I was flicking through the Daily Mail the other day and this headline/title caught my eye.
“I cut my ex out of our daughter’s life. Now I’m glad he fought tooth and nail to see her”
Sally Windsor ends the peace with “If James hadn’t fought me in court, Ruby wouldn’t be the delightful, clever, kind and happy child she is today. I’m just glad I eventually saw through my own resentment and hurt—and put my child first” During the article sally talks about the benefits of her child having contact with her father, and is grateful James has forgiven her for making him fight tooth and nail just to see his child. In all probability Sally believes she has produced something that extolls the merits of allowing a father access to his child and has in some way moved the plight of fathers seeking access to their children forward. However, there is something much deeper held within her words.
Sally’s story goes along the lines of, after a traumatic birth and failing to bond with her daughter, sleepless nights arguments started. So in order to make a better life for the child she failed to bond with she moved out with the child. She cut her ex partner out of her life and made it impossible for the parent that had bonded with his child, she states “I ignored his calls, I refused to answer the door and slandered him to anyone who would listen. I told everyone he was a awful father; he didn’t give her enough to drink and didn’t change her nappy often enough” she now admits he was not a bad father. Sally says she did this because “Even then I knew it was unfair, but I wanted to punish him, I blamed him for the brake-up of our relationship and what better way to hurt him, I reasoned, than take his daughter away ?
The effects of this were clear for all to see in the family court. Sally recollects “I remember all too well that wretched day in the family court in March 2009 as we sat in front of the Judge, with a solicitor between us. James, whom I’d once loved so dearly looked gray and hollow. I listened with a growing sense of shame as my legal team reeled off the acidic statement I’d made, littered with stupid accusations I’d dramatised to hurt him.
Now, as you read through Sally Windsor’s story, in her own words you will notice a few things. Quite apart from this columnist over using apostrophes this story is not unusual. This is where the words we use to describe events become very important, and you will notice if you look back at where the terms we use came from, you will notice feminists coined most of them. We describe this as a “Custody Battle”, where a marriage is involved we use a even less accurate term, “messy divorce”. This is less accurate because it implies both parties are doing the same thing. Surely had James been making things up this too would have been covered in the article. So, if these terms are not accurate, what is the correct terminology of this normal event ?
I would call it Domestic Abuse continuing past the end of the relationship. Let that sink in for a moment and consider the ramifications. Let me brake this down. The definition of Domestic Abuse includes
“Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behavior”.
It is undoubtable that removing access to a persons child is “controlling” and then, by default, the oft said phrase “I will make sure you do not get access [to our child/children]” also falls into the “threatening” category.
This is where it gets messy ! If we agree this is domestic abuse, and we know domestic abuse is a crime, this raises manny questions. The courts don’t just know this is happening, they are actively involved. This is played out by solicitors in front of judges. At the very least these courts are guilty of one of the “C” words. Connive, consent, condone. We are told to report domestic abuse to the police, who will present a case for the Crown Prosecution Service to take the case in front of a Judge. I question if any judge would ever sit on a bench and say “yes, I was involved in domestic abuse manny times, and indeed I added and abetted the perpetrator”, and then find that person guilty ? What sanction would the judge then place upon themselves ? If ever men wondered why the legal system seemed to be against them in the legal system and divorce this may hold part of the reason why.
Next, if we agree that this is indeed Domestic Abuse, think what percentage of the female population could be found guilty of domestic abuse, and then be on a register, for anyone to check under “Sarah’s Law” where it applies, and across the country if this law gets rolled out ?
What would this do to the figures for Domestic Abuse. If, every case like this, which is easily proven was taken to a trial, would the number of female perpetrators outweigh male perpetrators ? would the support system that is currently accessible to females need to change to reflect the number of victims ? Would this mean the requirement for shelters for men, and there children would be met and childcare provided to allow these men to continue there career ? Or would this cause a different outcome altogether. Imagine just imagine this.
There is no doubt that the inequality in custody rights and divorce law, heavily slanted to favor females changed marriages. If it was recognised that this state of affairs was being used to perpetrate Domestic Abuse and rectified to produce a truly fair system, this would go a long way towards bringing equality back to the marriage. This would remove the Ace card women have now overplayed “Then I want a divorce and you will not get to see the kids”. For a very long time that has won any and every argument. Take that away, and you remove one of the reason men stay in abusive relationships.
My last thought on this is for Sally Windsor, or any other women that have perpetrated this abuse then, eventually managed to let your child have a relationship with their father. You have nothing to feel good about in doing this, nobody should get a pat on the back for stopping abusing their currant or ex partner. You should however, take the next step and admit, at least to your ex partner if not in public, that what you did was indeed, domestic abuse.
Daily Mail, Thursday 26th December 2013. Page 61