Thursday, October 23, 2008

Scholarships Available to Victims of Domestic Violence

The Women’s Independence Scholarship Program (http://www.wispinc.org/) in Wilmington , NC has received a $30 million dollar gift from Maryland philanthropist Doris Buffet for scholarships that help women go back to school after leaving abusive partners.

WISP will use the gift to establish its own foundation and continue its work for another 10 years.

Women who are domestic violence survivors can apply through WISP for scholarships to cover the cost of tuition, books, school fees, and related expenses such as child care and transportation. To date, the scholarships have helped 900 women nationwide graduate from school.

Applications and instructions can be found at http://www.wispinc.org/

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What’s Wrong With the ABA Booklet, 10 MYTHS…?

When not expending energy in attempting to prove that women are primary aggressors and men are the real victims of domestic violence, evangelical political activist Phyllis Schlafly, and men’s advocate groups such as Media RADAR (RADAR: Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Violence Reporting) and the American Coalition of Fathers and Children (ACFC), do a complete flip flop and go to great lengths in efforts to convince the American public that domestic violence is nearly non-existent, or at least not as prevalent as it really is. They make the fantastic , malicious, claim that millions of women are simply lying about the abuse in order to gain legal advantage in divorce and custody litigation. Their propaganda includes denouncing the booklet, 10 MYTHS ABOUT CUSTODY AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND HOW TO COUNTER THEM published by the American Bar Association (ABA). The booklet educates attorneys in how to best serve the interests of clients who are victims of domestic violence.

Media RADAR issued a special report debunking the booklet. Phyllis Schlafly made the false and absolutely ridiculous claim that representing clients who are victims of domestic violence is a cash cow for attorneys, and mimicking Media RADAR wrote that the booklet is full of false information aimed at enriching those in the legal profession. I not only disagree with them both, but I believe that neither Schlafly nor Media RADAR are the least bit interested in the real facts of the travesty that is taking place in this country as a result of domestic violence and custody litigation. Schlafy allows fear of radical feminism and an extremely narrow, fundamentalist, view of acceptable behavior for women, to color her entire perception of the issue.

The following is a listing of the 10 Myths. Following that are a few facts correcting each myth.

Myths:
1.) Domestic violence is rare among custody litigants
2.) ill effects of domestic violence on children are minimal and short term
3.) Mothers frequently invent allegations of child sexual abuse in order to win custody
4.) Domestic Violence has nothing to do with child abuse
5.) Abusive fathers don't get custody6.) Fit mothers don't lose custody
7.) Parental Alienation Syndrome is a scientifically sound phenomenon
8.) Children are in less danger from a batterer once the parents separate
9.) Parents who batter are mentally ill, or parents with no evidence of mental illness
cannot be batters.
10.) If a child demonstrates no fear or aversion to a parent, there is no reason not to award
custody or unsupervised visitation

Facts:
1.) According to the S. L. Keilitz National Center for State Courts, up to 50% of disputed custody cases involve domestic violence

2.) Even without myriads of studies proving the ill effects of domestic violence on children, common sense dictates that domestic violence would have devastating effects on the healthy development of any child

3.) There will always be those who lie and abuse the legal system in order to gain personal advantage, but evangelical political activist PHYLLIS SCHLAFLY in tandem with male supremist groups such as MEDIA RADAR (Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Violence Reporting), AMERICAN COALITION of FATHERS and CHILDREN (ACFC), men's advocates such as GLENN SACKS, and Abuser advocates such as DEAN TONG propogate the entirely unsubstantiated claim that millions of women lie about domestic violence and child sexual abuse in order to gain advantage in divorce/custody situations. The substantiated facts of the matter are these, that where false allegations are concerned, fathers are far more likely to make intentionally false accusations than mothers. The truth is that false allegations are no more common in divorce or custody disputes than at any other time.

4.) Domestic violence is child abuse! Anger and violence are terrifying to anyone subjected to them. Can anyone argue that it is abusive to create such an environment in a home where children are being raised? In addition to common sense, studies have shown a strong correlation between domestic violence and child abuse.

5.) Abusive fathers are far more likely to seek sole custody than non-abusive ones...and according to the American Judges Foundation, they are successful about 70% of the time.

6.) Mothers who are victims of domestic violence often are depressed and suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. As a result, they frequently present poorly at court and to custody evaluators and best interest attorneys.

7.) The Americnl Psychological Association rejects PAS as lacking data support. The official position of the APA on PAS is that it is an unscientific concept.

8.) Batterers are often more strongly motivated to control and abuse through the children after separation or divorce due to loss of other methods.

9.) Psychological testing cannot distinguish between a batter and a non-batterer. The sad truth is that men who are batters, often test normally in psychological testing--a case in point would be Darren Mack who tested normally in psychological evaluations during divorce proceedings between him and his wife, Charlotte. He was administered these tests on advice from abuser advocate DEAN TONG, because during the proceedings his wife claimed to be frightened of him. It turns out Charlotte Mack’s fears were more than justified. One year later, Darren stabbed her to death. Mack is also charged with shooting the Judge who was handling their case—so much for the validity of tests purporting to reveal propensity for domestic in men. In truth, mental illness is found in only a minority of batterers.

10.) Children of batterers or children who are being abused often show no outward fear or aversion to the offending parent. In fact, most of time they demonstrate just the opposite. Traumatic Bonding and Stockholm Syndrome are common but unhealthy survival techniques used by children of batters or child sexual abusers.

Visit the following link for more detailed research results
http://www.abanet.org/domviol/custody_myths.pdf