MENZ Issues

Boshier on the couch with Women’s Refuge

At the end of October, Women’s Refuge held their 2012 annual conference at The Winery Riverlands, Blenheim. They “planned a ground breaking conference on how we can build safer futures for women, children and families in Aotearoa.”

Based on what I have heard from hundreds of men who have come in contact with Women’s Refuge I can only assume that the families they are concerned about do not include fathers.

The attendance of NZs Principal Family Court Judge has already been noted. I was disturbed to see that he was not just there as an observer; the programme advertises that he was there to discuss “the challenges and possibilities for a safe, violence-free country.”

Remember that Women’s Refuge head Heather Henare makes it clear whenever she gets an opportunity that what they consider to be violence is “overwhelmingly perpetrated by men”.

It’s probably going too far to suggest Boshier is in bed with radical feminists, but it sure looks like he’s deeply involved with their plotting to destroy the patriarchy. It would have been fascinating to listen to the penultimate session:

On the Couch – Towards Safer Futures
Heather Henare, Dr Ang Jury, Julia Tolmie, Judge Boshier, Ken McMaster, Brian Gardner
Facilitator: Viv Maidaborn

Given that Judge Boshier has never to my knowledge made any attempt to listen to the views of anti-feminist community groups, I think his intimate involvement with Women’s Refuge is cause for considerable concern.

It made me take another look at the paper He’s Just Swapped His Fists for the System which was discussed on MENZ recently, because I see that one of the authors of that paper, University of Auckland Law Professor Julia Tolmie, also featured prominently at the conference.

The authors write:

Partly as a result of attempts by a global fathers’ rights movement to reassert entitlements to children, the welfare principle is currently defined in terms of an ongoing relationship with both parents.

I first heard the term ‘fathers rights’ a decade ago after John Brett managed to infiltrate a private Law Society seminar to hear an address by Julia Tolmie on the threat from the “Father’s Rights Movement”.

No doubt many MENZ readers will be encouraged by this, and some of you may want to join or donate to this clearly effective organisation. Unfortunately, I have so far be unable to find any contact details; if anyone can enlighten me please add a note in the comments. I am aware that there was a NZ ‘men’s rights’ group active for a few years in the early 1990s, but I have been unable to find any details of current, active NZ groups with this focus. Perhaps the global father’s rights movement is a secret branch of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy?

Presumably the use of this term by feminists is intended pejoratively, at least in the New Zealand context. The message is that men are only promoting in their own interests, when nothing could be further from the truth. I know of no men’s groups who advocate special treatment for fathers. Even organisations like fathers4justice in the UK campaign for equal parenting rights.

The paper outlines the feminist view of the law as a tool for manipulating social change, then goes on to include the following quote which presumably the authors see as the ultimate goal:

Indeed, Rekha Mirchandani (2006) on the basis of her research on a domestic violence court in Salt Lake City, Utah, claims that state institutions can be transformed into feminist regimes that challenge “male dominance in the home” by undermining men’s prerogatives in relation to their partners and children.

The following example of offensive sexist stereotyping shows the kind of thinking designed to disadvantage men:

This logic treats men’s caring about as an indicator of their capacity to care for even when fathers lack a history of undertaking this work and therefore may lack the required practical and emotional skills.

The paper’s central argument is that men use the Family Court as a weapon to abuse women and children. Women of course, with their superior emotional skills and moral integrity, never do this.

The outcome for women in dispute over care and contact arrangements for their children is that men as fathers are able to engage in nonreciprocal exercises of power that have negative effects on the everyday lives of mothers and children….

…to produce a nonreciprocal capacity for men/fathers to intervene and regulate the lives of women/mothers through the threatened or actual instigation of family law processes. A situation that enables so-inclined fathers, in the words of one of our participants, to swap their fists for the system.

So what sort of outcome do feminists expect from the Family Court? It seems they are concerned with, wait for it, mother’s rights!

The injustice that resulted from the privileging of fathers’ preferences, for the participants concerned, would have been best remedied by restoring their rights to act autonomously.

No matter what kind of explicit or implicit contract a women might make, if she unilaterally decides to end a relationship she should apparently have the right to act autonomously, without regard for her former partner or responsibilities. Of course the father’s role in this scenario is anything but autonomous – he faces years of indentured servitude to IRD Child Support.

Shared Parenting is definitely NOT on the feminist agenda:

The imposition of equal patterns of care at the point of separation, in a context of a history of primary maternal care, has the potential to further destabilize children and to expose them to inept parenting, and may merely disguise women’s ongoing greater contribution to the physical and emotional well-being of their children.

Our Principal Family Court Judge has been keeping bad company, I reckon.

Continued demonstrations of support for radical feminist objectives by the Family Court undermines the legitimacy of the entire NZ Justice system. It is widely acknowledged that the Family Court has been biased against men.

I am coming to share the view that the only solution is for it to be abolished.