When we think of Dad, Father, Papa, Pops many can conjure up sweet memories of throwing a baseball around, bear hugs or learning to ride a bike but not everyone looks back at their childhood with fondness as they think about their fathers; adult children spend decades coming to terms with this paternal abuse in the shadows of the ‘Father’s Know Best’ media hype on dad.
Eileen King, Executive Director of Child-Justice.org says, “Good dads make a big difference in the life of a child. Dads who are violent, controlling, sexually, physically, emotionally abusive violate the child’s right to integrity, dignity, safety. The ACE Study tells the rest of the story.”
What is also true is that the abuse at the hands of the father can adversely effect a child developing into adulthood. In a growing trend in the United States, more and more Divorce Courts are choosing Fathering over Mothering and it leaves many of us greatly concerned. Without the nurturing that mothers provide where will the lessons on compassion, gentleness, safety and protection come from? How is severing the mother-child bond over the relationship with father good for kids?
It’s true that children need both a mother and father but must we ask the questions about whether a dangerous dad is good for the child? When fathehood became public policy the funding of fatherhood.gov failed to address the issues of safety and equal funding for single mothers. It not only created an unfair and imbalanced situation but has created a war on motherhood, making 58,000 children a year motherless. There are Second Chance programs for felon fathers, and responsible fatherhood funding designed to return fathers to the family…..Where is my motherhood.gov funding? or Access to Visitation? Where are my ‘be a mom today’ media events and programs to address this growing problem and the secret war that single mothers are fighting?
In statistics/and propaganda about fatherlessness and child poverty, what they fail to address is that if single mothers made equal monies had equal representation and equal support the children would not live in poverty therefore wouldn’t need a man to rescue them. Many mothers and children without means are staying or being returned to dangerous homes because of this economic/gender justice issue. The true poverty is living without the gentle love of a father. The Department of Health and Human Services and marriage and family acts have created a war on childhood. The President earlier this year called for increased Fatherhood funding and the reapproriation by blaming single mothers for our countries sociatal ills including; divorce rates, crime, encarceration of our children, poverty and suicide. These statements are not only onesided and unfair they reveal the loyalty of a faternal order in this American patriarcal system. The kind of Gender based programs our President is endorcing is forcing children of dangerous fathers to live as hostages until they age out.
In the story of single fatherhood, one must be reminded that good fathers don’t go to war with loving mothers to remove the child. Men with a conscience and love for their child do not work to destroy the mother of their child, to do so traumatizes the child also. The fatherhood funding could be better used for non-violent parenting programs to ensure the safety of children and equal funding to protect the rights of mothers. Until the Equal Rights Amendment is ratified the rights of men, especially violent men will be promoted over the child’s right to a nurtured life and the rights to continued contact with their mothers, yes, kids need the ERA to be ratified too.
The scars that a child takes into their adult years shapes the kind of woman, mother, wife, man, father and husband a child will become. We should not take this fact lightly. The repercussions of contact with a dangerous father can be life threatening.
As Father’s Day rolls around again we struggle with the definition of a “good father” if it includes men who murder the mother of their children, what is the definition of a bad father? Louise Pennington asks the same question who is the bad dad?
“What does a man have to do to be labeled a bad father? If a conviction for child rape isn’t enough, what is?
…a judge in Oklahoma found a convicted child sex offender a “good enough” father to award him sole custody of his six-year-old daughter. In Australia, a man who pleaded guilty to repeatedly raping and sexually assaulting his young daughter from the age of five was let out on a “good behavior” bond. In Ireland, a 52-year-old man was given a suspended sentence after being convicted of raping a 14-year-old girl. The judge ruled that jailing a convicted child rapist would cause serious hardship to his current family.
More importantly, why aren’t more men angry about this? Why aren’t more fathers writing complaint letters every time the media claims that a child rapist is a good enough father?
Why aren’t men challenging this patriarchal theory, which claims that a man is “good enough” as long as he sends a birthday card once a year? There are millions of good fathers across the world, so where are they? Why aren’t they angry?”
In this article Fathers Who Hurt Their Children
The author explores the issue of Paternal Child Abuse and its many forms and impact on the development on the child-
Paternal Child Abuse can come in many forms:
Examples of Paternal Child Abuse:
Did your Father:
Discount your thoughts, opinions and contributions?
Perceive his wife/children as his personal property, to command as he wished?
Disrespect family members
Treat your mother as less than an equal partner?
Avoid participation in family /school functions?
Usually put work and his own interests ahead of those of the family?
Make promises, only to routinely disappoint?
Was he aggressive or abusive toward family members?
Need to be right / in control at all times?
Were you ever “disowned” by your father for disappointing him?
Shame you privately or in front of others?
Was he there for his family and friends when they needed him?
Embarrass you, humiliate you or ignore you?
Ever abuse you – psychologically, verbally, physically or sexually?
Blame his failures on others or make excuses for his bad behavior?
Paternal Abuse and Control-
The definition of Paternal Child Abuse includes the battery of the child’s mother, and deprivation of attention by taking a child from a mother as an act of revenge, power and control through custody proceedings after domestic violence divorces.
This age old Paternal Entitlement has been part of the fabric of this society that no longer fits. When women began to rise up against this patriarchal rule, the ‘Rules of the Father’, they were met with swift correction. The fatherhood programs brought new oppression, rights we relied on to protect us in times of trouble simply don’t exist, when women go to law enforcement and the courts they discover this fraternal order is in place to protect men from prosecution and maintain order in the family. With funding earmarked for fatherhood, mothers lose custody during domestic violence divorce and disclosures of abuse.
When a child experiences a father abusing a mother it leaves lasting scars. Domestic Violence has adverse effects on the child. Child abuse and neglect cost our society, not only in terms of the trauma caused to the maltreated of individuals, but also in economic terms. “A child’s exposure to certain traumas, including domestic violence, sexual abuse, or being separated from a primary attachment parent, results in children suffering more illnesses and injuries as children, later as adults, and are expected to have a shortened life span.”
What is Fair for Children of Abusive Men?
Are Controlling Fathers Dangerous?
Charles PragnelltoPsychopathy Wrote ‘DIAGNOSTIC CRITERIA FOR VENGEFUL FATHER SYNDROME’: The most notable behaviors and attitudes manifested by vengeful fathers and which indicate Vengeful Father’s Syndrome. http://mothersoflostchildren.org/2015/09/vengeful-father-syndrome/
MOTHERS CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION on White Male Abuse
MYTH: White men and white collar workers don’t abuse their families.
FACT: Some of the biggest perpetrators of abuse are white males, with white collar jobs, living in affluent communities. They are esteemed members of the community – show dads teaching Sunday school, leaders of Boy Scout troops, and members of the PTA. They are narcissists and master manipulators.
Victims may feel embarrassed to come forth in fear of being frowned upon by their community and losing their standard of living, yet this is the classic gilded cage. One of the biggest problems married women have is that their significant other controls all the money, micromanages marital funds and discourages them from working, thus keeping a tight reign and limiting their partner’s chances at autonomy.
Joan Meier is a Professor of Clinical Law at George Washington University Law School, and the Founder and Executive Director of the Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project (DV LEAP) wrote a commentary on the misconceptions and falsehoods about a problematic claim — that children are safest with their biological fathers.
Patrick Stewart: the legacy of domestic violence
Negative presence is worse than no presence at all-
Myth — A father’s involvement is crucial for the well-being of a child.
Fact: “While it would be a seemingly obvious proposition to most of us, that fathers’ consistent and substantial involvement in child care would benefit the child, this appears to have not been well established. The relationship between paternal involvement and children’s well-being seems to be mediated by a number of other conditions that involve the father, the mother, and the child. In other words, increased paternal involvement does not automatically result in improved child outcomes. Nor is it clear whether the father’s involvement provides unique nurturance that can not be as readily provided by substitute caregivers.”
THE MEANING OF FATHERHOOD Koray Tanfer, Battelle Memorial Institute; Frank Mott, Ohio State University; Prepared for NICHD Workshop “Improving Data on Male Fertility and Family Formation” at the Urban Institute, Washington, D.C., January 16-17, 1997, http://aspe.os.dhhs.gov/fathers/cfsforum/apenc.htm
From the Presidential Task Force Report produced by the American Psychological Association, where it is cited fathers who batter frequently file for sole custody and often get it.
Fathers who batter their children’s mothers can be expected to use abusive power and control techniques to control the children, too. In many of these families, prior to separation, the men were not actively involved in the raising of their children. To gain control after the marital separation, the fathers fight for the right to be involved.
Often children who have been exposed to violence in the family are frightened to confront their father’s negative or abusive behavior, and mothers cannot protect them. Sometimes the father tries to alienate the child from the mother by using money and other enticements, negative comments, or restricted access to the telephone during visitation with him. Other times, fathers may threaten or actually kidnap the child to punish the mother for leaving, or to try to force her to return.
– See more at: http://americanmotherspoliticalparty.org/ampp-article-library-family-court-custody-abuse-dv/5-family-criminal-law-and-research-abuse-dv-child-custody/40-abusive-fathers-are-more-likely-to-seek-sole-custody-in-child-custody-battles#sthash.8infBooR.dpuf
To be a good father and mother requires that the parents defer many of their own needs and desires in favor of the needs of their children. As a consequence of this sacrifice, conscientious parents develop a nobility of character and learn to put into practice the selfless truths
“There is no love deeper, more complete, and more vulnerable than the love that caring parents feel for their children. There is a bond so strong that it can be hard to tell exactly where the parent ends and the child begins, and the line is even harder to draw when our children are very young. Mothers have an additional bond from having carried their children inside of their bodies and having given birth to them, and more than half of mothers have experienced a deepened attachment through breast-feeding their babies. And mothers are, in the great majority of cases, their children’s primary caretakers, especially during their early years. All connections between caring, non-abusive parents and their children are so important as to be almost sacred, but there is usually a particular quality to the mother-child bond. That life-giving and sustaining connection deserves the full support and admiration of communities and nations.
And just as there is a special beauty and importance to relationships between mothers and their children, there is a special and extraordinary cruelty in the abusive man who attempts to break or weaken the mother-child bond, whether by turning children against their mother, by harming the children physically, sexually or psychologically, or by attempting to take custody of the children away from her.” http://www.lundybancroft.com/child-custody-justice
Over the years the efforts of a very organized and well funded father rights campaign often referred to as Hate Groups, has managed to side track the truth around custody cases, claiming that fathers are treated unfairly. While there are many unfair stories and good fathers feel the injustice of the broken system fathers who file for full custody receive custody 70% of the time over the primary attached good mother. What has become a trend in American society today is a sense of gender neutrality that puts the welfare of children at risk. When the Best Interest Standard replaced the Tender Years doctrine what they were really making room for was the Best Interest of Fathers.
Phyliss Chesler says, that Good Enough mothers are losing custody to dangerous men by courts that favor fathers. “Myths about the custody of children still abound. Most people still believe that the courts favor mothers over fathers, that fathers are discriminated against in the Family Courts because they are men- and that this is how it’s always been. Specifically, the myth that custody decisions invariably favour women needed to be challenged. It is contradicted by the history that I transcribed over the last quarter of a century (Chesler, 1986). In this paper, I compare and contrast my earlier work on custody (Chesler, 1986) with the history since then (Chesler, 2011) and consider whether anything has changed in regard to the significance of gender in custody determinations. I find that the central thesis of my previous work, namely that ‘good enough’ mothers are losing custody of their children on a massive scale, still holds. More ominously though, they are frequently losing custody to violent and abusive men.”
An estimated 58,000 children a year are court-ordered for custody or unsupervised visitation with reported abusers. That means in many cases, children are being ordered to live with their rapists. Child custody courts are generating approximately $50 billion dollars a year from the business of exploiting families in crisis and putting children in direct harm’s way. Adverse childhood experiences are the most basic cause of health risk behaviors, morbidity, disability, mortality, and health care costs. In fact, it costs taxpayers $500 billion dollars a year in health care related costs due to adverse childhood experiences. SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: FAMILY COURT IS BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH- by Patrice Lenowitz, co-founder of The Nurtured Parent Support Group and the Children’s Justice Campaign, community educator of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking for Center for Hope and Safety.
This increased danger to children over the last 40 years is due to funding for reunification to fathers @fatherhood.gov. These political campaigns endorsed through Government contracts, strong lobbying groups for father’s rights and 50 Billion dollars in male entitlement programs the loss of Maternal affection and the deprivation of Mother-Child Bond has increased. Such programs fails to recognize the need to protect children from danger while ensuring the paternal rights over Mothers. These incentives have made life for safe non-offending mothers and children very dangerous since there is no equal funding to support the mother trying to seek safety. No initiative or legal representation to ensure parental rights of natural mothers.
When Batterers are more likely to get custody than safe non-offending mothers there is something very wrong with the Judicial system and social service agencies. “Fathers who battered the mother are twice as likely to seek sole custody of their children as are non-violent fathers.”~American Psychological Association~ American Psychological Association. (1996). Report of the APA Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family , Washington, D.C.
Contested custody cases/Domestic Violence Divorces – make up 15% of all divorce cases in the U.S. – are often mishandled, with the worst cases resulting in harmful outcomes for children of divorce. Domestic Abuse effects everyone, and child sexual abuse effects 1 in 4 children in America these kind of statistics can not be overlooked as they have grown to pandemic size.
Today, many court professionals have been mistrained to be highly skeptical of reports of domestic violence and child abuse in divorce cases. As a result, children are being taken from safe parents and forced by courts to live in the homes where they report being beaten and raped.
Research shows that when batterers request custody, 7 times out of 10 they receive it. Even more alarming, research shows that when children report sexual abuse in custody cases, more than 9 out of 10 of them are placed in the partial or full custody of their identified perpetrators.
“Forcibly taking a mother’s children, and then controlling her emotionally by withholding contact must be publicly recognized as one of the greatest forms of ‘mis-use’ of the American justice system and one of the greatest hidden vehicles for wide-spread socially approved physical and emotional abuse and control.” Coral Anika Theill
Children taken from their mothers in early childhood consider themselves ‘Born of the Father’. Completely wiping out their relationship to their natural mothers who where removed from their lives by vengeful, greedy and dangerous men. The injury to the Mother and Child is enormous when this sacred bond is severed. The trauma, brainwashing and disassociation that results from such events must be addressed as one of the cruelest forms of abuse.
The need for federal oversights and audits of these programs are crucial to implementing programs that are not discriminatory or gender bias. Programs that implement non-violent parenting and insure the safety of children in all custody matters must become a priority, as the nurtured child has become an endangered species in the US. Such improved programs that implements focused parenting, and community awareness of the prevalence of child abuse is essential to improving the State of our children lives in America.
“It is time to reform our family court system. Our children deserve better.”, Alan Rosenfeld
There is a once held belief that if you want to improve the lives of children we must support mothers, after the report on Motherhood ranking the US just 31st in a list of the best and worst countries to be a mother in, down from 6 in 2006. Now, in 2015, we are even lower, having dropped to number 33. It is quite clear – Improving the Lives of Mothers in America should be a top priority. I want my motherhood.gov!
“The Children’s Justice Campaign reminds us of our sacred obligation as adults to raise ourselves into consciousness so that our children may thrive.” Dr. Shefali Tsabary
Clinical Psychologist and Award Winning Author, “The Conscious Parent”
“We need a campaign in the courts to develop and strengthen children’s human and constitutional rights so that our legal system consistently provides appropriate protection to those who cannot protect themselves.” Wendy Murphy
Former prosecutor, lawyer, professor, author, Director, Women’s and Children’s Advocacy Project Center for Law and Social Responsibility New England Law|Boston
Escape From an Emotionally and Verbally Abusive Father
Growing up with emotional abuse.
Help me protect children-
Today my father is protected by New York’s laws called statutes of limitations. The police can do nothing about it and I know he molested other girls too. This is typical of rapists. When they don’t get arrested they get emboldened.
Will you help me stop him from molesting more children?
Help me change New York’s laws to be like states like Delaware and Minnesota?
Click here – https://www.causes.com/childvictimsactny
Children of entitled men in our culture are very much at risk-
My father, Woody Allen, and the danger of questions unasked
More stories and resources:
http://cdv.org/ Children of Domestic Violence
A Mother’s Nightmare, Incest by John E.B.Myers
Scared Silent– Mildred Muhammad
the Hostage Child Michelle Etlin and
*American Judges Association, Domestic Violence and the Court House: Understanding the Problem…Knowing the Victim, 2012
**Neustein & Goetting, Judicial Responses to the Protective Parent’s Complaint of Child Sexual Abuse, 1999
Presidential Candidates, Representatives in Congress, Tax Payers-Voters: Eliminate Dangerous HHS Funding Fueling a War on Children