Suffragents is a cause that I started because I have read so many harrowing stories from men and their friends and supporters, including their female friends and associates, that they feel marginalised by society’s guardians when they have problems with abusive partners. These partners, when approached, as a result, subsequently complain that they have been the abused victim, and the man’s complaints are frequently ignored. You only have to look at the presumptions that are now the cornerstones of how to have a man vilified and sometimes arrested, despite evidence to the contrary, to see that there is an imbalance.
Mental abuse and coercive control is far more the domain of female abusers, this goes on behind closed doors and is compounded by the fact that they are supported by countless charities and organisations. How many organisations are there for men, and how many Refuge places are available for men? Awareness and provision has to be made by Government to recognise the inequality.
Despite the fact that society conditions men in ‘manly’ virtues and behaviour, it is interesting to note that complaints by men are on the increase, but many men still will not come forward about domestic abuse because of the perceived shame on their manhood. I understand that only about 30% of men approach the Police. Even when they do, they are dismissed because mental, coercive and controlling behaviour abuse is hard to prove, it does not leave a bruise like a baseball bat, but the effects can be devastating for them and their supporters. Why are witnesses not sought and interviewed on what they know concerning the abuse to help in identifying who is the true perpetrator? Even then at this stage, mediation and help can be sought. Coercive and controlling behaviour is a criminal offence, yet sometimes a man is not aware of this type of abuse until a court case is proceeding and then the issue is Sub-Judice. A real Chicken and Egg situation, and again, men are ignored.
There is then the question of children in any subsequent divorce proceedings, where outdated Theories of Attachment from the 1950’s are used by Social Workers to influence the Judiciary, with the result that children are residentially parented by women in 90% of cases. The Bowlby Theory  was used to help a rebalance in society after the Second World War to encourage women to stay at home and allow men to return to the workplace after War Service, otherwise there would have been large swathes of men unemployed and no government would accept this. The Bowlby Theory of Attachment, plus its emphasis, should be in issues where a child may be taken away from a mother if she cannot cope. This may now be the subject of Bonus Payments to Social Workers to hit targets for fostering and adoption.
Again, where is the equality when the default position is that the woman gets the children and the father has contact for about 4/5 days out of 14? Why can the default position not be for a father? Some fathers do not even get some overnights because it may disturb the child’s attachment with the mother, as dictated by some Social Workers.
Is this why so many reports indicate that children in fatherless homes are more likely to under achieve in education, be in prison, demonstrate unsocial behaviour and generally continue the downward spiral of a broken society?
Why are Family Courts held in private, with no consideration for fair justice, when witnesses are not allowed and a passionate plea, observed by many friends and family of that marriage, is dismissed? All normal people know that the Inquisition was an abhorrence and that Kangaroo Courts should be confined to the past where they belong. The Due Diligence in Divorce Cases exercised would not stand up to the standards that normal business activities would have to achieve in dealing with problems. But here we are dealing with human beings and members of society, and as far as I remember, people are far more important than business activities.
The word ‘Father’ is frowned upon and demoted to the position of a second class citizen. Even in the amendments to the latest Serious Crimes Bill only women are mentioned as being victims of abuse. No mention of men as victims of domestic abuse, despite the fact that there is equality in this country. Or am I mistaken?
Approximately 50% cases of contact orders are broken, and very little punitive action is taken against the woman. But if it was a man who broke a Court Order??
Ultimately, some fathers give up hope and cannot carry on, and even one life wasted by the insensitivities of the Guardians of our society is lamentable. We need change to reflect the needs of a strong and responsible society. For the sake of our children, we should be listened to and not discarded and alienated by our Legal System.
Suffragents - Campaigning for gender equality, legal justice for fathers and the recognition of domestic violence against men.