Joint Custody Laws Facilitate Abuse

EuroPROFEM - The European Men Profeminist Network http://www.europrofem.org 

 

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Joint Custody Laws Facilitate Abuse

 

Created by Jack C. Straton
C/o University Studies Portland State University Portland,

• Joint Custody laws have become a rallying point in our society for those men who are having a difficult time maintaining their control over women. 
• Their argument that joint custody is egalitarian totally ignores the enormous reality of male violence. 
• Custodial incentives that motivate women to stay with their abuser not only promote woman abuse but promote child abuse because some 70% of men who abuse women also abuse the children they have access to.

• Because control over women is the central motivation for men who batter women, it is inevitable that many men will use custodial access to try to reassert their control over their former wives.

Fairness: 
• Even if men did not batter women, joint custody would be manifestly unjust. The Male Lobby will attempt to sell you on the idea that the word "joint" is synonymous with the word "just." Far from it. 
• Enforcing "gender balance" in only one aspect of a society that is otherwise drastically unbalanced is like telling a woman that she has to cross a 100 foot high tight wire wearing roller blades simply because her husband is wearing roller blades to cross the cement floor 100 feet below her. If we desire gender justice, let us demand it everywhere. Don’t Provide Batterers With A New Weapon •

The Commonwealth Fund Survey of Women’s Health has demonstrated that in any one year "7% of women who are married or are living with someone as a couple [are] physically abused, and 37% [are] verbally or emotionally abused by their spouse or partner." So over the many-year span of a typical marriage, the probability that a divorcing woman has survived domestic abuse is very high. 
• Battering is the single most important context for serious injury to women in the U.S. 
• Nearly one-third of all visits by women to emergency medical services are caused by battering. 
• According to the FBI, over the last decade 29.4% of all women murdered were killed by their husband or partner. They also note that woman abuse actually escalates after separation and divorce. This is reality. So how does court-mandated joint custody fit into this reality? Like a knife sliding in to the hilt! Joint Custody Laws say, "Cooperate With Your Abuser of Else" 
• ŇFriendly parentÓ provisions guarantee a batterer frequent and continuing access to his victim. Such provisions force a woman who has been beaten by her partner to submit to further abuse during custodial exchanges or lose custody of her child. 
• The threat of a joint custody decision may be used by the husband to bargain out of court for a reduction in child support payments, thus inflicting the violence that is poverty on the child. 
• How likely is it that he will abuse her after separation? Two thirds to three fourths of the women who are battered are divorced or separated from their abusers at the time of the incident. In one study of spousal homicide, over half of the male defendants were separated from their victims. Joint Custody Laws Hurt Kids • The threat of a joint custody decision may be used by the husband to bargain out of court for a reduction in child support payments, thus inflicting the violence that is poverty on the child; clearly not a result "in the child’s best interests." The "friendly parent" provision, that takes custody from a fearful parent, increases the effectiveness of this threat and the consequent impoverishment of children. 
• Joint custody also makes it easier for the non-primary-caretaking parent to interfere with needed and timely medical decisions by the primary-caretaker. 

• Children who witness woman abuse may experience severe mental and physical impairment, similar to Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),,,,,, and almost all children of battered women are witnesses. The Male Lobby Claims That - 

• fatherless homes are destroying America . . . [creating] poor education, gangs, crime, drugs, teen-age pregnancy, health problems, behavioral problems. . . .

• children from fatherless homes are five to six times more likely to live in poverty They forget to name the father as responsible for the 30% drop in such a child's household income after he leaves. It is also obvious that poverty itself, rather than the lack of an adult penis in the house is the causal agent for the problems noted above. What We Say : 
• Those who want to stop gang violence in Oregon should be aware that witnessing battering has been strongly linked to kids turning to crime.,,,,, 
• Ongoing marital violence in childhood is highly correlated with commission of serious crimes in adulthood — assault, rape, kidnapping, and murder. A Gender-Neutral Presumption That Does Not Automatically Harm Women And Children

• The "Primary Caretaker Parent Rule" of West Virginia leaves children in the custody of the parent who has been the primary giver of care (the parent who most often prepares the meals, changes diapers and dresses and bathes the child, chauffeurs the child, monitors the child's health, and interacts with the child's friends and teachers). 
• This parent has demonstrated a willingness to take care of the child and has practice doing the job. There is also reason to believe that the child is emotionally more attached to her or him. 

• Besides, during the marriage the parties after all set up the caretaker arrangement together, and would hardly have done this while thinking that the actual primary caretaker was less fit than the other parent." Are Children Hurt By Not Living With Non-Abusive Fathers? 

• A study done in 1987 by Furstenberg, Morgan, and Allison, found that children who had not seen their father in 5 years did significantly better than those who had spent 1 through 13 days with their father in the previous year. Another study by Zill found that the well-being of children following divorce is not related to father-child contact. The Future : 
• When men finally stop brutalizing women and children shared custodial arrangements will be possible. When men finally become equal partners in child care before divorce, shared custodial arrangements after divorce will be workable. 
• But let us not pretend that they are necessary to the childŐs well being.

Created by Jack C. Straton
C/o University Studies Portland State University Portland,

Jack Straton earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in photography from the University of Oregon in 1977, worked as a professional jazz drummer for three years, and then returned to the U of O in the 1980s to earn a doctorate in quantum theory. Both as a volunteer and professional diversity trainer over the past 18 years, he has presented several hundred workshops on ending sexual assault and racism. Jack founded Men Against Rape groups in Eugene, Oregon, Washington, D.C., and Manhattan, Kansas. He has published extensively in professional journals from his research in Quantum Scattering Theory, Gender Equity, and Diversity Training Methods. He has served as co-chair of the National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS) and, as coordinator of the NOMAS Task Group on Child Custody Issues, is recognized as one of the leading writers and speakers in the country with expertise on ethical and public policy issues related to the overlap between child custody, child abuse, and woman abuse.

http://web.pdx.edu/~straton/ 

 

 

 

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