The Myth of the "Battered Husband Syndrome

NOMAS | National Organization for Men Against Sexismiled under Ending Men's Violence, Paper.

By Jack C. Straton, Ph.D.

The most recurrent backlash against women's safety is the myth that men are battered as often as women. Suzanne Steinmetz [1] created this myth with her 1977 study of 57 couples, in which four wives were seriously beaten but no husbands were beaten. By a convoluted thought process [2] she concluded that her finding of zero battered husbands implied that men just don't report abuse and therefore 250,000 American husbands [3] are battered each year by their wives[4], a figure that exploded to 12million in the subsequent media feeding frenzy [5].

Men have never before been shy in making their needs known, so it is peculiar that in 17 years, this supposedly huge contingent of "battered men" has never revealed itself in the flesh. Could it be that it simply does not exist? Indeed, a careful analysis of domestic violence, using everything from common experience to medical studies to U.S. National Crime Survey data, shows that only three [6]to four [7] percent of inter-spousal violence involves attacks on men by their female partners.

In the myth's latest incarnation, Katherine Dunn (The New Republic, 8/1/94) is unable to counter these hard scientific data so she turns to disputed sociological studies by Murray Straus and Richard Gelles [8,9] for "proof" that violence rates are almost equal. She first implies that these studies are unassailable by calling the authors "two of the most respected researchers in the field of domestic violence." Then she cynically attempts to undercut Straus' critics by labeling them as" advocacy groups." In fact Straus' critics are unimpeachable scientists of both genders, such as Emerson and Russell Dobash [10,11] and Edward Gondolf [12], who say his studies are bad science, with findings and conclusions that are contradictory, inconsistent, and unwarranted [13,14,15].

There are three major flaws in Straus' work. The first is that he used a set of questions that cannot discriminate between intent and effect [16]. This socalled Conflict Tactics Scale (or CTS) equates a woman pushing a man in self-defense to a man pushing a woman down the stairs [17]. It labels a mother as violent if she defends her daughter from the father's sexual molestation. It combines categories
such as "hitting" and "trying to hit" despite the important difference between them [18].

Because it looks at only one year, this study equates a single slap by a woman to a man's 15 year history of domestic terrorism. Even Steinmetz herself says the CTS studies ignore the difference between a slap that stings and a punch that causes permanent injury [19]. Indeed, after analyzing the results of the U.S. National Crime Surveys, sociologist Martin Schwartz concluded that 92% of those seeking medical care from a private physician for injuries received in a spousal assault are women [20]. The NCS study shows that one man is hospitalized for injuries received in a spousal assault for every 46 women hospitalized [21].

Even if we ignore all of the reviously mentioned flaws in Straus' CTS studies, they are bad science on a second set of grounds. Straus interviewed only one partner, but other studies [22,23] that independently interviewed both partners found that their accounts of the violence did not match. Also a study by Richard Gelles and John Harrop [24] using the CTS failed to find any difference in self-reporting of violence against children by step-parents versus birth-parents — in vivid contrast to the actual findings that a step-parent is up to 100 times more likely to assault a small child
than is a birth parent [25,26]. Any research technique that contains a 10,000 percent systematic error is totally unreliable.

In fact a third independent case can be made against Straus' study. It excluded incidents of violence that occur after separation and divorce, yet these account for 75.9 percent of spouse-on-spouse assaults, with a male perpetrator 93.3 percent of the time, according to the U.S. Department of Justice [27]. The Straus study relied on self-reports of violence by one member of each household, yet men who batter typically under-report their violence by 50 percent [28]. Finally, the CTS does not include sexual assault as a category although more women are raped by their husbands than beaten only [29]. Adjusting Straus' own statistics to include this reality makes the ratio of male to female spousal violence more than 16 to one.

Police and court records persistently indicate that women are 90 to 95 percent of the victims of reported assaults [30]. Promoters of the idea that women are just as abusive as men suggest that these results may be biased because the victims were selfreporting. But Schwartz's analysis of the1973-1982 U.S. National Crime Surveys shows that men who are assaulted by their spouses actually call the police more often than women who were assaulted by their spouses [31].

· In any case, criminal victimization surveyusing random national samples are free of any reporting bias. They give similar results
· The 1973-81 U.S. National Crime Survey, including over a million interviews, found that only 3 to 4 percent of marital assaults involved attacks on men by their female partners [32,33].
· The 1981 and 1987 Canadian surveys [34,35] found that the number of assaults of males was too low to provide reliable estimates.
· The 1982 and 1984 British surveys found that women accounted for all of the victims of marital assaults [36].

This is not to say that men are not harmed in our society, but most often men are harmed by other men. Eighty-seven percent of men murdered in the U.S. are killed by other men [37]. Those doing the killing in
every major and minor war in this and previous centuries have mostly been men! Instead of attempting to undercut services for the enormous number of women who are terrorized by their mates, those who claim to care for men had better address our real enemies; ourselves.

Of course we must have compassion for those relative few men who are harmed by their wives and partners, but it makes logical sense to focus our attention and work on the vast problem of male violence (96 percent of domestic violence) and not get side-tracked by the relatively tiny (4 percent)problem of male victimization. The biggest concern, though, is not the wasted effort on a false issue, it is the fact that batterers, like O.J. Simpson, who think they are the abused spouses are very dangerous during separation and divorce. In one study of spousal homicide, over half of the male defendants were separated from their victims [38]. Arming these men with warped statistics to fuel their already warped world view is unethical, irresponsible, and quite simply lethal.

[1] Suzanne Steinmetz, "The battered husband syndrome," Victimology 2, 499-509 (1978).
[2] Mildred Daley Pagelow's comprehensive history, "The 'battered husband syndrome': social problem or much ado about little," in Marital Violence, Norman Johnson,
ed., Sociological review Monograph 31 (Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1985), pp. 172-195.
[3] Suzanne Steinmetz, "Wife beating, husband beating – a comparison of the use of physical violence to resolve marital fights," in M. Roy (ed.), Battered Women, (Van
Nostrand Reinhold, New York,1977), p.33.
[4] Time Magazine, "The battered husbands," March 20, 1978, p. 69.
[5] G. Storch, "Claim of 12 million battered husbands takes a beating," Miami Herald, August 7,1978, p. 16.
[6] Deirdre A. Gaquin "Spouse abuse: data from the National Crime Survey," Victimology 2,632-643 (1977/78).
[7] Martin D. Schwartz, "Gender and injury in spousal assaults," Sociological Focus 20, 61-75(1987).
[8] M.A. Straus, R. J. Gelles, and S. Steinmetz, Behind Closed Doors: Violence in the American Family, (Doubleday, 1980), p. 36.
[9] Murray A. Straus, Richard J. Gelles, J of Marriage and the Family 48, 465-479 (1986).
[10] R.E. Dobash and R.P. Dobash, "A context specific approach to researching violence," in N.Johnson (ed.), Marital Violence, Sociological review Monograph
(Newcastle, England, 1981).
[1]1 R. Emerson Dobash and Russell P. Dobash, "The Case of Wife Beating," J of Family Issues 2,439-470 (1981).
[12] Edward G. Gondolf, Social Work 32, 190 (1988).
[13] Elizabeth Pleck, Joseph H. Pleck, Marlyn Grossman, and Pauline B. Bart, Victimology 2, 680-684 (1978).
[14] M. Pagelow, "Double Victimization of battered women." Presented at the meeting of the American Society of Criminology, San Francisco, November, 1980.
[15] Daniel G. Saunders, "Other 'Truths' about Domestic Violence: A Reply to McNeely and Robinson-Simpson," Social Work 32, 179-183 (1988).
[16] P. Newton and G. Gildrnan, "Defining Domestic Violence: Violent Episode or Violent Act?" Paper presented at the American Sociological Association Conference,
Detroit, Illinois, 1983.
[17] Jann Jackson, Social Work 32, 189-190 (1988).
[18] Mildred Daley Pagelow, "The 'battered husband syndrome': social problem or much ado about little," in Marital Violence, Norman Johnson, ed., Sociological review
Monograph 31 (Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1985), pp. 172-195 (see p. 178).
[19] Suzanne K. Steinmetz, Am. J. of Psychotherapy 34, 334-350 (1980).
[20] Martin D. Schwartz, "Gender and injury in spousal assaults," Sociological Focus 20, 61-75 (1987).
[21] Daniel G. Saunders, "Other 'Truths' about Domes tic Violence: A Reply to McNeely and Robinson-Simpson," Social Work 32, 179-183 (1988).
[22] Maximiliane E. Szinovacz, "Using couple data as a methodological tool: The case of marital violence," Journal of Marriage and the Family 45, 633-644 (1983).
[23] Ernest N. Jouriles and K. Daniel O'Leary, "Interspousal reliability of marital violence," Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 53, 419-421 (1985), as
analyzed in R. Emerson Dobash, Russell P. Dobash, Margo Wilson, and Martin Daly, "The Myth of Sexual Symmetry in Marital Violence," Social Problems 39, 71-91 (1992).
[24] Richard J. Gelles and John W. Harrop, "The Risk of Abusive Violence Among Children with Nongenetic Caretakers," Family Relations 40, 78-83 (1991).
[25] Martin Daly and Margo Wilson, "Evolutionary Social Psychology and Family Homicide," Science 242, 5219-524 (1988).
[26] R. Emerson Dobash, Russell P. Dobash, Margo Wilson, and Martin Daly, "The Myth of Sexual Symmetry in Marital Violence," Social Problems 39, 71-91 (1992).
[27] U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Family Violence April 1984, p. 4.
[28] J. Edleson and M. Brygger, "Gender Differences in Reporting of Battering Incidences," Family Relations 35, 377-382 (1986).
[29] Diana E. H. Russell, Rape in Marriage (Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 19990), p. 90.
[30] R. Emerson Dobash, Russell P. Dobash, Margo Wilson, and Martin Daly, "The Myth of Sexual Symmetry in Marital Violence," Social Problems 39, 71-91 (1992).
[31] Martin D. Schwartz, "Gender and injury in spousal assaults," Sociological Focus 20, 61-75 (1987).
[32] Deirdre A. Gaquin "Spouse abuse: data from the National Crime Survey," Victimology 2, 632-643 (1977/78).
[33] Martin D. Schwartz, "Gender and injury in spousal assaults," Sociological Focus 20, 61-75 (1987).
[34] Solicitor General of Canada, "Female victims of crime." Canadian Urban Victimization Survey Bulletin No. 4. (Programs Branch/Research and statistics Group, Ottawa, 1985).
[35] Vincent F. Sacco and Holly Johnson, Patterns of Criminal Victimization (Statistics Canada, Ottawa, 1990).
[36] A. Worrall and Ken Pease, Patterns in Criminal Homicide: Evidence from the 1982 British crime Survey (University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1986).
[37] U.S. Department of Justice, Crime in the United States: Uniform Crime Reports, 1991, pp. 17.
[38] G.W. Bernard, H. Vera, M.I. Vera, and G. Newman, "Till Death Do Us Part: A Study of Spouse Murder," Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 10 (1982).

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ACTION ALERT: San Bernardino- Elect James Hosking; Judge Lemkau MUST GO!


From: Peggy Hosking

May 7 at 11:44pm

We need your help again with Judge Lemkau.

The election is June 8 and we either win or lose on that day. There are 806,000 registered voters in San Bernardino - and we have to reach them so that they don't accidentally vote for Judge Lemkau.

I’m sure you remember that Lemkau called Katie Tagle a liar when she begged for protection for her son because his father made serious death threats against the baby.

Lemkau ordered her to turn Baby Wyatt over to his father for unsupervised visitation, and the father shot Baby Wyatt to death.
To read about Judge Lemkau and the only way to stop him, James Hosking, follow this link:http://www.electhosking.org/lemkau.html A copy of the transcript of the hearing is at the bottom of the page.

If you can volunteer to send e-mails, make phone calls (blocked cell phones on nights & weekends work great for people out of state) or even to hold signs, please e-mail electhosking@sbcglobal.net and I will find a way for you to help - regardless where you live!
Peggy Hosking

Elect James Hosking


Committee To Elect James Hosking Superior Court Judge 2010 P.O. Box 1012 San Bernardino, CA 92402-1012 PH : (909) 800-4401

New Handbook:"How To Get Away With The Ultimate Murder"?

    A Special Post By Susan-Murphy-Milano

    Another woman vanishes. This time the young mother of 2 children, ages 3 and 5, while walking to the mailbox in front of her parents home, still in her pajamas, is abducted.

    Venus Stewart has been missing since the morning of April 26, 2010. If you have learned anything from this site it is that I do not jump to conclusions. There are many cases of missing women and those found murdered that you do not see written about here because of various information I am unable to obtain about the case at the time. And sticking my neck out without the facts or restricted information is not healthy to the victims nor their families. But, bringing their case,s whenever possible, to the public's attention and those who are in a relationship with an abusive person is the very least we can each do in hopes of preventing another tragedy.

    My work and expertise is based solely on 20 years with these cases of intimate partner violence, police officer abuse within the home, stalking, domestic violence and homicide.

    The case of missing Venus Stewart has many scratching their heads, with the exception of law enforcement and few others, myself included. The estranged husband was in another state and by car he would have had to drive 13 hours there (maybe he rented a car or borrowed one) and 13 hours back by the time police questioned him after Venus was abducted.

    Lets get out my note book on this case-

    Fact: the couple was going through a divorce;

    Fact: the couple was going through a major custody battle;

    Fact: Venus moved out of the marital residence in Virgina and into her parents home in Michigan;

    Fact: The couple had 2 children;

    Fact: Vensus Stewart had obtained numerous police reports;

    Fact: Vensus Stewart had obtained a minimum of 2 orders of protection from a judge;

    Fact: She told friends and family she was in fear for her life from this man;

    Fact: According to Venus and in court orders of protection she informed the courts her life was in danger.

    It is possible that someone was hired by the estranged husband the day Vensus was abducted. This reminds me of another recent case where the person of interest was in another location, a casino, gambling, at the time of the murders. Allegedly, a month before the shooting, Johnny Borizov hired his best friend, Jacob Nodarse to kill Angela and her parents. The evening of the shooting, Borizov was at a Joliet casino, captured on casino video, which he could conveniently claim as an air-tight alibi. According to sealed DuPage County court documents, Angela and Borizov had been scheduled to appear at a hearing a week after the killings. To read the case go here.

    Police are looking for a man, in the Venus Stewart disappearance, who people in the rural town saw hanging around the day before and thought it was suspicious. And police have issued a sketch of the man. Could this person have been hired by the estranged husband to help the day Venus was abducted? At this point, no one seems to know that answer.

    Now, if I am an angry abuser, not wanting the person with whom I am in a realtionship with to leave, and I have a violent temper, I am going to boil over like hot liquid on a stove. And, as an abuser, I have a lot of time to think out a plan of action. I am going to threaten the person where no one else can hear me. I will make a victim's life unbearable in mediation meetings with mental health evaluators, while sitting dressed neatly and showing the world what a wonderful person I am. The moment the session is over I will shoot those looks of "now you did it" and "you are going to pay for this." Next, as custody is being determined, as an abuser I am outraged and say to myself, "she is not getting away with this alive."

    I then, as the abuser, figure out where to get that "handbook" available to members only in an e-book format that the recently formed "secret society of abusers" are all reading titled, "How to Get Away With the Ultimate Murder," author unknown.

    For some abusers, in my expert opinion, the "handbook" has worked in cases where the victim has vanished without a trace. There must be a chapter in the "handbook" on how to correctly lawyer up, as you will notice each "person of interest" no longer cooperates with authorities, often hiring a fairly skilled defense attorney, almost immediately. Thelegal hired gun acts as the shield or the mouth piece for the only person, once again in my expert opinion, behind the vanishing act of their loved one.

    Isn't it rather strange that the victim is often the mother of their children, estranged wife or former girlfriend. And, more often than not, they are going thru a divorce or custody battle. And, yes, I need to mention that a person is innocent until proven guilty.

    Every single one of these cases has a common theme, the person has been erased from the planet. And a common theme does not make one guilty of the crime. But, it is highly unusual that the person with whom the relationship has ended does not have a motive. The facts, although circumstantial, do carry a lot of weight, but, often not enough for a grand jury indictment unless you have a body.

    So, I offer the following suggestions to law enforcement in this case where the "handbook" has obviously been downloaded:

  • First obtain a search warrant for all computers both business, personal, close friends and perhaps those of a relative, too.

  • Gas receipts, credit cards used within that time period must be gathered.

  • Unusual purchases at hardware and drugstores.

  • Where was the person 72 hours prior to the abduction? Were they at work? Did they call in sick?

  • Bank withdrawals within a two week period prior to her being taken.

  • Cell phone activity needs to be captured between the time of the abduction and the following 36 hours after the abduction.

    • I will close with the words I copied today from a post at  Websleuths  following this case:

      "I think that many women who've had an abusive spouse in their past may somewhat identify with Venus. She left her abuser, did what was RIGHT, and yet she's currently missing and her abuser is the only named person of interest in the case.

      I give Venus kudos for, against all odds, leaving her abuser and getting her children out of that environment. There is no telling what her poor daughters have witnessed in the past. Worse, it can't be as awful as what they're experiencing now and will in the future...everything that we know about spousal abuse has come to fruition in this case. And as a result, these two girls will probably grow up motherless, but at least knowing that their mother mustered the courage to get them out of an abusive situation, even though it cost her life."

      Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact Michigan State Police White Pigeon Post at 269-483-7611 Rockford Regional Dispatch Center, 616-866-6666.

      Been there, done that…” Susan Murphy- Milano has turned a tired phrase intodemonstrable realism through the gift of her newly published book, "TIME'S UP: A GUIDE ON HOW TO LEAVE AND SURVIVE ABUSIVE AND STALKING RELATIONSHIPS

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      Battered Women Take Custody Battles to White House

      By Mary Darcy hyperlinked by Parenting News Network™

      Battered mothers often shy away from publicity. But this year, in a sign of their growing organization, some plan to spend Mother’s Day in Washington in a White House vigil to draw attention to a court system that often gives custody to abusers.


      (WOMENSENEWS)–On Mother’s Day, busloads of battered moms and advocates forabused children will roll into Washington, D.C.

      They’ll hold a vigil outside the White House in an effort to persuade President Obama to take up their cause of reforming a family court system that they say all too often puts children into the hands of abusive parents.

      For some it marks a new and somewhat frightening degree of public exposure. Some of the protesters will be shrouded in scarves, hiding from their abusers or a court system they fear will punish them for speaking out.

      "They’re whistleblowers," said vigil organizer Connie Valentine, policy director for TheCalifornia Protective Custody Association, based in Sacramento. "The system doesn’t look kindly on whistleblowers. It’s a difficult situation because we have seen enormous judicial retaliation against mothers who step up in front of the problem."

      Efforts to quantify the problem are just beginning but protective parents claim it is widespread. A study done by the Williamsburg, Va.-based American Judges Foundation in the early 1990s showed that in 70 percent of challenged cases, battering parents involved in custody battles persuaded authorities the victimized parent was unfit for sole custody, according to a spokesperson from the foundation.

      Valentine and other advocates for protective parents call the family courts broken and corruptand say the system not only puts children into the hands of abusive parents, it also bankrupts and punishes the protective parents who fight for them. At the same time, they say it’s hard to reform the system because the people it hurts are hiding from abusers and anxious to avoid publicity.

      Shifting Ground

      But Valentine feels the ground shifting. "I think we’re in the early stages of a civil rights movement for protecting children from physical and sexual abuse."

      She said the Internet is helping battered mothers come together. "E-mail has helped. It’s a good part of the reason for all of the advocacy," Valentine said. "Women are beginning to see that it’s not their fault and that they are just pawns in the game."

      Mo Hannah, psychology professor at Siena College, near Albany, N.Y., used the Internet to organize the first annual conference for battered women seeking custody in 2004, after her own difficult custody battle.

      This past January marked the seventh gathering, which meets annually in Albany and is the major organizing and networking event of the year for protective parents.

      "The first conference was about getting people to talk and validate their experiences," Hannah said. "But as the conferences continued it became very clear that we needed a national movement. Now the conference is just sort of an umbrella or structure that encourages people to share with each other."

      Over the seven years, women have met at the conference and formed smaller groups, such as the Massachusetts Protective Mothers for Custodial Justice.

      "Mass Moms," as it has come to be known, brings together women who have gone throughcustody battles with those currently in the throes. Volunteers accompany women to court and on lawyer visits and play a general shepherding role.

      "We stand next to a woman who is fighting for her children while she pleads and receives orders," one Mass Mom told Women’s eNews at January’s Battered Mothers Custody Conference.

      These volunteers have all been through their own custody battles and declined to be named for fear of retribution from their ex-husbands or the court system. Many have gag ordersassociated with their own cases. It is this type of fear of retribution that has helped keep the protective parents movement under the radar.

      Fear Stands in the Way

      The California Protective Custody Association’s Valentine understands the fear that keeps women from protesting and fighting the bigger battles. "I waited until my own children were grown so we weren’t affected by the family court system," she said.

      Valentine says advocates and organizers need to study and replicate the successful civil rights campaigns of the past.

      "Slavery was ended with a good law but slavery wasn’t ended because a good law happened to come about. The law happened because huge masses of people put their lives on the line and fought for it," Valentine said.

      This year "Mass Moms" is preparing to add some more public activism to their advocacy with a demonstration taking place in Boston on a date to be announced soon. In what they’re planning to call "Confetti," the moms will symbolically shred court-appointed guardian reports–which they feel are particularly unfair to protective parents–into little bits and toss them at the statehouse to call attention to the plight of protective mothers fighting for custody of their children.

      In New York City, a group called V.O.W., or Voices of Women, has been working within the court system to try to provide legal counsel and one-on-one help for women. On a wider scale its mission is to "promote long-term systemic change by documenting institutional failures, testifying at hearings, creating position papers and meeting with local and state officials."

      Both Valentine and Hannah say this is the right time to take the movement to the next level.

      "The new president is a fatherless man with a good wife and they will hear us," said Valentine. "And if they don’t hear us, Vice President Joe Biden worked on the violence against women actand he will hear us.

      And if they don’t hear us we will keep going until they do hear us."
      For more information:

      Battered Mothers Custody Conference

      Battered Mothers Custody Conference California Protective Parents Associationhttp://www.protectiveparents.com/research.html

      Report: Abused Women See Danger in Family Court

      By Alison Bowen

      Divorce and Motherhood
      Family Courts Come Under Volunteers’ Watch

      By Alison Bowen

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      clip_image001NOTE TO THE MEDIA: Trag·e·dy (trj-d) n. pl. trag·e·dies - 1. A drama or literary work in which the main character is brought to ruin or suffers extreme sorrow, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with unfavorable circumstances...



      Bad laws, bad decisions, bad judges, bad experts, bad ethics, bad ideas, and other things that are BAD FOR CHILDREN




      clip_image001[4]ALANNA KRAUSE CASE, Marin County, California. A "hellish" childhood, placed into the custody of her father, attorney Marshall Krause, who she says was abusive.""If we forgot Alanna was a child, and we put her in this situation as an adult, she would be suing someone who beat her up and who denied her a relationship with her mother, and an attorney and a therapist who sold her out. The same [legal] standards should be applied to kids. There is this illusion that we are protecting kids, while we're actually doing so much damage to them." -- Richard Ducote, Alanna's lawyer.

      DEBRA SCHMIDT CASE, Alameda County, California. A convicted sex offender, an illegal immigrant, a man who molested his niece in front of his wife, raped his wife in front of one of his daughters, and later molested another child, Manuel Saavedra, received custody of his young daughters, but their mother, Debra Schmidt, was arrested and charged with kidnapping. For more information, see here and here. Ultimately, after six years (nearly half of cognizant childhood), Schmidt regained custody. See here.



      clip_image002[4]MERRY MORRIS CASE, Palm Beach County, Florida. Merry Morris has been punished by the Florida family court for seeking that court's help in securing her visitation rights to her two minor children. The punishment: $1.8 million and a warrant for her arrest when she failed to pay that amount. The Florida appellate system dismissed her appeal. Merry is now a fugitive because she faces the very real prospect that if she submits to the arrest warrant she will remain indefinitely incarcerated unable to comply with a contempt order she is not able to appeal.

                  The Florida Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, refused to permit her appeal of this order, finding that she can be punished for the simple act of coming to court to seek assistance in enforcing her visitation rights Morris v. Morris. To their credit, Justices Anstead, Pariente and Quince dissented finding that the dismissal of Morris's appeal "potentially fosters a serious miscarriage of justice, and violates the petitioner's constitutional right to an appeal."

                  [05/01/06] Merry has now taken two actions. First, she has invoked the common law writ of habeas corpus and petitioned the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal to consider whether her arrest warrants are "intolerable restraints? deserving of review under the law articulated at Fay v. Noia, 372 U.S. 391, 401 (1963). A copy of that petition may be viewed here.

                  Additionally, Morris has filed an action in the U.S. District Court of Florida seeking emergency declaratory relief that (i) Florida's policy of punishing parents for seeking relief from Florida's family court to enforce visitation rights is unconstitutional and violates public policy and (ii) Florida's judge-made appellate rules which permits a Florida appellate court to dismiss an appeal -- as the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal did here -- violates both Florida and Federal Constitutional guarantees to due process.


      clip_image004WENDY TITELMAN CASE, Cobb County, Georgia. Wendy Titelman is the mother of two daughters who wrongfully were taken from her by a Georgia judge September 15, 2000, and turned over to their father after the children claimed he had sexually abused them, and their mother reported this abuse. Their mother was jailed. Months later, the criminal jury was so outraged that after acquitting Titelman, they took it upon themselves to write a letter of complaint to Judge James Bodiford and the responsible District Attorney who had brought the charges. But it was to no avail: in all the time since, Wendy Titleman has not had her children returned to her.

                  "Medical and mental health experts confirmed the abuse. And what did Georgia State officials do? Against the girls' wishes, they took them from me and gave them to their father. Because I kept insisting that the Court protect them, the Cobb County, Georgia Superior Court punished me: I have not been allowed to see or talk to my girls since September 2000... a Cobb County Magistrate Court judge told me that I would never win in Georgia because I was dealing with the 'good 'ole boys who would stick together no matter what'... Judge James Bodiford, Judge Bo Wood, GAL Diane Woods, Elizabeth King, Ph.D., Lorita Whitaker, D.A. Patrick Head, the Kennesaw Police Department, and the Cobb County Department of Family and Children Services are directly responsible."

                  Wendy has written a book, A Mother's Journal: Let My Children Go! which details the systematic corruption and professional incompetence of the lawyers and mental health professionals involved.


      ILLINOIS LEICHTENBERG-CONNOLLY CASE, McLean County, Illinois. March 31, 2009: "Jack and Duncan Connolly's mother, Amy Leichtenberg, blames Judge James Souk for allowing her ex-husband to have unsupervised visitation with her boys and for her sons' deaths. Now, she and her friends are taking action. 'She knew this was his intentions from the beginning because it was never about the boys it was to hurt her and she told the judge that, she told him and he didn't listen... It is his fault these boys are gone, it is definitely Judge Souk's fault,' Tuley said. 'He single-handedly handed down an order for Michael to have visitations with those boys unsupervised and because of it they're dead.' ..."http://centralillinoisproud.com/common/printerfriendly.php?cid=51522

                  More: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-missing-boys-dead-31-mar31,0,3316104.story?page=1 "Amy Leichtenberg worried this day would come, and she begged the judicial system to prevent it. In court documents dating back to 2005, she detailed her estranged husband's threats against her family and fought unsuccessfully to keep him from having unsupervised visits with their two sons..."

                  And yet more: http://www.week.com/news/local/42231047.html David Lynch, the local prosecutor is quoted as saying, apologia: "I doubt very much that the judge failed in this case" and "A court cannot stop a visitation unless it finds the visitation would be dangerous to the child's mental, moral or physical health" and "A judge is going to say look at what happened to those two kids. Should I be overly restrictive to a very good parent because they might be that one in 10-thousand or one in 100,000." Somebody please ask Mr. Lynch how the hell he could possibly describe a man with a history of being this much of an abusive asshole toward his wife as a "very good parent".

      This is the crux of the problem. These men are most assuredly NOT "very good parents" and it's time the courts stopped automatically granting men the benefit of the doubt while doubting the credibility and motives of the women who know them best and who also happen to be the people who care the most about the children.

                  Oh yes... a psych most assuredly did opine in this case, in the usual way, that Connolly was not a threat to himself or the children. Useless. The same guys who claim women emotionally abuse kids by "alienating" them from abusive men -- and then have little problem removing children from the custody of their mothers -- speciously fret and hand-wring over paternal rights and strained make-believe arguments that the children will suffer some kind of harm if they don't get lots of time with fathers -- and oh, it's all the women's fault because she's not letting him see the children. (It was something else she must have done that provoked his prior abusive behavior against the mother when that excuse wouldn't have worked)...

      "According to the records, a Bloomington psychiatrist found in April 2008 that Connolly was depressed and unable to work because of 'his inability to see his children under normal conditions.' ...a month later, the psychiatrist said in an evaluation submitted to McLean County Judge James Souk that Connolly did not seem suicidal or homicidal. Souk awarded Connolly unsupervised visits." http://www.examiner.com/a-1936148~Court_papers__Ill__dad_violated_visitation_rules.html

                  Difficult? It's not that difficult. Listen to the women. Stop granting depressed, obsessive, and/or control-freak abusive men visitation or "timeshare" rights. Listen to the mothers. Listen to the mothers. Listen to the mothers. Stop assuming that the default positions in custody cases are that women are unstable vindictive crackpots, and that men are being unfairly badmouthed. Father's attorney Todd Roseberry is, of course, surprised.

                  Good for McHenry County Judge Suzanne C. Mangiamele who took the claims seriously enough that while the divorce case was pending before her, Connolly received only supervised visitation. But why was he getting any visitation at all? The man repeatedly had threatened to kill the children's mother, as well as others. Leichtenberg's attorney, Elizabeth Vonau, said "Everybody knew he was capable of this. There were repeated threats he would harm her, repeated threats he would get back at her and harm the children or take them from her." http://www.dailyherald.com/story/print/?id=282973

                  http://cbs2chicago.com/local/michael.connolly.jack.2.972750.html: "Connolly never hurt Leichtenberg or their sons but scared her because he called often, sometimes threatening suicide and other times trying to intimidate her or persuade her to come back to him..." He "never hurt her"? What? Of course he did! He threatened her life and abused her for years through the courts. That should have been enough. These mothers are not vindictive crackpots, and it's not mothers in the news day after day after day who prove they are the lunatics by hurting other people. These mothers are the persons in the world who love the children best and who know the father best. The mothers. Not the psychs, your honors. Really. Women don't keep children from helpful, supportive men who aren't threatening to take custody, harm them physically, harm the children, or harm the mothers' abilities to properly care and provide for their children.

      "Connolly benefited from a system designed to overlook past indiscretions in favor of giving children a chance to maintain relationships with both parents... he bamboozled people. He was cagey and manipulative."http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-missing-kids-killed-01-apr01,0,2218136.story

                  Giving "the children" a chance? Now they are dead. Let's stop with the euphemisms and pretexts. These are bad laws. Amy Leichtenberg and her children were failed by bad laws that serve primarily to give men rights. Mothers don't seem to be able to "work the system" this way, because they aren't believed, they frequently are the upset attached parent, they often have far less funds to litigate, and it's just a father-lovin' mother-denigrating world. "Leichtenberg spent the last four years documenting what she considered to be dangerous behavior."

                  Listen to the mothers. Listen to the mothers. Listen to the mothers. Leichtenberg pleaded -- pleaded -- with the judge. What the f--- did he think she was so worked up about? Did he discount her as some kind of "woman scorned"? She was the one who left Connolly. (Women usually are the ones who leave.) What kind of inherently misogynistic attitude leads people to hold these biased perceptions that they don't even realize they hold. Women beg these judges... out of lunacy? vindictiveness? Hysteria? Weakness of mind? Some kind of pathetic "enmeshment" with the kids? Because they can't handle life? To get those juicy big child custody awards that so often go unpaid anyway? Just another "high conflict custody case"?

                  No. That's projecting onto women the motives and thought processes of these abusive men. That's what these MEN believe they would do were tables turned. They believe this way because they are not mothers. And judges often rule as they do because for one reason or another, they just don't like the litigating mother as a person as much as they like the man -- as if this is relevant to what's in kids' interests. It's a mother-hating, woman-disrespecting world. Doesn't help when she's got reason to be stressed, harassed, made crazy and angry. (The court whores of course also will bias toward whoever is the more compliant person who likes them best, i.e. is most willing to pay them, but in the rare case that is the mother, that only tends to correct the pervasive pro-male bias.)

                  Your honor, if some litigant who had come before you behaved toward you in the manner this man behaved, threatened your life and so forth, would you be inclined to hire him -- EVER -- to care for YOUR children? Would you be saying "Well, even though he threatened to slit my throat six months ago, and violated restraining orders umpteen times, now he has a job and a rented apartment, so that must mean he's okay; he can have my kids for the weekend." Do the effin' rules of reality change when it's other people? Or is it just that we're too damn enrenched in the delusional ideas of sperm rights and women's wrongs in this world.

                  See, at this website WILL HE KILL?

                  and BUSTING THE FATHERHOOD MYTH




                  Every week in the news, every week, sometimes every day, men in custody cases and relationship separation cases rape, batter, and kill women and children. It's below the fold on some inside page if at all, if it even makes the news at all. It happens again and again and again and again. (But when the relatively rare mother kills, it's headline news for months.) And don't forget the ubiquitous tittering by the neighbors, duly quoted for "balance" all about what a nice guy, and how he was tormented and so forth. Usually it's written up as if it's an inexplicable snapping, and too often without a whiff of mention of the nearly always-present reality of a history of his being a control freak or depressive and that she left him or threatened to leave him, or to take some of "his" property, or cause him loss generally by breaking up "his family". (That last item, take note, is all about his surroundings and accutrements and possessions. It should not to be understood as "take his children" which is a specious use of faux projection by the propagandists, a pretext for the loss he's actually flipping over.) And in the majority of the rest of those so-called one-in-ten-thousand cases, the ones in which he doesn't kill, he's still battering and abusing her through the court system, for years, over his custody "rights". It's got to stop.

                  People are calling for Judge Souk to resign. They should be calling for the ouster of the psychs as well, who mislead courts with snake oil and give them covers to hide behind. Let's pinpoint exactly what the catalyst for this horrible, horrible failure of the court system was. A psych speculation as to risk, an opinion that had no business being uttered in court because psychsjust don't have these prediction skills.

      More opinions:

      When the Justice System Fails You

      Another Family Wiped Out By Dad



      clip_image006CLAUDINE DOMBROWSKI CASE, Shawnee County, Kansas. Claudine lost custody of her baby daughter Rikki to Hal Richardson, the man who did this, thanks to Judge James P. Buchele, who refused to permit adequate testimony at trial, shortening it to benefit his docket, and also ordered Claudine to move back to Topeka to live near Richardson, for the sake of their "co-parenting." WHAT?! Richardson is a man with multiple criminal convictions for violent behavior (Battery, Attempted Battery, Battery of a Law Enforcement Officer, Obstruction of Legal Process, Possession of Marijuana and violation of Open Container law), a man who has beaten and raped Claudine multiple times before and after her divorce from him, a man who has threatened to kill her and her child.

                  Worse, Judge Buchele also ordered Claudine not to call the police any more without the permission of her case manager. When Judge James Buchele retired, Judge Richard D. Anderson affirmed Buchele's previous orders, including the illegal prohibition on Claudine's being able to call the police.

                  But don't blame the judges alone. Stupidity rarely works its evil in a vaccuum. A truly egregious outrage requires that could-be good men do nothing. Guardian ad litem Scott McKenzie deserves a substantial portion of the credit for this travesty. I ask, how in hell can this happen in the United States of America? For more information, also see http://www.kansas.net/%7Efreepress/7-12-01-8.html


      clip_image008KELLY STRATTON, Covington, Kentucky. Two dead; thankfully, not the child or the mother (who was in jail while this happened). But how did this mother of a little girl end up in jail for 60 days for contempt of court, causing her to lose her job and home, and rendering her unable herself to protect her daughter, who was sent into the temporary custody of her (now dead) maternal grandmother? How couldKenton Family Court Judge Lisa Bushelman possibly have given this "father" Charlie Johnson any visitation rights? More importantly, how in hell is it that the law guardian could possibly have had "equal concerns" about the mother's and father's parenting skills?

              "The lawyer had equal concerns about the mother's parenting skills. While the mother had custody, the girl was tardy at least 25 times and absent at least eight times from elementary school. She was late to school seven times in February."

              But the father "was charged with raping a child in 1994 but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of gross sexual imposition", was "also convicted of two counts of theft in 1989, aggravated burglary in 1989, disorderly conduct in 1991 and carrying a concealed weapon in 1991", and had been charged numerous times with domestic violence after violating several protection orders but that those charges had been dismissed."

              "'The youngster needed therapy to deal with her parents' fighting,' guardian Lisa M. Wenzel said in one report." Her parents' fighting? Nothing but a mutually squabbling mother, recalcitrant because a dangerous convicted child rapist wanted his custody rights? How unreasonable of her...

      "But each parent had positive attributes, Wenzel said." How could anyone make this kind of claim unless she were completely incompetent.

              And Judge "Bushelman ordered that both parents would have joint custody... [the abusive, dangerous, child-rapist father] was given visitation three times a week.... [and then] in a May hearing, Bushelman found [the mother] in contempt of court and ordered her to serve 60 days in jail." We could guess why. Visitation "interference"? Failure to supply yet more harassing discovery? Or rudeness to the judge? Step down from the bench, please, Judge Bushelman. Two people are dead, and it appears that you were a catalyst. You are too susceptible to father's rights crap and therapeutic jurisprudence drivel.

              Two people now are dead; thankfully, not the child or the mother. It does sound like the grandmother, hero Betty Hamilton, the mother's mother, may she rest in peace, deserves a statue erected in her honor.



      clip_image009AMY CASTILLO, Montgomery County, Maryland. Amy Castillo, a pediatrician, and primary parent to three small children (Anthony, 6, Austin, 4, and Athena, 2), twice was denied her motion to restrict Mark Castillo's visitation rights. Not only that, she was fined for "visitation interference". Her children are dead now, murdered by their father in a hotel room in Baltimore, March 31, 2008. "A long-running custody battle..." "Amy Castillo filed for a protective order in December of 2006 and claimed Mark had threatened to kill their children to make her suffer. She requested that the order be permanent but a judge denied the request saying there was no evidence of abuse." You can find the case records athttp://casesearch.courts.state.md.us/inquiry/inquiry-index.jsp




      clip_image010FAMILY COURT JUDGE NICHOLAS Del VECCHIO, accused child molestor, sex harasser, and all-around creep in Clark County, Nevada. The outrage is that it took the Judicial Discipline Commission almost two years to investigate, getting its first complaint in May 2006, and not filling charges until March 2008, all the while this man remained (and apparently as of March 23, 2008, remains) sitting on the bench, deciding family law cases  (of all things), and being a member of his county's domestic violence taskforce. The child molest complainant is herself a lawyer. With charges like this someone please explain why this man was not removed immediately from this particular position of authority pending completion of an investigation? Or at least moved into some other court where he wouldn't have been potentially able to sympathize with other men accused -- falsely or not -- of being child sex perverts!!!? Has the world lost its marbles? For more information, seehttp://www.lvrj.com/news/15474581.html and http://www.lasvegasnow.com/global/story.asp?s=7846463


      NEW YORK

      clip_image012GENIA SHOCKOME CASE, Poughkeepsie, Duchess County, New York. On Thursday, May 5, 2005, Yevgenia Shockome, a pro se battered mother seven months pregnant, who already inexplicably had lost custody of her children to her abuser three years before in Judge Damian J. Amodeo's Duchess County Courtroom, was jailed on Mother's Day weekend for objecting to Amodeo's order permitting the father to move her children (whom she has not been able to see for months) to Texas. Apparently, Amodeo got ticked off because Shockome called him a "liar" in response to... her perception of what I guess we would call "bullshit" if it emanated from someone other than a judge? Amodeo previously had given custody to the children's father despite indications of the father's dysfunctional and stalker-like behavior. That original decision was of dubious merit in the first place. This latest act by the judge seems inexcusable. The hearing transcript does not seem to support these sanctions. Was Genia rude? Maybe she was! She also was unrepresented, upset, and with child-protective pregnancy hormones cursing through her body. In any event, absolutely none of her behavior in court should have had any bearing whatsoever on what was in her children's interests.

      Incredibly, Judge Amodeo sits on New York State's Matrimonial Commission, which is supposed to help improve the way family courts function. Amodeo touts the following credentials: Member, NYS Matrimonial Commission, 2003 to present; Member, NYS Parent Education Advisory Board, 2001 to present; Member, NYS Universal Case Management Committee, 1999 to 2001; Member, NYS Committee on Automation and Technology for Judges, 1993 to 1996 Member, NYS Judicial Institute Committee, 2000 to 2002; Member, P.E.A.C.E. Advisory Committee, 1994 to 1999; Member, 9th Judicial District Committee to Promote Gender Fairness in the Courts, 1990 to present; Member & Past President [1986-1987]; Dutchess County Bar Association, 1968 to present; Member, Dutchess County Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, 1989 to present; Member, Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council, 2000 to present ;Member, Dutchess County Juvenile Justice Task Force, 2004 to present; Member & Past President, Hyde Park Rotary, 1968 to 2004.

      What's Judge Amodeo doing involved with all these domestic violence, parenting education, and "gender fairness" committees? Doesn't seem to jibe with this case, and looks suspicious. We need judges who engender actual respect, not ones who jail pregnant immigrant mothers whom they've admitted to traumatizing, which causes the litigants in turn -- because of the judge's own inappropriate behavior or decisions -- to lose respect for and confuse this honorable office with a man who happens to wield its power.


      NATALIE GIBBONS CASE, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Judge Nathanial P. Proctor apparently believes sexual freedom should reign in the bedroom. He's the judge who a while back struck down North Carolina's sodomy statute.

      clip_image013            Well, we're all for "sex positivism" and privacy for consenting adults too, even ones who get turned on by the idea of fucking animals -- but we do NOT think it's okay for a father to be watching pornography while in his bed with his two little kids (a boy, age 9, and a girl, age 10). Judge Proctor professes to not think so either. But then he wagged his finger at Dad -- who, notwithstanding proof otherwise, continued to deny that it even happened -- and refused to assure the childrens' safety and well-being. When their mother, Natalie Gibbons, understandably horrified at what has been going on when these children have been in the custody of their father, and baffled at the complete refusal of the state to protect her children in the way the state would have if some other man -- or even their mother -- had been in bed with a little girl and a little boy watching porn videos, and did not want to turn her children back over into their father's unsupervised custody, Judge Proctor responded -- by throwing the mother into jail.

      Demand that this man be removed from office. His priorities are very confused -- to put it as politely as we can and refrain from speculating as to why he's more protective of abstract notions of privacy and adults who like buggery and bestiality, than he is of two children.


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