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.

Why this blog — points of reference

with 3 comments


About me:  

  • I’d be a Renaissance man if I were not a woman; I seek understanding, but like to develop skillsets.  
  • I’d also be a libertarian, and have been, until I searched for evidence these know that violence against women is a serious social problem. 
  • I’d be a ~conservative, but they frighten me. Really, even the women.  I mean, Really, now:
  • Slash-and-burn columnist Ann Coulter shocked a cable TV talk-show audience Monday when she declared that Jews need to be “perfected” by becoming Christians, and that America would be better off if everyone were Christian.

    Coulter made the remarkable statements during an often heated appearance to promote her new book on advertising guru Donny Deutsch’s CNBC show “The Big Idea.”

    In response to a question from Deutsch asking Coulter if “it would be better if we were all Christian,” the controversial columnist responded: “Yes.”

    “We should all be Christian?” Deutsch repeated.

    “Yes,” Coulter responded, asking Deutsch, who is Jewish, if he would like to “come to church with me.”

    Deutsch, pressing Coulter further, asked, “We should just throw Judaism away and we should all be Christians?” She responded: “Yeah.”

    Coulter deflected Deutsch’s assertion that her comments were anti-Semitic, matter-of-factly telling the show’s obviously upset host, “That is what Christians consider themselves: perfected Jews.”

    I mean, the chutzpah of anyone (Pope included) presuming to speak for an entire religion (let alone the content, here!) .   

  •  I’d be a liberal if I didn’t know the flora and fauna of the institutions created by them. It’s a misnomer, unless you understand the “to whom” that follows its use.
  • What then?  I’ve been politically correct, multi-culturally, socio-economically, ethnically, and professionally diverse throughout my life; this kinda sorta just happened.  Then I married, and my life was reduced, for the most part, to survival level (the “School of Hard Knocks”), but this itself can be a great incubator for studying the politics of oppression, capitalism, and many other things there is simply no other way to learn, unfortunately.
  • I’d have joined NOW if I weren’t opposed to several of their causes, based on my faith and my experience with a family member who chose abortion voluntarily.  That person has attempted to replace me in my daughters’ lives, and to this day, I believe those abortions are partly why.  I am sorry for all of us that none of us got to see this person, to whom I am related, get pregnant, deliver children, and raise them.  I KNOW she could’ve done it (and her art), had there been a will to find a way. 
  • I’d be attending a church had I not attended fellowships, pastoral counseling and a BUNCH of churches while my husband was battering me in front of my daughters in the home, and they KNEW this.  This is a major sacrifice, as the work I did involves music in the church.  
  • I’d be attending a church had I not been inside enough of them (Catholic  & Protestant both) to believe they are NOT safe places for women, not single women, and certainly not DIVORCED single woman, and absolutely 100% not BATTERED DIVORCED single women to do anything besides put themselves on the radar for (1).  doctrines tolerating wife-battering more than tolerating women leaving it (divorce), or (2) batterers targeting needy divorced women to become their “2nd” and get those kids away from the evil mother of their children.  Did I mention child abuse yet?

These are not, my fellow female Christian intelligent women, places to spread your wings, I feel, and where you should be putting your heart and intelligence and time, to work:  

Not when groups like “Family Research Council” (see sidebar) can — print shlock like this:  

FRC strongly supports adoption, particularly as an alternative to abortion, single parenthood, or foster care. The purpose of adoption is not to provide children for adults who want them, but to provide for children families that give them the experience of intact married family life as much as possible. Adoption policy should therefore include a primary preference for placing children with a married mother and father as long as such are available”

and not tell you upfront.  Logically speaking, I shoulda coulda stayed in the marriage til death DID us part, prematurely.  Since I didn’t, my children would be better off adopted?   Moreover, as I study the organizations/associations/ people pushing this through HHS and onto us have produced homes more broken, for less reason, than what went before.  Like most top-down, “isms,” this hurts people.  The premise of “social engineerings” is that people are cogs in a machine, and should be tinkered with — out of site, out of their control, and by paternalistically superior beings, supposedly.    

Not when they can print and distribute some of the most inane, palm-sized little brochures (totally absent references to laws, or nonprofits helping women, or warnings — “Helping a battered woman can be hazardous, if not lethal, to your health” and citing even last month’s headlines in the nearest urban area) I have read, straight out of a Norman Rockwell world which never existed — I don’t think ever. Has anyone actually read these, and compared it with even a week’s worth of the daily news, or a single google search?  

 

I will post about Dobson and “Promise Breakers” separately.  It deserves this.

Meanwhile, my message is:  “There’s no excuse for abuse of women and children.

There’s no excuse for treating your intellectual, emotional etc. equals as inferiors.

And if you haven’t noticed “it takes two to tango,”

let me ask, where you were when your Y chromosome

started differentiating you (i.e., in the old boys’ club, or inside a woman?),

then perhaps we women DO 

need to separate ourselves — psyche and services both — as a sex and teach you Focused on the Family that lesson.  Members or adherents of your association are hurting, sometimes killing, mothers, under this doctrine.  Clean your own house FIRST and get our input in doing so — it’s needed!

Who else am I (today, so far)?  Or would I hope to be?

I’d become an attorney and advocate for women’s rights if I weren’t convinced that it’s simply bad company, for the most part.  And if there were time left in life for this.  You are going to owe your soul one way or another, and I think there may be a better way to address these issues.  Phyllis Chesler has been for years, in Women and Madness, Mothers on Trial, and many, many forums:

Dr. Chesler’s thirteen books and thousands of articles and speeches have inspired people on many diverse issues. Her books include: Women and MadnessWomen,Money and PowerAbout MenWith ChildA Diary of MotherhoodMothers on TrialThe Battle for Children and CustodySacred BondThe Legacy of Baby M;PatriarchyNotes of an Expert WitnessFeminist Foremothers in Women’s Studies, Psychology, and Mental HealthLetters to a Young FeministWoman’s Inhumanity to WomanWomen of the WallClaiming Sacred Ground at Judaism’s Holy Site;The New Anti-SemitismThe Current Crisis and What We Must Do About It; and The Death of FeminismWhat’s Next in the Struggle for Women’s Freedom. A revised and updated edition of her classic, best-selling work, Women and Madness, was published in 2005. Her work has been translated into more than ten languages.   (www.phylllis-chesler.com)

 (I read  Women and Madness as a very young woman, and it sure made sense.  I hadn’t experienced an iota of what it addressed, but a good idea just makes sense, as also did Sugar Blues.)  

Liz Richards, another woman with a different skillset and focus, out of Anandale, VA by way of (unconfirmed, but I THINK…) Ohio and Florida, has told it like it is, and she’s been doing this since about a decade after the courts determined that the way to address domestic violence was to rename it (high-conflict) and force parents to a never-ending negotiation, courtesy your taxes. (See Side Links). She calls it simply organized crime.  This label fits with my perceptions (there is a method to the “dysfunction” of the child support agencies + family court apparatus.  Anything that consistently dysfunctional, and leaning to a particular side of the road when these issues (violence, assaults, criminal stuff) are brought up, is NOT “dysfunctional,” but doing EXACTLy what its apparatus, as currently in place, is doing.  If a bicycle did this, we would know what to do.  Larger systems, it takes some scrutiny to find out why, which has been done.  (http://www.nafcj.net)

This label “organized crime” also fits with my experiential symptoms of going into these halls — very much similar to the impact of the violence in the home, the violence to one’s soul, psyche, and sense of meaning — i.e., “post-traumatic-stress” — complicated by the fact, there’s no end in sight, when a relationship with battering (and children) enters this arena.  If you co-parent when the other was violent (etc.), that goes on as long as the kids are “minors.”  If, as happens, custody is reversed suddenly at some stage of the game, the pain of that goes on, I don’t know for how long, because currently my situation is in-progress.  Years, so far, and this is not something that time and distance changes, apparently.  “Just forget” that one was a mother, or a father, huh?  

Family Law now endorses ongoing relationships with the batterer parent — or else the protecting parent (typically female, though not always) is going to be accused of a new thought-crime, “PAS”, which was actually thought up by a single individual, and this idea has circulated like stale air through these stratospheres that family court professional inhabit, and is still.  Kind of like a name a kid gets on the playground that might follow him/her through almost adulthood.  This is not uncommon after crimes — shock, dismay, disturbances.  

Then there’s the resulting “complex” post-traumatic stress and of course it’s called a “disorder” to redirect the focus to the person showing the symptoms, lest someone notice — and to something about – the causes, namely actors, namely in the courts and surrounding agencies that simply will not LET a parent, or sometimes children, exit a violent relationship, EVER, til they are adults.  For what THAT costs society, see http://www.acestudy.org. (to right).

So, we have to keep calling things and calling them, and calling them what they actually are.  And we must not kill or attempt to destroy a person (or group) if our label does not agree with someone else’s.  WE — and by that, I mean universally, not just families in the web — MUST insist that THE common ground in this country is the Constitution, The Bill of Rights, and the system of laws, checks and balances, and judicial accountability in the courts, due process at all stages of the system, and all that.   We CANNOT afford to have pop psychology (of each successive decade) replace actual evidence-based fact-gathering, and determinations, in this arena.  And people, the inhabitants of these arena are financially rewarded for the pop psychology.  Our courts are becoming treatment centers.  Wars have been fought against regimes that do this, so I’d say, wake up!  

Calling is an art, and exceptionally important to life.  It was one of the first recorded activities of Adam.  It is inherent to the human condition, and we need to get it right!  Consider:  there are competitions in bird-calls and for that matter, pig-calling.  We learn labeling in school, taught primarily by the system, to call ourselves “smart” or “slow.”  “Learning-disabled.”  (When was the last time you heard in discussion the term “teaching-disabled”????)  

Whenever you have herds, as in of children (as in the 3,000 on lockdown in LA, see my other post) the obvious need is to manage & control them; hence, the obvious priority is to organize them by a standard classification system.  But in a family, a person has a name. Every kid in that family, no matter how they are treated, at least has a name, and something is known about him or her.  If the family is fluid enough, they can function in different scenarios, retain their last names, and a bit of unity, of relationship, but not so rigid.

Imagine my surprise when, by virtue of leaving my abusive husband (which on the surface of it would seem to be a smart move — and a necessary move), I suddenly, to some folks, lost ALL defining features outside of my marital status.  Gee whiz, that sets you a-thinking!

What’s happening in the courts:  The players know EACH other by first-name basis, working together daily, associations, conferences, continuing education seminars, and so forth.  The people coming through the doors as clients are NOT known so well, and the tendency is to stick together, if one “player” messes up, or violates professional codes.  So, a litigant (plaintiff, defendant) is sent scrambling for professional help, an “in,” and “expert,” someone who knows the system.  I learned (the hard way) that this is NOT who I want representing my cause in front of a judge.  I know my case better.  I am vested in getting it OUT of the courts, however, an attorney makes more money if my case stays IN there, as do other players, etc.  So, right away we have a conflict of interest.  Add to that each type of court has a paradigm and language it speaks, and of all of them, the family law system is one of the most idiosyncratic.  Caveat emptor!

 

Name Calling vs Called by Name:

Jesus Christ “called” Lazarus out of the grave, according to Bible (Gospel of John).  Bullies call names before they attack, and most kinds of animals have their own call-signs before mating, or fighting. Liberals call names before imposing their fundamentalist values on everyone within striking range, which disgreeing with one puts you within.

One of the things taught me by all this trauma is who, I think, is closest to the ground-zero truth of these mattters.  Children, for one, eccentrics, homeless many times, and some artists/musicians/dancers.  There are somethings you just can’t express in a document; the psyche cannot comprehend.  Words are inappropriately tame to describe some of these events, and systems that produce and endorse such events as:  violence at an intimate, or molesting a child, or stealing a child from a parent to punish the other parent, or for that matter, lying in court.  There is something so VIOLENT about a lie, it worms its way into a person’s life for sometimes far longer than a slap or a shove.  Maybe. . . . .     

So, this “Let’s Get Honest” Blog is for dialogue.  I figure there are enough “He Said/She Said” blogs calling each other’s authors “nutcases.”  Anyone can Google a term related to these issues and read from disgruntled fathers and disgruntled mothers.  But I want us to take a look at the language and the labeling — not just cross-swords with our chosen experts.  I want us to find out if an “us” exists somewhere, outside of hate and self-righteousness and indignation.  But, I most certainly will report tragedies that relate to this.  They are all too frequent, and I do believe there are causes.    

I want to find out whether there is possibly a common thing to get indignant at, and stop the process of demonizing, canonizing, demonizing, canonizing that shuts down dialogue.


Then again, there are certain times one does not dialogue.  This site would be an example:  “Christianparty.net”  (a.k.a. “father’s manifesto.”) They want to stop women from voting and throw out “Jews” and “Blacks.”  People of the Asian persuasion don’t even make the ballot.  

Another comment:  I am going to bring up hard-to-handle topics.  Believe me, these are hard for me to speak about also.  I am not going to post proofread and copyedited style all the time; the urgency is to get this material out.  If you have never been stalked, or been the target certain ongoing types of crimes, perhaps you may not understand this type of urgency to get certain things SAID.  I do, and as such, do not promise to proofread properly.

Another comment:  I have never been fooled for too long by a person coming at me saying, “I am going to shut down your profession and steal your children — “we will bury you!”  — or calling bad names.  But it is the “let us help you” ones to watch out for, when one is in a crisis.  

Therefore, I’m putting links on this site to “pipl” and many search tools on organizations & government, because we ought to look at who is speaking.  I’m putting links to, and will quote, organizations that are major “players” in the family court business, because I believe it’s EVERYONE’s business to know these things.  It is possible we are going to a nonverbal age, in which words are used differently, as clothing might identify a gang, verbiage identifies larger gangs.  There are markings.  So one cannot disconnect brain and engage as if this were a theoretical debate with neutral arbitrators and emcees.  There is nothing of the sort.  At some point, it becomes more instinct, calculation, and knowing the flora and fauna of the territory.  Look also at the posturing, the tone, the temperature, and the things NOT said in the debate.   

I also will encourage the lot of us to understand that ass-sitting is unacceptable in this matter.  Farming out one’s opinions to experts is unacceptable.  I have stood in front of “experts” and “experienced” having their advice forced on my family, and also experienced trying to hold them accountable for damages.  This can sometimes be done in the private sphere, one way or another.  Closed doors need to be opened.  And some opened doors need be shut.

In my marriage there were very few direct witnesses to me being slapped or thrown around –other than very small children, one of them yet unborn and the other under two.  There were AMPLE witnesses to me, or all of us, seconds or only minutes after such attacks — and the effects of one could last more than a day, emotionally.  None of those appeared to know what to make of it, and NOT one individual addressed this properly — with Dad there, with Mom there, with children there –and forcefully said, “It’s Wrong.  This is never acceptable.”  Moreover, not one “mandated reporter,” except a single individual in 10 years, reported.

Among these mandated reporters of domestic violence and child abuse (as I understand it) are:  clergy, teachers, pastors, doctors, and dentists.  I believe (but am still unclear at this point), also, attorneys. These are ways the public can say:  NO! to violence towards one’s partner.  

By the time they were both approaching 10, they had learned that this dichotomy is “normal.”  Unlike some situations, ours observed many, many witnesses who knew about the abuse, ignoring it.  Values were formed therefore, in my daughters, about acceptable behaviors.  I kept them as occupied as possible with outside the home healthy relationships with other professionals, and families, and particularly in the expressive arts.  I know I did my best until it became possible and urgent to separate, and I realized I couldn’t wait for all the ducks to be lined up for this change — we were about to become shooting ducks in the gallery, I felt, any moment.  And guns existed at home (and were in use) to do this.

So, the only one who formally said this — it’s NOT OK! — and demonstrated it to my children was ME.  I filed a domestic violence restraining order with kickout, and it held.  It was made permanent.  I did this in a non-antagonistic manner, and gave father generous visitation, and did not teach anyone to hate HIM for what he’d done.  I set increasingly clear boundaries over the years, and as I did so, they were increasing violated, and systematically so.  I have watched and narrated this with dismay, as the more support I sought for this, the less it seemed not only my own family (of origin) but also the courts, the law enforcement I eventually had to resort to, or others, understood.

Once forced to face that there were people and entities who — for their own agenda — refused to accept me as an adult, I began to look at why, and demand that they did:   It appeared to vary witth the situation:  In some (especially religious) circles, apparently because I was a woman, or because I was a single Mom, or because I was a younger sibling, or because I was not wealthy enough?   Because after a decade of violence, my house needed repair, and was in disorder?  (Violence breeds chaos — which makes dominating others easier.  You break down their infrastructure — that’s not exactly rocket science!) 

IS there any excuse for not treating another adult as an adult?? ???  My answer is, NO, and especially not when their behavior qualifies as sensible, given their situation.  My behavior included setting appropriate boundaries, showing initiative (working!) and assessing household and family needs as they varied.  It also included soliciting outside (the family) sources of information, referrals, and evaluating what caused passed “failures.”  

And I have not excused any individual who came into my post-divorce’s household preaching one thing and practicing its opposite.  I have not excused the educational expert who forgot to notice that my daughters were sought out by people from outside (his) system for company as good examples.  I have not excused the “mediator” who undid the initial restraining order and showed no interest in the facts of our situation.  I have not excused the pastor who, picking me up moments (within a single hour) of a very, very cruel and violent attack on my pregnant self, drove me to the hospital, but didn’t confront my ex, call the police, or recommend that I do.  All of us have people like this.  

One has to ask, WHY? We do not speak. 

Forgiving and excusing are two different activities. The person can be forgiven.  Certain acts are inexcusable.  I consider LYING one of them.  Another, professing expertise one does not possess. True professionals have humility within their profession and outside it.  They will constantly research, not just preach and pronounce, hold conferences in membership-only situations/organizations — and enforce their agreements on the public-at large.

These things need be exposed, and intact, tax-paying (or those smart enough to not pay taxes, legally), two-parent, solvent, atheist and god-fearing (whichever ‘god’) families and people need to know and talk about this.

And while we are hear, I want to “share” (post -it’s my post, right?) THE first Bible verse I was ever asked to memorize. It’s still one of my favorites, because it talks about things beyond the label of any profession maintaining a membership in the “Association of Family and Conciliation Courts” :

Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (King James Version)

or, if you would. . . .

For the word of God is living and full of power, and is sharper than any two-edged sword, cutting through and making a division even of the soul and the spirit, the bones and the muscles, and quick to see the thoughts and purposes of the heart. (Bible in Basic English)

 

Discernment is most certainly needed.  

A plumb-line with which to discern is also needed.Where’s yours?  TV?  Your neighbor? What you read in the newspapers after the latest “event” involving a family?  That would not be enough.  

We are all tested, but what is YOUR plumbline — the local experts?  Do you know who these people are, and what they are paid (in various situations) to say what they do?  Do you know what the consequences of certain types of jargon is on children, in particular?  Do you  know which words could land a Mom or a Dad in jail, suddenly, unawares?  Or could get a family wiped out?  Words have this power.  WE need to know the spirit in which these are spoken, and behind the policies driving the system.  There are no rewards for numbness.

“Ye shall know them by their fruits.”  The fruits often show up in the newspapers, so I expect to be posting from these also.

 

(Hope to be less obnoxiously long, and promise to work on this….)

Written by Let's Get Honest

March 4, 2009 at 4:12 am

3 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. This blog is challenging my social network technology skills. That, plus accessing internet publically means that sometimes I lose the contents of an edit. This never happened in my plain text typing days — the “Save” was built into my finger’s internal CPS. Typing also used a good deal less of my brain. Between trauma, and multi-tasking beyond belief (thank you, the “family-fixer-folks”), plus possibly age, I give my excuses for incomplete or misplaced thoughts. LInks, are coming. . . . .

    Hmm.

    familycourtmatters

    March 8, 2009 at 3:56 am

  2. […] through 2009, I wrote  Why This Blog – Points of Reference, about the marginalization of women (mothers) simply reporting and seeking to leave […]

  3. […] through 2009, I wrote  Why This Blog – Points of Reference, about the marginalization of women (mothers) simply reporting and seeking to leave […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

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.

Red Herring Alert

There's something fishy going on!

The American Spring Network

News. by the people, for the people. The #1 source for independent investigative journalism in the Show-Me State, serving Missouri since 2011.

Family Court Injustice

It Takes "Just Us" to Fight Family Court Injustice

The Espresso Stalinist

Wake Up to the Smell of Class Struggle ☭

Spiritual Side of Domestic Violence

Finally! The Truth About Domestic Violence and The Church

%d bloggers like this: