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Who is Evan Stark?

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THINKING makes me happy, and this is what I am thinking about after hearing that another Ph.D. has got my story right, in:

Coercive Control: How Men Entrap Women in Personal Life

as posted by “ANGELFURY” on:

Battered Mothers-A Human Rights Issue

which was obtained, I gather, from “theLizLibrary” which many of us are familiar with.

THIS bit is MY Commentary:

I expect the tongue-in-cheek aspect may not come through in print; assume it’s there….

Women are “always” being interpreted by men, and the ubiquitous assumption that, because we are women, or because we are in the family law system, or because we actually reported violence, sought restraining orders, or want to report that our children are being hurt or compromised in one way or another — we just cannot get our own stories straight, did not mean what we said, and need someone with a Ph.D. to interpret it for us into psycho-social-jargon that strips the genuine emotion (and identifiable detail) out of it. For example:

What kind of rational reasoning would say, in defiance of all known biology, that a full-grown woman came out of a man’s side after the Lord put him under, and that while she waited (presumably fully conscious and capable of speech) after he regained consciousness, and seeing as he had already named all the animals, she waited until he came to himself, after which he figured out a name for Her (and not vice versa), i.e., “WOE-Man.”

Her primary sin, from what I can tell in reviewing Genesis, was (1) listening to someone outside her husband (i.e., seeking a 2nd opinon) and (2) combining the act of speaking and thinking independently.

Atheists like to mock those who believe this account, but look at the same brilliant logic when it comes to childbirth:

Well, today, there’s Caesarians and hysterectomies and the concept that childbirth is a horrible and unnatural experience better endured while unconscious and with the aid of a scalpel and without the aid of, say, gravity! Guess which gender thought THAT process up! And how long did it take to figure out that the doctors ought to wash their hands between patients– somewhere in the early 1900s? ???

The brilliance of it is the sheer irrationality of it. The only way it can be grasped is by faith, either thesis.

Now let’s talk about women who have given birth to children, which you have to admit takes SOME persistence in life, come into the courtroom. And suddenly, we are supposed to turn speechless again, and unable to say what we mean:

“HELLO, I’m an adult, and this is what EX (with the Y chromosome) did on mm/dd/yy in violation of court order ##-#####. This action, from what I understand of the Penal Code, was indeed a felony, that action, a misdemeanor, that a clearly intentional violation of an existing court order, and the last time we were in court, THESE rules of court and in THAT manner, my right to due process was violated, resulting in THIS waste of our time.

“Let’s remember, Your Honor, that you are on a payroll and I, in this courtroom, am not.

(And so forth)….

That woman has a bad attitude, and needs to be put in her non-expert, non-Ph.D’d place (even if she has a Ph.D.), WE know she has an ulterior motive….

What about, for once, some restraints, judges (etc.) on your treatment of ME in this courtroom? You know how friggin’ long it took me to figure out where those rules of court were that were violated the last time we were in court? You know what my billable $$/hour is, that I spent looking that up, which could’ve been spent “parenting” or, say, working? ??

I’m getting a crash court in the United States Government, broken law by broken law, and civil rights violation by civil rights violation. By the time I hit retirement age, I will have probably qualified to pass my state Bar, but obviously unless I actually DO that, what I say will not be taken seriously, because of my gender, or because we are in the family law venue…

Just because I’m in this courtroom seeking those laws, or your rules of court, to be enforced, or because one of those prior court orders was just flat-out ignored, doesn’t mean I don’t mean what I’m saying, or have some nasty hidden motive for reporting what I have seen and experienced to those who say they care about these issues. Speak for yourself!

Or someone whose livelihood depends on an ongoing stream of adults and children unable to speak for themselves, in other words, those hired by the courts to reframe our truths into ITS perspective.

Add to this, people who want access to the “fruit of our wombs”, have a perspective that differs from, say, those who own the wombs.

Add to this, the second partners of the divorcing or separating partners want to just “get on” with THEIR relationship too, let’s accept, and as such, to totally discredit (or eliminate) the former partner — of the same gender — is in some senses, understandable biologically. That is, if we are all to reduce our behavior to worse, from what I can tell, then a pack of dogs, who eventually figure out a pecking order unless there is a hominid around who’s breeding canines to fight in order to place bets on which dog will kill the other first… Men who do that to dogs suffer worse penalties and social shunning than men who do the similar thing to women and children.

And a dog is NOT a man’s best friend. ….. Although they can be very friendly and fulfil many other roles in life.

To add to this, people who apparently believe that the social sciences hold the answer to life’s problems, and that just some more funding will really help the experts to collaborate until they all agree . . . . . and that if only enough experts agree (and have access to the use of force to elicit “agreement” from their subject matter), that this foolish plague of religion and human fallibility can be wiped clean from the earth.

The experts are likely to totally agree when, either one club totally dominates all the other clubs (i.e., professional memberships). We already tried that with “religion,” and the wars, last I looked, still continue……

ANYHOW, so when someone male with a Ph.D. or who is published seems to “get” what “coercive control” IS, my mind is curious, say, who IS that dude?

Well, for one he’s a dude who has a business, and has published some books:

He’s a Dude that Glenn Sacks is blogging:

Evan Stark – GlennSacks.com

Glenn Sacks is a men’s and fathers’ issues columnist, radio commentator, and blogger.
He’s got connections with Rutgers:

Faculty/Staff Detail

Evan Stark, PhD, MA, MSW

Chair, Department of Urban Health Administration

Primary Affil: Rutgers University-School of Public Affairs & Administration, Professor and MPH Program Director
SPH Department: Urban Health Administration
Units: N/A
Campus: Newark
Building: Hill Hall
Room: 722
Phone: 973.353.5093
Fax: 973.353.5907
Email: eds203@juno.com


PhD, 1984, State University of New York
MA, 1967, University of Wisconsin
MSW, 1991, Fordham University

Global Public Health Experience:


Research Interests:

Health Management; Organizational Development; Violence and Health Policy

And he’s a middle-aged? white guy…

OK, here’s what he wrote. Seeing as we are approaching Mother’s Day, how appropriate to let a man say it for us….

NEW Coercive Control: Review by Diane Post clip_image002 Despite its great achievements, the domestic violence revolution is stalled, Evan Stark argues, a provocative conclusion he documents by showing that interventions have failed to improve womens long-term safety in relationships or to hold perpetrators accountable.

Stark traces this failure to a startling paradox, that the singular focus on violence against women masks an even more devastating reality. In millions of abusive relationships, men use a largely unidentified form of subjugation that more closely resembles kidnapping or indentured servitude than assault. He calls this pattern coercive control. Drawing on sources that range from FBI statistics and film to dozens of actual cases from his thirty years of experience as an award-winning researcher, advocate, and forensic expert, Stark shows in terrifying detail how men can use coercive control to extend their dominance over time and through social space in ways that subvert womens autonomy, isolate them, and infiltrate the most intimate corners of their lives.

Against this backdrop, Stark analyzes the cases of three women tried for crimes committed in the context of abuse, showing that their reactions are only intelligible when they are reframed as victims of coercive control rather than as battered wives. The story of physical and sexual violence against women has been told often.

But this is the first book to show that most abused women who seek help do so because their rights and liberties have been jeopardized, not because they have been injured. The coercive control model Stark develops resolves three of the most perplexing challenges posed by abuse: why these relationships endure, why abused women develop a profile of problems seen among no other group of assault victims, and why the legal system has failed to win them justice.

Elevating coercive control from a second-class misdemeanor to a human rights violation, Stark explains why law, policy, and advocacy must shift its focus to emphasize how coercive control jeopardizes womens freedom in everyday life. Fiercely argued and eminently readable, Starks work is certain to breathe new life into the domestic violence revolution.

More comments on-line here by the author, Dr. Stark.

clip_image003 Coercive control is a model of abuse that attempts to encompass the range of strategies employed to dominate individual women in personal life. Alternately referred to as coerced persuasion; conjugal, patriarchal or intimate terrorism; emotional or psychological abuse; indirect abuse; or emotional torture, it describes an ongoing pattern of sexual mastery by which abusive partners, almost exclusively males, interweave repeated physical abuse with three equally important tactics: intimidation, isolation, and control.

The easiest way to understand coercive control is to contrast it to the widespread equation of partner abuse with “domestic violence.” Domestic violence laws and most research in the field take an incident-specific focus and weigh the severity of abuse by the level of force used or injury inflicted what I call a “calculus of harms.” In marked contrast, the coercive control model relies on evidence that most battered women who seek help experience coercion as “ongoing” rather than as merely “repeated” and that the main marker of these assaults is their frequency or even their “routine” nature rather than their severity, a fact that gives abuse a “cumulative” effect found in no other assault crime. Physical harm and psychological trauma remain important in the coercive control model. But its theory of harms replaces the violation of physical integrity with an emphasis on violations of “liberty” that entail the deprivation of rights and resources essential to personhood and citizenship. In this view, the psychological language of victimization and dependence is replaced by the political language of domination, resistance, and subordination. . In the coercive control model, what men do to women is less important than what they prevent women from doing for themselves.

In the forensic context where I work, women’s right to use whatever means are available to liberate themselves from coercive control derives from the right afforded to all persons to free themselves from tyranny not from the proximate physical or psychological means used to do this

The domestic violence model emphasizes the familial, cultural, interpersonal and psychological roots of abusive behavior. The coercive control model views the dynamics in abusive relationships from the vantage of the historical struggle for women’s liberation and men’s efforts to preserve their traditional privileges in personal life in the face of this struggle. The incredible strides women have made towards full equality, particularly since the l960’s, have been widely documented. These gains make it increasingly difficult for men to ensure women’s obedience and dependence through violence alone. In the face of this reality, millions of men have expanded their oppressive repertoire to include a range of constraints on women’s autonomy formerly imposed by law, religion, and women’s exclusion from the economic, cultural and political mainstream, in essence trying to construct a “patriarchy in miniature” in each individual relationship, the course of malevolent conduct known as coercive control. Although the aim of this conspicuous form of subjugation is to quash, offset or coopt women’s social gains (taking the money they earn, for instance), this strategy relies for success on the persistent inequalities based on sex that remain, including the huge gap in job opportunities and earnings that continues to advantage men.

Coercive control shares general elements with other capture or course-of-conduct crimes such as kidnapping, stalking, and harassment, including the facts that it is ongoing and its perpetrators use various means to hurt, humiliate, intimidate, exploit, isolate, and dominate their victims. Like hostages, victims of coercive control are frequently deprived of money, food, access to communication or transportation, and other survival resources even as they are cut off from family, friends, and other supports through the process of “isolation.” But unlike other capture crimes, coercive control is personalized, extends through social space as well as over time, and is gendered in that it relies for its impact on women’s vulnerability as women due to sexual inequality. Another difference is its aim. Men deploy coercive control to secure privileges that involve the use of time, control over material resources, access to sex, and personal service. A main means men use to establish control is the microregulation of everyday behaviors associated with stereotypic female roles, such as how women dress, cook, clean, socialize, care for their children, or perform sexually. These dynamics give coercive control a role in sexual politics that distinguishes it from all other crimes.

The coercive control framework does not downplay women’s own use of violence either in fights or to hurt or control men or same-sex partners. Numerous studies in the United States indicate that women of all ages assault male and female partners in large numbers and for many of the same reasons and with much the same consequences as men. However, there is no counterpart in men’s lives to women’s entrapment by men in personal life due to coercive control.

The Origins of the Coercive Control Model

The coercive control model reflects two concurrent realities, that the domestic violence is stalled and that our current predicament can be traced to the gap that separates how abuse is understood and the actual experiences of battered women with abusive men.

Nothing in the coercive control model is meant to discount the enormous gains achieved by the domestic violence revolution since we opened the first battered women’s shelters in the l970’s. Nor, as some critics of our movement have argued, do I want to turn back the clock by retreating from the important protections we have won for women in the legal, criminal justice, health or mental health arenas. Hundreds of thousands of women and children owe the fact that they are alive to the availability of shelters and to criminal justice and legal reforms. What is less clear is whether women as a group are safer today or are less likely to be beaten, controlled, or killed by their partners than they were before the domestic violence revolution began.

Partner violence against women is no longer just life. But anyone with reasonable sympathies and a passing acquaintance with interventions to stem men’s abuse of woman will sense the failure of a range of systems to mount an adequate response, the justice system included. Among the most dramatic facts are these:

• Partner homicides have dropped precipitously. But this change has benefited men far more than women. The number of men killed by female partners has dropped dramatically since we opened the first shelters, particularly among blacks. But the number of women killed by male partners has changed very little. While severe violence by men against women has dropped, the so-called “minor” violence that makes up the infrastructure of coercive control has increased sharply. Women as a group are not appreciably safer today than when the domestic violence revolution began.

• Though domestic violence is an ongoing crime and is almost always complemented by acts of intimidation, humiliation, isolation and control, in most communities abuse is treated as a second-class misdemeanor. While victims repeatedly insist that “violence isn’t the worst part” and mounting evidence points to structural constraints on independence and personhood as the most devastating aspects of abuse, these dimensions remain officially invisible. Millions of men may be arrested each year for domestic violence. But the chance that a perpetrator will go to jail in any given incident is just slightly better than the chance of winning a lottery.

• Batterer intervention programs (BIPs) are widely offered as an alternative to incarceration. But these programs are little more effective than doing nothing at all. Regardless of intervention, the vast majority of perpetrators continue their abuse.

• Shelters are the core response to abused women and so they should remain. But in hundreds of communities, shelters today are indistinguishable from the traditional, paternalistic service system they arose to challenge.

. Perhaps the key fact is that the domestic violence revolution appears to have had little or no effect on coercive control, the pattern evidence shows characterizes between 60-80% of the relationships for which women seek outside assistance. Refocusing on coercive control would be a giant step toward changing this situation. The domestic violence movement began with a vision, to provide women worldwide with a safety net that protected them against harm in personal life. Such a net is in place in most countries. But long-term protection still eludes us.

The limits of current interventions can be directly traced to a failure of vision, not of nerve. Conservatives attack the advocacy movement for exaggerating the nature and extent of abuse. In fact, because of its singular emphasis on physical violence, the prevailing model minimizes both the extent of women’s entrapment by male partners in personal life and its consequences.

Viewing woman abuse through the prism of the incident-specific and injury-based definition of violence has concealed its major components, dynamics, and effects, including the fact that it is neither “domestic” nor primarily about “violence.” Failure to appreciate the multidimensionality of oppression in personal life has been disastrous for abuse victims. Regardless of its chronic nature, courts treat each abuse incident they see as a first offense. Because well over 95% of these incidents are minor, in that the physical assault involved is not injurious, almost no one goes to jail. In custody or divorce cases, because abuse is framed as incident specific or as only involving injurious violence, when women or children present with claims based on the ongoing, multidimensional and cumulative nature of abuse, these are often treated as fabricated. Worse, a protective mother may be blamed when her expressed level of concern or fear is at odds with evidence of assault: in the dependency court, her children may be placed in foster care; in family court, she is alleged to be engaged in alienating her children from the “good enough father.” As calls to the police or visits to the emergency room are repeated over time, the helping response becomes more perfunctory and may actually contribute to making abuse routine, a process called normalization.

Coercive Control

The coercive control model is built on earlier work that has remained marginal to mainstream intervention, a mountain of data that contradicts every major tenet of the domestic violence model; and a growing body of literature documenting the prevalence of tactics to isolate, intimidate and control women in abusive relationships. But its major source is the real-life experiences of perpetrators and victims of abuse

As I’ve suggested, the most important anomalous evidence indicates that violence in abusive relationships is ongoing rather than episodic, that its effects are cumulative rather than incident-specific, and that the harms it causes are more readily explained by these factors than by its severity. Among these harms, the dominant approach identifies two for which it fails to adequately account, the entrapment of victims in relationships where ongoing abuse is virtually inevitable, and the development of a problem profile that distinguishes abused women from every other class of assault victim. The prevailing view is that women stay and develop a range of mental health and behavioral problems because exposure to severe violence induces trauma-related syndromes, such as PTSD or BWS that can disable a woman’s capacity to cope or escape. In fact, however, only a small proportion of abuse victims evidence these syndromes. Most victims of abuse do not develop significant psychological or behavioral problems. Abused women exhibit a range of problems that are unrelated to trauma, the vast majority of assault incidents are too minor to induce trauma, and abuse victims can be entrapped even in the absence of assault. The duration of abusive relationships is made even more problematic when we appreciate that abuse victims are aggressive help seekers and are as likely to be assaulted and even entrapped when they are physically separated as when married or living together. Thus, whatever harms are involved can cross social space as well as extend over time and appear to persist regardless of how women respond. If violence doesn’t account for the entrapment of millions of women in personal life, what does?

The answer is coercive control, a strategy that remains officially invisible despite the fact that it has been in plain sight at least since the earliest shelter residents told us in no uncertain terms that “violence wasn’t the worst part.” Cognitive psychologists in the late 1970s and 1980s tried to capture what these women were experiencing by comparing it to “coercive persuasion,” brainwashing, and other tactics used with hostages, prisoners of war, kidnap victims, and by pimps with prostitutes. Largely ignored by researchers, the understanding of abuse as coercive control was developed in popular literature and incorporated at least implicitly into how various practitioners approached the problem. Working on men’s control skills has provided one template for batterers programs since the founding of Emerge in Boston. Prosecutors are increasingly charging batterers with stalking, or harassment as well as domestic violence, crimes that typically involve a course of intimidating and controlling conduct as well of violence. Scotland and Canada are examples of countries that now define violence against women or abuse from a human rights perspective that includes a range of coercive and controlling behaviors in addition to assault. The most widely used graphic representation of abuse is the Power and Control Wheel introduced by the Domestic Violence Intervention Project (DAIP) in Duluth, Minnesota. Although violence is the hub of the original wheel, its spokes depict isolation, economic control, emotional and sexual abuse, and other facets of coercive control. This attention is merited. The several dozen studies that attempt to measure control and psychological abuse suggest that victims have been subjected to multiple control tactics, among which the denial of money, the monitoring of time, and restricted mobility and communication are prominent.

Despite these inroads, coercive control remains marginal to mainstream thinking. It is rarely acknowledged in policy circles, has had almost no impact on domestic violence policing or criminal law, and commands no special funding. Although providers and advocates may ask about elements of coercive control, I know of no programs or interventions that address it. Everyone acknowledges that domestic violence is about power and control. But we have yet to incorporate this truism into our understanding of abuse or our response.

The major source for the model of coercive control are the victims and perpetrators of abuse with whom I and others have worked. The women in my practice have repeatedly made clear that the most serious harms they have suffered involve how their partners have kept them from fulfilling their life projects by appropriating their resources; undermining their social support; subverting their rights to privacy, self-respect, and autonomy; and depriving them of substantive equality. This is the evidence on which I base my claim that coercive control is a liberty crime. Preventing a substantial group of women from freely applying their agency in economic and political life obstructs overall social development .

The new model is rooted in the same tenets that gave birth to the battered women’s movement—that the abuse of women in personal life is inextricably bound up with their standing in the larger society and therefore that women’s entrapment in their personal lives can be significantly reduced only if sexual discrimination is addressed simultaneously. In the early shelters, the interrelatedness of these tenets was grounded in the practice of empowerment, whereby the suffering of individual victims was mollified by mobilizing their collective power to help one another and change the institutional structures that caused and perpetuated women’s second-class status, an example of women doing for themselves. Our challenge is to resurrect this collective practice and broaden its political focus to the sources of coercive control.

Control: Invisible in Plain Sight

The victims and perpetrators of coercive control are easily identified. Many of the rights violated in battering are so fundamental to the conduct of everyday life that is hard to conceive of meaningful human existence without them. How is it possible then that it has attracted so little attention?

I have already pointed to the prominence of the domestic violence model. Another explanation is the compelling nature of violence. Once injury became the major medium for presenting abuse, its sights and sounds were so dramatic that other experiences seemed muted by comparison. The radical feminists who led the fight against rape and pornography also inadvertently contributed to the invisibility of coercive control. Placing so much political currency on violence against women as the ultimate weapon in men’s arsenal made it a surrogate for male domination rather than merely one of its means. It was a short step to replacing the political discussions of women’s liberation with the talks of “victims” and “perpetrators.” Another explanation for why coercive control has had such little impact is that no one knows what to do about it.

The entrapment of women in personal life is also hard to discern because many of the rights it violates are so basic—so much a part of the taken-for-granted fabric of the everyday lives we lead as adults, and so embedded in female behaviors that are constrained by their normative consignment to women—that their abridgement passes largely without notice. Among my clients are women who had to answer the phone by the third ring, record every penny they spent, vacuum “till you can see the lines,” and dress, walk, cook, talk, and make love in specific ways and not in others, always with the “or else” proviso hanging over their heads. What status should we accord to a woman’s right to have toilet paper in the downstairs bathroom or to the right of a woman I will call Laura who had to beep in periodically so her boyfriend would know her whereabouts or who could not go to the gym without being beeped home? Given the prominence of physical bruising, how can we take these little indignities seriously or appreciate that they comprise the heart of a hostage-like syndrome against which the slap, punch, or kick pale in significance? Most people take it for granted that normal, healthy adults determine their own sleep patterns or how they drive or laugh or make love. The first women who used our home as her safe house described her partner a tyrant. We thought she was speaking metaphorically.

Violence is easy to understand. But the deprivations that come packaged in coercive control are no more a part of my personal life than they are of most men’s. This is true both literally, because many of the regulations involved in coercive control target behaviors that are identified with the female role, and figuratively, because it is hard for me to conceive of a situation outside of prison, a mental hospital, or a POW camp where another adult would control or even care to control my everyday routines.

What is taken from the women whose stories I hear almost daily—and what some victims use violence to restore—is the capacity for independent decision making in the areas by which we distinguish adults from children and free citizens from indentured servants. Coercive control entails a malevolent course of conduct that subordinates women to an alien will by violating their physical integrity (domestic violence), denying them respect and autonomy (intimidation), depriving them of social connectedness (isolation), and appropriating or denying them access to the resources required for personhood and citizenship (control). Nothing men experience in the normal course of their everyday lives resembles this conspicuous form of subjugation.

Some of the rights batterers deny to women are already protected in the public sphere, such as the rights to physical integrity and property. In these instances, law is challenged to extend protections to personal life. But most of the harms involved in coercive control are gender-specific infringements of adult autonomy that have no counterpart in public life and are currently invisible to the law. The combination of these big and little indignities best explains why women suffer and respond as they do in abusive relationships, including why so many women become entrapped, why some battered women kill their partners, why they themselves may be killed, or why they are prone to develop a range of psychosocial problems and exhibit behaviors or commit a range of acts that are contrary to their nature or to basic common sense or decency.

In the late 1970s, we reached into the shadows to retrieve physical abuse from the canon of “just life.” Now it appears, we did not reach nearly far enough.


Evan Stark


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

May 3, 2010 at 2:29 pm

7 Responses

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  1. You have confused the web site http://www.evanstark.com with the Evan Stark you cite here. There is no association between the two. Please remove all links and references to evanstark.com, as well as imagery and linking to my server, on this post and any other posts as they appear on https://familycourtmatters.wordpress.com. Thank you in advance.

    Evan Stark

    August 4, 2010 at 8:24 am

    • I apologize for picking up the wrong graphic and am removing it now. The other Evan Stark has plenty of graphics and publicity associated with himself. Have a nice day!



      August 4, 2010 at 10:46 am

  2. You know, you’re supposed to actually -read- the book before launching into some vaguely critical monograph that steals most of its content from the source being criticized. That being said, I’ve started Dr. Stark’s book and find his analysis and history of the domestic violence problem in Western societies quite lucid and inclusive.

    Now I know there’s a million men out there who’s self-image is so poor, and their sense of manhood so weak, that they feel challenged by any change at all. I would include in this group all the bible-thumping patriarchal Neanderthals whom we can only hope will die out like their namesakes.

    In short, familycourtmatters, you might try actually reading and comprehending before commenting. That way, you don’t subject yourself to this sort of semi-public humiliation.

    Richard Posner

    July 28, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    • Dear Dick:

      So glad you actually read the opening paragraph and the bolded comment above graphic of Mr. Stark’s book — I wasn’t disagreeing (at all) with what he said, but addressing the habit of men speaking for abused women about their own experiences, as if we couldn’t.

      I know plenty about Bible-thumpers, thank you, I was married to one, and he actually thumped me more than he cracked the book.

      Like Lundy Bancroft, another author who indeed expresses very well many of the dynamics of domestic violence in his books, he is writing about things women actually know – and often have written about. However, any person who has been stuck in such a relationship / marriage for a while has usually been told (repeatedly) she’s imagining it, and has also witnessed plenty of bystanders also playing deaf, dumb, and/or judgmental until she actually gets out. So these books are GREAT for women who have never been validated before, and for carving out a new market niche, which I”m figure is probably Evan Stark’s purpose.


      I’m not disagreeing — at all — with the premises in his book, it likely expresses truths. However, they are not the most relevant truths. This blog brings up those that are — the financial incentives, the “coercive control” if you will — of the courts on BOTH men (through child support extortion) AND women (through child support extortion and/or taking the kids hostage improperly), again, for financial gain. And the dishonesty behind the design of the courts in failing to tell one party that the other party has government grants-based incentives, and that Big Brother has at many levels decided that’s it’s OK to bastardize the court system if it means increased “noncustodial parenting time.” This is something that should concern everyone, not just those in the court system.

      My minor mixup with a different Evan Stark was an honest mistake, quickly corrected, and I imagine, forgiven. And again, I wasn’t criticizing what Evan Stark wrote, but commenting on the appropriateness of so many others’ voices interpreting what women can, indeed, say — and have been saying in their own words.

      I’ll assume you are NOT this Richard Posner, who I bet has something better to do with his free time:

      if you want to know about “Coercive Control of Women,” in addition to appreciating the truths in that book, read some Phyllis Chesler about Islamic gender apartheid, and understand that our country is heading in that direction in the family law arena, and in public policy which is enthralled with “fatherhood” as if it will solve society’s problems if only we say the word long enough, loud enough, and it is well-funded enough.

      My second reply, here, is going to illustrate how decent people protesting abuse can also have simply a sales and self-promotion motive, which I do not — I am not SELLING anything. I am reporting.

      FYI people who wish to keep the public focused on the PSYCHOLOGY of batterer (or “false-allegation-females, the contrary side) are quite smart — because those who take that bait are unlikely to scrutinize the operations of the courts and surrounding associations/organizations, which is what i do, with a few others. Right now, this appears to be embarrassing certain groups (appropriately) far more than I was temporarily embarrassed for having confused Evan Stark with Evan Stark.

      I am a voracious reader (always have been), but with this comes recognizing patterns of subject matter; I do not read every single domestic violence book that comes out. I read a lot of tax returns, documentation of various programs, and you can bet I am looking up boards of directors on major nonprofits that profit from our distresses.

      Have a nice day. I suggest you keep reading my blog, you might learn something that’s under-reported elsewhere.

      Systemic Religious Coercive Control is normal for some cultures:

      “Forced, arranged marriage is a heartbreaking and soul-crushing Islamic reality. Yes, I know: tribal concepts of family honor and Arab desert customs take pride in the fact that they are able to break each individual’s will in the service of the larger good of the family, the clan, the most brutal patriarch, the historical past, and ultimately Allah himself.

      Nevertheless, marrying a ten-year-old to her thirty-year-old, illiterate first cousin or to a man old enough to be her grandfather and who already has two wives and grown sons is barbaric and inhuman. Forcing a girl or a boy to marry someone against their will and preventing them from marrying the person of their choice is a crime against the heart. Often, such arranged marriages (and almost all marriages are arranged) include normalized wife-and daughter-in-law beating. The few shelters and jails for battered women and for the intended victims of honor killings in the Muslim world are filled with such stories.”

      (Chesler, “Burqa Babes,” http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/burqa-babes-in-the-big-house-romeo-and-juliet-in-kabul/)

      PS. Another recent example of coercive control by a man of an intimate partner, found here:

      “Crime & Courts
      Woman Jumps From Car After Being Torched By Husband
      Published July 22, 2011
      | Associated Press

      Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/07/22/woman-jumps-from-car-after-being-torched-by-husband/#ixzz1UAiN8mBc
      (This later may have not been her husband). For a grasp of the scope, google the term “woman doused with gas” and find out how much of this is going on. I would call that coercive control….

      The family law is set up to screen out all but the worst cases (and sometimes even of those) from being handled as criminal matters when they are.
      It is doing this quite well, and my overall concern is to change that standard.


      August 5, 2011 at 9:18 am

      • Here’s another example of a well-meaning (?) person talking about the “best” way to frame the issue. Mr. Goldstein got disbarred in the process of defending a battered woman, Genia Shockome (the case is still open, I heard) and now also has a book to promote. His case had identified embezzlement by the supervised visitation person in it (Viola Stroud/Dutchess County, NY) and she went on to defraud elderly women’s estates, including after they were dead.

        Yet Mr. Goldstein (and friends) are “just not interested” in that angle — nor is it covered in their new book which he is promoting here. Towards the end of the blurb, he mentions several people, and several organizations, he works with (and many of who contributed to the book). These form a new market niche — marketing to mothers about the “Crisis in the courts.”

        Being a former expert (in law) and with other experts (in psychology, or the battered women’s movement (funny name when you think of it), and domestic violence professionals / psychologists — the obvious solution is, call in more — but better — experts. Here ,Barry is on NOMAS, and advising how men who REALLY care about stopping violence against women should continue to ignore the financial incentives (there is NOTHING in there on the entire child support system, or (as far as I can tell from the extensive table of contents) even on welfare reform of 1996.

        If you read it carefully, he is emphasizing “best practices” and research type mentality. The problem is, the poor, uninformed judges just don’t have access to the latest and best research (his, and his friends).

        If I were a judge, I’d be insulted by that, or simply laugh — he clearly isn’t going to talk about how the AFCC and/or NCJFCJ are already training judges, along with plenty of others. IN fact, where the DV movement sold out to the FR movement was to sell complete separation (appropriate when there is ongoing criminal behavior by one parent) in exchange for supervised visitation, batterers’ intervention, and “train-the-judge” policies.

        (this appears to have been by about 1980, or late 1980s, and if I can find that link, I’ll blog it, but we can see this policy in operation. This policy requires the public to PAY for these trainings, too, without solving the problem).

        Here’s that quote, and then I have other business today, and no doubt you will after reading this.

        “10 Ways Anti-sexist Men Can Help Reform the Broken Custody Court System

        By Barry Goldstein,
        NOMAS Child Custody Task Group
        Research has now established that the custody court system’s response to domestic violence cases is deeply flawed. Courts’ use of outdated practices, unqualified professionals, inadequate training, gender bias and other mistakes has resulted in thousands of children being sent to live with abusers. This article explores the role anti-sexist men can play in reforming the custody court system.
        Extremists who control “fathers’ rights” groups have developed powerful tactics to help abusers maintain what they believe is men’s privilege to control their partners and make the major decisions in the relationship. Abusive fathers with little involvement with their children during the relationship are seeking custody as a way to pressure his partner to return, punish her for leaving or obtain a favorable settlement of economic issues. Judges and other professionals, happy to see a father interested in his children have been slow to recognize abusers’ legal tactics. The male supremacist activists have created an illusion that they speak for most fathers. This is why it is particularly important that good men speak out for the safety of protective mothers and their children.
        Garland Waller is an award winning producer of documentaries and professor of communications at Boston University. In her chapter for the forthcoming book DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, ABUSE and CHILD CUSTODY, she describes the failure of the media and particularly the national media to expose the crisis in the custody court system. Professor Waller suggests that there is a “tipping point” for this issue and once enough of the public is aware of the problem, the media will cover the issue and the public will no longer tolerate the outdated practices that have ruined so many children’s lives. The suggestions in this article are designed to help society reach this tipping point.
        1. Learn about the subject: In order for men to play a role in ending these avoidable tragedies, they have to first make themselves knowledgeable about the subject. Fortunately there is much up-to-date research and information available to refute the myths and stereotypes commonly used by those unfamiliar with this research. On the web, good information and links can be found at web sites for the Battered Mothers Custody Conference (Batteredmotherscustodyconference.org), National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV.org), Leadership Council (Leadershipcouncil.org), Stop Family Violence (Stopfamilyviolence.org), Liz Library (thelizlibrary.org) and my web site (Barrygoldstein.net). This is not a complete list and many other good sites will be found in the links available on these sites.
        Many good books and articles containing up-to-date research and information are also available. Men who wish to read about this topic should consider work by Lundy Bancroft, Dr. Jay Silverman, Peter Jaffe, Claire Crooks, Nicholas Bala, Joan Zorza, Evan Stark, Michael Lesher, Dr. Amy Neustein, Dr. Maureen Hannah and Barry Goldstein. These writers in turn cite research from other good sources. Men should avoid articles based on flawed and biased research such as those cited by male supremacist organizations or Parental Alienation Syndrome propagandists.”

        I know many of those organizations, have heard their leaders spoke, and appealed to some of them to consider the HHS funding angle, remembering appeals to do the same thing from NOW leaders as far back as 2002.

        They are for the most part uninterested in this (although the group Center for Judicial Excellence seems to have finally done a diluted version of criticizing SOME grants — while being on the receiving end of others…..).


        Notice he mentions “Parental Alienation” propagandists without actually (like I do) naming a SINGLE one of them, by name or association (he might mention the deceased Richard Gardner in some writings, but that’s about it).

        This is not good advice, either, here:

        “Men should avoid articles based on flawed and biased research such as those cited by male supremacist organizations or Parental Alienation Syndrome propagandists.

        ” Another good source of accurate information about the crisis in the custody court system is domestic violence advocates and protective mothers. Domestic violence advocates are the only professionals that work full time on domestic violence issues”

        “Domestic Violence Advocates” (and I know plenty of them, their habits, the grants stream they are on, and particularly their habit of “marketing to moms.” The “protective mothers” phrase refers to primarily those that are following this crowd, and/or Lundy’s “Protective Mother Alliance” (PMA) which recently tried to get a case to the Supreme Court (Linda Marie Sacks) — I heard they were rejected — and specifically rejected the concept of the existence of bribes in her Florida-based case.

        I explained this a few times to Linda Marie (once in person, once in comments field on a high-profile article series) and have all but spoonfed people THE names, THE organizations in her area, who was connected with whom to most likely have thrown the case.

        The other group of “protective mothers” follow a group in California, “CPPA” run by a woman who was as a child subject to ritual Satanic abuse (i believe the account quite likely), and has given women some horrible advice, including blowing their personal court cases, while open, by reporting the details to strangers, hoping for attention or sympathy. This is not only unwise, it’s dangerous. Typically, these cases are being lost — not won, which only seems to garner more attention.

        Women truly concerned about freeing their kids will figure out fast (rather than never) who is, and is not, leading towards that goal; and like any mother BEAR, will take care of the problem such that it doesn’t crop up again, or even THINk about cropping up again. That’s “protection.”

        I’m not talking ILlegal activities, but REPORTING illegal activities — which are systemic. How can you protect anyone or anything if you don’t find out, eventually, which end is up?

        This comment wasn’t addressed only to you, perhaps someone else may get around to it.

        The root of the word “expert,” by the way, is not “has developed the right rhetoric” but experience. And that’s the actual parents or children involved.


        August 5, 2011 at 9:41 am

  3. Here’s a segment from the post above I actually disagree with, and as stated, it implies that this professional has a grasp on the whole scope of abused women. Where’s the evidence that he does?

    ” The prevailing view* * * is that women stay and develop a range of mental health and behavioral problems because exposure to severe violence induces trauma-related syndromes, such as PTSD or BWS that can disable a woman’s capacity to cope or escape. In fact, however, only a small proportion of abuse victims evidence these syndromes. Most victims of abuse do not develop significant psychological or behavioral problems. Abused women exhibit a range of problems that are unrelated to trauma, the vast majority of assault incidents are too minor to induce trauma, and abuse victims can be entrapped even in the absence of assault.”

    I don’t know if I can succeed in communicating this, but here’s an attempt: the following statement, in itself, takes a stance, a writers’ stance, that it KNOWS about the totality of abuse victims (which I’d challenge) and is characterizing part to the whole. This is OK if you are a fiction writer, but not for nonfiction:

    He writes:

    “In fact, however, only a small proportion of abuse victims evidence these syndromes. Most victims of abuse do not develop significant psychological or behavioral problems.”

    Any victim of abuse who has small children witnessing this, ongoing, has a major, chronic stressor in her life til the problem is solved — and the abuse is stopped (rare) or the abuser is OUT of the home. Once the abuser is OUT of the home, possibly through a civil restraining order, then the problem returns — quickly in a number of ways:

    1. Custody Court — which is run by the organization AFCC/CRC (combo, with funding assured by the “OCSE”) and has an agenda to drain the family of finances until someone breaks, and possibly to get the kids and put them with the batterer, so she’ll stay in court trying to get them back. (I have actually heard an attorney whose business is training custody evaluators state that this is the practice) = more money for the courts. If she goes to Custody Court, any restraining order is coming OFF, and possibly may end on her instead.

    she and the kids are doubly lucky (a) not on TANF, or welfare of any sort, and no child support involved, which will give her greater independence if she can survive financially. This unlikely situation would be possible if the abuse has NOT yet destroyed her economic base, and/or her family or other community stands by her, both of which are unlikely. Often abusers target people who are isolated from their own family anyhow.


    (b) the father just abandons the family, forever, meaning ZERO involvement from the courts, the Welfare System, and the Child Support system — in other words, under the radar, he just splits and finds maybe someone else to abuse . . . and they can heal and move on.

    AND/OR the problem could return in this way:
    2. The batterer is not at all deterred by the restraining order to start with and simply returns to kill (it’s all but guaranteed there won’t be much, if any, jail time. If there is jail time, it will eventually be over; meantime, if there are kids, there are outreach programs (well-heeled) to men in jail to help them with access to their kids.)

    3. The restraining order is on, but the local law enforcement choose not to enforce violations of it (See Castle Rock v. Gonzales). Or, they do, but a judge springs the person on promises and batterers intervention/anger management classes. I have a page somewhere here, on a SF case where this happened (no children, though, it’d been a dating relationship). The man was sprung on good grades at his DV classes, and a few days later, her body shows up in his trunk. (Scott McAlpin).

    4. The father/batterer does no (zero) jail time, doesn’t re-assault her, BUT contacts — or is recruited by — the local fatherhood programs, which are widespread, and get funding in EVERY state, and get free legal assistance to raise hell — for years — in the court system, bankrupting her and/or them, reducing functionality in life overall. . . . . If he’s religious, it’s quite likely some church (as churches compete for personnel the way grantees compete for federal grants) or religious group (God help them if it’s a certain kind of Muslim) will pick up his cause. He will have visitation, for sure, and if the violence issues has simply not been addressed properly, her relationship with the children will be seriously undermined, and they will be at risk of further abuse and/or kidnapping. He may even manage to get HER on supervised visitation, in which case eventually she’ll run out of money to pay to see her kids, particularly if this has been a custody switch and now she is also paying child support, set higher for more limited time with them.

    5. For one reason or another, the state steps in and grabs the kids, they go to foster care, or are adopted out, in part possibly because the constant litigation/stress has helped reduce the mother to dysfunction over the years. Or simply because there’s a federal incentive in there somewhere.

    Don’t tell me I”m imagining this thing –read the record of the late Georgia Senator Nancy Schaefer (deceased — murder); there are some youtubes, and she spoke of those incentives too.

    There are many, many events that happen that don’t even relate to the abusive relationship, but to “too many cooks in the kitchen” (and hawking their wares, also) that can exacerbate the situation for profit. PARTICULARLY as a lot of money circulates around children; everyone is (allegedly) protecting them. It’s basically a bidding war on where they end up living; kind of reminds one of the former slave auctions.

    In the light of all that could lie ahead, easily, I find it real interesting that more people aren’t following through with the process of what happens after an abusive couple separates and are ensnared in this system — and from the point of view from someone who’s survived it. It is impossible to comprehend and assimilate how the various parts interplay, at some level, if you haven’t been there. People not in the situation, even though they may have GREAT empathy and WIDE exposure to people who have — do not stand in the same, place, and generally speaking, lose quite a bit in translation particularly the urgency of these matters.

    It’s simply a different viewpoint. Over time, when a person transitions to listening to professionals talk about (her) situation — and comparing the discrepancy between the descriptions and the ongoing reality — she’s going to spend more time listening to what she sees and hears, extensively; the combination of her own instinct and real-time observation of the factors will produce a more accurate framework to understand the reality and what’s driving the dynamics.

    That’s the step right before serious systemic change happens. While women (and men) sit passively listening to the experts describe them, and internalize whatever framework is fed (which changes, some, over the years) and regurgitates the same talk — well, that’s what I call sheep. And we don’t need sheep at this point.


    August 5, 2011 at 10:29 am

  4. […] Family Court Matters blog. […]

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