The plight of divorced dads:
By Barbara Kay, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2007
http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/story.html?id=154736&p=1

No other topics I write about so consistently provoke passionate personal
response as those dealing with systemic discrimination against men. When,
for example, I point out double standards for boys and girls in the health
care system, or expose the use of bogus statistics around domestic violence,
my inbox fills with male gratitude simply for acknowledging an obvious fact:
Our culture is profoundly misandric.


Of the myriad forms of discrimination men cite, one looms over the rest: The
egregious treatment meted out to fathers in the throes of contested child
custody following the "no-fault" divorces most of them did not initiate or
desire. My files bulge with stories of disenfranchised fathers ripped from
their children's arms and lives. They have lost their homes, their careers,
fortunes, friends and reputations, often on the basis of false allegations
of abuse (for which their female accusers are virtually never punished). I
wouldn't mention such anecdotal evidence, if the anguish in these
testimonials didn't jibe with objective data confirming the shameful gender
bias that dominates the family law system.


About half of all marriages end in divorce. Women are twice as likely to
initiate a divorce as men, largely because they can be fairly sure they'll
end up with control of the children. Where shared parenting is the default
template, divorce rates plummet. Men are six times as likely as women to
commit suicide within the first two years after a separation: That they kill
themselves from despair rather than their ex-wives for revenge is,
ironically, a tragically eloquent rebuttal to the feminist credo that men
are inherently dangerous to women.


Although 25% of women make more money than their spouses, 97% of support
payers are men (even in cases of shared parenting). Mobility decisions
favour women: The psychological comfort to a Vancouver mother of moving near
her Toronto-based family will be privileged over the psychological
devastation the virtual loss of his children causes the Vancouver-bound
father.


Misandry in family law begins with an ideology that views children as the
property of women, even though many peer-reviewed studies show children want
and need both parents, and no studies show sole parenting by a mother serves
children's best interests. This ideology is instilled in judges during
training sessions featuring feminism-driven materials, and subsequently
often plays out as unaccountable kangaroo courts.


The result is that an adversarial mother who initiates a divorce against the
will of the father --however indifferent her parenting skills, however
superb his and even if the children spend their days with nannies or day
care workers --pretty well has a lock on sole custody of the children. If
she denies rightful access to the father, she will never be punished at all.
Conversely, if he withholds money, he will be criminalized: His picture as a
"deadbeat dad" may appear on government-sanctioned Internet sites, and if he
goes to jail, as is likely, he will serve a longer sentence than cocaine
dealers.


Most men think such kafkaesque scenarios can't happen to them. Happily
married men parenting with equal diligence believe in their hearts that men
who find themselves savaged by the family law system are congenital losers,
or were demonstrably lousy husbands and fathers. Many such "winners" are in
for an unpleasant surprise.


"We want to pull away from the idea that parents have rights in relation to
their children," said Jennifer Cooper, chair of the Canadian Bar
Association's family law section, representing 2,200 divorce lawyers.
"Parents" in this statement is the hypocritical lip service feminism pays to
humanism: She meant "fathers," for women's rights today are never "pulled
away from," only supported or furthered. In the days when children belonged
to both their parents, it used to be said that children were "hostages to
fortune." Today they are hostages to feminism and the state.


In his new, cleverly titled book, "Taken into Custody", Stephen Baskerville,
president of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children, paints a bleak
picture of the routine injustice a divorcing father can expect when a woman
initiates a divorce. Baskerville baldly warns: "If I have one urgent piece
of practical advice for young men today, it is this: Do not marry and do not
have children."


His book, like many others of the genre, makes a persuasive case. Men should
read them. If the system does not become equitable, don't be surprised if
men choose increasingly, and with reason, to play their trump card: Voting
for equality with their condoms.

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