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Caught in the DMZ of PAS, IPV, NFI, VAWA and other thrown stones? Let’s pause for some fun…

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To Publish, or To Perish?? To Ph.D. or to Prevent? To Intervene, or to Explicate?

If you’re old enough to remember when “Ph.D.”  was considered “Piled Higher and Deeper” you’re on the right page.

I’m digressing today briefly from “Explicating Domestic Violence” to more fun fields, and what we can learn from researching:

“Does Size Matter in the Corpus Callosum (and who still cares, and why)”

The moral of the lesson is the same as researching fatherhood — a walk on the wild side with the Ph.D.s  But it’s better for my blood pressure than narrating the latest alleged family wipe-out by a Father who DID return, a security guard for a major female (tel)evangelist.  (cf.  “National Fathers Return” Day).  One less female-headed household to tweak the statistic.  One less female, period, for that matter.

I may get to it tomorrow.  Meanwhile today, you’re stuck with this topic.


I mean after all, “Explicating Domestic Violence” gets THIS scholarly Google result, which I dare you to say with a straight face and in one breath:

About 1993

“Because of the historical stigma attached to rape and family violence, estimating incidence rates of these victimizations is a difficult task. {{understandable, right??}} Research employing diverse methodologies and operational definitions, not surprisingly, has yielded different estimates. After a 10-year redesign project, the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) has drastically changed the way it estimates the incidence of rape and family violence. This new survey methodology was implemented in 100 percent of the NCVS sample in July 1993; estimates based on the new survey will become available in fall 1994. The purpose of this paper is to delineate the evolution of this redesign project and to explicate how rape and domestic violence now are operationalized by the NCVS.”

I would be rather interested in STOPPING rape and domestic violence than operationalizing the explication of them.  However, if you are interested in THIS study, and have $30.00 to spare, go for it.  I don’t.

About 1994

Lest you lose your bearings (easy to do on my blog), for timeline reference, VAWA and NFI date from approximately this time. 


Late 1990s, two women, on APA Psychnet, notice a linguistic shift:


“Patient was hit in the face by a fist…”: A discourse analysis of male violence against women.
Phillips, Debby; Henderson, Dorothy

American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.** Vol 69(1), Jan 1999, 116-121.

Provides a discourse analysis of professional and popular literature describing male violence against women. Beyond investigating the linguistic practices that obscure or conceal male responsibility, the authors examine the absence of men in the most common and visible cultural conversations describing male violence against women. They test the hypothesis that contemporary professional and popular media discourse on male violence against women describe that violence without explicitly mentioning men or males as its source. In 165 abstracts and 11 full-length articles, the phrase “male violence” was used only eight times in these writings; male gender was infrequently mentioned, whereas female gender was often present in the identification of victims of male violence. Consequences of the absence of men as perpetrators and visibility of women in the literature on male violence against women are discussed, and change in these discursive practices is called for. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved)

**ORTHO-PSYCHIATRY??  …. I had braces (orthodontics) and my firsthand exposure to orthoDOXY got my teeth knocked loose, for which I went to a dentist to get X-rayed, but I thought psychiatry per se was sort of a loose field to start with (as are some of our psyches, understandably, what with Freud, Spock, Kinsey, Gloria Steinem, Phyllis Schafly, and Oprah, Dr. Phil, Judge Judy, Steve Bilko, and the deceased Dr. Gardner as our some of our communal national mentors)  (the other Dr. Phyllis should take my omission of her in that list as a compliment). (and Oprah should please forgive me for putting her in next to Dr. Phil, or for that matter in at all).

Apparently some of psychiatry’s peers, on reviewing the field, felt it needed some straight-talk also, hence, the Journal of OrthoPsychiatry (or, do they straighten up their patients?  I don’t know.  I haven’t been in for a tune-up recently).

WELL, fast forward to 2009:

The current absence national social plague is now declared to be father-absence, however the linguistic absence in such talk is actually the word “mother.”  The ramifications in family law matters are serious.  But this post isn’t really.  Bear with me, please.  

As to explicating (as opposed to STOPPING) domestic violence, as of 

2009 summer, whether or not you had $30.00 to spare, this is still going on.  I guess the first 10 years of explications didn’t produce the desired results.  The “Battered Women’s Justice Project” is now mating, chaperoned by the “Office on Violence Against Women,” with the AFCC and NCJRS to Explicate the Context of DV in Custody Cases.  Again.  With federal funding, although which grant, I’ve not yet been able to track down.  I was too stunned by the odd couple here, and asked a lobbyist I knew (with more clout) to call and ask.  She couldn’t get anywhere.  

To the uninformed, this means only a bunch of initials of groups that, supposedly, have the matter under control.  Like our nationwidei school system does on the topic of education, yeah right.  

To people like me, who have been drop-kicked into forcible mediation, meanwhile knowing that:  the NCJRS has reported it’s inadvisable in cases with DV, the AFCC is a bunch of professionals who think Mediation (their field) and evaluation and psychology is the way to go, when it comes to stopping domestic violence (and they are training judges, attorneys and others internationally), and the OVW was — I thought — under the Department of JUSTICE, not the department of “why can’t you all just get along and co-parent with that guy (or, girl) who was punching you last week?” 

Development of a Framework for Identifying and Explicating the Context of Domestic Violence in Custody Cases and its Implications for Custody Determinations

“BWJP has been invited to apply for a grant from the Office on Violence Against Women for a demonstration project to develop a framework to guide custody and visitation decisions in cases involving domestic violence.  Research on custody and visitation determinations provide troubling evidence that procedures currently in use in family courts often fail to identify, contextualize and account for the  occurrence of domestic violence in these cases, and if identified, its presence seems not to consistently affect the court’s recommendations regarding custody or visitation arrangements”

THAT phrase desiccated — or actually watered with a little common sense — translates down to, there IS a framework already contained in the law, and the courts ain’t taking that law into account.  WHY NOT?  Cash flow, I imagine…

For those who don’t yet “get” that hitting is not a good parenting quality (any  more than using a child to relieve one’s sexual urges or participate in adult sexual role play or fantasies, or for that matter, films)

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Stephen W. Thompson, who traveled to Russia to have sex with a teenage boy, was convicted by a federal jury last week on a charge of sexual exploitation of children. {{THAT”s re-assuring, as to our public servants…}}}  The judge also produced a videotape of sex with a minor and then transported that videotape back to the United States. Judge Thompson is associated with the North American Man Boy Love Association, a group which promotes sexual relations between adult men and children. NAMBLA is currently represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)”  {{So is or is NOT this a criminal activity?  If it’s a criminal activity, why is the ACLU protecting the adults in the matter?  You  mean, a child has a civil right to take his or her pants off and bend over?  Or kneel down?? }}

From the article:  “According to trial testimony and evidence, on April 30, 2003, the State Police and Camden County Prosecutor’s Office executed search warrants at both of Thompson’s New Jersey residences and his judicial chambers located in the Camden County Hall of Justice.

During the searches, authorities recovered 17 VHS tapes containing child pornography involving images of children engaged in sexually explicit acts, magazines containing child pornography and child erotica; materials associated with the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA); an 8mm film containing child pornography; various papers containing the age of consent in countries all over the world, as well as in various states in the United States; more than 300 printed images of child pornography and child erotica; and 57 floppy disks containing more than 6,000 thousands of images of child pornography.

One of the videocassettes found along with the video camera was played for the jury and contained what appeared to be tourist footage from a trip to St. Petersburg, Russia, that Thompson made in September 2002. The scene then cuts to a hotel room with a young teenage boy under the age of 18, according to expert testimony. Thompson is heard telling an unidentified man speaking in Russian to ask the child to take off his clothes. As played for the jury, the camera appears to be placed on a piece of furniture in the hotel room and shortly thereafter, Thompson can be seen climbing naked onto the bed with the child and engaging in sexual acts with the child. The tape contains approximately 40 minutes of sexual footage of the child.

I don’t PERSONALLY think a lot of explicating of the wrong-hood of this judicial activity needs to take place.  How are you going to cast this in a positive, gender or age-neutral, less vividly (outrageous) context, particularly for someone who has to exhibit a certain amount of judgment and discretion in the fulfilment of his civic (and tax-payer funded) duties? 

But this is irrelevant, you may say.  Well, IS IT in the family law domain?   Not only is this a serious matter (and thankfully, this judge got caught and stopped), BUT there is ongoing trauma and reports of kids going to the custody of fathers who have a record of domestic violence, and in some cases of child abuse.  Yesterday in Sacramento, California, USA (state capitol), an under-publicized  task force meeting was held to hear about this happening, routinely, egregiously, within the custody issues that this domain of family law.   Proposed Family laws (i.e., BILLS) to protect women and children tend on these two issues tend to get diluted, defeated, and explicated out of existence WHY?  It’s an absolutely serious matter that most of us can’t routinely  handle, but unfortunately, some have to, because it’s them.  Or their kids.    


Assemblywoman Fiona Ma

12th Assembly District

For Immediate Release: May 27, 2009

Contact: Catalina Hayes-Bautista

Phone: (916) 319-2012

Cell: (510) 499-9637 


WHAT:         Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Select Committee on Domestic Violence will convene an informational hearing into allegations that family courts are placing children with batterers.  The Committee will hear from victims, experts, judges and advocates on a child’s best interest in the family court system. The hearing seeks to shed light on stories shared with Assemblywoman Fiona Ma by mothers who are victims of domestic violence and have been in the court system for years, fighting for their children’s best interest.


Meanwhile, the Domestic Violence Conference to end all Conferences is gearing up in Southern California, full of promise, and reframing of the concept that  domestic violence and child abuse are actually criminal matters, and that common sense (and a rebuttable presumption) still, along with the relevant state statutes, say that a spousal batterer doesn’t make a good parent.  It’s not the gender, it’s the behavior….  I just get TIRED of this sometimes, you know, so still plan to move on to the topic at hand, whose Corpus Callosum is larger anyhow?  Maybe this will help counteract some of the “let’s go fetch them fathers out of jails for more contact with their children, and let’s not talk about the mother-child relationship too much, this season, OK — it’s JUST not on the agenda….”


Seriously speaking, now . . . Comparing Callous Bodies (Corpi Collusi?) 


I needed some help mocking the language-inventions of my particular government.  I was trying to look up the phrase that characterizes women as having a thicker “corpus callosum” than men, meaning (supposedly) meaning that we have to multi-task and shift gears more often.  Whether this was biologically or culturally induced (evolved, or created, take your pick of worldviews), I was CERTAIN that women, having been given a shot at designing more institutions, would’ve have had them so fragmented and monolinear, like a serious of non-intersecting assembly lines of life, none of which gives some zip or meaning to any of it, and all of which we are going to be charged for by taxation to fund.

It turns out my concept was probably wrong, BUT it was a topic of immense speculation.  Wading through the higher and deeper verbiage, I found links back to the horribly racist (and equally preposterous) century-old (at least) topic of phrenology (i.e. skull characteristics as a factor of intelligence).   Then there was the one called:


Corpus Callosum:  Does Size Really Matter?


Menstuff® has compiled the following information on the Corpus Callosum, the massive formation of nerve fibers bridging the two cerebral hemispheres. Most (but certainly not all) communication between regions in different halves of the brain are carried over the corpus callosum.

{{AND the word “communication” is singular, which the word “are” ain’t, indicating a short attention span, if not corpus callosum (i.e.,between subject and verb) in the author.  My blog here is testimony that I share this at times, and as such, it does not appear to be gender-specific.}}

“Sexual dimorphism

In humans  {as opposed to, people?  or . . . . .. . ), disputed claims have been made about the importance for gender difference of a difference in size between the corpus callosum in males and females, and analogous racial claims. RB Bean, a Philadelphia anatomist, suggested in 1906 that the ‘‘exceptional size of the corpus callosum may mean exceptional intellectual activity” and claimed gender differences which were refuted by Franklin Mall, the director of his own laboratory (Bishop and Wahlsten, 1997).            

Of much more substantial popular impact was a 1982 Science article (de Lacoste-Utamsing and Holloway) claiming to be the first report of a reliable sex difference in human brain morphology and arguing for relevance to cognitive gender differences. This paper appears to be the source of a large number of lay explanations of perceived male-female difference in behaviour: for example Newsweek stated in 1992 that the corpus callosum was ‘‘Often wider in the brains of women than in those of men, it may allow for greater cross talk between the hemispheres—possibly the basis for woman’s intuition”. It has also been used, for example, as the explanation of an increased single-task orientation of male, relative to female, learners; a smaller male organ is said to make it harder for the left and right sides of the brain to work together and to explain a feminine ability to multitask.

The relationship between known gender-specific biology (such as males having, in general, higher testosterone levels than females) and claims about behaviour (such as human males being more competitive) remains a highly contested one. Unusually, the scientific dispute in the case of the corpus callosum is not about the implications of biological difference, but whether such a difference actually exists. A substantial review paper (Bishop and Wahlsten, 1997) performed a meta-analysis of 49 studies and found, contrary to de Lacoste-Utamsing and Holloway, that males have a larger corpus callosum, a relationship that is true whether or not account is taken of larger male brain size. Bishop and Wahlstein found that “(t)he widespread belief that women have a larger splenium than men and consequently think differently is untenable.”

There is no current evidence that difference in male and female cognitive behaviour can be explained by differences in the size of the corpus callosum.

Which as you may guess was a question posed by men (website:  Menstuff).  Smart women already know the answer — it’s all relative and depends on the context, for example our mood, pheronomes or what time of month it is, or whether we suddenly developed a headache, whether the actual need is to get out of the house.    

This site, was entirely reputable and referenced the two “hard-science sites” of:  Wikepedia and I gather Macalester College psychology department. If you’re curious, undecided or uninformed and your wife or girlfriend or mother hid the remote control, click away on the title and learn more about this,  or why at least who else cares… 

Then there was the more scientifically-sounding site dissing the methodology of the other studies, on this same topic of, basically, “Does Size Matter?” when it comes to a single part of the human brain.  Like the good scientists of pre-MRI time, they had to look at cadavers and dissect something to figure out its relevance to human (living) behavior and thinking.  

Kind of reminds me of the family law system of so interfering with life to label, study, characterize, and evaluate that NO one within range is behaving “normally,” if they could indeed remember what such behavior was.  I’m working on a grant proposal to get my OWN “Ph.D.” (suppose I should go for a masters first, though) on the thesis that the entirety of my nation, a former or declining, or current and morally setting the example world superpower (depending source of expert opinion) IS (at least I got subject & verb to agree in number, which is an “Early Head Start” on qualification, I hope, for such a grant.  I could do it well — or at least as well as groups such as the “Oregon Social Learning Center” on merely a cool million$$ per year, too — is either in a state of BEING dissected and studied, OR in a state of conducting such studies, and that this alone is the cause of our current economic distresses, and NOT lack of money.  It’s more like, lack of accountability.  

First you STOP everything, and then watching life at a standstill (postponing other urgencies such as, shall we say, employment, growth, skills development, school, or in short anything that was being done beforehand) you analyze it as it now appears, in front of you, flat-stalled stopped in a mediator’s or evaluators’ chair.  Or, if a parent, watching tensely while a social worker (who holds the power, and knows it) decides if the amount of dust in the home represents good parenting practice, and which household had more wrinkled tablecloths, or for that matter any.   

Anyhow, the What Size is Your Corpus Callosum? debate is indeed a hot topic in certain circles. I discovered today, dismayed that my common adage had traced itself back to an abominable and racist practice of earlier days, phrenology.  I will be sure to update you tomorrow, as it appears I just blew my wad (of linguisic gyrations) for today, and am going to switch from verbal to visual (PG-13, I assure you) entertainment for a bit here.   

I DID, however find an official source to acknowledge that you can make anything look official, with enough syllables and a few graphs to support your premise.  I was relieved to find a fellow-word-mocker not entangled in the high-stakes business of child custody.  

UC Penn on IS this the “Caring Membrane in the Brain?”



The corpus callosum is a bundle of several hundred million axons that make connections between the two hemispheres of the mammalian cortex. Describing it as “the caring membrane in the brain” seems at first like a bizarrely random choice of phrase, something like describing a car’s intake manifold as “the braking cavity in the engine”. But as we’ll see, this is a misrepresentation and exaggeration of a controversial but respectable theory.

Those “conflicting studies” about sex differences in CC size — SB-C’s reference (24) — are discussed in K.M. Bishop and D. Wahlsten, “Sex Differences in the Human Corpus Callosum: Myth or Reality?“,Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 21(5) 581-601, 1997, which I quoted a couple of months ago, and also in my original note on Hodgin’s Crockus. They assert that “Data collected before 1910 from cadavers indicate that, on average, males have larger brains than females and that the average size of their corpus callosum is larger. A meta-analysis of 49 studies published since 1980 reveals no significant sex difference in the size or shape of the splenium of the corpus callosum, whether or not an appropriate adjustment is made for brain size using analysis of covariance or linear regressi

AND SO ON.  WHere they REALLY won me over was this:


But the most important lesson, in my opinion, is that the facts matter. Where the facts turn out to support consequential cognitive differences between human females and males, let’s try to look clearly at what those differences are, where they come from, and what individual, social and political conclusions we should draw. But let’s not let popularizers of brain-sex differences bring overgeneralizations and outright fallacies into the discussion as if they were scientific results. The lamentably low factual and logical standards of self-help books should be just as out of place in a public-policy debate are they are in a scientific journal article.

Posted by Mark Liberman at September 24, 2006 09:05 AM 


Alas, they have found a warm website niche in public policy for the past three Presidencies, at least.

Perhaps I had best enroll in one of his Language Anger Management Classes before we dessicate some of the logic behind the present public policies driving designer family-hood, and children as psychological bait in the family law system.

Anyone that doesn’t take themselves seriously on language matters can’t be all bad:



Because of the complexity of the content, attendance in these sessions may have to be limited. So make your reservation early. Just send in lots of money and do the required readings. At this special price we offer an individualized training program containing useful suggestions to help you avoid blowing your stack every time you come face to face with some common language pressure points, such as:

1. The infuriating issues of determiner constraints, especially those with “less” instead of “fewer”

This problem leads thousands of readers to write angry letters to  editors and to rant about it  in their blogs. You can learn to control your anger about this problem once  the dimensions of the matter are clearly explained by our wise Language Log staff.

* Includes breathing techniques  along with group exercises

facilitator: Prof. Pullum


2.  Using and misusing the teenage register

If your children make you steamed when they spit in your face after they hear you say “cool” or “like” to them, you may need to get with it and learn to stifle your anger.

* Fieldwork using comic strips and round table discussions





More tomorrow, the sun is going down on my silliness (not wrath) here….


WordPress refuses to copy & paste, so I will try again tomorrow, and the rest of this weighty matter will be spoofed later.







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

May 29, 2009 at 4:08 pm

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