Let's Get Honest! Blog: Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?…' (posted 3/23 & 3/5/2014). Over 680 posts, Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

USA: “Fathers, Return!” UK: “Mothers, Give us your Children!”

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Some posts virtually write themselves from the news articles.  These two from the TIMES UK reflect the current dismissive attitude towards women in particular, and non-court-experts in general.

 

Another insane event in the serial, unfortunately NON-fiction, documentary of

Designer-Families by Family Court Fiat:

 

What are we human beings, giving birth, being biologically related to each other, an affront to the state on that basis?  Are we clay to be manipulated emotionally, psychologically, and geographically  — particularly if we don’t fit a certain IQ limit, household construction, or actually, as MOMs, want to see & hug our own children, and not get governmental permission to do so after producing them through  conception, 9 months or so gestation, labor (which IS work!), and delivery?

There was an  older book in the US for women called “Our Bodies, Our Selves”

It must be obsolete, I guess.  Now, ladies, you are channels for the adoption industry, your religion (or his), you are surrogate mothers, and fatherhood enablers.  Unless you maintain rigorous adherence to stipulations that are, well, not exactly published openly, by your local government, apparently whatever your country of origin.  Or, remain off the radar by staying married (no matter what the cost), and not complaining if your offspring is strip-searched at the local school (Samantha Redding), and not getting cancer and hoping for an alternative treatment (many parents), by not openly declining a public education system known to be inferior (me), and not reporting domestic violence, child abuse, or attempting to collect child support when Dad don’t want to pay.  In short, if we lay down FLAT after giving birth to children, perhaps no one will notice, and our maternal bond may survive — however, this may not be the best role model for sons or daughters.

These articles would be entertaining if they were, in fact, fictional. Allegedly, they are not.

 

“Mother too “stupid” to keep child” and “Court takes child of “stupid” mother, were mis-filed under women & families in the Times, and should be, I believe either under politics or under:

Totalitarianism:  A User’s Manual”

 

How to Promote Responsible Fatherhood?

The man in Tennessee (last night’s post) has 21 children to choose from, none of which he plans to support, and he will be hard put to comply with “national fathers’ return” policy without violating other laws against polygamy.  As a low-income father, he would be for whom the child-support arrears abatement programs (as run through the family law system via the US Dept. of Health & Human Services), he would be a prime candidate.

 

How to Eliminate Loving Motherhood:

This 24-year-old woman in England was stamped, judged, labeled, and ordered to give up a 3- year old daughter she loves because she’s not “smart” enough, despite having been found smart enough to understand the court process!

(note:  When I first heard the article, I thought I might have found a legal standing for getting my kids back, until I remembered which genders were involved….)

Apparently the adoption market is slow?, and so this woman was simply declared unable, and thus, forbidden to represent herself (with her choice of solicitor) in court in this matter,  given a government solicitor who then ignored her instructions to protest the forced adoption.  

Later, a psychiatrist declared her competent enough, but the (family) court still replied “we are not impressed.”

She couldn’t be too stupid, because this case is going up a notch to the international level.

Nor were her parents (too old) or her 27 year old brother allowed to assist her with her own daughter, on which he comments:

 

Rachel’s brother Andrew and their parents all offered their services but were rejected for reasons varying from being too old to having played truant from school.

Andrew, an articulate 27-year-old, said: “The guardian that the court appointed for K even said that I have learning difficulties, although she had never met me. These people are ridiculous. What’s worse, the judges overlook it and still think they are credible professionals.”

 

I am concerned about copyright compliance and hope readers will themselves check out these two articles.

 

The Sunday Times
May 31, 2009

Mother ‘too stupid’ to keep child

 Daniel Foggo

A MOTHER is taking her fight to the European Court of Human Rights after she was forbidden from seeing her three-year-old daughter because she is not “clever enough” to look after her.

The woman, who for legal reasons can be identified only by her first name, Rachel, has been told by a family court that her daughter will be placed with adoptive parents within the next three months, and she will then be barred from further contact.

The adoption is going ahead despite the declaration by a psychiatrist that Rachel, 24, has no learning difficulties and “good literacy and numeracy and [that] her general intellectual abilities appear to be within the normal range”.

> > > > >. . . . .

After the psychiatrist’s assessment of Rachel, the court has now acknowledged that she does have the mental capacity to keep up with the legal aspects of her situation. It has nevertheless refused her attempts to halt the adoption process.

John Hemming, Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham Yardley, who is campaigning on Rachel’s behalf, said: “The way Rachel has been treated is appalling. She has been swept aside by a system that seems more interested in securing a child for adoption than preserving a natural family unit.”

 

 

And in the related article:

Court takes child of “stupid” mother

Rachel protested and secured a solicitor to give her a voice in the family court. But by the time of the crucial placement hearing her pleas had been silenced. This was because her “stupidity” had been used as a means to deny her something else: the right to instruct a lawyer.

Instead, the official solicitor was brought in to speak for Rachel. Alastair Pitblado, the government-funded official, is appointed by the courts to represent the interests of those who cannot make their own case, such as mentally incapacitated people.

. . . .

Rachel’s protests over her treatment were dismissed. The official solicitor had acted “entirely properly” in capitulating to the council since Rachel’s case was “unarguable”, the Court of Appeal ruled.

The decisions of the family court and the appeal court relied upon reports drawn up by a psychologist 

However, according to a new report by a leading psychiatrist, Rachel is far from deficient. He said she had “demonstrated that she has more than an adequate knowledge of court proceedings”.

“She has good literacy and numeracy and her general intellectual abilities appear to be within normal range,” he wrote in a report.

“She has no previous history of learning disability or mental illness and did not receive special or remedial education.

“Rachel fully understands the nature of the current court proceedings, can retain them, weigh the information and can communicate both verbally and in writing.”

 

Actions Concerned Women (potential mothers) might take:

 

I have been considering this for a while, as a woman who did education and professional work first, and had something to offer our children as well as husband, I had children around 40 years old.  The abuse began almost immediately, and lasted about 10 years, til I finally figured out where was the legal advocate to help it stop.  Apart from two daughters, intentional, not accidental, those years were a nightmare, a danger, and an eye-opener.  They also just about trashed my ability to work in this profession, and DID close down my credit.  I kept, energetically, reforming and resourcefully creating myself in work to survive — while negotiating down and working off arts and other classes for growing daughters, keeping at least THEM in music, languages, art, etc., and from this point, meeting a variety of interesting professionals and other intact families, including some professional women, some stay-at-home Moms, and others.  I was allowed to do this “for the children,” but attempts to engage myself were strongly resisted, and sometimes punished for, or threatened out of.  

Two years off Food Stamps post-marriage, the case was re-directed into Family Court.  Not knowing, I didn’t protest and seek how to get it back into the point at hand:  Renewing a standing restraining order.

After Five Years of that, and escalations, I have become unemployed, lost both kids, dis-illusioned, alienated, still without credit (and now, car) and back on Food Stamps — I again, hope, temporarily.  My attempt to separate from abuse (without separating the children from my abuser, who was their father) in effect separated me 100% from my family of origin, profession, faith communities (for the most part) and very much alienated from the institutions I formerly took for granted.  

I encouraged the non-alienated mainstream to also no longer take these for granted in ANY aspect.

I became more and more radical feminist in views, understanding more fully now how this was simply a response to insulting degradation of women throughout the world. ln the USA, women went to work to replace men who went to war. Then they came back and we were to go back also and become the idealized “nuclear” family, warm, fuzzy, nostalgic, and prosperous (see Norman Rockwell).  The GI Bill and other government initiativesi (plus some of our parents’ hard work) made possible college educations.


We got our college educations and did the logical thing with them — went to work.  Some of us also sought meaning in other communities, including religion (propserity is not a ‘religion’) and/or service within our fields of study.  Others I know did Peace Corps.  I conversed regularly and on many topics and in many venues, with men and women from other continents, and who had been raised in them.  Zaire, Ethiopia, Belize, Nigeria, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, Spain, Mexico, Kenya.  USA:  East Coast, Midwest, Southerners, West Coast.  Educational levels:  GED through Ph.D.  Faiths:  Christian (several brands), Catholic, Atheist/Agnostic, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Unitarian, undeclared.  For the most part, these were not problematic.  We worked or studied and hung out, period.  

Then I married someone who looked like me and whose family appeared to have a similar background.  I loved him and married in good faith and with honest intents, expecting that our marriage would be a mutual work in progress, not that I would become this person’s “project” as soon as vows were exchanged.  I did not do a criminal background check, and probably might have explored medical family history as well.  No one was mentoring or watching in these matters.  I married someone who came from similar religious background, and seemed articulate.  My family of origin were not Christians or significant points of reference, and never really had been, the majority of my life.  We all just went and did what we did, period, in different parts of the country and for different reasons.  Asking advice and sharing insight was never really on the family menu, and communication was scant in general.

And shortly after marriage, all hell broke loose.  The main theme of the marriage became “domination,” “reformation” and “assume the position!, (doormat)” particularly after I was pregnant with second daughter.  This theme was carried out in front of many of the similar types of associates, as I was able to reach them by either employment, or daughters’ school contacts, or within reason family.  

We spiraled through a series of pastors and churches,  most if not all of who knew that physical abuse was happening in the home, and did not know or refer me to law, and did not intervene, though plenty of strong young men were associated and, had that been in their vocabulary, certainly could’ve.   It was also commonly known that my husband was attempting to keep me without transportation or access to a bank account, that I had to beg for necessities and struggle at times for clothes.  No one felt it appropriate to transgress the castle in the home as to, how we were doing things within it.  

It was known that we were often uninsured by choice, after which an accident happened at his work, requiring surgery.  I dashed from my home job (a rare music lesson) at his phone call, to help, literally, pick up the pieces, followed him to the hospital (DNR exact location) to have a slice of his bone put into another place for health. For a month, I helped this injured man use the restroom and dress [[wrists being hurt]] after this accident, and thereafter, when the people that had operated on him called, wanting their cash, I negotiated with them a reduction in the bills, which was accepted, and but not respected by the same father who had at this time control of our cash flow.  . . . .  As I had small children, and other responsibilities at home, it was becoming irritating interrupting my business to handle his, but without follow-through, and in the context when I’d already urged that actual health/accident insurance be gotten for him, AND us, an idea rejected like many others. An expensive “cost-savings” it turned out to be, too.

I helped him through tax season and we all helped with tools, sometimes the extensive laundry, and occasionally on the job (construction). 

I also worked, trying not to provoke anger by being too highly recognized at any particular type of work, and for several years sought permission (!) to enroll in a University extension to learn a different skill, as mine was “tabu.”  Finally, I asked a relative to provide the first tuition, took the emotional retaliation for this, and proceded to complete three courses in this field, with a good grade average, and get job referrals from the professor.  Attempts were made to sabotage my participation (through withholding transportation, or delaying child care even in the home).  The same techniques that worked earlier getting me out of my chosen profession worked also in jeopardizing other types of work.  Mail was intercepted and some of it tossed; I got a private PO box:  not acceptable.  I started a business from home on a dime:  not acceptable.  Finally I was ordered to work FT nights, and write in my salary on his applicatino for credit (not to be shared).  By this time, I was in compliance mode, and thereafter attempted to separately contact the credit company as to the “coercion” factor in my signaure they’d just seen.  It was too late, and one of the major mistakes of this marriage.

Things continued to escalate, including weapons, physical injury and in general, I was getting more and more frightened, and the house more and more dysfunctional (utilities-wise).  The safest place for my children and me to be appeared to be NOT at home, which is a crazy half-lifestyle.  I couldn’t fully “exhale” at home, for the most part, except while engaged in acivities with the girls.  Routines were not respected, or schedules, and the constant interruptions kept one off-balance.

Due to attempts to keep me carless we spent lots of time on public transportation, which is great for teaching children to read (so many signs with large letters, all CAPS:  Stop, Door, Exit, Open, and so forth), but lousy for efficiency, and very frustrating.  Little distances, such as even as few as 3-4 miles, sometimes took hours to go, with stroller and bags and two toddlers.   

After such difficulty for those years, it was important and unbelievably empowering to have operational control over my own life.  Results began to be tied again to effort, and not consistently sabotaged to create failures.  Even moderate successes provided their own incentive and energies.  Some momentum was built up during these years while the restraining order was on.

To be institutionally forced and emotionally blackmailed into a state of taking arbitrary orders again grates on the soul.  The concept of moving forward in life and expecting to take 5 steps in a row has basically left my thinking — at some point, the psyche won’t stick its neck out again.  I am currently working on this, and on ways to remove my exposure to sudden sabotage again, because by now the stakes (and debt) seem higher, there is less reservoir of good will in the general community (based on work performed for them) and there is this energy/age factor.  

It’s been a good exercise, but my brain is tired indeed, and what I had been working for — children, and profession – are out of the picture for now, and I can’t see yet that progress or results even happened.  This is how it goes trying to leave a controlling personality who is able to locate other controlling personalities to work with him, and find institutions to support the same premise.   Many things get sloughed off in the process, and lots of “idols” bite the dust (which is good, obviously).  Hope gets detached from the immediate and hinged onto the more philosophical.   If that explanation is helpful. 

 

Trying to put some themes to all of this, and in the larger historical (last few decades in my country) context, the clearest one I can see is male backlash to feminism, as expressed through a variety of male-designed institutions.  Women are quite as much involved in hating and oppressing themselves, or others, and this is hard to take and see.


We get this situation where a woman is too “stupid,” supposedly, to raise her own child that she loves, and where family members who also love her and would like to support the situation (handling the “safety” concern) were automatically discredited.  However, in cases (USA, Sheila Riggs) where a separating mother seeks to protect her four children from TWO generations of abusers who ARE relatives, she is jailed, and an inter-state battle develops (California/Texas) on the issue.  Another woman has to flee the U.S. to protect her children.  Yet in the UK, a woman with supportive family is still going to have her daughter forced out for adoption, unless she can win in court.

It appears, on networking and reading, that my situation is common after abuse in marriage:

IN the marriage, we were suddenly hated for being too independent, too educated, and too “uppity.”  Our bodies, including sensitive parts of them, including neck, nipples, womb, face, teeth, buttocks, are targeted for assault as well as many times personal property (symbolic destruction of valued things), relationships with outsiders, and engagement with the world outside the home.  If we try to lie down flat enough, we are hated for being too passive.  If we stand up tall, we are hated for standing up tall.  Finding no safe way to “be,” let alone be ourSELVES, fully human, we then get help and evict the batterer to protect our bodies and (many women, this becomes  the thing that saved THEM, because after a point, they don’t care about themselves so much), we wanted to protect our CHILDREN.


So we go to court, becoming single, and separate, getting a restraining order.

For a while, this functions, sort of, and lives are stabilized and rebuilt.  Perhaps we seek child support, perhaps we seek a 2nd relationship, perhaps we simply seek to grow more independent — and we are then in family court fighting AGAIN for independence.  We again seek help and sanctuary elsewhere.


In many faith communities, we are again hated or treated suspiciously for being SINGLE, having divorced our man.  Sometimes the families that didn’t protect (or teach boundaries to start with) dismiss us again for being single (this was my case), which is translated in the communal mind as “reverting to infantile,” when the fact of th ematter is, we had a fast course in growing up, and wise to the evils and dangers in this world, AND doing something mature — fight back, seek protection, or flee.  Those are adult-level survival skills, and no sign of being infantile.

Nonprofits direct such women here, there, and so and so.  Not knowing the full scope of the politics, the courts, or our legal rights yet, we sometimes sign away portions of them.  We compromise the Full Stop NO!! unintentionally.  We still thing that the basic institutions represent us and will help, and, mentally, do not suspect THEM of being as dishonest, volatile, and abusive as our ex (or, extended family, Or, extended community) was.  Surely he was the abnormality and the exception.

We go instead of to nonprofits, to law, to law enforcement, and to refusing to bargain away any more rights, and find THAT system hostile to women.


Researching, in stunned distress (and many years later), WHY, we (I speak for myself and others I have dealt with), manage to get infrastructure enough going, process a LOT of dialogue, and find out that it’s coming from our FEderal government, and has been going on for over a decade, Presidents Republican and Democrat alike and fueled in great part by some of our own religions.


We follow the news, noticing what indicators preceded the latest family wipeout, foster care disgrace, or failed situation.  We follow (I have) research institutes dedicated to “violence against women” and absorb adn believe their statistics, only to learn that equally powerful and widespread associations, well-positioned, are spreading doctrines, year after year, and with far more funding than we have, that DIRECTLY oppose what we just read in a reputable source  (I refer to NCJRS justice database in the US, and other sites listed on my blogroll).  The truth is out, but few are interested.


I also strategically examined WHY is it that each time I go to court, I lose something significant, no matter how ridiculous the accusation, and how easily available evidence to the contrary is. I learned a strategic principle:  It seems the courts / judges don’t like women who appear to be informed; and they DO apparently sense a kinship with men who commit crimes.  They do not respect compliance with their own court orders, or see it as a character indicator, although disobedience by a woman can be severely and quickly punished.


I analyze the fact that I have been in analysis mode too much, although that happens to be still safer for me than in action mode, which typically provokes a retaliation.  In this Dizzy DMZ manner of life, time moves on.

I hope that that “stupid” British woman can outsmart the court that labeled her, hire a psychologist to evaluate their behavior(s), and get them to give up more kids trapped in spheres of influence.  A spiderweb comes to mind.

 

Other means I have considered:  A female moratorium of about six months (worldwide if possible) not just on sex, but also on child-bearing.  It’s clear that to enforce the moratorium on sex, we’d have to find a safe place for all the minor children, boys and girls.  We would inform the gentlemen that (for a change) if THEY would be good boys, they will be rewarded, physically and emotionally.

That is, of course, the message women have been given, century after century.

This of course is impossible, but it would seem that if auto workers can strike, or other laborers, well, why not US?  Why should we as a gender be colonized?  That “sucks,” if you pardon the colloquialism.

I’m sure this would be gladly espoused by the healthy marriage folks (like the pun?), and probably resisted with open “arms.”  Yes, this is obviously hypothetical, temporary in nature, and probably not possible.  

But at least it might be a break from Designer Family by Court Decree, which is a recipe for women, as well as now men, becoming emotionally detached from the “Fruit of the Womb”

With the word “Islam” meaning submission, and the other religions placing a premium on this, and with the federal governments, courts, schools, etc., across the world also demanding submission in the name of (whatever the current greater good is), I am not hopeful for any worldwide solution.

It’s not the pay, it’s the ability to retain a relationship with the fruits of our labor, that is at stake here.


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martinplaut

Journalist specialising in the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa

Let's Get Honest! Blog: Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?...' (posted 3/23 & 3/5/2014). Over 680 posts, Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

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