I saw this article, and having had my children abused molested etc and the courts do nothing because as one police officer put it. Judge Olsen (not the real name) would never take a child away from his/her mother?
Divorced from reality
By MINDELLE JACOBS
I inadvertently stoked the ever-simmering gender war last week when comments I reported from a domestic violence conference unleashed a fusillade of male outrage.
From California to Massachusetts, American men flayed me for painting a picture of male abuse while ignoring the flip side - that women are also perpetrators. Canadian ex-husbands and fathers also poured out their wrath.
Well, as I e-mailed back to many of my readers, don't shoot the messenger, guys. I didn't endorse the remarks of the head of the U.S. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, who told a women's shelter conference that some leaders of fathers' rights groups are abusers who wield their positions like an ideological hammer against women.
Incendiary comments are going to get reported. And I have clearly acknowledged in past columns that spousal violence is perpetrated by both men and women. But there is no denying that women are much more likely than men to be the victims of the most severe physical abuse and spousal homicide.
Still, the men want their say so let's proceed. I received countless e-mails from wounded men (both physically and emotionally) who said they'd either been assaulted by unhinged wives or falsely accused of either harming their wives or molesting their kids.
"I'm a guppy in a sea of really big and angry fish," wrote one man who said he was falsely accused of sexually abusing his two-year-old daughter.
Men wrote about being assaulted by their wives - with no subsequent charges by the police. They complained about the nasty games women play to cut them out of their kids' lives.
Former Edmonton lawyer Grant Brown has heard it all. He quit practising law in March after only four years as a lawyer because he's sick of dealing with what he describes as a dysfunctional family law system.
"I couldn't hack it anymore," says the 50-year-old who's writing a book called Deadbeat Judges.
"The thesis of my book is that judges actually create the deadbeats. They make such harsh orders against fathers and give fathers no rights," he says. "A lot of (dads) just give up."
Several of his former clients have signed waivers allowing Brown to write about their cases. He's had female clients who were unfairly treated by the courts but he says it's mostly men who get shafted.
Police, prosecutors and judges are generally harsher with men in domestic abuse cases, says Brown. And, he adds, judges rarely punish women who violate court orders.
He recalls appearing before the same judge four times in two months because of a woman who wasn't giving her ex access to the children. The judge warned her there would be consequences for breaching a court order - but he never followed through.
"Dads can spend thousands and thousands of dollars trying to see their kids and the judges do nothing to make it happen," says Brown.
To some extent, judges are faced with an impossible task, he acknowledges, because the court system is adversarial. "Everything hinges on proving that the other parent is a badass of some kind."
He'd like to see mandatory mediation in bitter divorce cases as well as a legal presumption of shared parenting.
"The money should be going to the kids instead of paying for the lawyers," says Brown. "The more you can cut lawyers out of it, I think the better off the system would be."
If a woman's ever tossed in jail for the weekend for refusing her ex court-ordered access to the kids, let me know. Now that's a story.
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