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MENZ Issues August 1998: Volume 3 Issue 7

Men’s Centre North Shore AGM Time! We have not applied for funding for a co-ordinator next year, which means we will continue to rely totally on voluntary efforts to achieve our goals.

How the Children & Young Person’s Service sees New Zealand Fathers A two-page spread in Auckland’s Metro magazine advertising for new social workers makes it clear what potential employees should expect to be doing – saving victimised children from their sexually-abusing fathers and helpless, dominated mothers.

Fathering and Mentoring Forum in Auckland – September 26th. Doug Stevens, Head of the Social Sciences Dept. at Manukau Institute of Technology, is organising a one-day conference similar to the ‘Fathering the Future Forum’ held in Christchurch earlier this year.

Submissions on Matrimonial Property Amendment – Men’s Groups Forgotten Less than two weeks before the deadline we finally received a copy of a public notice from the Dominion. The notice gave the all-important details of how to go about making a submission and where to send it. Our treasurer Chuck Bird then discovered that selected women’s groups had received notification about the impending legislation directly from the Select Committee.

Advice from a Second Wife to Men Seeking Access to Children If you’re a man, only seek access if the child’s mother is agreeable, you’re eligible for Legal Aid, or have unlimited funds available.

Thank you to St George’s Church

The Patriarchy Made Me Do It In a recent article in the USA Psychiatric Times, Dr. Sally Satel, a lecturer in psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, criticises Feminist Therapy, and says psychiatrists should protect patients from it.

They’re not Feminazis – They’re Suffering from Heterophobia The problem is that although Chuck’s concerns are well-founded, as anyone living in Canada can well confirm, the term feminazi, as appropriate as it is, unfortunately labels all feminists. That is not good because most feminists are moderate and pro-family people, whereas the feminazis that Chuck refers to are generally representative of only a minute fraction of the heterophobic, family-hostile, mysandrist, radical extremists of the 1.5% of the female population that is lesbian.

‘Virginity Revisited: Ancient and Modern Configurations of Sexual Renunciation’ In many ways, Canada has experienced some of the most extreme manifestations of radical feminism. To illustrate the ‘heterophobic’ influence in their education system, consider this advertisement for an October 1998 conference at the University of Western Ontario.

News Flash! Family Violence Causes Sexual Abuse In the past decade, DSAC has imported overseas "experts" to spread the gospel of "repressed/recovered memories" and similar nonsense about sexual abuse. It now claims to be conservative and to warn about the unreliability of such memories. Another explanation had to be found. Violence, and the associated profit, neatly fits the bill.

Case history: ‘Jeremy’ A year and a half later, Jeremy is still limited to 2 hours weekly supervised access with his daughter, which costs him $20 per session. He is paying maintenance of over $400 a month and lives frugally to pay off the last of his approximately $40,000 legal costs. The court has ruled that there shall be no more hearings on this case for a further two years.

Letter to Editor NZ Herald 2nd July ‘Female Violence’ Women’s groups promote ‘tip of the iceberg’ scenarios when talking about male violence, but the deepest iceberg in our society is women’s violence. Anyone who doubts the prevalence or seriousness of female violence should take a turn on the telephones at the Men’s Centre, and listen to the harrowing stories of men who suffer physical and emotional abuse from wives or partners.

Letter to Editor NZ Herald 10 July ‘In Defence of Men’ In 1987 I left the relative peace and security of a primary school classroom for the larger world of academia – the University of Auckland. A shock to my system, however, was the attitude and opinions of some of the women I met there in regard to men. These were not reasoned and reasonable feminists but individuals whose unhappy experience with one member of the opposite sex had caused them to brand all men as monsters.

Reply from Minister of Youth Affairs "Any incidence of incest is too high and it is for this reason that I have supported the campaign designed to encourage people to seek help if they are victims."

family don't care.jpg (20682 bytes)

Men’s Centre North Shore AGM Time!

We have not applied for funding for a co-ordinator next year, which means we will continue to rely totally on voluntary efforts to achieve our goals. We desperately need two or three more competent people (hopefully with internet access) on the committee.

If you have time and energy to spare, think about joining the executive of the Men’s Centre. Men’s movements are sprouting like mushrooms throughout the Western world, and it is an exciting time to be involved. Give me a ring to discuss any contribution you could make.

The AGM will be at the Northcote Community House at 7.30pm Monday 21st September. There will be no motions accepted from the floor. Please submit any agenda items before 31 Aug.

John Potter.

How the Children & Young Person’s Service sees New Zealand Fathers

"Her Family Doesn’t Care About Her. But You Have To"

A two-page spread in Auckland’s Metro magazine (photo at top) advertising for new social workers makes it clear what potential employees should expect to be doing – saving victimised children from their sexually-abusing fathers and helpless, dominated mothers.

The advertisement claims: "You can change lives for the better."

The Christchurch Health and Development Study found that a total of 132 out of 1019 subjects reported sexual abuse under the age of 16 years. The natural parent was the abuser in only two cases. In 1997 there were five prosecutions for incest (that is; any blood relative) resulting in four convictions. While two fathers out of a thousand sexually abusing their children is two too many, this is hardly the epidemic that CYPS portrays.

J.P.

Fathering and Mentoring Forum in Auckland – September 26th

Doug Stevens, Head of the Social Sciences Dept. at Manukau Institute of Technology, is organising a one-day conference similar to the ‘Fathering the Future Forum’ held in Christchurch earlier this year. The forum will be held at Waipuna Lodge, who are assisting with sponsorship.

The first half of the day will be the main event, with speakers addressing topics on the theme of fathering and mentoring. The second part will be a fundraising dinner and debate around the moot: "That Fathering is Redundant". This will be a fun evening, and aimed at both raising the profile of what Manukau Tech. is doing, as well as gaining sponsorship money.

So far, the speakers include:

Roger McClay, Commissioner for Children, Official Welcome.

Warwick Pudney, from Man Alive, ‘Fathering: the greatest Job a Man can do.’

Prof. Ian Pool, Waikato University, ‘Fathers, Families, Futures: a Population Perspective.’

Paul Callister, Wellington researcher, ‘Pigs, Heroes or Wimps?’

Rex McCann, Essentially Men, ‘The History of Fathering.’

Chris O’Reilly, (son of Laurie) ‘Where to from here?’

In the afternoon between 1.15pm and 4.30pm, there will be six workshops;

  • Fathering and the Law
  • Father Friendly workplaces
  • Mentoring
  • Perceptions of Fathering
  • Fathers and Sport
  • Creative Ideas for Fathers

There is also a chance that New Zealand’s Chief Family Court Judge Justice Mahoney will also attend. We feel it would be particularly useful for him to hear how fathers experience the court he oversees.

As Harald Breiding-Buss reported from the Christchurch Forum: "In many workshops, including the one on fathers in the parenting role, disappointment with the family court system surfaced as anger. Men who had separated from their partners felt that the court didn’t give their involvement with their children much priority and that it was too easy for the mothers to obstruct the little access fathers have."

I think that a change to a presumption of joint custody is currently the number one issue for NZ Fathers.

J.P.

A report on the conference is here.

Submissions on Matrimonial Property Amendment

– Men’s Groups Forgotten

Submissions officially closed on Friday, 3rd July.

Although men’s groups were alerted earlier in the year, (in fact Men’s Centre North Shore ran a story in the May 98 edition of MENZ Issues here), it proved extraordinarily difficult to find details about these Bills. Less than two weeks before the deadline we finally received a copy of a public notice from The Dominion, published 12 May, suggesting that copies of the bills could be purchased from Bennett’s Government Bookshops. The notice also gave the all-important details of how to go about making a submission and where to send it.

Our treasurer Chuck Bird then discovered that selected women’s groups had received notification about the impending legislation directly from the Select Committee. He contacted his Member of Parliament Belinda Vernon who spoke to the Clerk of the Committee. She was advised that provided the public is notified of submissions via the Public Notices, it is up to the Committee to decide to whom it issues direct invitations to make a submission on a Bill. The clerk said he may not release a list without a formal authorisation from the Committee. Ms Vernon therefore suggested that Chuck write to either the Clerk or the Chair formally requesting release of the list of who was advised of the Bill.

Chuck also contacted Mr Bruce Donaldson, secretary to the Minister for Information Technology Hon Maurice Williamson, to ask where he could find an electronic version of the proposed legislation.

Unfortunately, the responsibility for dissemination of draft legislation rests with the Ministry concerned (in this case Justice), and Mr Williamson is not able to control everything posted on government web sites. Chuck asked Mr Donaldson to suggest that his Minister confer with the Minister of Justice about making proposed bills available on line free. The public could also be notified on all government sites about the calling of submissions and the deadlines.

Chuck pointed out that if he were a woman and was unhappy with pending legislation that was being slipped through Parliament with little public notice except to privileged men’s groups, he could go to the Ministry of Woman’s Affairs. He suggested that men do not have these options.

Chuck next contacted Select Committee chairman Clem Simich MP, who agreed to recommend to the Committee that the time be extended for submissions till 17 July for those who missed the small ad in the daily papers and did not get special notice of the call for submissions.

In his letter of thanks to Mr Simich, Chuck said he appreciated that all legislation cannot get wide media coverage. However, he pointed out that many people do not consider the full ramifications of a relationship breakdown. If the law is a lot different than they think it is, a great deal of bitterness may result. This harms everyone, particularly the children.

Chuck told Mr Simich that the main point of his submission is that the proposed legislation would not achieve the object of the Bill, which is to ensure a just division of property in the event of a de facto relationship ending. Chuck says he has yet to meet one person who agrees that, when a person who is penniless moves in with someone who owns a mortgage-free house, a 50/50 split at the end of 3 years is just.

He suggested that Mr Simich put this scenario to the Committee when they met last Wednesday, in the hope that they would decide to file this Bill in a round bin and save the taxpayer a lot of money.

We have not yet heard whether we can obtain the list of groups that got the special notice and the text of this notice as we have requested.

On June 30th, the NZ Herald published an article by Peter Calder about the lack of notification to men’s groups titled: "Men’s voice on change not silenced – just forgotten".

J.P

Advice from a Second Wife to Men Seeking Access to Children

If politicians are correct, the majority of couples decide for themselves the most appropriate custody and access arrangements without reliance on Court Orders. What they don’t usually acknowledge is that in cases where agreement can’t be reached, it is often a waste of time for non-custodial parents to approach the matter through Family Court. I am sharing the benefit of our experience, free of charge, for those in the ‘minority’ group who will be unfamiliar with the frustrations and costs they are likely to incur.

Hopefully, publicising this advice may help to reduce some of the pressure on the Family Court, save tax payers thousands of dollars that would otherwise be spent on Legal Aid, and stop the damage that will be done to non-custodial parents and children in the process.

If you’re a man, only seek access if the child’s mother is agreeable, you’re eligible for Legal Aid, or have unlimited funds available.

You’re probably optimistic enough to think the Family Court will be fair and helpful, and solicitors will usually support that optimism. At $120 per hour some of them will support anything. Your solicitor will contact the mother’s solicitor; various letters will pass between them. Submissions and affidavits will be filed. By then you will have spent several thousand dollars, and after six months it is likely you still won’t have contact with your children.

You will have to justify your motives for wanting to see your child. You’ll begin to feel as if the mother is viewed as the good parent while you’re made to feel like a bad person and unworthy to see your child. The mother is likely to make all sorts of accusations, mostly groundless. You may not even hear of these accusations, and thus have no opportunity to answer them.

If the mother isn’t working, she’ll have unlimited Legal Aid with which to make any allegations she cares to dream up. This will tie you up emotionally and financially before you even get to court. If you want to dispute any false accusations, you’ll spend a lot more time and money on solicitors while investigations are undertaken with social workers and psychologists. Another 6-12 months will have passed and tens of thousands of dollars will get spent on solicitors, and you probably still won’t be able to see your children.

You may become so emotionally and financially depleted that you’ll begin to give up any hope of spending time with your children, already having spent a small fortune. You’d better be eligible for Legal Aid yourself, buddy.

Even if you do eventually secure access and the order is lodged at Family Court, should the mother decide not to abide by that order you’ll have to apply for a warrant to enforce it and if the Court feels so inclined, pick the child up escorted by police or social worker, making your child feel as if he or she is under arrest.

You can’t just go to the child’s house and demand to see your child, that will result in non-molestation orders.

I’m a woman who’s seen, first hand, what the battle does to fathers. There are those who know how the system works, they want to see you fail, they are playing with you, your energies, your time and your money. The system can destroy you financially, morally and emotionally.

Even though sooner or later you will be told, by various people in the process, that you should probably give up the fight, never give up hope. One day your child may come to you to find out the man you really are, and he/she will regret they didn’t know you in their formative years. You may even be able to build a rewarding, mature relationship.

In the meantime, build a new life with a new partner or whatever, find people who want to be there for you, create a good and prosperous future. Above all, don’t be angry, that is just wasting energy and money, and that’s what those who work against you want.

Carman Allen.

Thank you!

To the St George’s Presbyterian Church Parish Council and Market Shop staff , who donated $150 to assist us in our work.

The funds come from the surplus arising from the trading of second-hand goods (clothing, furniture, utensils etc.) received from Church members and other North Shore people, and sold through their Opportunity Shop in Jutland Rd. Takapuna. It is voluntarily manned (and womanned) by members of the congregation.

J.P.

The Patriarchy Made Me Do It

In a recent article in the USA Psychiatric Times, Dr. Sally Satel, a lecturer in psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, criticises Feminist Therapy, and says psychiatrists should protect patients from it.

She quotes psychologist Laura Brown, author of Subversive Dialogues: Theory in Feminist Therapy, describing feminist psychotherapy as an "Opportunity to help patients see the relationship between their behaviour and the patriarchal society in which we are all embedded."

Satel says this is part of the radical feminist theory that women are victims of a vast male conspiracy, which means that society, not the patient, is dysfunctional. This means a traumatised woman is unable to take responsibility for herself and a radical feminist therapist should not suggest to a woman that she might contribute to her current problems because that would only ‘revictimise’ her.

Brown was one of the ‘experts’ who filed a declaration supporting the validity of repressed memories with the court on behalf of Holly Ramona. Last year the California Court of Appeals ordered that the case against her father be dismissed. Brown encourages her patients to join feminist political organisations and writes "Feminist therapy must be an intentional act of radical social change, directed at those social arrangements in which oppressive imbalances of power hold sway."

Clinical psychologist Rachel Perkins writes in the journal Feminism and Psychology that "Understanding one’s experience as personal, private and psychological … is considered dangerous to the goals of feminism."

Phyllis Chesler, a professor of psychology and women’s studies at the City University of New York, who Satel considers to be the mother of feminist therapy, has just been named to be the first scholar of the International Research Institute at Brandeis University. Satel quotes from Chesler’s book Women and Madness: "I believe that the biological fact and significance of heterosexual rape and pregnancy were the primary factors in the formation of the patriarchal family. Also…was man’s need for proof of his genetic immortality…so great that he felt entitled to colonise a woman’s body in order to ensure that his children were created by his sperm."

Satel points out that child abuse litigation and domestic violence policy are the two social arenas in which feminist psychology has had disastrous consequences. She says that the idea of a patriarchy gone mad has long been cited by radical feminists as the reason for domestic violence, and quotes Gloria Steinem: "The patriarchy requires violence or the subliminal threat of violence to maintain itself". She details the effect that feminist therapy principles have had on domestic violence programmes, ‘and describes profeminist treatment’ where men are court ordered to sit for weeks in a group being lectured by untrained counsellors — often ex-battered women themselves — on the sins of the patriarchy.

Satel concludes: "While it’s tempting to conclude that perhaps profeminist ‘therapy’ is just what a violent man deserves, the tragic fact is that truly victimised women are put in even more danger when their husbands undergo a worthless treatment. Since many of them do want to hold their families together, and since they are trying to weigh the risks of staying with an abusive mate, it does them an enormous disservice when a dangerous man goes through a programme that cannot fulfil its promise — especially since women are more likely to stay in a marriage, falsely secure, if they believe their mate is getting help……

The feminist scenario is paranoid refuge from reality and the practice it has inspired is little more than political statement. Telling women they are passive victims — even when (especially when) they say they feel victimised — reinforces self-pity and deprives them of the opportunity to see how they sabotage their freedom and contentment. This is knowledge that could transform their lives."

J.P

They’re not Feminazis – They’re Suffering from Heterophobia

In July, Chuck Bird was criticised for using the term ‘feminazi’ in a message to a large e-mail list. Walter Schneider, who runs one of the most interesting and extensive men’s movement websites in Canada, sent this reply to the critic: Dear K.,

I agree with your sentiments on generalising, but I also agree with Chuck’s well justified concerns about feminazis. Most certainly, it must not be that you are unconcerned about the facts that move Chuck to use the offensive term feminazi, but rather that you complain only about the generalising qualities of the term feminazi.

Allow me to offer a solution to the dilemma.

The problem is that although Chuck’s concerns are well-founded, as anyone living in Canada can well confirm, the term feminazi, as appropriate as it is, unfortunately labels all feminists. That is not good because most feminists are moderate and pro-family people, whereas the feminazis that Chuck refers to are generally representative of only a minute fraction of the heterophobic, family-hostile, mysandrist, radical extremists of the 1.5% of the female population that is lesbian.

The feminazis aren’t all female either. Although all are heterophobic, and family-hostile to varying degrees, some are male joiners and supporters who for reasons of their own ride along on the apron strings of the feminazis.

The unfortunate thing is that ever since the heterophobes usurped the women’s liberation movement, the term feminism has ostensibly come to mean womanhood, so that by using derogatory terms like feminazism one is easily accused of bias against all women.

For that reason, I suggest that you use the term heterophobes instead of feminazis. It is far more specific and less likely to be the cause of complaints. That then will allow you too to use a descriptive term which accurately labels those parties who pursue the destruction of our families and the vilification and persecution of men.

As to the terms heterophobia, heterophobes, and heterophobic, I found a good definition by Walter Dolen, in his book ‘Sex and Politics.’ My website has a quotation containing that definition (and further links to Walter Dolen’s book).

Why is it that men are so ready to lose everything for fear of offending a minuscule minority in society? The radical heterophobes have no comparable compunctions. They are ruthless in the pursuit of their aims.

Western Chivalry is the most outstanding single reason for the vilification of men. It permits the promotion of the family-hostile aims of heterophobes and thereby the destruction of our families — the fabric of western civilisation.

Walter Schneider.

Chuck Comments: "When I use the term feminazi, I do not refer to all feminists, let alone all women." He will present his point of view in the next MENZ Issues here.

Virginity Revisited: Ancient and Modern Configurations of Sexual Renunciation’

In many ways, Canada has experienced some of the most extreme manifestations of radical feminism. To illustrate the ‘heterophobic’ influence in their education system, consider this advertisement for an October 1998 conference at the University of Western Ontario:

"In Greek antiquity the word which we translate as "virgin" (parthenos) was applied to young women in the pre-nuptial state, to women who, not yet tamed by marriage, were likened to animals in the wild. From Greek antiquity to the present, individuals, male and female, have elected (or been dedicated to) the virginal state, and it is the potential for autonomy created by virginity/chastity that this conference seeks to explore.

They invite proposals for papers of twenty-minute reading length. Possible topics include:

  • the iconography of the virgin;
  • the virgin body;
  • the Virgin Mary;
  • politics and virginity;
  • myths of the virgin;
  • virgin as metaphor in philosophy;
  • male virgins;
  • virginity and chastity;
  • representations of the virgin in the arts;
  • theories of the virgin;
  • virgins and society;
  • ‘born-again’ virgins; [?? Ed.]
  • the new virginity movement."

J.P.

News Flash! Family Violence Causes Sexual Abuse

The mental agility of some psychologists is truly amazing.

For the past decade or more, they’ve been telling us sexual abuse is usually perpetrated by sexually abused people. Ian Lambie (Herald July 7) told a Doctors for Sexual Abuse Care conference that sex offenders are more likely to have been victims of physical assault than sexual abuse. His logic was impressively contorted.

In the same decade, DSAC imported overseas "experts" to spread the gospel of "repressed/recovered memories" and similar nonsense about sexual abuse. It now claims to be conservative and to warn about the unreliability of such memories. Another explanation had to be found. Violence, and the associated profit, neatly fits the bill. The advent of the Domestic Violence Act has sprung millions of taxpayer dollars to combat the new scourge of domestic violence.

It is not surprising that violence has suddenly become the root cause of society’s ills. Will ACC soon use taxpayer funds for counselling domestic violence victims ? Have we learned nothing since the Salem Witch Trials? Arthur Miller’s "The Crucible" ought to be compulsory reading for DSAC, Lambie and Co.

Gordon Waugh.

More on DSAC.

Case history: ‘Jeremy‘ – member of MCNS

All identifying details changed.

Jeremy and Tracey first met in the mid 1980s. She had a past history of a schizophrenic-type illness and her problems included past suicide attempts and binge eating. At times she was troubled with anxiety and depression. Tracey’s psychological problems were treated with anti-depressants. Several years later Jeremy and Tracey’s daughter Sarah was born. Tracey continued taking her medication throughout her pregnancy and until her daughter was at least 3 years old.

Soon after her daughter’s birth Tracey began to express concerns that her child might be molested, especially by members of her family. She started to read Sarah books about bad touching at an early age. Tracey’s psychological problems, especially her severely fluctuating mood swings, continued, and their relationship deteriorated. They separated when Sarah turned three, Tracey remaining in the family home.

Although not living at home, Jeremy saw and cared for his daughter on a daily basis for the next 6 months. When she was 3, Jeremy spent the day with Sarah and family friends at the beach. Jeremy allowed his daughter to have a swim in a paddling pool there, but knowing that Tracey would not approve, all those present agreed to keep it a secret from Sarah’s mother.

Within a day or two, Sarah had told Tracey that she had a secret she was not supposed to tell her. Tracey claimed that when questioned, Sarah had said that her father had sexually abused her. Tracey contacted CYPS and Sarah was interviewed by two social workers. No notes are available of this interview. About two weeks later she underwent the first of two evidential interviews. Sarah did not disclose abuse in this interview, apart from saying that her father had touched her bottom once with paper. A month later she was subjected to a further 40 minute interview. After a number of initial denials, Sarah finally said that her father had touched her genitally. She insisted several times that her father had never touched her vagina with his hand, although he had wiped it with paper. After repeated questioning, she eventually said that he had also touched her vagina with his toe, his hand and finally demonstrated ‘oral sex’ with two soft toys.

These interviews included nearly all the features of what not to do when interviewing a 3-year-old child. The child said that Daddy had touched his own genitals but kept insisting that he had never touched hers. Despite this the interviewer kept asking questions about when Daddy had touched her and appeared not to hear the girl’s repeated denials, because she later asked yet again about where she was when her father put his fingers in her genitals. Sarah again insisted that it was his genitals, not hers. It was never explored whether there is a non-sexual explanation to what she was saying, such as seeing her father urinate and having him wipe her bottom with toilet paper. The interviewers used a number of closed-ended binary questions (such as "the fingers; was that on the inside or the outside of the bottom?") which were suggestive in nature and directed the possible answers the child could give.

There were a number of maximally leading questions during these interviews. A maximally leading question is one over which there can be no doubt about what the interviewer is interested in hearing. In both interviews it was suggested to Sarah that she could not give the answers the interviewer was seeking because it was too hard to talk about, but once she got this ‘hard stuff’ talked about, she would be able to go. In her first interview she said several times that she was tired and wanted to stop. Her interviewer said that she had just three more questions to ask, but then proceeded to ask a further sixteen. Although the girl had repeated many times that her father had never touched her, the interviewer ignored her denials, got out a body chart and asked her to show where her father had done ‘some things’ to her body.

There was considerable selective reinforcement of her responses. Full attention was paid to conversations about sexual and excretory organs but answers referring to other body parts were skimmed over or ignored. The child was clearly educated that the interviewer was only interested in the "private" or "rude" bits of the body and that these were the "proper" and expected responses to the questions. Despite this, though the course of two long and tiring interviews, Sarah persisted in denying that her father had sexually abused her. Finally the girl was directed to use two toys to show the interviewer what her father had done. Sarah put the head of one toy between the legs of the other.

This was the basis of the allegation of oral sex, although when the interviewer directly asked what his tongue had been doing to his genitals, Sarah answered that she did not know, that she had forgotten. On repeated questioning, she said six more times that she had forgotten all about it. Nevertheless, this play with the soft toys was taken as a disclosure of oral sex by her father.

Between the first and second interviews, Jeremy was issued with an interim non-molestation order and directed to attend a ‘Living without Violence’ course. He was denied further access to his daughter. A month after the second interview, Sarah was referred to a sexual abuse counsellor for ‘play therapy’. Jeremy was interviewed by the police who decided that there were no charges to be laid. However the Family Court and CYPS assumed that the child had been abused. A Family Court judge ordered that Jeremy’s access to Sarah be limited to weekly supervised sessions at a child care centre. Sarah’s mother ignored this directive and it was a further three months before the first access occurred.

A year later there was a fully defended Family Court hearing. The court-appointed psychologist said that although it was impossible to say conclusively whether or not Sarah had been abused, there was a moderate risk of sexual abuse having occurred. A second psychologist, retained by Jeremy, identified the deeply flawed nature of the interviews, with their leading questions and potential contamination of the child’s testimony, concluding that they were virtually useless and that they should not be brought into any significant account by the Court. It was of course impossible to say categorically that the girl had never been abused, although there was no evidence that she had.

The judge decided that both Sarah and her mother would now be too distressed by unsupervised access. By this stage, Sarah had undergone a year of counselling. The judge ordered the continuation of supervised access but that this could be improved by using family members for supervisors. This has never occurred because Tracey would not approve anyone as a supervisor. He also ordered that Tracey attend counselling to help her understand why professionals might be saying that these allegations were not true and accept that her daughter may not have been abused. This requirement has not been met to date.

A year and a half later, Jeremy is still limited to 2 hours weekly supervised access with his daughter, which costs him $20 per session. He is paying maintenance of over $400 a month and lives frugally to pay off the last of his approximately $40,000 legal costs. The court has ruled that there shall be no more hearings on this case for a further two years. Sarah continued to see her counsellor for a total of 18 months. It appears likely that ACC is funding this counselling.

Restrictions on Jeremy’s contact with Sarah are considerable. All communication between them is monitored. He is forbidden to ask her any questions at all, even of the most benign nature (such as what she is learning about at school). He is not allowed to discuss family with her. His only source of communication with her mother is through the supervised access centre. He cannot ask Sarah what she would like for her birthday, and if she names something that she would like, he has to ask permission from her mother to give it to her. He has no ready access to her school reports nor her medical files should she be taken sick.

Jeremy has always adamantly denied any abuse or violence against either Tracey or Sarah. He is supported by both his own and Tracey’s family members who believe that the allegations were false and probably the product of Tracey’s ongoing mental problems. Tracey has isolated herself and her daughter from the rest of the extended family. He continues to abide by the restrictions even though they preclude having a relaxed and natural time with Sarah, because he believes that even this limited contact with her father is better for her than no father at all.

Felicity Goodyear-Smith

Female Violence’ Letter to Editor NZ Herald 2nd July

Peter Calder (Herald 9th June) provided much-needed balance to media coverage of domestic violence in his very moderate criticisms of the ‘blokes are bad, women are good’ dogma. He was attacked for his trouble by Alison Towns, who defends the indefensible with her support of the Hitting Home report.

This report is so fundamentally flawed and biased that its conclusions are considerably less than half the truth.

Women’s groups promote ‘tip of the iceberg’ scenarios when talking about male violence, but the deepest iceberg in our society is women’s violence. Anyone who doubts the prevalence or seriousness of female violence should take a turn on the telephones at the Men’s Centre, and listen to the harrowing stories of men who suffer physical and emotional abuse from wives or partners.

Our Society seem unable or unwilling to deal with the issue of female violence or to recognise that most domestic violence is a result of bad relationships, not bad men. This blind spot hinders progress on dealing with the issues and it also leaves abused men with nowhere to go for help other than voluntary and relatively powerless bodies such as our own.

Peter Manning, Men’s Centre North Shore.

‘In Defence of Men’

Letter to the Editor NZ Herald 10th July 1998

In 1987 I left the relative peace and security of a primary school classroom for the larger world of academia – the University of Auckland. My next three years at that institution as a full-time student were exciting and interesting in many ways. A shock to my system, however, was the attitude and opinions of some of the women I met there in regard to men.

These were not reasoned and reasonable feminists but individuals whose unhappy experience with one member of the opposite sex had caused them to brand all men as monsters. And they were not reticent in conveying their opinions to any who would listen – and those who would not.

It became a bit of a joke among my friends that I became something of a defender of men. And why not? The majority of men I have met – relatives, fellow students, work colleagues, friends – were and are jolly nice people. (I can’t say the same for some of the women I have met.)

My post-university career involved a period as a counsellor. Some of my clients were men who had suffered physical, verbal and emotional abuse from their wives or partners. I initially found it difficult to believe that such a thing could happen. I had been well indoctrinated into the belief that violence in the home was one-way: from men to women. Not so.

I applaud people like Peter Calder, and organisations such as the Men’s Centre, who seek to support their fellow men and ask (by inference) that society at large be less judgmental about one section of society. No one sex, ethnic group or section of society is good or bad but a mix of both.

Adele Pullen.

Reply from Minister of Youth Affairs

Dear Mr Bird, thank you for your message about the Rape Crisis incest campaign. You are correct in stating that any incidence of incest is too high and it is for this reason that I have supported the campaign designed to encourage people to seek help if they are victims.

As far as your call for a Minister of Men’s Affairs goes, you will be pleased to know that of the 120 MPs in Parliament, 84 are men. And of 24 Ministers, 21 are men. Therefore I am confident that men’s issues get more than their fair share of attention.

Yours sincerely,

Deborah Morris MP

Chuck comments:

Very disappointing reply. She fails to accept any detrimental effects of misleading ‘statistics’ that portray a high number of fathers committing incest with their daughters

She also fails to recognise the fact that MPs are meant to represent all their constituents. I am not sure how this applies to list MPs.

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