Focus Issues

Child Custody and Support

Custody of children goes to mother in 90% of cases, while father is often relegated to visitor status and denied his equal right to raise his children; at the same time, father’s role is never overlooked when it comes to child support. The government spends hundreds of dollars on aggressive child support enforcement for every dollar it spends on access (or visitation) enforcement.

Fathers and their children should be allowed to be actively involved in each others lives. The fathers role should not be relegated to being just an anonymous source of income, yet many family courts still operate on subtle stereotypes that the male’s role is “breadwinner.” This stereotype gives rise to the myth that men who seek custody of their children do so just to lower their child support payments. The largest federally funded study ever conducted found that most fathers sincerely want to be with their children, but that many of them are driven out of their children’s lives by two things: totally unfair visitation/support orders (leaving fathers feeling more like wallets than dads), and vindictive mothers who impede the father’s access to his children (Parental Alienation Syndrome), [Sanford Braver, Ph.D., Divorced Dads].

Society is paying a huge price for these biased policies. Low-income fathers tend to experience the worst discrimination of all, while their children are most at risk, and most in need of a father’s involvement. Studies show that fatherlessness is the biggest predictor of crime in a community. The less quality time a child spends with his/her father the more likely he/she will become delinquent, commit crime, drop out of school, use drugs, become pregnant, or commit suicide.

Domestic Violence

The U.S. Justice Department announced that 835,000 men and 1.5 million women are victims of domestic violence yearly. That makes men 36% of the victims. But this only reflects the number of men who report the violence in crime surveys. Men have not been taught, like women have, to see the violence against them as a crime. So even the 36% figure is too low. Most other studies by non-crime agencies show that men are victims as often as women are, and that men make up 38% of severely harmed victims (women use weapons and surprise to equalize strength differences).

Despite these shocking realities there is still virtually no outreach or shelter for male victims. These men are hesitant to seek help due to shame and embarrassment, or due to concerns about mistaken arrest, losing custody of children, family disruption, finances, and more.

Men’s reluctance to seek help has allowed the industry to cover up the high frequency of male victimization in order to protect the Feminist belief that domestic violence is caused by male power and “patriarchy.” Contrary to this opinion, most credible research shows that most domestic violence is not based on men’s desire for “power and control,” but is due to problems relating to communication, drugs, alcohol, jealousy, mental illnesses and impulse problems. It also shows that women initiate the violence as often as men do, and that self-defense does not explain female violence.

When male victims don’t seek help, the violence often escalates until someone gets hurt. And children who witness the violence are often psychologically damaged no matter what the level of severity. Until domestic violence is addressed honestly and in its entirety, the cycle of violence will only continue.

Paternity Fraud

Paternity fraud is the false identification of a man as the father of a child. The American Association of Blood Banks reports that of the nearly 300,000 DNA tests for paternity fraud performed annually, 30% turn out negative. Nationwide, there were 70.4 million children in the year 2000. NCFM,LA estimates that 7,000,000 of these children have fathers who are in fact, wrongly identified as being their true biological fathers.

In L.A. County 79% of all paternity judgments are default judgments, where the alleged father is not present. The result of such legal action is an unacceptably high rate of men being identified as the father of another man’s child. Due to inadequate notice of a paternity action, many men were not even aware of the action until years after the child’s birth, when their wages were attached. Once a paternity action has taken place there is no legal recourse. He must continue to pay child support for a child that is not his, often with up to 50% of his pay being attached.

Judge Mablean, the Presiding Judge of Fox TV’s “Divorce Court” and a former city prosecutor in Los Angeles, states, “Thousands of men every year are misidentified as the father of a child and never know about it until years later, when it’s too late. Then they’re locked in financial prison and forced to pay child support when DNA paternity excludes them as the father.”

False Accusations

False accusations of child abuse, rape, or domestic violence are far more frequent than we are told, especially in the context of divorce and child custody battles. While the frequency of false accusations is hard to measure, data do show that it happens quite often. Every year since 1989, in about 25 percent of the sexual assault cases referred to the FBI, the primary suspect has been excluded by DNA evidence. One study found that 72 percent of over 10,000 child abuse accusations against men in 1992 were false (2).

A false accusation is psychologically, emotionally, and financially destructive to a person. It can stigmatize someone for life even when there is no conviction. Family law courts often impose anger management classes even when a person is acquitted in criminal court. These “anger classes” single out men and then shame them by using gender-specific material that depicts only men as batterers (e.g. the Duluth Power and Control Wheel).

This can deepen the wounds of a falsely accused man even further. The abuse of restraining orders is another tactic used to gain a legal advantage in divorce. Without warning, men find themselves arrested, locked up, and barred from their homes, bank accounts and jobs without their constitutional right of due process. Many men are unaware of their vulnerability to false accusations, and men fail to recognize the key events leading up to an arrest until after they are victimized because of false accusations.

Mental and Physical Health

In the 1920s men died only one year earlier than women. Today they die almost 7 years earlier and have higher mortality rates for each of the 10 leading causes of death including heart disease, cancer, and stroke.

Men also comprise 92% of occupational deaths. Men are also more likely than women to have mental disabilities, but less likely to receive treatment. Lack of mental health treatment in men contributes heavily to the fact that men make up 85% of homeless adults, 90% of prisoners, a majority of substance addicts and dropouts, and 80% of completed suicides. Male suicide has jumped 70% in the last 30 years – reaching epidemic proportions.

Additionally, men have a harder time gaining welfare eligibility due to their not having children. Not having children also affects their access to public health care. The government has long spent four times more on breast cancer research than prostate cancer research, even though they both kill the same number annually. Many men cannot even describe what a prostate is, let alone how and when to test for prostate or testicular cancer. Thousands of men die unnecessarily every year as a result.

Even though there are three national offices of women’s health there remains no national office of men’s health. As one legislator recently put it, “Ignoring men may be macho and politically correct but it is costly to society.”

Selective Service and Registration

Are men discriminated against in the Selective Service System (SSS)? The following statements made by the SSS speak for themselves: “The law as it’s written now refers specifically to “male person” in stating who must register and who would be drafted Women are not required to register (emphasis added).”

According to the Selective Service System (SSS), “Almost all male U. S. citizens, and male aliens living in the U. S., who are 18 through 25, are required to register. Young men in hospitals, mental institutions or prisons do not have to register while they are committed. However, they must register within 30 days after being released if they have not reached their 26th birthday. Disabled men who live at home must register if they can reasonably leave their homes and move about independently. A friend or relative may help a disabled man fill out the registration form if he can’t do it himself.”

“Contrary to popular belief, ‘only sons, the last son to carry the family name, and sole surviving sons’ must register and they can be drafted. The mere fact that a man is the only child or only son does not qualify him for consideration – he must be the survivor of one who dies as a result of military service.(4)”

“Men who fail to register with Selective Service are not eligible for certain programs and benefits that the Congress and 28 state legislatures have linked to registration. They include student loans and grants for college, most government jobs, and job training. Additionally, immigrant men residing in the U. S. who fail to register when they are at least 18 years old, but not yet 26 years old, may be denied U. S. citizenship by the INS.(4)”

None of the aforementioned concerns have any direct impact on females. As we have already stated, only men are required to register.

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