One less

Check out Jodi Jacobson’s great article in RH Reality Check: The Millennium Development…Guys? It made me heartsick to read about an agency like the UN putting a bunch of males, particularly males holding the viewpoints that these guys do, in charge of groups responsible for advocating for maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, economic development, etc.

Consider also that virtually all of these issues remained invisible–or just plain unimportant–to the largely male power structures in every country for the past several decades, until the global women’s movement gained traction in their fight to put them on the global agenda.

Given these realities, it would seem that appointments to a recently convened United Nations High-level Advocacy Group focused on pushing for progress on the Millennium Development Goals would take pains to put high-level women in charge–at least in equal numbers to their male counterparts–of advocating for maternal health, child health, and HIV and AIDS, as well as those “other things” like economic development, in which women, as all the development literature has repeated ad nauseum for 40 years, are essential actors.  

This is especially problematic because:

Men continue to control the agenda and to decide how much or how little money and attention will be paid to ending the epidemic of pregnancy- and sexually-transmitted infection-related deaths and illnesses that robs millions of women of their lives and health every year worldwide.  Men continue to decide what priorities will be on the table when they do “pay attention” to these issues, and when they won’t, for reasons of their own political or financial agendas or their own ideological or political affiliations or all of the above, address honestly one of the leading and most preventable causes of pregnancy-related death and illness, that being unsafe abortion. Men continue to decide  whether they will, for the sake of ideology cloaked as “common ground,” push for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that leave women disproportionately vulnerable to HIV and AIDS, leave the issue of safe abortion out of research and international documents, confront other issues like stoning as “adulterers” women who’ve been raped, or “accept” that ending the war in Afghanistan likely means leaving women to the “mercy” of the Taliban.

Personally, this paragraph was one of the most upsetting:

So why is it that Bob Geldof, the Irish singer and political advocate is being assigned to advocate for “all MDGs”–including those addressing maternal and child health and HIV and AIDS, when Michelle Bachelet, the former president of Chile who grappled directly with high rates of unintended pregnancy and unsafe abortion in her own country, is assigned only to the MDG focused on gender equality and empowerment? (The MDG, by the way, which everyone agrees is the lowest priority in terms of funding and which also can’t be separated from the others.) Geldof and his colleague Bono–no matter how well-intentioned–both are associated with the ONE campaign, which, while it advocates for ending poverty in Africa, has also advocated for abstinence-only-until marriage programs in PEPFAR, to deny HIV-positive women access to family planning services, and against efforts to address safe abortion as an integral aspect of women’s health and rights.

I used to be a member of the ONE campaign. Ugh. I don’t know why, but I was unaware they supported abstinence-only or denied family planning services, including abortion. Moreover, I’m flabbergasted Bob Geldof, a known fathers rights proponent, is heading a maternal and child health group. Has the world gone mad? Here’s the comment I posted on Jodi’s article:

Bob Geldof is a Fathers Rights Advocate – Here he is on video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-MGHd5rz84

Note how he blames fatherlessness (read: single moms) for raising criminals and causing other social ills. Gender & marital status have little to do with raising a criminal – poverty, racism, sexism, lack of resources, lack of role models in general, drug policies, lack of gun laws, etc. have to do with social ills and crime – not single women.

 In regard to his stats & philosophies on family court, it should be noted that family court IS for couples with high conflict, most of them with domestic violence, child abuse, or child sexual abuse. Other couples (85-90%) create their own parenting plans – those that can’t – go to Family Court.

 Research finds that when men SEEK (key word) custody, they actually have higher rates of success than women. Disturbingly, batterers often seek custody (to further their control) and GET IT.

 Here’s an overview on Wikipedia on Fathers Rights Movement. Note that it has been extremely difficult to get an opposing view of the  FR movement on Wikipedia, but currently I see some sentences have been inserted that reflect opposition – thankfully. Geldof is listed at the end as a notable supporter: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fathers’_rights_movement

 It should also be noted that some advocates refer to the FR gang as the Abusers Lobby. Many of their members have had prior conflict, charges of abuse, convictions, stalking charges, etc. Here’s a compilation of charges by researcher Michael Flood: http://angelzfury.blogspot.com/2010/02/use-of-violence-by-fathers-rights.html 

 Geldof, like many other FR proponents, support traditional families – meaning they’d like to make it harder for women to get a divorce, they don’t like losing the respect of being a father/bread winner/family man, they’d like to have control over women and children, etc. — this is NOT the person who should be heading a committee for maternal and child health — this makes me sick to my stomach.

Count me as ONE LESS member of the ONE Campaign and one more of the disheartened women who has looked – but often fails to see –  progress from the UN.

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Bad news

Here’s some bad news for domestic violence advocates:

Herb Titus, counsel for Gun Owners of America, agrees. He sees challenges, as well, to registration and licensing restrictions, to age restrictions for gun ownership, and to limits on the number of guns that can be bought at one time. But first in the pipeline of challenges, he says, will be challenges to laws banning guns for those convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors.

High court extends gun owners’ rights nationwide

Dismantling patriarchy

Speaking of patriarchy, the Anonymums have posted this message:

Anonymums message to the Family Court and Fathers Lobby Groups

It’s fairly short so I’ll post it here:

Anonymums Message to the Family Court and Fathers Lobby Groups
//

// <![CDATA[
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// ]]>Hello Family Courts and father lobby groups. We have been monitoring your alliances, your views promoting pedophilia within your laws, the destruction of motherhood, the suppression of children and their mothers. We are aware of the children and women that are killed because you ordered it. We are aware of the parents who are treated like criminals because you were negligent in protecting them. We know of the lies you spout everytime the media catches a child killed by a court order. With the help of your underpaid court staff, we have been able to monitor your actions closely. We know of the innocent mothers laying in jail cells because they were against child abuse. Your malevolent actions for the sake of profit will not go unnoticed. Anonymums has decided that your organization must be destroyed. For the best interests of the children, for the good of mothers, fathers and grandparents and for the rest of the community. We shall expel you from funding and systematically dismantle your powers until your organization ceases to function. We acknowledge you as a serious opponent. Your methods, hypocrisy and exploitation will be circulated widely. You cannot hide as we are everywhere internally and externally. Like that of anonymous, we are indestructible but we are of our own origin, ideas and directions. No doubt you will attempt to suppress and distort our intentions, but the evidence we hold is beyond your power. We are above your law and adhere to human rights of which you are violating. We hold you in contempt for every life you order as cheap. The lives of women and children are not yours to own, nor control. Silence is control Control is for the unintelligent. That is why we are beyond you… We are anonymums.

Apparently, this is a take off on a group called Anonymous that used this method to expose the Scientology cult.
If anyone is unaware of what the family court and the fathers rights lobby is doing to women, you can read about it in this recent article on MomLogic:

Domestic violence deniers

Here’s a great article by Corey Pein in the Santa Fe Reporter. I’ve often asked, is she a liar or is he a denier? The stereoptype that women lie for malicious reasons is deeply embedded in our society (and certainly the Fathers Rights groups capitalize on this).  How many know that denial is the trademark of an abuser? Why do we minimize a couple’s conflict into a “he said/she said” when the repurcussions of the conflict can end in permanent injury or even death?

Many in the Fathers Rights groups mimic abusers – they minimize, rationalize or call domestic violence mutual. They use research that is based on self report to call attention to female-initiated violence. The data they use does not capture the context of abuse (was it self defense, for example) nor does it capture severe abuse, violence during separation (the highest point of danger for women), or homicide. Females do use what’s called Common Couple Violence – throwing things, hitting, slapping. Females, however, are far more likely to be seriously injured or killed by their partner than males are.

The Fathers Rights groups also claim women are more likely to abuse their children. This data, actually, is based on households – including those led by single mothers. When males and females are compared equally, males are more likely to commit child abuse – and again, it is more severe and fatal. Men are more likely to kill babies in shaken baby syndrome. They are also overwhelmingly the ones to commit child sexual abuse. I do not deny women abuse children – I simply believe facts should be used – not propaganda like that coming from the angry men that make up the Fathers Rights groups. It’s not constructive.

They also attack the Violence Against Women Act. Funny, because VAWA’s biggest success is probably that the rate of women killing men has gone down drastically. Why? Because these women, many of whom were abused, can go to a shelter rather than kill their abuser. They also want to limit restraining orders and punish women for false allegations (which means not producing enough witnesses or evidence).  They’ve sued shelters and stopped funding for pro-bono legal help for women.

It’s clear what their agenda is: remove protection for women and children. Until they acknowledge the seriousness of domestic violence, we will be at a stalemate. They will be angrily chipping away at safety measures for women and children. We will be left, with the few resources we do have, to clutching the few measures we do have that protect us from domestic harm. Domestic violence has only been recognized publicly for 4 decades – laws, especially regarding marital rape, are still evolving. At its infancy, it’s being attacked.   

Man up by Corey Pein

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.”

The 50-50 bias

If 50-50 parenting involves equal parenting between BOTH parents, why would an article on this topic ONLY cover the fathers side? In State Child Custody Law: 50-50 Split?, reporter Stacia Kalinoski interviews a dad, his attorney and one other non-biased attorney, who, thank goodness, reminds us of the “best interest of the child” policy.

What all these articles on father’s rights fail to explain is:  Why does research claim that when fathers seek custody, they get it 70% of the time (even violent fathers get visitation and custody)? Where are the experts on shared parenting and abusive parents? Most experts agree that shared parenting is fine for couples with low or no conflict and many couples today chose this option. However, when couples end up in family court – hello! – they usually have conflict and abuse. Estimates have ranged from 50-75% for domestic violence. Why then would you presume shared parenting for these folks? Let’s get real here – courts need to keep the child’s “best interest” in mind, not their father’s.

Johnson said the topic will keep coming up.  He said the issue is becoming a priority with father’s rights groups. 

Yes, and if the public had a clue as the misogynist agenda of those father’s rights groups perhaps this reporter would have chosen some real experts to quote.

Here’s a summary for those not familiar with father’s rights:

1) Shared parenting. [Many of them advocate for shared parenting even with violent fathers. A “violent dad is better than no dad at all” is their motto. Some are working on getting more rights for incarcerated men, including men that have killed their wives. Remember OJ, even he got custody.]

2) Parental Alienation Syndrome/Hostile Agressive Parenting/Malicious Mother Syndrome [No, I’m not making this up. They have courts across the country believing in PAS, despite the fact that many credible agencies call it junk science. It was created by a misogynist pro-pedophile who defended child molesters. (I swear I’m not making this up!) While some parents do bad-mouth the other, FR guys claim PAS is the cause of every damaged relationship – a simplistic viewpoint that neglects other reasons, negates child abuse claims and scapegoats women. And this, folks, is being used across the country.]

3) Want to lower or stop child support [Some claim this is why they want shared parenting so badly. Prior to the enforcement of child support, there was not a push to spend time with children.]

4) Seek pure images of fathers [They have no qualms about poor images of women. They just want images of father to be pure.]

5) Attack the Violence Against Women Act and other gains made in regard to female victims of violence [They say VAWA is breaking up families and is discriminatory – although it covers services for men]

6) Claim domestic violence is 50-50 [It’s not, it’s 85-15. They use studies that are self-reports, don’t distinguish between offensive and defensive violence, don’t take into account violence during separation or severe forms of violence, including homicide]

So these are the “experts” that are quoted in the news media?  Are these the guys you want deciding what’s in the best interest of YOUR child? (See: Lee Doyle for the latest dirt on a father’s rights advocate.)