Misogyny, n.: The hatred or dislike of women or girls. Misogyny can be manifested in numerous ways, including sexual discrimination, denigration of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification of women.
Misogyny can also happen in the family court system, where I’m learning that it happens all the time.
My sister goes to court this week to see if she loses custody of her boys. She got the report back from her
redneck fucktard mediator who is recommending that the alcoholic, sociopathic, animal-killing, mentally ill ex-husband gets full custody of the boys, because he’s a good father and mother is “overwrought” (a word he used several times in the report to describe her). This despite the fact, as he lists in the report, the mediator is aware that:
- “the father has had a history of abuse in the past, but this is OLD,”
- “the father has, on several occasions, served the boys alcohol and this probably isn’t very helpful to their sobriety,”
- “the father has in the past purchased tobacco for the boys,“
- “the youngest son is suicidal and the father keeps guns and bullets in his house, and has occasionally lost the key to the gun cabinet,”
- “while in their father’s custody the 14-year-old suffered another near-fatal overdose and had to be taken to the ER.”
It’s clear from the report that the mediator dislikes my sister. Maybe he dislikes her because she’s blonde and quite beautiful, cultured, educated, and therefore threatening? Is he mad at her because she’s filed to have him disqualified? Because she sees him as corrupt, biased, and unqualified? Is he mad because she’s documented that he’s repeatedly minimized the seriousness of her sons’ addiction, his repeated suicide attempts while living in his father’s care, and has denigrated her concern as being overwrought? Maybe he’s irked because she has reported how he labels her non-stop attempts to stop the dysfunctional insanity as being “dramatic” and “overwrought” – words often applied to “hysterical women?” Maybe he is weary of her persistent ability to document what’s going on between him, herself, and her ex-husband for future use – because at this point she trusts no one. Least of all, him.
The mediator refers to her several times in the report as being “overly dramatic.” I certainly would be, wouldn’t you? But my observation is she is not being overly dramatic. On the contrary, she is well-aware that she must remain and appear calm, cool, and collected at all times, or she will be painted as a hysterical female. From what I have seen she is behaving very calmly, considering what is happening all around her. The mediator actually joked that she’s already subjected her kids to too much therapy (they have not even had nearly enough therapy, mostly because their father “forgets” to take them to the appointments that they so desperately need).
My sister, in all her dramatic, overwrought, single-mindedness of maternal purpose, is tiresome to him. He wants her to go away, so he can get paid and go back to doin’ some hunting and shooting in the back-country with his dogs and his beers – screw this uppity blonde mother who thinks she can raise her boys – without guns, alcohol, tobacco, or letting them “hang out” with lower companions. Who does she think she is?
Well, she’s their mother, for starters.
Probably the main reason he’s recommending that her ex get full custody of her boys is that he gets most of his business from his friend, her husband’s pit bull attorney, who is paying for his mediation services in this case. Also, early in the process, my sister filed documentation to have him disqualified as mediator because the minute she met him, she could see it wasn’t going to go well. When she voiced her concerns to the judge, the judge (a woman) encouraged her to “just try him out.” She told my sister that if she didn’t like him, she could change her mind “down the road.” My sister didn’t know any better at the time so she went with it. So anyway, she did change her mind and the same dipshit mediator is still there, wreaking havoc with her life, turning her whole world upside down, chuckling to himself at the “overwrought” mother who is concerned about her 14-year-old son who had a plan to go and buy a gun and shoot himself, but wait! – who could probably just go grab one of his dad’s numerous guns right in the comfort of his own home!
What a silly mother!
How on earth is it that one person has so much power in people’s lives? I’m not sure how the courts work or why this mediator is still on the case – maybe it will all come to a head this week when the case is heard. And maybe, not.
She told me that in 99% of the family court cases, the judge simply rubber-stamps the mediator’s recommendation in the report. So my sister is up a creek without a paddle, basically. Also, the two boys (who have documented PAS) have asked to remain with their father (why not? he’s their supplier). Even though the mediator says in the report that:
“the older brother, who lives with the mother, reported that before he turned 18 he believed his father’s house was unhealthy for him. He thinks his mother’s home is better for he and his brothers. Mother doesn’t allow drinking and smoking either pot or tobacco. He says their father allows their use. He believes his brothers like it there, because it is easy to use there.”
Well – ?*&^%(_???!, right? I mean – seriously WTF?
And excuse me, but who turned the world upside down and made it okay for kids to be parented by permissive, neglectful alcoholics who provide alcohol, tobacco, and money for drugs? What the fuck is happening in the family court system? What fresh hell is this?
“First time litigants enter Family Courts expecting an objective, professional forum, with fair and neutral professionals who are primarily concerned with the welfare of children. What they find are understaffed and over taxed courts, where services are minimal and the pressures to settle are great. Cases tend to get pushed through overloaded court calendars without due consideration. Often the safety concerns of children and vulnerable adults are overlooked. In the haste of this process, court professionals make decisions on the basis of bias rather than a thorough analysis of the facts of each case. Psychological labels abound, and litigants find themselves required by the court to pay enormous amounts of money to ancillary and quasi-judicial court-related mental health professionals who are unregulated and provide services no litigant requests or benefits from. Litigants are ordered to pay huge fees to child attorneys or guardians who fail to protect their young clients. Particularly difficult cases sometimes continue until the last child reaches the age of majority.” - Distinction In FamilyCourts
So the family court system in her area is totally threadbare. Apparently this sort of craziness happens all the time, every day, day in and day out. A woman leaves her abusive alcoholic husband without being killed – mostly she leaves to keep her children safe from harm. She goes to the family court system naively thinking they will help her, that justice will prevail. Family court system forces her to hand over sole custody of her children to her abuser. She loses all of her money in the process of defending herself. She is threatened with having to pay child support to her abuser, even though she is bankrupt and he earns over $300k/year.
I am so furious as I write this I don’t even know what to say.
“Many U.S. Family Courts are having ‘iatrogenic’ effects on families, leaving them worse off physically, financially and emotionally for having participated.” – Distinction in Family Courts
If this stuff hadn’t been happening to my sister I wouldn’t have believed it.
I recently read an article about the family court system in her area where a single judge had to decide the fate of hundreds – hundreds – of custody suits, in a single day. This judge had just minutes to devote to each family. If you were that judge, what would you do with two teenaged boys who tell you they want to stay with their dad? He’s not beating them – well, okay, there is that pediatrician’s report documenting how he pulled their ears so hard and on so many occasions that they are scarred – and okay, he may have given them alcohol at some point but hey, they’re teenaged boys, what’s the big deal? Well, okay – so maybe the younger one was only 11 at the time. What’s the harm? So he let his hunting dog kill their mother’s cat – an honest mistake, it does not make him a sociopath even though two psychiatrists claimed in a report that they believed he is, in fact, a sociopath! Come on – he’s a doctor, not a meth addict! There may be evidence of abuse in the past but it’s in the past, the mom is being dramatic, she needs to let go and look the other way while her suicidal son and his addicted brother continue to live with their abuser.
She needs to stop being so hysterical.
So WHAT if these boys have access to several rifles, two hand guns, lots o’ bullets, and tasers? So what? Men will be men and boys will be boys and all that…
It’s just a gun collection. A person in this country has the right to bear arms, right? Don’t go getting all maternally hysterical on us.
Throughout history, women have been told to shut up and remain quiet by a patriarchal society in which women are historically devalued and mothers are pushed aside. This is happening in my sister’s case, now, in 2012. And I’m not being overly-dramatic.
I have no hope that any justice will occur this week. None at all.
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