying to many. In this world, where all women are victims, the notion of co-parenting appears to be both distasteful and unbelievable and any women collaborating after violence is only doing so because she is afraid not to. This world that these women inhabit is like none that I have ever encountered other than in a Mary Daly treatise. All men and therefore fathers are risky and all women who are separated are in need of educating and defending. It is a terrifyingly politically correct world which has silenced debate for too long and which has, in my view, ended too many children’s relationships with their fathers.

After the discredited 29 child homicides report had been cited as evidence that contact between children and their fathers was dangerous, and several delegates asserted vehemently that women would never make false allegations of domestic violence I gave up all attempts at debate. This is not a field in which anyone is interested in equalities, it is not even a field where anyone is interested in debating whether or not there are enough spaces for the most invisible groups within the overall whole experiencing domestic violence. This world that these women inhabit, is about creating and perpetuating the notion that all violence is the same, all men are dangerous and all women are potential victims. It is about silencing discussion, terrorising those who disagree and about rigid political correctness in which those who do not conform are viewed as colluding with the ‘perpetrator’.

I left the event feeling again that the world in which I live must run parallel to this universe that these women inhabit. My work with family separation, in which I encounter mothers and fathers on a daily basis, shows me that domestic violence is something that is experienced by many and abhorred by most. There are parents involved in violent struggle who want help to change their behaviours and those who are involved in one off violent events that do not repeat themselves. All of those people, in this other world, are victim and perpetrator and the relationship between them should end immediately. As one delegate said in a voice that vibrated with indignation, ‘if he hits her once, how will she know that he won’t do it again.’ The inference being that any kind of analysis of why this happens is simply a waste of time. It is as if the people that they are talking about are text book characters who must conform to a stereotyped idea and if they do not, well presumably that is not an option because viewed through the lens of this kind of analysis, all men are what these women say they are simply by virtue of the fact that they are men.

The world of these women is very clearly delineated into good and bad and one strike and you’re out is is the mantra they chant. Set against an analysis of a patriarchal society in which all men are advantaged and all women disadvantaged, women cannot lose and men cannot win. Their argument would be, I imagine, that this evens up the playing field for women, my argument is that far from evening up the playing field they are actually tipping it further because by assuming that all violence is the same they are using up valuable resources that should be directed at those people suffering coercive violence, those who are really in need of urgent help.

Differentiation of domestic violence allows us to consider the ways in which strong triage and signposting services can get help to those who are in the most vulnerable positions. Helping these women and men, through funding refuge services and educating them and supporting them to rebuild their lives away from violent partners is essential. Accurate differentiation allows this to happen, blanket assumptions that all family violence is the same does not. Neither does the blind belief that women never make false allegations of domestic violence during the process of separation and beyond. Working as I do, through the passage of family separation with many families over twenty years, I witness the ways in which false allegations are part of the toolbox of separating couples. I also witness the ways in which stereotyped thinking, often supported by the domestic violence ‘industry’ training that goes on around the country, ruins relationships between fathers and their children. In several cases where mothers have been the violent partner, I have witnessed the father being arrested and charged with violence or subjected to a non molestation order. I have given evidence to social service teams about violent mothers, only to find that their assumption is that the father is the real cause because domestic violence is, in one team leaders words, ‘perpetrated by men not women and any violence by mothers, well that’s not really domestic violence is it?’

Well actually yes, it is. And the notion that all violent mothers are only violent because of a man somewhere in the background is to move responsibility from women back to men. Given that the home office3 domestic violence figures break down into 60% women and 40% male victims, that’s a whole lot of women who are being excused their behaviour (as well as a whole lot of men who are not getting the services that they need).

And so, my work with equalities and family separation continues and it looks like I am not going to give up speaking up about this subject any time soon. That I am currently speaking about the disadvantage that fathers suffer in the way in which services are ranged against them and assumption, stereotypes and downright lies prevent them from getting the support that they need, is not something that I am going to apologise for. Neither am I going to let my voice be silenced by the accusation that I am somehow not being impartial for speaking the truth, especially when I know that my practice with families delivers the kind of equality of opportunity that brings better outcomes for children.

The field of family separation and domestic violence is heavily gendered and is peppered with assumptions that men are dangerous and/or unreliable and that women are victims and/or angels who never behave badly. The truth is that men and women are dangerous and unreliable and victims and angels and they both can behave badly and they both can behave well. The problem is that many agencies assume the worst about men and the best about women and expect every person to fit that framework. Its wrong, its discriminatory and at its worst, it produces generation after generation of children who have fragile relationships with their fathers.

Therefore, when the landscape that surrounds the separated family is threaded through with the same kind of equalities based practice that is standard in the field of race and disability, then I will shut up and go about my business quietly. And when fatherhood is respected and is not judged, labelled, lied about and ruined by the kind of blind adherence to a narrative that I witnessed this week, then my voice will no longer be needed and I will be silent on the matter.

Until then, expect more of the same.

1Woodall K – See Both Sides – A guide to gender equality in family separation – Oxfam 2001

2Kelly J and Johnstone M –Differentiation between types of partner violence and implications for interventions – Wiley Online 2008

3Men make up 40% (two in five) of the victims of domestic abuse.

Tables 3.01 and 3.05 of the British Crime Survey report: Home Office Statistical Bulletin 02/09 – Homicides, Firearm Offences and Intimate Violence 2007/08 (published 22nd January 2009).

http://bit.ly/TL2DCG
** Coping with Children’s Transitional Difficulties Workshop – 23rd September – full day – Central London – Cost £40, lunch included.  We currently have three places left on this workshop due to last minute cancellations, anyone interested please email clinic@separatedfamilies.org.uk – feel free to circulate.**

58 comments

  1. Tracey · September 13, 2012

    Karen, please don’t ever shut up, your work is invaluable, your words are always encouraging, balanced, perceptive and needed. There is a scary lobby of women out there that do want to always vilify men and there are women that make false abuse allegations. My husband and I are living this example, 1 year later after false allegaitons, proven false by a forensic psychologist, he has still not be reuinted with his daughter as the court case is dragged out by inefficiences, indecision and negligence. He has taken the decision that it is far too dangerous under the circumstances ( psychologist identified mother / daughter enmeshment ) to have his daughter back in our home. We will live in constant fear of false abuse allegations, walk on eggshells in our own home, feel censored. And trust me, a white man does not want to be locked up in a South African jail for false DV (or worse) allegations; you will be put in a holding cell with +/- 50 violent criminal and most likely be raped… that is the reality. For this reason, my husband will leave it to his daughter to contact him if and when she wants a relationship. According to my step-daughter’s mother, attorney, psychologist, she no longer wants to see her father. This rejection has taken root only since the false allegations, meanwhile we hear that she was very upset at school on father’s day? Go figure, from a child that doesn’t want a relationship with Dad? I don’t believe my lovely step-daughter has any choice in the matter, but her “decision” is out of necessity to align with her mother, failure to do so would be unacceptable. So, your work is a constant source of inspiration and hope… to be silenced on a topic that is so imporant is simply not an option.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · September 17, 2012

      Hello Tracey, I am glad my words give hope, you are coping with such difficult decisions, things I entirely understand. Sending my best regards and support. Karen

      Like

  2. john dangerfield · September 13, 2012

    I am sorry you received such abuse from the powers that be for trying to defend the rights of fathers.To me it just highlights the injustices within the whole of the corrupt system which is prodominently led by woman who fought for there own rights by stealing the rights of any man who dares question them. Welcome to the real world of corruption, that will never allow a loving father any proper and caring access to their own children. The “law” and the “lawyers are directly responsible for generations of fatherless children who have been poisened by there mothers against them . While the human rights of fathers continue to be ignored and mothers can do no wrong, what chance does a man have to .have any input in his chilrens lives. A man is capable of loving his children just as much, if not more, than his female counterpart, but the law says “no”.The only thing a man can do in this corrupt sytem is to bend over and take it…system is to sick to change.. thanks for having a go..welcome to a mans world

    Like

    • karenwoodall · September 17, 2012

      Hi John, the difficulty is that when I write this blog it is so easy for words to be lifted and presented out of context to other people. This is why I try to make it clear at all times that I speak up for fathers because of the inequalities that they face and that my work with family separation has produced clear and unequivocal evidence of that. Our work has been cited by the Equal Opportunities Commission (as was) as best practice in working with family separation and yet I can still be quoted out of context by lawyers aiming to convince judges that I am biased. I loathe the idea that living in this society as a man means that you are more likely to die early, more likely to committ suicide, more likely to be attacked and much more and yet all of those things are turned around and either justified or made out to be things that women suffer. I didn’t want ‘equality’ at the expense of men’s equality, I wanted and still want a just and fair world in which our children grow up to have the choices and chances that are available and equal access to that. I will keep on until we get there. Best wishes Karen

      Like

  3. Chris beard · September 13, 2012

    Please don’t shut up, once again you are the lone voice, and history will show these great injustices, like hillsborough and the Lawrence inquiry and alienated fathers truths have been altered and compounded, and you and I will be exonerated .
    I too was a victim of domestic violence and assaulted also after divorce, and her punishment? Custody , maintenance and zero visitation for me, this generation will in the future will once again hang it’s head in shame one day.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · September 17, 2012

      Dear Chris, I agree with you, one day we will, collectively, understand what we have done to too many children and too many of their fathers. Until then all we can do is keep saying it, keeping speaking it and keep our strength, hope and dignity until the truth is out. And it will out, one day. Sending my support. .Karen

      Like

  4. Bobtb007 · September 13, 2012

    ” Having been attacked recently in the court process, by a firm of lawyers for expressing my views on the issue of fatherhood after separation”
    Why? Did they feel superior to you and experts in the field sufficient to justify and be credible? Or where they just attacking you because you have spoken the truth and the truth in the solicitors eyes is to weaken thier case so must be feared and thus go on the attack as a defence mechanism. To cast doubt on the system is to expose thier money making scheme
    “I was reminded of this all over again this week when I attended an event on domestic violence and family separation. I was also reminded that to keep my mouth shut, when I am faced with the dangerous discriminatory attitudes that abound in this field, would be to render my work with families almost meaningless”
    Hear hear, I for one would stand behind, beside or in front of you to help the fight, long may you stand outspoken
    “Expressing that view at the domestic violence event however was a bit like telling flat earth people that the world is round. Gasps of disbelief greeted the idea that violence could be something that both people engaged in and the idea that a woman who has been in a violent situation with a man could actually recover and even, dare I say it, go on to co-parent with him after separation was horrifying to many. In this world, where all women are victims, the notion of co-parenting appears to be both distasteful and unbelievable and any women collaborating after violence is only doing so because she is afraid not to”
    So the very people who say blindly that (all) men are violent and nasty people and should be strung up without as much as a by your leave, are themselves blinkered bigots who use intimidation and mental manipulation (fear) in order for their views to be believed.
    Do they fear the open debate and listen to an honest and credible point of view? No they just use the very thing that they accuse (all) men of – a nasty streak of bigotted vitriol
    Shame on them all, they are not the voices to be heard in a balanced argument, their views they hold so dear they fear the truth for it may invalidate the very views they hold close to them.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · September 17, 2012

      Bob, there are women who consider themselves ‘educated’ in the field of domestic violence and it frightens me when they start their mantra because it seems to me that they are all shouting as loudly as they can with their fingers stuck in their ears. In many ways I understand what it happening to them, they believe that they have the answer, the truth and to consider that they only have one answer or one truth and that there are others is far too scary for them to contemplate. I am not, for one moment, suggesting that dv is something that does not happen, it does. I am not suggesting that controlling violent people do not terrorise their partners and make them afraid for their lives, they do. What I am arguing is that the world cannot be divided so easily into good and bad, victim and perpetrator and that strong triage, which allows us to identify those controlling and violent people will allow us to support the others effectively as well as get help to the victims who really need it. You are right that facing this kind of thinking is akin to facing the bullies that they say all men are. It takes some strength to stand up and say I don’t agree in a room full of determined, loud voiced, sometimes angry women. I am not sure whether they fear the debate and just cannot conceive of it being possible to discuss the issue, the attitude seems to be ‘listen to me, I have the truth and you must accept that’. It doesn’t seem like truth to me.. Best wishes Karen

      Like

  5. Yvie · September 13, 2012

    Like Bob, I feel you have been attacked because they know you are right and they lack the courage to engage in debate with you. Rather than lose their case they are forced to attack your credibility. Unless equality for both parents is enshrined in law the status quo will inevitably continue.

    Keep up the good work Karen. I am sure there are some who would love to silence you. Dont let them do it,

    Like

    • karenwoodall · September 17, 2012

      Hi Yvie, yes I live in constant awareness that my credibility is likely to be attacked at any moment. But I won’t give up, I can’t give up, to do so would be to lose all of my self respect. Best wishes Karen

      Like

  6. michael mcveigh · September 13, 2012

    Karen, anyone who reads you knows that if women were being subjected to abuse or discriminated against, you would be the first to stand up for them. We CANNOT afford to lose your voice & experience.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · September 17, 2012

      you are absolutely right Michael and where it is necessary I do stand up for women and mothers. I shall keep on speaking out and speaking up, as I said above, to not do so would be to lose self respect because I would be sitting by silently watching it happen and I can’t do that. Best wishes Karen

      Like

  7. Jenny · September 13, 2012

    Please don’t ever stop speaking your mind Karen. Most of us don’t have a voice and were we to speak, we would be ignored as being stupid.
    But yours is the voice of reason and experience. The more you say what you do, the more possible it is that someone will stop and really think.

    Our society is anti male. It is evident in so many ways. But more important than that, it is anti children and what is best for them. That is disgraceful and child abuse in my book.

    The Hillsborough enquiry has found the truth about an appalling event that took place on one day 23 years ago. What we are all experiencing day after day has been carrying on for years. One day, I hope someone will look at the evidence and take to task those who have deliberately perpetuated false myths and ruined the lives of children as a result.

    All we ask is equality and fairness. For the sake of our children and grandchildren.
    So please continue to speak Karen. Loud and clear.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · September 17, 2012

      Hi Jenny, I shall keep on keeping on as they say and one day the evidence that is staring us right in the face will finally be accepted. One day. Until then we keep on. Kind regards Karen.

      Like

  8. el dermo · September 13, 2012

    interesting as always Karen. i was subject to what i would call situational DV. its aim was to get me to leave. it has scarred me and for a long time if i was in close proximity to my ex i would suffer panic attacks. i would say that i am only recovering from it. currently mum is loved up and he is a divorced dad with a young son so she is now happily playing co parent mama publicly at least. good for the children mind. last week for example she turned up unexpectedly at the boys football. stood next to me on the line and was very civil. (hes the football coach).we are of course in court (hopefully for the last time) in October.
    i have had a pay cut and reduced the child maintenance proportionately (still pay over csa). last week the children told me you have cut mums money. when i asked them who had told them “it was mum and nan.” who says PA isn’t generational!!!!

    the reaction to DV on males is astounding. when i told my sister (an ex social worker and attendee at a local “womens group”) she said “oh shes just angry.”. i guess like many i am resigned to the fact that change will only come slowly. i fear our day has been lost to some degree but i owe it to my children to continue to do what little i can to promote equality, fatherhood and the rights of our children to a meaningful relationship with both parents. please don’t stay silent on this Karen or on any of the other matters that you have covered on these pages. The chances of my children inheriting a just and fairer society are far more likely when voices such as your own are heard. Thank You.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · September 17, 2012

      Keep on keeping on el dermo, your voice, my voice, one day they will listen. Sending my support. Karen

      Like

  9. Kat · September 13, 2012

    To me it has always seemed that you speak on behalf of the children and no one else. At the moment the biggest threat to children’s welfare post separation is the marginalisation of their fathers and that is why the things you say need saying so badly.

    I like the differentiation of types of DV. My guess would be that in the first, coercive controlling co-parenting would be very difficult and probably not desirably. The latter three the children are probably relatively safe with the perpetrator, certainly there seems possibilities for co-parenting in the separation and situation induced cases. In the violent reaction type cases one would have to look at what the perpetrator was reacting to before deciding what to do. If it is a violent reaction to extensive emotional abuse then co-parenting might be difficult. And even if co-parenting is not possible some contact to the other parent might still be possible.

    In reality I think most men who have been victims of any kind of violence have to attempt to co-parent if they want anything to do with their children and are lucky enough to not be excluded! As opposed to female victims, who can more or less choose if they want the father involved, maybe with the exception of women who are victims of controlling coercive violence, who are not always sufficiently supported.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · September 17, 2012

      Hi Kat, I agree with your analysis, men who are victims of violence are silent and invisible and they often have to collaborate, they have no choice. I would like to see widescale use of differentiation approaches, underpinned by gender analysis so that we have in place a transparent and just system of support for anyone who suffers at the hands of someone else and who is controlled by that and unable to make choices because of that. And actually, I would like to see some more interventions for those who are violent in our society and who control others through that. We have to keep working, have to keep fighting for a better way. Sending kind regards Karen

      Like

      • Bartholomew · September 17, 2012

        From boyhood (at least when I was growing up), you repeatedly get told to “be a man”. That means taking and putting up with everything. Even those boys/men that develop a shell feel hurt by things though, in spite of having learned to hide that.

        I think this is what prepares us for a relationship of the kind wherein if we are hit, smacked, kicked, called names, or whatever, we just shrug it off and tell ourselves that this is part of being a “man”. And if we got the right kind of upbringing, part of being a man means knowing that it’s never okay to hurt a women.

        The idea of a man calling any of that domestic violence is just so alien to us. Complaining about it just makes you feel like an imbecile, because you are not supposed to fuss, but just just be a kind of rock, calm and cool.

        This probably sounds sexist, and I’m not saying this sort of response is either right or wrong, but I think that most men have these ideas ingrained.

        I’m using “us” and “we” but I’m conscious I might only be speaking for myself.

        Like

      • Kat · September 18, 2012

        I am sure you do not speak only for youself, I certainly know men who have been victims of DV, refusing to call what they have experienced by its rightful name and just brush it off instead. Afterall my and I am sure others too first knowledge of DV was a cartoon strip of a woman with a frying pan beating her loser husband. Men who are beaten by their wives are seen as laughing stock not victims.

        As for helping people who commit violence that is of course an important issue. At the moment there seems to be a whole little industry of various courses around, designed on the face of it to do just that. In reality they are just more obstacles for men, who want contact with their children, and some of these courses are pretty draconian.

        What is wrong with these courses is that there is neither proper visitation, i.e. did the person really commit violenct and if yes what type of violence, nor is there any follow up to see if they actually work in reducing violence. I recentely came across a cochrane review on CBT for men who physicaly abuse their partners: http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD006048/cognitive-behavioural-therapy-for-men-who-physically-abuse-their-female-partner
        By their admittedly very high standards there is still a lot of work to be done on the research side of this.

        Like

  10. Charlie · September 13, 2012

    Welcome back Karen. I wholeheartedly agree with your blog and all the comments from my fellow postees. Please don’t ever stop, our children need a voice in this unjust and unequal world. Family law still needs one almighty rocket to propel it in to the 21st Century.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · September 17, 2012

      If only we had the means to build that rocket Charlie, we could combine our efforts and supercharge our way out of the seventies and into the here and now. I won’t stop, thank you for reading. Best wishes Karen

      Like

  11. Vincent McGovern · September 13, 2012

    I am very familiar with the dogma from DV industry, Soc Serv, Cafcass etal that all men are monsters all mothers are saints. I am old enough to have seen much change in society. I grew up in Ulster, look at the incredible change there for the better. Look at Apartheid in Sth Africa, Jim Crow Laws in Southern States of US, Berlin Wall, Catholicism totally marginalised after omnipotence for centuries because of protecting abusers.

    Such events give me hope that society will mature and agencies move away from crude gender bashing of men and children. However change is never easy or pleasant, it will only happen when finances are restricted/removed from the gender vigilantes because the laws of equality and childrens welfare will be brought to bear.

    Such change and improvement will not be led by men. Most male officers allegedly heading these agencies know as much about childrens safety as a meerkat knows about car insurance. Tokenism is embarrassed by their presence.

    It will be strong women who rise above the short term idealogy and focus on a newer and better society where people really have equality of opportunity.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · September 17, 2012

      Vincent, strong women working with strong men. What we need most of all now is a combination of efforts across the gender divide and a united voice that says enough is enough. One men and women worked together for liberation and then that was co-opted and changed and this idea that women are better than men took hold. For me the next stage is collaboration and co-operation, men and women working together for equality and for the sake of the children we raise who will one day be men and women. We can do it, I am certain of it. See you soon! K

      Like

  12. phil · September 13, 2012

    Karen, Please do not stop talking or writing about divorce, family seperation and the in-equalities that exist. We all know the system is rotten, we have all experienced the frustrations and the “legalised loss of access” to our kids… My elder two daughters stopped seeing, talking or recognising me over four years ago… The two younger children still see me, but that is thanks to a Court Order (the two elder ones were too old to be covered by the Court order).. My ex still practices “parental alienation” four years on.. and the older two want nothing to do with me, which is equally confusing to their younger sibblings.. My kids have been affected by the legal system, it’s decisions, CAFCASS and my ex’s solicitor who (on reflection) knew how to play the system to their advantage. Thus, the children and the alienated parents NEED people of your calibre to offer hope for the future… Please do not become a victim yourself.. Carry on …

    Like

    • karenwoodall · September 17, 2012

      Hi Phil, I won’t become a victim though its difficult at times to avoid being portrayed in particular ways. I am glad that your two younger children still see you, keep tending those lines of love and care, the older two will know somewhere inside that what has happened to them is wrong. Sending my support. Karen

      Like

  13. Dave Fairbairn · September 14, 2012

    my god an iota of sense in an insane world.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · September 17, 2012

      not easy to stay sane in this world Dave, speaking up keeps me more or less coping. K

      Like

  14. expoƒunction · September 14, 2012

    I was delighted to spot the return of your post notification e-mail in my inbox after a clearly well deserved holiday Karen; to get my regular “fix” of clear thinking, common sense and informed rigour that’s been lacking during your break. However, it appears that already you may – understandably – feel due another leave of absence.

    I’m equally glad you’ve resolved not to keep quiet (as if..) on the issue. You really are in a unique position to be able to challenge the unfortunate views you bravely confront and the work you’re doing is incredibly important, even if as a rather lone voice it might appear at times to be a hopeless task. As you can see, not least from the following you have here, it isn’t hopeless or unappreciated and certainly not unnoticed. I know your blog has many avid followers, often “lurking” in the background – as I’ve done up to now, without commenting.

    One day; parent by parent & lawyer by lawyer, you’ll infect enough of them with your contagious reasonable behaviour to make change possible, especially because you carry that with you even in the face of adversity and inspire others to join you to ensure the children don’t get drowned out by the commotion adults create.

    Welcome back.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · September 17, 2012

      thank you for those kind words expofunction, I am glad that people read what I write, it seems like common sense to me as well as fundamentally what equalities work is (or should be) about. If what I write gives just one person hope and helps one person to feel that they are not on their own it is worth every word as is standing up for what is right even when the going gets tough. best regards Karen

      Like

  15. PapaMissingKids · September 17, 2012

    OK! I’ve sat on my hands long enough and now I also refuse to be silent! Sorry for the exclamation marks people.

    The statistics are there – more children are alienated from their fathers than their mothers. Or, perhaps it is correct (politically?) that more children are alienated from the non-resident parent than from the resident parent. We ALL know – because it’s starkly apparent to us – that if a child was alienated from the mother then our Karen would speak up. She ain’t frightened to do so.

    There is another statistic that’s staggering too….this one comes from the good old USA. The foremost unreported crime is that of husbands being beaten by wives. Like it or not, this happens.Believe it or not, it happens. The poor chap doesn’t get beaten up black and blue, but he does get hit. And, here’s the fact – it happens like clockwork every month. This is a fact but us men are too shy and ashamed to admit it and report it. (And anyway – even this is our fault according to our wives.)

    Domestic Violence of any form by anyone must not be tolerated. When a herd mentality takes over, the way it seems to have at this organisation that Karen was in the midst of, then it seems to me Karen handled it the only way it can be handled. Sometimes, to put-up and shut-up is the only option. But not all the time.

    Lawyers are supposed to be intelligent. Sometimes, they’re just selfish and conniving and that seems to be the case with the firm of lawyers mentioned here. Perhaps these lawyers were not willing to look at reality and the statistics that back-up the reality. Perhaps, they didn’t like it that an INTELLIGENT WOMAN stood up to them?

    Please continue your good work Karen, As far as I’m concerned, you’re an angel and you’re doing a great job….

    Like

    • karenwoodall · September 17, 2012

      PMK – I think that many of these women have never stopped for a minute to think about what they are saying or doing, they speak a mantra and they are so sure, so certain of themselves that they do not question it. When it is questioned they band together and back each other up, its terrifying to witness at times. I am not trying to attack those who work with people who experience dv, I am just trying to bring some level of analysis, some questioning, some pause for thought to the table. Maybe the world is not so certain as some would have us believe. Keep strong, keep well, sending my support. Karen

      Like

  16. Dean Marciny · September 17, 2012

    Well Done Karen, Hats off and Kudos to you!

    I am not a national of the UK and my sole reason for remaining here are my twin daughters who reside with their mother who is British.

    It would seem (just my personal opinion) that all one has to do is make “an allegation” about the welfare of a child for the powers that be to come down on you…you are guilty until proven innocent…especially, it would seem, if you are male.

    In my case there was no proof required…one’s not being a national of the country gives rise to a lethal cocktail of accusations such as mental instability, flight risk, emotional distress to the mother and children, physical abuse etc etc…all of this was very easily cemented into place by the fact that i required the now ex wife to “sponsor” me was i to remain in the country.

    Apparently (and i speak for myself) emergency steps orders, prohibited steps orders etc are achieved just by making these allegations, in my case, there was no proof, i was never asked to account for myself at the time and hey presto..I’m still here.!

    Thankfully, after over a year and a half of having a whole bunch of strangers tell me when and where i could see my daughters, how i should act with them and what to say to them, the damage that was done to the bond i shared with my girls is so much better to date.

    I went from seeing and interacting with my girls from birth on a very regular and daily basis, to initially not seeing them at all for a month, then seeing them for 2/3 hours a week in a “controlled and supervised environment” etc..

    I was perhaps one of the more fortunate dads as, after over 2 months of additional “supervised and monitored” contact under the auspices of CAFCAS, many of the allegations that were made against me as a father were refuted and consequentially as a direct result of this, as i have been told by many a parent, the contact order that i have affords me with “good and regular contact” – personally i don’t agree but hey…who knows what the future holds.

    I have read all about “parental alienation”, spoken at length to parents who have been through this and are still going through this and have long since concluded that the innocence of children is a powerful,vindictive and loathsome weapon so easily abused in this country.

    My ex and members of her family and extended circle shall we say….over 2 years on, still practice this directly and indirectly on a regular basis – they are however, constrained by the final contact order and thus have no choice but to follow it… albeit in the most minimal method possible.

    The fact that my daughters and i share a mutually respectful and loving relationship despite all is testimony to what you have the courage to stand up for and speak out about Karen.

    Thank You

    Like

    • karenwoodall · September 17, 2012

      I am so pleased to hear that your relationship with your daughters has survived Dean, that in itself is a wonderful thing. I am constantly suprised by the way in which dads who stick in through thick and thin, who put up with such hell and who keep on being there for their children are not viewed as heroes in our society. Who would want to go through all that you and so many others go through unless the bond that you have is unbreakable and unshakeable, just like the bond that mothers have with their children. Keep on keeping on, I know that even when you have a good relationship with your children its not a walk in the park dealing with all the stuff around the edges. Sending support, Karen

      Like

  17. Andy · September 17, 2012

    Gender differentiation with respect to right and wrong, good and bad goes back a long way. I remember my Mother reciting this little ditty to me. It dates from the late 18th century. (not my mother of course, I’m not that old!)

    What are little boys made of
    Snips & snails & puppy dogs tails
    And such are little boys made of.
    What are young women made of, &c
    Sugar & spice & all things nice[1]

    We can feel sorry for the women who have to live up to this image of perfection and sorry for the men who have to live out this peception of being not very nice.

    Both men and women feel anger, and they can both express it. Violence is not gender specific.

    In order for our perceptions to change our roles will have to alter. On TV I was happy to see that in Norway fathers have half the childcare time when their child is born. I saw pictures of Dad wheeling their toddler to daycare centre and chatting with like minded Dads. Also their Parliament has passed laws to make firms have at least 40% women represented at Board level. These are both very sound pieces of legislation that we would do well to copy.

    It’s not just some women who perpetuate the myth that all childcare should be done by them. Men do this to, when it suits. When you face the Judge in Court did you ever wonder who is looking after their children?

    Like

    • karenwoodall · September 17, 2012

      that rhyme is as present now Andy as it ever was, its in the minds of every practitioner, every social worker, every health visitor and every CAFCASS officer in our society. Some manage to sidestep the conditioning, others fall for it hook line and sinker.

      I watched that programme on childcare in Norway, it felt like a breath of fresh scandanavian air rushing through the psyche, how different it all could be if we could get out of the 1950’s and come into the real world.

      One day we will.

      Sending regards Karen

      Like

  18. Bartholomew · September 17, 2012

    Great article. Brings tears to my eyes to know that there is someone out there who is not afraid to tell it like it is.

    But there are a number of things that are hard to understand here.

    1) How does a group of people (the woman’s groups you describe, for instance) get to the point where they are so hostile toward discussion about reality? What motivates that delusion and irrationality?

    2) Why is it the case that domestic violence means so many things as to become meaningless, yet the definition still excludes things like denial of contact, protracted litigation, false allegations, legalized abduction, parental alienation and so forth. How did the definition get so rigged?

    3) How did we as a species get to the point where common sense has been completely overhauled by irrational ideology of the kind that you describe? How did we all fall for it too? (Before my own separation, I would have completely agreed with your women’s groups, and I would have fancied myself a better gentleman for doing so, and I think that is very telling).

    4) How does an entire group of human beings become so vehemently opposed to men taking care of children? You’d think that its members have no fathers, no uncles, no brothers, no sons, no male friends? Or is it the case that their relationships with such males has been so awful that they can only spend their waking hours to trashing fathers and hurting men? And thus committing their own kind of violence?

    5) Knowing that family law has more to do with economics and politics than child welfare still doesn’t answer the question of how individual human beings could allow economics and politics to trump basic human feelings like love, compassion, empathy. Are we as a society so sick?

    6) Don’t these women’s groups worry that in painting the picture of all separated dads as potentially violent, that they are just undermining the logic and credibility of everything they say, and doing a disservice to those men and women who really do suffer in abusive relationships?

    7) How is it the case that supposedly educated people working in the health and education industries can continue to absorb the lies of these women’s groups and discriminate against dads? Education is supposed to make one a reasonable person, you would have thought.

    One could say so much more here, but I’ll just end by wishing Karen well, and hope that she is taking care when she goes out at night. It cannot be pleasant feeling terrorized by these mobs.

    Like

  19. karenwoodall · September 17, 2012

    Bartholomew,

    answers –

    1. Forty years of social policy developed by women in the interests of women.
    2. DV definition has been refined in words over the years but in practice it means one thing – men hitting women, women being controlled by the fear of being hit.
    3. We have been taught that separated families are different to our own and that those men who are causing a fuss about it are only doing so because they want to continue causing trouble for their ex’s. (thus reducing every separated father’s voice to that of a bully who can’t cope with being left).
    4. Male absence is very very common these days, comes from the ‘sisters are doing it for themselves’ mentality in my view. Many second generation single parents see absolutely no need whatsoever for a father in the family.
    5. We have become immune to the experience of men in my view, forty years of women lead social policy has all but eradicated empathy, compassion and love for men in many areas.
    6. I don’t think these women worry one jot about painting all men and fathers the same way, if they read this they would dismiss me as someone who wants the approval of men, the equalities angle would just sail right over their heads.
    7. Education takes many forms, the ‘education’ these women were talking about is about indoctrinating women with the ‘education’ that teaches them that they are being oppressed and that they are in a violent relationship. As one women succinctly put it ‘not all women know that they are in a violent relationship’….

    No worries on me going out at night though, I have a chap on my arm to take care of me!!! I jest only because laughing sometimes makes it possible to go on.

    Sending my best wishes Karen

    Like

  20. Bartholomew · September 17, 2012

    Thanks for your responses, for taking the time. They are very interesting, very frightening, and frankly unbelievable. But I’m telling myself that I should believe what you are saying, because you seem to have the inside scoop. You paint these women as very callous creatures. I have come up against that level of callousness on occasion, but thought it was something that human beings were only temporarily capable of, as a kind of defense mechanism, certainly not something that runs right through the bloodstream and manifests itself in their everyday views and actions.

    I try to understand where that callousness and where that anger comes from. Of course, there are a lot of men who really deserve to be hated (or rather pitied) for their attitudes and their violence toward women. But I thought that a more balanced person would have been able to recognize that there are just as just as many women who do wicked things and commit unspeakable acts of violence. One such act of violence being the denial of a child’s right to know and have a relationship with her/his father.

    But the more one thinks about it, this whole rhetoric of domestic violence seems to be nothing more than a ploy to vilify fathers who’ve had the misfortune of being divorced, and ensure that they have no role in the lives of their children. (In fact, the whole rhetoric seems to have very little to do with protecting children, women and indeed men). Surely that kind of manipulation of public opinion is a form of violence in itself?

    P.S. That chap you refer to is a very lucky man.

    Like

    • Bobtb007 · September 17, 2012

      Bartholemew
      The system protects itself and is selfserving enough and clever enough to miss report the facts as facts themselves, (tell a lie often enough and it will be taken as fact)
      Just look at politicians expenses and now Hillsborough.

      For me it was not the event that held the ultimate horror for me. The event was horrific enough I saw it unfold before my eyes on telly, it was in the days of rampant football holiganism, both teams had a core and unsavory element that COULD have perpetrated the events. No for me the real crime was in the callous and cowardly way in which those in power could and did take steps to cover up their tracks. They did so because they must have felt that they WERE responsible, there is no other reason than that for them to cover up. I am not so naive that it was just the policemen or their senior officers that were to blame, did anyone intent to kill anyone, I cannot for one moment think that that was the intent, for me it was a bunch of people who wanted to see a game of footbal and could not wait to get in, that the police let them in in such numbers was a mistake, that they did not think that their actions would cause such damage no one took stock, it was like a stampede mentality all were to blame to greater or lesser degrees, except the poor unfortunates in front of the stampeed, they had no choice.

      No, for me the real crime was teh cover up. The absolute abuse of power. Now uncovered. In the family court system because of its “secretive” style its all about unaccountability and even if questioned cover up.

      No bigger or better argument than for a transparent family legal system than because of the pain and suffering of Hillsborough that went un examined for over twenty years until all the lobbying by the valliant victims support groups finally could not be held down any further.

      It took one cataclysmic event, 96 people dying and twenty plus years to uncover this travesty, however, each father or parent being forcibaly estranged from his children by a vehemently and callous (I will mention the word Machavelian as that seems to be a common denominator from a psychological point of view) parent (normally the mother) is just one victim at a time, the system can ignore one victim at a time, it can and it does. It has ignored 96 victims for 20 plus years and they died our children apparently are not harmed by the other parent not seeing them

      Or so we are lead to believe?

      Like

  21. Bobtb007 · September 17, 2012

    “Not in the world that the women at this event live in it seems. In this world the rules appear to be very simple.

    1.There is only one framework in which dv should be understood and that is patriarchy and the permission it gives to men to control women.
    2.Domestic violence is about male perpetrators and female victims
    3.Men are in need of control and punishment by the state and women are in need of protection.
    4.women never make false allegations
    5.one act of violence automatically leads to more.
    You can imagine the reaction then to the idea that domestic violence can be differentiated and that it is possible for couples who have been violent to overcome that behaviour and go on to collaborate.”

    Here is another reason that many men do not or cannot report DV, in my opinion its all about basic phsiology, I am being overly simplistic here but in doing so I do to make a point.

    A man is both (generally) bigger and stronger than a woman, therefore woman attacks man and generally man can “hold back” or deflect attack of woman with sufficient strength to avoid the attack but not so strong so as to cause any harm to woman. If he then goes to make complaint, as he has succesfully prevented it he has no evidence of markings on him. I have done this, when attacked I have used a pin down method until ex was back under her own self control, I did not hurt her and was not hurt myself but she did attempt to attack me.

    Is this domestic violence? I think yes but did I report it? No, no point. move clock forward two years relationship had finished and in the street, without any provocation from myself (apparently my crime for her to attack me was that I was looking “smug” (even that was not true) result was that she managed to scratch my face and I had cuts to my hands defending myself (she had keys in her fist), did I report it? No. Why I was told that she would be arrested and charged and that she would be able to tell our child that “daddy had had got her arrested etc etc. So I took no action.

    Am I pathetic? No. Weak? No. Did I need protection? No not really because I can handle one angry woman without causing her any harm, I am strong and in control enough to do so. I did get hurt but hey I have had worse scrapes and bruises from sport etc. The thing is men tend to “take it on the chin” stiff upper lip and all that and get on with it, women who want to, can make the biggest meal out of the smallest morsel and the system supports and aids them because they are deemed to “need the support to protect them”

    A woman on the other hand being attacked by a stronger man who is intent on causing her harm, would not have sufficient strength to either defend herself or deflect the blows, an angry and out of control man would be able to inflict harm upon her and she would have sufficient evidence to succesfully make a complaint to the police and for the police to prosecute etc etc.

    So why is DV (the clue is in the title (violent)) not a criminal offence like all other assaults, why should the fact that an assault that has occured between two sexually intimate (former?) partners needs to be heard on a balance of probability scale (civil) rather than on beyond all reasonable doubt (criminal)?

    Who thought up that rule and lets get that rule changed

    We need evidenced based challenges not just because a woman makes a historical claim that she must be believed upon face value, vindictive women do lie, they do cheat and I have seen it first hand they provide false evidence to help them “back up” their deciet. Let us not be so blind as to not thoroughly investigate the events for its veracity to be determined

    karen can I do anything more practical to help you rather than make comments on this blog as good as it is?

    Cheers

    Russ

    Like

  22. Bartholomew · September 18, 2012

    What I don’t understand though is why all the many things that are classed as domestic abuse are things that a man would never think of getting the police involved over. A man would never involve the police over mayonnaise being squeezed in his face, as a women recently did.

    Whereas all those things that men would regard as domestic abuse are trivialized.

    Has nobody ever had the thought of the dreadful kind of abuse that is parental alienation, denial of contact, false allegations, protracted litigation, etc?

    So many things have been criminalized these days, but the above ‘crimes’ still seem very much encouraged in family law.

    Like

  23. Sara · September 18, 2012

    I’m a mother going through PA which I know isn’t as common.

    I always encouraged my son to see his dad despite the effects his behaviour had on him and the threats against me.

    This lead to my son being turned against me and making false allegations against me and finally attacking me how he had seen me be attacked. He now lives with his father and has been alienated against me.

    I think a root cause of the conflict is when a parent feels the pain of the separation and cannot move on. This parent needs support in how to cope and live on their own rather than left struggling to cope. Also why must one parent have more contact than the other a child needs both parents equally especially if that’s what both parents want and can do. Instead a parent is given the child, the home, the money, and the non custodial parent is left lonely unsupported and broke. This is what happened in my situation and lead my ex to be angry and take this out on me. I did try myself to encourage more contact or shared care but my ex didn’t have the support he needed to make this a reality.

    My only hope now is that courts start to recognise the complexities of families separating, see between the lines of a child who refuses to see a parent and gives the case the care and attention it needs.

    Please don’t stop what you are doing Karen you are our voice, mothers or fathers which ever is on the sad side of the situation.

    I hope the court see that my son needs his mum.

    Like

    • Kat · September 20, 2012

      I believe that men and women are equally capable of alienation. The only reason we see more fathers alienated from their children is because they generally have less time with their children. However, when I listen to non resident parents (most of whom are fathers) telling their stories, it is not unusual to encounter alienating behaviour in what they are doing. But because the mother has the child most of the time she can usually protect herself. It takes a lot more serious alienating behaviour to successfully alienate a child from the resident parent. Nevertheless I have met several people who are in just that situation, so you are not alone. There are organisations who might help you such as mothers apart from their children (match) or despite the name families needs fathers will help anyone affected by family separation.

      Like

      • el dermo · September 21, 2012

        great advice Kat.. i have met mothers both NRPs and residential parents who have been alienated from their children. i have also heard many NRPs often dads who have engaged in forms of PA-usually inadvertently i should add. some though are deliberate.

        whether its through ignorance,anger, frustration or is deliberate its an emotional death knell for our children. i think that many would stop if they knew the damage they were causing. for some though its personality based and is too painful to address.

        i have seen them on another forum all justifying their actions and trying to convince themselves that all is well and that the path they tread is the best one for their children. they are often broken people still caught in the whirlwind of separation even years later.
        .
        they offer the same hollow mantras…..other parent left….you now have to paint a picture of the other parent that puts them in the panto villain category so you will get…he feeds the child fish fingers…he has dents in his car….he smokes weed (presumably not a newly found recreational activity)…
        then you get to the crux…little johnny does not want to see him….i want him to but i am not going to force him…..he is doing really great at school and is growing into a fine young man etc. its all very sad and predictable.

        one dad wallowing in his single parent status (your doing a great job etc) had the kids watch mum arrested for standing outside the house trying to catch a glimpse of her children. she is of course a drinker and a philanderer but nowhere in his posts could he reflect on why she may seek out the arms of another nor the fact that at one time she was presumably his world as indeed at one point was my own ex. he finished a post saying he was puzzled by her tears. behind the veneer lies a lack of empathy that no doubt led the poor woman to question her own self worth and humanity not post separation but from the first time she had the misfortune to find his gaze. alas the mask of idolatry that lends itself to these “we think your brilliant” super parents can sometimes slip?

        for decades now this country has lost its moral compass. PA is a lose lose situation for everyone.the bond between with an alienating parent and a child is not an emotionally healthy one. it is built upon lies deceit, control and its foundations are fear and insecurity.. at surface level all may be well. scratch hard enough and there is an emotional void and darkness. they love the children no doubt but they remind me of the tommies who climbed over the trenches in 14/18. blinded with fear and stumbling towards something that they are convinced is right but know in their heart of hearts is less than that. indeed in other circumstances they would be agog at the absurdity of it all. their camaraderie rings hollow and hides a deep melancholy. it is riven with fear.

        just as predictable are the experiences of the parent on the receiving end. i have been at meetings and when new members get to the first couple of sentences i could almost finish it for them….the same stories..kids dressed in ill fitting clothes..contact denied as they have other things planned..other parent hovering in the background during phone calls etc. the ultimate weapon of hurt-the children.

        very valid point too in earlier post about the fall out from separation. the state will not provide adequate support financial nor emotional because it costs money. ideally there should be a center for separated families in every town and city in this country. instead its better to let one parent live in abject poverty but continue to pay up for the kids. many of course give up hence the huge number of children raised without contact with (usually) dad.

        PA? before the separation i would have never believed it possible. nor would i have countenanced that a loving parent could consider it as a framework for bringing up their children. how naive can you be in your 9 to 5 bubble?

        i am fortunate than most in that i have contact. i live in the here and now and have lost the fear of tomorrow to some degree. i have also joined a choir. its very therapeutic (ask the budgie). .As Samuel Beckett said “there’s only one thing to do when your up to your neck in s**te-SING!”

        I am sure the neighbours don’t mind?

        Like

    • Yvie · September 23, 2012

      I fully agree with Sara’s point about the added strain of financial complications following divorce. I am witnessing this presently with my son. He has a shared residence order but in reality once he has paid his bills, there is insufficient money left to feed and clothe his children adequately. His is not unsupported as both my husband help him out whenever we can do so.. By contrast, his ex. has a well paid full time job, she has refused point blank she share the child benefits (each claiming for one child) and she has a partner who contributes to the household income.

      Whilst my son does not object to paying child maintenance to his ex, surely there is something wrong with a system that takes from the poorer one to give to the more affluent one, especially when the person who has to pay cannot support himself or his children fully. It would be fairer if some sort of income assessment could be carried out to assess the level of child maintenance.

      Like

  24. Ken in NZ · September 18, 2012

    Spot on Karen. Sadly the same scenarios exist in NZ.

    Like

  25. antonio · September 19, 2012

    The naivety of no sanctions for false allegations of domestic violence, but legal aid for the accusers in Children Act cases means we will see a marked increase in cases involving domestic violence. The accuser gets all the help in the world, while the accused, if he/she cannot afford a solicitor, gets no protection or assistance at all. No doubt there will be a rush by either party to make the domestic violence allegation first? So much for Article 6 of the Human Rights Act.

    Michael Robinson

    http://thecustodyminefield.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/reshuffles-reform-and-predictions.html?spref=fb

    Like

  26. Wanderer · September 20, 2012

    You are on the money regarding a solution: It’s not something either gender can solve on it’s own. It will only be strong men working with strong women that rights this wrong.

    Of course your (and our) critics will turn their fire on you Karen: You’re showing that this is not a gender issue as much as they pretend it to be, would like it to be.

    There are good and bad in both genders. On the `father’s rights’ side angry dads are merely the counterparts of the women you describe. In my own case women played a key role in my son being permitted a meaningful relationship with me: The first person I spoke to in FNF, my McKenzie Friend, my mother, female friends and my now wife. To them I am eternally grateful and any man who considers someone an enemy on the basis she is female merely plays into the hands of the women you mention in your post.

    The real fight is not `men versus women’ – it’s people who leave in cooperation and mutual benefit for both genders and not the gender warriors.

    Like

  27. Paul · September 20, 2012

    Another great article Karen.

    This message really needs to go out to the police, preferably attached to a Home Office directive to chief constables requiring them to read it twice a day.

    I can’t say too much at the mo’ but I didn’t accept the practical interpretation of police policy as applied to my own case (‘arrest the male’ , simply) and I’m having my day in court.

    Sooner or later the worm will turn.

    In the meantime, Karen, Keep on truckin’ and thanks for all your great work and inspiration.

    Like

  28. Michaela · September 21, 2012

    Karen- I can’t commend you enough! I’ a stepmum and ever since my “proper” journey began in family law since meeting my husband I have been utterly shocked at the amount of discrimination. It’s everywhere. On the TV and commercials to the school yard. As a woman and stepmother I have been subject to being scorned as I argue with the mums at the school yard when they tell me that Dad is useless and that’s why she’s at the school yard and not him. As stated so many times- it’s not about a gender war. My step-son sees Mum lying and affirming that men are dangerous. I am so thankful that he sees what a “normal” (or as normal as we ever get) interaction between men and women.

    Keep it going Karen and anything I can do to help, let me know!

    Like

  29. Andy · September 23, 2012

    Income assessment is tosh. You will never please both parties. Disagreements over who pays for what will always exist. The best way to deal with it is scrap the Child Support Agency. In an equal society the childcare and child responsibilities should be shared equally irrepective of the gender of parents. If you are a responsible carer and think you need more money, go out and earn it like any responsible parent would. Throughout the world happiness has never equated to wealth so don’t be too upset if you don’t have more than your former partner.
    Kind regards.

    Like

  30. Dave · September 25, 2012

    Dear Karen

    Congratulations on an excellent commentary. Wow! What a breath of fresh air!

    In some parts of the world it appears that this parallel world that you describe has moved onto a new level entirely, where the belief is that fathers are so bad that children need to be separated from both parents if the parents are married. New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women the vote, and they are determined to forge ahead on the leading edge of this parallel world that you so eloquently describe with the most incredible anti-father social engineering imaginable.

    My wife and I are not separated – we have been happily married now for 31 years, and for us, every year marriage just gets better and better. Sadly, we experienced the leading edge of the biased, discriminatory, anti-father parallel world which you describe. Our daughter has been alienated from both my wife and I in a deliberate campaign by authorities in New Zealand. We have hardly had any contact with our child for over 7 years now.

    A pdf document summarising our horrific experiences can be downloaded from here:
    http://bit.ly/ourNZexperience

    From MPs in the House of Commons, members of the House of Lords, professors and doctorates all over the world – the reaction to our New Zealand experiences has been universally one of horror and outrage. We would love to hear your thoughts on our experiences, as your experience with this parallel world has given you particularly informed insights.

    We encourage you to continue to speak up – it is high time someone with sensible ideas such as yours, are listened to. Your work is invaluable.

    Kind regards,
    Dave (pseudonym email address fpeterjackson@googlemail.com)
    London

    Like

  31. Milton D Beattie · September 26, 2012

    Respect for your work.
    All imbalance is destructive and usually to both parties in reality.
    The power to damage in society is in the violent swinging of the pendulum of societal norms away from its balanced center of truth/reason.

    The Balanced truth of norms will always draw us back but sometimes it takes decades and sometimes it takes centuries.
    This is the case for all sorts of aspects of society not just the recent gender war.
    When the pendulum swings little and slow if at all it loses the destructive energy.
    You can be sure that not too long after a major societal swing there ought/needs to be some force opposing it to slow it down so that it not freely swing from side to side doing damage with each stroke.

    Like

  32. el dermo · September 28, 2012

    We would also advise that if you are worried about a situation then don’t delay speaking to someone. There may already be people involved who are suitable such as a lawyer, contact centre, social worker. The Coram Children’s legal centre can give advice on stopping contact if there are real concerns, their contact details are:

    Coram Children’s Legal Centre
    0808 8020 008
    http://www.childrenslegalcentre.com

    posted on a certain forum where a number of mothers congregated to support each other to block contact. the advice was given by the forum moderator. anybody any experience of using Corum s services?

    Like

    • michael mcveigh · September 28, 2012

      Who are these people – Coram – solicitors are not always the best people to deal with problems?

      Like

      • el dermo · September 28, 2012

        just wondered if they were part of a certain network of services in the anti-dad camp and if people had used them for legal advice. they are i think a charity and are government funded.

        Like

      • michael mcveigh · September 28, 2012

        Being a charity & government funded may mean an organisation which is very feminist biased.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s