Suicide: How Father's Rights Groups Drive Men Over the Edge
Psychology tells us that if you want to get a good opinion on that Toyota Camry you've been thinking about, do NOT ask someone who has just recently purchased one. Why? Because of confirmation bias.
What does this have to do with father's rights groups? Give me a minute and let me work through this ;P
Most support groups seek to validate the victim's experience and console those who are in pain. When men seek the assistance of these father's rights groups, many of them haven't a clue what they are stepping into. The men that make up the most vocal minority of these groups feel that they've been unfairly taken advantage of by their ex-wives/ex-girlfriends and shitted on by the family court system. This isn't so much of a support group as it is a terrorist organization. Their solutions include, but are not limited to, flooding, intimidating, bullying, and threatening anyone who speaks or writes against their mistaken beliefs. They hype each other up with pissing matches on whose ex was the biggest bitch. Nothing is their own fault.
What some of the men in these father's rights group fail to reveal is that they weren't really dicked by the court system or their exes--they either failed miserably in their relationships (and somehow it wasn't apparent to them) and/or, they didn't participate (perhaps even acquiescing) in any court "battle" but rather made assumptions based off of what their other male counterparts (who have also "lost") have fed them.
These father's rights groups should come with warning labels to the men who fall prey to them. Any half-decent man may seek answers to some basic questions only to be mind-fucked into a hate campaign against his current or ex-partner. He then goes into a downward spiral beginning with trying to play games with his ex instead of confronting the situation honestly and trying to figure out peaceful solutions.
Let's review this e-mail circulating through the father's rights groups right now, notice the title:
----- Original Message -----
From: Jeremy Swanson
To: swanson@storm. ca
Sent: 12/26/2009 6:16:54 PM
Subject: Read this (Another Dad dead by suicide. Another child fatherless)
Fathers' and Children's Equality (FACE)
It grieves me deeply to report this:
About two weeks ago, I received a call from Chris Wise of Hammonton NJ.He had been referred to us by an attorney-friend of ours who gave him my cell phone number. He told me he and his girlfriend had an almost two month old son. Both parents are in their early 30s, they lived together in his house throughout the pregnancy, he is disabled and not working, and his mother and brother also live in his house. The girlfriend and her mother were telling him they were going to take away the baby, never let him see the baby again, and take away from him everything he has.
(notice the connection)
There's nothing unusual about threats like that. We handle them all the time. Personally, I don't like to give too much information on a first call.What I tell about fathers' rights is probably exactly the opposite of what they have always believed and what they will be told by police, lawyers, court personnel, DYFS, etc. I prefer people to come to a meeting where a whole room-full of people will reassure them that what we say is true.
(doesn't this sound like when one of your friends starts selling Amway and they "need" you to come to the meeting to find out more...and then you get there and everyone is so friendly and excited...almost cult-like???)
I asked Chris if anyone had been to court yet for anything. They had not. I explained to Chris that at their first time in court, one of the parents will leave with less parental rights than s/he came in with, but until they go to court both parents had equal rights. I asked where the baby was right then. Chris said the mother was about to return to work from maternity leave, and she had made arrangements to move in with some strange older woman she will be working with. I suggested that won't last long because this stranger won't like a crying infant interfering with her household routine. I asked why the mother didn't go to her parents' home. She couldn't. Her parents are divorced. Her mother and step-father live in a little one bedroom apartment, they both smoke, and they have dogs. She had no contact with her real father until quite recently, and he also did not have proper accommodations for a new-born.
I reminded Chris of the adage "possession is nine tenths of the law,"and told him that whoever had possession of the baby on that day they first go to court will have a very good chance of keeping him. "But," said Chris, "I don't want to take the baby away from his mother." Of course not ... you WANT her to have liberal visitation. But remember, she already told you that if she gets custody she doesn't want you to ever see the child again. Are you capable of taking care of the baby and doing everything that child needs? "Yes." Who do you want to have custody?
(notice the initial resistance from Chris)
I asked Chris if he thought it would be possible for him to get possession of the baby without breaching the peace. He very confidently answered "Sure!" I asked how he could be so sure of that, and where and how would he do it? He said the mother was bringing the baby back to his house that evening, and they were all going to sleep in his house that night! Under these circumstances I couldn't make Chris wait for our next meeting; he needed help NOW!
(notice the urgency...kinda like a snake oil salesman)
I told Chris there were two things he needed to know: First we discussed the domestic violence law. I emailed him a copy of the statute, listing all the acts that are considered to be domestic violence in New Jersey. I pointed out that whoever gets a domestic violence restraining order against the other can also automatically get custody, and that "domestic violence" does not necessarily have to have anything to do with violence. I told him if he is holding the baby and won't release him to her, and she commits an act of domestic violence to get him away from you, especially with your mother and brother as witnesses or if she leaves marks on you, you can get a restraining order against her and get custody of the child.
(a lot of premeditation)
Second, what happens if there is no domestic violence, but she calls the police and says "He won't give me my baby?" When the police arrive, the first thing they will do is ask to see the custody order. When they find there is no order, both of you will have equal rights. Still, to smooth things out, the police might say to you something like "Why don't you just be a nice guy and give her the baby? You can go down to family court and straighten it all out."JUST SAY NO! Remember, possession is nine tenths of the law, and when you go into family court that first time YOU want to have possession.
Chris called me the next morning. It was a very cold day -- low 20s. The mother was getting ready to take the baby out. She wasn't going to her co-worker's house. She was going to some other friend's house where she and the baby would sleep on air-mattresses on the floor until she could get into her friend's house. She wouldn't identify the friend or where she would be. I reminded Chris to get possession of the baby without breaching the peace, and what to say if and when the police arrived.
Chris DID get possession without breaching the peace. Mom was lying on the bed with the baby. Chris said "Let me just kiss him goodbye," took the baby from her and would not let go of him. Mom called the police. Chris called the police too. "The mother wants to take the baby out somewhere in the cold where they're going to sleep on an air mattress." Two police officers arrived, one male and one female. The male officer spoke with the mother in the bedroom and the female officer spoke with Chris.They asked about a custody order and found there was none. The officers told both parents they could not force the father to give the baby to the mother! The mother said she would leave, but she wanted to come back for her personal property. The female officer recommended to Chris that he not allow the mother back into his house. Instead he should pack up all of her stuff and leave it on the porch for her.
Chris called me later to let me know what happened. GREAT, I said, now YOU have possession of the baby! "No," he said, "something else happened too. Before she left, while the police were here, she asked to have a private conversation with me. We went into the bedroom together. She said she wanted to take the baby to her father's house, and I said OK. She and the baby are gone." Well, I said, we'll either have to get possession again, or it will just be a little more difficult for you on that first day in family court.
We had a FACE meeting on Monday evening. I sent Chris a meeting schedule, asked him to come to this meeting, and gave him directions. I called him again Monday to remind him, and left a phone message. He didn't show up.
That's it, I thought. I scared another one away. I've said it before, but now I'm really NEVER again going to give a lot of advice on the phone. Regardless of urgency, they've got to come to a meeting first.
Chris's mother left a message on my phone this morning. "Mr. Golden, I don't quite know how to say this, but I didn't want to leave you hanging.Christopher took his own life." I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I had to replay it a few times, then I called her.
On Monday, Chris left the house to go to a doctor appointment and then go to family court. He called his mother later and told her he was in Atlantic City, about 15 minutes away from both. That was the last she heard from him. On Wednesday she got a call from the Port Authority police. Chris' truck was found at the Ben Franklin bridge. They had video of him entering a parking area at the base of the bridge. They don't know how long he was there. He left his wallet, cell phone and keys in his truck, along with a note, and then he apparently went up on the bridge. They also had video of someone going over the side of the bridge.
Why did this happen? Chris' custody situation wasn't too bad ... yet. He had let defeat get snatched from the jaws of victory in his first skirmish, but, I told him, that would just make things a little more difficult. I never met him face-to-face, but Chris was a very soft-spoken guy. At times during our conversations, I thought he was hyperventilating. His child's mother was herself an adult child of Parental Alienation Syndrome who was not allowed a parent-child relationship with her own father, and was now being coached by her PAS-inflicting mother. Maybe he just didn't want to face the conflict that he knew was coming. Now fatherlessness will go one generation further in that family.
(how could he diagnose the child's mother and grandmother? he must be friends with Warshak, Rand, or Bone)
There is one thing I regret never having had an opportunity to discuss with Chris. He wasn't far enough into the process yet to understand it. As one FACE member was known to say: "If things ever get so bad that you consider taking your own life, don't let it be a total waste. Take a judge or a lawyer with you."
Fathers' and Children's Equality (FACE)
I cannot find any record of this suicide on the www. The more that I think about it, doesn't it sound like one of those serious, emotionally compelling e-mail forwards you get from your associates? Well, I happen to do my part and look up those forwards and I have found that 90% of them are on Snopes.com as untrue. Whether or not this is true isn't even important.
What is important is how the father's righters try to shift the blame for this. Chris committed suicide. If it were to be anyone else's fault (other than his own), it would lie with the person who gave him all this "advice." In fact, if I were the mother of Chris, I would sue the hell out of Jeff Golden. Chris didn't know how his situation would turn out, and neither did Jeff Golden. Chris could have done well by using common sense and talking to, or appealing to his wife; but instead, Jeff Golden wanted him to engage in a powerplay with a war mentality.
Check out this further commentary on the e-mail:
----- Forwarded Message ----
To: Shatteredmen@yahoogroups.com; MensIssuesOnline@yahoogroups.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Fathers_are_Parents_too@yahoogroups.com; email@example.com
Sent: Sun, 27 December, 2009 5:38:25 PM
Subject: [Shatteredmen] FW: Read this (Another Dad dead by suicide. Another child fatherless)
I received this in an e-mail today. I do have to say that I totally disagree with the last statement... "If things ever get so bad that you consider taking your own life, don't let it be a total waste. Take a judge or a lawyer with you." It contend it would be far better to become....A Formidable Enemy
http://shatterdmen. com/Enemy. htm
I also believe that many of the "murder/suicides" we see may often be a result of situations like this but instead of taking a lawyer or judge with them, they take the one that they believe caused the problem.
This is all a waste...a waste of precious human lives due to a radical agenda that is well hell bent on destroying families.
http://shatterdmen. com/Bitter. htm
When our society finally (if ever) realizes that children need BOTH parents, maybe then we will not have to see reports such as this.Meanwhile according to most of society, children are "her children" until it comes time to get the support check. When the right of either parent to have an active and equal part in their children's lives is as important as that child support check, then and only then will we see an improvement not only in a major reduction of these suicides, but we will see a major reduction in all the results of fatherless or motherless homes
http://shatterdmen. com/Fathers% 20who%20needs% 20them.htm
</KEN4THELAMB@YAHOO.COM>Blame it on everything, minus the ones doing the killing. Chris was disabled and stressed (unemployed, living with several people in the household) and on top of that suicidal...a very difficult combination for parenting. But somehow, father's righters seem to think that the answer to all of fathers' problems, is 50/50 child custody. Part of the Australian father's rights groups platform is the supposed correlation between men "suiciding" and those who are divorcing and have "lost custody."
It just so happens that many of the murder-suicides that continue to happen, involve families with joint custody.So, how can joint custody be the solution? Furthermore, do we want our children around suicidal people? I don't think so.
If Chris is real I sympathize with his loved ones. Sometimes I wonder if it would be best if men solicited the advice of a good woman, instead of selling their souls to the devil. Chris was driven over the edge by a father's rights group member who gave him an unfair, limited vantage point. I wonder how many other men they have killed.
Related Posts :
Gender Bias in Florida's Court System: Shared Parental Responsibility
Yes, Dad, You Really Can be Awarded Custody of Your Kids, But It Doesn't Have a Damn Thing to do with Being a Primary Caretaker
What's Better for Kids, 50-50 Split or Traditional Visitation?
Fathers Pretend About Caretaking Responsibilities in Joint Custody
PAS has been debunked as an actual syndrome.
I am a family law attorney in California, and have been on both sides of domestic violence cases. I've seen the devastation caused by DV on both sides. I've also seen the devastation caused by a restrained parent who refuses to accept any responsibility for the situation. Many of these people are sociopaths, and will provide diagnoses for their spouse or former spouse and their families, simply to justify bad behavior. I have actually had one restrained father come after me and my family when attacking mother, her family, her fiance and friends failed to get him any ground. Yes, he is involved with a father's rights group. He claims PAS, but if anyone is alienating his children, it is him and his actions that are alienating his children from him. But he cannot see that, despite the judge pretty much telling him that from the bench.
It is very sad when anyone, mom, dad, attorneys, advisors, etc., refer to "possession" of children, as if they are some kind of chattel. My advice to my clients is always the same. Don't fight your spouse, stay child centered. Focus on the child, not how much you hate the other parent, or how angry they are, or what they do to you. Focus on the child, and rarely does a parent who is child focused lose in court. Being child focused does mean not responding to the crap the other side throws at you. It takes a lot to do, but it is worth every ounce of effort it takes.
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