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Family Law Quiz: What year was this book written?

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FIRST, the description of the book.

Answer (link, dates, title, below 1st paragraph):

There is a widespread belief that when marriages break up and child custody is in dispute, mothers nearly always win, father’s very rarely. And given another popular notion – that of the deeply loving New Father who is willing to take on childrearing and housekeeping responsibilities on his own – this state of affairs has come to be perceived as singularly unfair. _________’s  mammoth new work, _______________, demolishes these claims, demonstrating on the contrary that, when fathers choose to sue for child custody, they very often get it. Due to the epidemic of family abandonment by fathers, judges tend to be impressed by fathers who fight for custody; and the frequent brainwashing of children by fathers is simply considered proof of the father’s wish for intimacy with his children.

Mothers on Trial: The Battle for Children and Custody

OK, I give up.. Here’s the author, and year:

Chesler is a woman of vision and courage who chooses no small or easy tasks. Her earlier books, such as Women and Madness, have become classics, their arguments part of the public consciousness. No brief review can do justice to the scope or style of her current book, a rich fabric woven of compelling data from her interviews with warring parents, evocations of myth and poetry, and the transcribed voices of mothers on trial. It is enriched with illuminating sections on custody battles throughout the world, noncustodial parents, brainwashing and the even more devastating siege experienced by mothers who are poor, black, lesbian or imprisoned. It also includes intriguing explorations of fetal politics and children’s rights.

After chronicling the pre-1900 history of custody battles, Chesler then shows just how little has changed: Mothers can still lose custody of their children for not having paid employment – and for having it; for holding minority religious or political opinions; or for accusing their husbands of child abuse, incest or wife beating, accusations often regarded by judges as signs of the mother’s instability. Chesler concludes that women lose custody because they are women, and men win custody because they are men – “not because mothers are ‘unfit’ or because fathers are truly ‘equal’ parents…”

In the typical custody trial, Chesler argues, the father’s rights to his children are emphasized, while the mother’s rights are ignored.

{{COMMENT:  This policy is now enshrined in federal policy and language}}

On the other hand, the mother’s responsibilities are the focus of harsh scrutiny, and maternal imperfection is often confused with maternal unfitness, whereas the father’s parenting style is usually ignored. To underscore the injustice of this double standard, Chesler reports that the husbands of the women she interviewed had done few or none of the 25 child-care tasks that all of the mothers had done for their children; most of the husbands won custody. Fathers win, Chesler, simply because they have more money to keep on fighting; …

{{NOTE:  This is no longer just personal money, but also money from programs designed to increase “noncustodial parent” time with the children.  “Noncustodial parent,” although increasingly (since these policies) actually refers to MOTHERS, is in intent and purpose, referring to FATHERS….}}}

because they have greater status and influence in the eyes of male judges, layers and mental-health professionals; and because they often brainwash their children and use physical violence to terrorize their former wives.

Chesler uncovers some shocking parallels between contemporary custody hearings and the witch trials, finding that lawyers, judges and mental health professionals have been shown – sometimes in research by members of their own professions – to seek out evil, “perverse sexuality” and child neglect in mothers, even while turning a blind eye to fathers’ alcoholism, violence and sexual aggression against their children.

Who are these mothers who lose and fathers who win? With fathers’ interview data generally confirming the mothers’ claims, Chesler found that 62 percent of the victorious fathers had physically abused their wives, 57 percent had brainwashed their children against their mothers, 37 percent had kidnapped their children (usually with impunity) and many had financially deprived their children. Chesler here pays tribute to the mothers who, though actually or relatively poor, legally less powerful and overcommitted with mothering duties, nevertheless remain remarkably calm and nonviolent in raising their children: “Custodially embattled mothers did not view themselves as philosophers or heroes. I ultimately did…Under siege, they maintained their pre-existing non-violent bond toward their children.”

Chesler finds fathers’ motives suspect. Two-thirds of the fathers in her study said they sued for custody for economic reasons – wanting to keep possession of the house, for example, or to avoid supporting both former wife and new wife. Many sued because of their ex-wives’ sexual activities following divorce – even in cases in which the men had sexually inactive or impotent while married.

Chesler makes some suggestions about what should be done, but she doesn’t claim to have all the answers. She proposes, for example, that “mothers must be guaranteed the means as well as the right to bear and raise a child.” And perhaps most important, she calls for a series of “speakouts” so that through hearing the voices of these mothers on trial we can learn to develop fairer solutions. Chesler’s book is a powerful beginning to this process, a breathtaking immersion in the issues in all their complexity and poignancy.

An overall reaction to feminism and devaluing of women AS women, combined with the virtual elimination of the word “mothers” in so many programs (including domestic violence programs, there we are “women” but not so often “mothers.”  To be a “mother” would be at conflict with the Womb to Tomb policies in present play…) can lead to some real cruelty BETWEEN women.  I wonder how much of this cruelty is taken into consideration when the claims that we are just as violent as men, or violent just as often as men, are stated. 

For that, see THIS book (same author):

Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman

by Phyllis Chesler

by Phyllis Chesler
Lawrence Hill Books, 2009. 576 pp. $16.95
May 1, 2009

Cover of Woman's Inhumanity to Woman

Like men, women are exposed to the messages of misogyny and sexism that permeate cultures worldwide. Like men, women unconsciously buy into negative images that can trigger abuse and mistreatment of other women. But like other social victims, many do not realize stereotyping affects members within the victimized group as well as those outside the group. They do not realize their behavior reflects society’s biases.

How women view and treat other women matters. Are women oppressed? Yes. Do oppressed people internalize their oppressors’ attitudes? Without a doubt. Prejudice must first be acknowledged before it can be resisted or overcome. More than men, women depend upon one another for emotional intimacy and bonding, and exclusionary and sexist behavior enforces female conformity and discourages independence and psychological growth.

A continuation of Women and Madness—Chesler’s bestselling book that broke the story on double standards in psychology—Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman draws on important studies, revolutionary theories, literature, and hundreds of original interviews. Chesler urges us to look within, to treat other women realistically, ethically, and kindly, and to forge bold and compassionate alliances. This is a necessary next step for women, without which they will never be liberated.


Whether it’s child-rearing, bringing home the bacon, or taking care of the men, or adminstering many of the programs that affect our lives today, women are involved.  Women are ALSO, and sadly, involved in bitter rivalries and strifes, for example, when a man re-marries, over these children. 

Any programs, policies, or religions, valuing ANY people based on their profiles, as opposed to their actions, ought to be branded with a scarlet letter, put in the stocks, and have tomatoes thrown at them by the entire “takes a Village to raise a Child” town.

Another book that deals with the “DIVIDE & CONQUER” method of keeping women in line, in polygamous cultures,  is by this woman.  I sat reading it, gripped by a wonder WHY what she described “felt” like (in much lesser strength, of course, but still “felt”) what I have been experiencing personally in a culture that has one standard for men, and another for women.  I’m talking, about college-educated, professionals….

Hirsi Ali's arrival in Washington comes after condemnation of her book by Muslims and a stint in the Dutch parliament that ended with her resignation.

It’s a popping good story, fascinating, with lots of forward lean to the narrative. She’s got guts, brains, looks, talent. She’s called the prophet Muhammad a pervert. She says, “Islam is a culture that has been outlived.” She has lost her faith, ditched two husbands and been disowned by her family.

She was elected to the Dutch parliament, but resigned in a scandal that brought down the ruling party. She scripted an 11-minute film about the Koran and domestic abuse of women that resulted in the throat-slitting assassination of its director, Theo van Gogh, by a Muslim fanatic.

The killer stabbed a note into the dying man’s chest. It was addressed to her.

It promised death.

True Unbeliever

‘Infidel’ Author Ayaan Hirsi Ali Brings Her Incendiary Views on Islam to Washington

Written by Let's Get Honest|She Looks It Up

March 10, 2010 at 1:00 pm

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