Showing newest 18 of 24 posts from July 2009. Show older posts
Showing newest 18 of 24 posts from July 2009. Show older posts


Belize Survivor, part 86

The next morning an ashen sunrise crept slowly over the wind-torn river valley, and the morning sky was veiled in weird hues of yellow, brown, green, and gray. The force of the hurricane had begun to weaken around midnight. It had diminished through the early hours of the morning, and by dawn, the storm was over. When there was finally enough light to make out the familiar view, it was difficult to focus on what they saw. Nothing looked the same. As Alexis and Max rubbed their tired eyes, they couldn't believe what lay before them. The spectacle of destruction was beyond comprehension.

"The river," Max whispered in awe. "My God. Look at the river."

Never before had the Macal been able to be seen from Emoyeni; the valley was two hundred feet deep. Yet beyond simply rising and spilling its banks, the engorged waterway had spread to a width of more than half a mile, and dominated the entire landscape to the southwest, west, and northwest. No longer a mere river, it appeared to be nothing less than a silvery-brown inland sea of unimaginable proportion.

The property damage was beyond comprehension. The outhouse roof had been flung into the trees, well beyond the fenced yard, and its walls had totally collapsed over the wooden box that had served as the seat. The old chicken and goat house still stood, but half the thatching was gone and two of the walls were listing badly. The Nubians were unharmed, although they seemed highly indignant at having gotten thoroughly soaked. Some of the chickens were missing, and those that had not been blown away looked bedraggled in their sodden feathers. The custard apple tree was gone. Once towering over sixty feet, the enormous tree had born the sweetest anona fruit in the valley. Now it lay on the ground in tangled confusion. Toppled by the storm, it had fallen right on top of their largest lime tree, as well as a huge stretch of the new fencing. Everywhere they looked was awesome destruction. The high jungle was mangled and crushed, looking like it had been chewed up and spat out by dinosaurs. Much of the smaller bush was flattened. Branches and limbs, leaves and palm fronds trashed the entire hilltop area. Huge trees had snapped in half and lay on the ground beside white splintered trunks.

But somehow their house had survived. Upon closer inspection, one corner of the tin roof was curled upward; Max estimated that the sheet metal couldn't have held more than a few minutes more when the storm had started to subside. One wooden shutter and its glass window beneath had been broken by an enormous tree limb and many household items had gotten wet. But all in all, they were lucky. Nobody had been injured. Although shaken, they were all alive and well.

"I'm going down to the river," Max said.

"Please wait a little while. With all the rain in the mountains upstream, I'm sure the river hasn't finished rising yet. There could be flash floods."

"The water level must be awfully close to the pump house,” he stated. “I've got to get the machinery out of there before the water goes any higher. Besides, if the dory line got tangled in the bush as the river rose, then the boat's either on the bottom or washed somewhere downstream. I've got to check the line and free it if I can."

"But Jordan's asleep,” protested Alexis. “I can't go with you. He’s so exhausted, it's not likely he'll wake up for at least four or five hours, but I don't want to leave him here alone."

"I'll go down and check things out. Then I'll come back and get you if I need to."

"Be careful. Take the machete with you. The path is probably blocked with bush, and there are bound to be snakes coming up the hill to get away from the flood."

Taking her suggestion, Max started down the path. Slipping and sliding, the mud mixed with the shale made a deadly combination. Four times he had to cut his way through fallen bush on what used to be a path. Then, only two-thirds of the way down the hill, the river was suddenly at his feet; he gasped in awe.

The pump house was nowhere in sight. The flood had consumed it. Max took a bearing on some large trees and tried to estimate where the pump house might be, if indeed, it still existed at all. Wading into the water, he took a deep breath and submerged himself. He repeated the process over and over, groping blindly among the submerged bushes in the filthy brown water, at last finding the corner of the roof. Ascertaining its whereabouts, he surfaced, and made his way slowly up the path again to the house.


Belize Survivor, part 85

The afternoon turned nasty as gray clouds lay heavy on the horizon and a capricious wind began to blow. Alexis was busy polishing her very first black coral carving and half-dozen hand-made black coral beads. She was pleased at her growing stockpile of artistry, as her jewelry business now involved selling trips to hotel gift shops in Belize City, as well as the primary British Army base just fifteen miles beyond, on the Northern Highway. Suddenly, a particularly strong gust tore loose one of the shutters and banged on the window frame. Securing it, she decided to turn on the radio. Maybe a storm was coming.

"...and as you just heard in our latest update, Hurricane Greta is due to make landfall in Belize at approximately five o'clock this evening."
Jordan looked up from his toys in surprise as his mother leaped off her stool and flew out the front door. "Max!" Alexis yelled at the top of her lungs. “A hurricane is coming. Come quick. It's on the radio!"

"…also we urge you once again to stock up on nonperishable foods, candles, and first aid supplies…"
Hearing her cry, Max came running down the path from the goat house. In his haste, he had spilled half the milk from the bucket, and arrived breathless at the door. "Did you say what I think you said?"

"Quick! Yes, a hurricane! Listen!"

"...Don't forget that any loose objects in your yard can become projectiles in the high winds,” the weatherman cautioned, “and if your house has a tin roof, be sure to throw ropes over the top and stake them into the ground. Remember to leave a window open opposite the blast of the wind. This will prevent implosion. Make sure all your family members have a piece of plastic or raincoat for cover. Keep plenty of dry clothes on hand, wrapped in plastic, and be sure to prepare some food in advance. The hurricane is packing winds of up to one hundred and twenty miles per hour, and is expected to lose very little strength when it makes landfall near the town of Dangriga. Play it safe and don't take chances. This Hurricane Greta advisory comes to you on Radio Belize, courtesy of the Caribbean Weather Service."

Max’s face contorted with worry. "I wonder how long they've been warning people already. Maybe it's been on its way for a long time and we only just found out.” Later, his suspicion would prove correct. The rest of the world had known of the direct threat for over eight hours. Being out of touch was only part of the darker side of paradise.

Max and Alexis did everything possible to prepare for the storm that would arrive in a matter of hours. Jordan was aware that a big wind was coming, but he was more excited than afraid. He watched his father secure the wooden shutters over the glass windows, throw ropes over the house, pound stakes into the ground, and then helped drive the goats and chickens into their respective sides of the thatched coop duplex. Such buildings were able to withstand high winds because they allowed the air to circulate through the open eaves, and often stood a better chance than conventional housing. But it was anybody's guess. The hut was twenty years old. It would either stand or fall.

Just shortly after five-thirty, the rains began in earnest, the first hard gusts coming from the southeast. As darkness fell, the gale force hit the house so hard, the water seeped through the tongue-and-groove siding and dripped inside the house. By the time the hurricane winds rotated to the southwest, a fine spray was blasting into the room, right through the walls. In the flickering lamplight, Max was forced to drag the newly-built double-bed into the center of the living room and began to shove their plastic-wrapped possessions beneath it.

Alexis held Jordan as he screamed and cried with fear, as the roaring wind rose to a terrifying level. Conversation became impossible. Large branches and other debris began to tear loose from the surrounding jungle and crash against the sides of the house. The monster storm continued its circular motion, and by eight-thirty the rain was driving from the northwest, rattling the sheets of tin on the roof as they tried to work their way loose from the nails that secured them to the rafters.

"Do you think the roof will hold?" Alexis shouted anxiously.

"I don't know," Max yelled back. "But if one corner goes, the wind will peel off the rest like the top of a tin can."

Outside the blast was in full fury, and the entire house rocked with the violence of the storm. Just when Alexis thought the wind couldn't blow any harder, another malevolent blast roared at a previously unsurpassed level. Huge limbs crashed against the house. They could hear the tin roof creaking, and any moment they expected it to tear off and collapse the walls on top of them. Suddenly the spitting water hit the kerosene lamp, shattering the glass and snuffing the flame. The little house was plunged into darkness. Jordan screamed and buried his face between his mother’s breasts. Fearing for their lives, the young family dropped to the floor and crawled under the bed.

"It's okay, baby," Alexis said soothingly. "Everything's going to be all right." But her voice and body language betrayed her. She trembled. Max put a firm arm around both of them and didn't say a word. Now it would be a waiting game.


Joint Custody Doesn't Work for Everyone

(emphasis mine)

"Joint custody can be helpful in families where it has been chosen voluntarily by both parents and is suitable for the child. But there is no evidence to support the notion that "one size fits all" or even most. There is, in fact, a lot of evidence for the idea that different custody models are suitable for different families. The policy job ahead is to find the best match for each family. Sadly, when joint custody is imposed by the court on families fighting over custody of children the major consequences of the fighting are shifted onto the least able members of the family--the hapless and helpless children. The children can suffer serious psychological injury when this happens."
(Page 304 in Second Chances)

Judith Wallerstein


Joint custody is easy for judges.

Joint custody is profitable for profiteers.

Joint custody is pleasant when it is chosen by the parents.

Joint custody is great for eliminating child support.

Forced joint custody suck for the kids.


Belize Survivor, part 84

The thumping of the rotor blades could be heard long before the helicopter came into view. Max was on his way up the hill from the river, and sprinted for the house. Alexis leaned out the back door and called to him, "Hurry, Max, this is it. Here they come. I'll go get the sign." Alexis dashed for the sign in the spare room while little Jordan ran to the front door.

"Biti Jammy, Biti Jammy," Jordan cried, pointing to the sky. It took Alexis a moment to figure out that he was saying; she smiled in amused indulgence when she realized he was saying “British Army.”

“C'mon, Jordan,” she said, taking the little boy by the hand. “Let's go out and wave to the soldiers." Just then Max caught up and together they ran out of the house, across the yard and up to the grassy knoll. Alexis held up the large piece of cardboard with the capital T written on it, hoping they would understand the invitation.

"It's working. They're circling a second time. I think they're going to land."

For a moment it looked like the men in the chopper had changed their minds. The aircraft rose above the height of the western ridge where it hovered for a few minutes, then made the approach to the H shaped landing pad. The noise and wind were tremendous as the whirling blades came closer to the ground and flattened the tall grass.

“Hello," said the very English voice as the man jumped out of the helicopter. "Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Captain Tony Martin, Army Air Corps,
Worcester and Sherwood Foresters. How do you do?"

"Alexis Lord," she replied, extending her hand. "This is my husband, Max, and my son, Jordan. Nice of you to drop in."

"We saw your sign and, quite frankly, we were charmed by your thoughtfulness as well as your innovative invitation. This is my copilot, Lieutenant Hugh Worthington."

"See, Max?” Alexis said radiantly. “I told you they'd get it."

From that time on the Lord family became good friends with Her Majesty's Forces. The pilots not only stopped for tea, they indeed bought the jewelry that Alexis made, grateful for something original to take home to England. Alexis had always assumed the English were very proper, but she quickly found out that they were quite fun with a wonderful dry sense of humor.

Soon the British began to come on a regular basis. They arrived in helicopters or Army jeeps on a Sunday afternoon, sometimes six or eight at a time, bringing their friends or wives to socialize or go swimming in the river. The officers were not only great guests, they brought copious quantities of steaks, hamburgers, and legs of lamb, complete with mint sauce, beer, twelve-year-old Scotch, and chocolate bars. After spending over two years in Belize, Max and Alexis had long ago given up vegetarianism; the repetitive diet had taught them to be grateful for any kind of variety. On one such visit Captain Martin brought a special gift for Alexis. It looked like the thin branch of a tree with a hard white material encrusted on the surface.

"It's called black coral," Tony said. "Apparently it's not a true calcium carbonate coral, but more like a dense underwater wood, and it grows only in very deep water. The local chaps out on Ambergris Caye use it to make jewelry." Handing it to her, Alexis examined the piece minutely and showed it to Max. "I realize it doesn't look like much now,” he continued. “But when it's sanded and polished, it becomes black and lustrous. They make beads with it and carve it into sharks and dolphins and crosses. Some of their stuff is lovely. I just thought maybe you'd like to try working with it."

"That's very kind of you to think of me. I'd love to experiment and see what I can come up with. Thanks, Tony."

Her creative mind was already racing with possibilities.


Only a Minority of Families with Court-Ordered Joint Custody are Able to Coparent

(emphasis mine)

"In the large majority of divorcing families, both parents have been involved with the children on a daily basis. Simple continuity with the past, in terms of the roles of the two parents in the lives of the children, is hardly possible. The relationship between parents and children must change markedly."
(Page 1 in Dividing the Child)

" the coparental relationship between divorced parents is something that needs to be constructed, not something that can simply be carried over from pre-separation patterns. It takes times and effort on the part of both parents to arrange their lives in such a way that the children can spend time in both parental households "
(Page 276 in Dividing the Child)

"Only a minority of our families--about 30 percent were able to establish cooperative coparenting relationships. Spousal disengagement, which essentially involved parallel parenting with little communication had become the most common pattern about a quarter of our families remained conflicted at the end of three and a half years."
(Page 277 in Dividing the Child)

"While our study did not attempt to measure the impact of coparenting relations on the well-being of children, the results of the follow-up study of the adolescents in our sample families, as well as the research of others, makes us confident that there are important effects. Children derive real benefits--psychological, social, and economic--when divorced parents can have cooperative coparenting relationships. With conflicted coparental relationships, on the other hand, children are more likely to be caught in the middle, with real adverse effects on the child."
(Page 277 in Dividing the Child)

"A more radical alternative to the present best interests custody standard is a presumption in favor of joint physical custody. We oppose such a presumption. We are deeply concerned about the use of joint physical custody in cases where there is substantial parental conflict such conflict can create grave risks for children. We do not think it good for children to feel caught in the middle of parental conflict, and in those cases where the parents are involved in a bitter dispute we believe a presumption for joint custody would do harm . . . We wish to note, however, that joint custody can work very well when parents are able to cooperate. Thus we are by no means recommending that joint custody be denied to parents who want to try it."
(Pages 284-285 in Dividing the Child)

--Eleanor Maccoby and Robert Mnookin


This, is NOT an endorsement for court-ordered joint custody or shared parenting. This can be construed by those profiteers involved in therapeutic jurisprudence (custody evauluators, parenting coordinators) as an endorsement for more meddling in divorce business. After all, if shared parenting doesn't work (when forced), then let's force the parents to make it work, and threaten them with the law.

Shared parenting works for all the families who choose to do so. Choose. And even so, that arrangement can always be choice.

Take note of the very first sentence--wherein the authors state that both parents have been involved with the children on a daily basis. What does this mean? Involved. Ask what type of shared parenting existed in the intact relationship. Bet it wasn't 50-50!

Joint custody is easy for judges.

Joint custody is profitable for profiteers.

Joint custody is pleasant when it is chosen by the parents.

Forced joint custody suck for the kids.


Belize Survivor, part 83

One morning, Alexis saw a man at the front gate. Standing in the doorway, she couldn't tell who it was but it looked like one of the villagers from Cristo Rey.

She called to Max, who was working in the far corner of the distant garden. "Max, there's a man out front."

"Yeah, I recognize him,” he shouted. “Hang on. I'll go see what he wants."

Alexis watched as Max went to the gate and led the man into the yard toward the house. He was acting strangely nervous and kept looking behind him.

"Alexis, this is Chico. Chico, this is my wife, Alexis."

"Buenos tardes, Señora. I have someting to show yu." Again, the man looked behind him nervously. "Well, really, I no have it here. It is back inna de village."

"All right, the next time we pass by the village we'll stop by your house," she said.

"Well, really, my brother have it. He inna de bush outside."

Like pulling teeth, Alexis thought. "So bring him in."

By now the man was sweating profusely, and he motioned to another man hidden in the bushes alongside the house, who had apparently been there all along. The two men entered cautiously. Alexis and Max couldn't imagine why. Here they were, out in the middle of nowhere, ten miles from the nearest town, and a mile away from any other living human being.

As they lifted a burlap bag on to Alexis' kitchen table, she could tell it was heavy. There were three parcels inside, each wrapped in layers of burlap. The man opened the first one, and Alexis saw the black stone figurine of a woman in a crouching position. The figure was badly scratched and not particularly impressive. Next, he opened up a smaller bundle, and this time they were amazed at the sight of a Mayan necklace of jade. It was obvious that the piece had been restrung by an amateur, a collection of mismatched jade beads varying in size, shape, and color. Included in the strand were some flared convex pieces with a pea-sized hole in the middle that Alexis recognized as ear ornaments. There was no doubt that they were authentic. She knew from pictures that the flared piece fit through a large hole in the earlobe, and another small cylindrical piece fit through the back of the ear like a plug to hold the piece in place.

Then Alexis' eyes widened as Chico opened the third parcel and a huge green stone came into view. Max inhaled sharply. There, on the table before them, lay a tablet of solid jade, a death mask, carved in the likeness of an old Maya woman. The nose jutted out below the stylized headdress of stone feathers and the impassive face confirmed her nobility. No doubt, it was a grand lady of royal prominence, now venerated in death.

"Yu wan buy dese Maya tings?" the man asked simply.

"How much?" Max choked. As for Alexis, she couldn’t even talk.

The one brother looked at the other and nodded. "Three hundred Belize dollahs."


"No. Fu everyting." Max looked at his wife. Given the exchange rate, the man wanted fifty U.S. dollars apiece for these priceless artifacts.

Ironically, the young family now lived on the edge of poverty themselves. The new piston pump, dory, and outboard motor had cost them what little cash they'd had on hand. The garden was still young; it was subsistence farming at best; they had enough to eat and no more. Each week they might splurge on either peanut butter or jelly, but not both in the same week. Their only dessert was cold rice with goat's milk and brown sugar. They couldn’t afford Mayan treasures. Now part of the Belizean culture, they were no better off than the poor villagers who were offering them priceless antiquities.


Spectator Sports, the Birthing Kelis, and Wisdom from Michel Odent and Jimmy Carter

When I first wrote about Kelis and Nas divorcing, I gave Kelis her due credit and acknowledged that something must have been very wrong for her to have to make that decision at that time...Because women typically need extra support during their pregnancies and want their babydaddy to be the one.

Let me back track.

I actually don't think that women need extra support. I believe that women have been socialized to appear/be dependent, and to think that the person that they should rely on is the one that got them in that "situation" to begin with. I don't have enough anthropological or historical knowledge regarding childbirth so let me defer this to someone else, but perhaps this attitude is unique to the United States. Look at our social policy: Our Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) came to be because of the states tiring of supporting mothers--so they went after those escape artists aka deadbeat dads. The state didn't impregnate mothers, the babydaddies did, so it only made sense.

Enter Michel Odent.

Michel Odent is a French obstetrician to say the very least. He is a gifted man who has been instrumental in the childbirth movement, advocating for midwifery and the importance of mother-child bonding, and speaking against the medical establishment, utilizing 50 years of experience and research. He has recently come forth with seemingly controversial information:
I'm convinced that the participation of fathers is one of the main reasons for long and difficult labours. And there are a number of basic physiological reasons for this.

First, a labouring woman needs to be protected against any stimulation of the thinking part of her brain, the neocortex, for labour to proceed with any ease.

This part of the brain needs to take a back seat and allow the primal "unthinking'' part of the brain, connected to basic, vital functions, to take over.

Yet, motivated by a desire to "share the experience'', the man asks questions and offers words of reassurance and advice. In doing so, he denies his partner the quiet mind she needs.

The second reason is that the father's release of the stress hormone adrenalin as he watches his partner labour causes her anxiety and prevents her relaxing.

It has been proven that it is physically impossible to be in a state of relaxation if there's an individual standing next to you who is tense and full of adrenalin.

With a man present, a woman cannot be as relaxed as she needs to be during labour. Hence, the process becomes more difficult.
And I said "seemingly" because, from reading an array of comments across the internet, it would appear that many are offended by this information. However, upon reading men's, midwifery advocates', and a select group of women's comments, I discovered that everyone was NOT in disagreement.

Let's step back again.

When men were allowed to be in the hospital delivery rooms, it was a start of yet another "movement." It was politically correct to be in the room. Grandmas and sisters got the boot. Men leading obstetrics was another movement. Midwives and birth attendants got the ax. And this trend continues into the present with it being politically correct to have the father doing at least half of what a mother is doing--even leading up to having half custody of the child upon separation and divorce (or even if the couple was never together and only had sex which produced a child). In fact, it's soooo trendy and politically correct that it has become social policy (see Legislation to Help Deadbeat Dads Get Back in Control of Their Families). Previously, the religious groups led this movement, now it is our government (arguably based on religious tenets) that creates policy to force marriage, and, if not marriage, then joint child custody and/or father child custody (see The Office of Child Support Enforcement Wants to Promote Both Agreed Upon Child Support Orders and Custody and Visitation Orders and Michael Hayes Wants to Build "Family-Centered" Child Support).

Fathers are in. Mothers are out.

It would be one thing if all men/fathers were genuinely concerned with babies, children...child-rearing and caretaking. But the evidence shows that they are not (see The New Fatherhood, Same As the Old One). This is about the money. Money and power.

Where can men pay for entry, sit around and do nothing, all the while having a great time, even perhaps missing most of the event, doing little of the work, to just show up at the end and join in, or take credit, and earn a return?

1. With a prostitute
2. As the obstetrician
3. In his child's life
4. At a sport's event

Just because a man has seen and felt the vagina and otherwise naked body does not give him an open ended invitation to witness the same. Family, friends, nurses, doctors and midwives are present because of the consent given by the birthing woman. Anything short of consent is a violation--a rape (do an internet search on "birth rape"--an interesting topic). This is part of the continued exploitation of women, and, of course, Black women and mothers in particular who get the extreme end of objectification and vilification.

The birthing Kelis had every right to determine what kind of energy she wanted in her presence. Pregnancy is taxing, labor is hard, and birth is a reward...a reward to those who invested in it. If word around the net has it correct, Nas did not earn his place there. He has no right. It is not a father's right or anyone else's for that matter outside of the autonomous being in which the pregnancy occurred.

Society squelches women and subjugates them to the rights of men, partially by eliminating the support that we have provided to one another and substituting it with men. This is what defines the patriarchy. Supporting Kelis as a woman and mother is supporting her child. To do the opposite is at the detriment of her child. We as women want to reproduce (or not) as we want, birth like we want, raise our children as we want...Through current social policy, misogynist legislation and propaganda, and religious ideals, our society seems to be trying to completely eliminate us as women and mothers.

In the words of former President Jimmy Carter:
The carefully selected verses found in the Holy Scriptures to justify the superiority of men owe more to time and place - and the determination of male leaders to hold onto their influence - than eternal truths...

...During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. It wasn't until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy...

The truth is that male religious leaders have had - and still have - an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world...
Welcome to motherhood, Kelis. Be the strong and fierce woman that you are. This is how great children are raised.


Belize Survivor, part 82

Alexis had been working on a new craft idea as a surprise, and now, holding up the necklace of malachite and silver beads, she was feeling quite pleased with the finished product. Just then, Max walked in from feeding the chickens.

"I'm trying a new style of jewelry. What do you think?” she said happily, honestly wanting his approval. “I had the idea to try this a long time ago. See? I set the semi-precious stones about an inch apart across the front, and centered in the middle.
Then I connected them with handmade silver links and made more around the back. We still have quite a few beads left from the Harrisburg project. I bet these would sell."
Max looked interested, even intrigued. “To whom?” he said, as he came across the room and picked up the piece.

"The British Army soldiers. Heck, they fly over the farm in helicopters all the time. I bet if we could persuade them to land, they'd buy stuff to take back to England as souvenirs. I could make up a bunch of these necklaces, with earrings and bracelets to match, and pin them up on a nice display board. Then we could chop a big ‘H’ landing pad on the knoll and invite the pilots for four o'clock tea. Besides, it would be nice to talk to somebody who speaks English again. If I spend much more time speaking Creole, I'm going to lose my vocabulary altogether."

"Wow, Ntombi. You sound like me when I first suggested the grand heishi scheme. I suppose it might be a good market. Do you think it will work?”

"Is that a challenge?" Alexis flashed him a winning smile. She could hardly believe that he was not opposed in some way. Her ideas were rarely greeted with such enthusiasm.

"Hey, I’ll support your efforts if you want to try,” Max said, with uncharacteristic warmth. “A money-making cottage industry would be great. Go ahead if you think you can make it happen."

She looked down at the tray of beads, and smiled again. "Watch me."

Matthew Richardson tied the chicken by its feet to the low-hanging branch. As he cut off its head, blood splattered on the grass and the disembodied clucking sound still came forth from its severed neck. "It neva good to let the chicken run round wit no head. Too much blood stay inna de body," he explained to Alexis.

"Dis way, alla de blood come out." After the bird had stopped flapping, he dipped it into scalding water. It had to be hot, but not boiling. Then Alexis helped him pluck out the wet feathers. The next step was gutting and, when he saw the look on her face, he offered to do the next step as well. She was relieved. In the States, chicken had always come in a plastic wrapper. "It okay, Miss Alexis, I do it. The main ting is for no cut de gut. Odderwise, de meat wan spoil."

"Thanks, Matthew,” she said, gratefully. “I’ll get Jordan. It sounds like he’s waking up from his nap."

Alexis and Max had invited the river man to have Sunday dinner with them at Emoyeni. He had reciprocated by insisting on bringing the main course. The little blond boy was almost two and half now and slept in his own small bed with light removable wooden railings that kept him from falling out. Now he looked up at his mother and smiled, stretching out his arms to her. Although he had taken longer than usual to begin talking, there was no doubt he was bright. Jordan had two unusual qualities for a child: he had extreme persistence, and the ability to occupy himself. This was a child who had never played on a swing set and never seen a television. But if you gave him two sticks and a rock, he was happy. She picked him up and carried him outside to where Matthew was finishing the poultry preparation.

"Dat baby mighty sweet,” said Matthew. “Betta watch de Dwendes no ketch him. Do yu know the dwendes, Miss Alexis? Dey are de small peoples who live inna de bush, he said. "Yu scarcely ever see dem."

Intrigued by the local legend, Alexis encouraged him. "No, I’ve never heard of the dwendes. What do they look like? Are they evil?"

"Well, de Dwendes, dem bout t’ree feet tall. Dere faces are round and flat, and dey wear a big sombrero. Dere feet is put on backway. Dat is to confuse yu, fu mek yu no track dem. And dere heels have points on de bottoms. People say diff-rent tings bout the Dwendes. Dey no really bad. More like mischievous. Dey like to steal babies, dat's true. But alla dem play de guitar. If a man wan to learn to play guitar so he could win de heart of a lady, den he go to de Dwendes. Dey will teach him to play, but dey trade fu his soul. Dat's de ketch."

"Are there other creatures in the bush too?" Alexis asked. She would not dishonor him by making light of his beliefs.

"Oh yes, ma'am. In Guatemala dey have de Sisimite. But we no got dat in Belize, and dat's a lucky ting. Dey is very dangerous and big, 'bout maybe eight or nine feet. Dem tall and hairy. If a man see one, he die. If a woman see one, she live forever. Course de Sisimite is worser dan de Dwendes. Dey likes to carry off women. Beg pardon, Miss Alexis, carry off women fu breed wit."

Again respectful, she replied, "Well, I'm glad you warned me, in case I go to Guatemala. But how can I avoid the Dwendes here in Belize?"

"Just don go walkin in de moonlight alone, Miss Alexis. Dat is de time de Dwendes come out. Especially if yu hear de sound of dere guitar."

Alexis knew better than to laugh. Matthew lived alone in a thatched hut beside his banana plantation near Macaw Bank, another half-mile or so upstream. Ever since his wife and young son had died in an automobile accident years before, he had lived a solitary life. Part of a superstitious culture, Matthew Richardson held beliefs common to many of the local people. A black cat at the crossroads at three o'clock in the afternoon on a Friday was a sure sign of evil. Obeah makers, purveyors of black magic and witchcraft, put curses on people, gave them strange fevers, or made them blind by sewing a toad's eyelid shut with black thread. There was no doubt that Matthew was a believer. The stories had been taught to him by his grandmother from the time he was a child.

That same night, Matthew awoke from a nightmare in a cold sweat. Hot fingers clutched his throat and squeezed his heart like a vise. His chest heaved in pain as he tried to draw breath, and as the room closed in, he could feel the presence of the recurring obeah curse of a jilted lover from long ago. Suddenly, the beast was before him, sitting on his chest, its crimson face glowing with malevolence, the whites of its eyes gleaming in the flickering lamplight.

The simple river man never once suspected that the layers of white DDT, sprayed yearly on his walls by the Malaria Eradication Service, were slowly poisoning him.


Belize Survivor, part 81

The Year of the Horse would be grueling. Even before Max and Alexis could move in, certain things had to be done to make Emoyeni livable. First, the area had to be reclaimed from the tall grasses. Four hired hands from Cayo came to the farm, and under Max’s direction, they widened the path to the river and hauled water up the hill by hand in five-gallon buckets. Heating the water in a large vat over an open fire, Max added a strong disinfectant and set them to work with rubber gloves and brushes, scrubbing the DDT off the walls from top to bottom. The guttering was the next priority, and Max realized they would need to build another heavy wooden stand so the tank they already owned on Michael's property could be transported. With these things in place, it would be possible to catch the last few rains before the dry season began.

As the only woman, Alexis found that her entire day now consisted of conventional women's work. She cooked large quantities of food for the workers, did the dishes, cared for Jordan, and washed the clothes and diapers in the river. It wasn't easy work and, worse yet, it was menial. The men, on the other hand, did the impressive work; you could see their progress daily. They dug postholes for fencing, felled big trees, chopped bush, and strung wire. Unlike her endeavors, their effort produced tangible results. After three days, she’d had enough.

"Max, I'm sick of stirring pots and washing dishes. How about letting me have a go at some of those postholes?"

"A fresh pair of hands? Sure. By all means, take a turn,” said Max. “But you better wear gloves. Check this out," he said, showing her his hands. Hard yellow calluses and raw torn blisters covered his palms and fingers. Alexis didn’t care. Even if her hands didn’t last long, she'd be able to get out of the house for a while.

"Go for it," Max said quickly, before she could change her mind. "I'll take care of Jordan."

On the southern boundary, the workers were trying to sink holes into solid white marl. The posthole digger was useless, so they were using a pointed iron bar to chip through the hard limestone, a fraction at a time. Alexis joined their efforts, and in no time, sweat poured off her forehead in rivulets and plastered her ponytail to the back of her neck. The sun beat down mercilessly, and in a little over three hours, she no longer had the strength to even lift the bar.

Through the experience, Alexis discovered an important factor about life in the third world: men's work and woman's work fell along traditional lines for good reason. Women's work in Belize was tough and demanding, but men's work was truly rugged. It required a physical ability beyond the strength and endurance of even the hardiest woman. Let the tough-girl women's libbers come to Belize if they wanted to be equal to men, thought Alexis. Maybe stirring the pots wasn't so bad after all.

Somewhere far to the north in another world, people sat in their cars in five o'clock rush-hour traffic. The Dow Jones industrial average rose and fell on Wall Street as fortunes were won and lost. Luke Skywalker battled the forces of the Dark Side on the silver screen. Winos and the homeless died in the streets. Prostitution flourished in the red-light districts of big cities, and cocaine surpassed marijuana as the elite drug of the affluent. Factories continued to belch poison into the atmosphere. Huge holes appeared in the ozone layer. Crooked politicians took bribes, broke promises to their constituents, and rented fancier penthouses for their mistresses. Scholars at Harvard graduated Summa Cum Laude. Bored housewives gossiped, and talked over coffee about who shot J.R. Hippies cut their hair. Lawyers got richer. And the beat went on.

Life on Emoyeni was indeed hard, but sweet. Everyday, the young couple was busy from dawn to dusk with goats, chickens, gardening, cooking, washing, mending, fencing, and ongoing vehicle repairs. Max was almost finished with the pump house near the river, and they had already taken their first ride in the newly purchased dory, complete with outboard motor. But, as the months passed, Alexis realized that life was becoming nothing more than one long stream of chores. A crucial element was missing: contact. With no outside stimulus and no one with whom to share new ideas, she felt she was losing touch with the real world. There were a few Belizean families within a mile or two, and as long as the conversation centered on crops or babies, there was plenty of common ground. But Alexis couldn't discuss black holes in space, philosophy, computer technology, or the hottest new rock group. Her physical world had expanded while her intellectual sphere diminished.

A Father that Wants to be a Father Will be a Father--Divorce, or Not

Spawned from this

Like the majority of divorcing men today, Giles sought joint legal custody, which courts are more willing to grant since a federal study shows that men paid child support 90 percent of the time in comparison to less than 45 percent when the mother had sole custody.
Wait a minute! The majority of divorcing men are seeking joint legal custody? Fact or fiction? Fact = ever since the child support system was put into place, there has been a backlash of men seeking joint custody to diminish or eliminate their child support payments.

Courts are more willing to grand joint custody because of the continuous propaganda spilled by fathers' supremacy advocates that insist that children do better with both parents.

Children do do better with both parents--both parents who love each other in an intact home. This, is what those joint custody studies are based on.

That "federal study" didn't distinguish between couples who elected joint custody arrangements--separated fathers who voluntarily spent more time with their children and thus were more inclined to pay child support, versus those who were deadbeats and realized that more child time equals less child support payments.

Has there been a "federal study" on father visitation that was the father?

"When a father is away from the stress of a failed marriage, he can be more relaxed and more reflective and as a result enjoy being more fully involved with his children," said Don Gordon, professor emeritus of psychology at Ohio University and the director of the Center for Divorce Education.
Wait a minute. Was there not some point in the marriage where there was no stress of a failed marriage? Was the father reflective and more fully involved at that point?
David Gestl, the divorced father of four in Stewartstown, Pennsylvania, agrees, adding how it's a relief not to argue about parenting styles which allows the father to develop his own.

"In my marriage, I was always walking on eggshells and getting criticized," he said. "Recently after I made dinner, my son shook his chocolate milk and it went flying everywhere. I could say, just relax it's nothing a paper towel won't pick up. It's okay to make a mistake and fix it. "
So, basically, parents have children together, but really they want to have separate parenting styles and cannot develop their own within the relationship. What a load of crap. More like, father is not an active participant in the child rearing until he objects to something the mother is doing, that he thinks he can do better. Then, there is conflict.
One benefit to divorce is that with scheduled rationed time, each parent doesn't take it for granted and can have more single minded focus with their kids.
So, now we are acknowledging benefits of divorce? I thought divorce was the epitome of all evil. Now, divorce is a prerequisite to fathers stepping up to be...fathers.
In a study on non-residential fathers, researcher Paul Amato from Pennsylvania State University found that the percentage of non-residential fathers being involved with their children more than tripled from 8 percent in the 1970's to 26 percent in 2000's.
"Good" social policy and soliciting, and also, see previous answer about the child support system. And still 26% is about a quarter...that leaves almost 3 other quarters to the dollar.
"Large numbers of contemporary fathers are doing their best to fulfill their responsibilities as parents despite the limitations of not residing with their children," said Amato. "It's time to recognize, value and support the commitment of these men to their children."
Yes, give them an extra kudos, for doing what they were already supposed to be doing. But ignore the mothers and fathers who have already been doing the same, without government and social policy prompting.
"a parentdectomy." ...Dr. Warren Farrell....
What a ridiculous word. And I can't believe Farrell was quoted in this article. All credibility is out with the garbage now.
Technology has also helped prevent or reduce what is called parental alienation where in the past the residential parent may - consciously or unconsciously - block contact either out of her resentment towards the father or because she has remarried and is protecting the stepfather relationship. A study by J. Annette Vanini and Edward Nichols found that 77 percent of noncustodial fathers faced some form of visitation interference.
Technology has also increased stalking and other criminal behaviors.

If a mother is unconsciously blocking contact, how do we know what is in her when she is conscious? And whether that "unconscious" response is defense mechanism?

Of this 77% with visitation interference, what was their previous involvement with their children? Who, exactly, interfered with the visitation? And are there any reasons that would be considered "appropriate" for being denied visitation? This 77% could consist of criminals...psychopaths...Would you let this 77% be around your children?
"A lot of Dads complain that moms could stand in the way of communication...
Yes, especially when that communication is improper or harmful. More interestingly is that many consider this "gatekeeping" but yet within the intact relationship, many a time it was the mother who facilitated and encouraged the father's relationship/involvement with the kids. I guess everything just backfires.
In fact, research shows that the kids do like it when both parents are present.
And they really like it when their parents are married, too.
"They have fewer behavior and emotional problems, higher self-esteem and better school performance than children in sole custody arrangements," said Glenn Sacks, the National Executive Director of Fathers & Families. "When researchers have examined children of divorce, and studied and queried adult children of divorce, they've found that most prefer joint custody and shared parenting."
Oh, geez, Sacks. Kids have fewer behavioral and emotional problems when they come from a loving, supporting environment. They may or may not have this in sole custody, joint custody, or within an intact marriage.

Adult children of divorce prefered joint custody and shared parenting. Adult children. Adult. Did you ask any....children-children?

Children enjoy joint custody when they live in one residence and have contact with parents at will. Not forced, not ordered...
For example, in one Arizona State University study of college students who experienced their parents' divorces while they were children, over two-thirds believe that living equal times with each parent is the best arrangement. A Harvard University study also confirmed that children in joint custody settings fared much better than kids living in sole custody households.
Again. Does anyone see anything wrong with this? College students = adults....different perspective!

A "Harvard study" confirmed that children who's parents elected a joint custody arrangement (of which there are several versions) may have "fared better."...that is, if this study compared the children to sole custody households with the exact same resources.
Payments can be adjusted if the father spends as much as 100 nights with his child so many mothers resist giving 50-50 splits and are angered by the request.

Said Nicholson, "Are there folks who look at this economically and think if I have equal time I won't have to pay as much child support? Yes. But the majority of dads want to be involved in their kid's lives. They feel they should be equal partners."
And so, a negative generalization is made about mothers, and a very sweeping positive one is made about fathers. Can we really say that all mothers are angered about the diminishing child support, or is it something else?

Are fathers penalized for not visiting?

And the majority of dads want to be involved...what does "involved" mean? And were they "equal partners" during the intact relationship?
Still, it can be very painful for ex-wives to see that their families are living lives without them - especially when spouses repartner. However, in time, this divorce therapist has seen many women realize that a break from 24/7 parenting can benefit everyone. And love is far more elastic and flexible than we think.
And this is how the article ends.

Is it not painful for fathers to see their families moving forward successfully without them?

Most women realize they need a break from 24/7 parenting, which is why many women have their children within a relationship. A woman has little control over whether or not that man/father, will contribute to child caretaking. And ALL women appreciate any extra hands. This was an attempt to make it seem like most divorcing women are actively blocking fathers from achieving some sort of "real" parental status...leaving no responsibility on the men that embark on this fatherhood journey, only to figure out down the road (with much help from the government) that he should be raising the kids he brought to this earth. 50-50 should exist from day one.

Educated White People Have the Lowest Rates of Violence? Shut Yo' Mouf!


On a recent article about the Marin County, California family court disaster, I read this comment:
It cuts across all socioeconomic classes, but educated white people have the lowest rates of violence.
Can this really be true?

And do we know this from personal experience and hearing the stories, or from "fact" and "statistics"?

Is it likely that educated white people are the least likely to admit domestic violence, both as victims/survivors and perpetrators?

Is it possible that educated white people are the least likely to involve the police force with their family "business"?

Separate [educated] white women from their counterparts...[educated] white men, and ask the question,
Have you ever been a victim of domestic violence...assault and battery...initiated by your husband?

I'm aware that the privileged class likes to paint the picture that people of color, and especially immigrant communities, are plagued by [domestic] violence...maybe because we're just such savage beasts in their eyes. But I have to tell ya, [educated] white women have a lot secrets that need to be told...and people need to listen.

Thought I was finished, here is another comment, much better than the previous (emphasis mine):
One reason Marin has such a low number of R.O.s is that there is a high rate of education here. DV is prevalent with less educated people, especially immigrants. Educated white people don't go around beating their wives, it's too obvious and too expensive. There may be more subtle forms of it like not buying her that new car every year but that's not violence. Concentrate on the Central Americans and the Blacks, that's where the action is, stop painting the whole county with the actions of a small subset of people taken advantage by activists clamoring for more grant money. /blockquote>


Belize Survivor, part 80

The capital of Belmopan was a long ride from back-a-bush, yet Minister Moran didn't even have the courtesy to look at the young people. He continued to hold the newspaper in front of his face while he spoke.

"So you want to buy a piece of land?" he said. "Tell me, what interest do you really have in Belize? Americans come here for only two reasons – either you want to grow marijuana, or you're land speculators."

"With all due respect, we don't have any interest in either one,” said Max. “We just want to live here and have a little place to call our own."
The Minister put down the paper and leaned across the table, looking at them for the first time.

"I don't believe that for one red-hot minute. Let me tell you something. I'm not like these local buffoons in Public Offices. People don't come to Belize just to eat mangoes. So, here's your answer. I haven't decided yet. Maybe I will give you the land permit, and maybe I won't. Just remember that we Belizeans can do whatever we want here. You cannot."

"I assure you–" Alexis began.

"You may go now," he interrupted. "Come back in ten days. I'll give you my answer at that time." Max could barely wait to get out of earshot to make his comment.

"What an officious asshole," he said, as they walked back to the truck. "This is our third trip to Belmopan and they're still giving us a hard time."
Alexis agreed emphatically. "We've done everything they've told us to do: fingerprints, police records, putting up a bond, green card, work permit, Belizean sponsor, and the five-year development plan. What more do they want? Every time, it's ‘come back next week.’"

"If the stupid phones worked in this country maybe we could just call the jerk to see if he's made up his mind yet. This Alien Landholding Act stuff is pure crap."

On the way home, Alexis had a brainstorm.

"Max, you know what? I’m going to write a song and sing it for that idiotic minister. I'll write about our attempt to buy the land and I'll sing it in Creole. Either this guy will think we're crazy and kick us out, or he'll think we're crazy and we fit right in. Either way, at least it will be over and we'll be able to get on with our lives."

At first Max was skeptical, but the more he thought about it, the more he supported her idea. No time like the present, she thought, pulling out a pen and paper. She began to write, pausing from time to time to ask him a question or two. "When we went south and checked out Punta Gorda, didn't we hear people calling it by its initials?”

“Yeah, they just call it P.G.," Max replied.

"Good. Okay. And what's the prime minister's name?"

"George Price." By the time they were home, Alexis’ song was complete.

Ten days later they made what they hoped would be the final trip to the capital. True to her word, she took along Max's old guitar.

"You're going to play a song for me?" Minister Moran asked, looking uncomfortable.

"Yes, I am," Alexis answered, “and it's in Creole too."

"Yu know fu talk Creole? Well you're going to have to play it for Mr. Archibald. I will get him for you. I have to...uh...get a drink of water." Quickly, he ushered Alexis into the office next door.

"Neville! Come here. I want you to listen to the lady's song."

Out in the hall, Max sat on the bench, shaking his head in amazement. Meanwhile many officials became curious. Even Minister Moran returned after his supposed trip to the drinking fountain, and sat inside his office. He was clearly not comfortable. Meanwhile, Neville Archibald was loving the spectacle. Alexis had drawn quite a crowd.

Oh Belmopan, Belmopan,
Seems like yu no help us, but we know yu can.
We just lookin fu, one small helpin' hand,
We just wan to buy, one lee piece of land.

We look in El Cayo, we look in P.G.
Border de Guatemala to de edge of de sea.
No mind steep or rocky, or full lone high trees,
We just wan to buy one lee piece of Belize.

Do farmin in de daytime, play music all night,
We won do anything now, that yu wouldn like.
And only yu can help to rescue us from our plight,
We wan peace and love, mon, we don wan to fight.

And then if we get it, it will be so nice...
We'll say thank yu, Mr. Moran, thank yu, Mr. Price.

Without exception, everyone in the hallway broke into a round of applause and Alexis bowed graciously. She beamed at the minister until even he had to laugh. Ten minutes later Minister Moran presented the couple with the permit to buy the land, and two days later they purchased the property from Renaldo Harrison for twenty-seven hundred BZ. Max named it Emoyeni, Zulu for “place of the wind.”

I Love It When Muthafuckers Google Their Names...

...trying to see who is talking about they can threaten with defamation and lawsuits...those that are putting the truth out into the public. You must feel really powerful with all your degrees and shit...all the payoffs and lives you destroy with no regard.

One day the children will return as adults...Fuck you!


Fathers and Families Uses McNair's Death to Catapult Their Ill-Intentioned Cause

Check out this article in the Washington Times

It is so carefully entitled, A Domestic Violence Victim, with an even more cleverly constructed subtitle, women are the aggressors as often as men.

With the weekly murders and familicides of women and children (see Justice's Posterous, Dastardly Dads, Violence Against Women and Children News, Intimate and Domestic Violence Homicides in the News), it is no wonder that "fathers' rights" advocates would jump on the opportunity to use Steve McNair's death to fuel their propaganda machine.

First off, there are two things that should stand out in this death:

1. McNair is a celebrity.

2. NcNair is an African-American.

Why is this important?

Because fathers' groups continuously exploit these groups of people.

1. They need celebrities, like Alec Baldwin, to give credence to their misinformation. We live in a culture that puts celebrities on pedestals. Nothing is true unless it can be verified by members of the celebrity elite. Money fuels the machine.

2. People of color and African-Americans in particular are heavily (and easily) targeted because of the seeming dysfunction that exists in Black families--a "dysfunction" that the White man blames on single motherhood and "fatherlessness"--a belief that many African-Americans have absorbed, instead of taking a more critical look at the intersection of race, class, and sex in our communities.

And many more will jump on [the bandwagon]...they will chant,
"Yeah, yeah, women are violent"..."Yeah, yeah, that's what happened to me/my brother/my husband"
...And their stories will all be true. But assault and battery do not make domestic violence victims, or domestic violence perpetrators. This idea needs to be framed and reframed.

Steve McNair was not a victim of domestic violence...unless he was involved in a pattern of continuous abuse and terror, with little options to escape, resulting in him being unable to successfully flee the relationship.

Could this have been the case?

Perhaps...maybe we'll never know the details. But we do know that McNair was married--though not married to his killer. There was no nasty divorce going on, no child custody battle. McNair was having an affair...or affairs. McNair had money. McNair had power. Neither of which exists for victims of domestic violence.

What is domestic violence?

From the National Domestic Violence Hotline
Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.

Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone.
Reread the first paragraph:
a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.
Digging a little further, in Apples and Oranges in Child Custody Disputes: Intimate Terrorism vs. Situational Couple Violence, Michael P. Johnson has classified violence into three categories (emphasis mine):
(a) violence enacted in the service of taking general control over one’s partner (intimate terrorism)

(b) violence utilized in response to intimate terrorism (violent resistance); and

(c) violence that is not embedded in a general pattern of power and control, but is a function of the escalation of a specific conflict or series of conflicts (situational couple violence).
Women are the aggressors as often as men, is a statement that is used to equalize domestic violence, meaning, domestic violence is also likely the woman's fault.

The study that is referenced in this Washington Times article, published in the American Journal of Public Health, is a survey--a survey, like most of the surveys (CTS Conflict Tactics Scales) used by fathers' groups, which asks men and women about their violent tendencies in their relationships. These surveys (self-reports) conclude that women initiate more violence...but what of the people taking the surveys?

Johnson says (emphasis mine),
[these surveys] biased in favor of situational couple violence. These so-called random samples are dominated by situational couple violence for two reasons. First, although estimates of prevalence are never straightforward, the evidence suggests that situational couple violence is by far the most common form of intimate partner violence. Thus, even if a sample were truly representative, any findings regarding the causes or effects of aggregated violence would be heavily dominated by situational couple violence. Second, refusals further reduce the number of victims or perpetrators of intimate terrorism who are interviewed in such general surveys. In the specific case of the National Family Violence Surveys, I have demonstrated that the refusal rate is closer to 40% than to the 18% often claimed for those surveys (Johnson, 1995). it is reasonable to assume that intimate terrorists and their victims are more likely to refuse to participate in such surveys than are couples who have experienced situational couple violence. Intimate terrorists do not want to risk exposure, and their victims are afraid they will be beaten if their partner finds out they have been answering questions about their relationship.
After all, surveys are voluntary, aren't they?

Check out this interesting and critical piece from the article:
New research from Deborah Capaldi shows the most dangerous domestic-violence scenario for both women and men is that of reciprocal violence, particularly if that violence is initiated by women.
What this means:

If violence is supposedly initiated by a woman, and also reciprocated by the man, the ending result is the worst. Somebody is going to die.

But which person is going to die?

If women, according to fathers' advocates, "employ weapons and the element of surprise," then the woman is more likely to die in a random escalating altercation. However, statistics show that women are more likely to die, period--whether or not she initiates the violence.

What I am saying is that fathers' groups are attempting to blame women for their deaths in either situation, but by painting women as equal perpetrators in domestic violence, they can garner sympathy for abusive men. And the result is that abusive men do not have to change their attitudes and actions, and men in general to not have to reframe their violence against women. They have an excuse: She made me do it!

There are solutions to protect all parties affected by domestic violence:

  • Call it what it is, perhaps, assault and battery! And it is a crime that is not taken seriously, ever since the words "domestic violence" were introduced. However, classification is necessary to protect those who are indeed victims

  • Couples' counseling should never be mandatory as we cannot assume all violence is equally initiated, nor for what reasons. If a couple elects counseling, there should be joint and individual sessions. What victim would tell the truth in front of his/her abuser? And perhaps, in individual counseling, there will be more self-reflection and a person can decide that the best thing to do, is to leave. Our society needs to stop with the family-preservation bullshit. Situational couple violence may be resolved, but intimate terrorism is continuous. Either way, if any relationship resorts to violence, that relationship is not worthy.

  • Men can start men-only domestic violence shelters instead of using their energy to fight and infiltrate women's shelters (see the recent "Researcher: What Happens When Abused Men Call Domestic Violence Hotlines and Shelters?", also by Glenn Sacks). Fortunately, we are at a place where they can get grants from the federal government to assist them--unlike women who originally built shelters with grassroots advocacy, blood, sweat and tears.

  • Ensure that any domestic violence victim will not lose their children in custody proceedings...because as it stands for almost 2 decades, abusive men who seek custody are very likely to get it (70%). Additionally, when victims report family violence, Child Protective Services (CPS) and the family court, are least likely to believe the victims, and often charge the victim with neglect, failure to protect...and the children are given to the abuser, or to the system (see Failing to Report and Reporting to Fail.

And now hopefully is it more apparent, that none of the piece really had a damn thing to do with Steve McNair...look at how the authors end the article. This was just another platform to mislead the public.

In the end, who is left? A woman and her children...left to grieve and to deal with a father's indiscretions. Aren't they the victims?

Murder-suicide in the United States, Violence Policy Center:
Most murderers in murder-suicides are male

In this study, 95 percent of the offenders were male. Other studies analyzing murder-suicide have found that most perpetrators of murder-suicide are male—more than 90 percent in recent studies of the United States.5 Another study which only looked at murder-suicides involving couples noted that more than 90 percent were perpetrated by men.6 This is consistent with homicides in general, in which 89 percent of homicides are committed by male offenders.7
Most murder-suicides involve an intimate partner

The most prevalent type of murder-suicide was between two intimate partners, with the man killing his wife or girlfriend. Such events are commonly the result of a breakdown in the relationship.8 The average age difference between the offender and primary victim was 6.0 years. Overall, the age difference ranged from none to 23 years. (Other studies on fatal violence for spouses have found that there is a greater risk of homicide victimization as the age difference between the husband and wife increases.9) In this study, 73 percent of all murder-suicides involved an intimate partner. Of these, 94 percent were females killed by their intimate partners.g
Most murder-suicides with three or more victims involve a male “family
annihilator”—a subcategory of intimate partner murder-suicide.

Most multiple-victim murder-suicides involving a male murderer and a large number (three or more) of victims are perpetrated by family annihilators. Family annihilators are murderers who kill their wives/girlfriends and children, as well as other family members, before killing themselves. In many cases, a family annihilator is suffering from depression and has financial or other problems and feels the family is better off dying with him than remaining alive to deal with the problems at hand.10

Information on Women and Firearms Violence
(emphasis mine)
The gun industry and its allies regularly assert that the greatest threat to women comes from an attack by a stranger. In reality, the most imminent source of violence to a woman comes from the person with whom she shares her life or, in research terms, her intimate acquaintance. The Department of Justice has found that women are far more likely to be the victims of violent crimes committed by intimate partners than men especially when a weapon is involved. Moreover, women are much more likely to be victimized at home than in any other place.

Women represent more than half of the country's population, but make up only 12 percent of gun owners and less than eight percent of handgun owners.

However, a woman must consider the risks of having a gun in her home, whether she is in a domestic violence situation or not. While two thirds of women who own guns acquired them "primarily for protection against crime," the results of a California analysis show that "purchasing a handgun provides no protection against homicide among women and is associated with an increase in their risk for intimate partner homicide." A 2003 study about the risks of firearms in the home found that females living with a gun in the home were nearly three times more likely to be murdered than females with no gun in the home. Finally, another study reports, women who were murdered were more likely, not less likely, to have purchased a handgun in the three years prior to their deaths, again invalidating the idea that a handgun has a protective effect against homicide. For women in America, guns are not used to save lives, but to take them.

Check Out This Collection of San Diego Family Court Corruption

Things that make you go "Hmmmmm."


Belize Survivor, part 79

"Here we are," Max said a few minutes later as he pulled over to the side of the road. "This is where the driveway will be if we buy the place. But for now, we'll park here and walk in." He lifted Jordan into the baby backpack and hoisted it on Alexis' back. "Be sure to watch where you're walking. Keep your eyes open."

Although it was not high bush, the wamill had grown to a height of eight to ten feet. This was no tame pasture surrounded by predictable fencing and routinely trampled by cows. Max made as much noise as possible and whistled as he swung the machete right and left, an old Zulu practice designed to scare away anything that might be lurking in the underbrush. Alexis expected to break into a clearing surrounding the house itself, but there was no clearing; the grasses had swallowed it. All of a sudden the house was there in front of Max's machete.

“Not much from the outside, is it?” said Alexis, in a carefully controlled tone.

It was obvious that the shack had been abandoned for years. It was a simple rectangular house, twenty-six by sixteen feet, with two windows on each of the four sides. The structure was raised a few feet off the ground on crude concrete pilings. The cedar siding was an ugly sun-bleached gray, and paper wasps had made a dozen nests under the eaves. Old tin cans, boards, plastics, broken glass, and other assorted trash lay everywhere. Max kept chopping until they reached the three stair front entry. One wooden step was missing and the others sagged forlornly. Only the view was spectacular. Max was trying not to cringe.

"Okay, let's go inside. Maybe it won't be so bad."

It was bad. In fact, the inside was a horror show. Separating the living room and kitchen area from the rest of the house, the press-board partitions created two more rooms. But, like the rest of the walls, they were covered by a chalky white dust. Several windows were broken, and an acrid odor filled the house. A huge hairy tarantula, as big as a salad plate, lay dead on the floor amidst the shattered glass. "Not much from the inside either. What is all this white stuff everywhere? It stinks like some kind of chemical." Carefully, Max walked around the room and extended the machete to poke gingerly behind the door. A small document gave him the answer.

"Oh shit," said Max. "The Aedes Egypti Eradication Service. That's DDT on the walls."

"Poison!" Alexis cried. "We left the States to avoid chemical pollution and then we end up in a room of wall-to-wall DDT? That's it. Let's get Jordan out of here."

Max agreed instantly. "I'm right behind you."

Once outside, she shivered in spite of the heat. "That was horrible. Are we going back to the truck now?"

"Not yet. I still want to check out the river frontage. If it's more than eighty feet to the water, we'll have to get a piston pump. The centrifugal pump would be useless if the gradient's too steep."

"You're still considering buying this dump?” Inside, Alexis was screaming. Outside, she was barely in control. “You can't be serious."

"We've got to get our money invested somewhere. We can't just keep spending it on rent. We could pay somebody to scrub this place clean, fix it up, and put in some plants. But water is the crucial issue. I've got to check out how close the river is. Are you going to come with me or stay here?" It wasn't much of a choice. Alexis could stand here with the baby in the hot sun, wait in the house with the DDT, sit in the hot smelly truck, or go with Max and cool off in the river. She went with Max.

Finding the river was easier said than done. There was no established route to the bottom. Max spotted a faint passage that animals used and began to blaze a trail with his machete, following the path of least resistance. Throughout the year they'd been in Belize, Alexis had gotten much stronger physically, but now she struggled to maintain a foothold on the rugged terrain with the baby on her back. Unlike the flat on top of the hill, the slope to the river was not wamill grass, but dense tropical vegetation.

"There's the water," Max said suddenly. The jungle was so thick they could not proceed any further anyway, but it was close enough for Max to do his calculations. "See it sparkling through the trees down there? Looks like a little beach there too. Boy, this is some hill all right. It must be four hundred feet of distance and a two hundred foot head – three times the height and distance of Michael’s place."

"Can the water even be pumped that far?" asked Alexis.

"With a positive displacement piston pump it can. Here's the high water line. It doesn't look like the floods ever go above this point. This is where we would put the storage shed for the pump and the outboard motor."

"The outboard motor…?"

"If we live on the river, we’d have to have a dory," Max said.

"So let me get this straight. You're saying that you'd mount the pump way up here on the hillside? And the suction hose would work from fifty feet away?"

"No, we'll store the pump up here fifty feet away when it's not in use. Then I'll throw a small cement slab at the river's edge and set upright bolts into it. We'll
carry the pump down the hill whenever we need water, bolt it in place, pump the water, and then carry it back to the pump house."

"You're talking as though we've already bought the place."

"Maybe I already have."

Alexis sighed. She hadn’t really expected him to say anything else.


Public Apology: It's Not About Gender!

Let me take this one moment to admit something that the father's supremacist groups have been waiting for.

Women are child abusers. Women commit sexual abuse. Women are perpetrators of domestic violence.

DUHHHHHHHHHH. No SHIT! Who ever said women were NOT or did NOT?

This is not about gender, this is about the crimes!

It just so magically happens that men are responsible for the most severe child injuries and fatalities. It also happens that men are responsible for most sexual abuse/rape. And it also just happens that men are the majority of the perpetrators of domestic violence.


And it doesn't excuse the crimes committed by women...or children...or the elderly...or extraterrestrials....

There is no conspiracy against all men, perpetrated by women...there aren't enough women in power to get away with it!!! That's like saying that there are weapons of mass destruction!!!

We don't want all men to suffer, we want people who do the crime, to pay the time! Not all men are violent criminals...It's just that most violent criminals, are men! This is not the same thing. Like when men say "bitches" in the music videos...they aren't talking about all women, only those that are "bitches"!!

And fathers do have rights...the right to support their babies in utero by ensuring that the mother is well-nourished and emotionally supported...continuing with ensuring access to appropriate health care of choice, with the least risk and least intervention...which would include research and knowledge of medications and alternatives...continuing with supporting breastfeeding and other physical and emotional support during the postpartum period--to avoid post partum depression...continuing with sharing in the infant caretaking. This is what fathers have the right to do.

Father's rights don't start after the mother has already done all of the foundational work.

It is not about gender, this is equal opportunity and non-discriminatory. And this is what policy should be based on..."Reality" ?????


Believe Survivor, part 78

As much as Max and Alexis begged Mrs. Whitmore, she refused to sell them Michael's land, just as Rick had said. It was 1977, Chinese Year of the Snake, and the smart old woman knew that in a few more years the riverfront piece would have a tremendous resale value. She would bide her time and wait for bigger profits.

The couple looked for other properties along the river but came across the same situation over and over. Typically, land was owned by a Belizean family that had been divided among perhaps a dozen children after the parents’ death. In most cases it was impossible to track down all the brothers and sisters, especially since more than half of them might be living in Houston or Los Angeles. And even if all family members could be accounted for, there were always one or two siblings who didn't want to sell.

The new generation of Belizeans identified themselves as either bush-people or town-people. Bush-people stayed on the land, grew their own food, and stayed out of trouble. Their lives were simple, but there was always fresh food and open air. However, most of the younger crowd preferred to live in town where the action was, even if the action meant nothing more than getting drunk on a bottle of One Barrel Rum at the Blue Angels Disco Club on a Saturday night. And neither the bush-people nor the town-people could understand the desire of the crazy gringos to buy a piece of land that was back-a-bush.

One Saturday evening, Max returned from a solo trip to the market with some astounding news. Joshua Harrison's son, Renaldo, wanted to sell his forty acres. Reynaldo was nearly sixty years old himself and he had little interest in the place, nor did any of his children or grandchildren. They all thought the place was too far upstream from Cayo.

“Of course, it's not prime land,” Max told Alexis, as they sat on the front verandah facing the river. “It's high and rocky and the frontage is steep, but it is on the river. It’s a couple of miles further south, upstream, past Mrs. Whitmore's land, and just opposite the Del Fuego property. I asked Reynaldo what he wanted for it. He said three thousand Belizean dollars, but I think he'd take a few hundred less."

Alexis’ eyes grew wide. "Really? Are we going to go look at it?” she asked excitedly.

"You bet,” he said sincerely. Max was a happy guy. “I have to repair the tie-rod ends on the Land Cruiser. Then we could go tomorrow before it gets too hot."

Max had sold the old '59 Ford step-van to a Mexican potato chip vendor in a comical transaction. As in many third world countries, Belizean currency came in different colors, depending upon the denomination. The one-dollar bills were green, the twos were purple, the fives were red, the tens were black, and the twenties were brown, and there weren't any more. That was it. No fifties, no hundreds. So when the van sold for cash, the stack of twenties on the table was several inches high. Alexis joked that perhaps they could have just measured it with a ruler instead of counting it.

Getting a ride to Spanish Lookout that same day, Max had purchased a Toyota Land Cruiser with a partial body from the same Mennonite who owned the junkyard. The transmission had four speeds, plus a high and low range. With his help, the two created a hodgepodge body out of several other junked Land Cruisers on the lot. The resultant vehicle was a mish-mash of lime green quarter-panels and white doors. There was no windshield, but it didn't matter much since the vehicle had no roof. After a bit more scrounging, the two men came up with an ill-fitting fiberglass white shell top with a scratched plastic windshield which they bolted onto the body. With luck, it might keep out some of the rain. Unfortunately, the alternator was non-functional, but Max came up with the simple solution – routinely parking it on top of a small Mayan mound on Michael's property, and jump-starting it on the way down. Max figured he’d put big knobbly mud tires on it, and, with the right person driving, it would be a real tortoise in the mud. As it turned out, the machine’s durability would only be surpassed by the burning heat through the floorboards, the noxious fumes from the broken manifold, and the irritating clap-banging of the bolted-on roof and mismatched body panels.

As they drove south on the Cristo Rey Road toward Reynaldo’s property, Alexis sat in the truck, lurching in the heat with the heavy baby on her lap, wondering again where her life was going. Max had been calmer in recent months, but she'd learned to always be careful. His temper was unpredictable and she never knew what small thing might set him off again. Sometimes he was affectionate, even sweet, but it never paid to let her hair down – not anymore. Walking on eggs had become part of her lifestyle. Suddenly, Jordan struggled to stand in her lap, and pointed vigorously out the window. "Moo cows?" he said.
“Yes, Jordan, those are cows,” said Alexis. “See the big moo-cows?"

The toddler stared at the animals again, and mimicked his mother. "Moo," he repeated, smiling. "Moo cows."