Thursday, May 22, 2008

Domestic Violence & Child Custody In The Courts

Today on XXBN, Barry Goldstein discusses the crisis in the custody court system that has resulted in thousands of children being sent to live with abusers.

I love how his website credits him:
attorney, teacher, author and advocate for women abused by their partner (and too often the courts)
I love it, not because the situation is good or funny, but because he dares to say it: The courts are abusive.

It's not like it should be surprising; it's a male dominated place. And I don't care how non-pc it is ~ men's groups be damned ~ domestic violence is a woman's issue. One that's long been ignored.

Domestic violence is like rape: It's directed at far more women than men, is about controlling women via violence, and, because no one wants to face those facts & deal with them, the courts are not only still stuck in stereotypical dark ages but perpetuating the problem.

But you don't need to just take my word for it. Read this information from Battered Women, Abused Children, and Child Custody: A National Crisis:
'I am concerned about his mental stability.' Judge to attorneys just before signing an order removing custody from a protective mother to an alleged sexual abuser. The same order stated that the mother was 'fit'.
So a mentally unstable father with a history of abuse is deemed more appropriate than a fit mother?
'She [the primary caretaker mother] sees herself as primarily a 'mom', and that is too much of a burden for the children to bear.' Open court statement by a NC Family Court judge in a hearing where full custody of the children was taken from a protective mother and given to an alleged abuser.
Ah, it would be easier for the children to bear an abusive father as primary care giver. :snort:
Familiar patterns of abuse simply shift ground to the legal arena where current child custody laws and prodecures present opportunities for new tactics of domination and control. [The National Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges, Synergy - The Newsletter of the Resource Center on Domestic Violence: Child Protection and Custody, Vol. 4, No. 2, Winter 1999-2000, J. M. Bowermaster, Relocation Restrictions: An Opportunity for Custody Abuse, p.4]
And the courts reward their efforts with improper placements, thus making the courts at best a tool, and at worst perpetrators of abuse themselves.
Despite the powerful stereotypes working against fathers, they are significantly more successful than is commonly believed. The Massachusetts [gender bias] task force, for example, reported that fathers receive primary or joint custody in more than 70% of contested cases. Lynn Hecht Schafran, Gender Bias in Family Courts, American Bar Association Family Advocate, Vol 17, No. 1, p.26
I've seen this with one of my dear friends, DeeDee, who was abused and then suffered more horrific abuse in court ~ at the hands of those who should know better. It boggles my mind as much as it burns.

And it makes me very passionate about the issue of family court and domestic violence. It's a screwed up place where, as DeeDee and I say, "The only reason justice is blind, is due to a head injury from her domestic partner."

And no body seems to give a crap.

And if you disagree, call in and raise the issue with Barry Goldstein.

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