Showing newest 18 of 75 posts from February 2009. Show older posts
Showing newest 18 of 75 posts from February 2009. Show older posts


No Conclusive Evidence Supporting A Presumption of Joint Custody

(emphasis mine)

Despite extensive research by numerous academics, there is no conclusive evidence to support a presumption of joint custody. In fact, to the contrary, policy recommendations are now emerging urging states not to mandate any particular presumption but to continue to refine efforts to see families as unique entities deserving fresh scrutiny in each case. The American Bar Association favors a case-by-case determination without rigid presumptions for or against joint custody. The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges instructs judges not to presume that joint custody is in the best interest of children. While researchers make clear that families wishing to embark on joint custody should not be discouraged from doing so, they urge states not to mandate joint custody, as it is not the panacea it is sometimes presented to be.

Early studies purporting to demonstrate the success of joint custody were erroneously relied upon to support a presumption of joint custody. These studies were highly selective, examining only the experience of parents who entered into joint custody arrangements voluntarily, or suffered from poor research methodologies - selecting samples that were too small or unrepresentative, failing to include control or comparison groups, or failing to follow up on families over time. One of the first studies that included consideration of court-imposed joint custody found that none of the arrangements were “successful” one year after the arrangement began. More recent studies have shown that unresolved parental conflict correlates poorly with the level of cooperation necessary for a successful joint custody arrangement and has detrimental effects on children, including emotional and behavioral disturbances.

In early 1998, as part of a major study of its custody law, the state of Washington examined peer-reviewed articles and books about research on post-divorce parenting and child adjustment and produced an extensive overview of the findings of those studies that is highly relevant to the inquiry raised by this Committee. The Washington report concludes that joint physical custody in high conflict families is detrimental to children and does not accomplish the goal of fostering better communication between parents but instead may make matters worse. It goes on to assert that “experts in the field agree that ‘one size fits all’ approaches to developing post-divorce parenting arrangements are inappropriate and may be harmful to some families.”

Specifically, the Washington report discusses two studies showing that, while substantial contact with both parents is positive for children if there is relatively little conflict between the parents, the reverse is true when there is elevated conflict (not including domestic violence) between the parents. Among families with pre-existing conflict, there does not appear to be any evidence that the conflict ends after divorce. Instead, such families often “disengage” from one another, communicating as little as possible and parenting in completely separate ways. One group of researchers also found that in custody cases with joint custody, there was a higher incidence of return to the courts for further action.

Read the entire article:





Okay, so parental alienation and joint custody are the hallmarks of the father's supremacy movement. Parental alienation=blame it on the mother and escape culpability of abuse, joint custody=elimination of child support and frequent and continuing contact and CONTROL over the ex and children. It just doesn't get any easier than that.

Father's groups will swear that creating a presumption of joint custody is the BEST thing in the world...for the children, that is. However, unless you enjoy being shuffled back and forth between two residences, in an attempt to keep things equal, the only way I see it is as the selfish interests of the father. A child should maintain the same relationship with the person who provided for the primary care in the household. It isn't that difficult of a concept.

You see, what you must ask these angry fathers is: What was your relationship and responsibility to the child like when the household was intact? Why is this question always avoided? If a father was bringing home the bacon before, maybe going to the baseball games, maybe giving a little kiss at the end of the night, why should this change and all of a sudden he doesn't want to support the child and all of a sudden he wants to act like he's been father of the year and he wants everything 50-50, except for the fact that he's really going to pawn the caretaking off to his new girlfriend/wife or parents? Tell me that isn't the case!

If it was 50-50 before, then fine! All I'm saying is, keep it the same...if, indeed, it is about the chidren...

Kentucky Man, 2½-Year-Old Die In Murder-Suicide

It just doesn't end!

Authorities discovered a 37-year-old Kentucky man and his 2½-year-old son dead inside a Ghent residence on Friday, saying evidence points to a murder-suicide.

State troopers were called to a domestic violence complaint shortly before 9:40 p.m. in the 300 block of Campbell Road in Ghent...


The Absence of Research Supporting Parental Alienation Syndrome

(emphasis mine)

The Absence of Research Supporting PAS

While Gardner and PAS have many adherents, particularly among forensic evaluators and litigants, few, if any, researchers have contributed to the literature endorsing PAS. This is presumably because PAS is really Gardner's invention and was not derived from empirical research that can be replicated.

PAS' empirical claims are false or unsupported. The claims upon which Gardner based his PAS theory are contradicted by the empirical research. Gardner (1991, 1992b) claimed that child sexual abuse allegations are widespread in custody cases and that the vast majority of such allegations are false. These claims have no empirical basis other than Gardner's interpretation of his own clinical practice. In contradiction, the largest study of child sexual abuse allegations in custody litigation ever conducted found that child sexual abuse allegations were extremely rare (less than 2% of cases) and that approximately 50% of the claims were deemed valid, even when assessed by normally conservative court and government-affiliated evaluators (Thoennes & Tjaden, 1990). Other studies have found such allegations to be validated approximately 70% of the time (Faller, 1998). Moreover, leading researchers have found that "high rates of unsubstantiated maltreatment" in "circumstances that indicat[e] that abuse or neglect may have occurred" are a more prevalent problem than false claims of child sexual abuse (Trocme & Bala, 2005, pp. 1342-44).

Indeed, empirical research has found that the PAS theory is built upon an assumption which is the opposite of the truth: Where PAS presumes that mothers are vengeful and pathologically "program" their children, it is not women and children, but noncustodial fathers who are most likely to fabricate child maltreatment claims. In the largest study of its kind, leading researchers analyzed the 1998 Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect. They found that only 12% of child abuse or neglect allegations made in the context of litigation over child access were intentionally false (Trocme & Bala, 2005). Notably, they found that the primary source of these intentionally false reports was noncustodial parents (43%), typically fathers; Relatives, neighbors, or acquaintances accounted for another 19% of false reports. Only 14% of knowingly false claims were made by custodial parents (typically mothers) and 2% by children (Trocme & Bala, 2005).

Gardner asserted that the reason women lie about child sexual abuse in custody litigation is because "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" (Gardner, 1992b, pp. 218-19), and/or because they are "gratifie[d] vicariously" (Gardner, 1991, p. 25; 1992a, p. 126) by imagining their child having sex with the father. Again, there is no empirical basis or support for these offensive assertions.

Gardner's pro-pedophilic beliefs. Gardner's underlying beliefs regarding human sexuality, including adult-child sexual interaction, are so bizarre that it is hard to believe that courts would have adopted his theory if they were aware of what he had published. For instance, his writings express the view that all human sexual paraphilias (deviant behaviors) "serve the purposes of species survival" by "enhanc[ing] the general level of sexual excitation in society" (Gardner, 1992b, p. 20; see also Hoult, 2006). These sexual behaviors include pedophilia, sadism, rape, necrophilia, zoophilia (sex with animals), coprophilia (sex with feces), and other paraphilias (Gardner, 1992b; see also Dallam, 1998; Hoult, 2006).

Further, Gardner claimed that women's physiology and conditioning makes them potentially masochistic rape victims who may "gain pleasure from being beaten, bound, and otherwise made to suffer," as "the price they are willing to pay for gaining the gratification of receiving the sperm" (Gardner, 1992b, p. 26).

Regarding pedophilia, Gardner argued expressly that adult-child sex need not be intrinsically harmful to children. He claimed that adult-child sex is beneficial to the species, insofar as it increases a child's sexualization and increases the likelihood that his or her genes will be transmitted at an early age (Gardner, 1992b). Contrary to his own claim that most sexual abuse claims in the context of custody disputes are false, Gardner also claimed, with equal lack of basis, that "probably over 95%" of all sex abuse allegations are valid, because "sexual activities between an adult and a child are an ancient tradition" a "worldwide phenomenon" and "has been present in just about every society studied, both past and present" (Gardner, 1992b, pp. 47-48). Gardner viewed Western society as "excessively punitive" in its treatment of pedophilia as a "sickness and a crime" (Gardner, 1991, p. 115). He attributed this Western "overreaction" to the influence of the Jews (Gardner, 1992b). Gardner opposed mandated reporting of child sexual abuse, and specifically described a case in which he successfully persuaded a mother not to report a bus driver who had molested her daughter. He contended that reporting the molestation would "interfere with the natural desensitization process, would be likely to enhance guilt, and would have other untoward psychological effects" (Gardner, 1992b, pp. 611-12; see also Dallam, 1998). Gardner's perspective on adult-child sexual interaction can be summed up in his reference to Shakespeare's famous quote: "'There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so'" (Gardner, 1991, p. 115).

Gardner's attitude toward paternal child sexual abuse was evident in an interview in which he stated that a child who tells his mother he has been sexually molested by his or her father should be told "I don't believe you. I'm going to beat you for saying it. Don't you ever talk that way again about your father" (Waller, 2001).

Sole empirical study of PAS does not validate the concept. Only one study has been published that purports to empirically verify the existence of PAS. This study sought to assess the "inter-rater reliability" of PAS, or the extent to which different observers can consistently identify PAS (Rueda, 2004). The study built directly on Gardner's criteria, taking for granted that those criteria reflect PAS. It then measured the degree to which a small sample of therapists agree on whether five case scenarios presented to them reflect those PAS criteria or not (Rueda, 2004). Many of the therapists surveyed refused to fill out the questionnaire and some expressly stated they didn't believe PAS existed. This study thus simply presumed rather than proved the key question: Is the concept of PAS actually a disorder caused by a malevolent aligned parent's efforts, or is it simply a reframing of a child's alienation caused by real abuse and/or other conduct by the alienated parent? Notably, the author himself admits that the findings did not "differentiate PAS from parental alienation" (Rueda, 2004, p. 400). Since "parental alienation" is merely a factual description of behavior that is both more innocuous and common (see section below) than "PAS" purports to be, this admission essentially negates the usefulness of the study.

PAS has been rejected by scientific and professional authorities. The dominant consensus in the scientific community is that there is no scientific evidence of a clinical "syndrome" concerning "parental alienation." Leading researchers, including some who treat "alienation" itself as a real problem, concur that "the scientific status of PAS is, to be blunt, nil" (Emery, Otto, & O'Donohue, 2005, p. 10; see also Gould, 2006; Johnston & Kelly, 2004b; Myers et al., 2002; Smith & Coukos, 1997; Wood, 1994). The Presidential Task Force of the American Psychological Association on Violence in the Family (APA, 1996) stated that
although there are no data to support the phenomenon called parental alienation syndrome, in which mothers are blamed for interfering with their children's attachment to their fathers, the term is still used by some evaluators and Courts to discount children's fears in hostile and psychologically abusive situations (p. 40).
Dr. Paul Fink, past President of the American Psychiatric Association, describes PAS as "junk science" (Talan, 2003, line 9). Additionally, a psychiatrist heading up the revision of the profession's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual stated that PAS "would never be taken seriously in DSM… It isn't a mental disorder" (Talan, 2003, lines 34-5).

Echoing the scientific consensus, a leading judicial body, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, published guidelines for custody courts stating:
the discredited "diagnosis" of "PAS" (or allegation of "parental alienation"), quite apart from its scientific invalidity, inappropriately asks the court to assume that the children's behaviors and attitudes toward the parent who claims to be "alienated" have no grounding in reality. It also diverts attention away from the behaviors of the abusive parent, who may have directly influenced the children's responses by acting in violent, disrespectful, intimidating, humiliating and/or discrediting ways toward the children themselves, or the children's other parent (Dalton, Drozd, & Wong, 2006, p. 24).
The American Prosecutors' Research Institute and National District Attorneys' Association have also rejected PAS (Ragland & Field, 2003). And, despite more than one attempt by Gardner and other adherents of PAS, PAS has not been accepted into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), the encyclopedia of recognized psychological disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association (N. Erickson, personal communication, May 16, 2007). At most, PAS is a conclusory label that offers a particular explanation for a breach in the relationship between a child and parent. However, insofar as the same condition can stem from numerous other legitimate reasons, it is not in itself a psychological diagnosis so much as a purely legal claim or argument (Hoult, 2006).

Read the entire article: Parental Alienation Syndrome & Parental Alienation: Research Reviews By Joan S. Meier
Sorry to disappoint you yet again. There is no large scientific research body supporting PAS as it cannot be replicated in a scientific way. Not science. Nor is there an epidemic of PAS and mothers running around spewing false allegations.

Furthermore, you can't really trust anything Gardner says about child abuse because of his incestuous beliefs and contradictory statements. If PAS exists, what Gardner is in essence saying, is that it comes from sexual abuse. Now THAT makes sense.

Father's supremacists are heavily promoting the inclusion of PAS in the next DSM. Have you seen the DSM? It just gets thicker and thicker...1/2 of it maybe full of utter nonsense. What will be the cure if it is included? Medication? Mandatory deprogramming confinement facilities? Parental alienation prison?

And yet still, PAS infiltrates every sect of society that is supposed to protect children, because children don't really have rights, other than the right to be chattel.

Belize Survivor, part 31

Hours later, Mrs. Hartley found him. "Max, wake up," she said, shaking him. "I thought you'd gone back to Good Faith."

Groggily, he mumbled, "Jane said she'd see me after the photo session. Is it five o'clock yet?"

"Yes, a quarter past. Why don't you go freshen up and I'll tell her you're still here."

Max went into the bathroom and splashed cold water on his face, but it still looked haggard and dark. As he used the towel to dry off, he heard Nigel and Jane’s voices coming down the hall outside. In a few seconds they would pass right by the door. Instinct told him to pull away, but instead he pressed his ear against the wood.

"I told you. I didn't know Max was coming,” said Jane. “Actually I thought he'd left during the photo shoot. I should have known better than to think he'd simply walk away after traveling so far."

"Well,” said Nigel. “He's making things damn difficult. I think you should just tell him the truth. You should have written him a letter, weeks ago. Then we wouldn't be having this problem."

"I suppose you're right. I just didn't want to hurt his feelings, that's all. Now it's going to be even harder. Also I told him I'd have dinner with him and that you'd understand."

"Well, that's going too far. I love you and you love me,” said Nigel, petulantly. “Max is just going to have to deal with it."

"But you're his best friend."

“Well, I was – until the day I started making love with his woman."

Behind the bathroom door Max staggered and fell back against the wall. The blood drained from his face, but the hot sweat soon changed to cold chills as he walked into the living room where Nigel stood with Jane. Without a word, he walked up to Nigel and gave him a hard uppercut to the chin that knocked him flat.

"Max, please listen," Jane began.

Without even turning around he said, "Save your breath, slut."

Max didn't go back to Good Faith that night. Another chat with his mother was the last thing he needed. Instead, he drove to a bar in town and made passionate love to a small, but lethal, flask of cane spirits. Somewhere in the back of his mind a voice told him that he should get started back to the army base, but the pain was too great. By one o'clock in the morning he was quite drunk and ready for the Blue Note, a late-night jazz club where apartheid was largely overlooked and people of all colors gathered for music and liquor. The smoky semi-darkness comforted him like a womb, as he switched to scotch and stared numbly at the faces.

A little chocolate-colored girl, no older than fourteen, sat down across the table. She didn't speak, but studied his face as he sipped his drink. He paid no attention, continuing to think about Jane, his feelings alternating between love, anger, and hurt. He thought of Nigel caressing her and suddenly felt himself hard with lust. It was then that he realized the little chocolate girl was rubbing his crotch with her toes. She stuck out her pointed pink tongue and licked her lips, exposing small, even, and perfectly white teeth. With a movement barely discernible, she gestured toward the back of the club.

The room spun dizzily as Max came back to consciousness the following day. His head, splitting in agony, reminded him of the night before, and he was suddenly filled with remorse. He raised his body to a sitting position, holding his head, cringing at the mildewed walls and filthy bare mattress. The black girl was gone, as was his wallet and watch. But he had the good sense to give thanks she hadn't stolen his shoes and pants as well. The room was rank with the smell of stale liquor, and Max's only thought was to get out as quickly as possible. In the street, the glaring light of midday blinded him. His heart skipped a beat when he found out from a passerby that it was already one-fifteen in the afternoon. He called Good Faith.

"What do you mean you're heading back to base? I thought you were going to spend time with Jane and then come home," said Ellie. "Where were you last night?

Where did you sleep? Max, are you in some kind of trouble?" Her raucous voice punished his eardrums like a squawking chicken with a British accent.

"No, Mum, I'm fine," he lied. "I spent the night with a friend. I've been here too long already. I've simply got to head back to the base, or I'll end up in real trouble."
"Well, I'm thoroughly disappointed in your behavior and I'm sure your father will be as well. I would have expected that you could have spent at least a little time with your old mother."

"Mum, please. I'll make it up to you next time, I promise. I'm going to go now. You can have Timmy pick up the truck here in town at the petrol station. I’m sorry. Bye, Mum."

"Max! Don't you hang up on me," she said. "Max?"

Worse than the cold on the way down, now a freezing rain blew across northern Natal as Max hitched his way back to the base. He felt sick and disgusted, disenchanted with life in general and women in particular. By the time he reached the camp it was eleven-fifteen Monday morning, and Sgt. DeGroot had already had the supreme satisfaction of declaring him AWOL.

Max was committed to solitary confinement for three days. The tiny cement structure was only six feet by six. The menu consisted of thin soup, bread, and water. Served twice a day, it was garnished with a few greasy hairs, courtesy of the fat Afrikaaner cook who brought his meals. The three days of incarceration made for an experience beyond Max's worst nightmare. He'd seen men come out of the dog box drooling and babbling nonsense. In the cold and damp, among the scuttling roaches,

Max reaffirmed his embittered vow to never again be a victim of the system.

5 Dead, 1 Wounded in Apparent Murder-Suicide in California Condominium

WHOOPS this was last year!

There have been so many murders/murder-suicides, I am have a lot of trouble keeping up.

Investigators are eager to interview the 14-year-old lone survivor of what they suspect was a murder-suicide that left five members of a family dead.

The teen, recovering from surgery for a gunshot wound to his torso, may hold the key to what happened at the condo complex in Yorba Linda, a bedroom community about 40 miles southeast of Los Angeles. The apartment where the shootings occurred is across the street from the Richard Nixon Library.

"At this point, he's the only surviving eyewitness," said Lt. Jack Conklin of the Brea Police Department. Police can't interview the teen until Monday at the earliest because he remained sedated.

Police responding to the scene late Saturday found five people, including three children, dead of gunshot wounds. The teen's mother was discovered on the doorstep, said Conklin.

Inside the home, police found the bodies of two girls in a bedroom, apparently asleep in their beds. The body of a boy was discovered in another bedroom, along with the body of a man with a shotgun beneath him. Authorities still are trying to determine a motive for the slayings, but believed the father was the gunman...

After you determine a motive, then what?

Everyone is in denial about violence.

Science, eh?

My favorite Canadian blog stalker left the following comment on this post:

I expect more from you than this kind of illogical statement "The psychologists who do evaluations wrote up laws giving themselves immunity, removed APA standards and assured themselves of lots of unnecessary work." First of all wheres your proof and secondly don't you know what a non-sequitur is by stating they have assured themselves of "unnecessary" work.

You can do better than this even though the gender feminist ranting about PAS is going no where. You are swimming against the tide. Science is starting to overtake feminist ranting and mythology.

Lets at least be logical next time - Oh I forgot your a gender feminist - sorry.

I don't know how he expects more from me being that we have never met and I only know of him to visit my site a handful of times. I expect more from me, too. And everyone'll get more as I continue to do research on the monies that are being passed from the federal government to fund fathers and their parental alienation scams.

What does this Canadian know about Florida laws anyway? Maybe he is one of the bunch who flocks between Florida and Canada to run the scam. However, the statement is as it stands: prominent Florida psychologists and PAS proponents were the ones who wrote up HB 1075. It wasn't that hard to look it up. You just go here, look for the bill sponsors, research the names...and BAM! In yo face.

The "unnecessary work" was referencing the fact that HB 1075 was created to make things "easier" for divorcing couples with children. When, in fact, that is utter bullshit. It created shared parenting (FAIL) and changed the terminology so that fathers would no longer get their feelings hurt in being referred to as "non-custodial." Shared parenting only works when the couples agree to it, NOT when it is forced upon them. This has been said ONE MILLION TIMES! There will be MORE work as couples return to court to modify, and modify again, and violent men have continuous access to their exes and children...more work, that is, for the GALS and psychologist as the court injects more and more profiteering third parties in attempt to shirk responsibility.

"Science is overtaking?" Come on, my Canadian stalker! What part of all of this family court nonsense is SCIENCE? Psychology is not science. PAS is not science. But it is male-dominated and I can believe it will take over like White men and science took over lay professions while experimenting on people of color, women, and the poor. It's called, exploitation. Science also was once mythology. Religion can be considered mythology. I don't understand where you are going with this.

I believe my Canadian stalker gets a boner from coming and commenting on the mothers' blogs...I mean, with all of this attention, why not?


BAM! In Yo Face, U.S.: China Strikes Back

I just found this report about China firing back a report on the U.S. This is almost orgasmic as it is about time someone took a stance against this bully good-ole boy United States of America. The U.S. is constantly talking about how trifling other nations are in respect to raped women in Africa, infanticide in China, AIDS in Haiti, etc, etc. When, right here we are having men killing their families on a regular basis, paid justice, cronyism, among other things that you will see listed in this article.

Well fucking done, China (emphasis mine):

By Xinhua writers Fu Shuangqi and Wu Xiaojun

BEIJING, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- China on Thursday hit back at a United States report on its human rights with its own report on the U.S. human rights record.

"The U.S. practice of throwing stones at others while living ina glass house is a testimony to the double standards and hypocrisy of the United States in dealing with human rights issues and has undermined its international image," the Information Office of the State Council said in its report on the U.S. human rights record.

The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2008 was in retaliation to the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2008 issued by the U.S. Department of State on Feb. 25.

For years, the United States had positioned itself over other countries and released the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices annually to criticize human rights conditions in other countries, using it as a tool to interfere with and demonize other nations, the report said. "The U.S. has turned a blind eye to its own violations of human rights.

"As in previous years, the reports are full of accusations of the human rights situation in more than 190 countries and regions, including China, but mention nothing of the widespread human rights abuses on its own territory," China said in its report.

"The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2008 is prepared to help people around the world understand the real situation of human rights in the United States, and as a reminder for the United States to reflect upon its own issues," China said.

The report reviewed the U.S. human rights record from six perspectives: life and personal security; civil and political rights; economic, social and cultural rights; racial discrimination; rights of women and children; and the United States' violation of human rights in other countries.

The report warned the United States that widespread violent crime posed serious threats to its people's lives and security.

According to a report published in September 2008 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the country reported 1.4 million violent crimes, including 17,000 murders and 9.8 million property crimes in 2007.

More frequent gun killings were a serious threat to the lives of U.S. citizens, the report said.

It quoted the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention assaying that 1.35 million high school students in 2007 were either threatened or injured with a weapon at least once on school property.

The report said an increasing number of restrictions had been imposed on civil rights in the United States.

It cited government surveillance of online activities, new legislation on government wiretapping last July, more cases of police abuse of force and neglect of basic rights of 2.3 million prisoners in the United States.

The United States was facing a number of social problems, including a wide wealth gap, increasing number of homeless, needy people and those suffering hunger, the report said.

It quoted the U.S. Census Bureau as saying in August 2008 that 12.5 percent of Americans, or 37.3 million people, were living in poverty in 2007, up from 36.5 million in 2006.

The unemployment rate increased from 4.6 percent in 2007 to 5.8percent in 2008, the report said.

People in the United States saw their pension plans shrink, health insurance cut and school tuition increase, while drugs, suicide and other social problems prevailed, according to the report.

The report said racial discrimination prevails in "every aspect of social life" in the United States, ranging from income, employment, education, to judicial system, often with African Americans as major victims.

"Nearly one quarter of black American households live below the poverty line, three times that of white households," it said, citing The State of Black America, issued by the National Urban League in March 2008.

The jobless rate for blacks was 10.6 percent in the third quarter of 2008, twice that of the whites, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The report said the African American high school graduation and college entry rates still lingered at the level of whites "two or three decades ago", and African American students in public schools were "more likely to get physical punishment than White children."

"African American youths arrested for murder are at least three times more likely than their white peers to receive life imprisonment without the possibility of parole," the report said, quoting a 2008 report of the New York-based Human Rights Watch.

It also mentioned the infringement of basic rights of indigenous Americans, inhumane treatment received by immigrants, and serious racial hostility and rising hate crime in the United States.

On "worrisome" conditions of women and children, the report said gender-based discrimination in employment, and domestic violence and sexual violence toward women were quite serious.

Also, an increasing number of children were living in poverty and danger of being physically or mentally harmed due to abuse and violence.

"The United States is one of the few countries in the world where minors receive the same criminal punishments as adults," the report said. "It is the only country in the world that sentences children to life in prison without possibility of parole or release."

"The United States has a string of records of trampling on the sovereignty of and violating human rights in other countries," the report said.

It listed the Iraq war, prisoner abuse at Guantanamo, the five-decade embargo against Cuba and arm sales.

The war in Iraq had claimed more than 1 million civilian lives and caused the same number of homeless people, it said.

The United States maintained the embargo against Cuba, though the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution urging it to end the embargo in last October.

U.S. arm sales reached 32 billion U.S. dollars in 2007 and weapons were sold to more than 174 nations and regions.

The United States was inactive on its international human rights obligations and offered outbound humanitarian aid that was dwarfed by its status as the richest country in the world, the report said.

China in the report advised the U.S. government to "face its own human rights problems with courage, and to stop applying double standards to human rights issues".

This is the 10th consecutive year that the Information Office of China's State Council has issued a report on the human rights record of the United States to answer the U.S. State Department's annual report.

"Respect for and protection of human rights is an important indication of civilization and progress of human society," the report said. "Every government shoulders a common responsibility in committing itself to the improvement of human rights conditions.

life and personal security...FAIL
civil and political rights...FAIL
economic, social and cultural rights...FAIL
racial discrimination...MAJOR FAIL
rights of women and children...MAJOR FAIL
United States' violation of human rights in other countries...FAIL

Again, it's about damn time...thank you!

Oklahoma HB 1739

Oh my goodness! I can hardly collect my thoughts after finding and reading this from the Pottawatomie Online:
Reducing dependence on foreign oil and increasing protection for abused spouses and children are among the measures approved by the House of Representatives last week...House Bill 1739 directs state courts to presume a child should be placed with a non-abusive parent in any case where there is clear evidence the other parent has engaged in domestic violence, stalking, or harassment. According to the Oklahoma Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board, 50 percent of domestic violence homicides in 2002 occurred during a child exchange. The board also reports Oklahoma averages 75 deaths per year from domestic violence.
Sadly, Oklahoma is ranked fourth in the nation in intimate partner homicides. HB 1739 would create a standardized approach in custody and visitation cases where one parent has been known to engage in domestic abuse. If visitation is allowed, the court shall "provide for the safety of the minor child" during the event. In cases where evidence "tending to substantiate suspected or confirmed child abuse" is identified by the Department of Human Services, the bill requires the suspension of visitation rights.

The legislation also requires the abusive parent to pay the non-abusive parent’s court costs for divorce and custody proceedings if there is "a showing by a preponderance of evidence that the party is currently being stalked or has been stalked or is the victim of domestic abuse."
I don't live in Oklahoma, but I am shaking in my seat as I look up more info on this from the Oklahoma House of Representatives (emphasis mine):

Lawmakers Target Domestic Violence, Child Abusers

2/16/2009 4:04:00 PM

Contact: State Rep. Ron Peters
Capitol: (405) 557-7359

OKLAHOMA CITY (February 16, 2009) – Legislation that would increase protection of abused spouses and children during a custody dispute is headed for the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

House Bill 1739, by state Rep. Ron Peters, requires state courts to presume a child should be placed with a non-abusive parent in any case where there is clear evidence the other parent has engaged in domestic violence, stalking, or harassment.

"During divorce or custody disputes where domestic violence has previously occurred, the violence often escalates to the point of murder," said Peters, R-Tulsa. "We don’t want the state of Oklahoma to force any woman or child to risk their lives."

According to the Oklahoma Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board, 50 percent of domestic violence homicides in 2002 occurred during a child exchange.

According to the Oklahoma Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board, Oklahoma averages 75 deaths per year from domestic violence and children witnessed the death of a parent as the result of domestic violence in 37 percent of cases in 2004.

Oklahoma has been ranked fourth in the nation in intimate partner homicides.

"The data clearly show that violent spouses or partners remain a threat to the safety and well-being of both the child and non-abusive parent," Peters said. "It’s time we require the courts to take violent behavior into greater account during custody disputes."

Peters said House Bill 1739 would create a standardized approach in custody and visitation cases where one parent has been show to engage in domestic abuse.

If visitation is allowed, the bill requires the court to "provide for the safety of the minor child" during the event.

Under the bill, the court cannot order a victim of domestic violence, stalking, or harassment to be present during a child visitation exchange.

In cases where evidence "tending to substantiate suspected or confirmed child abuse" is identified by the Department of Human Services, the bill requires the suspension of visitation rights.

The legislation also requires the abusive parent to pay the non-abusive parent’s court costs for divorce and custody proceedings if there is "a showing by a preponderance of evidence that the party is currently being stalked or has been stalked or is the victim of domestic abuse."

Peters said the legislation could dramatically reduce the occurrence of abuse in Oklahoma.

"Research indicates as many as 60 percent of men who abuse women also abuse children," he said. "Once we know a man has engaged in domestic violence, we also know there is a very good chance he will abuse his child. This bill will provide additional safeguards to protect those children in future custody and visitation cases."

House Bill 1739 has been approved by the House Judiciary Committee and now goes before the entire Oklahoma House of Representatives.

So exciting....oh so exciting! I can't type. I can't breathe. I hope this is real and has a real chance...

Child Visitation With Convicted Father

Dear Reader,

What was the father convicted of? Does the child want to visit the father, or is the system of colluders forcing this relationship and visitation? If it is the latter, sorry, but welcome to the club.

If there is anyone reasonable in your case, try having them read What is Fair for Children of Abusive Men, by Jack Stratton, PhD. I wish this were a required reading like those dumb divorce classes that some states insist on.

Good luck.

A Research Critique of Parental Alienation

(emphasis mine)

Qualitative critiquePA still obscures abuse. This new approach to alienation blunts some of the most disturbing elements of Gardner's theory, and, by recognizing the many reasons and ways children can become alienated from a parent, places the concept of alienation in a more reasonable light. Nonetheless, the differences between "alienation" and PAS are, at best, unclear to many lawyers, courts, and evaluators. One lawyer's website says, "PAS---sometimes called Parental Alienation (PA)--- is a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child-custody disputes" (The Custody Center, n.d., line 1-2). Indeed, Gardner himself acknowledged that many evaluators use "parental alienation" in court to avoid the attacks that use of "PAS" would invite (Gardner, 2002). In practice, then, it seems that many practitioners conflate the two concepts. Indeed, this author was recently involved in a case in which the court's forensic expert substituted the label "parental alienation" for her earlier suggestion of PAS, without changing anything else about her analysis. When queried about the differences between PA and PAS, she had little to say. It is not surprising, then, that even while trying to explicitly shift the focus from PAS to PA, proponents of the "new" PA continue to rely on PAS materials (Bruch, 2001; Steinberger, 2006).

Of particular relevance here, PA adherents, like PAS adherents, sometimes fail to appreciate the role of abuse in "alienating" children. They frequently discuss the damage caused by "alienation" without adequately distinguishing between children who are suffering because they are victims of "alienation" and children who are suffering because of abuse – abuse which may itself have caused both the psychological damage and the child's alienation (Johnston, Walters, & Olesen, 2005; Kelly & Johnston, 2001). Strikingly, Johnston's own research studies have found that even among the children who rejected a parent, all had multiple reasons for their hostility. These reasons included negative behaviors by the hated parent, such as child abuse or inadequate parenting, or children's own developmental or personality difficulties (Johnston, 2005; Johnston et al., 2005). Yet these articles tend to discuss "alienated" children and the difficulties they experience without distinguishing between those who were hostile because of abuse or neglect and those who were alienated because of an aligned parent's wrongful alienating conduct (Johnston, 2005; Johnston & Kelly, 2004b). This common conflation unavoidably contributes to the obscuring of abuse as a reason for children's rejection of a parent, and the tendency to erroneously characterize abused children as pathologically "alienated" while ignoring the reality that they are actually abused. It should be noted that while alienation researchers do not discuss child witnessing of adult domestic violence as a form of emotional child abuse, research has unequivocally found that child witnesses to adult abuse can be profoundly negatively affected even if they are not themselves the target of physical or sexual violence (Lewis-O'Connor, Sharps, Humphreys, Gary, & Campbell, 2006).

Moreover, Johnston, the leading alienation researcher, states that even where the vast majority of both parents used alienating behaviors, only 6% of children were "extremely rejecting" and only 20% "showed indication of being consistently negative" (Johnston et al., 2005, p. 206). Some of those children were actually alienated from their mothers by abusive or battering fathers , whose alienating conduct was part of their pattern of abuse (Johnston et al., 2005; Johnston & Kelly, 2004b). Insofar as disparaging the mother is typically part and parcel of a pattern of male battering, those children are more accurately termed victims of abuse, rather than victims of alienation per se (Bancroft & Silverman, 2002). Thus, of the 20% of children found by the researchers to be alienated, more than one fourth were understandably hostile due to the disliked parent's conduct and some other unknown percentage were alienated from their mother by a battering father. Putting aside alienation which is part of an abuser's pattern of abuse (which does not match the traditional "alienation" paradigm of a vengeful mother), this suggests that no more than 10% of all children were alienated in a way that fits the alienation paradigm, for example, alienating conduct by an otherwise non-abusive aligned parent. In short, alienation theorists' own research demonstrates that wrongful "child alienation" (that which is not simply part of a pattern of abuse) is remarkably rare in divorcing and separating families. Given this empirical finding, proponents' tendency to treat alienation as the dominant problem afflicting children of divorce/separation continues the trend initiated by PAS theory – toward the marginalization and masking of genuine abuse and neglect.

Finally, while taking pains to distance themselves from Gardner's belief that pathological alienation is caused solely by bad custodial parents, Johnston and collaborators continue to emphasize the unconscious or subconscious factors that they believe affect mothers' alienating behaviors. For example, they continue to assert the counterintuitive position that a mother's "warm, involved" parenting can powerfully fuel alienation in a child (Johnston et al., 2005, p. 208). Kelly and Johnston (2001) also, like Gardner, state that a parent could "unconsciously" denigrate the other parent to the child "as a consequence of their own deep psychological issues" which cause them to "harbor deep distrust and fear of the ex-spouse…" (p. 257; see also Meier, in press). In fact, in an early article on alienation, Kelly and Johnston (2001) even pathologize "aligned" parents. "The aligned parent often fervently believes that the rejected parent is dangerous to the child in some way(s): violent, physically or sexually abusive, or neglectful" (Kelly & Johnston, 2001, p. 258). They go on to describe the pursuit of legal protections and other means of assuring safety as a "campaign to protect the child from the presumed danger [which] is mounted on multiple fronts [including] restraining orders…" (Kelly & Johnston, 2001, p. 258).

In short, although discussions of "alienation" by such researchers are somewhat more moderate and less focused on demonizing the "aligned" parent, the alienation literature appears to continue the trend toward pathologizing victims and survivors who allege abuse and obscuring the relevance or impact of abuse or neglect on children's feelings about their parents.

Quantitative critique – minimal data on existence and impact of PA. Custody evaluators and psychologists frequently insist, as an anecdotal matter, that alienation is known to be present and to be harmful as a matter of "clinical observation" (Johnston & Kelly, 2004b; see also Ackerman & Dolezal, 2006). However, these statements do not indicate whether the relationship breaches which these clinicians observe between children and parents are a healthy or natural response to circumstances, or if the "alienation" is caused by a disorder instigated by the wrongful influence of a favored parent. And of course clinical observations do not constitute empirical evidence (Johnston & Kelly, 2004b).

In fact, the empirical evidence Johnston et al. (2005) have amassed actually indicates that evaluators' and family courts' extraordinary focus on alienation is out of proportion to the prevalence of the problem. As noted above, Johnston et al. (2005) found that despite the alienating behaviors of both parents in most of the families in the study, only 20% of children in their study were actually "alienated" and 6% were severely alienated. And as noted above, even these 20% had multiple causes for their alienation, including abusive, neglectful, or other destructive behaviors by the disliked parent.

The fact that only a small fraction of children subjected to inter-parental hostilities and alienating conduct by their parents have been found to actually become "alienated" suggests that the focus on alienation is a tempest in a teapot – one that continues to distract from and undermine the accurate assessment of abuse and concomitant risks to children.

Johnston and others have acknowledged that "there is very little empirical data to back up . . . [their] clinical observations" that alienated children are significantly undermined in their emotional and psychological development (Johnston & Kelly, 2004b, p. 84) . In fact, Johnston and Kelly (2004b) forthrightly state that "there are no systematic long-term data on the adjustment and well-being of alienated compared to non-alienated children so that long-term prognostications are merely speculative" (p. 84). Evaluators and alienation theorists commonly assert that alienation is a devastating form of emotional abuse of children. To the contrary, Judith Wallerstein, the groundbreaking researcher of divorce who first pointed out the problem of children's sometimes pathological alignment with the custodial parent after divorce or separation, found in her follow-up study that children's hostility toward the other parent after divorce was temporary, and resolved of its own accord, mostly within one or two years (Bruch, 2001; Wallerstein et al., 2000).

As a final note, questioning the empirical basis of PAS and PA is especially challenging because these theories are addressed by an extensive literature (see Parental Alienation Awareness Organization, n.d.). Many of these materials make assertions about PAS and PA without any citation to scientific literature. Yet their "publication" on the Internet and their association with apparently credentialed authors and/or supporters, give them an aura of credibility. Some articles do cite research selectively (see Stahl, 2004), but also contain numerous unsupported assertions about PAS, PA, and how they operate. This field appears to be one that has been created by psychologists' repeated assertions that PAS and PA exist, drawing on Gardner's views of his own clinical population. In this author's experience, even leading social science researchers have mis-cited and distorted the research in order to defend PAS against critiques (Lasseur & Meier, 2005).

Read the full article: Parental Alienation Syndrome & Parental Alienation: Research Reviews By Joan S. Meier
Those in the domestic violence field have utilized Abuse-Excuse as the term referring to parental alienation syndrome. There is no denying that alleging PAS is the perfect opportunity to refute ANY allegations of abuse by means of shifting the focus. It would appear to me that if a child has ill-feelings toward a parent, that the child's needs for validating their feelings would come BEFORE assuaging the "targeted" parent. But this isn't about the child. It is about the father getting what he wants, which is control that comes along with his sense of entitlement for having contributed to the donation of his sperm, and his money.

As I have previously stated, you will hear PAS proponents repeatedly SWEAR that PAS is child abuse/emotional torture, etc. It is their latest campaign. This is also shifting the focus from bona fide forms of child abuse that we have yet to eradicate: domestic and sexual violence. They have convinced Child Protective Services and the Department of Child and Families to question the existence of real abuse, in favor of denying it through the use of PAS. PAS has infiltrated agencies that are supposed to protect children. These are not safe places. It would be like rape crisis centers now specializing in false-rape allegation detection.

PAS proponents are witty to try to recruit women into their camps to make their case appear more gender neutral. ( I have seen PAS recruiters sit on women's boards, waiting for a survivor to tell her horrible story, so that he may jump on the opportunity...) They will tell mothers who, in fact, have been victims of violence, that their spouses are parental alienators and thus their children are suffering from PAS. When, in fact, their children are bonding with the person who is causing harm, which so often happens as children see abusers as more powerful. And that person is an abuser, which they are conflating with parental alienation. The scenarios are NOT interchangeable. There are many women's groups who will tell you that "PAS is real, " "yes, I've seen it," and it saddens me to know that the father's supremacy groups are using them as pawns.

If you read the PAS literature closesly, you will see that ANYTHING the mother normally does to raise her child, can be considered pathological and attributtable to PAS... "the child is enmeshed," "mother is overprotective," "the child knows/verbalizes things that is not developmentally appropriate..." Go back and read that I just said anything a mother NORMALLY DOES...key word "normally." Now inflate those tendencies to the degree in which a mother would be bonded with her child, and child to mother, if either or both had been abused. What is so pathological about those actions?

If psychologists can also assess subsconscious acts, we are now entering 1984 in 2009: Welcome Big Brother. Can you say thought-police? PAS exists only in the sense that pronents keep talking it up, creating something out of nothing and then swearing on it. Are these people to be trusted? Everything is based off of assumptions because it is observational and no variables can be manipulated. This is pseudoscience at its best.


Man charged in Oshawa homicide

A woman has been found dead and her common-law husband has been charged in what police are calling a "domestic-type homicide" in Oshawa.

Just before 10 p.m. last night, officials were called to Cunningham Ave. near Stevenson Rd. N. and Rossland Rd. W. for a disturbance call, said Durham Region police.

They found Sherry Martin, 52, dead with obvious signs of trauma on her body.

Police arrested Ken Mullin, 40, at the scene and charged him with second-degree murder...

Belize Survivor, part 30

Winter was desperately cold that July as Max stood hitchhiking on the edge of the highway. Even with the warm outerwear, he was still chilled to the bone. Now that boot camp was finally over, his thoughts were only of Jane; he had to be with her. His friends at the base had covered for him Friday afternoon, enabling him to get a good start south toward Zululand, but the trip was long and vehicles were few. Now, after almost ten hours, he was in the middle of nowhere and still only halfway home. Through the darkness, he saw the lights of a cane truck coming toward him. As the driver slowed, Max made a pleading gesture with his hands. The kindly old Boer farmer took pity on the young man and pulled over, happy to have someone to talk to through what would otherwise be a long lonely night. But the ride turned out to be a mixed blessing, for although the truck was warm, it would not go more than sixty kilometers per hour. It would be late morning before Max reached his destination.

"Hello, Mum," he said calmly as he stood in the doorway.

"Max, my dear, I didn't expect you home!" said Ellie, hugging him firmly and pinching his cheek just a little too hard. "How good to see you. What a surprise. How did you get here?" He walked in the door and headed immediately for the fireplace, where he stood rubbing and warming his hands.

"I hitched a ride – several rides actually. Technically, I'm on leave this weekend, but most of it is going to be spent on the road. I have to get back by Monday morning role call or I'll be declared AWOL."

"I wish you had told us in advance. No one is here this weekend except me. Your brother and sisters went with your father to Durban for an agricultural fair. But I'll cook your favorite dish and we'll have a nice chat, you and I."

"Mum, I really came to see Jane."

"I see," she said, slowly. "Have you told her you were coming?"

"No, I didn't know myself until yesterday morning. I wanted to surprise her."

"Did she write you about the pageant?"

"No. What pageant?"

"Jane won the title of Miss Sugar Queen of Zululand. Quite a big honor. She's been running all over the country lately, even down to Capetown, endorsing products and making public appearances. Didn't she tell you?"

From the moment he heard the news, Max had a bad feeling about the whole affair, and after spending the least amount of obligatory time with his mother, he used his father’s truck to drive over to the Hartley estate where he found it teeming with activity. There were vehicles from local news agencies, and television stations. A large archway and trellis decorated with winter garlands had been added to the front of the house. Max swallowed hard, a feeling of dread rising as he knocked on the door.

"Max," said Mrs. Hartley, as she stood in the doorway. "What a surprise! Jane didn't tell me you were coming. You certainly picked a crazy weekend for a visit. Would you like some tea?"

"She didn't know I was coming," Max said. "I hope I'm not intruding. What's going on?"

"Oh, another photo shoot. There have been so many lately, ever since she won the title."

Max stood there awkwardly; Mrs. Hartley had made no further move to admit entrance. "May I come in?"

"Of course, how thoughtless of me. Come in and join us for tea. Jane's changing outfits again. Bennington Clothiers are doing all her apparel for the telly spot, and they want to make a bid for an exclusive if she runs for Miss South Africa."

Max’s jaw dropped as he heard the news. "She's going to compete for Miss South Africa?”

"Yes, didn't she tell you?" But before Max could answer, Nigel Upjohn walked into the room wearing a tuxedo. Max looked at him for a long moment, then continued.

“No, Mrs. Hartley, she didn’t. In fact, it seems like there are a lot of things Jane hasn't been telling me."

"Well, excuse me, gentlemen," the older woman said, warily eyeing the two young men and backing away. "I'll get the tea. Have a seat on the divan and make yourselves at home."

"Maximilian, old boy," said Nigel, walking over, trying to conceal his uneasiness as he shook Max's hand. "I didn't expect to see you. You're home from the wars, what?”

"What are you doing here?" Max growled.

"Take it easy, old chum. Jane simply needed an escort for the different functions she's been attending over the last month or so. She asked me if I'd help out. Remember, you did ask me to watch out for her."

"Hasn't exactly been tough duty, has it?"

"Look, pal, I..."

"Hello, Max," Jane said, as she entered the room. Max took a deep breath. The young woman looked like a goddess. For a moment he doubted that she was even the same girl. Her face, captivating without makeup, had been artfully transformed to lustrous perfection. Jane's flaxen hair had been lightened to the shade of moonlight. A peach satin evening gown, accented with a stole of white fox fur, enhanced the luscious curves of her body.

"Jane, darling. My God, you're beautiful." He reached for her with open arms, hungering to crush his mouth against hers.

"No, Max, don't. You'll muss me."

He stopped in mid-stride. His mind flashed back to DeGroot, and a hundred lonely nights without her. "Darling, aren't you happy to see me?"

"Of course I am," she said quietly. "It's just that I didn't expect you."

"Can we talk in private for a minute? Nigel, do you mind?"

"Of course not, old boy," he said, turning to leave. "See you in a few, Jane."

They sat on the divan between the tall marble statuary, and Max picked up her hand and held it between his. He barely had time to begin. "You just have no idea what the last two and a half months have been like for me—"

"Miss Hartley," interrupted the cameraman, poking his head into the room. "They're ready for you now."

Without hesitation, she replied, "Thank you, Mr. Simms. I'll be right there. I'm sorry, Max. You want to wait a few hours so we can talk? I'll be free around five o'clock. Nigel invited me to dinner but I'm sure he won't mind if I cancel this once."

"What do you mean, ‘this once’?” Have you been seeing him?"

"Well, of course I've been seeing him,” replied Jane frankly. “He's been my official escort. Naturally we spend a lot of time together. You understand."
"No, I don't understand. What the hell is all of this doing to you and me?" Max grasped her hand tightly.

The man popped his head in again. "Miss Hartley? Sorry to bother you, but everyone's waiting."

"Really, Max, I must go.” She tried to pull away. “Why don't you watch the shoot?"

"Look – I've traveled six hundred kilometers to see you. I've gone without sleep for thirty-some hours. Soon I'll need to start back to the base."

"Max,” she insisted, “You're hurting my hand. I must go. I'm sorry." He released his grip and closed his eyes as she left the room. Hot tears squeezed from between his eyelids as he lay down quietly on the divan. In spite of the flurry of activity around him, total exhaustion claimed him and he fell asleep.

Four in family dead in Miami-Dade murder-suicide, police say

A man shot his wife and two daughters to death before killing himself this morning, while another child was able to escape, according to preliminary information from Miami-Dade police.

The shootings happened shortly before 6 a.m. at a home in the 16000 block of SW 98th Court, police said.

The identities of those involved haven't been released, but police say the apparent gunman was 53, his wife was 45, and the two daughters were 11 and 12...



When Child Abuse is Mistaken for Alienation

Dear Reader,

Parents who try to protect their children from further abuse, and the children that react to the abuse from the perpetrator, are often mistaken as alienators/alienated. In fact, reporting child abuse during custody determinations is almost surely to get you accused of being a parental alienator. I know what you're, the fact that the abuse is/was real is insignificant. You see, the family court system wants children to have frequent an on-going contact with everyone, including those that have abused them. You can thank the father's supremacy groups for this.

But it gets much better: YOU will be the one accused of child abuse because parental alienation is the NEW AND IMPROVED child abuse. Go read on some PA/PAS websites and you will see how they describe parental alienation as the most severe form of emotional psychological torture epidemic on earth...not to mention that the cure for this major psychological illness is to rip the child from the protective parent and force psychological "deprogramming." Ironic, eh?

I know, I know. This can't be true. I'm lying.

Imagine being brave enough to come forward with your story of being abused. Imagine someone, everyone, telling you that you are a liar. Imagine them telling you that someone made you say it. Imagine having to pretend to go along with it until you convince yourself that indeed you are lying. Your issues with having been abused will resurface one day, perhaps with anger toward the person who failed to protect you...anger with yourself...with the world. When will it end?

Good luck.

Parental Alienation Syndrome in Practice

(emphasis mine)

Despite its questionable pedigree, Gardner's theory has powerfully influenced custody courts and forensic evaluators. In these venues, it has become a virtual article of faith, albeit a mistaken one, that child sexual abuse in particular, and abuse in general, are widely and falsely alleged by mothers in custody litigation (Alford, 2003; Pearson, 1993).

Unfortunately, a similar inappropriate skepticism has infiltrated even child protection agencies. Many agencies have unwritten or written policies of discounting the credibility of sexual abuse claims when raised in the context of custody litigation. Although Gardner repeatedly asserted that claims raised in this context are mostly false, as noted above, the empirical research refutes that claim. Nonetheless, PAS theory has legitimized stereotypical ideas about vengeful ex-wives, resulting in many child welfare agencies' skepticism toward such allegations when made by mothers in custody or visitation litigation (Lesher & Neustein, 2005; Neustein & Goetting, 1999).

PAS is also regularly invoked in contexts far beyond its original focus on child sexual abuse. It is commonly raised in any custody litigation where either adult or child abuse is alleged and is often raised whenever a mother objects to full shared custody with the father for any reason. At least one expert reports that PAS allegations result in a high rate of custody awards to documented spouse abusers (Childress, 2006).

PAS may be raised by a parent accused of abuse, but it is raised equally often by court appointed custody evaluators who are charged with providing an objective assessment of the children's best interests. The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges states:
in contested custody cases, children may indeed express fear of, be concerned about, have distaste for, or be angry at one of their parents. Unfortunately, an all too common practice in such cases is for evaluators to diagnose children who exhibit a very strong bond and alignment with one parent and, simultaneously, a strong rejection of the other parent, as suffering from "parental alienation syndrome" or "PAS." Under relevant evidentiary standards, the court should not accept this testimony. . . (Dalton et al., 2006, p. 24).
In one case with which the author is familiar, the court's forensic evaluator posited alienation as an explanation for the mother's and child's sexual abuse allegations after observing a single brief visit in the court supervised visitation center, in which the father and child were observed to be warm and enthusiastic. This evaluator, who was highly regarded by the court as an expert, did not believe that such affectionate interactions would occur if the sexual abuse allegations were true. The research indicates the opposite: One cannot assess the veracity of such allegations by observing the parties' interactions. Most abused children continue to love their abusive parents and crave loving attention from them. Particularly when they know they are in a safe setting, their affection for their parent and the parent for them, may be evident (Anderson, 2005; Bancroft & Silverman, 2002).

Even where no child abuse is alleged, evaluators (and state social workers) may be skeptical of allegations of partner abuse for any number of reasons, including the lack of witness corroboration, the compelling and sympathetic persona of the accused, an unappealing personality of the accuser, the timing of the allegations, and so forth. Alienation then becomes the explanation of choice for why a mother would be making false abuse allegations in a custody case: she is doing it in order to minimize the father's access to the children. This viewpoint presumes, as did Gardner, that many women are vengeful and use child custody to hurt their ex-partners. Evaluators often do not share the views of domestic violence experts, including the beliefs that abuse is often kept secret for years until the family separates and women rarely fabricate abuse. Alternatively, some evaluators and judges fail to see discrete acts of minor violence as serious enough to constitute "abuse" or to signal real risk to the children. Given their lack of understanding of power and control dynamics and reluctance to believe that seemingly decent or nice men genuinely pose a danger to their children, such professionals often turn to alienation as an easy or convenient explanation for the mother's claims of danger.

The tendency to minimize or deny mothers' claims of danger or abuse is powerfully reinforced by the sometimes explicit, and always implicit, emphasis in family courts on the importance of fostering children's relationships with noncustodial parents (Zorza, 1992). As the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges notes, "evaluators may … wrongly determine that the parent is not fostering a positive relationship with the abusive parent and inappropriately suggest giving the abusive parent custody or unsupervised visitation in spite of the history of violence…" (Dalton et al., 2006, p. 25).

Court rulings on admissibility. Very few appellate courts have actually published opinions regarding the scientific validity and admissibility of PAS. The two primary cases (both in New York) that actually analyzed and adjudicated the legal admissibility of PAS in a criminal proceeding found that PAS lacked sufficient scientific validity to meet admissibility standards (People v. Fortin, 2001; People v. Loomis, 1997).

Gardner's website, as well as other PAS adherents' materials (see, e.g., Rueda, 2004), tout over 50 cases in which they assert PAS was found admissible. Custody evaluators and lawyers often rely on these assertions and cite these cases to support their PAS arguments (Licata v. Licata, 2003). However, as of 2006, a thorough review of the cases cited by these sources revealed that not one precedent-bearing decision ruled PAS admissible. Four, not 50, trial level decisions held it admissible, but the appeal of each decision resulted in no ruling on the PAS issue. No published decision exists for several of the purportedly favorable trial court opinions (Hoult, 2006).

Read the full article: Parental Alienation Syndrome & Parental Alienation: Research Reviews By Joan S. Meier

Suffering Suffragettes

Suffering Suffragettes

Although the word “suffrage” may sound like a term more closely associated with Torquemada’s role as Grand Inquisitor, Merriam-Webster assures us that suffrage simply means 1) exercising the right to vote, 2) a vote given to decide a controversial question, or 3) electing a person for an office or trust.

As we transition into the era of the first African-American U.S. presidency, we are reminded that the Fifteenth Amendment was passed by Congress in 1869 just after the Civil War and Emancipation Proclamation. It stated that “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Yet, consider carefully that there was still no clause specific to women and, unbelievably, it would take another fifty years until the 19th Amendment was passed finally giving women the right to vote. In retrospect, it would appear that the massive chasm between two races has still been easier to bridge than the disparity between two genders.

Male domination has been known to take on many unhealthy forms. Control issues and excessive rigidity in gender roles have often been associated with domestic abuse. The old adage of “keeping the wife barefoot-and-pregnant,” subservient and bound by traditional familial chores such as washing, ironing, cooking, mending, churning, baking, cleaning, and child-care, all contributed to the oppression of women’s rights which lasted well into the twentieth century. And although the debut of Rosie-the–Riveter during World War II was the true beginning of the female work force helping to liberate multitudes of women into non-traditional gender roles, it was the enormous personal sacrifice of a small group of women in 1917 that laid the groundwork for the privilege of voting.

It was only ninety years ago, in the era of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers that these events came to pass. The details are graphic. Two women in particular, Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, broke from the mainstream Women’s Rights movement (started by Susan B. Anthony in the mid-1800s) and created a more radical wing, pushing the limits of acceptable female behavior and taking women’s political protest to new heights. Together they battled not only the virulent chauvinism of the most powerful men in the country, including Woodrow Wilson, but also the older and more conservative female activists of their own contingent.

On November 15th, 1917, Paul and Burns were arrested along with 216 other suffragists who had picketed the White House bearing signs for the right to vote. Thirty-three were jailed on the official charge of “obstruction of traffic.” That night 40 prison guards at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia went on a rampage with their batons. With the blessings of their warden, they beat the women in their cells, dragging, grabbing, choking, pinching, twisting, and kicking. By morning some were barely alive. Lucy Burns was beaten; her hands chained to the cell bars over her head. She was left hanging there for the entire night, bleeding and gasping for air. Dora Lewis was another detainee. Upon entering the jail, she was hurled into a dark cell. Her head was smashed against the iron cot and she lost consciousness. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, seeing the unresponsive Lewis, thought she was dead and had a heart-attack. Alice Paul engaged in a hunger strike. When the guards tried to force-feed her, they tied her to a chair and poured liquid down her throat with a tube until she vomited. This torture went on for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.

Unimaginably, Woodrow Wilson and his associates attempted to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane for the purpose of having her institutionalized. Much to his credit the doctor refused. His only declaration was to say that she was strong and brave – which did not make her crazy. Conversely, the doctor reprimanded the men by saying that courage in women “was often mistaken for insanity.” In retrospect, perhaps it might be considered that the correlation between “suffrage” and “suffering” is not so far removed from medieval times after all.

Regardless of any gender or ethnicity, voting should never be considered an inconvenience or an unpleasant obligation. We cannot afford to fall prey to the distractions of daily life and lose sight of our true priorities. We cannot stop believing that every vote counts. And considering the price of political self-determination, it is nothing less than criminal to forego our hard-won rights, thus dishonoring the courageous men and women who fought for our freedoms. As U.S. citizens, we have now experienced the forty-fourth election in a country that is still free from dictatorships and violent military coups – and have done so with record turnout, the best in forty years. It is encouraging to know that so many voters recognize voting as a privilege. After all, good intentions don’t count. Nothing counts until the curtain of the polling booth cuts off the outside world and leaves the voter alone with their convictions.

Nancy R. Koerner is the author of Belize Survivor: Darker Side of Paradise. Based on her own true story, this powerful exposé of unspeakable domestic violence against a contrasting backdrop of magnificent tropical splendor is getting rave reviews. As a DV advocate and a gifted motivational speaker, Ms. Koerner’s mission is to inspire and empower other women to make the choices which will ultimately lead to their own autonomy. For speaking engagements, contact [email protected] or call 239-229-6700. For every "Direct-Order-from-the-Author" book purchased from, a donation is made to the Shelter for Abused Women and Children in Naples, FL. Also available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Books-a-Million.


50 children a day suffering sexual abuse, says NSPCC

Children are subjected to more than 50 sex attacks every day, figures obtained by the NSPCC reveal today.

In almost a quarter of cases uncovered by the charity, the victims were ten or younger. The number of crimes against girls was six times higher than against boys.

There were 20,758 sex crimes against under-18s reported to police in 2008, including rape, gross indecency and incest, the children's charity said...

Parental Alienation - Moving Away From a "Syndrome"

(emphasis mine)

The many critiques of Gardner have resulted in a shift among leading researchers and scholars of custody evaluation from support for PAS to support for a reformulation of PAS to be called instead "parental alienation" or "the alienated child" (Johnston, 2005; Steinberger, 2006). Most recently, Johnston and Kelly (2004b) clearly stated that Gardner's concept of PAS is "overly simplistic" and tautological, and that there are no data to support labeling alienation a "syndrome" (p. 78; 2004a, p. 622). Instead, they speak of "parental alienation" or "the alienated child" as a valid concept that describes a real phenomenon experienced by "a minority" of children in the context of divorce and custody disputes (Johnston, 2005, p. 761; Johnston & Kelly, 2004b, p. 78; see also Drozd & Olesen, 2004).

The notion that some children are alienated from a parent is both a less scientific and more factual assertion. It is thus easier to raise "alienation" in court without triggering a battle over the admissibility of scientific evidence (Gardner, 2002). However, debate continues to rage in research and advocacy circles over the extent to which parental alienation can be measured, is caused by a parent, has harmful effects, or whether it is simply "old wine [i.e., PAS] in new bottles."

Johnston (2005) defines an alienated child as one
who expresses, freely and persistently, unreasonable negative feelings and beliefs (such as anger, hatred, rejection and/or fear) toward a parent that are significantly disproportionate to the child's actual experience with that parent. Entrenched alienated children are marked by unambivalent, strident rejection of the parent with no apparent guilt or conflict (p. 762).
What is the difference between PAS and PA? The primary shift appears to be away from Gardner's focus on the purportedly alienating parent and toward a more realistic assessment of the multiple sources of children's hostility or fear of their parents, including behavior by both parents and the child's own vulnerabilities (Johnston, 2005; Johnston & Kelly, 2004b; Kelly & Johnston, 2001). Johnston and Kelly (2004b) state:
in contrast to PAS theory that views the indoctrinating parent as the principal player in the child's alienation, this study [their own] found that children's rejection of a parent had multiple determinants . . . . [another study of theirs also] supported a multi-dimensional explanation of children's rejection of a parent, with both parents as well as vulnerabilities within the child contributing to the problem. Alienating behavior by an emotionally needy aligned parent (mother or father), with whom the child was in role-reversal, were strong predictors of the child's rejection of the other parent. Just as important as contributors were critical incidents of child abuse and/or lack of warm, involved parenting by the rejected parent (pp. 80-81).
Johnston and Kelly's (2004b) research also revealed some interesting evidence about the relationship of domestic violence to alienation:
While a history of domestic violence did not predict children's rejection of a parent directly . . . men who engaged in alienating behaviors (i.e., demeaning a child's mother) were more likely to have perpetrated domestic violence against their spouses, indicating that this kind of psychological control of their child could be viewed as an extension of their physically abusive and controlling behavior (p. 81).
Coming from researchers who specialize in alienation, this empirical statement - that men who batter are often also men who intentionally demean the mother and teach the children not to respect her - is powerful confirmation of the experiences of many battered women and their advocates. Perhaps just one example from the author's caseload will suffice: In this case, the batterer would call the children out of their rooms where they were cowering, to make them watch him beat their mother while telling them he had to do this because she was a "whore" and a "slut." This is not an unusual case. It has been suggested that batterers are in fact the most expert "alienators" of children from their other parent (Bancroft & Silverman, 2002). The dilemma that this creates for battered women and their advocates with respect to the use of parental alienation as a claim is discussed in the section on "Strategy Issues" below.

Another notable difference between PAS and Johnston's reformulated PA is Johnston's renunciation of Gardner's draconian "remedies," including custody switching to the "hated" parent. Characterizing Gardner's prescriptions as "a license for tyranny," (Johnston & Kelly, 2004b, p. 85), Johnston and Kelly call instead for individualized assessments of both the children and the parents' parenting, maintaining focus on the children's needs rather than the parents' rights. The goal then becomes a more realistic and healthy relationship with both parents, rather than reconciliation with the hated parent as the only desirable goal (Johnston, 2005). Johnston's approach is consistent with the understanding of child development experts that children's relationships with their parents change as their own developmental stages change. For instance, teenagers naturally pull away from their parents as part of the individuation that is necessary as they approach adulthood. This is why experts in children and divorce agree that children's alienation from a parent, when not driven by an abusive parent's coercion, typically resolves naturally over time (Wallerstein, Lewis, & Blakeslee, 2000).

Read the full article: Parental Alienation Syndrome & Parental Alienation: Research Reviews, By Joan S. Meier
I have definitely noticed the hardcore PAS advocate shift from the term PAS to PA, or plain "alienation." It was obvious that this was an attempt to separate themselves from Richard Gardner=pro-pedophilia. They like to claim that PA is evolving...which is just great for a "condition" that is already all-inclusive. PA evolves and expands...pretty soon, maybe you won't even be able to give your child a dirty look, or tell your child the truth...about anything...kinda reminds me of the California ban on homeschooling. 1984 is actually 2009!!!!!

I have not seen the supporters make any mention of shifting away from "deprogramming." In fact, ever since the Canadian ruling, "family deprogramming center/alienation deprogramming center" has been the top search that lands people on my blog. Maybe they haven't read Johnston and Kelly's latest research. Or maybe they are trying to follow the money trail.