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Men and fathers equally likely to be victims of ‘coercive control and abuse’

There has been much talk about “coercive control and abuse” lately in the local media. ChildWatch agrees that it is a discussion that needs to be had. The discussion should be with a high degree of human decency, fairness, understanding and transparency, and not be dominated by one-sided, socially gendered issues to gain political, professional, and legal reform and influences regarding these already highly charged family issues.

We agree that abuse must be neither tolerated nor accepted. We need to encompass all aspects of abuse, and take action against all perpetrators in order to fully deal with the sometimes tragic outcomes of abuse, and to make the necessary changes.

Some of these organisations that purport to be against abuse are actually driving more abuse within families. We have known for years that they actually increase the abuse by perpetuating false accusations in many cases to obtain legal standings and sympathy from the courts, police, social services and society in general in their quest to further destroy relationships between fathers and children.

The one-sided cover-up — fanning the fires on specific gendered issues to suggest that perpetrators are only males — does nothing to help in assisting children and their families that are going through this turmoil.

According to findings from Professor Nicola Graham-Kevan and Deborah Powney, “the surveys present a direct challenge to the currently accepted view of domestic abuse and coercive control”.

Why is change needed, they ask.

“Despite the Office for National Statistics reporting that one in three victims of domestic abuse is a man (ONS, 2020), research in the main has been focused on the experiences of female victims (Tsui, 2014). This has produced a skewed narrative that frames domestic abuse — and particularly coercive control — as a gendered issue. That is, domestic abuse should be viewed as an issue that is focused only as heterosexual women with male perpetrators. It is often predicated as being ‘a cause and consequence of gender inequality, with women disproportionately the victims’ (Home Office 2020). The effect being that men’s voices are systemically minimised or ignored and men are not recognised as a valid victim group”.

Further, “having a dominant and pervasive gendered narrative creates deep-seated barriers for male victims. This means men may not even comprehend they are being coercively controlled, support agencies — including the police, social services and family courts — may not recognise men’s victimisation, and funding and services may be lacking”.

“Additionally, and crucially, this leaves the children of male victims at risk of harm. Either directly or as a member of a household controlled by an abusive mother.

Further, “coercive control for male victims is uniquely gendered in some aspects. In particular, men’s relationships with their children are often exploited to coercively control men, both within the relationship and post-separation”.

Here are just a few stats they provide us, along with many others:

Male victims of coercive control and legal administrative abuse by women:

1, Breaking court contact orders — 58 per cent

2, Using the courts to continue the abuse — 53 per cent

3, Using police to continue abuse — 48 per cent

4, Using children to continue abuse — 63 per cent

5, Using finances to continue the abuse — 59 per cent

Edward Tavares is the co-founder of the children’s activist group ChildWatch

6, Interfering in new relationships — 39 per cent

7, Reporting you to the police or social services for something you didn’t do — 64 percent.

8, Withholding contact with children unless demands for money are met — 51 per cent (Male Victims of Coercive Control Experiences and Impact, University Central Lancashire, England, Professor Nicola Graham-Kevan, Deborah Powney & Mankind Initiative).

For decades, ChildWatch Bermuda’s membership has had these forms of abuses and coercive-control experiences. These abuses have been expressed for more than 30 years to lawyers, police, social services, Family Court, Supreme Court and politicians.

Some abuses were addressed in the Children’s Amendment Act 2002, which ChildWatch lobbied for change. However, the Act did not go far enough to address the other abuses that were taking place, as described above. We have heard of many horror deaths of children around the world when these matters and laws of inequality are not addressed.

We provide a few recent samples from around the world:

1, Ontario Superior Court (February 24, 2022): awarded custody and a sum of $675,000 in costs to the father against a mother for causing a clear campaign to cause her five and seven-year-old sons to reject the father

2, Ireland (March 22, 2022): woman’s claims of rape, sex assault against husband were not the truth, a judge finds. Mr Justice John Jordan said the allegations appeared to the court an “ill-considered attempt” by the wife to construct a narrative that might assist her to negotiate or achieve the best terms of the dissolution of the partnership. She was “wrong” to make the untrue claims against the husband and “could not have been aware of the gravity of the allegations she made and repeated”, along with allegations of ill-treatment of their children, he said

3, January 22, 2022: a father was murdered during a custody exchange at Virginia Police Station parking lot. Shot dead by his ex-wife’s boyfriend in front of his eight-year-old daughter

4, March 20, 2022: an Arkansas mother charged for stabbing 16-year-old son to death 12 days after filing for protection order against the father and being awarded custody

5, Las Vegas mother of three smothers her newborn baby daughter at home. She was charged with attempted murder, for smothering the baby with a blanket

Edward Tavares is the co-founder of the children’s activist group ChildWatch

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Published April 13, 2022 at 7:48 am (Updated April 13, 2022 at 10:35 am)

Men and fathers equally likely to be victims of ‘coercive control and abuse’

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