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Father’s suicides or parental suicides?

Filed under: Boys / Youth / Education,Child Support,Domestic Violence,General,Law & Courts,Men's Health,Sex Abuse / CYF — MurrayBacon @ 7:47 pm Wed 14th October 2009

Dear Wendy,

I read your article about father’s suicides, with quite a bit of pain.

While men’s suicide shows up grossly and obviously in national suicide statistics, I suspect that women’s suicides due to court traumatisation from removal of relationships with children is a faster growing problem.

The feeling of traumatisation due to injustice does cut very deep and isn’t so obvious to someone who has not experienced it directed in their direction. This is why I see the “judges” who do it regularly, as relationship vandals and slaughterers.

In my own personal experience, I know of several father suicides and no mother suicides.

However, when I think of traumatisation by caught process, I know a roughly similar number of women as men, who are so traumatised that their adult life is presently destroyed.

This leads me to conclude that as the caught processes harden up, we may soon be seeing similar numbers of women’s suicides as we presently see men’s.

I don’t see this performance as giving any credibility to the relevance of present familycaught process to protecting children. In my opinion, they are doing significantly more harm than good to children, to mothers and to fathers.

Please also give some of your attention to how women are being treated in your caughts.

I help other people, because my own children are now entering adulthood and I don’t want to take any chance of them going through similar to what I went through. At present, I feel NZ caughts are moving slowly but surely backwards. I see them as doing more harm than good, to women, children and men.

Please also look closely at what caughts are doing to women.

Whenever people respond to opportunities to take money that they haven’t earned, there is a lot of damage in their wake.

Thank you for giving attention to these not very alluring issues.

Best regards,

Are Fathers’ Rights a Factor in Male Suicide?
January 29, 2002
by Wendy McElroy, [email protected]

In the early morning hours of Jan. 7, 43-year-old Derrick K. Miller walked up to a security guard at the entrance to the San Diego Courthouse, where a family court had recently ruled against him on overdue child support.
Clutching court papers in one hand, he drew out a gun with the other. Declaring: “You did this to me,” he fatally shot himself through the skull.
Miller’s suicide is symbolic of a frightening global trend: an alarming rise in male suicides. According to a round of studies conducted in North America, Europe and Australia, one reason for the increase may be the discrimination fathers encounter in family courts, especially the denial of access to their children.
If a similar rise in female suicides was occurring, a public crusade would demand a remedy. Yet the extraordinarily high rate of male suicide is rarely discussed.
What are the statistics? According to a 1999 surgeon general’s report, suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in America, with men four times more likely to kill themselves than women.
The prevalence of male suicide is not restricted to North America. An Australian study offered similar statistics. Of 2,683 suicides in Australia in 1998, 2,150 were males, making suicide the second leading cause of death among 25- to 44-year-old men. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports that the suicide rate for men aged 20 to 39 years has risen by 70 percent over the last two decades.
Statistics from Ireland and the United Kingdom indicate rates of male suicide as high as five times that of women. Indeed, a recent study found that suicide was the leading cause of death for Irish men between 15-34 years old.
The research also points to a probable cause. According to sociologist Augustine Kposow of the University of California at Riverside, divorce and loss of children is a factor. “As far as the [divorced] man is concerned, he has lost his marriage and lost his children and that can lead to depression and suicide,” Kposow advises.
The Australian study’s suggested reasons for some of the suicides include “marriage breakdown.”
“There is evidence to suggest that many men sense they are being discriminated against in family court judgements,” the study says. Cut off from their children, divorced men experience heightened “frustration and isolation.”
Yet, the motivation for male suicide remains a matter for speculation because little research has focused on the subject.
Telling the stories of such forgotten men has been left largely to fathers’ rights Web sites such as Dads4Kids.
There you read about Warren Gilbert who died of carbon monoxide poisoning, clutching a letter from the Child Protective Service. Or Martin Romanchick – the New York City police officer who hanged himself after being denied access due to charges brought by his ex-wife, which the court found to be frivolous.
Or Darrin White, a Canadian who hanged himself after being denied access because he could not pay child support that was twice his take-home pay. His 14-year-old daughter wrote a letter to the Canadian prime minister in which she pointed to “the frustration and hopelessness caused in dealing with Canada’s family justice system” as the “biggest factor” in her father’s death.
“I know my father was a good man and a good father. … He obviously reached a point where he could see that justice was beyond his reach and for reasons that only God will know, decided that taking his life was the only way to end his suffering,” Ashlee White wrote. Ashlee signed the letter “In Memory of My Loving Father.”
Are family court systems deeply biased against fathers? I believe so. But discussing the matter is almost a taboo. How prevalent is the silence? When did you last hear a discussion of whether a “father” should have any voice in abortion? Even raising the issue draws derisive and dismissive responses. Yet if men are forced to bear legal responsibility for children, then it is not absurd to ask whether they should have some prerogatives as well.
The point here is not how the question should be answered. The point is that the question should be asked.
Derrick Miller may be a poor choice as a cause celebre for fathers’ rights. His suicide may have been triggered by mental illness or by drug abuse. Yet Miller is symbolic not merely of the discrimination against fathers but also of the discrimination encountered by men’s mental health issues.
For example, the National Organization for Women showed no reluctance in championing the mentally disturbed Andrea Yates who killed her five children – a much more heinous act. But Yates is a woman and will be viewed as a de facto “victim” by a significant portion of society – even in the shadow of her infants’ dead bodies. Conversely, Miller is a man and he carries one of the greatest social stigmas: deadbeat dad. Thus, even the dramatic circumstances of his suicide prompted only six paragraphs in The San Diego Union-Tribune.
The stakes are too high for the media to remain disinclined to comment. As men’s rights activist James R. Hanback Jr. remarked in an article about Miller, “No matter who you are or where you live, chances are there is a man in your life … who has been through some of the pain and anguish associated with divorce, child custody, or child support battles.”
Male suicide must be confronted honestly before America follows the way of Ireland, before suicide becomes the leading cause of death in young men. And, perhaps, in a man you know and love.


  1. Murray, I think you are splitting hairs. If I can be quite frank with you this is exactly why you have never really made it as an axe murder. Axe murders don’t split hairs. They focus on the major parts that are right in front of them.

    Comment by Dave — Wed 14th October 2009 @ 11:28 pm

  2. For all the discussion in Aus re male suicide in recent times we are still not permitted to acknowledge two of the primary reasons for male suicide.

    Not too long ago a TV ad dealing with male depression and suicide disappeared after only a couple of days. It was an animated presentation showing a father handing the kids back to mum and then breaking down in tears. The reason it was axed? Michael Flood – who also maintains that males claiming to be abused should be considered liars – complained about it “demonising mothers”.

    Among youth boys and young men are nine out of ten suicides. My study of abuse over recent years signals to me that the major reason for youth suicide is abuse. Male victims of sexual abuse alone suicide at massively greater rates than the general population.

    Fathers having their children striped away from them? Shhhhhh.

    Male victim of abuse? No such thing.

    Comment by gwallan — Thu 15th October 2009 @ 8:47 pm

  3. Everyone, no matter how strong or focussed, has a breaking point.

    Some fathers endure many, many years of distress that does not diminish. The strong ones may not break as such but they tire. They are like mortally wounded soldiers – or Kings – on a battlefield, their comrades rushing past to their own probable maimings while they lie there bleeding out their lives, quite unable to move. if a gun is handy…. or a friend who will finish them off….

    This old and wounded King has begged his Knights to finish him, but they love him too much.

    Comment by amfortas — Thu 22nd October 2009 @ 11:34 pm

  4. This article presents two examples of father’s suicides, after cutoff access.
    The relationship vandal, this time, is the Closed Brethren Church.

    ‘I can’t talk to my wife and son’: Ex-Brethren man reveals shock ‘separation rule’
    Published: 9:29AM Monday May 18, 2015 Source: ONE News
    These examples closely parallel the mother suicide of Juliette Gilbert. She abducted her son to NZ, to cut off his relationship with his father. (The father had taken custody, after their relationship breakdown and subsequent shared parenting agreement.)

    The Suicide of Non-Custodial Mom, Juliette Gilbert
    This example shows that women are similarly vulnerable as men to suicide, after what appears to be wrongful and unnecessary cutting off of access between parents and children.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Tue 26th May 2015 @ 7:28 pm

  5. Suicide research is now applying more sensitive and robust statistical analysis to detect suicidal consequences flowing from public policy decisions. In this example, the Netflix entertainment show was viewed as a possible suicide stimulus and the resulting suicide rates were analysed across the total USA population.
    In this case, a statistically significant effect was found. The author cautiously discusses what conclusions might be drawn….
    Similar analysis methods could be used to make meaning from IRD Child Support data, to see to what extent over-zealous enforcement results in IRD Child Support payers leads to increased parental suicide rates.
    The present Government focus on well-being can be expected to make the impact of familycaught$ onto children’s lives visible in statistics. Eventually this will lead back to natural justice principles being applied again……. In the meantime, deaths will continue.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Sun 9th June 2019 @ 4:32 pm

  6. The other side of this and I got it from a horses mouth is the consequenial effect on IRD staff which gets covered up.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Sun 9th June 2019 @ 5:36 pm

  7. No we should not portray the reality that it is for some, I do have sympathy for those statistics but still society should tred carefully when making restrictions on ‘all’ subject material of a ‘certain’ subject.

    Comment by mama — Sun 9th June 2019 @ 7:30 pm

  8. One of our failings is in language and perspective.

    A story as such is told from the perspective of the author or editor and is relative to an audience.

    That in itself is a complicated subject in the modern confusion of language.

    The failing is in the presentation not the subject and a response of censorship is no better now as it was when they burned books.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Mon 10th June 2019 @ 8:17 am

  9. #6 Evan, I am not so worried for the IRD staff consequences of driven suicides, I am more concerned for the Child [and Spousal] Support payer and their families.
    I see the IRD staff as having had more freedom in their actions and choices, than what the payer or their families had. This is especially the case, when IRD actions are outside of the law.
    Having said that, unethical organisational behaviour can have a negative impact for staff member’s mental healthand a responsible organisation would be conscious of their responsibilities as employers. These points were well discussed in the Nuremberg Trials.
    #7 Mama, I cannot see why you would have sympathy for statistics?
    The beauty of “13 Reasons Why” is that it portrays harsh realities, maybe too gently, but in a good way to open constructive discussions.
    Pity that the conversations haven’t really got to men’s issues.
    But maybe that is happening, very slowly?
    Make it happen……

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Mon 10th June 2019 @ 10:04 am

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