Anonymous
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
One in Three Campaign

I remember the first time my (now-ex) wife threw something at me. It was a bag of frozen peas. They were all that were in the freezer in the basement, but she'd asked for carrots (even though we didn't have any). Fortunately I didn't lose my balance and fall. Some time later one of the kids was being fussy about food, and I gave him five minutes to finish. She came roaring in from the other room, overriding my decision as she shoved me out of the way and dragging him off his chair to drag him down the hall for a bath.

I left after one day when we were walking to MacDonalds, where we were going to meet her, and one of the kids asked if they could play on the play structure. Knowing how she was about germs in such places I said "let's wait till we meet mommy and see what's going on." One of the kids pointed out "yes, we have to wait because we all know mommies are the bosses." I had completely lost my authority with the kids, and looked up the DIY divorce papers later that day.

After separation, I planned to drop the kids off after my weekend, and went into their room while picking them up to get their socks and underwear. As the kids went outside to play in the street, she barricaded me in their room, holding a broom across the door and refused to let me out until I put the underwear and socks back, as I was NOT to be permitted to have them overnight Sunday. She refused to listen or budge as I pointed out the kids could be close to the busier street unsupervised. When I put my hand on the broom to move it out of the way, she said "Go ahead, touch it and I'll have the police on you." Knowing from many other men's experiences how biased the police and courts are, I put the underwear and socks back, and gave up on Sunday night dinner with the kids.

Not long after, I picked them up again. This time I wanted the video camera, to copy the tapes so I'd have the memories of when they were young, too. I'd just had knee surgery. When I picked up the camera out of a cupboard she slammed the cupboard door on my hand, then crash tackled me. As I could barely stand I grabbed the wall, and pushed myself to vertical so as not to further damage my knee. She fell off my back, snatching the camera and telling me I'd never see those videos. In too much pain to argue, I left, but sagely went straight to the police station to document the injury to my hand. By the time the AVO summons came from her lawyer, I had already filed mine in anticipation. It became a Mexican standoff, thankfully, rather than the disaster it would have been if I had not been able to show at least some evidence that I'd been acting in self-defence. An AVO would have pretty much ended my professional career.

The horrific biases against men have been fully revealed to me through the abuses of the court system and the Child Support Agency, the stress of which has surely shaved a number of years off of my life. I've listened to the glee with which CSA representatives describe in detail how they'll seize my assets and prevent me from ever seeing the kids again if I don't cough up money I don't have. I've reported her lawyer to the Law Society for lying - in writing - to the police about "proceedings before the court" that never existed, which lie resulted in me being unable to protect my sons against her boyfriend's violence, because I was "making it up." The result? Nothing. That old saw about knowing a lawyer is lying by virtue of the fact that his lips are moving needs to be extended to 'fingers typing' as well, it seems.

Photos of my boys with bruises from her new partner? DOCS NSW said "it's not serious enough, we have much worse cases to spend our time on." If your first thought after reading that is "yes, probably females," then you're exactly where I was after writing it. Maybe that shouldn't be the case, but the fact that it is, is telling.

As long as the rhetoric continues around male violence toward women, and not the 3 other types that exist (M/M, F/M and F/F), our sons will continue to grow up not only without effective fathers, but into a world where they've been trained to accept that violence against them will never be dealt with. The helplessness they experience faced with a system that treats them as rubbish cannot possibly help them to integrate well into society. Rather, it increases their risk of lashing out, out of sheer frustration if nothing else. And thus, the campaigns to reduce violence by ignoring reality and blaming men will do nothing but be self-fulfilling prophecy that do the opposite of what they are intended to do. Only when *everyone* has a sense of safety and justice will the violence that comes from fear and frustration stop.

Article originally appeared on One in Three Campaign (http://www.oneinthree.com.au/).
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