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.

Today’s post is a new blog page: “Lessons from Antioch” (California)

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The pages are full of the Dugards and the Garridos; people what answers, and collectively, it appears there’s a need to process the trauma, and put names to the “Who, What When, How and Why?” this happened.

Click on this link:

(As these posts get a little more personal, understand it’s not just for the blogger’s sake but for the bloggers’ hope that another perspective on these things might get heard.)

It triggers trauma, or perhaps it’s thoughtfulness, or perhaps it’s a desire to mention what other mothers have gone through that is different, but of some similar qualities: sudden loss of access to and contact with their sons or daughters, and lack of closure, or time to recover or heal from prior abuse(s).  One can get so acclimatized to abuse, or to repeated violations of personal integrity, that this sort of “alternate reality” becomes  “normal.”  What’ I’m concerned about in this matter is future generations, and what “normal” has become for American women, both growing up and grown-up mothers.

My own father (deceased)  I deduce was told, like many, to “man up,” shut up and step up to the plate when his (wife-beating) father abandoned the household.  Retaliation for even CRYING about the violence, let alone reporting it, was simply part of his youth.  After being locked in a closet for crying initially (so the family lore goes) he went on, and worked hard, educated himself hard, provided well, such that his own children (ALL of them) also got college educated.  I’d say did all right (that’s one adult child’s perspective only; there ARE others), but as the youngest of these, and alone in the house as his marriage disintegrated, I certainly noticed and questioned that, despite the success, he also drank hard too (bottling something else up?), married several times, and, unfortunately, never discussed or addressed any of his own family shortcomings, nor did any of our own adult family actually handle these well, other than by transmitting what I could call UNhealthy family values:  Zero dialogue on THE most important issues of life, a lifelong habit.  Scapegoating.  Tolerance of domestic violence towards, now, more than one member, and clan-like excommunication for anyone who dares to report any of the worst family secrets (and I shudder to think of the ones that haven’t yet come to surface).

My father died suddenly and under circumstances that were not explained to me.  I learned more about him after his death from the Internet than from anyone I was related to.   He has been described alternately as a genius, and modest (a side of him we didn’t know!), and creative.  His mother was devout, and he rejected the concept and existence of God, another family value I myself later rejected, and paid dearly for over the years.  I like to think that, had he realized one of his daughters would go on to marry and be exposed to what his own mother was, I like to think he’d be turning over in his grave, but fact is, I don’t know.  I do know there was a certain sexism, not uncommon for the day and time.  And I do thank him for not following the utterly insane policy that the HHS is nowadays, deciding and enforcing that children need contact with wife-beating fathers, for the good of, I guess, the country (???) and their little lives.

I consider refusal to address violence endorsing it.  They consider it “dwelling on the past,” even when the ostensible past was as recent as last week or last month.  They got that one down, and in order that my children should not know the truth about this family, have endorsed further criminal behavior towards them, and me, and this state, again in the name of “Family.”

It appears that the family law venue is also in the business of telling people to shut up about both their own family secrets (retaliation on custodial parents for reporting abuse in the form of switching the kid to the accused parent!) as well as ITS own secrets, which (as family secrets tend to) includes the financial business deal driving the steamship that’s steamrolling over (well, I could go on and on with that analogy, it’s an apt one) – — that’s steamrolling over the years that SOME families might have otherwise had in peace to recover from the initial trauma, and rebuild a few lives.  Big Brother had a supposedly Better Idea for the country, you know, and so we are to sacrifice the duration of our children’s — well, til they are legally adults — and stay in the system until all the proper tolls have been paid, and “Therapeutic Jurisprudence” has run its course, replacing the former language of right, wrong, crime & punishment, and deterrents for doing it again.  

Which deterrents Phillip Garrido had, but in the words of one of his several kidnapped for the purpose of raping women, (the 1976 woman that got him the 50 year jail sentence, that he served a few years of), it just made him a smarter and wiser criminal.

 

However it’s not the men’s doing this so much as the institutions they create doing this, which frightens me the most, for at least my own children’s futures.  Put against this, is their spirit and, I hope, smarts.  

And the VOLUNTARY donation of the national resources and sort of “conscience” to the federal government.  Kind of like the cycle of rain, rivers flow to the ocean, evaporation, clouds, rain, etc.  The concept is that justice and a better society will somehow rain down on us.

I’m not holding my breath.  

 

However, sometimes this happens when the parents may even know where they are; this happens in the “family court venue.”  

Recent articles talk about how the girls are recovering from trauma, and that’s partly where I started in this new page.  I note a difference of perspective from the experts quoted and what i know about the trauma thing from experience.

I end up talking about the importance of the declaration of independence, and personal defense of boundaries.  And how it MIGHT help if the public were a little less self-delusional, compartmentalized, and dissociative when it comes to US vs THEM and the role of government in kissing all our “ow-ies,” settling our squabbles, raising our young, monitoring our marriages, determining our public visions, and protecting our boundaries.

NO, let’s get back to the foundational principles.  And add women and girls in the mix as citizens, not as items to be devoured or dominated.

If overall, we ALL had less tolerance for unreasonable dominance, I think a lot of partnerships and society would be healthier.  You can force compliance, but you can’t force love, and when force gets into the family business, then we are REALLY in trouble.  And we are.  

I don’t think the culprit is god or godlessness. I don’t think the culprit is men OR women.  I think the loss is of a sense of selves as individuals (socially) and a loss of language — transformational ideology throughout the internet, and our institutions.  

As imperfect, or OK< sexist racist classist (etc.) as those colonists were in the latter 1700s, the three “charters of freedom” still shed light and common sense:

  • Declaration of Independence
  • Constitution
  • Bill of Rights.

 

If we don’t like the middle one, we should change the oath Presidents take on assuming office.  Barring that, we should hold them and every one else in any form of government to the same standard of these 3.  “Consent of the governed” still counts.

So I recommend we start thinking in those terms again, starting with putting some of the terms back into our heads and coming out of our mouths.  Expect a fight, in that matter, though!

That’s all for now.  If you want  straighter talk and fewer words, get it from the street:

http://www.thestreetspirit.org/

On God (Dec. 2006)

3. If God is, whence come evil things? If He is not, whence come good?
BOETHIUS (Roman philosopher 480?-524 A.D.) The Consolation of Philosophy, translated by W.V. Cooper, 1981

4. I still believe that standing up for the truth of God is the greatest thing in the world. This is the end of life. The end of life is not to be happy. The end of life is not to achieve pleasure and avoid pain. The end of life is to do the will of God, come what may.  
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., (U.S. clergyman and human rights activist, 1929-1968), “The Most Durable Power,” sermon, Montgomery, Alabama, 6 November 1956

(LIFE LIBERTy and PURSUIT of HAPP(y)NESS, and in that order.  Physical, mental, or spiritual Welfare =/= happiness, but the first can sustain life.    Moral proclamations by government about how to live, how free to be, and what happiness consists of is not the government’s province, it’s ours).

 

On poverty, who are you going to believe? A Harvard Ph.D. or a poor person?

Poor Magazine

 

This stereotype is that poor people can lift themselves out of poverty because, it assumes, they are responsible for their own poverty.   Linda Burnham explained in her opening, the myth in America is that “everyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps.” This myth allows the public to discard “a whole layer of society” who can’t pull themselves up.

Linda spoke of the American economy as both an engine of incredible wealth and an engine of poverty. This engine “creates and recreates poverty everyday in the US and all over the world.” During the war, discussions of poverty have been swept off the table. It is important to connect the war against the poor to the war abroad. Burnham mentioned that Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest weapons manufacturer, has just been awarded a contract to run the welfare system in Florida. The company, who makes huge profits off of war, will now be making huge profits off of managing Florida’s poor.** In order for a country to subjugate and dominate another population, it has to first dominate its population at home. All you have to do is look at the streets of your city to see that this is being done on an everyday basis.

**This is why I don’t think much about the conversations on solving domestic violence.  IF it were solved, there’d be less cash flow all round, less poverty, and poverty IS an industry!

 

Or Ask the Beat Within

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Violence And Material Madness
by Speedy, posted May 18, 2009I think violence comes from people who has a bad life style. They don’t get the good things in life and so they get angry, so they look to robbing and stealing. That’s what gets them in here. So then, when they get in here, their whole life is starting to mess up. And when that happens, they’re in the system. Then they get even more madder because they’re missing out on a lot, so they get to more stealing.

Some people grow up with anger, and some are taught to be mad and act bad. Like some parents say, when somebody hits you, you supposed to hit them back. But sometimes that’s not the right thing to do, so than they get in trouble for what they parents taught them. But when they get home, he or her mom says, “That a’right.” So than they keep getting’ in trouble.

But some violent stuff mostly come from material madness, so they try to steal and stealing ain’t the right thing. You should just get a job, have some money in yo’ pocket and that’s go be you. And if that material thing is really expensive, so that’s when you save up and get that thing for yourself, so than that’s when you see you don’t have to look to stealing. When you don’t have to steal and you see that you don’t have to do that no more.

OR:  (This issue had several letters to President Obama….)

A Letter To The President-
by TAE, posted May 18, 2009Dear Mr. Obama,

I think you should make certain things that keep young black men busy for the weekends, so we could stop killing ourselves. I also think that you should start building new colleges for people who cannot afford that type of money, so they could be something in life to take care of their family, and get the majority of the tax money every year.

I think there should be less education about African-American people and more about other cultures so people wouldn’t have to feel down all the time by hearing the word “Nigger” a lot.

People who’s getting abused in their family should be taken care of in a shelter that provides a little bit of discipline, so they could grow up and succeed in life, and keep innocent people out of the pen.

OR:

Dear President
by Richard, posted May 19, 2009How are you Mr. President? I am writing from Santa Clara juvenile hall. My name is Richard. I am facing a life sentence for kidnapping, attempted murder, carjacking, and 2nd degree robbery. I am 17 years old.

I would like to congratulate you for becoming the 44th President of the United States of America. You inspire me to do many things. It gives me hope to become something I thought I couldn’t be in life no matter what it is. I believe in you, that you are going to make things right in this world. I know when I go to prison I can try my hardest to get my education and other things. I didn’t think I could at first, but with you as President, I have faith.

I know I am in here and might not get out soon, but I know you will be there for those on the outside of these walls. I know you will make a change. I hope the best for you, Mr. President. Thank you for reading this, and I apologize for taking your time.

 

Our Mission

The Beat Within’s mission is to provide incarcerated youth with consistent opportunity to share their ideas and life experiences in a safe space that encourages literacy, self-expression, some critical thinking skills, and healthy, supportive relationships with adults and their community. Outside of the juvenile justice system, The Beat Within partners with community organizations and individuals to bring resources to youth both inside and outside of detention. We are committed to being an effective bridge between youth who are locked up and the community that aims to support their progress towards a healthy, non-violent, and productive life.

 

Regarding recovery from violence (WHICH the Antioch/Dugard articles from today dealt with),

from http://www.Lundy Bancroft.com:

  • Addressing the healing needs of children: There is a wide consensus that children’s recovery from exposure to domestic violence (and from divorce) depends largely on the quality of their relationship with the non-battering parent and with their siblings.20 

Of course this statement runs entirely contrary to the bulk of the “fatherhood” premises and the entire family court venue basically doesn’t validate or practice.

  • Therefore, in addition to safety consideration, court determinations should take into account whether the batterer is likely, based on his past and current behavior, to continue to undermine the mother’s authority, interfere with mother-child relationships, or cause tensions between siblings.

This becomes kind of irrelevant when the court itself does the same things.  My experience is that the past was considered to be a totally blank slate, and therefore any fallout was attributed to whoever it “fell” on.  Extended family influence (which I tried to bring up, and was significant) was ignored.  It was an unbelievably stereotyped reaction.  Possibly the reason I’m writing so much is from the impact of the years of being told POST-separation not to talk about this, or any other subsequent criminal behavior(s).  Oh well . . . 

  • Because children need a sense of safety in order to heal,21 juvenile and family court decisions may not want to include leaving the children in the unsupervised care of a man whose violent tendencies they have witnessed, even if they feel a strong bond of affection for him.

 

So when it typically does, often right after the filing of a civil restraining order, or when divorce is started almost immediately after someone files a protective order, resulting in the “joint custody” “Shared parenting” mindset, then we have a serious values conflict, as I did, in the past, now almost ten years.  A move was made (locally) to extend the initial restraining order time to 5 years from 3. I know I would’ve made it had this happened.  Certain agencies, and entities, made sure this was defeated.  Now that I have time (called unemployment!), I did find out who they were in that case.  

 

If you want straight talk on some poverty, justice, and crime policy issues, again, (although I try, there’s the verbiage issue!), try:  Street Spirit, Poor Magazine, the Beat Within (although that’s getting slicker and slicker since I first saw it),

 

Thanks.  Happy Labor Day (USA).  Unemployment rate _ _ _ _ _???

Labor (or rest) well, we have one more day off in America.  I gave up the concept of seeing a daughter at this time in favor of not fighting that fight until I have some income.  The lack of closure is a constant source of stress.  Closing has to be done right to be safe.  Go figure.  This is one reason I think if women leaving abuse could get a bit of space and time, they could run some great businesses.  It appears that Jaycee/Alyssa both helped her captorS S S S Ss s s s s run a business (not including any horrors she endured IF the brothel rumor was true) and educated her also-imprisoned daughters, the product of her rapes, but nonetheless her DAUGHTERS,  the best she could.  I wish her well and the family that’s now reunited with her.

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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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