Richard Warshak: Bad-mouthing domestic violence advocates on a pro-PAS blog

In the “you’ve gotta be kidding me” department, we have Mr. Richard Warshak – PhD – not MD – bad-mouthing and “alienating” domestic violence advocates & survivors and poisoning the blogosphere with his rebuttal to critics – on no other than a pro-PAS blog.

The man sends out an email to his fan-base asking them to comment on his Huffpo piece. He censors anyone commenting that has a dissenting viewpoint (so noboby can read these opposing comments, of course).  Then, he writes a rebuttal on a pro-PAS blog. A rebuttal to what, Mr. Warshak???? Nobody can read our comments!!!  Are you kidding me?!?

These are some of his “alienating” comments he makes about domestic violence advocates/survivors:

“…the brick wall of a closed mind… misguided ideas…fanatics… extremists…one website claims a conspiracy… when my wife reads these vicious and absurd accounts, she shakes her head in disbelief… ‘Don’t they know that you’ve devoted your career to the welfare of children?’…the drumbeat of misinformation… their zeal…their smears.”

Closed mind? Misguided? Fanatics? Extremists?

I guess you’d also call the APA, the ABA, the National Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges, the American Judges Association, and the National DA’s Association the same?!?

He’s devoted his career to the “welfare of children”?!  More likely, the children’s moms end up on welfare after they’ve been dragged through the court with false accusations of “alienation.” He could care less about children’s welfare – he sends them, sometimes by police force, to his pricey reunification ranch in Texas to deprogram them. God forbid children have their own thoughts, preferences, or bonds. He’ll brainwash them into accepting a parent whether they like it or not. Say good-bye to the parent they bonded with – they lose custody and are not invited to the ranch. No, they want to force a bond on the child and the parent the child fears or hates – no matter if violence or abuse broke that bond. Children’s welfare? More like parent’s money. Whoever has the money, gets the child deprogrammed. It’s a controversial, unproven, and unethical method he employs.

Warshak writes, “The many parents I have helped, women and men, express astonishment that some people demonize me, attempt to tarnish my reputation, and spread misleading and false information about my work and me. Although my supporters far outweigh my detractors, the people seeking to quiet my voice yell loudly and work hard to circulate their misinformation.”

This is a joke, right?

It’d be funny if his ideas weren’t so dangerous.

He also says, “Until now I have allowed the personal attacks and gross misrepresentations to go without answer.”  — That’s not true, Mr. Warshak. All the comments that were posted on the Huffpo article stuck to facts and quotes. We resorted to our blogs when you censored us. Blogs are a lot less formal but I haven’t read any attacks.

He states, “They cling to misguided ideas rather than acknowledge the widespread mistreatment of children described in Divorce Poison and my other works.” — Ahhh, Mr. Warshak, you mean we cling to science rather than buy your snake poison. Your peddling your book and “other works” – DVDs, reunification ranch, etc.

No, Mr. Warshak, we aint buying it — and neither is the legal, mental health, medical, or scientific community.

“Some of these people would have you believe that there is an epidemic of judges who take joy in placing children with parents who beat or sexually molest them.” Well, Mr. Warshak, there was the case of Katie Tagle. Funny, the judge said she was the liar who was trying to block access to the father. He handed a 9-month-old infant over to the dad. Do you know what happened to the infant, Mr. Devoted-to-Children’s-Welfare? The father killed him.

This is not an isolated case, but to go on any further would be a total loss of time on my part.

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Ms. blog: Huffington Post censors mother’s rights activists

Elizabeth Black covers the Huffpo piece – censorship of domestic violence advocates and mothers rights activists’ comments and the promotion of pseudo-science – on the Ms. Magazine blog:

Huffington Post censors mothers’ rights activists

And here’s a case of a man claiming alienation and then blaming this lack of access for his kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing his ex-wife. This is one of many that end up in the papers – and, like this man, they’re all oblivious as to why the wife hindered their access or fled:

Remorseless Moore gets life

Huffington Post has another article up on how women are misspending child support. What it doesn’t mention is how expensive it is to raise a child, all the expenses such as rent/furniture/utilities/food/school supplies/sports equipment, etc and the intangible items like losing time at work when the child(ren) is sick, fewer promotions, lower wages than single women or men, etc. I have no doubt custodial parents pay far more than non-custodial parents – I just wonder if there have been studies to prove this.

PAS doesn’t make manual

There are always lobbyists for parental alienation syndrome, but they did not win out this time either.
PAS is not making it into the DSM-5, according to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Great news for Protective Parents!!
PAS, or parental alienation syndrome, is the idea that one parent (usually the mother) poisons the mind of the child(ren) against the other parent. It was created by Richard Gardner who blamed “hysterical” women for making false allegations of child sexual abuse against fathers. He was misogynist, didn’t publish in a peer-review journal, defended child molesters, and this mental health expert stabbed himself in the chest, committing suicide.
The biggest concern about PAS is that it masks child abuse (see work by Jay Silverman at Harvard). Is the parent “alienating” the child or has the other parent abused the kid, creating hostility and fear? It also serves to scapegoat women. Children experiencing divorce can be depressed or angry for many reasons – not just because Mom tells them bad things about Dad. Then, there are the “reunification centers” where they reunite children with the estranged parent (potential abuser) and cut off ties with the parent that had the closer relationship.
Now, why is it that PAS – if it’s truly a mental health condition – works on changing children’s attitudes and not the parent’s? Wouldn’t that be working on changing the “cause” of the problem? And, is PAS a mental health condition or a legal strategy for gaining access or custody?
I refer to PAS as Pedophile Acting as Scientist. There’s no doubt in my mind that this so-called syndrome is in the best interest of the abuser. It also fails to meet scientific standards. I have no doubt parents bad-mouth each other, but it is not a mental health disorder. It is not a blanket cause for relationship break-downs or failures – sometimes, it’s because the parent can’t or won’t take accountability for their past or current actions. Sometimes it’s because there’s been abuse and it’s more common for abusers to deny abuse than it is for people to make false allegations.  

Liar or denier?

Here’s a somewhat typical case of parental alienation syndrome (PAS). PAS is where one parent (most often the mother) “alienates” or poisons the mind of the child(ren) against the other parent (often, the father). Since most women get custody (because they’ve been the primary caregivers), PAS tends to be a claim used almost exclusively by men.

It’s a claim considered by many to be junk science. It’s not accepted by the American Psychological Association (APA) or the American Medical Association (AMA). It was created by a doctor who many claim was pro-pedophile (he defended child molesters & there are quotes from him about pedophilia) and biased against mothers (for one, PAS is based on the premise that women and children lie about abuse). The fear, however, as a Harvard study reveals, is that PAS can mask child abuse. How do you differentiate child abuse from PAS? You simply can’t  – the effect is the same, fear or hostility towards the abuser. Moreover, PAS tends to negate feelings like fear, depression and hostility that can occur naturally in children going through a divorce process, especially if there’s been family violence.

Here’s the article: Search for girl reveals bitter family split

So, in this case, the mother:

1) seeks a restraining order

2) claims child sexual abuse

3) flees with her 2nd husband and child

The father, on the other hand, claims PAS. We’re told that the child went to visit him in August 2003 and was expected 2 months later. Moreover, he was buying a new home (in hopes to see his child more often) and let the girl pick out her own room. None of that sounds like alienation yet.

By the fall, the mother, her new husband and the child disappear and the father is granted custody (which now makes the woman in contempt, I suppose.)

I don’t know, but, how many people do you know would actually choose to disappear?  Isn’t that a major decision? Is hatred of the father the motivator (says PAS experts) or protection of the child (says protective parents)? Is she lying about the sexual abuse claims or is he denying them? I don’t know what the answers in this case; all I’m saying is, it would take something very serious to make me disappear. Hatred wouldn’t motivate me to disappear – it might motivate me to do other things, but it wouldn’t motivate me to disappear. But, hey, that’s just me.

The light bulb goes off

There’s been a case going on in Canada where the parents have been battling custody decisions over 3 boys, one of which is 18 years old. The mother accuses the father of “alienating” the children. This is unusual in that men almost exclusively claim women “alienate” children. The claim is referred to as parental alienation syndrome and is not accepted by the American Psychological Association (APA) or the American Medical Association (AMA). In regard to the case, the judge ordered the 2 younger boys to be “deprogrammed.” The 18 year old sibling then fought for custody of his younger brothers – who had become suicidal.

Here’s one story about it here. You’ll find many more on the Internet.

Anyway, the biggest problem with PAS is that it masks child abuse – what’s the difference between a child that has been “alienated” and a child that has been abused? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. The so-called scientific theory is nothing more than a simplistic excuse for a child’s negative feelings towards a parent. In fact, it negates the child’s feelings and beliefs. It also presumes women lie about abuse when women make allegations. It becomes the woman’s claim of abuse vs. the man’s counter claim of PAS. Studies find men accused of abuse use this claim and…get custody.

So, here is an article on Men’s News Daily where the light bulb has finally gone off….well, maybe. The writer is referring to the 18-year-old in the following quotes:

First, he’s not a bit happy with the experts in the case.  He feels strongly that they had theories to peddle and they were going to do so regardless of the realities of the case.  They became advocates for PAS rather than impartial assessors of parental and adolescent behavior.

Protective parents have been saying this all along. Funny, they don’t listen to us when the case involves a mother who is the victim of the PAS witch hunt.

But the interesting wrinkle P.F. puts on the issue of PAS allegations is that once an expert gives evidence of PAS, the court tends to ignore what the child has to say, apparently believing alienation to be an established fact.

Bingo! PAS is unscientific. It needs no evidence but an accusation that Mom is “alienating” Junior. It totally disregards the consequences of divorce on children (depression & hostility), witnessing violence in parent’s relationships or….being abused by your parent. It totally disregards the right children have to their own thoughts, beliefs and values. It tells them their own thoughts are wrong and tries to “deprogram” them.

It is beyond me how courtrooms are able to use such junk science in their decisions. If it takes women making claims against men to get them to ponder how crazy it is to negate children’s feelings, well, then, so be it…but stop the witch hunt that punishes women (fines, jail & loss of custody for making “false” allegations) and puts children in harm’s way (over 58,000 children are place in danger each year, according to the Leadership Council on Child Abuse).