Power to the perps

Not only can men murder their wives, they can dictate where the children will live:

Murder suspect wants to place kids

A Fayette County man accused of running over over his wife with his car and killing her wants his parents to have legal custody of two of his children.

In addition, Ronald Lee Higinbotham wants the cousins of a third adopted child to have custody of that youngster.

Higinbotham, 44, of Brownsville, is charged by state police with criminal homicide in the hit-and-run death of his wife, 30-year-old Carmen Higinbotham.

In a criminal complaint, state police allege Higinbotham drove his 2000 Hyundai Tiburon over his wife shortly before midnight June 20 on Route 40 near 7235 National Pike, then left her to die.

Carmen Higinbotham was the mother of six children, including two of her own, two stepchildren and two who were adopted.

According to separate civil actions scheduled to be presented in Fayette County motions court today, Ron Higinbotham is the natural father of two of the children – a 9-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy. He is the adoptive father of a third child, identified as a 15-year-old boy.

The two younger children are staying in West Brownsville with Ron Higinbotham’s parents, Patricia Ann and Donald Lee Higinbotham Sr., according to one of the filings.

In a separate civil action, Higinbotham wants a judge to grant custody of the adopted 15-year-old boy to the boy’s cousins. The boy’s cousins, Eric W. and Maxine R. Rosie, of Smithfield, already are caring for the teen, according to the civil filing.

Attached to both filings are custody agreements, both of which have been agreed to and signed by Ron Higinbotham.


He remains lodged in the Fayette County Prison without bond. He faces a preliminary hearing scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 28 before South Union Township District Judge Joseph George Jr.

Man accused of shooting and killing wife asks for children to be moved to safer home

From the victim’s family: “My family is very confused about the processes of child services and why they would respect the wishes of Mr. Norris in regards to his children when he is the reason his children are in the place that they are. We need help here, as it seems no one really cares that these kids’ mother died from his carelessness.”

Grandparents adopt Elijah after long Hawaii court fights with killer

After a nearly four-year battle in Hawai’i courts, Minnesota residents Steve and Donna LaDuke finally and officially can call Elijah, 5, their son.

The many hurdles the LaDukes overcame to adopt their grandson following the 2005 murder of his mother exposed a huge gap in the judicial and child-custody system here and nationally, the couple said.

In cases where one parent murders another, they said, the legal process is set up mainly to protect the killer’s parental rights, even at the expense of the children.

How much more proof do we need before we reform family court?!?

Marriott blames victim for rape

A woman was raped at gunpoint in a parking garage at the Marriott and they believed it was her own fault. Please see Stop Family Violence for the details and to take action –

The Stamford Marriott Hotel & Spa, sued by a woman raped in front of her children at gunpoint in its unmonitored parking garage, claimed she was careless, negligent and “failed to exercise due care for her own safety and the safety of her children and proper use of her senses and facilities.” Now Marriott International has stated they will drop the “blame the victim” legal defense.  Let Marriott know their response is too little too late, and tell them how they can support the survivor and all women.

Pro bono lawyers for domestic violence cases

The American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence has just announced its new online directory of pro bono lawyers for domestic violence cases:

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence today announced the launch of the first-ever National Domestic Violence Pro Bono Directory, a comprehensive national database of programs providing pro bono legal services to victims of domestic violence and made public online at www.probono.net/dv.

Source: WebWire

Please share widely!


CEDAW – Call-in Day

The following is taken from Facebook:


Join advocates from around the country in a National CEDAW Ratification Call-in Day. On Wednesday, August 26, 2009, Senators from around the nation need to hear from you!

Eighty-nine years ago, U.S. women won the right to vote after many years of painstaking struggle and hard work by courageous suffragists. This historic moment is commemorated each year on Women’s Equality Day, August 26.

Today, the work of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers remains unfinished. The United States remains the only democracy in the world that has not ratified the CEDAW treaty, putting our country in the dishonorable company of nations such as Iran, Somalia and Sudan. One hundred eighty-six countries, over 95 percent of United Nations members, have ratified CEDAW. It provides a fundamental framework for ending international violence against women, ensuring girls access to education, and promoting economic opportunity and political participation for women. The U.S. is long overdue in ratifying it.

Call your senators at 202-224-3121 and urge them to support ratification of the CEDAW treaty for the Rights of Women today!


As your constituent, I am calling because I do not understand why the U.S. Senate has not ratified the CEDAW treaty for the rights of women, which is critical to ending violence against women and girls and to providing economic opportunity. I urge you to support immediate ratification.


The CEDAW treaty for the rights of women, formally known as the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, provides a universal standard for women’s human rights. It addresses discrimination in areas such as education, employment, marriage and family relations, health care, politics, finance and law.

To date, 186 countries have ratified the CEDAW treaty. The United States is the only democratic nation that has failed to do so.

For more information, go to http://www.womenstreaty.org.



Targeting women

Whether it’s killing pregnant women, targeting young females, sexually assaulting college students or terrorizing widows, women and girls are often targeted and preyed upon. Not until relatively recently has gender-based violence been recognized, have laws been passed, or has it been recognized as the public health epidemic and human rights violation that it is. We still have to fight for funding (and get attacked by Men’s Rights advocates), speak up to raise awareness and change the culture that accepts misogyny as a norm.

In Man gets life term for vicious attacks, the Washington Post does a good job in framing this story as one where the man actively sought out widows. This was not just any old attack. He specifically wanted to target females. And this fact was not glossed over by the Post.

A Hyattsville man who instituted what prosecutors called a “reign of terror” in parts of Montgomery County was sentenced to life in prison without parole Thursday for breaking into the homes of four widows, hogtying them, gagging them and killing his final victim.

Here’s the account of the victim and survivors:

Mason made note of “truly remarkable” victims in the case, all of whom lived alone and charged into their later years with pluck and independence: Mary Frances Havenstein, 63, found beaten and dead on her bedroom floor; Margaret Arnold, 94, who is legally blind and was attacked in her basement; Betty Tubbs, 79, who tried to whack Garcia-Perlera with a flashlight; and Ann Wolfe, 79, who chewed through a duct-tape gag while bound in her basement for 2 1/2 days before she was found by her daughter.

He targeted females – strong ones at that – but he still chose to prey on females –

For whatever reason, [Garcia-Perlera] derived some pleasure or satisfaction from inflicting pain and humiliating these women,” Mason said. “Now, the remarkable thing is, as a result of the trial, we’ve come to learn that they’re not nearly as vulnerable as they may have seemed. . . . If there’s any good that can come of even something as evil as this, the one interesting thing is I think that these women have come to be recognized and celebrated for what truly remarkable people they are.”

The Post did a commendable job in writing about these women as human beings, not victims or statistics. They noted how strong the women were and included quotes that helped demonstrate this. They noted and villified the guy for targeting females – a fact that is too often ignored in the media. Perhaps the tides are changing…

Femicide…where’s the outrage?

George Sodina killed three women…

George Sodini shot and killed three women and injured 11 more before killing himself in a hate crime against women Tuesday night in Pennsylvania. Sodini entered an aerobics class at a gym in the Pittsburgh area intending to take revenge on women, who he saw as rejecting him en masse, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Sodini did not know anyone in the aerobics class he targeted, according to the New York Times, contradicting earlier reports of an ex-girlfriend inside the gym. In a blog that has since been removed from the internet, Sodini wrote of his plans for the killing and his hatred of women.

“I actually look good,” Sodini wrote in December of last year. “I dress good, am clean-shaven, bathe, touch of cologne – yet 30 million women rejected me – over an 18- or 25-year period. That is how I see it. Thirty million is my rough guesstimate of how many desirable single women there are.” Sodini also repeatedly referred to women as “hoez,” and wrote of his sexual frustration, claiming to have been celibate since 1990.

“This killer fits into a long pattern of males who harbor hatred towards all women, the image of ‘woman,’ and towards individual real women, and who take out their frustration on a female scapegoat,” Professor David Gilmore of Stony Brook University told the Christian Science Monitor.

Source: Feminist Majority

Please read Bob Herbert’s (my hero) write up in the New York Times called Women at Risk.

We’ve seen this tragic ritual so often that it has the feel of a formula. A guy is filled with a seething rage toward women and has easy access to guns. The result: mass slaughter.

Back in the fall of 2006, a fiend invaded an Amish schoolhouse in rural Pennsylvania, separated the girls from the boys, and then shot 10 of the girls, killing five.

I wrote, at the time, that there would have been thunderous outrage if someone had separated potential victims by race or religion and then shot, say, only the blacks, or only the whites, or only the Jews. But if you shoot only the girls or only the women — not so much of an uproar.

Unbelievable, isn’t it? No outrage. No uproar. No uprising.

We would become much more sane, much healthier, as a society if we could bring ourselves to acknowledge that misogyny is a serious and pervasive problem, and that the twisted way so many men feel about women, combined with the absurdly easy availability of guns, is a toxic mix of the most tragic proportions.

For more about outrage (or lack thereof), read: Femicide: There’s not enough outrage

But, as Toronto author Brian Vallee points out in his 2007 book The War on Women, nobody counts the dead, nobody connects the dots, nobody calls out the problem.

“Compare the raw numbers,” he writes of the period 2000-06. “In the same seven-year period when 4,588 U.S. soldiers and police officers were killed by hostiles or by accident, more than 8,000 women – nearly twice as many – were shot, stabbed, strangled, or beaten to death by the intimate males in their lives. In Canada, compared to the 101 Canadian soldiers and police officers killed, more than 500 women – nearly five times as many – met the same fate.”

There’s not enough outrage.

How many women and girls must die – often brutal – deaths before society is outraged enough to do something about it?

Violence against women in Guatemala

In Guatemala, over 5,000 women and girls have been brutally murdered since the year 2000. They are often tortured and raped before they draw their last breath. Perpetrators are rarely caught. Impunity allows the femicide to continue unabated.

Read Violence against women in Guatemala blogpost, written by members on a human rights delegation sponsored by the Guatemala Human Rights Commission. I went on this delegation in 2007 and am currently on the board.

“Women are not dying because of diseases we can’t treat….. they are dying because societies have not made the decision that their lives are worth saving. “

Dr. Mahmoud Fathalla – Egypt

Washington Post apologizes for Clinton joke


In the video, columnist Dana Milbank and White House correspondent and blogger Chris Cillizza appeared in smoking jackets to discuss the kinds of beer politicians might drink. Milbank said he couldn’t reveal to whom President Barack Obama would serve a drink called “Mad B—- Beer.” That line was followed by a brief picture of Clinton.

The group Women, Action and the Media complained to the Post in a letter signed by 32 women. They called the video “sexist” and “tasteless.”

What’s a mother to do?

Here’s an article from the UK that sums up the “raw deal” (a term used by fathers righters) mothers face in family court:

Inside the family courts: A raw deal for mums?

After years of high-profile stunts by pressure groups such as Fathers4Justice, many people assume that men still systematically fare badly in family courts. But in the wake of a recent spate of stories highlighting the treatment of mothers considered “too stupid” or disruptive or too busy working to look after, or even be allowed contact with, their children, some question if the pendulum has begun to swing the other way.

I hear the stories of mothers whose experiences have convinced them of it. Isabel is a former teacher, aged 40, now living in the northeast of England. Her voice trembles as she tells of a lengthy legal battle with her wealthy ex-husband for custody of her son. “He left me when I was pregnant and showed little interest in our son at first. But as soon as he got a new girlfriend with children of her own, he wanted to impress her by playing the family man, and applied for contact and eventually full custody,” she says. Her ex-husband, a prominent businessman, Isabel says, is a bully who intimidated social workers into writing negative reports about her mothering abilities. She tried to challenge them in court, only to be told, she says, by the judge who granted her son’s father increased contact: “Any more from you and you will never see your son again.”

“It was all about control as far as my ex was concerned,” she says, “and because he had a cousin in the legal profession, he knew how to play the system. I began to be treated like some sort of criminal and entered a living hell.”

You could hand them over:

Icelandic woman forced to give up children to USA

An Icelandic woman received a court order to return to the United States with her two children before the next coming Sunday. Borghildur Gudmundsdottir had the two children with an American soldier who wants to have custody over the children in the United States. Gudmundsdottir told Morgunbladid she wonders if it is considered alright to throw Icelanders out from their own country “like throwing out old rags”. She continued, asking who has the right to kick two children out of a country and strip all security and safety from their mother. Her children are aged 10 and five and are said to be doing well in school and life in Iceland.


You might be forced to have visitation:

Police arrest man after park incident

He allegedly pointed a loaded gun at his former girlfriend, Calah Trostel, 25, of Medford, at about 4:17 p.m. at the park along Holmes Avenue in southwest Medford just three hours after a Jackson County Circuit Court judge denied Trostel’s petition for a restraining order against Breaux and temporary custody of their son.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” Trostel said. “If I had gotten that restraining order none of this would have happened.”

Breaux and Trostel, who was accompanied by relatives and friends, met at the park so that Breaux could visit their 3-year-old son shortly before the fight ensued at about 4:17 p.m., said police Lt. Tim Doney.

Trostel said if she had been granted a restraining order and temporary custody, she could have sent a relative to bring their son for the visit.

Without the restraining order, she said, she had to accompany the toddler. Otherwise, Breaux would have had the legal right to take him from anyone who isn’t the boy’s mother, she said.

“At some point, he started taking the child to his vehicle,” Doney said. Some of Trostel’s relatives and friends intervened to stop him, Doney said. Breaux then went to his vehicle and pulled into the South Holly Street parking lot where Trostel, her son, her 11-year-old niece and her 7-year-old nephew were getting into a parked vehicle, Trostel said. Breaux allegedly blocked the vehicle from leaving and pointed a loaded semi-automatic handgun at Trostel, Doney said.

Well, you could sue:

Mother sues over baby’s murder 

The mother of a baby murdered by his father is now suing over his death.
Candice Dempsey filed a federal lawsuit Thursday morning against the city of Lawrenceburg and two police officers, Chris Atkins and Nathan Doty.
Dempsey says the officers took 21-month old Cole Frazier from her back in May and gave him to his father, Timothy Frazier. Frazier shot and killed the toddler and then committed suicide at his Nelson County home back in May.
Dempsey claims the officers didn’t have authority to remove the baby from her custody. She says they took the baby because they didn’t read an emergency protection order properly.

You could also appeal:

Breaking news: Mother regains custody after appeal

After years of litigation a little boy is returned to the legal custody of his mother after the New York Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, Second Department, in the case of Larkin v. White, Appeal Number 2009-00143 overturned the New York Family Court Decision, docket numbers V-09582-07 and V-9760/07 granting custody to the Father. The decision deals with Judical custody and is published on line at http://www.courts.state.ny.us, and at http://www.nycdivorcelawyer.net. New York divorce attorney Lisa Beth Older represented the Mother.


But, really folks, does it have to come to this? Stop punishing women. Start listening to women and children. Take allegations of abuse seriously.

That’s not too much to ask, is it?

Who’ll believe the children?

A famous father’s righter posted this recently on Men’s News Daily:

The “researchers” removed from their “investigation” the three most definitive indicators of physical sexual abuse, so they can issue a Sci-lie report claiming they rarely get definitive physical indicators of physical sexual abuse.

The tactical purpose of this report is transparent: feminists will do anything to bolster their oft-controverted theory that “it is rare for children to fabricate such stories”. Feminists go out of their way to eliminate real evidence, moving everyone to use allegations alone to decide cases.

Oh, if only it were so easy.

The fathers righters believe women and children lie about abuse, that abuse statistics are a “lie” fabricated by feminists and that innocent men are imprisoned because of women’s vindictiveness.

I wish they’d do community service at a family violence agency. How can they call themselves “fathers” when they attack services for female and child victims of violence, call women and children liars (“false allegations” have replaced “false memory syndrome” – see, we either don’t have good memories or we’re vindictive), and scorn the government for intervening in families (for making non-custodial parents pay child support). They give fathers a bad name.

Here’s an investigation of child sexual abuse: Investigation reveals sexual assault case mistakes

FREMONT COUNTY – A NEWSCHANNEL 13 investigation into a Fremont County sexual assault case leads to closer scrutiny of older cases.  Fremont County Sheriff Jim Beicker tells NEWSCHANNEL 13 his office didn’t fully look into sexual assault allegations in 2004.  Two girls, who were 8 and 11 at the time, accused Florence city employee Barry Burrous of sexually assaulting them.


Here’s a case involving abuse (not sexual abuse) where nobody believed the child. Now he’s dead.

LA boy’s beating death came after two exams, record show

On April 27, the county Department of Children and Family Services was informed that Fisher had shoved Dae’von into a bathroom sink, injuring the boy’s nose and causing him to miss a week of school.

When a social worker arrived at the house two weeks later, Dae’von said Fisher had “socked him in the nose” but Fisher insisted that the boy’s injury was from an “accident,” according to documents obtained by The Times. Dae’von was treated for a contusion at a private medical office, the records show. But social workers ultimately allowed Dae’von to remain with Fisher.

Then on June 3, the county received another allegation, that Fisher had punched Dae’von in the stomach. When social workers arrived, Dae’von said Fisher hit him in either the stomach or chest, according to the documents. One of his siblings confirmed the story — but later recanted. Fisher denied hitting the boy.
Both issues have come up before as the county has struggled to address a pattern in which children have been killed after their cases already had come to the attention of county child welfare officials.

The use of private doctors to evaluate potential abuse has been the subject of debate, with critics saying doctors in private practice are not always trained to detect abuse.

Again, Fisher took Dae’von to a doctor, and the medical provider who examined him later reported “there were no signs of physical abuse and stated that Dae’von had given more than one version of the incident. . . . She had no concerns for Dae’von,” according to the documents. The county concluded that the boy’s abuse allegations were “unfounded” and took no action.

Less than a month later, the boy’s body was found in a house on 87th Place. County records show that Dae’von’s body was found with “multiple bruises, to his face, arm, chest, back, wrist and elbow . . . [and] multiple circular contusions to both feet.”