First Annual Convention of Suffragents
Men & Marginalisation of Men in the 21st Century
12th March 2016
When a divorce has happened, or is in progress, it is easy to become so entangled in legal proceedings that you forget the practicalities of looking after your children when you have them. William was inspired to set up charity Dads House when his friend became a single dad and lost his home in a divorce. After spending months sofa surfing, William realised that many single dads had no idea how to get back onto their feet after losing everything, so set up Dads House in 2007. Completely reliant on the fantastic help of volunteers, many of which are dads themselves, Dads House offers them shelter, support and the helping hand many of them so desperately need. Along with emotional support, Dads House also offers practical courses such as cooking and information about their accommodation.
The chairman of Mankind Initiative discusses the shocking figures regarding male domestic abuse and its lack of prominence in the media today. Mark explains some of the different reason that men stay in abusive relationships along with addressing some of the overlooked laws that many people are unaware of. For instance, the Housing Act 1996 that states that local authorities have to provide emergency housing to victims of domestic abuse is often not thought of in relation to men. Mark is seeking to change that. Mark explains the vital work that ManKind are doing, launching legal battles against council and housing associations that have breached the various laws; leaving male victims scared, alone and unsupported.
Stephen tells the story of his whirlwind relationship following the unplanned pregnancy of his girlfriend. It wasn’t until his daughter was born that Stephen’s abuse began; no friends where allowed over and he was greatly restricted with what he could do. Things came to a head when, after asking his girlfriend about using contraception, he was threatened with a knife. After looking after his children every single weekend, without a problem, Stephen had an argument with his ex girlfriend that resulted in her stabbing him. He applied to court and, despite the CAFCASS report saying he was unreliable, the judge stated that Stephen can see his children every other weekend and on a Wednesday. He considers himself lucky.
Caroline discusses why she is an active advocate for the rights of men, spending her time defending men's rights on the Suffragents Facebook page. Despite having blood, scratches and other wounds on him, Caroline watched as a friend was accused of being the violent partner. In this short video, Caroline shares some helpful tips to follow throughout a divorce, such as not attending anger management or admitting to anything you haven’t done (even after 11 hours interrogation). Caroline discusses the biggest problem in the lack of knowledge surrounding domestic violence – society – and what she thinks needs to change.
Gerald Cash, a psychotherapist who councils with charity Men Have Rights Too, discusses the different clients he has met who have lost everything through divorce. A victim of domestic violence himself, Gerald makes suggestions on how to come back stronger after losing your home, job and children. In his speech, Gerald touches on the lack of understanding, the stereotype, risks to men and fathers, effects on children and relatives involved, recognising and working with male victims of domestic abuse, parental alienation and the work of the McKenzie Friend in Family Court.
A child therapist who has worked with The Family Separation Clinic for 20 years, with family alienation being her specialty for the last 7-12 years, Karen’s insight was well received by the entire auditorium. Karen explains the failings of modernisation which has led to many children believing they will just ‘get over’ being alienated from one of their parents (primarily the father). Karen walks the audience through the eight signs of child alienation and different ways you can work through these to prevent, delay or reverse the effects of parental alienation, which is not only detrimental to the family but to the children too.