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AMERICAN COALITION for FATHERS and CHILDREN     

             Washington, DC, and Lake Forest, CA        

       February 27, 2001 Re: Divorce Related Male Suicides To All Concerned:

 We have not seen any good studies of this, but it certainly seems like a topic that is ripe for a blockbuster Ph.D. thesis, at the very least.  Checking the World Almanac 2000, page 892, you will find that there are about 30,000 suicides a year in the United States, with by far the greatest number concentrated among men in the prime divorce year age groups of 25 - 65, over 15,000 (most almanacs do not break out these statistics by age and gender the way this edition of the World Almanac does, so go to a library and get it, if you have a different almanac).  

Female suicides in the prime divorce year age groups are about 4,000. According  to researcher Augustine Kposowa, as reported in The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, "Divorced or separated men are more than twice as likely to kill themselves as men who remain married.  On the other hand, a marital split is not a significant risk factor for suicide among women." 

There are a number of ways you could analyse the World Almanac figures in light of Professor Kposowa's finding, but given that about half of marriages end in divorce, and that men's suicide doubles as a result of the way men are treated in divorce, we estimate that at least 5,000 of the annual male suicides are caused directly by the way that men are treated in divorce.  Given that the divorce culture has been relatively unchanged for the last thirty years, this suggests that the total death toll from this cause in the last thirty years has been at least 150,000 fathers in the United States, an astounding figure that has gone almost entirely unreported, or even studied. 

Professor Kposowa speculates that depression over loss of contact with their children may be a major causal factor in many of these suicides.  We have no doubt that that is true, but from repeated stories that constantly come into the ACFC offices, draconian child support collection tactics appear to be the direct cause of most of these suicides.  In a recent case, a low-income father who could barely support a second family, after repeated appeals to the local child support agency, got a threatening letter from an attorney and that was the last straw.  

In another case, on a Friday after work a father picks-up half of his paycheck because of a wage garnishment, and when he tries to cash the rest, it is seized at the bank because of a lien.  Not having enough to eat, let alone put gas in his car to get back to work on Monday, they found him at the end of a deserted road with a hose from the exhaust leading back into the car.  A skunk from the child support Gestapo said, "if he was depressed, he should have asked for help."  Right on, buddy, and after spending hours on a psychiatrist's couch, how would he pay his child support, let alone the psychiatrist's fees? 

We could easily tell a dozen more similar stories, but we're sure you all get the point. As far as causal factors in these suicides, we would guess that loss of contact with their children is a major causal factor in the onset of depression, that leads to inability to cope with other stress as well as they otherwise might.  We have no doubt that a great many fathers who are totally unprepared for the way they get raped in divorce courts, have no idea how important their children are to them until they are gone.  Most fathers don't even realize that what happened in divorce court was that they were publicly raped by contemptuous judges and lawyers who just want their money, and could care less what happens to the fathers or their children.  Many of these fathers think that all that happened was that they got screwed by a judge, and that if they could just make their case more effectively, that they will win on appeal, often spending tens or hundreds of thousands in that fruitless quest, only stopping when they run out of money and are financially ruined, whereupon the child support Gestapo declares them to be a criminal. 

The amazing thing to us is that the suicide rate is so low.  With about a million divorces a year, about half of which end up as this kind of disaster for fathers, that's about 500,000 fathers a year that are screwed by the courts, but only about 5,000, or 1% resort to suicide.  Most take a licking but keep on ticking, internalizing their pain just as fathers have always done, but we can also tell you from talking to thousands of fathers about these situations, that for every father who commits suicide, at least a hundred or more are thinking about it every day. 

 The only way we see to get an accurate handle on these figures would be to conduct a series of about a thousand in-depth interviews with a random sample of divorced fathers, and project the results statistically to the entire population. After that, someone might do a similar study of never-married fathers, which is likely to be a problem of similar magnitude, although the dynamics are likely to be significantly different. 

Although divorce may not be a "significant risk factor" for suicide by women, women can sometimes be treated just as badly by the divorce industry, and we would guess that the overall number of female suicides from this cause would also be pretty shocking, if that figure could be developed. If thorough studies were done, we would almost guarantee it would demonstrate that there are at least 500,000 suicidal fathers walking around America right now, as this is written.

 We need to understand that many deaths reported as other causes such as medical neglect, "car accidents", or fires in the home, are actually suicides that the survivors may not want to have publicly reported, or may not even understand themselves.  It could easily be double that figure, but so far, almost nobody is paying any attention to this massive social crisis.  And that's just from the United States, but a similar dynamic is at work in every country influenced by Western civilization. 

 Our best guess is that the world-wide death toll could easily be 50,000 to 100,000 divorce related male suicides a year, plus hundreds or thousands of mothers. 

Sincerely, David A. Roberts, President, ACFC         

We should be thankful we don't get as much government as we pay for.        

Will Rogers

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