July 6, 2017 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Today, I’d like to give a big shout out to one of the true stalwarts of the movement toward family court reform especially in Australia, Bettina Arndt. For those of you who aren’t familiar with her work, Arndt has been working to reform public policy regarding issues affecting men for over three decades. Long before there was any such movement, Arndt was writing, speaking and badgering elected officials on behalf of men and boys.
She’s still at it of course and has become one of the leading voices speaking out for recognition of those issues and their address by public policy. Of necessity she’s one of the bitingest gadflies on the quasi-religion that seeks to quash meaningful reform in family courts and beyond. That routinely dismisses any and all issues related to men’s well-being as unworthy of notice.
Arndt has begun a series of videos of which this is the first. I ask that you watch it and draw your own conclusions about her good sense and dedication and to support her if you can.
Most of the video is Arndt’s keynote address to the recent International Conference on Men’s Issues that was held this past June in Gold Coast Australia. It’s a fine presentation that runs the gamut of issues from family courts, to domestic violence, to media portrayals of men’s issues, to the current political climate in Australia, to health care, to education, etc. Arndt knows her topics and nails each one.
Perhaps most important for purposes of this blog is her observation that the balance of power in marital relationships has changed dramatically over the past 30-40 years. Public policy now encourages women to divorce their husbands and so it’s no surprise that 70% of divorces are filed by women. State and national governments offer money to spouses to divorce. That money comes in the form of child support that bears little resemblance to what it costs to raise a child, and alimony that, by any rational measure, should be awarded rarely if at all. Since the overwhelming majority of divorces are filed by women and women are the overwhelming recipients of both child support (82% of recipients) and alimony (97% of recipients), it’s not too much to conclude that those monetary inducements work.
As Arndt so astutely points out, that’s a lot of power placed in the hands of women. It’s also a huge transfer of wealth from men to them.
Meanwhile, the mainstream news media would have us believe that fathers are slackers who care little about their children and deserve pretty much what they get when Mom decides to leave. Arndt refers to the habit of the press of periodically yapping about how much more paid work women do now than in the past without also mentioning that men also are doing more domestic work and that the total hours worked are statistically identical.
Nor are the media inclined to report the well-established fact that, when they can, women still prefer to opt out of paid work altogether or work part-time far more than do men. It seems to have become the preferred narrative that we live in a brave new world of gender interchangeability, but we don’t. The narrative ignores far too much objective evidence to be believed. What the future holds, no one knows. Perhaps we’ll continue toward that brave new world or perhaps we won’t. If I were a betting man, I’d bet against it. Our sex roles have proven far too evolutionarily vital to abandon on the pretense that, in some way, things are different now and we can cast them aside.
If Arndt has a primary bête noire, it’s the domestic violence industry and its scurrilous misrepresentations. She rightly points out that claims of DV are still routinely used in family courts to separate fathers from their children, often on little or no evidence. She’s also right that the DV industry’s “fix” for domestic violence is so at odds with known reality that it constitutes a form of abuse itself. The simple truth is that we know a lot about domestic violence and yet our public policy regarding it has utterly failed to improve rates of DV. That should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the subject. The DV industry’s misandric take on intimate partner violence is nothing but ideology posing as science. As such it not only misdescribes DV but its approach to lowering rates can’t work because it ignores what does work.
Above all, domestic violence is learned by children in abusive homes. By refusing to acknowledge that most basic of facts, the DV industry allows violence to continue. It does so knowingly. So by refusing to use interventions that work to reduce DV, the industry acquiesces in the violence that occurs today and in the future. That harms both adults and children. And it saps the public purse by throwing money at programs that neither do nor can work. Arndt is particularly vociferous on the subject.
I won’t belabor all her topics, but her ruthless takedown of Australian Jennifer McIntosh is particularly worth watching.
Check out Arndt’s video and the ones that follow. She’s one of the best we have.
National Parents Organization is a Shared Parenting Organization
National Parents Organization is a non-profit that educates the public, families, educators, and legislators about the importance of shared parenting and how it can reduce conflict in children, parents, and extended families. Along with Shared Parenting we advocate for fair Child Support and Alimony Legislation. Want to get involved? Here’s how:
Together, we can drive home the family, child development, social and national benefits of shared parenting, and fair child support and alimony. Thank you for your activism.
#domesticviolence, #familycourtreform, #men’sissues, #BettinaArndt