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Saturday, August 8, 2015


(This blog draws parallels between society's delayed response to Bill Cosby's crimes and society's current indifference towards the ongoing abuse of protective mothers in family court as a result of massive fatherhood funding.)

It is quite striking.  The July 27-August 9, 2015 New York Magazine cover with candid, black and white pictures of 35 women who came forward to report that Bill Cosby raped them.  There are also many more women Bill Cosby raped who chose not to come forward.  The headline to the article by Noreen Malone states, "One by one, they came forward with stories of being drugged and raped or assaulted by Bill Cosby, finding safety in their staggering number and a culture that was finally ready to believe."  

Why the staggering numbers?  

Because for years we have lived in a rape culture that has had a primary response of "Boys will be boys" to the act of rape.  We have individual after individual who knew about the situation with Bill Cosby and chose to stand by and do nothing about it.  As Jennifer Lee Pryor the wife of the late Richard Pryor stated, "It was a well kept secret that Bill Cosby fucked anything that moved."  

Journalist Noreen Malone tries to spin the Bill Cosby story by stating that our culture has changed and that the stories these women have can now be heard, when they couldn't be previously, because we no longer tolerate rape.  I would question this conclusion.  In my view, after decades of neglect and intentional indifference, this story has now garnered attention because the sheer numbers of women Cosby abused has become so great it can now longer be ignored.  

People like me, who recognize this truth, are completely disgusted with this widespread tolerance of the abuse of women in all ranges of life, particularly family court.  For instance, when the New York Magazine article came out, a friend of mine asked, "Where is OUR cover?"  Where is the cover of the many thousands and thousands of women, formerly the primary caretakers of their children, who have been denied custody and or even access to their children as a result of the father friendly policies nationwide of our country's family court system?  These policies have been bolstered through fatherhood initiative funding that has spent billions of dollars to promote the interests of fathers over that of women.  

I have not spoken about this issue very much on this blog because it is such an overwhelming topic.  I have ordinarily left the subject to highly qualified journalists such as Anne Stevenson or Doreen Ludwig.  However, the recent death of Baby Aaden has galvanized me to the point where I feel I need to speak out about the issue.  Because make no mistake about it.  The death of Baby Aaden was the direct result of the father friendly policies that have permeated the State of Connecticut since these massive fatherhood funds began to pour into the state in the 1990s.  

Let me pause here and ask the question which is probably foremost on your mind at this point.  Am I against fathers somehow?  Am I seeking to turn the clock back to the 1950s when fathers didn't have any rights at all to their kids, even very good fathers?  No.  What I am critical of are policies and strategies that have clearly been put into place to promote the interests of fathers over that of mothers and restore a 19th century status quo where women are firmly under the control of the men in their lives and have no right to a say in regard to their children.  For an example of that, we don't have to look further than Charles Dickens who, when he left his wife for a younger woman, took 9 of their children along with him and refused to allow their mother to see them.  This is what I am objecting to.  

We have federal and state policies that prohibit gender bias and discrimination against individuals in the work place, in education, in government services, and many other areas based upon gender.  Yet, other than gender bias, what can you call a federal and state government policy which for the last two decades has invested millions and millions of dollars annually into promoting the interests of fathers over that of mothers.  

Just take a look at the John S. Martinez Fatherhood Initiative of Connecticut.  Is there an equivalent Motherhood Initiative anywhere in Connecticut receiving the same level of funding?  

Absolutely not. 

The concept that we as a democracy could actively engage in massively benefiting one gender over another, and that this financial windfall could be distributed in the interests of men for the last two decades, and that few mainstream intellectuals, scholars, journalists, activists, or social commentators has picked up on this and criticized this situation is truly remarkable.  

Of course, we see the outcome of these policies daily in terms of mothers falsely accused of PAS and losing all access to their children, mothers falsely represented as incapable mothers and placed on supervised visitation, and others tragically mired in lengthy and highly expensive custody battles.  They talk about how 80% of self represented parties in Family Court are self represented.  The number we don't get are how many of those unrepresented parties are women.  

This is the cover we need.  The cover with pictures of the women who have been the victims of these fatherhood initiative policies which have led them to lose their children, or have so little access to their children, they might as well not see them at all.  

How are these father promoting policies put into place?  

Here in the State of Connecticut they have been put into place by the establishment of a consortium of Connecticut state agencies entitled the "Fatherhood Advisory Council".  The primary purpose of the Fatherhood Advisory Council is to promote the interests of men over that of women.  

Those who have signed onto this mandate pretty much include every significant agency in the State of Connecticut including The Connecticut Judicial Branch.  

This explains why Adrianne Oyola was unable to obtain a restraining order to protect herself and Aaden.  Because the personnel in the Family Relations Department and the Judges themselves were on alert to give the father in that case all sorts of breaks as well as a very broad benefit of the doubt because of his status as a male.  This is the Department's overriding policy which lip service to decidedly unfunded domestic violence mandates cannot overcome.  After all, when Adrianne came into the Hartford Courthouse to fill out her protective order, there were no civil advocates to assist her in doing so. Why?  Because while the CT Judicial Branch accepts millions of dollars to support fathers like Tony Moreno, to heck with domestic violence victims like Adrianne.  

Let me just share with you the lengthy list of agencies who have signed on to help fathers out:

Department of Social Services
DSS Bureau of Child Support Enforcement
DSS Children's Trust Fund
Department of Children & Families
State Department of Education
Department of Correction 
Department of labor
Department of Public Health 
Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services

And the list continues.  

I don't want to bore everyone with the full list, but if you interested to know more, just check out the website for the John S. Martinez Fatherhood Initiative of Connecticut.

What is even more interesting is that there are women's agencies that are also listed as joining in the agreement to support the interests of fathers, and which, as a result, receive funding from the fatherhood initiative in order to promote the interests of fathers. If they are getting money from men's funding, how can they possibly maintain unalloyed their mandate to support women.

Women's groups getting  fatherhood funding include the CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence which, I understand, receives 60% of its budget from fatherhood funding.  It also includes the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women as well as the CT Women's Education & Legal Fund.  If these agencies are required to promote the interests of fathers over that of women because they receive funding from fatherhood initiative funding, how are they supposed to do the work of assisting women?  

In the end, these organizations end up having to weaken their programs that serve women, and from the reports that I have received, this is exactly what has happened.  When women attempt to approach these agencies that are ostensibly there to support them, all they are likely to receive is a pat on the the head and a sympathetic but condescending ear.  Clearly, if you look at the situation with Adrianne Oyola and her child, women need a lot more than that.  They need legal advocacy and they need protection from abuse.  

While women are getting beaten and their children tossed off bridges to their death, you will find the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence celebrating their "first 100 plus" men "who are boldly stepping forward to advance policy and practice around serving victims of domestic violence."  Ok, so that was the agenda for 100 Plus leading up to 2014, but this year in 2015, probably in response to the public scrutiny the agency will very likely receive after the death of Baby Aaden, it now includes women as well.  Still, its primary fundraising involves selling purple ties to men so that men can express their support of victims of domestic violence.  

Of course, no one wants to go on the record for supporting domestic violence, but a $5 million budget for the CCADV versus hundreds of millions of dollars for fatherhood initiatives tells a story in and of itself.  

I don't have too much more to say here, but I would urge all of you to go to the CT John S. Martinez Fatherhood Initiative 2015 Family Services Directory which lists all the organizations in place to support the interests of fathers.  It was too thick for me to staple at 45 pages worth.   

In 2007. Legal Momentum, then the legal branch of the National Organization of Women (NOW) sent complaints to the Department of Health and Human Services about this situation.  Their complaint was denied, and while I have not personally seen the response, I have heard that what they were told is that women who attempt to access fatherhood funded services will not be turned down.  

However, this is the thing, how many women considering obtaining help from the John S. Martinez Fatherhood Initiative of Connecticut are going to know it is intended to support motherhood as well--if it is, of course.  When a water fountain has a sign above it saying "whites only", most people are likely to think it is intended for whites.  

Further, even if women approach fatherhood funded agencies for assistance, are they going to be well served by agencies that have officially signed a document that obligates them to do a considerably better job for the men it services rather than the women?  I think the considerable number of women who have lost their children based on false charges of PAS, or based upon the presumption that any woman who says she has been abused is lying, or based upon the presumption that its OK for a man to lie repeatedly to the Court without consequences, would have a problem with it.  

Right now, in the same way that the women on the cover of New York Magazine lived in a time that found sexual abuse and rape of women acceptable, we live in a time where men stalking women through the Court system is considered acceptable, where men using children to terrorize and destroy the lives of mothers in the family court system is acceptable.  We look forward to the day when this holocaust of mothers losing their children passes by, when our culture is restored to sanity, and family court acknowledges the devastation it has wrought on the lives of mothers and children by giving custody to abusers.  That's when we will get the cover shoot my friend was speaking of.  And when we do there will be many thousands of women who participate, not just  35.





1 comment:

  1. So the plan the Task Force To Study The Statewide Response To Domestic Violence wants to implement is to screen women/children for DV recognizing bad outcomes for those exposed to it. Unless they are actually going to do something about DV and stop turning children over to the abuser in Family Court, the whole plan will fail. Women will just be back where they started from...No one will be talking. It's all going to be a waste of time! If you watch the video from the meeting yesterday, one of the members actually suggested appointing a GAL for the children once DV is identified! I'm sure Bozzuto would have loved that one but she was absent. I'd like to know where this woman's had her head buried in the sand for the last couple of years! Another way to appoint a GAL would be the best way to silence everyone!