SF Weekly Bombarded with Letters, Prints Entire Page of Responses

We recently discussed the new front page San Francisco Weekly story California Family Courts Helping Pedophiles, Batterers Get Child Custody (3/2/11)–a one-sided attack on the legitimacy of Parental Alienation that dismisses the widespread problem of false accusations of domestic violence and child abuse in family court proceedings.

According to Center for Judicial Excellence, whose Executive Director Kathleen Russell was the main source for Jamison’s story, “Kathleen Russell sought out SF Weekly’s Peter Jamison and worked with him for over four months to make the story a reality.” In other words, they worked for four months and were able to come up with only two clear examples of a problem they claim is widespread in the nation’s most populous state.

We asked you to write a Letter to the Editor of the SF Weekly and tell them your thoughts and experiences. Your response was overwhelming–the San Francisco Weekly was so bombarded with letters that they decided to “dedicat[e] a full page to readers’ response to the story.” All of the letters can be seen here.

Cricket McCormick, who was alienated from her father as a child, wrote:

I am a victim of parental alienation. I was forced to tell therapists, doctors, and even a California mediator, and countless others that my father had been abusive. Professionals don’t take parental alienation seriously, otherwise I would have been given the opportunity to give my own account without the presence of my alienating mother. The court system, social service system, and health system needs to be aware of this. Make sure one gives a child the opportunity to tell the real truth without the parent involved. I was threatened by my mother and told that the “system” would never listen to me.

Fathers and Families supporter Steve Riddle explained:

Parental alienation is real, and it would be tragic if parents lost the ability to have the court recognize its existence and its damaging effect on families. It is emotional abuse, and every bit as damaging as physical or sexual abuse. The damage and scars are just not easily seen and recognized until too late. Parental alienation is one of those things [a parent] can’t believe until he has experienced it for himself.

Fathers and Families supporter Michael J. Muller wrote:

This is not a gender issue: It is childish and ignorant to assume that all allegations of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse are valid, while allegations of the very damaging abuse of parental alienation are invalid. Jamison is grinding an ax, and is not shedding light on this horrible situation. False allegations are made on both sides. Nor is it a gender issue, as he implies. Many women have been hurt by parental alienation, just as have many men. In the very flawed, adversarial system of the family courts, the parties are polarized to opposite extremes, and false allegations fly from both sides.

Longtime Fathers and Families supporter Peter Logan, Esq., wrote:

I found the coverage one-sided and misinformed. Parental alienation is real, as are false charges of domestic violence. Failing to recognize these facts hurts all those who want to live peacefully with partners, ex-partners and children. The problem of domestic violence should not be ignored, but neither should the problems of dealing with it fairly.

The San Francisco Weekly also printed F & F Executive Director Glenn Sacks’ letter Fathers are often wrongly accused.

To read Fathers and Families’ full critique of the San Francisco Weekly’s California Family Courts Helping Pedophiles, Batterers Get Child Custody, click here.

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