Monday

Okay, No More PAS

Well, I tried to do a series on Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) using words taken straight from Dr. Gardner's literature...but I got distracted...and bored. I'm not keen with staying on a topic for too long--and the several days that I did it was enough.

I actually read several, or better yet, many articles by Dr. Gardner--old and new (new when he died in 2003...others have since taken over, yes, I've read some of theirs, too, everyone has a PAS or PA or something nowadays). And you should read them too before you jump on the PAS bandwagon.

It is so easy to jump on, but it is so simple-minded. Again, I ask, do you know what PAS is? What it consists of? Before you go accusing or attacking, do some research...just like you should do when you get ready to vote...but unfortunately, I see more and more of the evidence of people's shallowness. Saying that one has PAS without knowledge of what it consists of is like voting for Palin because she is nice.

Besides, what is the accuser's responsibility in the syndrome? What did the other parent DO to make the child (and mother) act as such? Don't show up 5 years later after having abandoned your child, talking about you got alienated. No shit!

Take responsibility. Treat the mother of your child with some damn respect and see if it may open the lines of communication, that is, if you didn't spend years beating her and/or the child's ass. If you did, then fuck off.

What do moms get out of "alienating" their children from the fathers? WHY oh WHY do they do this? More child support? A house? Cars? Hell no! Ask a mom what she would trade her child for...and she would say, Nothing in this world. Now, go a look at a Father's Rights website and see what they really want--less money going out of their pockets (lower, or zero child support) and their "rights" to the child.

Right to a child? Reminiscent of slavery to me. Reminiscent of ownership of women to me...now extended to children. Chattel.

This is about protection people. When all else fails, the mother still protects...

Equal parenting is bullshit. If you want equal parenting, it should have begun in the married household. If you want equal parenting, the mother shouldn't have to do all the facilitating and accommodating when the plans fall through on your end.

Anyway, here are a few analyses on PAS that are well worth the time and effort these people put into it.

If you think you've seen it, go here.

If you want to know why it's used on mothers, try here.

If you want to see PAS versus the APA, look here.

If you want a syndrome that is more directly correlated to fathers (this also provided me with a great laugh), go here.


There are plenty more...but I'm spent.

Sunday

Geraldo on Parental Alienation Syndrome

I swear I haven't seen Geraldo since the 80s or 90s. I remember him having a very animated talk show and a very aggressive personality.

He tells the truth--when most people don't want to hear it. I would much rather watch him over Dr. Phil.

Check Geraldo out on this show. (Jennifer Collins is in the audience.)

I need to talk to him, too.

Saturday

Belize Survivor: Darker Side of Paradise

I've been trying to finish up my Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) series this past week with half success. But it goes like that sometimes. I decided to acknowledge that I needed a break--so I began reading Nancy Koerner's book.

I cracked the book open yesterday. I stayed up until midnight, forcing myself to put it down finally. And I spent my most of today reading it, finally finishing just before 11 pm.

I was holding my breath again...the same as I've been doing since last Friday when Alec Baldwin was on 20/20. The book had me wincing at the emotional and physical torture, breathless from the descriptions, and anxious for relief from suffering and for a resolution.

It will remain etched into my spirit.

Perhaps I will review it in the upcoming week as I prepare for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

GET THE BOOK!

Friday

Men, Children, & Teens: They Just Don't Mix

I have no intention on turning this site into a full-fledged news blog. But when I find crimes that relate to what I'm talking about, then I'm forced to bring it to attention.

This week has been filled with news about PAS, custody, rape, murder, and child abuse....Here's another one, and another one.

WAKE UP PEOPLE! WAKE UP!

Women and children need protection....and you wonder why we're running...

Thursday

Husband-Killer?

Damn, Associated Press! The title of an article is, Husband-killer gets custody of daughters.

I know it is supposed to be attention-getting, catchy, but it does victims of abuse no justice (as if we were getting justice otherwise).

When will people wake up and pay attention to the fact that women and children are getting abused, men are getting away with it and getting custody of the children they abused, and that women are prepared to fight back to protect themselves and their children.

Again, I say, we need a movement!

Wednesday

"...A Little Bit of Validation..."

Felony charges for kidnapping were finally dropped for Holly Collins. She was forced to plead guilty to contempt of court, obviously for violating court orders in interfering with custody/visitation rights.

This is a something that we domestic violence survivors in the U.S. have been holding our breath on. (I have been holding my breath a lot lately). Stopfamilyviolence.org has been instrumental in publicizing Holly's case so that she could return to the U.S. without risk of imprisonment.

In one of many interviews, she said she would do it all over again.

I know where she is coming from...I wonder why women all over aren't or haven't been doing it--especially in cases of sexual abuse.

I'll have to hold my tongue on my deeper comments on this issue...maybe I'll be freer in the near future...


"An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law." --Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday

In Alec Baldwin's Own Words

On the ABC show 20/20 that aired last Friday Alec Baldwin states,
There are women who get divorced in order to punish. Under this bitter, bitter hatred that some of these women have for their ex husbands, they turn their children against them.
This is his brief description of what Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is.

I could imagine that this statement is true sometimes. My first question is for what reasons are these women just oh-so bitter? My second question is, of all divorces, what percentage is initiated by women?

The problem with finding the answer is that we cannot determine the cause of the divorce using only the divorce papers as evidence.

Why? Irreconcilable differences.

In some states, maybe many states, divorce is no fault, meaning the reasons for the divorce remain unknown as far as the court record is concerned. Divorce is merely an issue about money--dividing assets. Typically, divorcing parties do not get to mention that the spouse was an adulterer, a gambler, a druggy, a child pornographer, a serial rapist....until the children are taken into account.

But Mr. Baldwin said,
If you prove that someone is abusive, then that is determinative in that case.
This is correct. But again, the problem lies in the fact that after the money and property is decided and THAT dust is settled, where's the evidence left to prove the abuse? It becomes he said against she said, with the victims getting the short end of the stick.

Perhaps if everyone just told their entire marital stories in a divorce trial, all the dirty laundry could be aired.

Do we want all of our business told to the world? Surely Mr. Baldwin didn't when that phone message to his daughter was leaked. And that was just one phone call.

Alex Baldwin's declares that the problem is that,
Innocent men are presumed guilty.
and
[the court]...it is defining more of what is classically male behavior as violent.

So, do Father's Rights want to leave gender out of the court, or do they want to bring it back in? I'm confused because the statement "typical male behavior" is gender biased. And men typically use physical forms of aggression...that's where domestic violence evolves.

But also the problem is that children are not given any rights, especially in the case where it is one abuser's word against the other parent.

Mr. Baldwin clarifies this by saying,
[the men]...loathe and despise those men who abuse their children sexually and physically. They loathe and despise men who abandon pregnant women and don't pay their child support and who get it wrong in the myriad of ways that men can do.
And I applaud these men for loathing these "other men" because if we weren't in agreement that would be damaging to the Father's Rights cause. But this would screen out of a lot of "real men" who are buying into PAS at their convenience. What if we were to take into account all the abandoners, non child support payers, and abusers. Who is left? Who? After we have separated out the good from the bad, who has really alienated who?

In closing Mr. Baldwin reveals,
Everything with my daughter is great so long as the mother stays out of the way.
What is the real agenda here?

Saturday

Alec Baldwin and Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)

I was actually holding my breath while I watched Dianne Sawyer interview Alec Baldwin on 20/20 on Friday. Father's Rights organizations and Mr. Baldwin himself have hyped up the coming out of his book and the incessant support of Parental Alienation syndrome, expectedly.

PAS wasn't explained in detail, at least as far as the show edits chose to display. And I do not think that Dr. Gardner was discussed--if so, very minimally. The focus was more on Mr. Baldwin, and his actions after his divorce.

While I cannot claim to know everyone's pain, there are certain actions that I pick up on...Mr. Baldwin was sweating on his face rather profusely throughout the interview. His eyes looked tired and beady. His posture was erect. And then there was this hand behind the very bright red ear movement that he did twice.

What does this mean? Maybe nothing. Surely I can relate: It is like being on trial...sitting there, trying to get your story out, but already believing that the listening ears are against you...so you brace yourself for the battle...almost seemingly attacking prematurely.

Or maybe, you sit there and lie your ass off.

But can it be a lie if you really believe what you are saying?

Who really knows besides Ms. Bassinger, Mr. Baldwin, and their daughter?

Anyway, the lady who gave the dissenting view about PAS, is someone I definitely met in D.C. I felt so relieved to see that 20/20 would let someone else get heard, because the actual damage of the publicity of PAS could be far impacting. We know how it is when celebrities jump on bandwagons and fight for a cause....there are followers that believe in them like the second coming of Christ.

I'm tired today, though not as frightened as I felt yesterday evening. No more PAS.

Friday

The "Pathogenesis" of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), part 1

Continuing from yesterday, I will review the same document, now on the topic of the pathogenesis of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) (pathogenesis being Dr. Gardner's description, not mine.)

There are three main factors that contribute to PAS:

1. The parent brainwashing the child
2. Situational factors
3. The child's contributions
The loved parent embarks upon an unrelenting campaign of denigrations that may last for years. A mother, for example, whose divorce was the result of marital problems that contributed to her husband's seeking the affection of another woman, may continually vilify the father to her children with such terms as, 'adulterer,' 'philanderer,' and 'abandoner.' Similarly, she may refer to the father's new woman friends as a 'slut,' 'whore,' and 'home-breaker.' No attention is given to the problems in the marriage, especially such a mother's problem(s) that may have contributed to the new involvement.
My first instinct is to laugh at this description. Doesn't it seem in the least bit comical--maybe because of how frequently we see this in our own lives or the lives of people surrounding us. Damnit, I'm nearly convinced that everyone is walking around with PAS!

But seriously, if one parent is been speaking about the other FOR YEARS, then how long has the other parent not been around in order to correct or rebut his/her own character assassination? Perhaps the problem may be that the other parent has absent FOR YEARS, of his own accord, and returns to "discover" that this has occurred. Isn't the campaign of denigration valid at this point?

The name-calling presented above, can only be considered vilification if it is not TRUE. For example, a man (or woman) who cheats on his/her spouse, IS an adulterer. Right? And isn't the person with whom the man cheated also equally involved in the action (if that person was previously aware of the situation)? Wouldn't that make her a homewrecker?

Okay, maybe these things shouldn't be said in front of the child. But, if they are, who is to stop the child from buying into the language? This would involve a conversation in which both parents would have to be honest about the situation and call it what it is...adultery...sinning...or whatever language that would be used in the context of that household.

How much "attention to the problems in the marriage" should be given to the child? It would depend on the age. I can't imagine discussing with a toddler the fact that his parent was an adulterer. Even if you did, what the child sees is the end result...the FIGHTING, the ARGUING, the ABANDONMENT.

If the child is older or appropriately mature, both parents would have to sit down with the child to discuss the marital problems and the effects on the family. But you see, this conversation is not bound to happen by mere fact that when the parents are divorcing, it is because of lack of communication....maybe the same reason why they are cheating.

**Interesting to note though, how Gardner tries to lay the responsibility of the father's adultery, back on the mother.
There are mothers who, when talking to the children about their husbands having left the homes, will make such statements as, 'Your father's abandoned us.' In most cases the father has left the mother and has not lost any affection for the children. Clumping the children together with herself (by using the word 'us' rather than 'me') promulgates the notion that they too have been rejected.

Hmmm...

If the father left the home, isn't he abandoning the family (which would include the child)? But wait, even before that...if the father was cheating, wasn't he abandoning the family? Wasn't he already putting his needs first, and not dually considering the ramifications of his actions?

And how do we know that "in most cases...[the father] has not lost any affection for the children?" What is the evidence to prove this? Because he pays child support or sends gifts? I'm just not sure on this one, but I am aware that even when married men cheat, it may not mean that they have lost affection for their wives either...they just like to explore sex outside of their current relationship, and their spouse doesn't appreciate it.

What are we to think?

Thursday

Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) from the Beginning

I am going to continue exploring Dr. Gardner's Recent Trends in Divorce and Custody Litigation, 1985.
Yesterday, I gave the 8 symptoms that classified a child as having PAS. Do you even know what they mean? Dr. Gardner describes each of them and I will quote some of it here.
These children speak of the hated parent with every vilification and profanity in their vocabulary, without embarrassment or guilt.
After only minimal prompting...the record will be turned on and a command performance provided.
...the rehearsed quality to the speech...phraseology that is identical to that used by the 'loved' parent.
...the child may justify the alienation with memories of minor altercations...These are usually trivial...that most children quickly forget.
This sets the stage (pun intended) for some type of melodramatic play, an entertainment show. Notice the words "prompting," "record," "performance," and "rehearsed." So now, we are assuming that the language and actions are scripted and therefore false from the beginning. We are starting from a position that everything is already a lie.

Is is wrong to believe that a young child, or frightened child may need prompting in order to reveal what he/she has to say? What if the child comes from an authoritarian household or is afraid of adults (which may be the case if the child was abused by adults)?

And doesn't speech become rehearsed if it is repeated many times? Think of someone asking you about your recent break up....a best friend, then another friend, then a co-worker, then your mother, then your aunt, and then your therapist...the police, the person you broke up with. Doe your story become rehearsed? Perhaps. Do you tell the same exact story to each person? It depends on your relationship with the person, and the amount of fatigue from repeating it...and not to forget, your memory. Too many factors.

If a child remembers a "minor altercation" are we to brush it aside because we feel it is irrelevant? Sometimes it is easier to remember the not-so-important details. In order to understand this, a person would need to understand more about trauma, and how it affects the brain/memory. What do you know about trauma?
There will be a complete absence of gratitude for gifts, support payments and other manifestations of the hated parent's continued involvement and affection. often these children will want to be certain the alienated parent continue to provide support payments but at the same times adamantly refuse to visit....To such a child I might say: 'So you want your father to continue paying for all your food, clothing, rent, and education -- even private high school and college -- and yet you still don't want to see him at all...'
Don't the children in your own home sometimes exhibit these characteristics to YOU about YOU? Children can be ingrates about a gift from ANYONE, especially if it was something they did not request. And are we saying that children are supposed to be grateful for child support? I thought child support was a duty. Surely a child could be grateful about it as they could equally express gratitude for shelter, food, and clothing. But how many kids do you know go around thanking their parents for basic necessities?...Thank you for my bras, thank you for the lotion, thank you for the tampons!...

You have to teach gratitude. A lot of parents do this lesson by voicing the comparison of the haves, to the have nots, in front of their children. But what if the children have almost nothing??? That's when you talk about Africa...

And since when are support payments a sign of "continued involvement and affection?" Child support can be court ordered and is continuous so long as the order remains in effect and the noncustodial parents' pay is drafted. Money and gifts (which cost money) can be considered a form of affection, but do they buy love in children? I suppose it is the only way some people know how to express their feelings--when done voluntarily.

**What I found most amusing was the fact that Dr. Gardner would actually ask the child what he did (see above, paragraphs in pink are his words). How many of us as children were aware of exactly what financial contributions our parents made to the household? As an adult, I still don't know.

Wednesday

What is Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) Anyway?

I'm sure that the average person has heard of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) by now, with the current divorce rate at about 50%. Father's Rights organizations (also disguised as equal parenting or children's rights organizations) have used this syndrome increasingly to falsely claim that women are preventing their access to their children.

Dr. Richard A. Gardner recognized this syndrome and breathed life into PAS in 1985 in an article entitled, Recent Trends in Divorce and Custody Litigation. It consist of 8 symptoms that can be observed in a child affected by PAS:

1. The Campaign of Denigration
2. Weak, Frivolous, or Absurd Rationalizations
3. Lack of Ambivalence
4. The "Independent-Thinker" Phenomenon
5. Reflexive Support of the Alienating Parent in the Parental Conflict
6. Absence of Guilt Over Cruelty to and/or Exploitation of the Alienated Parent
7. Presence of Borrowed Scenarios
8. Spread of the Animosity to the Extended Family and Friends of the Alienated Parent

The symptoms of PAS are attributable to the custodial parent, usually the mother, who initiates in engaging the child in denigrating the noncustodial parent; and subsequently, or rather simultaneously, the child makes his/her own contributions, thus amplifying the effects. The father is seen as the victim, the mother is the perpetrator, traditionally. It is observed only in the context of divorce.

At face value, there may not appear to be anything wrong with this. I will attempt to examine it, in the next week.

Tuesday

Chicago Cop Shoots Himself and His Children

I woke up this morning to the news that a cop had killed himself, one of his children, and the other child was critically injured. Before the news clip proceeded any further, I had already formed my conclusion that it was domestic violence, or custody related. I wish I were wrong.

According to reports, the father had been divorced from his wife for 3 years...and there were custody issues (this statement was made by the cops' sister--I will reserve my comments on that, too). According to the news article, the parents had 50/50 custody.

Now, I can only speculate, and therefore I could be totally wrong, so I'll reserve some of my comments for now. But why is it that men are so brutal when things fail, or do not go their way? Gun violence is the ultimate tragedy. What child deserves to be shot?

And their ages just ring so dear to my heart...everyone is so young, parents and children. I pains my heart when people think this is their only option, especially when they drag their children with them.

Monday

Missing Children, Sex Scandals, and Florida

I don't know who this guy is in the video that is to follow, but the information he is spitting, doesn't surprise me one bit.

He says Florida has some $3K missing children. Florida has always been known for losing children in "the system." Old news, sadly.

But also he states that the pedophilia that is going on, involves people in high places, that have an agenda.

Folks, you do realize that people choose their professions for a reason. For some, it is to genuinely help others. For others, it is to genuinely help themselves--yes, they receive personal gratification from exploiting others, including children, in order to accomplish their mission (which is opposite of "the best interest of the children.")

These people are judges, child protective workers (CPS), and etc...

The same people that are supposed to be protecting our children in the family court system.

I would tell you that if you have children, especially if you are divorcing, to stay out of Florida, in particular. But this shit is happening all over the U.S. Ask women.



Sunday

Teen Violence and Dating

by Nancy R. Koerner – Naples, FL
Copyright © 2008 – All Rights Reserved

Many people are under the illusion that married women are the only targets for domestic violence, but actually the syndrome can start at a much younger age. Teen-age girls are victims too. Why? Because girls naturally seek romance. Influenced by childhood fairy tales, they await their knight-in-shining-armor on a noble steed. They anticipate perfection in their relationship and with the blindness of with Prince Charming – man, woman, home, family, and children. In blind faith, and often in total denial of reality, they pursue the dream of the house in suburbia and proverbial white picket fence. It’s the quest for happily-ever-after.

So what happens? Well, they date. They become enamored with each other. The “romance” deepens, and the young girl is sure she’s “in love.” The boyfriend begins to monopolize her life, and starts isolating her from friends and activities. Exhibiting controlling behavior, he is critical of her appearance and her choices. He insults her intelligence and demeans her in public and in private. Eventually, he physically abuses her. Meanwhile, between these episodes, he repeatedly apologizes and proclaims his love. This is the beginning of a pattern that will continue through marriage. Even if the marriage is with another guy, the victim will have already learned the behavior and will have accepted it as “normal.” Bad choices create crisis. These relationships are a dead end. The only answer is to recognize the deadly syndrome before it becomes established.

If you are one of these young girls or women, you must understand that you are probably suffering from an underlying lack of self-confidence. Perhaps you think this boy or man is the only one, that you’ll never find another to “love” you. Wrong! There are lots of good guys out there. You will meet someone else. You have value. Don’t sell yourself short. Draw on your own strength, cross that bridge. You have more power within your soul than you can possibly imagine…

Saturday

Military Rape Secrets

I can tell you first hand that the military covers up their rape secrets. (Hello!??! They are a bunch of men) Women get very little justice at the hands of men in uniform. This is why I frown and have an utter lack of respect for the military as a whole. It is a brotherhood, and women should stay out of service, and civilian women should stay out of marriage (to a military man) until real justice is achieved.

Watch for yourself.



Friday

Promoting Fatherhood? No, Seriously

Apparently, the concept of "fatherhood" is new in the United States--or at least, people are trying to redefine it. But what I can't figure out is, at what point does a "man," and society, wake up to discover that they are a father? A father, with REAL live responsibilities!!!

For decades "men" have evaded their familial responsibilities by leaving their children behind for their wives, ex-wives, girlfriends, sisters, and parents (to name a few, huh) to take care of. Men have left the city and left the state to avoid their financial obligations (aka child support).

And we women have been left behind with the children....Not that we MINDED, because we love our children THAT much (but we start with little to nothing, and they start from where they left off).

But now, it appears that "fathers" are having a reawakening and are stepping forward to claim their responsibilities (after realizing that their driver's licenses have been suspended, and their tax returns and pay garnished), all with the help of the U.S. government--courtesy of The Department of Health and Human Services, Responsible Fatherhood Program.

Oh no, don't think that's the only program. There are others.

What does the grant do to promote fatherhood? Does it give out condoms? Vasectomies? Do they hold parenting classes? Do they teach respect for women and children? Do they teach what child support monies cover?

Why does the government have to intervene on behalf of "fathers" for any reason?

Thursday

Bumper Sticker

Contributed by Nancy R. Koerner – Naples, FL

This seems like the right time for this contribution. I didn’t write it, but I wish I had.

KEEP YOUR NOSE OUT OF MY UTERUS!!

Wednesday

How Can We Be Equal?

So they say that we have equal rights to "our" child, because it took his sperm and my egg, and neither of us could have accomplished reproduction on our own.

And they say we should spend equal time and money on "our" child because we acted together when we brought "our" child unto this earth.

But I chose to keep continue with the pregnancy
I chose to nurture my body so that my child's body would grow
I chose to visit the doctor for 9 months to make sure that we both were okay.
I birthed my child in the delivery room
and I endured the pain
I named my child
I breastfed my child
That was my body
I changed my child's diapers and I did the potty training when the time came
I held my child's hand and we walked in kindergarten together
I provide my child's emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual support
and my child is better because of me
My child is stronger because of me
My child is gifted because of me
My child lives because of me

What exactly have you done?


"My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her." -- George Washington (1732-1799)

Tuesday

Circle of Violence

by Nancy R. Koerner – Naples, FL

Stand-over phase
Control and fear
Explosion, or incident phase
Guilt, remorse, minimization, justification
Pursuits and promises
Honeymoon, or making-up phase
Denial of previous difficulties
Build-up, or tension phase
Back to the stand-over phase

Now that you can see it clearly, are you a victim?

Monday

Mother, Nature

The nonsense prevalent in society about the "new role of the father" (spawned by the Father's Rights movement) makes me stop to question my own actions as a mother.
Am I doing the best thing for my children? Are my actions somehow indicative of my own selfishness or inability to be the best caretaker?
But more so,
Am I crazy?
I turn to Animal Planet and discover my answer.

When a female gives birth to her young while in
captivity, she shields that young from the hands of the human keepers. She also wards off fellow captive animals. When the young is pried from the mother, she reacts defensively, wildly, with great rage, instilling fear in the human keepers and providing an ominous warning to the other animals.

No one has any right to take her young away from her, even those that she previously trusted with her own care.

In the wild, the mother protects her young from curious animals of the same species, and other predators. She allows her young to grow independent, but is keenly aware of his/her presence, even from a distance. She is no stranger to attacking, or killing, in defense of her young. Sometimes, this leads to her own demise.

And yet the mother is unstoppable. Unable to be tamed or easily coerced with regard to her offspring. The maternal instincts override any existing urges. Nature doesn't question her, humankind doesn't label her anything other than a mother.

She is not a crazy mother, or a post traumatic stress disorder afflicted mother. She is not an unfriendly mother or an alienating mother. She is a mother, and this is nature.
Am I crazy? HELL NO!
I know this with certainty because mother nature has shown it to me, herself.



"The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new." ~Rajneesh

Sunday

Personal Vindication

by Nancy R. Koerner – Naples, FL
Copyright © 2008 – All Rights Reserved

The domestic violence I suffered was long ago and although the years have now softened the edges, I remember how I felt when the scars, both emotional and physical, were still fresh. What I wanted at the time more than anything was to be vindicated, to be understood. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To be great is to be misunderstood." But it’s more than that. Innocence is never important to the guilty, but it is critical to the falsely-accused. I always wanted to tie my ex-husband to a chair, tape his mouth shut, and tell the world what really happened. I guess that’s why I wrote it all down in my autobiographical novel – the whole story, the terror, the jungle and the injustice, and ultimately the survival of the fittest. I am hoping that perhaps, through my story, I’ll get my vindication with interest, and inspire others at the same time.

Thousands of women are abused. Battering is a disease. It ravages American society. I want to help inspire and empower my sisters. I want them to get out more quickly than I did so they don’t lose what I lost. I want them to become vital and unstoppable, to act the part until they feel the part, if necessary, but to keep going, despite all odds. These abusers cannot be allowed to keep us trapped in crippling pessimism, to foul our hearts, and render us incapable of loving.

I remember the day I told him I didn’t love him anymore, that those emotions were gone forever, and that he could never have them back. As it turned out, by those words, I set myself free, his hold was broken, and he couldn’t hurt me anymore. I discovered that day that the opposite is love is not hate, but indifference.

Was it over yet? Not by a long shot. Was I still afraid? Absolutely. But it was a beginning. Acts of courage are always dangerous. It is the very nature of the beast.


Saturday

Randi James Online for 60 Days!

Wow! It feels like I've been writing on this site forever, but it has only been 60 days. In two months time, there have been about 2200 views.

Seems like a lot of visitors, but people aren't really going through and reading the old posts. The most frequent search item is the Florida House Bill 1075 on Child Support and Custody...and I don't know if people are in support of it, or appalled by it, because no one is leaving comments.

I need to make a commitment to return to some of my previous posts that had a "part 1." One day, I'm sure you'd love to hear the rest of the story, and I don't mean to leave you hanging, but I warned that this blog would read like schizophrenic parts of my hypothetic autobiography!

There is so much going on in the world right now that affects, or would affect the domestic violence movement. Sometimes, I feel guilty for feeling like this is becoming a political blog, but protection for crime victims IS politics. We need to pay attention before more legislation is slipped through the cracks (like HB 1075). We need to get angry, make phone calls, write letters...never to be forgotten or silenced again.

I have been doing a lot of research lately, absorbing statistics and information like a giant sponge. I am arming myself to be able to dispel myths and to attack the enemy. The public is being fooled by seemingly neutral, commonsensical information, that is totally misaligned and detrimental to women and children. Be cautious before you accept the current propaganda as dogma.

I have to thank Nancy Koerner and Mykayla Green for contributing to this site. There have been many days where I have been so exhausted that I was unsure if I could even log in to Blogger, and they have kept things rolling. Thank you.

Please keep reading, keep writing, and keep fighting.

Friday

Criminalizing Women

As I think about the actions of women in America, I come to wonder what this patriarchal society thinks our role is.

If we provide the best nourishment for our babies in breastfeeding, using what nature has given to us, which in turn cuts back on waste products that are harmful to the environment, eliminates a multibillion dollar industry of formula and government subsidies on the product, aka WIC, we are seen as barbaric, indecently exposed, and ill-equipped for the working world.

If we want to choose not to have children, and prevent, or terminate our pregnancies, for whatever various personal economical and psychological reasons that will save our country the time and expense of raising our unwanted children for us, we are seen as murders, immoral, and selfish heathens.

God save the rape, incest, and mentally-ill victims.

If we finally get the courage and strength for which we have been praying, and leave our abusers, providing a safe and productive life for ourselves and our children, correcting the damage that has been done to helpless members of society (children) and restoring the peace the legal system has failed to grant us, we are seen as alienating, neglectful, spiteful, money-hungry, adulterous, bitter, retaliative bitches.

When can I be a mother?

Where can I be a woman?



“We are about to make motherhood a crime. No civilized government in the history of mankind has ever done this.”--Adrian G. Duplantier

Thursday

Right, or Privilege?

I have a question...well it isn't one question but rather a series of interlinking questions, some of which may be rhetorical, but all of which are applicable to my subject matter:

Are mothers, fathers, and children all separate entities (maybe entity isn't the best word)?

And if so, do mothers, fathers, and children all have individual rights?

And/or do the rights of mothers, fathers, and children, as separate individuals, infringe on each others' rights?

And if so, what is the order of preference if you have to rank the rights of mothers, fathers, and children? (Who comes first?)

Are children people/citizens, or are they objects?

Now think of the answers in the context of children (and mothers) as victims of a crime, and as witnesses of a crime.

What are their (children's) rights under the constitution? with respect to violence/crime?

Should parental privilege take precedence over the emotional, psychological, and physical safety/well-being of children?

Do my rights as a mother, a human being, a U.S. citizen infringe on the rights of our abuser?

And if someone must decide my rights for me, or determine if my actions are appropriate under the Constitution, who might this person be? and what makes them qualified to do so?

Wednesday

International Violence Against Women Act

by Nancy R. Koerner
© 2008 – All Rights Reserved

This is not the Dark Ages, but dare to peek beneath the decorum of international politics and you will discover that, even today, there are dozens of countries all over the world who still allow, or even encourage, the beating, burning, beheading, rape, forced prostitution, and mutilation of women. In keeping with the male-dominated societal norms or religious beliefs, they scoff at the proposition of humanitarian reforms within their own country. And so, for hundreds of thousands of women worldwide – abused, oppressed, their cries unheard – there is no recourse. Tragically, their very lives depend on some kind of intervention, be it legal or divine. Until now, they have languished in vain.

U.S. Senators Joe Biden and Richard Lugar have now instituted groundbreaking legislation with the International Violence Against Women Act which will provide approximately $1 billion over the next five years in U.S. foreign assistance for long-term prevention of domestic violence abroad. This includes both governmental and non-governmental programs for economic development, the readjustment of public attitude, and various social, legal, and health reforms. The overall initiative will have a major impact on the horrifying abuses present in foreign nations today and strive to end, once and for all, violence against women on a worldwide basis. Working through an already established network of international assistance, this act will help support our most edifying practices abroad and address issues of domestic violence as part-and-parcel of our diplomatic relations. Of course, helping a developing nation to reach this level of intellectual understanding requires the dedication of at least a few enlightened individuals blessed with both vision and clarity. There is an intense need for procedures that are designed to cut through governmental red tape. It is vital to encourage sex discrimination rulings to boost women’s participation in this process, not only in political movement, but also in educational administration. The elements of poverty, substandard housing, disadvantaged geographical locations, plus the invisibility of women within the social strata must be addressed in order to break the ongoing cycle of endless chaos, psychological paralysis, and utter despair.

We cannot continue to give hypocritical lip-service to lofty thoughts of well-intentioned altruism. Now begins a new opportunity that will actually make a difference. The International Violence Against Women Act will, at last, provide a practical vehicle for the remediation of suffering throughout the world, and provide life-changing legislation that will impact women’s rights on a global scale.

********************

Nancy R. Koerner is the author of Belize Survivor: Darker Side of Paradise, her own true story and exposé of unspeakable domestic violence against a contrasting backdrop of magnificent tropical splendor in a foreign land. http://www.belizesurvivor.com As a passionate activist, her mission is to empower women to make the brave and often impossibly painful choices that will lead to their own redemption and autonomy.

Tuesday

For Those of You Who Just Don't Get It

In light of the fact that the most frequently Googled search that lands readers on my page is the Florida House Bill 1075 on Child Custody and Support, and also the fact that often times, as a recently admitted survivor of domestic violence, I fail to thoroughly articulate my views and successfully argue my points, I am copying an excellent press release I have found on the matter. (emphasis added)

Now it may seem a day late and a dollar short since this bill has already been passed, but we don't have to bend over and keep taking it in the ***...


CITIZENS' OUTCRY TO CHARLIE CRIST PROTECT THE CHILDREN OF FLORIDA –
VETO SB2532

May 7, 2008

While Floridians sleep, a raging war continues to threaten the safety and stability of children and families across the state. Republican, Senator Evelyn Lynn and Republican, Representative Jim Frishe, sponsored Senate Bill 2532 and House Bill 1075, entitled: Child Custody and Support.

What few citizens know, is that this bill will drastically change existing Florida statute without the knowledge or approval of the Florida population. Additionally, the bill seems only to benefit and profit special interests of the mental health industry and the legal community, who also authored SB 2532- HB 1075. As a result, families will be burdened with excessive litigation and other court related costs on a permanent basis, due to the bill's confusing language and non-defined terms of the amendment.

According to Representative Frishe, the over 100 pages of SB 2532 and its companion House Bill 1075, took almost two years to write. Yet, during this two years process, the bill was never brought to the public, town hall meetings or the media's attention. The life-altering amendments and extravagant costs to implement this bill, have been pushed so fast, that
concerned citizens are left to believe that this pace is intended to curtail public knowledge and to silence the voices and concerns of Florida voters.

One of many red flags of SB 2532 - HB 1075, is the disregard of children affected by violence or sexual abuse: According to victims, protective parents and advocates: Psychologists are customarily getting assigned by the courts to assist in determining the custody of children. These court appointed evaluators are getting paid up to $30,000.00 to $40,000.00, not including, attorneys' costs, which can reach up to $160,000.00 or up per citizen.

The payments to custody evaluators are frequently paid by the abusers, to help in his or hers defense. Subsequently, bias comes into play, as the court appointed evaluators dismiss key proof and testimony; Failing to report overwhelming amount of evidence of abuse or neglect committed by the offender and paying party. This alarming constitutional violation has been denounced by many professionals in the nation, including: A research task by
the American Bar Association, multitude judicial watchdog groups and experts in the medical, psychiatry and psychology fields.

What seems inconceivable to opponents of SB 2532 -HB 1075, is that this bill amends Florida statute to remove the current standards from the American Psychological Association by replacing them with vague and subjective language to, "The standards of any reasonable psychologist." Offering less professional guidelines and accountability to the psychologists involved with thousands of Florida children and families affected by these precarious evaluations: Who determines what is considered, a "reasonable" psychologist, is yet another unanswered question to analysts and critics of this bill.

In addition, as concerned citizens seek more accountability and higher standards regarding the safety and future of Florida's children, SB 2532- HB 1075, will provide greater immunity to evaluators, as the bill extends immunity, even to third parties. Furthermore, SB 2532 - HB1075 removes the preference of children regarding where these children wish to live. Again, eliminating, what could be valid concerns or requests by the children to court evaluators, who act in the capacity of: Quasi judges, paid witnesses (with complete immunity) or worse, being able to dismiss evidence that could affect the future and endanger the lives of thousands of children across the state.

Likewise troublesome to concerned citizens, is that the bill changes the presumption for separating or divorcing families with children from the current standards of Primary and Secondary residency, according to established patterns of time or existing bond between the child and caregiver, essential to the development and emotional stability of children, to "Time Sharing," which has yet to be specifically defined
under SB 2532.

Currently, included in Chapter 61 statutes, Primary and SecondaryResidency, follows: "Under the Tender Years" doctrine, which places priority, and emphasis on the children's emotional ties, as well as their need for security and stability. In contrast, under the new "Time Sharing" law of SB2532, children will be viewed according to old English laws; As the property of the highest paying litigant and for the state's determination. Children will be split in half, between two separate residences, equal amount of time, disregarding the child's emotional bond with his or her primary caregiver, the impact of drastic changes and the emotional wellbeing of the children.

Additionally, leading national studies, validate the negative impact that 50/50 custody, or disrupting the child' emotional bond or time patterns with his or hers caregiver, continues to have on children. Under SB 2532- HB 1075, the standards that most adults would consider intolerable or unacceptable, will now be imposed on children, as young, as of newborn or breastfeeding age. Interestingly, this redressed presumption of joint
custody, was denounced, by both, the citizens of Florida and voted against by legislators, less than two years ago
.

Critics of SB 2532 - HB 1075 point to the fact that while states like Tennessee, California, Oklahoma, Colorado and others are moving toward more accountability to professionals in the courts, especially in cases involving sexual abuse or violence against children, and more toward standard and higher evidentiary procedure, Florida is moving further away from due process and protection of human rights. This, at the expense of the most vulnerable of Florida's population: Children and their protective parents.

Finally, in a hurting economy, the cost to Floridians to implement this precarious bill will be millions of dollars; Time and money expenditure in training of personnel, computer reprogramming, re-printing forms, etc. SB 2532 - HB 1075 will make its last stop in the Senate and House floor this week, as it traveled from committee to committee with high approval in the
state's capitol, even against an out pour of phone calls and emails from concerned constituents.

Governor Charlie Crist, has the executive power, to veto this bill, like his predecessor, Governor Jeb Bush, did few years ago due to the sky rocketing costs to the state and the negative impact that this bill has to the citizens of Florida.

Therefore, the citizens of Florida trust that Governor Charlie Crist, will have the interest of the Florida population in mind; That he will stand for the rights of Floridians and not for special interests and that he will veto, the one hundred pages of bureaucracy and red tape, contained in SB 2532 and HB 1075.

For more information contact: National Alliance for Family Court Justice at WWW.NAFCJ.ORG, Liz Richards

Monday

The Non Profit Arena, part 1

I had decided that perhaps my life's work should be dedicated to working in the field of human services, namely domestic violence and sexual assault. And besides, I couldn't concentrate on any topic unless it was related to those subjects. So I began to pursue employment in the nonprofit arena.

Armed with charisma and a broad and diverse functional resume, I began contacting local agencies. For the most part, I got in for the interviews for those that took the time to even look at my resume. But once I got into the "board room," something just went wrong, EVERY time.