On 4th March 2006, Claire Margaret McDonald gasped and burst into tears as a Victorian Supreme Court jury found her not guilty of the execution style murder of her husband, Warren John McDonald.
The court was told that McDonald had donned camouflage gear and lay in wait with a high-powered rifle for her husband to approach. She fired six shots, mortally wounding her husband.
McDonald successfully used the "battered woman syndrome" defence, claiming she had suffered years of abuse at the hands of her husband.
Within days, Queensland woman, Susan Falls, having probably read the media reports of Heather McDonald's stunning acquittal, decided to execute her abusive husband in the same fashion, in what prosecutors would describe as a cunning, calculated murder.
Falls paid a friend, Anthony Cummings-Creed $5,000 to buy a 22.calibre pistol with silencer on the black market.
On May 26, 2006 while her husband Rodney Falls was drinking at his pub, she made him a dish of curried prawns for his dinner, knowing that their children would not eat any of the dish. Falls crushed up a number of sleeping tablets and laced the prawns with the mixture, assuming that the curry would mask the taste of the sleeping tablets.
Following the meal, her husband became drowsy and fell asleep in his recliner.
Falls walked up to her husband, placed the pistol against his temple and fired. She told the court she could see the burn mark and smoke coming from the hole in his head. She waited two hours, and not sure her husband was dead, placed the pistol under his jaw and fired another shot.
After leaving the body in the house for three days, Falls called on Cummings-Creed and two other accomplices, Bradley James Coupe, 25 and Anthony James Hoare, 42, to help her clean the crime scene and dispose of the body. Rodney Falls body was dumped in the Mapleton State Forest.
Mr Falls, 41, who worked from the couple's Caloundra home buying and selling on the internet, was the focus of an intense police search after his wife first reported him missing on June 2 then made a tearful public plea for information.
Mr Falls's body was later retrieved from dense bushland in Mapleton State Forest on June 25.
His family said after the trial that Mr Falls's death appeared to be "senseless . . . and a complete waste of an . . . all-round good person".
"He will always be remembered by all of us as a happy, loving person who loved nothing better than to have a drink and a laugh with his family and friends," they said.
Mrs Van Donselaar said her son had always been close to his family, especially his grandmother, and had left school before he was 15 but worked hard with his uncle to obtain his air conditioning, refrigerator and electrical licences.
"Being a very ambitious man, he then went on to obtain his builder's licence, building homes in Blacktown, Pelican Waters and Caloundra, where he lived for the last 10 years," she said.
"He met and married the girl next door and three beautiful girls followed in four years, then 10 years later the gift of his precious baby boy."
Mr Falls's sister Kim Page said the last time she spoke to her brother they were both excited about the prospect of her family moving to Caloundra later this year.
"Now all of our hopes and dreams for our future have been shattered. Our family will never be the same without Rodney."
In an amazing summing up, the judge appeared to be instructing the jury that it was OK for Susan Falls to murder her allegedly abusive husband. Supreme Court Justice Peter Applegarth said that while some witnesses had given evidence that they had not seen bruises on Mrs Falls in recent years, victims of domestic violence did not normally parade their injuries.
Justice Applegarth told jurors Mrs Falls' defence lawyers did not have to prove she was acting in self defence when she shot and killed Rodney Falls, but rather the prosecution must prove she wasn't acting in self defence at the time.
Justice Applegarth appeared to instruct the jury that notwithstanding Rodney Falls may have ceased abusing his wife after a separation in 2000, Susan Falls had a licence to kill him for his previous abuse.
Following the judge's summing up, the jurors, not surprisingly, took only 90 minutes to find Falls not guilty of murder and also not guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter. Her accomplices were found not guilty of the charge of accessory to murder.
Why didn't Susan Falls resort to a legal remedy?
The question remains: if Falls had the presence of mind and the planning skills to acquire a pistol with silencer, to lace her husband's meal with sleeping pills, to walk up to him and place a pistol to head and shoot, to fire another shot two hours later and to use co-conspirators to dispose of the body, why didn't she have the presence of mind to avail herself of one of the myriad of legal resources to deal with the problem?
For instance, with her planning skills she could worked with with her accomplices to install hidden cameras around the house. If her husband he was beating her as alleged, Falls could have gathered evidence that would have put him away long enough to divorce him and start a new life.
Capital punishment has long been abolished in Australia, but recent court decisions have set a legal precedent overturning this law, replacing it with a licence for "battered wives" to execute alleged abusive husbands.
Message to battered wives: open season on abusive husbands
Forget about refuges, AVO's, the police, the Family Court and other resources. There is a simpler and more permanent solution to your problem.
Just arm yourself with a gun, sharp knife or bottle of poison. Wait until your abusive husband is asleep or defenceless, then shoot, stab or poison him as the case may be.
No need to hide the body, just call the police and claim self-defence.
Get yourself a good defence lawyer who can bring a tear to the eyes of the jurors and you are home-free. You get the family assets and a new life.
You simply claim self-defence, you do not have to prove it. Australian law places the burden on the prosecution to disprove self-defence, an almost impossible task considering that the concept of self-defence is in the mind of the defendant. You only have to have a sincerely held belief that your life is in danger to claim self-defence.
And the recent cases of McDonald and Falls have shown that the perceived threat to your life does not have to be immediate, it can be at some time in the future. Falls' drugged husband obviously posed no threat at the time he was killed.
The self-defence law provides that if self-defence is accepted, you are to be acquitted not only of murder but also the lesser charge of manslaughter.
In order to help The Foundation for Male Studies with its grant requests and fund raising efforts, and to increase its support channels, we've created a brief yet important survey on the need for Male Studies.
We are contacting you because you participated in our April 7 symposium.
Please take just a few minutes and provide us with your feedback by visiting:
Wagner College will host the first annual Conference on Male Studies, on Friday and Saturday, October 1-2, 2010. Six themes representing several disciplines will be addressed by panels and individual presenters:
▪ The deep biology of the experience of being male (genetics, biology, psychoneuroendocrinology, paleoanthropology);
▪ Literacy and education of boys and college males (pedagogy, sociology);
▪ Socioeconomic factors leading to males' over-involvement in the criminal justice system, underemployment and limited opportunities as fathers, resulting from changes in child custody law (economics, forensics, law, public policy);
▪ Misandric representations of boys and mature males in the media and advertising (media studies including cinema, television and internet, and advertising);
▪ Accounts of the experience of being male (history, literature, autobiography);
▪ Pressing issues related to the emotional well-being of boys and older males, most notably depression and suicide (clinical psychology, medicine and psychiatry, social work).
Specialists in all of the above disciplines as well as related areas of research will present position papers or engage in carefully organized panel discussions of the themes. We expect participants to include scholars from more than the 12 countries who participated along with you in the April 7, 2010 inaugural teleconference and webinar broadcast.
Proceedings of the conference will be published in the first issue of a new journal, Male Studies, in 2011.
Please submit your proposal as a (1) single authored paper, (2) panel (naming colleagues who would be willing to participate with you), or (3) a workshop. The two-day conference will be interdisciplinary and international in scope.
In your proposal, indicate the specific discipline(s) your proposal represents. Include current contact information.
As a reminder, as mentioned on the Call for Papers, please send your documents to email@example.com.
Also, please forward this message to other scholars with whom you work or have worked.
Seperated parents owe their ex-partners more than $1 billion in child support payments, the Auditor-General reported yesterday.
The Australian National Audit Office investigation into child support reform found that half of separated parents are failing to pay all, or any, of their child support liabilities.
The audit report, tabled in parliament yesterday, criticises the Child Support Agency's performance, despite a five-year reform process that cost taxpayers $877 million.
Clients were more likely to complain about the CSA after the costly reforms than beforehand.
The number of parents lodging formal complaints about the CSA to the Ombudsman and members of parliament rose 43 per cent between 2005-06 -- before the funding increase -- and 2008-09.
The number of child support cases dealt with by the CSA rose only 5 per cent during the same period.
Yet the proportion of complaints upheld when reviewed by the CSA rose from 19 per cent to 28 per cent.
The CSA itself received 12,874 complaints in 2008-09, of which 70 per cent related to service delivery -- a 52 per cent increase in the number of gripes over staff decision-making, inaction, behaviour, process or timeliness.
The report said half the CSA's customers were not paying all, or any, of their child support payments.
"The high level of customers that pay less than, or none of, their liability (approximately 50 per cent of customers), and the increase in the total amount of child support debt to more than $1bn, indicates that seeking the appropriate balance between service delivery and compliance enforcement roles remains an ongoing challenge for CSA," the report says.
The deficiencies were noted despite a 60 per cent increase in funding and 20 per cent increase in staffing for the CSA between 2005-06 and 2007-08.
The audit found that staff turnover cost the CSA $15m in 2007 -- with half the cost relating to fresh recruits quitting entry-level customer service positions.
The CSA has 1.5 million separated parents on its books, and assisted in the transfer of $2.8bn in support payments in 2008-09.
Child Youth and Family are getting far more notifications of children needing help but Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says that the spike is due to better reporting.
Appearing before Parliament's social services select committee, Ms Bennett said there had been a 119 percent increase in notifications between 2005 and 2009.
She said that there was often more than one notification per child so while there were 110,000 notifications in 2009, that did not mean that number of children were involved.
The figure for 2005 was 40,000 and the projection for 2010 was 125,000 or 2400 a week.
Ms Bennett said 47 percent of notifications were from police who were now legally obliged to pass reports to the service.
Unallocated cases had reduced by 76 percent and at the end of March 2010 quarter 95.5 percent of notifications were completed on time.
Response times were good, 98 percent of "critical" notifications were dealt with within the set 24-hour period while 97 percent of those classified "very urgent" were done within the required 48 hour period.
For "urgent" cases 89 percent were done within the required week and "low urgent" also scored well, 94 percent within 28 days.
The committee was also told that there were fewer children in care and custody which freed up resources.
Head of Child Youth and Family Ray Smith said: "If you went back four years we peaked at 5000 children in out-of-home care, that is children not living with parents, that's down to about 4300. So we've been more successful in moving children through the system and getting permanent placements than I think we were traditionally."
Figures showed that as at the end of March there were 5568 children and young people in "care and protection custody of the chief executive" (4 percent fewer than previous year). The 5568 includes children who have returned home but remain under CYF protection. The 4306 in foster care cost about $17,000 a year each - which covers everything from clothing to education.
Ministry chief executive Peter Hughes said that took up a big chunk of Child Youth and Family's $467 million annual budget. It works out about $73m a year.
"The cost of maintaining children in care is by far the single biggest cost in the vote, it's very very expensive." Mr Hughes said.
Ms Bennett said the area would be a focus.
"You're going to see quite a push from us over the next few months and over the next year about that sort of home for life, so that permanency."
There would be a greater focus on fostering and permanent placements and getting families in position to take children back, she said.
Sadly I am suffering badly from parental alienation through no fault of my own.. The deliberate brainwashing of my two daughters since 2001 by a sinister and malicious ex and her sick family is heartbreaking. I can see why decent fathers shafted by an evil Family Court commit suicide.When can my family have justice your honour? Who replaces the childhood years seized by a corrupt New Zealand judicial system? Shame on you filthy low life's.
A few mistakes and a sinister ex can alienate a well-meaning parent
I wish the judges in the Family Court knew of what widespread destruction and heartbreak they cause by alienating decent fathers from their children. Ben is a classic case of what Family Court injustice can do to a father. Not a day goes by that I question why has this injustice torn my family apart. The system deny me the right to clear my name so I might seek natural justice the old fashioned way. Beware Family Court creeps justice is coming!
Protester Benjamin Easton has been arrested after taking a sledgehammer to a central Wellington street this afternoon, causing disruptions as traffic came to a stand still. Hundreds of people gathered to watch the spectacle on Victoria St at the end of Manners Mall. Mr Easton, who opposes Manners Mall being converted into a thoroughfare for buses, was walking back and forth in the middle of the street, striking the ground with his sledgehammer. Cars and buses were unable to get past. A police officer with a taser demanded Mr Easton drop his sledgehammer, before a group of officers wrestled him to the ground about 4.45pm. The taser was trained on Mr Easton while he was arrested. The incident lasted about twenty minutes.
From the first moments of life, the bond forged between a father and a child is sacred. Whether patching scraped knees or helping with homework, dads bring joy, instill values, and introduce wonders into the lives of their children. Father's Day is a special time to honor the men who raised us, and to thank them for their selfless dedication and love. Fathers are our first teachers and coaches, mentors and role models. They push us to succeed, encourage us when we are struggling, and offer unconditional care and support. Children and adults alike look up to them and learn from their example and perspective. The journey of fatherhood is both exhilarating and humbling it is an opportunity to model who we want our sons and daughters to become, and to build the foundation upon which they can achieve their dreams.
Nice words from Obama regarding the role of fatherhood within modern society. Pity the justice system didn't value and respect fatherhood the same. Talk is cheap Mr Politician.Everybody knows that good dads get shafted by the gender bias Family Court that is solely designed to a create huge fractured family business that is heartbreaking for all the vulnerable children and forced male clients!
How To Fight False Allegations Of Abuse Made By Your Ex-Wife Posted by valeri on June 13, 2010 http://articles.easyonlinejobsreview.com/how-to-fight-false-allegations-of-abuse-made-by-your-ex-wife/#comments It’s sickening what some women will do in order to give themselves an unfair “edge” in court. Some exes tend to file and make false allegations of abuse by their ex-husband against their children. This is done in order to add drama and concern in the courtroom, and is done in hopes that the case will be turned in their favor. Fortunately, by handling a false abuse allegation properly, you can easily have this thrown out or ignored by the court altogether. The idea behind making the false allegations is so that the ex-wife can get the upper hand in the courtroom and is used to try to get the courts to favor their case. Unfortunately, it can do exactly the opposite. Remember, the ex-wife has the burden of proof. If she cannot prove anything in regards to abuse, it will make her look foolish and irresponsible. In order to bypass the drama of an abuse allegation, it is important to simply state that that the allegations are completely false, are hurtful, and then continue on with your divorce case as it stands. By spending a lot of time trying to defend the allegations and finding ways to prove them to be false, you will instead make yourself look guilty, like you’re trying to hide something instead of just ignoring the issue and moving onward.
Don’t let your ex-wife try to dominate the case by making false allegations of abuse. Instead, stay on track, dismiss the allegations as false, and move forward with your divorce court case.
It used to be that the definition of chutzpah was a man who had murdered his parents pleading for mercy from the court because he was an orphan. We have for our delectation an update on this definition out of Sacramento, California, in a story about a woman – the wife of a police detective, to add spice to the narrative — who, disgruntled over the loss of custody of her children to the husband (and going by the stats on this subject, she must be a piece of work to begin with to have lost custody in today’s mother-friendly courts) hires a motorcycle gang hit man to off her husband. Or she thinks she did. Members of the hit man’s gang tape damning conversations with her and alert the police, who arrest her and eventually convict her for solicitation to murder. The story doesn’t say why, but I’m thinking the gang probably has enough problems with the police, and don’t need the aggravation of a furious vendetta from their proposed victim’s colleagues. But get this: Later in divorce court, after being released from prison in 2004, the would-be murderer is awarded half the couple’s property, $70,000, just as though they were any other divorcing couple with, say, “irreconcilable differences.” I guess you don’t get more “irreconcilable” that when one partner tries to whack the other and fails. The husband isn’t too thrilled about this, and presses for changes to the divorce laws. As a result, tomorrow the state legislative committee will hear arguments for a change to the no-fault divorce laws that will close this little loophole, stating that folks who try to murder their partners won’t be eligible for financial rewards in divorce proceedings. I hope we can assume this will be one of those no-brainer, unanimous-vote kinds of bills. The story raises an interesting sidebar. Most people are unaware of the fact that although women rarely kill their intimate partners directly, that doesn’t mean they don’t harbour intentions that are equally murderous. Women are far more likely to use surrogates to kill their boyfriends or husbands than men. They either hire hit men, or get their male relatives or new boyfriends to do the deed. But here’s the rub: When these murders succeed, the homicide is not classified under the heading of Domestic Violence, but as a general homicide. As a result, the stats on spousal homicides don’t reflect a true picture. Following on the passage of this Sacramento legislation, it would seem like a good idea to review the classification criteria regarding spousal homicides to reflect the reality so vividly illustrated in this story.
A beautiful fairy appeared one day to a Maori outside a Welfare office.
"Good man," the fairy said, "I've been sent here by Prime Minister Key and told to grant you three wishes, since you just arrived in South Auckland from the Hokianga with your wife and eight children."
The man told the fairy, "Well, where I come from we don't have good teeth, so I want new teeth, maybe a lot of gold in them."
The fairy looked at the man's almost toothless grin and -- PING !-- he had a brand new shining set of gold teeth in his mouth!
"What else?" asked the fairy, "Two more to go."
Rangi now got bolder.. "I need a big house with a three-car garage on the water with eight bedrooms for my family and the rest of my relatives who still live up North.. I want to bring them all down here" --- and -- PING !-- in the distance there could be seen a beautiful mansion with a three-car garage, a long driveway, and a walkout patio with a BBQ in an upscale neighborhood overlooking a bay.
"One more wish," said the fairy, waving her wand.
"Yes, one more wish. I want to be like a real New Zealander with good clothes instead of these torn clothes. And I want to have white skin like the majority of New Zealanders" ---and --- PING ! -- The man was transformed - wearing worn-out jeans, a "Yeah Right" Tui T Shirt, and a baseball cap. He had his bad teeth back and the mansion had disappeared from the horizon.
"What happened to my new teeth?" he wailed. "Where is my new house?"
THIS IS GOOD . . . . ..... ... . ....
NO, ACTUALLY THIS IS VERY GOOD . .... . . ..... ..... .
The fairy said:
"Tough shit, Rangi, now that you are a white New Zealander, you have to fend for yourself.."
"Spending time with my girls is something I put before all else," Rubin wrote last year. "They are teenagers now and being a divorced dad, it can be challenging to continue to reach out, put them first, and maintain this in the face of their occasional lack of interest and the roadblocks so easily put in place by their mom."
Sadly I can relate to this situation being the decent loving father of two alienated teenage girls.The mother of my beautiful daughters has created so many roadblocks which have successfully destroy any meaningful access. I have tired my best to love my children, however they are severely damaged by the brainwashing they received as forced clients of the sinister Family Court for more than seven years.My youngest got a C4C lawyer for her sixth birthday present!! I wrote a couple more pointless letters to Ministers of the Crown, asking how come the Family Court can cause so much confusion and misery too vulnerable children . I expect to be fobbed off again.. Judge Peter Boshier told me to piss off years ago after I pleaded for mercy from the Court..I only want to fix the loopholes that allow false allegations to cause so much unnecessary heartbreak.I love my children more than anything else in this sad world. I don't want any New Zealand born male to ever to endure the vicious crap I have experienced in a gender bias Family Court.
New York Post8 June 2010An 'ex' to grindVile gal gets jail in bid to split kids, dadBy Kieran Crowley and Leonard GreeneShe's the ex-wife from hell!An outraged judge slapped a Long Island woman with a jail sentence for trying to drive a wedge between her ex-husband and their daughters, keeping them apart for weeks at a time and even claiming he groped one of them.Lauren Lippe is a vengeful roadblock, the barbed wire standing in the way of her two daughters and their desperate dad, Judge Robert Ross said.
Lippe often went nuclear, launching foul-mouthed tirades at Ted Rubin in front of the girls -- calling him a "deadbeat," "loser," "scumbag" and "f - - - ing asshole."
Ross said Lippe, 47, was a scheming manipulator who deliberately planned last-minute trips and events when her ex was scheduled to visit the girls.
"He was compelled to consent or risk disappointing the girls," Ross wrote in his ruling, which found Lippe in contempt for violating the couple's joint custody agreement.
If Rubin protested, Lippe berated him mercilessly.
"We all hope you die from cancer," she once blared at him, the court papers said, with both daughters in her arms.
Lippe even had the nerve to smirk in court when an emotional Rubin described the agony of missing out on Hanukkah with his children. Ross said Rubin was relegated to visit at the end of his ex's driveway, where he lit a menorah with his daughters in his truck and watched them open presents from their grandparents.
But the worst, Ross wrote, was "the crescendo of the plaintiff's conduct" involving false accusations of sexual abuse.
Lippe charged in 2008 that Rubin had fondled the breasts of one of his daughters. Lippe later conceded that she knew nothing sexual had occurred.
"The evidence before me demonstrates a pattern of willful and calculated violations of the clear and express dictates of the parties' Stipulation of Settlement," Ross wrote in a decision handed down last week.
The judge was also annoyed that Lippe had punished the children for wanting to spend quality time with their dad.
On Thursday, Ross sentenced Lippe to six weekends in jail to be served on the first and third weekends of June, July and August. Lippe, who has since remarried, was scheduled to begin her jail time Friday, but her sentence was stayed pending an appeal. Rubin is expected to take care of the children while Lippe is on lockdown.
Ironically, it was Lippe who asked the court to modify the custody agreement.
Lippe declined to comment outside her Lloyd Harbor home, but her lawyer, Kieth Rieger criticized the decision.
"It's extremely unusual, and in this case, it's inappropriate," Rieger said. "He chose to believe the husband and not her. Of course, she's upset, but she's also worried about her children. She's worried that if she goes to jail how it will affect the children."
Rubin, 52, a marketing executive, declined to comment, but has sounded off about his dilemma on his Internet blog.
"Spending time with my girls is something I put before all else," Rubin wrote last year. "They are teenagers now and being a divorced dad, it can be challenging to continue to reach out, put them first, and maintain this in the face of their occasional lack of interest and the roadblocks so easily put in place by their mom."
Additional reporting by Jeane MacIntosh and Selim Algar
On their way to get married, a young Catholic couple are involved in a fatal car accident.
They find themselves sitting outside the Pearly Gates, waiting for St. Peter to process them into Heaven.
While waiting, they begin to wonder: Could they possibly get married in Heaven? When St. Peter shows up, they ask him. St. Peter says, 'I don't know. This is the first time anyone has asked that. Let me go and find out,' and he leaves.
The couple sits, and waits, and waits. Two months pass and the couple are still waiting. As they wait, they discuss that if they were allowed to get married in Heaven, what was the eternal aspect of it all.
‘What if it doesn't work?' they wondered. ‘Are we stuck together forever?'
After yet another month, St. Peter finally returns, looking somewhat bedraggled. 'Yes,' he informs the couple, 'you can get married in Heaven.'
'Great!' say the couple, 'But we were just wondering, what if things don't work out? Can we also get a divorce in Heaven?'
St. Peter, red-faced with anger, slams his clipboard onto the ground. 'What's wrong?' ask the frightened couple.
'OH, COME ON!' St. Peter shouts, 'It took me three months to find a priest up here!
Do you have any idea how long it'll take me to find a lawyer?'
When will the gender bias Family Court be destroyed because it's a male killing machine. How many kiwi men forced into your depraved world of filth judge Boshier killed themselves last year? Two dozen sound about right! What a sad indictment.
Plans to give anonymity to men accused of rape have been dramatically scaled back.
Two weeks ago, the coalition pledged to give men the same protection as their accusers, whose identities are never revealed.
But yesterday David Cameron indicated the accused would be named if prosecutors brought charges.
His comments, at Prime Minister's Questions, suggested any suspects released by police without charge would have their names permanently shielded from the public.
Climbdown? David Cameron at his first Prime Minister's Questions today
Mr Cameron said that, when he was a member of the Home Affairs Committee, 'we came to the conclusion that there was a case for saying that between arrest and charge there was a case for anonymity'.
The original pledge was made two weeks ago in the coalition's first programme for government. But it provoked surprise as it appeared in neither party's manifesto.
It stated bluntly that the coalition would 'extend anonymity in rape cases to defendants', and was widely interpreted as suggesting accused parties would have their identities shielded in the same way as victims.
The pledge provoked anger from feminist pressure groups, who said it would tip justice and public opinion in favour of the defendants.
In charge: David Cameron at the despatch box today
Acting Labour leader Harriet Harman rounded on Mr Cameron in the House of Commons, saying the plan would prevent other victims of serial rapists from coming forward.
Miss Harman said the move would 'turn the clock back' and send a 'devastating message' to rape victims that they should not be believed.
She said: 'We know that it is often only after many rapes that a defendant is finally brought to court and it is only at that point, often, when previous victims find the courage to come forward.
'By making rape defendants anonymous you are going to make it harder to bring rapists to justice.'
Ceri Goddard, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, which campaigns for sexual equality, welcomed the shift, but accused the Government of holding 'lingering sexist stereotypes' about women who report rape.
'Like many others, we were utterly confounded when we thought they actually meant giving full anonymity, including through the trial - which, among other things, would mean repeat rapists like the taxi driver John Worboys were less likely to be caught.
'So far their plans seem based on flimsy ideas, little evidence and perhaps not a small degree of lingering sexist stereotypes about women who report rape - not on a real commitment to equal justice for women.'
Amid the media frenzy over Tiger Woods and Bengals receiver Chris Henry, a key aspect of both stories slipped through the cracks: Like millions of other men, Woods and Henry were -- allegedly at least -- the victims of domestic violence perpetrated by their wives or girlfriends. Beyond its brutal physical and psychological costs, domestic violence against men exacts a cruel economic toll at the personal, societal and national levels.
For the most part, the media, authorities and average citizens see domestic violence as a crime that is committed by men and victimizes women. Consequently, funding to combat the problem has overwhelmingly been spent on programs that support women.
Widely Ignored Problem
And yet, more than 200 survey-based studies show that domestic violence is just as likely to strike men as women. In fact, the overwhelming mass of evidence indicates that half of all domestic violence cases involve an exchange of blows and the remaining 50% is evenly split between men and women who are brutalized by their partners. Part of the reason that this problem is widely ignored lies in the notion that battered males are weak or unmanly. A good example of this is the Barry Williams case: Recently, the former Brady Bunch star sought a restraining order against his live-in girlfriend, who had hit him, stolen $29,000 from his bank account, attempted to kick and stab him and had repeatedly threatened his life.
It is hard to imagine a media outlet mocking a battered woman, but E! online took the opportunity to poke fun at Williams, comparing the event to various Brady Bunch episodes. Similarly, when Saturday Night Live ran a segment in which a frightened Tiger Woods was repeatedly brutalized by his wife, the show was roundly attacked -- for being insensitive to musical guest Rihanna, herself a victim of domestic violence.
Lack of Research
Sometimes it is impossible to ignore the problem, but when domestic violence against men turns deadly -- as in the case of actor Phil Hartman -- the focus tends to shift to mental illness. The same can be said of the Andrea Yates case, which many pundits presented as the story of how an insensitive husband can drive a wife to murder.
Much of the information on domestic violence against men is anecdotal, largely because of the lack of funding to study the problem. Although several organizations explore domestic violence, the biggest single resource is the Department of Justice, which administers grants through its Office on Violence Against Women.
For years, the DOJ has explicitly refused to fund studies that investigate domestic violence against men. According to specialists in this field, the DOJ recently agreed to cover this problem -- as long as researchers give equal time to addressing violence against women.
First National Study
Researchers Denise Hines and Emily Douglas recently completed the first national study to scientifically measure the mental and social impact of domestic violence on male victims. Interestingly, their research was funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health, not the DOJ. Not only does this demonstrate the lack of resources for researchers of this issue, but it also suggests that male battering is perceived as a mental health issue, not a crime.
This decriminalization of domestic violence against men affects research conclusions. While survey-based studies have found that men and women commit domestic violence in equal numbers, crime-based studies show that women are far more likely to be victimized. This inconsistency begins to make sense when one considers that man-on-woman violence tends to be seen through a criminal lens, while woman-on-man violence is viewed more benignly.
A recent 32-nation study revealed that more than 51% of men and 52% of women felt that there were times when it was appropriate for a wife to slap her husband. By comparison, only 26% of men and 21% of women felt that there were times when it was appropriate for a husband to slap his wife. Murray Straus, creator of the Conflict Tactics Scale and one of the authors of the study, explained this discrepancy: "We don't perceive men as victims. We see women as being more vulnerable than men." Kneed In The Groin
This trend becomes particularly striking when one considers the 1996 case of Minnesota Vikings quarterback Warren Moon, who tried to restrain his wife after she threw a candlestick at his head and kneed him in the groin. Subsequently charged with spousal abuse, he was only acquitted after his wife admitted that she attacked him -- and that her wounds were self-inflicted. Ironically, her admission of fault did not result in charges being brought against her.
While Moon's trial was particularly high profile, his situation is actually very common. In fact, studies have found that a man who calls the police to report domestic violence is three times more likely to be arrested than the woman who is abusing him.
The mainstream perception of domestic violence also impacts the resources that are available to battered men. For example, the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women, the only national toll-free hot line that specializes in helping male victims of domestic violence, has faced numerous roadblocks in its search for funding. In Maine, where the helpline is based, the surest route to funding is through membership in the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence.
On A Shoestring
But, according to Helpline director Jan Brown, the Coalition refused to even issue the program an application for membership, effectively denying it access to funding. Today, 45 Helpline volunteers field 550 calls per month, 80% of which are from men or people who are looking for help on behalf of a man. Operating with a yearly budget of less than $15,000, it provides intensive training to its workers and offers victims housing, food, bus tickets and a host of other services.
The Helpline's sheltering services are informal and ad hoc, largely because its lack of access to funding makes a shelter financially impossible. In fact, of the estimated 1,200 to 1,800 shelters in the U.S., only one -- the Valley Oasis shelter in Antelope Valley, Calif. -- provides a full range of shelter services to men. And, on average, less than 10% of OVW funds allocated to fight domestic violence are used to help men.
For male victims of domestic violence, the legal system can become another tool for abuse. As in the Moon case, battered men are often likely to find themselves arrested, even when they are the ones who call the police. And, even after the arrest, the process of incarceration, restraining orders, divorce court and child custody hearings continue to disadvantage men.
A High Cost
Restraining orders are a particularly difficult hurdle. Radar Services, a watchdog organization, estimates that approximately 85% of the roughly 2 million temporary restraining orders that are issued every year are made against men. In many states, the requirements for an order are exceedingly vague: In Oregon, for example, a "fear" of violence is sufficient for a restraining order, while Michigan issues them to protect family members against "fear of mental harm."
But there's nothing vague about the effect of restraining orders: They often turn men out of their homes, deny them access to children and result in further personal costs as millions of men have to find new places to live, hire lawyers and pay other expenses. For some men, as Hines and Brown point out, the legal system gives abusive wives and girlfriends tools to continue attacks even after their relationships end.
As Straus notes, "The preponderance of [domestic violence] resources should be made available to women. They are injured more often, are more economically vulnerable, and are often responsible for the couple's children. That having been said, more resources need to be made available to men."
There is no doubt that domestic violence against men can be reduced; the domestic violence initiatives of the past 40 years have brought a hidden crime to light and provided protection for millions of women. The next step is to admit that domestic violence is not a male or female problem, but rather a human problem, and that a lasting solution must address the cruelty -- and suffering -- of both sexes.
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To whom cares
Some years ago I presented the then Families Commissioner Mr. Prasad a case history document outlining my miscarriage of justice orchestrated through the gender bias Family Court.
The travesty of justice is both despicable and malicious. The false allegations made against me resulted in the death of my mother who was hounded to death by a Christchurch Family Court psychologist called John Watson. My four children are badly affected and no one in New Zealand has assisted in my fight to obtain natural justice.
The totally unnecessary persecution of me cost the tax payer a lot of money and was so wrong. I believe it’s in the public best interests to expose the sordid world of a sinister Family Court as research shows the dishonest Court is directly responsible to the escalating male suicide rate.
I have tried in vain to highlight corrupt procedure used to destroy my credibility as a loving and caring father to four New Zealand born children. I have so many replies from Ministers of Crown that I could easily wall paper a three bedroom home with their gutless fob offs.
Be warned, I want justice and if any of you lazy government parasites can muster enough mettle or compassion it would be helpful to future generations of males that my beef with the judicial system can be sorted.
BEIJING - A man firing a small automatic weapon burst into a court office in central China on Tuesday, fatally shooting three judges and wounding three other people before killing himself, an official said.
The shooting spree was one of at least three violent incidents reported Tuesday, the latest in a spate of public attacks — including several on schoolchildren — that has shocked China.
In the court incident, the attacker was identifed as a 46-year-old man who the official Xinhua News Agency reported held a grudge against the court over a ruling it had made in a property division dispute three years ago between him and his wife, who were going through a divorce.
Xinhua identified the assailant as Zhu Jun, a 46-year-old head of security at the Lingling district post office in Yongzhou in Hunan province. He apparently told his co-worker he was taking the automatic weapon and two pistols for an inspection by city authorities then headed to the District People's Court, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
He fired the gun after breaking into the office on the fourth floor, killing the three judges and wounding three court staff, said a spokesman of the city's Communist Party propaganda department who would give only his surname, Tang.
The official said the judges were discussing a case unrelated to the man.
Zhu, who lived with his elderly parents after the divorce, apparently held a grudge against the court because of its property decision, Xinhua said. The judges Zhu attacked were not involved in his earlier case, the report said.
Though private gun ownership is virtually banned in China, the country has seen a rise in violent crimes amid the free-market reforms of recent years and a loosening of social controls.
Mass violent attacks are typically rare in China, but in recent months, the country has also witnessed a spate of assaults on schoolchildren by attackers wielding knives and in one case, a hammer.
Also on Tuesday, the Harbin Daily reported that a woman in her 40s attacked nine fellow passengers in sleeper compartments on an overnight train from northeastern Harbin to central Hebei province. The woman used a scrap of iron as her weapon, stabbing victims in their arms and legs around 2 a.m. Monday.
The woman, who was not identified, was arrested by police, the report said. Her oldest victim was a 73-year-old woman.
Three of the nine victims were sent to the Jiamusi Railway Hospital, where they were treated and released, said a hospital staffer who gave her name surname as Zhang.
In central Henan province, a man trying to stop the demolition of houses in his village of Nanliuzhuang drove a truck into a crowd of workers, leaving three dead and 13 injured, a district government office said.
"He first stopped his truck in the middle of the road ... then suddenly accelerated the vehicle and crashed into the workers," the Guancheng district office of the provincial capital of Zhengzhou said in a statement to The Associated Press.
The villager, identified as Liu Danao, fled and was being pursued by police, it said.
Associated Press researchers Yu Bing, Xi Yue and Zhao Liang contributed to this report.