Custody disputes tough on women (but media fails to tell story)

Women’s E-News has written about this topic in the past – it’s the mainstream media outlets that ignore it:

Custody disputes now tougher for battered moms

However, certain injustices (crimes, really) that I first began tracking in the late 1970s have now gotten much worse. For example, battered women are losing custody to their batterers in record numbers. Children are being successfully brainwashed by fathers, but many mothers are being falsely accused of brainwashing. Worse: Children with mandated reporters–physicians, nurses or teachers–who report to them that they have been sexually abused by their fathers are usually given to those very fathers. The mothers of these children are almost always viewed as having “coached” or “alienated” the children and, on this basis alone, are seen as “unfit” mothers.

It’s even tough in Taiwan:

Judges in custody cases urged to think of children’s needs 

…It found that serious problems can arise when women are fighting for custody of their children.

In court, judges prefer not to change the status quo in the family. If the father takes the child away from the mother before or after the parents separate, for example, the judge will usually grant custody to the father, for fear that the child will have difficulty adjusting to a new lifestyle, she said.

Should the mother ask for a retrial, the case is heard in the same court and very often the judges still award custody to the father, Chi said.

Last year, judges ruled 61 percent of child custody disputes in favor of the father, she said.

“The judges are supposed to make their decisions based on the best interests of the child, but what we are seeing is totally different,” Chi said.

This is what can happen to women in a custody dispute (even w/o previous violence in the relationship) – it’s not happening to men on the same scale – yet the media is picking up on men’s stories in divorce & custody. Some articles don’t mention who has custody or where the biological mother is when the child(ren) is in the care of the custodial Dad.

Friends mourn teens killed in Chula Vista suicide 

A family friend told 10News the former attorney and life coach was having financial problems and was at risk of losing his home and full custody of the boys. He and his wife, Maria, filed for divorce in 2007.

He had full custody of two boys ages 13 and 15 – and he killed them both and them committed suicide (the 3rd murder-suicide this month in this area).

Are men and women held to a different standard when disciplining a child?

You be the judge…

Judge admonishes Mom for spanking daughter

(Newser)                                                                 –                                                                A mother in Texas who got arrested after spanking her toddler received five years’ probation and a stern lecture from the judge this week, reports KZTV. “You don’t spank children today,” District Court Judge Jose Longoria told Rosalina Gonzales. “In the old days, maybe we got spanked, but there was a different quarrel. You don’t spank children. You understand?” Gonzales, who also must attend parenting classes in Corpus Christi and pay a $50 fine to a children’s center, responded, “Yes, sir.”

Police arrested her on charges of causing injury to a child in December, after the almost-2-year-old girl’s grandmother notice red marks on her rear and took her to a hospital to be checked out. Prosecutors described it as “pretty simple, straightforward spanking case,” reports WVLT-TV. Gonzales has lost custody of the girl and her two other children, though it’s not clear whether the spanking charges figured into that.

Hawaii:  Court allows ‘parental discipline’ defense

The State Supreme Court ruled 3 to 2 that a man convicted of punching his stepson should have been allowed to raise parental discipline as a defense. The decision allows for Cedric Kikuta to be retried because the trial judge refused to allow jurors to consider the defense that he was disciplining the 14-year-old boy. The trial judge had rejected the defense because the boy’s nose was broken by Mr. Kikuta, who wanted him to clean a carpet stain.       

Press release on domestic violence and child custody policies in Hawaii

Media Advisory – Hawaii House of Representatives

June 20, 2011 – For Immediate Release

Contact: Office of Rep. John Mizuno, Telephone: 808-586-6050, Cell: 808-741-0639


Several domestic violence survivors will share their story of how they lost custody of their child(ren) to the abuser, even after a finding of domestic violence by the abuser

WHAT:            The House Human Services Chairman, Rep. John Mizuno, will hold a legislative briefing to address domestic violence in Hawaii.  Rep. Mizuno will identify certain concerns involving specific failures of the current “system” in adequately addressing domestic violence.  Rep. Mizuno will also be hearing from domestic violence victims, survivor advocates, and agencies working directly with domestic violence victims, issuing protective orders and temporary restraining orders.

 The briefing will:


                       • Identify and address concerns regarding domestic violence in Hawaii

                       • Explain the reason for the various bills which seek to provide greater protection for domestic violence victims

                       • Explain the difficulties in passing measures which seek to improve the state’s system in handling domestic violence cases


WHEN:            Tuesday, June 21, 2011 – 11:35 a.m. Hawaii Standard Time (Televised in Hawaii on Ch. 53, for Neighbor Island residents and nationwide go to the internet – click NATV Ch. 53 for online live stream coverage)

WHERE:           Hawaii State Capitol, Room 329

WHY:              Rep. Mizuno was contacted by several survivors of domestic violence who will be sharing their stories with lawmakers during the briefing. According to Rep. Mizuno, “It is extremely concerning to hear that time after time the abusers who beat our victims, many times end up gaining custody of the children.  Based on our victims’ testimonies and information provided by organizations and advocates for domestic violence victims, I believe our current system has many major flaws in properly addressing domestic violence issues.  Therefore, I am looking for solid solutions to better address domestic violence statewide at the conclusion of this briefing.”


Father absent headlines

Here’s another to add to the list:

Bonds reduced for two charged in toddler’s murder

A judge reduced bonds Wednesday for the two people charged in the first-degree murder of a toddler last year.

Amy Parmer, 27, of Hiawatha, and Zyriah Schlitter, 24, of Cedar Rapids, are both charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death. They are accused of killing 17-month-old Kamryn Schlitter, who died from head trauma. Zyriah Schlitter is Kamryn’s father and Parmer is his ex-girlfriend.

Of course he had custody:

Schlitter and Parmer had exclusive care and custody of Kamryn from March 1 through March 21, 2010 and while at a daycare center on March 8 and March 15, workers noticed bruising to her face, according to the complaint

Family Court: The good, the bad, and the ugly

The good & the bad:

Well, the good news is Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) has been rejected for the upcoming DSM-5. Ms. Magazine blog ran an update of an article on PAS:

This does help in our argument that PAS is not legitimate. The bad news is this won’t
stop it from being used in the courtroom (despite the lack of scientific evidence). Psychologists/evaluators will still say Mom is exhibiting alienating behavior or some derivative of it in the face of an abuse allegation.

The ugly:
We had (at least) two fathers recently who had cases similar to Casey Anthony’s and we’re still asking ourselves when will the media shed a light on fathers killing their children and/or mothers of the children, esp during “custody battles.”

Father charged in slaying of teen
This father stabbed and molested his daughter, and then threw the body into a trash can.

Tanya Skelton granted custody of missing sons; John Skelton says she won’t see them
This mother has not seen her 3 young sons since Thanksgiving, when they visited their father. They assume the father has killed them – he says he handed them over to an organization and won’t give them back to her unless he gets joint custody.
He’s proved he’s abusive by taking the sons (possibly killing them). He probably wants to lower or avoid child support since he’s raised the topic of other debts. And, research has shown that lack of access/time is not the real reason Dads kill their children. It’s just an excuse they use.

I don’t understand how Casey Anthony gets so much attention and we can’t shed any light on these cases to spark a debate.

Another man killed about 6 people at a family court, including his ex-wife’s attorney. And still – women are vengeful and not to be believed. Sigh.

Sheriff’s office identifies victims in Yuma shooting spree

According to court records Theresa and Carey Dyess were married in Tombstone May 2002 and filed for divorce in 2006. Theresa alleged domestic abuse and received an order of protection. Carey later took out his own order of protection against Theresa.
Court records also show the 2006 divorce was Carey Dyess’ fifth. It was final in 2007. Theresa bought out Carey’s share of their home and stayed in the house in Wellton, the same home where she was found dead Thursday morning.Carey Dyess also had an order of protection against a man he identified as ‘my wife’s boyfriend,” who he alleged was harassing him by driving by his home every day.

It was a nasty divorce that ultimately cost the Theresa, her three friends and attorney all their life and left another friend in the hospital.

Domestic violence and life expectancy link

Domestic violence linked to dying early 

COLUMBIA, Mo., June 8 (UPI) — Experts suggest the United States’ ranking  near the bottom of 33 developed countries for life expectancy at birth — 27th  — may be due to domestic violence.

Tina Bloom, an assistant professor in the Sinclair School of Nursing at the  University of Missouri, says leading causes of infant mortality are  complications related to pre-term birth or low birth weight-outcomes — both of  which can have a life-long impact — have been linked with domestic violence.

However, addressing maternal-child health disparities goes beyond the issue  of domestic violence because abused women need access to resources for finding  employment, affordable and safe housing, financial assistance, transportation  and healthcare, Bloom explains.

These social determinants of health, articulated in the U.S. Department of  Health and Human Services’ “Healthy People 2020,” a 10-year plan for improving  the health of Americans, heavily influence women’s responses to violence and the  health of women and children.

“Healthcare providers are not well trained to routinely screen or recognize  the signs of domestic violence,” Bloom says in a statement. “They don’t know how  to ask about abuse, what to say or how to connect abused women with help. We  need to engage with current students, our future healthcare providers, to bring  this issue to the forefront.”

Healthy mothers produce healthy babies and together they give rise to a  healthy population, Bloom adds.

Bloom’s findings are published in the Western Journal of Nursing Research.

Read more:

Canadian Supreme Court rules consent cannot be given when unconscious (duh!)

It’s a sad state of affairs when you need a Supreme Court to tell you an unconscious person can’t give consent!

No consent in unconscious sex case: Supreme Court

A woman cannot give advance consent to sexual activity while unconscious, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Friday.

The decision restores the conviction of an Ottawa man who regularly practised consensual erotic asphyxiation with his longtime girlfriend.

The case goes back to a particular episode in 2007 when the woman, who cannot be named because of a publication ban, complained to police about what her partner did to her after she passed out. At trial, the man was found guilty of sexual assault but his conviction was overturned on appeal.

On Friday, in a 6-3 decision, the country’s top court restored the conviction. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin said consent ends once someone is unconscious or asleep.

“If the complainant is unconscious during the sexual activity, she has no real way of knowing what happened and whether her partner exceeded the bounds of her consent,” the ruling said.

Here’s a dissenting viewpoint:

“The approach advocated by the Chief Justice would also result in the criminalization of a broad range of conduct that Parliament cannot have intended to capture in its definition of the offense of sexual assault. Notably, it would criminalize kissing or caressing a sleeping partner, however gently and affectionately.”

Sounds like they’re protecting male entitlement. I hardly doubt any rational woman would run to court to press charges against her partner for kissing or caressing her. And if a person is not suppose to be kissing, caressing, or anything else- well, it should be a human right to seek protection from somebody doing something against our will.

Action Alert from Women’s Media Center regarding sexist coverage of Rep. Weiner scandal

What is with Chris Matthews? I often watch him on Sunday mornings. He’s been called out more than once for sexist comments. Let’s try to put a stop to the media’s sexism, folks.

Action Alert: Report sexist coverage of Rep. Weiner scandal

In light of the breaking news surrounding Rep. Anthony Weiner’s admission of having online extramarital relationships, the Women’s Media Center urges media to cover this story productively.

Stories of assault, adultery, and sexual misconduct from high profile male politicians such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dominique Strauss-Kahn have garnered much media attention in the past weeks. In each of these stories, the women involved bore the brunt of media coverage on the wrongdoings of male leaders.

Since the story on Anthony Weiner’s photo tweets broke last week, media immediately began delving into the identity and other personal details of the women allegedly involved.

And already since Rep. Weiner’s admission yesterday, some harmful media coverage has turned to the women. Last night on MSNBC, Chris Matthews said of Rep. Weiner’s wife Huma Abedin: “Maybe she’s partly responsible.”

Placing blame on women, and outing lurid details of women involved in this issue hurts those women because it places them in a negative spotlight they do not deserve, just as excessive prying into Rep. Weiner’s personal life is also unproductive.  As the Women’s Media Center urges media to cover the latest news about Rep. Weiner story in a fair and unbiased fashion, we ask you to be our eyes and ears. If you spot sexist coverage of the Weiner story, tell us on Facebook, Twitter, or report it on our website.

Even more importantly, media should focus their scrutiny and concern on our current cultural and political climate, and delve into why certain high powered male leaders use their positions of power to access women sexually — instead of obsessing on harmful, irrelevant personal details of the women and leaders involved. Media has the power to lead the conversation on these issues in a responsible manner.  And we’re here to remind them of their power and responsibility!

Thanks for all you do,

The Women’s Media Center


Raid on The Center for Women’s News in Mexico City

Note: Please send signatures in English to


Civil organizations and human rights defenders in Mexico condemn the raid on the offices of CIMAC, a Women’s News Agency based in Mexico City. We demand of the government authorities to investigate this attack, as well as the one that occurred
three years ago, so that these attacks do not remain unpunished.

* What we demand: *

1. That the Attorney General of the Federal District perform an effective, thorough and impartial investigation to punish those
responsible for the raid on the premises and theft of working material for our journalistic work in the defense of women’s human rights and the freedom of expression of all, which took place last May 20, 2011.

2. To resume research on the attacks three years ago and ensure that such acts do not go unpunished.

3. To be implemented as soon as the security measures required for CIMAC members, as well as to safeguard his office.

* The facts:*

The undersigned civil society organizations condemn the raid on the premises of the Information and Communication Organization for Women (CIMAC) on May 20, 2011.

On the morning of that day, unidentified persons broke violently in the office and stole two computers from the administrative area
with accounting information, two computers for drafting news agency, the Web master CPU, a video camera, audio recorders and some monitors in addition to documents from all areas were checked and found out of place.

The CIMAC team placed a complaint with the Attorney General of the Federal District (PGJDF) that was registered in the
preliminary FCH/CUH-6/T2/00948/11-05. The team also places the complaint before the Human Rights Commission of Mexico City.

It is noteworthy that three years ago CIMAC suffered a similar attack was reported (with file number FCH/CUH6-T2/1195/08-7) to the PGJDF but went unpunished upon the closure of the case three months after the facts.

* What is CIMAC**

*CIMAC is known for doing journalism with a gender perspective, report violations to the Human Rights of Women and defend
freedom of expression and the work of Human Rights Defenders, as well as doing research on trafficking of women, children and adolescents.

We cannot rule out that these attacks on their facilities are related to the work done by CIMAC, so it is critical that the PGJDF conduct a thorough investigation of the facts, putting the link CIMAC work done in the advocacy human rights and the assaults.
Also, we are concerned that the lack of a diligent investigation by the authorities responsible for the raid occurred three years ago, has become an incentive for the perpetrators, which allows these events continue to occur. We recall that a greater risk impunity
for human rights defenders are violated and inhibits its advocacy work for human rights.

Lucía Lagunes Huerta
General Coordinator

Hardly a headline

This headline barely touches upon what this father did to his daughter:

Ceres father charged in death

Alycia Mesiti was 14 years old in August 2006, enrolled to attend the  year-old Central Valley High School in Ceres. But before classes began, her  father and his girlfriend reported her as a runaway.

In March 2009, officers unearthed Alycia’s body in the back yard of the home  the family rented in the 3500 block of Alexis Court in west Ceres.

Her father, Mark Edward Mesiti, was booked at the Stanislaus County Jail on  Thursday afternoon on charges of murder with malice, one count of lewd and  lascivious acts on a child, and one count of rape or sodomy.

Imagine giving this guy custody?!

Alycia and her older brother were placed in her father’s custody in November  2005, about the time the family moved to Ceres. In the previous seven years,  Mesiti was convicted of bank fraud and drunken driving, and charged with  domestic violence. He was ordered to attend anger-management classes and landed  in prison after failing to attend court-ordered drug and alcohol treatment  programs.

Now for some victim blaming:

But the children’s mother, Roberta Allen, had her own problems. She battled  depression and a court investigator called her an unfit parent. There were  reports of a suicide attempt and fights with the two children. She told a  Mercury News reporter that she suffered years of persecution by Mesiti and had  fled to other states and even to Canada, where she and the children lived in  battered women’s shelters.

She said her husband could afford to hire an attorney in the custody battle,  while her own responses were handwritten.

Typical ‘battered mothers losing custody’ scenario: He has a long list of problems, abuse. She’s considered depressed and unfit (which occurs to human beings after enduring years of abuse – it’s a symptom of domestic violence). He can afford an attorney, she can’t. As Steve Bardo from the Center for Judicial Excellence said last week on the Dr. Phil show – this country gives people accused of heinous crimes legal representation, yet throws battered women into court to fend for themselves.

And, sadly, this is a typical response to a protective mother:

Allen, a restaurant worker in 2009, said she called the Ceres police to say  she didn’t believe her daughter had run away and instead should be classified as  a missing person.

“The police stopped taking my calls,” she said in 2009. “They said, ‘She’ll  come home.’ “

Read more: