Women have campaigned for equal rights since well before the Suffragette movement of 1890, and in the western world that goal has been realised in most areas of society. That being said, I feel that the pendulum has swung past the middle ground and far into the depths of the realms of women in one area in particular. Child custody cases have always been the focus of debate and argument when it comes to equal rights, because it seems that fathers are heavily discriminated against when it comes to custodial guardianship of children in divorce cases. This can easily be seen in the facts and figures, for example in 2011, women accounted for 92% of single parents. Does that sound equal to you? Hell no it doesn’t.
Family courts have a powerful default of awarding custody of children to the mothers, as can be seen in the statistic above. This is regardless of the mothers conduct (such as substance abuse and violent conduct) or of her ability to support and care for the children. A great deal of research and investigation has been carried out and it has shown high correlations between single parent (92% of which are women, as I said earlier) families and child poverty, family violence, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, poor performance in school and juvenile crime. Now this is not a dig at the capabilities of mothers, many mothers are very capable of taking care of their children. But the point I’m making is that the father figure is seen as the ‘authority’ in a household, and this was certainly the case when I was growing up. When you were young, the scariest thing your mother could ever say to you is, “I’m going to tell your father”. This is merely my opinion, but it was definitely a shared opinion throughout my schools as a child.
Most of the negative effects of single parenting mentioned above stem from the alienation that develops in separated households, where the residential parent (the parent who lives with the children) tries to distance the children from the non residential parent by various means. Just for the purpose of an example, a mother inducing alienation may say that the father is always ‘harassing’ her with phone calls or always trying to bribe the child or children with gifts and toys. Inducing parents may also attempt to cut off the extended family on the non residential parents’ side, and then claim that they don’t care for the children enough to visit. A common form of criticism is how little maintenance money (also known as child support or alimony) is given, and the CSA can even go as far as trying to squeeze everything they can out of obligor.
Inducing parents often use baby sitters, with excuses like “the non-resident parent can’t see the children at these times because it is outside routine”, basically making life difficult and irritating. The inducing parent would rather the child be with friends or neighbours, or even playing outside unsupervised than spend time with the non-resident parent. An inducing parent will not forward school reports, school photographs or want the non-resident parent to go to school concerts, or other events. They won’t cooperate in joint interviews or mediation, and they are often blinded by rage and don’t appreciate the emotional damage they are doing to their children. Female inducing parents are often convincing and are master manipulators, because in the eyes of society, women are ‘mistreated’ or ‘discriminated against’, and so have gained the blind sympathy of a society that refuses to point the finger in fear of retribution and cries of inequality.
So I put it to you, are we truly equal?
Author: Elliot Lloyd