This article lets us know that the opposition to fathers and their connections to their children has taken an ugly new turn (Rochdale Online, 11/27/10). It seems that the British government, in the person of Home Secretary Theresa May has decided that the system of shelters are insufficient to protect women who say they’ve been abused. So, instead of the woman leaving home for a shelter, she’ll now be able to get her male partner removed from the home for as long as a month, apparently on nothing but her say-so. Make no mistake, those new powers will be in addition to those already in place.
I and countless others have complained repeatedly that existing laws allow men to be turned out of their homes and ordered to stay away from their children on the slimmest of pretexts. That existing laws quite plainly violate the most rudimentary safeguards of due process is one of their main problems. But, bad as existing laws are, the new regulations go much further and are much more at odds with due process. Indeed, they are specifically designed to deprive men of their homes and children in cases in which there is no evidence against them. Don’t believe me?
The Government say the “go orders’ will fill the current gap where victims only receive immediate protection once the attacker is arrested and charged. In cases where no action can be taken or civil injunctions impossible, an order will be used.
You read that right. In cases in which there is so little evidence that “no action can be taken” by the police or an injunction issued, a “go” order will be issued. Once deprived of all his belongings, including those that could exculpate him (like emails, documents in a custody case, computer files, physical evidence of violence against him), the man will then have the opportunity to contest the order in court. Picture the hearing: A judge is faced with a police officer who testifies that he/she was satisfied that the woman was in fear, the woman testifies that she was in fear and the man now gets to try to convince the judge that he did nothing wrong or even that it was the woman who initiated the abuse. How likely is it that a man in such position could prevail? And once a longer-term order is issued, he still won’t be able to have access to his belongings and worse, his kids. With a “go” order against him, any attempt to get custody or even reasonable access to his children will be even more of an uphill fight than it already is. Violation of the “go” order is punishable by jailing. I know what you’re thinking. Surely this new law is gender-neutral; surely men can avail themselves of its protections just as easily as women. Don’t be fooled. Existing laws on domestic violence use gender-neutral wording too, but that doesn’t mean they’re applied that way; far from it. I’ve written before about police training that instructs officers in the radical feminist view of DV. As but one example, training for Maine officers is written with gender-specific language in which only men are perpetrators and only women are victims. Worse, the hypothetical examples used in the training all require the arrest of the man and none requires the arrest of the woman. That’s even true in cases in which he has committed no crime and she admits to injurious violence against him. So police, like so many other people, approach domestic violence situations not as simple crimes, but as gendered crimes regardless of the facts. To save himself from arrest and to receive some sort of protection from his violent partner, a man has to (a) produce substantial evidence on his behalf and (b) get lucky. Women, on the other hand, tend to get the benefit of the doubt. That’s one of several reasons men are so hesitant to call the cops on their abusers. From being abused to being jailed and charged with abuse is but a telephone call away for most male victims. And just in case someone might miss the point, Secretary May was at pains to make it clear.
Theresa May said: “Our aim is clear — we want to end violence against women and girls… “Ending violence against women is a priority for me but central government cannot solve this complex problem alone. “I want to send a clear message to police, councils and the health service — that tackling violence against women should be a priority.’
Yep, not a man in the bunch. The purpose is not to stem the tide of domestic violence; the purpose is not to protect victims. The purpose is to protect women and girls. Men? Nowhere to be seen. The new “go” orders will be used on a trial basis for a year beginning in June of 2011 in Greater Manchester, Wiltshire and Mercia. It requires no great imagination to see these new orders being used as tactics in divorce and custody cases. Existing ones are, so why should these be any different? The attack on men and their connections to their children continues apace with the provision of orders that apparently require no hard evidence whatsoever to be issued. As I’ve said before, we know a good bit about domestic violence – what it is, who does it, why, how injurious it is and how to deal with it. To an astonishing degree, public policy on domestic violence ignores all we know, preferring to pretend that domestic violence is what radical feminists have said all along – oppressive behavior by men to maintain power over women. The radical feminist construction of DV is wrong in just about every possible way, so it’s no surprise that, month after month, year after year, the problem of domestic violence remains the same. “Go” orders that further infringe due process rights won’t improve matters; indeed, they’ll probably make it worse in the same way mandatory arrest policies were recently found to – by making real victims hesitant to call the law because they know the perpetrator will be arrested. What the new orders will do is further damage families, and further interfere in fathers’ rights to children and children’s rights to their fathers. And that, I suspect, is the point. After all, radical feminists have been telling us for decades that the destruction of the family is a prerequisite to the liberation of women from their oppression by men. So we shouldn’t really be surprised when initiatives like “go” orders crop up. They won’t reduce DV and they will damage the bonds between fathers and children. Is what people want, or is it part of an agenda that would have little support if people knew what their government was doing in their name? Thanks to Malcolm and Paul for the heads-up.