The hidden half of domestic violence
How to have eternal life
Mothers of Deception
Thanks to Stephen Baskerville for sending us the following. ACFC ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Good Things in Britain
This article in the British Sunday newspaper, The Observer, is a significant event. The Observer is at least as left-wing as the New York Times or Washington Post.
Also I read that Ann Widdecombe is being tipped as a possible new leader for the Conservative Party, following their election defeat last week. She wrote a tremendous article on fathers in Readers' Digest some time ago -- comparable to something from Anne Cools or Cathy Young or Kathleen Parker or Donna Laframboise. (Anyone have a copy? Might be timely to re-post right now.) If she does become Tory leader (or even more influential within the party) she will be looking for an issue to mobilise against Labour. Could be a big development.
Mothers of deception The selfish women who deprive their children of a father's love
Cristina Odone Sunday June 10, 2001 The Observer
My friend Paul shows me the photos of his new-born baby, cradled in his wife's arms. 'This is Sara... with Millie.' He can hardly keep the anger from his voice as he names his wife. No wonder. Within a few weeks of meeting Paul, Millie got pregnant. They moved in together, got married, and Sara was born. As soon as Paul's name was on the birth certificate, Millie changed the lock on their front door. He's seen his baby only once a week ever since - that's when Millie doesn't change her mind at the last minute. Despite this limited access, he pays his wife £750 a month in child maintenance.
Millie is the ultimate sperm'n'cheque woman. They are the women who want a child, and someone to finance their child, but have no wish to share their life with a man. What motivates them to perpetrate this fraud? Hatred of men? Certainly, in these women's eyes men are fungible - Paul could just as well have been Tom, Dick or Harry - victims of deceit. Control freakery ('I must be in charge of my destiny - and my child's') plays a part, too; and the kind of impatience that refuses to enter into the daily compromise that is marriage. Why put up with another grown-up's demands and criticisms when you can just enjoy being everything to a wee little creature?
Whatever the trigger, these women are many - and growing in numbers. According to Jim Parton, chairman of Families Need Fathers, experiences such as Paul's are ever-more commonplace among the 3,000 male members of his association. And these figures don't take into account the countless other fathers who are marginalised and paying, but who refuse to publicly admit that their women tricked them into this emasculating situation.
Last week three children's charities - the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, the Child Poverty Action Group and Barnardo's - marked the election by producing a joint manifesto of five commitments they want from politicians. Top of the list was a children's commissioner who will listen to children's needs and advocate on their behalf. But to help children we need to do more than appoint a commissioner; we need to change family law. Only in this way can we stop the sperm'n'cheque women in their tracks.
If the law is an ass, family law is a mangy, limping one. It backs mothers but condemns children and fathers to life-long estrangement. Judges, in 90 per cent of cases, award custody of children to mothers. Though parental responsibility (the right to be consulted over major issues such as education, or a child being moved abroad) is a married father's automatic right, an unmarried one must go to court for it. In deciding who obtains custody or parental responsibility, the judges have no precedents to go on, for no research exists to determine what the consequences of their decision has been on the children involved after, say, 10 years. Nor are these decisions ever subject to scrutiny: family court judgments go unreported - unless there is an abduction case - out of concern for children's right to privacy.
A child's right to a father, however, is overlooked. Family law values only money, and reduces fathers to piggy-bank status. The Child Support Agency it set up is intent on chasing fathers for maintenance (with no concern about his financial status or who dumped whom) rather than securing their access to children. The CSA treats men as unwilling fathers, who will only cough up when threatened with confiscation of their driving licence or their passports, or imprisonment, yet 75 per cent of unmarried fathers sign birth registers - hardly evidence of their shirking their duty.
All these humiliations are heaped on men in order to drive home the unequivocal message that they are expendable, as husbands and fathers. For shame! I'm not sure that husbands are necessary - thus far, I have felt no urgent need for one myself, but I am positively certain that a father is key to the welfare of his child. This is not to detract from the extraordinary work of those awe-inspiring women who manage to raise children on their own; but these are women whose solo parenting was forced upon them - he drank, he beat her up, he walked out. Unforgivable, though, is the woman who could offer her child a father and chooses not to - or limits his access to infrequent, and as a consequence, strained, visits which fail to dispel suspicion and stunt any hope for intimacy.
These women are not rare: the Government's Children First consultation paper found that 40 per cent of the divorced or separated mothers admitted to thwarting child-father contact. We've never been here before. Once upon an un-enlightened time, a man could choose a virgin with a sizeable dowry and then treat her abominably. But even then he recognised that her role as mother was sacrosanct, and did his best to foster it. Nowadays, there are women who will strip men of even their right to parent.
The fall-out of this campaign affects us all. You don't need to regurgitate any of those studies that show that children without fathers fare worse at school and later in life; it is clear that, in terms of plain happiness, a child who is forever asking 'who is my papa?' or 'where is my papa?' lags behind those unencumbered by these questions. Emotionally bruised and confused, the child who has no contact with his father will view the relationship between men and women as adversorial or non-existent; and between father and child as temporary. Who wants to share a classroom, an office, let alone a bed with someone like this?
Fatherhood is an inalienable right, for both child and father, and we should defend it from those women bent on trampling it. Otherwise we risk living in a world where Philip Larkin's verse, 'they (deleted) you up your mum and dad', may well be edited to 'she (deleted) you up, your mum, about dad'.
Observer Home: http://www.observer.co.uk/ Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2001
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JUNE is Domestic Violence Against Men Awareness Month