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Who’s Changing Whom? Batterers v Institutions

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This article was forwarded to me.  I’m pasting it for a few reasons —

  • I thought readers might appreciate a post which actually has consistent style and complete sentences throughout, which lots of mine don’t.
  • Another “take” on the Batterer v. Institution relationship.  I think we need to de-fang the batterer (although I accept they sometimes kill) as to the influence on institutions.  This is NOT a one-way street, my research (based on others’ road signs) has indicated. . . .  The institutions or those who work in them, ALSO recruit men (and sometimes women) actively for their programs; I’m speaking of the U.S., but the organization influential in this practice, is international.

Men have been recruited, actively, through child support systems, in prisons, and elsewhere.  I ran across an information sheet in a law library which had overtly father-hood friendly (and acknowledged this) links on its “information” sheet at the kiosk.  This is a general informational sheet on various topics.  Program services are promoted in Family Court Facilitator’s offices, such as one I found recently in my area — the brochure was talking about “Parents Forever” but the Logo was of a figure in pants (indicating, male) and two children, one female, and one male.  No mother.  The sponsoring organization was AFCC, and there was no mention — whatsoever — about domestic violence.  It was a condescending tone, and at the end discouraged readers from picking up the yellow pages — better to consult one of our professionals (clearly implied). 

So, t hey are being recruited.  The dynamic of the situation is, the batterer or abuser parent now has an audience, and is more likely to perform with rapt attention of hearers.

These hearers have a responsibilty too — they are enablers. 

But I don’t think the issue is about institutions not understanding these types of people.  I think it the issue is ALL types of people (including those not even in the court system) failing to understand the INSTITUTIONS. 

I bet the writer of this article would enjoy sanctuaryweb.com, as it also talks about the larger social attitudes that perpetuate abuse.

The Fine Art of Institutional Grooming

from a (new) blog, “Australian Shared Parenting.”
(That logo goes with a different post on the same blog; I couldn’t copy the banner.)..
BELOW HERE IS QUOTE unless in {{…….}}’s…
Institutional Grooming Defined and Explained

A lot of people will have heard of the term “grooming”, but most will think of the term only as it is used in the context of child sexual abuse. What many people do not consider, is that grooming is an art that is practiced by most perpetrators of any kind of abuse, and, I believe, particularly by perpetrators of family violence.

It is not only a perpetrator’s victims that are groomed (which would be considered emotional abuse), but the victims’ family and friends, the perpetrator’s own family and friends, and even public servants and medical professionals (in which case it is purposeful manipulation). The grooming of doctors, nurses, mental health carers, family support workers and other public servants is called “Institutional Grooming” and the perpetrator does it for the purpose of self-preservation.

The targets of Institutional Groomers may include their victim’s General Practitioner, psychiatrist, psychologist, child health nurse, pediatrician, carers at a Family Day Care Facility, school teachers, counselors or therapists. The public servants targeted may be social workers, case workers, investigative officers or police officers employed by government departments such as the Department For Child Protection, the Police’s Family Protection Unit and the Department for Community Development. When done with enough finesse to be successful, institutional grooming ensures that any complaints alleged about the perpetrator are either disregarded outright, doubted and therefore not investigated thoroughly, or if acted upon, subsequently dismissed in a court of law.

Why would a perpetrator go to such lengths to manipulate people other than their victims? Because when their victims, the victims’ family and friends, and the public service networks intended to support their victims are groomed successfully, the investment of all that hard work does not go to waste – the victims are then still available to continue to abuse.

Some Thought Provoking Insights into a Victim’s Reality

The scary thing about successful institutional grooming is that it substantially increases the harm done to the victims, not only because the abuse they face continues for longer, but because they lose their trust and faith in the world around them, in their family and friends, in the professional people who are meant to protect them, and most tragically, in themselves.

The things that are said and done to hurt and manipulate a victim only occur behind closed doors, and it can be very hard to remember exactly what was said or done, where, in which order and at what time, when your world feels like it is caving in. An abuser will jump on this uncertainty to highlight a victim’s supposed insanity or make them seem dishonest, and to shift the focus away from his/her own appalling behavior.

Once a victim’s memories of the abuse, the words said, things done and feelings felt during that abuse, have been twisted and distorted to deny, justify or excuse that abuse, one can understand why the victim begins to feel unsure about what really happened. Combine this with the common symptoms of complete and partial memory blocking and/or memory substitution in victims suffering from even mild cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and one can see how it can all combine to compound a victim’s confusion and distress, and deter them from objecting or trying to report it the next time it happens. One can also see how these factors can pervert the course of Justice.

Grooming by Perpetrators of Family Violence and Child Abuse
In the context of family violence, institutional grooming is done to discredit the non- perpetrating parent (who is often also a victim), and the effects of successful institutional grooming in these circumstances are almost always tragic. In best case scenarios, it can ensure debilitating emotional trauma and devastating long term consequences as the perpetrator is free to continue their abuse of both the child(ren) and the abused parent. In worst case scenarios, the results can be overwhelming, and may include horrific physical abuse, soul destroying sexual abuse or even premature death of the victim(s). The death of such victim(s) may be due to suicide, manslaughter, murder-suicide or violent murder. The most prevalent and obvious consequence however, is once again perversion of the course of Justice, and the undeniable failure of the Legal System’s purpose.
Damned If You Do & Damned If You Don’t

For clarification, consider this generalized example: If a mother seeks help with protecting her children in a situation where emotional and physical abuse of both herself and her children has already occurred, and/or where there has been inappropriate sexual talk and behavior in front of her children (that may or may not be sexual grooming), and the children have displayed signs that indicate possible sexual abuse (that may or may not have happened, and may or may not happen in the future), but where the perpetrator is skilled at the art of institutional grooming, that mother will often then be subjected to accusations of parental alienation and of perpetuating feelings of fear in her children. Instead of being taken seriously, she finds herself having to defend her actions and her parenting skills, and sometimes may even find herself being the one accused of abusing her children.

If she seeks legal advice, she is advised not to make an application to the Family Court because it is likely that any application will result in 50/50 shared care of the kids. Further more, she is informed that under current Family Law, if she makes any allegations of abuse that cannot be proven, she risks being found guilty of parental alienation and quite possibly faces losing her children to the perpetrator in the likely event that interim orders would award him full residency, and allow her only a couple of hours of supervised contact per fortnight, while her children are sent to live with their alleged abuser. She may also be required to pay the legal costs for both parties.

On the other hand, if she does not do anything about seeking help from the authorities, either because she has circumstantial evidence but no substantiated proof, and no other witnesses to testify on her behalf (her own testimony would be considered hearsay, and therefore discounted), or perhaps because she has been doubted and/or counter-accused before, then at some point in the future she may find herself being found guilty of neglecting her duty of care to her children, and face the prospect of losing her kids to foster care.

What Justice?

While I have no doubt that there are indeed parents out there who do not put the best interests of their children first, and who are in fact guilty of alienating their children against the other parent and perhaps even of fabricating false allegations of abuse, whether for revenge or some other reason, surely they must be the minority? Wouldn’t the majority of parents want to put their kids first?

Further more, I ask this question: What about the mother who, in spite of her own abuse, subjugation and degradation, somehow finds the strength to trust her own intuition, and manages to intervene before her children become the victims of more serious physical abuse or devastating sexual abuse. Instead of being supported and respected for the strength she has shown in the face of her adversity, she is instead victimized, subdued and humiliated to an even greater extent. Where is the justice for mothers such as she? Instead she becomes a victim of the system, and so do her children. What happened to breaking the Cycle of Abuse?

A Society-Sized Cycle?

Has anybody even stopped to think that perhaps the term “cycle of abuse” now describes a far greater cycle of perpetual dysfunction than simply the personal relationships between perpetrators and their victims, a cycle that in fact occurs and continues on a much larger scale – one that encompasses modern society as a whole? I mean, who is more likely to be a liar? A victim or their perpetrator?

Obviously there are exceptions to every rule, but in most cases, what would a victim get out of being a liar? Any parent who has suffered as a victim of family violence, then chosen to speak out against their family’s abuser, and then been consistent in their commitment to the ongoing and endless process of attending appointments with social workers, lawyers, medical professionals, psychologists, counselors, art therapy and group therapy sessions (for both themselves and their children), would agree that the financial costs, physical energy requirements, mental strain and emotional drain of post traumatic abuse times could simply not be worth it.

Proactive parents who choose to engage in such an involved process, due to their genuine desire to heal their family’s wounds, to protect their children from further harm, and to ensure a positive, healthy change in their life circumstances, will have often maintained such efforts for months before the matter is brought before the court, and they will have to maintain their efforts for many months or even years after the court makes final orders, even if orders are reasonably suitable.

In stark contrast, perpetrators who engage in such therapy will almost always only do so after being questioned about allegations of abuse, or in the weeks and days leading up to a court hearing. They only do so to preserve their false reputations, and their energetic last minute efforts will seldom last more than a few weeks past the need to be seen as the “poor victim” of a “vengeful” or “jealous” partner, rather than be exposed as the selfish, unrepentant perpetrators of abuse that they are.

Morality and Proactive Logic versus Passive Ignorance

I think that the Family Law Courts and some government departments are missing the whole point of what is in the best interests of the child. I am not saying that a perpetrator should be guilty until proven innocent, or punished without sufficient proof, but what is wrong with protecting our kids BEFORE they become victims? Why should the only evidence taken seriously enough to warrant supervised contact be substantiated proof of past abuse? Surely prevention is better than a cure?

They cannot say that the cost of supervised contact would be too great if they compare it to the long term costs of abuse to our society, considering how many victims of child abuse go on to have life long psychological problems, alcohol and other substance abuse issues, often grow up to become abusers themselves, or in some cases resort to suicide.

Considerations of a Responsible Government

The purpose of Family Law should be the protection of our children, who are not yet capable of making their own choices, rather than any irrationally perceived justice for those adults who have chosen not to take responsibility for the destructive effects of their abusive behavior, or the unjust persecution of those adults who are trying to shoulder responsibility for both their own and the abusive parents actions, by trying to fight a losing battle that must be fought if they are to honor the duty of care they have to their children.

It is essential that any reforms implemented as a result of the review of the 2006 Family Law Amendments (and any future changes) ensure there are no violations of the first and foremost Rights of our Children – their right to be protected from harm, and to live with out fear, in the warm, safe embrace of unconditional love.

Surely the Government can see the necessity of making well informed decisions regarding the specifics of any changes. Hopefully those responsible for making these decisions will question the effectiveness of a Justice System that only takes into account substantiated proof (scientific fact?) when making judgments that are guided by Laws which have been based on inductively reasoned generalizations drawn from the observation of limited numbers of specific instances (philosophical opinion?). Even the existence of the many heated debates over Australian Shared Parenting Laws highlights the fact that those generalizations were a misrepresentation of the prevailing truth.

The Laws that govern the Family Court System need to be decided by using deductive reasoning to draw valid, logical conclusions from the overwhelmingly substantial amount of relevant empirical evidence available, and most people would agree that those facts can be easily found in the historically prevalent and devastating long term effects observed in children who have witnessed and/or experienced any kind of abuse.

{{yes, if quizzed, most people WOULD agree if you asked them this, possibly or probably.  But suppose you told the same people that the institutions that their wages help support (by taxes) have some seriously criminal minds not as the occasional bad apple, but as the visionary (but amoral) designers of those institutions?  …  I can’t speak for Australia (maybe you guys have more sense; I have some indications your education system might be better…) but I do know that concepts are being exported from the U.S. to other countries as to the family law system.  Not all our exports are good ones..}}

{{I would rather take a cautious approach to society, now that I KNOW more than I used to, then be forced to continualy “trust” people or entities I know have been so untrustworthy that those who go through their gates end up dead.  Or emotionally, financially, and otherwise destroyed…}}

The proven reliability of empirical knowledge obtained by making specific, logical and valid deductions based on vast numbers of instances that demonstrate very clear and consistent long term trends is surely what is required to ensure that the changes made to Family Laws are effective. It is essential that once amended, Family Laws consistently achieve their purpose of effectively guiding judgments in those cases where in there is a need to protect children from a risk of probable future abuse but where most often there is no proof other than circumstantial evidence, victim testimony and professional opinion based on hearsay. It is the only viable path to follow if we are to build a Family Law System in which Justice will actually serve in the best interests of the child.

Once all that is achieved, time will confirm the truth and future generations will prosper from the positive, healthy, and wide spread evolution of our society. Their enlightenment will ensure that the wondrous gift of human morality will finally manifest in every aspect of society, propelling mankind into the peaceful bliss of a Golden Age filled with warmth, love and Light!

{{Emphases mine:  My friend, that is a lovely (& utopian) vision.  If not a religious one.  While I realize society doesn’t change without visionaries, the U.S. model, at least initially, was based on the more cautious evaluation of human nature, and the intentional DILUTION of power among various branches of government, so no tyranny would result.  Right now, that has been essentially reversed, and through the medium of the courts not in small part. 

After 10 years of abuse, basically, and 10 years attempting to get free from it, I have readjusted my philosophy from changing society to changing MY situation, individually, and seeing who else I can help.  I blog, sowing & throwing out ideas, but not fully developing them, in case others may wish to follow up. 

I think we have to acknowledge that, religion or no religion, a good deal of our population IS religious, and that no religion, per se, is likely to change its opinion on the role of women unless women in it cease to provide their free services for that religion, and the men.  The losses they would experience, in doing this, would possibly parallel those of parents losing kids through the court.  I don’t think it’s about to happen, and my PERSONAL solution to this dilemma is to add talking back to churches (and boycotting them) to the general mix.  Religious belief is personal, and is immune to being changed, and these ARE indeed a subculture.  Their BEING a subculture (many sects & mainstream groups also) is part of their identity, and that’s not about to go away just because laws exist.  Who will enforce them? 

When it comes to the difference between a law abiding citizen without means of self-defence (or who will be harshly punished for defending self and/or children), and a non-law-abiding citizen with weapons (guns, knives, and free access to the person being attacked) with a chip on (his) shoulder, which one do you think is going to win out?

Expecting us to be helped by these institutions, I am beginning to accept, is asking for a police state.  Is that what we want? 

I learned recently that many of the Founding Fathers were not the Calvinists (with the dark, and pessimistic view of human nature) but in fact fairly more liberal theologically, and trusting reason and rationality more — BUT with a healthy dose of, let’s LIMIT tyranny. 

The challenge that they failed to face, til much later (if we have indeed faced it yet…) is to acknowledge that, while they believed that “all men were endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights”  some categories of people (ethnicity and gender) were, well, you know, not really fully human.

Women were the last to get the vote.  What does that tell you?  There was feminism, and there was a backlash to feminism.  What does THAT tell you? 

The laws protecting women from domestic violence date to at earliest (that I can see) around the 1970s, and 1980s.  Many of the INSTITUTIONS that are primary in the courts now, had their origin, not in clear public view, but close to government circles (i.e., at the highest levels) and as a far-reaching business model, at the latest in the late 1980s.  The Violence Against Women Act did not pass til 1994, but the National Fatherhood Initiative was RIGHT there, (also in 1994).  We have to look at those institutions, AND the concept that institutions are going to help us.

The batterer doesn’t “fool” the courts.  The courts willingly listen to the batterers.  They are (I speak from my experience and what I have been able to research) WHERE batterers go to hide, when a crminal prosecution would NOT hide them.  For more, see JUSTICEWOMEN.org also.

Nevertheless, I like this blog, and it’s going on my blogroll.  You make peopel think!

The same struggle is still going on, and I suppose I have an other post on it, from a different source.


Posted by Audrey at 3:32 AM  

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

April 27, 2010 at 3:22 pm

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