Gender wars: feminist falsehoods and fabrications

Monday morning in the countdown to Christmas and I have been thinking through some of the barriers  to improving support to separated families in this country.  One of the biggest barriers in my experience being the manufactured gender war that is perpetuated by the women’s rights/single parent lobby.  This ‘war’, which is exemplified by the constant negative stereotyping of men as fathers and the persistent assertions that women and  children in separated families are stigmatised if anyone dares to say that children need both parents, forces men into a position of having to fight back to establish any kind of status in their children’s lives.  This creates a permanent state of conflict between the two sides representing mothers and fathers, which in turn mirrors the way in which the separating couple move into adversarial positions.  In reality, this is a manufactured state of war, which is created and perpetuated by feminist falsehoods, some of which are breathtaking in their arrogance and some of which are quite simply just silly.

Nevertheless, it is these nonsensical fabrications, which infect the already indoctrinated, that ooze through into the policies and practice surrounding our separated families.  In short, the gender war, is nothing but a made up game of smoke and mirrors, created to gain control over family policy and maintained to keep control over funding. Anyone wanting a quick rinse through how this happens should take a look at episode five of Borgen shown on Saturday night. It is a beautifully crafted showcase of exactly how feminist control over policies and practice is maintained through bullying, lying and downright manipulation of the truth.  Have a look. I promise you, if you really believe that feminism is about equality, you are in for a surprise.

Another example of the way in which feminist fabrications infect our consciousness popped up this week in the New Statesman.  This particularly nasty little article drew some excellent challenges in its commentary section but I thought I would share some of it with you to illustrate just how much those feminists engender conflict with men.  For those who believe that men do not need their own representation because feminists are doing the equality thing for them, you might just want to take note of what this author has to say.

This horrible piece of rhetoric was peppered with both the derogation of men and their right to work together for their own well being and the kind of hysteria that only the feminist movement can whip up. In this case, the issue at hand was Movember and the growing, by men, of moustaches, in support of men’s health, prostate and other male  cancers.  Looking at the origins of Movember on Wikipedia the movement is described thus:

Movember is an annual, month-long event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate and other male cancers; and associated charities. 

By encouraging men (which the charity refers to as “Mo Bros”) to get involved, Movember aims to increase early cancer detection, diagnosis and effective treatments, and ultimately reduce the number of preventable deaths. Besides getting an annual check-up, the Movember Foundation encourages men to be aware of any family history of cancer, and to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Movember then is the male equivalent of the feminist inspired Moonwalks  and other such initiatives that women are encouraged to take part in to raise money for and awareness of treatments for breast cancer.  As such it is a campaign which utilises feminist strategies of encouraging people to take part in their own health awareness and treatment.  Not in the eyes of Arianne Shahvis, the author of the New Statesmen article it isn’t.  In her eyes, Movember is  ‘divisive, gender normative, racist and ineffective against some very real health issues.’  Oh and its also imperialist too, which of course makes it anti feminist, anti women and anti everything else you can just about think of.  In case you were thinking your Mo was a sign of solidarity with your brothers chaps, best shave it off quick before the feminist police have you down as just another ‘oppressive but you don’t know it’, MAN.

This madness, this utter utter madness, is part of the feminist movement that I left behind.  It is part of the hysterical, conspiracy theory loving, warped analysis that is utilised by women who want to keep women as well as men in their place.  Watching Saturday’s episode of Borgen, in which feminists use skewed statistics and shaming to ensure that their agenda – and no-one else’s – is carried through, I was reminded of the way in which seemingly endless new myths were cooked up in my days as a feminist to keep us convinced that the ‘Patriarchy’ was watching and always about to rise again if we were not looking carefully enough.  The New Statesmen exemplifies this so well by trying to convince us that Movember is just another effort by the ‘Patriarchy’ to rob women (and minority groups of men) of their right to difference.  Those men who are concerned about men’s health and equalities and who believe that using feminist approaches to raising awareness of this is the way forward should read these words and weep because it doesn’t matter what you do chaps, the feminists won’t let you a) use their strategies and b) have the right to determine your own path without a darned big fight.

 The inclusivity of Movember deserves examination. For one, only men (and even then, only some men) can grow a moustache. The decision to focus on the moustache to raise awareness of men’s health issues might seem like an apposite one (though there’s no obvious relationship between moustaches and cancers), but it reinforcesthe regressive idea that masculinity is about body chemistry rather than gender identity, and marginalises groups of men who may struggle to grow facial hair, such as trans-men. Ironically, Movember also excludes the very men it is supposed to uplift; many men who have undergone radiotherapy or surgery to treat testicular cancer are rendered “hypogonadal” and are therefore unable to grow facial hair.

Only men can grow a moustache? And there’s little old regressive me thinking about Frida Kahlo who sported a fine one in her day!  This argument, that one cannot do anything that everyone can do otherwise one is somehow oppressing the already oppressed, is part of the madness that upholds the feminist mythology that until we only ever start from the position of upholding the rights of the weakest in our society first, we will not achieve equality.  This ‘tyranny of the weak’ which I have written about elsewhere on this blog, is merely, in my view, an excuse that enables feminist women to dominate the men they tell us are dominating them.  This drive to dominate emerges in this article when, not content with her analysis of the way in which these Mo Bro’s re-enact their imperialistic history, our author continues,  sneering…

As the month of sacrificial hirsutism draws to a close, mo-bros may convene at their nearest “gala party”. These events showcase the worst of what the Movember “movement” is really about: white young men ridiculing minorities, and playing up to the lad culture within which the charitable practice has become embedded. Across nine cities in the UK, participants dress up in costumes that mock and trivialise racial minorities (“turbanator” Indians, fez-topped Arabs with day-hire camels, Mexicans in sombreros and bandoliers) and the LGBT community (parodies of the Village People), celebrate war and imperialism (gun-toting cowboys, colonial generals in pith helmets, and cavalrymen in slouch hats), and emulate racist fictional characters and sexist stereotypes (such as ‘Dictator’ Aladeen with a harem of female bodyguards, Hulk Hogan lookalikes, hard-hatted builders). 

And there’s you thinking you were growing a moustache to raise money and awareness for men’s health and treatment when in ‘reality’ you are revealing just how oppressive you really are.

Another piece on men which is related to the way in which feminism manufactures gender war, caught my eye this week. This time a report from the advertising company Saatchi and Saatchi who tell us that men are ‘so conditioned to being told they’re wrong, they’ve developed gender issue laryngitis‘.  M&C Saatchi in Australia spent 8 months undertaking in depth interviews with 140 men and has come to the conclusion that men have been rendered voiceless by the media, by big brands and by feminism.  I wonder why?

Finally the author of the New Statesman piece reveals her own inner workings in a finger wagging polemic on what Movember should really be about (like most feminists the urge to tell everyone how things should be is never far away)

If there is to be a male-focused health campaign, shouldn’t it be centred on tackling the root causes of this gender disparity? Shouldn’t the campaign instead be focused on deconstructing the strict gender norms that keep so many men suffering silently? Shouldn’t it be built around teaching men to self-examine for lumps, challenging taboos surrounding psychiatric illness, and encouraging men to minimise drinking, smoking and red meat consumption, all of which have been associated with increased risk of heart disease and cancer?

Again, silly old regressive me for thinking that the men’s health movement, with well known straplines such as check em lads was all about checking for lumps and men encouraging and supporting other  men to help themselves.   Clearly my imperialistic, gender normative, racist and oppressive brothers have me fooled.  Perhaps what they are really doing is comparing the size of what makes them masculine whilst portraying to the rest of us that they are bothered about their collective health.

This war.  This stupid, childish silly war, which is manufactured to keep the feminist movement in charge of what reality is allowed to look like is, a dangerous and all pervasive cult.  To those of you who still believe that feminism is about equality and not women’s rights first and everyone else’s behind that, take a look at recent research on the issue of domestic violence. Described as:

The most comprehensive review of the scholarly domestic violence research literature ever conducted concludes, among other things, that women perpetrate physical and emotional abuse, as well as engage in control behaviors, at comparable rates to men. The Partner Abuse State of Knowledge project, or PASK, whose final installment was just published in the journal Partner Abuse, is an unparalleled three-year research project, conducted by 42 scholars at 20 universities and research centers, and including information on 17 areas of domestic violence research.

This study concludes that women like men can be coercive, that family violence is mutual in most cases and it upholds what Erin Pizzey has been telling us for years.  Unless we find ways of tackling the reality of violence that happens in the home and not the falsehoods and fabrications which are perpetuated by the women’s rights controlled domestic violence industry, men and children and many women too will fail to get the help and support that they need and repeated cycles of violence will continue.

But as someone famously said:

Refuges for women are struggling to survive, and if we put across this idea that the abuse of men is as great as the abuse of women, then it could seriously affect our funding. – Sandra Horley, director [1992] of Chiswick Family Refuge.  (quoted by Isabel Wolff in Domestic violence: the other side, The Spectator, 28 November 1992, p 24)

The war between us is built upon feminist falsehoods and fabrications.  Now, is there anyone out there who STILL believes it’s about equality?

74 comments

  1. Paul Jefferies · December 2, 2013

    Another great post exposing all sorts of issues with society today.

    I feel I should mention that a few years ago I enquired about joining in at my local race for life and was told in no uncertain terms that is was for women only.

    Obviously men are not concerned about the health and well being of their partners!

    At least Movember allows Mo Sistas (I am sure they will find fault with that too…..).

    Like

    • karenwoodall · December 2, 2013

      I think she already did Paul!!

      Like

  2. Brian · December 2, 2013

    At the end of the New Statesman article there’s the comment:
    ” The slogan is as misguided as its campaign: Movember is divisive and gender normative, not least because it centres on the notion that there is such a thing as a “real” man;”
    Which made me think of the Real Man Campaign from Women’s Aid http://www.realmancampaign.com/
    So as a man I’m now very confused. Is there such a thing as a real man? Is he only a real man as long as he doesn’t grow a moustache? If I grow a moustache will I start hitting women?
    I’m on the side of the commentators, that article is drivel and deserves ignoring.

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    • karenwoodall · December 2, 2013

      It is drivel and yes we can and should ignore it but its this kind of nonsense that underpins the refusal by many to accept the reality of serious reports like the one I reference on DV.

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  3. Anthony · December 2, 2013

    I must say Karen…’I’m lost in wonder love and praise’ by your writing. Not only are you morally very brave to attack your ‘sisters!’ so ferociously…but you are so good at wheedling out what they are really about and so articulate at putting it down on paper. My I enquire: Did you gain a double first in English at University? No…I’m serious! I still wish though that your views could get out there more; to have more influence. I’m sure your blog could be turned into a newspaper column…have you ever thought about that? What about The Evening Standard…read by every commuter on every train!

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    • karenwoodall · December 2, 2013

      My sisters? they are no sisters of mine Anthony! MY brothers and sisters are those with whom I work day to day for equality, fairness and justice. Thank you for your kind words on my words, I write because when I write my thinking sharpens and my practice with families improves. Some call it shooting from the hip, I call it seeing clearly now the brainwashing has gone and like all escapees from a cult, part of my recovery is speaking the truth of my experience. K

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  4. Nick Child · December 2, 2013

    Good to see you firing from the hip at worthy targets, Karen. But there will be huge numbers of more sensible feminists who agree with your critique of this couple of silly extremists. It’s such a shame that you have to damn so sweepingly so many of those moderate feminists who would be potential allies. Nick > >

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    • karenwoodall · December 2, 2013

      If only it were so so Nick.

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      • nick234678 · December 3, 2013

        Karen … Do you really believe that all those who call themselves feminists are the same? That they would all hold with these plainly extreme views? We call them “extreme” because we know there are others who do not agree with them.

        And surely we all know that sweeping generalisations are always liable to be wrong for some of those swept into them. That’s why we don’t say “all men are this” or “all ethnics are that” etc. That’s why most people who wish to seem rational and reasonable in public see it as good practice to at least say: “SOME men are this” and “SOME feminists say that”.

        Even if all members of a class of people were in fact evil, we still hold out for the possibility of the one individual in front of us to not be. We try not to presume they are “like all the rest”. We here object to any “all men are bastards” statements. Yet you, Karen, are happily handing out the same sweeping statements back yourself.

        The reason this matters especially here is that we are particularly well aware of how polarisation happens. We see some extreme feminists making sweeping generalisations. To hit them with our brooms adds yet another level of polarisation and scorn.

        Is it not possible to get your point across just as or even more strongly by the use of the little word: some.

        As ever with best wishes to help your message reach and register with more people.

        Nick

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      • karenwoodall · December 3, 2013

        Sometimes, just sometimes one has to get off the fence and name which side of it one is standing on. This is my journey Nick, you have yours as does Woodman and all the rest. I dont have a message and I am not trying to convert you or anyone else and sweeping statements about feminism are exactly what this part of my recovery is about, I lived it, it ruined much of my life, it may not have ruined yours and i may not have ruined others but it ruined much of my life and writing about it, like all survivors, is part of the process of establishing balance. K

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      • nick234678 · December 3, 2013

        Thanks Karen.

        It helps me a lot when you remind us of the different purposes we are all playing out in various aspects of our lives.

        It’s just that doing your own journey in public here – where you are a leading expert with authority as well as a survivor – has powerful wider effects on us, your readers, and the journey of the wider world of thinking and planning services for families well.

        Anyway, I wasn’t asking you to change what you do … except occasionally add the little word “some”!! 🙂

        Nick

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      • karenwoodall · December 3, 2013

        Thanks Nick, I know I am doing it in public and that matters, I know I have a responsibility because of what I write and what I do. Perhaps one day I may add the word some to what I write about feminism perhaps not. My abiding sense of duty however is to be as honest and transparent as I can be and to help where I can by being clear about what I am doing and why I am doing it. In work with families it pays massively to be decisive and clear when conflict reigns, it pays to be the one who wades in and sets order out of chaos, in order to do that the folk one is working with have to know as deeply as possible the reality of who they are trusting to get in the mud with them. I know many people think that my honesty about feminism and my journey might put some parents off, you would be amazed at how many it does not, mothers and fathers alike, evidence to me that what we do at the Clinic is what many parents want.

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      • nick234678 · December 4, 2013

        I can and do absolutely accept all that you say here, Karen, about what works best in your / our work with families. I am sure that your powerful integrative confidence is an essential ingredient there. To you, to me, to the families, and to the wider world too, these qualities in work with families are what – I think – is so unique and important in your work. That’s why we both work hard on how this blog, your “shop window” for now, looks to all the different passers-by. And I guess no one can please all the people all the time! 🙂

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      • karenwoodall · December 4, 2013

        🙂

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    • Paul Stavely · December 3, 2013

      Ah, yes… those pesky extremists.

      Like

  5. Blake · December 2, 2013

    Paul’s experience is something that I can identify with. I was recently trying to advance a cause – I wouldn’t say a feminist cause, but something that had to do with a woman who was not recognized for her achievements. My project was initially welcomed enthusiastically when it was under male management, but then two feminists were in charge of the project, and it was ruthlessly squashed. It is as if they do not like men trying to participate in their discussions or something.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · December 2, 2013

      Oh we women like to be in charge Blake, though we pretend we dont…..

      Like

  6. Woodman59 · December 3, 2013

    I’m carefully going through the work of Warren Farrell, who spent 10 years with the women’s movement, before developing his appreciation that men are after all the more profoundly disadvantaged sex, and that our failings as men, when they exist, derive ultimately from the tremendous stresses of trying to live up to the ‘masculine’ role – of which we are, effectively, the victims.

    It is true that he does differentiate his current perspective from a ‘feminist’ one, as Karen does.

    However, personally, I think we have an opportunity to reclaim what feminism could be, rather than what it has so far become, as Karen points out so well. This would be a joint male/female project…and I agree with Nick Child who I think is hinting at the reality that there ARE plenty of women who would be ready to do this, and who are bored with the women only environment that feminism has been. In this egalitarian feminism, disadvantage and abuse suffered by men – would be JUST as much a feminist issue as disadvantage suffered by women.

    Warren calls this a ‘gender transition movement’ – which it certainly is – but it is a clumsy term for – which ‘feminism’ is actually a far better name.

    If the kind of feminists Karen describes so well…can make a great deal out of trying to reclaim the word ‘slut’ – (actually counter productive, in my opinion) then it certainly should be possible (and surely far better) to reclaim the word feminism for the cause of men…rather than making it a word of contempt and abuse, which is otherwise the danger, as things stand at the moment.

    Surely far better to mock these attitudes that we despise, by saying that they DO NOT represent feminism at all – which is the case….but rather represent “women’s rights”…which is really code for “women’s dominance”.

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    • karenwoodall · December 3, 2013

      Feminism = women’s rights = determined dominance by women over men – admittedly many women would demur and say no, they are really for equality but those women allow the ‘other’ feminists to do too much in their name which is about dominance by women over men and therefore for me feminism is a tainted and broken brand that does not and cannot ever represent equality. I refer you to my earlier posting by Girl Writes What – your good feminism, is simply the same feminism that allows funding for violence in the home to be disproprotionately delivered to women even though we know from solid and respectable research (I refer you to that which I reference in the article) that men and women suffer violence and men AND women perpetrate it. Your good feminism is the same feminism which allows funding to go disproportionately to female cancers and when men gather to help themselves they are mocked and ridiculed, again I refer you to the article in the New Statesman which you might dismiss as being by a ‘silly’ feminist but this ‘silly’ feminist is the same feminist who renders men speechless and voiceless and sees nothing wrong in that – see my article for the Saatchi and Saatchi study. I am sorry, feminism is a dirty business, watching Borgen on Saturday, where a writer/producer clearly understands the nightmare we face in achieving honesty and compassion for each other in the face of feminism be it good bad or indifferent, reminded me why the next stage is so NOT about feminism. Interdependence and the reletionship between us will never be allowed to flourish until we name what has been done to us. And I for one am naming it. You may not like it, that’s ok, I don’t need you or anyone else to like it, this is my journey, on a road that I know that others like me will travel. Very best K

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      • Woodman59 · December 3, 2013

        Karen – you are absolutely right that much feminism has become a dirty business…and it is FANTASTIC that you have been able to call it out in this way. That is the only means by which we stand any chance of dealing with the problem.

        However, my contention is that when feminism takes this direction…IT NO LONGER EXISTS AS FEMINISM, and we must identify what it has now become…which you also in fact do very clearly – time after time.

        Distancing ourselves from feminism which has ‘gone wrong’ (become un’balanced’…and so turned into female dominance) can be a VERY painful process, as it invariably involves important relationships with people we will have become close to…having to distance oneself from perhaps active working colleagues etc. Warren Farrell, for example, describes how he enjoyed what he felt was a good friendship with Gloria Steinem…which finished abruptly when he started speaking out about men as victims as well as women…and has never heard from her since.

        Girl Writes What, by the way…simply wouldn’t exist as a an anti-feminist spokesperson without the work of Warren Farrell. So insofar as you have been influenced by GWW, you owe that to Warren, who for many years now has been devoted to supporting men and boys, to try and correct the terrible imbalance that has developed as a result of the complete misunderstanding of the male perspective – by just about all of us!

        I’m not yet in a position to write to Warren about the recovery of the term feminism as the best way to describe his vision of the future – I want to have absorbed his work more deeply first – but I do hope to do so. He may agree that feminism as a ‘brand name’ has been too badly damaged…or he may not. As pretty much single-handedly the ‘father’ of all the work we are now doing, it will be interesting to hear his perspective, and I can most certainly sympathise with his own need for a considerable period of distance.

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      • karenwoodall · December 3, 2013

        Woodman, you never fail to make me smile. Thank you for telling me who I owe what to and why. I am pleased you are reading about Warren’s work and that you plan to write to him, thats your journey and I uphold your right to travel your path. When you hear from him perhaps you might want to write your own blog to discuss the issues you discover on your way. In terms of whether Warrne agrees or doesn’t agree that feminism is a broken brand, frankly, I don’t care, I need neither Warren, GWW or anyone else to give approval to my thinking and my process. The world is not made up of leaders and followers, it is made up of independent sovereign beings who are free to choose what they do when they do it and speak about it how and when they like. You are clearly finding your way on your own journey Woodman, let Warren help you but don’t fall at his feet, he is not the father of anything other than the journey he made on the road that he trod and those of us who tread the same or similar paths do not need to idolise him or anyone else in order to explore the world as it unfolds for us. Sure we can reference the people who have made important discoveries but we don’t have to wait for their permission or blessing to travel on our own way and I am sure any of those people on similar journeys would tell you exactly the same thing. Best wishes K

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      • Woodman59 · December 3, 2013

        Hi Karen,

        I’m glad I make you smile! Though hmm, I guess I’m a bit old-fashioned in regards to other things. I think it is extremely important to acknowledge the incredible contribution particular individuals have made, and thereby, their seniority and influence within a certain field such as this.

        I’m not suggesting that – they then cannot be wrong, or that their approval is needed…just that it is a foundational premise of integrity that it is necessary to give credit where credit is due.

        I suppose I both profoundly agree and disagree about leadership as you present it. I both believe that it is extremely necessary, so much so that the dearth of good leadership is a fundamental problem throughout society, and also that that leadership responsibility should be dispersed as fully throughout society as possible.

        Robert Bly has written a book called “The Sibling Society” – that the vertical dimension (identified by feminists, in particular, of course – with male authority) has been lost and that we are all (horizontal) equals now. This, in my view – is disastrous.
        One can see, for example…in an all female feminist meeting that everything is arranged to appear non-hierarchical and equalist…but scratch beneath the surface in the right way and you soon start to see who is actually in charge and setting and controlling the agenda. The ‘non-leadership’ is far more dangerous when it is disguised like this, in my opinion.

        As for running a Woodman blog myself – I simply would not have time. An occasional contribution to your profound discussion is the best contribution I can give at the moment, if that is OK, and I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity to do so.

        Like

      • karenwoodall · December 3, 2013

        anytime woodman, you know the boundaries by now K

        Like

    • Paul Stavely · December 3, 2013

      How in God’s name can one ‘reclaim the word feminism for the cause of men’? It’s a bit like suggesting we reclaim the word vegetarianism for the cause of the Meat Marketing Board.

      Like

      • Woodman59 · December 3, 2013

        Hi Paul – I’m glad you said that…it is exactly the point, in my opinion.

        Any discrimination against or disadvantage of, men – is PRECISELY a feminist issue – every bit as much as any discrimination against, or disadvantage of, women.

        That is EXACTLY the PURPOSE and MEANING of true feminism!

        And nothing else IS…

        Anything which does NOT have this principle as its lodestone – is NOT actually feminism…HOWEVER many people (men or women) may claim it to be – sorry!

        We’re taught not to judge a book by its cover (feminism, in this instance) – but by its contents (female dominance)…right?

        Let’s not be fooled here!

        Like

      • karenwoodall · December 3, 2013

        How is the dominance of men a feminist issue Woodman? True feminism as you term it, what is that about in your view?

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      • Paul Stavely · December 4, 2013

        I’m sorry, Woodman, but that is complete and utter bollocks. Quite why you need to convince yourself that feminism is something that it is not and never has been is beyond me. I’m kind of lost for words…

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  7. Anonymous · December 3, 2013

    Hi Karen

    I was wondering what kind of environment has led to this state of affairs.
    Perhaps feminism was born out of fear of man’s dominance. In Eastern cultures men tend to dominate and overpower women, placing them firmly in a subserviant role. Women are only slowly emerging from this oppression. (e.g. A young Indian girl was shot because she wanted to attend school). A husband will freely return to his wife for sex but will not necessarily take any part in the upbringing of his children nor apparently feel any compulsion to do so.
    In Western cultures are women still fighting this war in their minds? Do they believe that if they don’t fight they will once again be oppressed by men? Is she exploiting a vulnerability, an idea that she is one step away from being overrun by male needs?
    Of course it’s very difficult to help someone who feels vulnerable.

    Kind regards

    Like

    • Woodman59 · December 3, 2013

      Hi Anonymous – thank you SO much for your sensitive and understanding comment.

      Should a man goes to a feminist meeting in the West – this is EXACTLY the underlying fear the women have, I would say.

      One has to be extremely sensitive in this environment – something many man would struggle to be. Over and again women have experienced that in such situations that men, with their assumption of masculine confidence, expressed in the form of greater interruptions, and their louder voices…will automatically (if almost entirely unaware of this) aim to dominate. I have seen this happens SO many times in observing discussions by couples where the woman is forced to defer to the man even though she knows he is wrong about an issue.

      (I’m sure Karen has as seen this umpteen times well – although it can go both ways, of course).

      The woman is therefore generally forced into a position where (in order to maintain her integrity) she has to start to subvert the man in a devious manner.

      So, in a way…in our own ignorance – we men have brought this situation on ourselves. This is how the problem you raise has come about.

      We can only undo this when we men start to acknowledge the problems the way we have typically been relating to women have caused. We don’t have to beat ourselves up…we can be deeply sympathetic to the reasons for male attitudes…this has been the work of Warren Farrell – but we do need to make changes…in order for the women to become reassured…and feel confident enough to start to lay down arms, and end the gender war that has been started (known as feminism!).

      We could start to do this in mixed groups all over the country, although I am advised that it is important to have some separate space in which to develop our consciousness about these matters first.

      This would very much compliment Karen’s wonderful ‘whole family’ work.

      Like

  8. nick234678 · December 3, 2013

    Just to add another repetition of previously aired views here, I think it is natural that some people take sides. Good debate needs that.

    And men’s and women’s rights groups have certainly taken sides. QED. And, again to repeat, feminism is a term that has plainly gone in at least two directions because the word has mixed into it two aspects: women’s rights and equalism.

    And, to repeat again, the term “gender equalism” or something like it might help us rescue the equalism for both men and women.

    To read more of my thinking through this still complicated stuff, go to equalism.org.uk. And click on the two feminism and patriarchy blogs there.

    Like

  9. Paul Stavely · December 4, 2013

    I thought Nick C and Woodman might like this video I came across tonight. Some more of those damned extremists who don’t seem to accept your definition of feminism… It really is lovely.

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    • karenwoodall · December 4, 2013

      thank you Paul a disturbing and distressing depiction of the way in which feminism has driven the polarisation of debate. I am not anti abortion, neither however am I anti religious beliefs, neither am I anti lesbian and gay people. I accept that in Argentina, where catholicism rules, the anti abortion debate will be central to feminist arguments. I accept also that lesbianism and homosexual rights will be wrapped up with the pro abortion rights movement, I know that movement and the anti abortion movement to be particular emotionally charged. However, what I see here are young people engaged in a war in which their intellectual selves are rendered impotent as their emotional rage behaviours take hold. Part of youth is to overthrow the old and bring in the new but in my view, spitting at men, spray painting their gentials and performing oral sex on each other in front of them is a demonstration of something more than a desire for equality. What I see in the faces of the men who are defending the cathedral is fear, determination to protect it and each other and yes, their way of life which is no doubt based upon religious beliefs about men and women. Is there another way of changing things? I think so. What worries and concerns me most when I watch this is the way in which the no holds barred approach of modern day feminism has been normalised and given permission to be celebrated. Who gives permission for those men who are standing there quietly to hold their views? We don’t and I am afraid, when I consider this, that the length and breadth of feminism in our world has taken us to a place where their views and only theirs are allowed to exist. I consider it to have taken a cult like hold on the consciousness across the globe and it is not about equality or the relationships between us.

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      • karenwoodall · December 4, 2013

        Woodman you say this…

        Karen has asked me to explain how the oppression and abuse of men can possibly be a feminist issue?

        The reason for her asking this question must lie in the fact that the driving force behind the feminist movement that she has experienced has been EXACTLY about the oppression and abuse of men, and others of you also agree.

        I say this :

        I experienced feminism as having oppressed ME, that’s when I abandoned it and took off the glasses. I knew for years it had treated men badly and I still fell for the arguments that a) men deserved and b) if you gave them an inch men would take a mile and so I kept on colluding with it, shame on me for not having done something sooner. It was when I recognised how feminism had oppressed ME that I finally gave it up. When I realised how it had preyed on my difficult upbringing and the way that men had treated me and made me believe that all men were like that. It took my young years and made me distrusting of men, it made me believe that independence was the only right way to be and that relationships with men were risky. Now I accept that this is my journey and that other women experience things differently but the more I pulled at the threads the more I unravelled the way in which feminism had infected my ability to recover from my life experiences. Think about it, as a young person you are harmed and then a group of people tell you the people who harmed you are from one half of the human race and that ALL of that half of the human race is harmful to you and will harm you at any and every opportunity. Your young mind is fed poisonous rhetoric about how you have the right to defend yourself from these harmful beings, how you have the right to harm them in return. If you are in relationship with these harmful beings you are seen as betraying your half of the human race, you are warned again and again and again, through stories, myths, scare tactics and more that dalliances with these harmful beings will harm you and even when you think you are not being harmed you will be. Around the globe as you grow up you are shown how your half of the human race is good and the other half is bad and harmful, repeatedly you are shown how your side is good and the other side is bad. You are given permission to fight these harmful beings by papers which call for killing of men and raging torrents of vitriol which are spewed regularly. As you grow older, the raging torrents become normalised and spread their tentacles through all walks of life so that one day, as you watch a man crawl after a woman for a drop of beer on an advert, you realise that the harmful half of the human race has been beaten to a pulp and whether they are harmful or not, their power is reduced by collective power of the normalisation of rage used by your half to keep the harmful half in its place. And then you look at your six month old grandson destined when he is 12 years old to be deemed harmful to women by your side of the human race simply for being born male. And the question that lingers in your mind is……will my relationship with this small helpless creature also be shaped by the bitterness of women who came out of those generations whose desire for revenge normalised damage to generations of young people. How much longer, I reasoned, was I prepared to let my rage against those who had harmed me be fed by feminist normalisation of it? I gave up feminism when I realised that it had prevented me from healing. When I did I healed. This is not about feminist oppression of men it is about feminism per se. Its not about equality, it is about rage, rights and revenge.

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      • Woodman59 · December 4, 2013

        Wow, wow, wow – is all I can say…for me this is a particularly powerful, and perhaps your most powerful piece – to date.

        I absolutely agree with you that this type of feminism that has come to predominate (I know you would still want to say ALL feminism) is HIGHLY damaging to women themselves.

        The most interesting woman of all (and there were several) that I met at the feminist workshop was actually a friend of the organiser that didn’t attend during the day, and that I only met in the pub afterwards…and who, though fully feminine, is someone who is starting to play football at quite a high level – with a men’s team.

        However she really was VERY reluctant to identify herself as feminist.

        But as I said – maybe it is the Woodman effect, but immediately I spoke – a number of women themselves began to question some of the factors which would tend towards the views you outline.

        Faced with someone like me, who has dedicated his life particularly to helping women who have suffered at the hands of men (I don’t even necessarily have to talk about the work I have done…it must just come over) the kinds of perceptions you spoke about – should they exist…just simply fall away.

        And the more these women are given opportunity safely to engage with other guys who are both compassionate and perceptive and amusing – and come to know that it is not an act (which is a common suspicion) then more the whole theoretical construct you describe…will dissolve.

        Is there any other way to achieve it?

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      • karenwoodall · December 5, 2013

        I think you are kidding yourself a bit Woodman and not really understanding the way in which feminist ideology works. It is not just a matter of exposing women to men who care about them, when the mind is convinced that men are dangerous then the mind spends its time looking for the tricks. For example, I am going to analyse your post here using feminist analysis….

        The most interesting woman of all (and there were several) that I met at the feminist workshop was actually a friend of the organiser that didn’t attend during the day, and that I only met in the pub afterwards…and who, though fully feminine,(THIS BLOKE THINKS HE HAS THE RIGHT TO MAKE STATEMENTS ABOUT HOW FEMININE WOMEN ARE, GO CAREFUL AROUND HIM, HE IS CLEARLY USING PATRIARCHAL VALUE SYSTEMS TO CATEGORISE WOMEN) is someone who is starting to play football at quite a high level – with a men’s team. (THIS BLOKE THINKS WOMEN SHOULDN’T PLAY FOOTBALL, HE IS PROBABLY ANTI LESBIAN AND THINKS ALL WOMEN FOOTBALL PLAYERS ARE DYKES.)

        However she really was VERY reluctant to identify herself as feminist. (SO SHE WAS THE MOST INTERESTING BECAUSE SHE WAS FULLY FEMININE BUT DIDN’T WANT TO IDENTIFY HERSELF AS A FEMINIST, HE CAN COPE WITH THE FOOTBALL BIT THEN, THAT’S JUST AN ANOMALY).

        But as I said – maybe it is the Woodman effect, but immediately I spoke – a number of women themselves began to question some of the factors which would tend towards the views you outline. (THIS BLOKE CLEARLY HAS SOME KIND OF SAVIOUR IDENTITY GOING ON, HE THINKS HE CAN SAVE WOMEN FROM THEMSELVES).

        Faced with someone like me, who has dedicated his life particularly to helping women who have suffered at the hands of men (I don’t even necessarily have to talk about the work I have done…it must just come over) the kinds of perceptions you spoke about – should they exist…just simply fall away.(ANY MAN WHO HAS DEDICATED HIS LIFE TO HELPING WOMEN HAS TO HAVE SOME KIND OF PROBLEM, HE IS PROBABLY USING HIS POSITION TO GET INTO BED WITH WOMEN – MEN DON’T HELP WOMEN UNLESS THERE IS A HIDDEN MOTIVE – USUALLY SEXUAL).

        And the more these women are given opportunity safely to engage with other guys who are both compassionate and perceptive and amusing – and come to know that it is not an act (which is a common suspicion) then more the whole theoretical construct you describe…will dissolve. (THIS BLOKE THINKS HE IS SOMETHING DOESN’T HE, STEER CLEAR OF HIM HE IS WRAPPING UP HIS DESIRE TO HELP WOMEN AS SOMETHING ITS NOT, ITS JUST ANOTHER PATRIACHAL TACTIC TO MAKE SURE HE IS ON TOP.)

        I would argue that if you posted your post above on the feminist boards on Mumsnet – Mumsnet for gods sake, the cosiest club on the planet, where your kind of feminism lives – you would get exactly what I have just written above as a response.

        I just don’t think you are being very realistic Woodman. I appreciate you have your experience of feminism but I cannot see any answers to the issue by continuing this folly of trying to persuade feminists.

        Here is a challenge.

        If you can find me a feminist who is persuaded by your argument that her feminism is not the right kind of feminism and that the right kind of feminism if your kind of feminism I will give her and you a guest spot on this blog.

        Over to you. Don’t be pained by my analysis, I no longer use the lens through which I analysed your words and in doing so I get closer and stay closer to the people I am helping. Feminism is a constructed analysis which requires a set of beliefs about men and women. I no longer use it, it offends me.

        K

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      • Woodman59 · December 6, 2013

        Hi Karen,

        That was a very helpful reminder, and I’m not at all put out by it – quite the reverse, as you can see. I was fearing the worst on the day, and very nervous – but actually came away feeling quite elated at the strength of the positive response I did receive.

        I actually believe I might even have got a yet more positive response – but felt on reflection that the majority of the women were in fact desperately afraid to be SEEN as being as sympathetic to, or interested in, the perspective of men…as they actually felt inside – although I am sure a lot of ambivalence might be involved as well.

        Perhaps there was some superficial politeness masking real anger underneath – but I didn’t get any sense of that, at least on this occasion.The ones who showed most hostility did it by pointedly ignoring me – or by making excuses for having any follow-up contact. Pretty mild stuff, to be honest.

        In terms of overall strategy in this war…neither side can win. The gender feminists (insofar as that is who they are) know they currently have the upper hand in terms of policy making…but they are also deeply aware that they lack popular support – and in fact are deeply resented and despised by many of the women they claim to represent, but who nevertheless find their presence useful, anyway…in order to maintain the gains women as a whole feel they have made.

        So feminism isn’t going to go away…however much fuss we may make – it is here to stay. For us menit is a case of adapt or die.

        But there has to be some middle ground. That middle ground, I suggest – is equity feminism.

        We men need to gain the trust of women by showing them we now are starting to get feminism….but only a feminism that treats US – as of equal value to THEM. We cannot expect them to drop being feminists…but only to shift to a less extreme form that rejects any notion of inherent female superiority. As Warren Farrell says…the (gender) feminists made out that God could be female – but the refused to accept that the devil could be female…too. They focused only on the light side of women, and the shadow side of men.

        We all know that each has both. That is equity feminism. This is not a new notion – it has all been clearly laid out by equity feminists such as Christina Hoff Sommers and others. It is not difficult to learn. Probably the hardest thing to learn – is how we men have been severely disadvantaged by the masculine role we have been socialized into since birth, and are so proud of – and that it is necessary to set that aside and allow ourselves to be properly emotional and vulnerable beings once more.

        As Warren says – that masculine role (and its female differentiation) allowed us all to become evolutionarily the most successful species on the planet…but the very success of that role now threatens the future of the planet – and the women sense that and need us to adapt very quickly because of the consequences otherwise.

        So both sides need to adapt, and equity feminism – is the place in the middle where we can all meet, I suggest.

        Let’s see who can get the hang of this first – the men…or the women?

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      • karenwoodall · December 6, 2013

        I think you got it in one there Woodman, the women seemed fo be interested but were afraid to be SEEn to be interested. That is a fact. As a feminist you cannot be seen to be interested in men or mens wellbeing to any extent without being made to feel you are betraying your sisters, the cause of womens rights must come first at all times to think in any other way is simply not allowed. i think you are somewhat deluded to think that by showing women that men ‘get’ feminism will somehow change anything but thats your journey. And equity feminism in my view is just feminism with an effort to be kind to men tagged onto it. No, for me the world that I am now working in outside of the feminist paradigm is the richest seam of possibilities I have ever encountered, getting me closer to families and helping me connect and make differences at a deeper level than ever before. I feel human again and real.

        Just some additional thoughts to finish off this thread.. I am sure Warren Farrell and Christina hoff Summers and others are comfortable in their equity feminist skin, I think much of what people like that have to say is hugely interesting and informative and I use it to develop my own thinking. However, I dont, in doing that, see them as being leaders or shapers of my own thinking and I dont see them as having all the answers. The reason I will not go near feminism as an ideology again is not because I dont believe in equity, equality or even women’s rights, its becuase of the damage I have seen it do to too many people, including myself. Like Marxism, feminism requires one to subscribe to someone else’s constructed belief system and to follow that rigidly. I am not interested in doing that. I want to live my life and work with others as a sovereign individual working with other sovereign individuals from a place of knowing myself as deeply as I can and being as honest and open and transparent with the people I work with about who I am. That is all I am interested in. Analysing people through the eyes of long dead women or women whose time has been and gone or even men and women in the here and now is not my journey. I draw on elements of understanding from as wide a range of thinkers as possible but I distil, gel and the filter my understanding of those around me through my own lens which I try to make as transparent as possible so that people understand what my lens is made up from. I want to be human in relationship with other humans, located in this time and this space which will, soon, be gone as others who come after me bring their own ways of being to the world. I know I am a tiny little flicker of a flame in a tiny little moment in history, let me do the very best I can as I pass through because I may not pass this way again and let what I do be human and kind.

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    • Woodman59 · December 4, 2013

      Hi all,

      Karen has asked me to explain how the oppression and abuse of men can possibly be a feminist issue?

      The reason for her asking this question must lie in the fact that the driving force behind the feminist movement that she has experienced has been EXACTLY about the oppression and abuse of men, and others of you also agree.

      However, feminism was not always thus. Prior to the 1980’s this particular aspect of feminism (born out of an understandable feeling of revenge for the oppression of women, as identified by Anonymous, earlier in the discussion) was present, but a relatively minor strand, and took a back seat.

      Since then, however, what is no known as ‘gender feminism’, which has incorporated a Marxist type perspective that the majority of women have existed as a servile class under the oppressive rule of the dominant male ruling class who need to be deposed – has developed within academia.

      This is the basis for the “good woman project” and the “bad man project” that Karen has written about.

      As mainstream religion has declined over this period, this basic identification of “good” and “evil” has allowed the movement to take on VERY strong religious connotations.

      This is a direct reversal of the traditional monotheistic perspective where unfortunately man was seen as inherently good (the innocence of Adam) and having been dragged down by the inherently evil woman (the sexual nature of Eve).

      However the majority of gender feminists would not be particularly overtly religious, and so not recognize what has happened.

      Karen’s description of her “deconversion” from this type of feminism illustrates very dramatically the cult-like nature of this type of feminism, which paints the world in such ‘black and white’ terms.

      The two main targets of gender feminism, in its drive to overturn what is deemed as irredeemably oppressive male authority, are the traditional patriarchal religions, and the traditional family. Since traditional religion is in overall decline anyway (with the exception of certain places such as seen in the video) the main target has been the traditional family. From its base of academic respectability, gender feminism has infiltrated all the professions to do with children – especially, of course, Social Services.

      From this position it has been able to have the power to ‘educate’ politicians and the judiciary into perceptions which cleverly transform ‘protection of children’ (who can argue with that?) into policies which propel women into dominant positions and destroy the influence of men.

      Since even the most powerful men (economically, socially) may have children and grandchildren…they are vulnerable on THIS basis – where they would be less vulnerable otherwise.

      This, I believe – is the situation we are all finding ourselves in.

      How do we deal with it?

      I think we have to acknowledge that forming an ideological brotherhood against an ideological sisterhood is simply going to create the kind of situation pictured so graphically by the video.

      The alternative is to create a joint movement of men and women who realize that the domination of either male or female is highly damaging to both and especially the children.

      This is what the earlier feminism prior to the 80’s was largely about.

      If we want to call this current movement something else…then fine, if we can come up with an alternative convincing term – but personally I don’t think there is one. I personally have begun to meet women who identify as feminists whose perception of what feminism should be is much more the “equity feminism” of the pre 80’s period than the gender feminism that has largely taken over. I can promise you that there is a huge ideological division within the current feminist movement between these two camps which has been papered over but which is ready to fall apart if those of us who are so concerned about what has happened are willing to embrace the equity feminist principles on which these women’s lives are based.

      Things are NOT black and white – the siren calls of women’s domination are seductive, and to some extent each of these women will have been tempted by, and to some extent absorbed some of the tendencies towards domination, just as we men, too, will have elements of domination (consciously or unconsciously) within our psyches, handed down to us by our fathers and fore-fathers and perpetuated within the culture.

      We need to sit down sit by side and work these things out together, for our mutual good, and that of the children.

      Karen, THAT is true feminism, in my view – but I don’t really mind WHAT we call it, as long as it is happening! It is not, currently, happening anywhere in the UK, as far as I am aware.

      I am ready to be involved in such a gathering in London (preferably South or Central London) next year, but personally struggle even in terms of financial resources sufficient to travel…so would need some assistance, there.

      I’m aware it’s been an unusually long post – but thank you for giving me an opportunity to air these views, which I hope will be helpful to the debate.

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      • karenwoodall · December 4, 2013

        Its already happening Woodman, you are already part of it in this discussion about our relational workd and what gets in the way if that, its just not called feminism!!!! I am personally not convinced it needs a name, for me its about building a fair, just and interdependent world in which our mutual need for kindness, care and support of each other drives us towards a cooperative relationship in which our differences are recognised, acknowledged and celebrated. Thats called equality, its not called feminism!

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      • karenwoodall · December 4, 2013

        Woodman, my deconversion as you put it is not from ‘this type’ of feminism, it is from FEMINISM, full stop. I do not typify, categorise or distinguish, there is no good and bad feminism there is just FEMINISM, please will you allow me the right to express and experience that.

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      • Woodman59 · December 4, 2013

        That’s all very well Karen, for you personally (perhaps not the best phrase) in the sense that you have been very traumatized by your particular experience of feminism – and need very much to recover from that.

        However, it isn’t the best starting point for peace talks with people who may well become sympathetic to our plight – but who DO have a genuine commitment to equality in gender relations that they would (very reasonably and justifiably) describe as some form of feminism.

        It will be our task to point out to them how some feminism has become the horrible thing we are all experiencing. Some of them genuinely don’t realize the extent of what is happening. If they are more academic, single, perhaps gay, perhaps somewhat removed from the reality of family life, that is quite likely to be the case.

        In some situations, there will also be some degree of wilful blindness, I do agree. But unless we engage them in this way – how will they ever understand how we feel?

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      • karenwoodall · December 4, 2013

        They know how you feel Woodman, they just don’t care!!! Trust me, I havent been in this game twilling around you know, I have met them, worked with them, struggled with them, argued with them and I risk my very reputation by writing about them…they just dont care, full stop.

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      • Woodman59 · December 4, 2013

        That’s what I hoped to hear, Karen – you’re so important to this whole thing.

        But please, I am one traumatized guy like all of us here – I can’t do this on my own.

        Please contact me harryw(at)harry2u.com if you are willing to be a group of us wanting to start to try to talk to feminist identified women about these issues.

        I’ve already taken the first steps, and had a genuinely positive immediate response from quite a few at a feminist workshop I went to at Middlsex Uni recently. The women would not be able to knock my feminist credentials, and they did not even try. And this is an equal opps age now. That’s in our favour.

        I am sure this initial step can be followed up. The women who are NOT interested – will not even bother to turn up. Even better…we will be left with the ones who DO – for you to meet, Karen!

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      • karenwoodall · December 4, 2013

        I would be delighted to meet anyone who wants to work interdepenendtly towards equalities Harry, I do not however want to meet feminists or anyone who identifies as feminist with the goal of persuading them to listen to men’s needs. If you can find feminists who want to do that then that is what works for you. For me, the future is about working with men and women outside of the feminist paradigm to find new interdependent strategies for supporting families. i just have no interest at all in persuading feminists to do anything. But I hope you have a lot of good experience in following your path. K

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      • Woodman59 · December 5, 2013

        Your perspective is appreciated and understood, Karen.

        However, I think the emphasis will be on, first;

        a) getting everyone present to honestly express some of their needs…quite apart from whether they happen to be male or female – and then only secondarily;

        (b) consider whether it would help them personally – if the needs of men and women in general – were to be treated with equal balance.

        Then finally;

        (c) we might be able to begin to talk about some of the imbalances.

        How does that sound?

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      • karenwoodall · December 5, 2013

        it sounds great on paper Woodman, the test is to take it out there and see what people think and feel about it.

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  10. Blake · December 4, 2013

    As for myself, I tried for years like Woodman to defend feminism for the longest time. But the more that I have thought about it, the more damage I have seen it do to people, the more I have decided that it could not have any good reason to exist. I know exactly what Woodman is saying, and I am aware of all the reasons why one would want to believe it a positive thing, but once one begins to perceive the lies, the deception, the manipulation of the press, the twisted politics and economics of this whole business of feminism, you begin to feel that it is just plain wicked and repulsive. More frightening is that it preys on the moral sense of innocent (green) persons whose heart is in the right place but whose knowledge and wisdom are not sufficiently advanced to understand what is really happening.

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  11. ChrisTR · December 4, 2013

    Hi Karen

    The gender bias aspect of my journey through the family courts to re-establish contact with my two young children (now 11 and 6) was not something I had realy considered until I started reading your blog a few months ago.

    For the life of me, I could not understand while, as a litigant in person, I had great difficulty in showing the court that I was a loving father and that it was in my children’s best interests that I should have direct contact with them as I always had had a perfectly normal, loving relationship with them prior to the separation from my ex-wife. It did not seem to matter to the family court. The so-called “paramountcy principle” was not centered around my children but around my ex-wife. Let me explain: my ex-wife filed “allegations of harm and domestic violence” at the conciliation hearing, in fact, she filed this the day before the hearing. Apart from being shocked at this tactic, I could not understand why she would do this. The judge immediately instructed CAFCASS to carry out an investigation (“wishes and feelings”) and this was done some five months later (due to errors on the part of the court and CAFCASS there were delays). It took me some time to realise that my ex-wife was playing the system to her advantage, playing the “vulnerable woman card” if you like. Presenting herself as stereotypically vulnerable and me as a “manipulative and emotionally abusive” man who had committed domestic violence (no evidence was given to support this because none exists, except the bizarre statements of my ex-wife) she was able to secure legal aid and also set in motion a course of events that has resulted in my and my relatives’ complete exclusion from the lives of my children.

    Worryingly, at one hearing, where my ex-wife had made an application for “leave to remove”, the judge explained to me that if I went to a final hearing to contest this, I would most likely lose. I said to the judge that I found it hard to believe that any family court in this country would think it in my children’s best interests that they be removed from this jurisdiction as it would mean that there would be no chance of any opportunity for us to restore the relationship we had had prior to separation. The judge paused and then said there were many cases where “leave to remove” had been granted and that I could check these at the local library. I later found out that “leave to remove” is nearly always granted because there is a generally held belief in the family courts that if the mother’s wish is not acceded to, then the children will suffer as a result of the perceived stress and duress experienced by the mother at not being granted “leave to remove”. This is a crazy situation, where the rights of the children are circumvented by the wishes of the mother!

    I listened to the Radio 4 “Thought for the Day” today with Anne Atkins. She mentions John Hemming MP stating “that the rights of the child are paramount and family ties bear no substantial weight. In essence, families count for nothing in the modern family court”. She goes on to say, “I believe we perpetuate a false dichotomy: a child’s welfare is not at odds with its family. We should never weigh the rights of a child against the rights of adults. It can never be an even contest. Rather, we should weigh the child’s right against itself, the child’s right to family against the child’s right to safety”. In my opinion, this should be the lodestar by which the family courts should operate in relation to non-resident parents, those parents who are excluded from the lives of their children by the family courts and those mothers (and some fathers) who, for whatever reason, are unable to see the long-term emotional and psychological damage they are causing to their children by placing them in a hostage situation where they have no choice but to align with the resident parent and alienate the non-resident parent.

    I have often heard the argument that the family courts are not equipped to deal with such “implacable hostility” and “parental alienation”, and that it is not possible to penalise obdurate mothers (and a minority of fathers). The support for the mother prevails yet again, while our children are condemned to a situation from which they cannot escape and will highly likely result in them experiencing personal, emotional and psychological problems in their teens and young adult life. We need a drastic overhaul of the culture and processes within the family courts and a move away from the overt support given to such resident parents, who flout their responsibility to their children and devalue the equally valuable contribution of the non-resident parent to their children’s lives.

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  12. karenwoodall · December 4, 2013

    Chris, this is exactly why We do what we do at the Clinic, because we know that good fathers are remoevd from the lives of their children by a system which is designed to do so – and then they are blamed for it and chased for child maintenance. Any father and some mothers too risks this, during separation there are no exceptions because this is how the UK system works. And yes, this system has the opportunity to create alienation built into it hence my drive to create change and highlight what feminist designed legislation has done. Sending you my support K

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  13. Anthony · December 4, 2013

    Hi Chris TR. U r learning exactly the same lessons about the Family Courts (& yr ex) as i and thousands of others learnt in the 1990’s. We went through exactly the same curve of utter incredulity that ‘this can’t be happening….can it?’ Eg absolutely nothing has changed in the FC’s…or certainly from your experience. How depressing is that!!! 😦

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    • karenwoodall · December 4, 2013

      very very very depressing Anthony. I work daily with dads from all walks of life going through the exact same thing. Nothing protects dads from this because the system was built to do exactly what it does, rid families of fathers. Families NEED Fathers was, I would imagine, started on the understanding of what was happening in the early seventies….well, to date, the only thing that has changed since then is the Children Act 1989 and look at the pickle that got us into. And what underpins all of this? One word. Feminism. One sentence. The single parent and domestic violence lobby. One intention. To ensure women’s rights on separation and to give and maintain control over children’s relationships with the external world to mothers. Its no good pretending otherwise. A gender analysis demonstrates it over and over again. This isn’t about equality and it isn’t about children’s wellbeing, its about women’s rights full stop. Shame no-one other than Erin Pizzey ever had the gumption to say it sooner. We have all been fooled.

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  14. Anthony · December 4, 2013

    I fear that you are pretty much spot on Karen!

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  15. Blake · December 4, 2013

    I remember the time leading up to my first court hearing well. I had to wait so long for it, and counted down the days to a resolution that would be in the best interests of the children. I was not nervous about it, but looked forward to it because for me it meant that things would once again be okay, and that the children would soon stop suffering. I just assumed things would be fair, and that when I went into court, we would all come out with happy faces.

    But what happened that day was nothing less than shocking. The lies of instructed solicitors, the deception of the court, the manipulation of court officers during mediation, the false promises that things would get better, never mind the several useless directions hearings that came thereafter – all of which was intended to cause delay and normalize the idea that my children needed no father.

    I had never been so shocked in my life than coming out of that first court hearing. And every court hearing that followed almost left me completely speechless – the level of incompetence and malice (I can’t say for sure what the balance of the two was, but I tend to think it was more malice) involved was just so high.

    It took me a while, and lots of research and discussion with others, but I gradually learned that what was motivating all this was not just politics, but an even more disgusting machinery, which Karen calls feminism but which others here would probably prefer to call by its proper name, that is a hatred of the idea of the father.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · December 4, 2013

      Read some of what Liz Trinder, Mavis Mclean and Joan Hunt have to say about dads and the need for them………..feminists all…..father dismissive, women’s rights academics who dominate all research into family separation, Then read Harriet Harman’s piece called The Family Way from the nineties, along with Carol Smart and her gang…you will find, each and everyone of them to be self proclaimed feminists, all writing about the family of the future where fathers are unnecessary….When I have time I will post up some links, if you really want to know what feminism has done to fatherhood in this country you are in for a treat. K

      Like

      • Paul · December 5, 2013

        Would like to see those links, Karen. It’s important that this information is disseminated so people can see for themselves the damage they have wreaked. Timpson, the Children’s Minister, might start to have second thoughts on those his mates in the civil service choose to populate his family policy committees as so-called experts. He ought to be challenged anyway.

        Like

      • karenwoodall · December 5, 2013

        Will get them up over the weekend Paul.

        Like

      • Paul · December 6, 2013

        You’ll find that the origins of aggressive feminism stem from extremists in the United States. I was given an education into this long ago by an American friend, my boss actually, with whom I worked around 1980, in New York. The likes of our dear Southall Black Sisters have nothing on their extreme American counterparts. I learned that some American women hated men, truly hated them with no bones made about it at all. This hatred was worked up into appropriate theory that the likes of Trinder et al have latched on to. We see its effects throughout social policy today but the roots of her social policy advocacy lie very much in the earlier origins of the extreme U.S. feminist movement.

        Like

    • Woodman59 · December 4, 2013

      Hi Blake,

      It is exactly that – and I have tried to explain the reasons behind it in my last post. The architects of this policy believe that there are actually zero good men…that even us gentle types are essentially in the business of manipulating and controlling women.

      Therefore – ALL of us men have to be reduced to a servile class. The Family Courts are the main weapon, followed up by parental alienation. It is a literally murderous attack on us (and our children) – but done in the belief that men as a whole are responsible for all the ills on the planet – and that only female domination can now save humanity.

      This has to be spelled out to all of us so that we can collectively decide whether these ideas are correct or not. (Obviously they are not – but many men will be inclined to have a pretty derogatory opinion of the majority of men, and see the majority of women as being better human beings…thus lending a kind of moral support to this point of view).

      This is why it is not a war in any usual sense – but nevertheless…as ever, peace talks ARE required. On line, in this forum is OK – but NO substitute for a physical gathering of 50/50 (or practical approximation) of women and men to talk these issues out in detail. Only THEN will we have a platform to take to the judiciary so as to review what they have been taught by Social Service policy makers – that presently informs their practice.

      They do actually want to do the right thing – and believe that they are. Unfortunately, as we know, their efforts have been misguided to the extent that they are generally doing 100x more harm than good. This has to be carefully and logically pointed out to them. It will take a while to undo the brain-washing…but it can be done, by this method.

      Obviously, it is extremely urgent to do so – and the Judiciary are going to take very little notice of an online forum. We have to start meeting in person, now.

      Like

      • karenwoodall · December 4, 2013

        Get organising Woodman, I will come if you do. We did this in 1999 in the north of England, it kicked off our whole reform of our family services. Over to you!

        Like

  16. CitymanMichael · December 5, 2013

    I believe (actually hope more than believe) that in a number of years into the future, society will look back in wonder at how so many of the anti-man, anti-father things happened.

    Like

    • karenwoodall · December 5, 2013

      I believe CitymanMichael, that the next phase of awareness will be about interdpendence and the relationships between us, not about our individual rights and yes, just as we look back and consider the way the world was back in the day, the ones coming up after us will look back and wonder how we could have allowed and enabled such suffering to be imposed. K

      Like

      • ChrisTR · December 6, 2013

        I agree with you, Karen. Men and women must become aware of the interdependence that exists between us. Easier said than done, I know. The first step could be, perhaps, to comprehend what are our strengths (and weaknesses) and collaborate and build on these to our mutual benefit and for the benefit of our children. Men and women need to work together, not in opposition as is all too common the case, particularly in the family courts. Especially when it comes to our children, we must all be on the same side.

        When I was a happy family man, living with my children, I was involved in the fund raising efforts of my daughter’s infant school. I was the only man on the fund-raising committee. We worked well together as a team: a number of mothers and a father who were all able to contribute in a positive and productive way with mutual respect, a listening ear, a love for our children all with the common aim of raising funds for our children’s school. Women and men together can achieve great things. We just need to see past what makes us different from each other, overcome any mistrust and misconceptions and focus on bringing about change for a better present and future for our children. Men cannot achieve this alone and neither can women, that is a given. Like you, Karen, I am asking for a change in attitudes and beliefs so that our children benefit.

        I am concerned, however, that the many women’s organisations will continue to promote segregation and this ‘us and them’ approach and will continue to invalidate the importance of the father in the family. I am not sure how we can stop this from happening, as it will involve such a huge shift away from misconceived preconceptions about men, but I am certain that if it is not stopped, many more children will ‘lose’ their fathers.

        Like

  17. nongenderbias9nongenderbias9 · December 6, 2013

    A comment here that might help Dads if they haven’t been to Court yet. If you think like I did that proclaiming your love for your children or proving your love through activities you shared or kindness or dependability you have demonstrated then you are probably mistaken. A Dad who speaks in loving terms about his children in court is considered “needy”. This term is often used in a derogatory way when refering to Dads, as if a Dad who feels close to his children is not what is needed in these circumstances. But do not fear there are ways in which you can impress the Court, and are therefor more likely to get more time with your kids. You make a good “parenting plan” and present this to Court. The Courts see then that you are in charge of the family, you portray yourself as someone who is reliable and responsible. (There is a useful American website custodyXchange which details time to the last minute). Courts want to see practical solutions for something which is essentially an emotional problem.
    Be generous with yourself and the children. You will have to be prepared to mediate/negotiate to accomodate your partner, but in so doing you are simply demonstrating what parents who are still together do……….and this essentially is what you are aiming for.
    It’s not easy, but it’s the offering of leadership and practical solutions which will favour your case.
    As for the emotinal stuff, the important stuff that we see on this website, a lot of it will fall into place once you have established the practicalites and the routines. A lot will depend on how you are able to cope with your own feelings and the positive relationship you are working on with your former partner.
    I understand that we live in a Country where prejudice against fathers as parents is rife but that doesn’t mean to say there aren’t ways in which we can’t reach better solutions in difficult circumstances.
    It is the most difficult thing to do, and sometimes nothing we do makes any difference; we end up seeing our children in a contact centre, or they are whisked away to some distant land, or we give up because we feel unwanted or dejected. You may end up in a parenting class having had no face to face contact with your children for some time, explaining to a mystified tutor how you have developed the art of “parenting by text”. It’s a recent invention you explain, born out of necessity and circumstance!!!

    Kind regards

    Like

    • karenwoodall · December 6, 2013

      Thank you non gender bias for these incredibly useful words more of which I hope you might write for us in the new year? negotiating the court process is an important skill, these tips and ideas are an excellent contribution to every parents toolbox. K

      Like

    • ChrisTR · December 6, 2013

      Hi nongenderbias9

      I am involved with our local FNF group and we help fathers negotiate the family court system in the ways you suggest and more. Many fathers who are at the start of their journey come to meetings believing that things will work out for them and their children and that if they present themselves in court as a loving father then they will see their children again. As you say, it is not that simple and it is necessary to ‘box clever’.

      Sadly, many of the fathers who come to our meetings are faced with intransigent and obdurate mothers and their barristers, who will do everything possible to ensure that the father has little, if any contact with their children. That is the shock that fathers face in the family courts. The mother pits herself against the father and despite the father trying to avoid being drawn into a war of attrition, the mother is able, with the support of the family court process, to wear him down and isolate him.

      On mediation and on working on a positive relationship with one’s former partner, if the mother refuses to mediate and claims she is afraid of the father because the father is emotionally abusive and manipulative, I think few judges will be inclined to put them in the same room as their former spouse, even in the presence of professionals. The mother is guided by her solicitor and barrister and knows that if she cites allegations of harm and domestic violence (without any supporting evidence required), she is pretty much assured that she will achieve her goal of excluding the father and will not have to face him in mediation. It will take a perceptive and robust judge to help mother see that mediation is the way forward for the benefit of the children. Yet even if the judge orders mediation, skilled professionals are required to understand exactly what is going on between the mother and father and to help them find a way forward for the benefit of the children. Sadly, there are too many variables in this process and there are no failsafes.

      Inside and outside the court, the ground yielded by the father in an attempt to find a way forward and in the hope of securing direct contact with his children can never be regained. The intransigent mother will yield nothing in return, believing that she is entitled to everything she is given. She has nothing to lose, in her mind, by not giving anything in return. She has lost sight of the damage being caused to the children and is in a position of total opposition to the father. Yet she feels justified to behave as she does because of her perception of the father. The family court is all about the mother and not about the children. Until this changes, our children will always lose out.

      Like

      • Parmenides · December 7, 2013

        Chris, there is an answer to this. It lies with the courts and ought to become a recognised feature of good practice. It is called restorative justice or restorative time with your child. It is triggered when a child’s relationship to one parent – measured in time – has become affected adversely either before or during proceedings by false allegations or a generally obdurate attitude. Good practice will require that time lost must be made good by the court in some way over and above the settled outcome. Courts have to warn off intransigent parents. If the problem is flagged courts need to be put on notice that this is a live issue which falls to them to take seriously. Your organisation ought to have dealt with this issue years ago but those holding the levers are next to useless as a campaigning organisation; too much time wasted hobnobbing with judges in the back of taxis. I don’t think FNF is much cop these days beyond pastoral care and support for individual cases; the website for instance is moribund leaving others to step into the breach.

        Like

      • karenwoodall · December 7, 2013

        Could I endorse this idea of using restoratie justice as an approach, in residence transfer cases it what we recommend, three months with the alienated parent and no contact with the alienator so that the child has a chance to recover a balance. It works well. The child is relieved of the pressure of splitting and has a chance of regaining perspective as well as restoring closeness with the parent they have rejected. As for FNF well in my view they lost the plot when they joined forces with Gingerbread in 2009 in the Kids in the Middle campaign, eschewing proper representation of their members for glory in Government politics in my view they handed back the power to The single parent lobby and sold fathers needs down the river and as a result undermined every possible change in the years to come. Sad because in the field they have some wonderful people and do wonderful things but at the top they became in my view just like all the other london charities, part of the problem rather than the solution.

        Like

      • Parmenides · December 7, 2013

        As well as art, I would like to see science go into family law, mathematics particularly. There are simple equations here which whilst arbitrary, would serve to both highlight and define the central issue which is that of how time is to be divided post-separation. Tendentious statements of accusation from parents and banal tales of everyday normality from Cafcass ought to be targetted for the bin as a strategic objective of the courts. What the court mainly needs to establish is first, the relative distribution of child care pre-separation and second, parental competence and ability to devote time thereafter. That can be reduced to questions on a court application form and would provide a primary framework for the court to make decisions. Statements of accusation need to be binned in 90% of cases and treated on an exception basis only. If domestic violence or alienation were issues they need to be dealt with proportionately. If a temperamental mother clubs a father violently, as happened to me personally, but the court disregards the incident as irrelevant to the general scheme of things, then a father who recognises some overbearing aspects of his behaviour during the relationship and endeavours to behave as a gentleman thereafter, ought to have no brake put on his filial relationships either post-separation. I am fed up with the way that the law and the court process continue to obsess with child safety and domestic violence when in 90% of cases, those issues could be safely disregarded as irrelevant factors to deciding a better, more positive future.

        The past is a different country. They did things differently there.

        Like

  18. nongenderbias9nongenderbias9 · December 7, 2013

    Hi ChrisTR

    It is good to hear you are giving support to separated parents who turn up on the doorstep of FNF. When I found myself alone and isolated through my separation FNF was a true refuge for my thoughts and feelings. I discovered I was not alone.
    It can be difficult to stay in a positve frame of mind when all the odds seem stacked against you.
    One of the traps we fall into is believing that if we behave in a “reasonable manner” then our former partner will start to play ball. You will have heard of the expression “give me an inch and I will take a mile”. This is what can happen and the more you concede in order to get what you want the more you will be taken advantage of. Far better results are obtained from asserting your own position and attending to your own needs and those of the family. The fathers who best succeed in Court seem to be those who take the lead and make the proposals. In this way you will find your former partner asking permission from you and making requests to you rather than the other way around…………………………………This may seem unfair but fairness is subjective and such an ideal can easily be manipulated by either party.
    What it is really about is control. Psychologically you are looking to retain your dignity and self-respect whilst asserting your views and opinions on all those whom you interact with.
    In the scenario you have given here. The father seems helpless almost pleading with his ex, asking permission to see his own children at her convenience. So long as father remains in this role, subserviant to his ex, she will not feel any compulsion to give him what he wants. You may have been on the receiving end of your ex angrily calling you a weak or pathetic man, even being physically violent towards you. At these times I feel it is best not to confront your ex or even plead with her or give in to her. You will gain respect from her if you directly involve yourself in planning the future and making bold steps in connecting with your childs needs in a meaningful way (e.g. Visiting the school and learning about your childs progress, offering support. If you make arrangements to visit the form teacher, then invite your ex along too. Although she may react angrily to your behaviour at first I think she will begin to value your worth as a parent and you will begin to see yourself being more readily accepted).
    As you can see I view these situations from a “behaviourist perspective”. One of the things the Courts can not do is mend our relationships. This is something we must do for ourselves and we do it by recovering our mental health, honing our parenting skills and granting ourselves unrestricted permission to pursue our goals. This does not mean we have to be ruthless and inconsiderate, quite the reverse………we have to be kind and accepting and determined and have a strong sense of self-belief. I am on this journey myself as many of us are and there are many setbacks aswell as victories. Keep up the good work

    Kind regards

    Kind regards

    Like

    • woodman1959 · December 10, 2013

      Hi all – I have had some great help through FNF this year, and am furious to hear that some of the leadership may have been taking advantage of their position more to enhance personal status by close association with the judiciary etc.

      Justice within the Court system should not be a matter of lottery as to who you get – rather it should be a matter of consistent policy.

      From what I can make out – there are long ingrained societal attitudes which militate against us as men in the Family Court. These have been added to by the gender feminism which has managed to dictate policy in this area.

      In the Victorian & Edwardian eras the basic male parental role was firstly financial, secondly disciplinarian. With over 8 million men killed and 20 million wounded in the 1st World war, the individual male was clearly regarded as pretty disposable, and the mother that was left at home – consequently, all important.

      Since that period – the male disciplinarian role has gradually decreased, while the provider role (or the potential of it) has increasingly been taken on by the State – thus weakening men’s position.

      The second layer of attitude provided by gender feminism is again to do with conflict…but this time within the home. Most likely in reaction to the disciplinarian era, the perhaps naively idealistic notion has developed that the children’s home should be an entirely conflict-free zone.

      Since any two people are different…put two people together in a relationship and there are inevitably going to be differences of opinion that arise. It is surely in managing this difference that maturity develops? However, the inevitable and entirely natural conflict that springs simply from two people trying to resolve differences – is portrayed by gender feminists…as a battle by the female to defend herself against ‘abuse’ by the male.

      The children are then assumed to be victims of this ‘abuse’ – from which they require to be protected. The most ‘straightforward’ method of ‘protecting’ the children from witnessing their parents trying to resolve differences…is to remove the male from the picture.

      The rights and wrongs of the situation are simply ignored. As soon as there is even the slightest risk of an argument even about the most trivial of matters – Judges seem to been taught that the parents have to be separated (and of course it is almost always the male that is removed).

      Why it has not dawned on these Judges that this strategy therefore hugely encourages uncooperative and immature behaviour on the part of women – in addition setting the most awful example for the children, is completely baffling. The only explanation is that it would seem to be a cheap solution.

      Enabling (and maybe requiring) parents who are struggling to resolve differences to have some relationship training – such as opportunities to learn better how to both give and receive criticism of their partners, would cost some money.

      If conflict continued despite the help – then it would be obvious that custody of the children should be given to whichever parent (female or male – the same situation would apply in terms of same-sex relationships) showed most maturity and responsibility in this regard, and in regard to their relationship with the children (as this would have quickly become evident).

      Until such time as the Judiciary come to their senses and start to request strategies in the interests of greater maturity, rather than, (as currently) massively rewarding IMMATURITY – it is hardly time to be socializing with them!

      Like

    • ChrisTR · December 14, 2013

      Hi nongenderbias9

      Thank you for your words of support. I have only been involved with our local FNF group for around a year but have found that I and other experienced regulars have been able to use our experiences of the family court system to help parents who are at the beginning of their ‘journey’. I am vaguely aware of issues at the top of the FNF organisation but I am not interested in this and it should in no way diminish the kind of work we are doing in our local support group, and that is exactly how I see FNF, as a support group. We have been able to help those parents who attend our meetings with ideas as to how they might move their situation forward and do this by engaging with them between meetingsby phone and email and acting as McKenzie friends wherever possible.

      All too often at our monthly FNF meetings, I see the same scenarios being played out, sadly: the children are ‘frightened’ of their non-resident parent (this can be a natural response from any young child who has aligned with the resident parent or if the resident parent is actively or subliminally operating to alienate the non-resident parent) and is rarely anything to do with anything the non-resident parent has done. Yet the family courts err on the side of caution and listen to the views of the non-resident parent who vehemently fights for the rights of her child(ren) not to have contact with the non-resident parent, because they have suffered alleged abuse (typically mental abuse, which cannot be proven or disproven) thus giving the court the impression that there is something fundamentally wrong in the family dynamic and that it would be best to suggest to the non-resident parent to withdraw until the children are ready to re-establish contact. This, of course, is extremely unlikely to happen, and may not happen until the children are into their twenties or even thirties.

      I did approach the family court process on a constructive level rather than the destructive level which my ex-wife and her solicitor opted for. However, my proposals were not accepted as within the court my ex-wife appeared to hold a mandate to veto any suggestion I made either saying that she could not mediate with me or the children were ‘frightened’ of me.

      I have tried to be involved with my children’s schools (as I was previously) but have been denied this by the schools because of their interpretation of the last court order, which my ex-wife supplied to them. The ‘safety’ of my children is paramount and the schools would rather I weren’t present at any school events because it might upset my children whereas I argued that I would be there as a loving and supportive father, “but the court order says indirect contact” the schools state. I have also been denied copies of the school photos recently taken in October because it states on the court order that my ex-wife must send me a photo of the children every four months and any additional photos ” if the children do not object”. The school has chosen to interpret the court order as limiting and not as a foundation on which to re-establish contact with my children, which is how I understood the judge’s intentions. At my daughter’s school, my ten-year old daughter (as she was earlier this year) apparently asked to be called just by her mother’s surname, rather than the double-barrelled name we had given her. The head teacher agreed to this informal name change (the start of a process to change her name officially, as I am well aware) going against the court order that stipulates that no person “may change or cause to change” the chilren’s surnames. The head teacher has apprently said to my daughter that she may call herself what she wishes but that her name will remain officially as it should be on all school records. However, I have received a school report with my daughter’s ammended surname and have just discovered this ammended surname on the ParentMail system which I make use of. These are areas where at our local FNF group we can help non-resident parents put forward proposals to the family courts where such issues can be pre-empted and a detailed and precise order can be drawn up with the direct involvement in the process of the non-resident parent. I am extremely sad that I did not have anyone to assist me in understanding what the potential consequences may have been but I am grateful that I am now involved in helping others in similar situations.

      Like

  19. Torn 2 Peaces · March 10, 2014

    I know that my former mother in law was kept from coming home to her four children when her husband, who physically, verbally, and emotionally abused his four kids, claimed she was too mentally unstable. She is in her 70s and is working & is of very sound mind despite her abusive husband. She had never heard of the term Parental Alienation, and having worked her career around her military officer husband, she was in no position to seek legal help. Unfortunately, her son followed his dad’s footsteps and claimed I was too mentally unstable even though I have a security clearance and have never been diagnosed nor even been on any antidepressants despite the extreme Parental Alienation and worrying about my daughter (whose health insurance I provide as well as child support) who shows extreme at-risk behavior. My stepfather alienated my younger sister from our mother. My mother had never heard of Parental Alienation. She has worked all her life as an RN full-time, but my step dad is obsessed with making her out to be an incompetent person not worthy of respect. He is an attorney and is able to wield his power in legal disputes and took care to do whatever he could to create dependence with all in our family. Please don’t discount that parental alienation is also a tool by abusive men to maintain control and cruelty. Many women who experience it do not even speak up about it because their pain, shame, and financial burden so great.

    Like

  20. bill coleman · October 3, 2014

    karen …. great job ….. google my name and facebook …. if i can help you in anyway let me know ….. bill

    Like

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