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Will Paternal Paranoia Triumph ?
The organization of angry dads
DANS LA MEME RUBRIQUE
Burkini Is a Feminist Issue Too
The notion that it’s ok for disabled men to pay for sex is rooted in misogyny and ableism
Egyptian doctor living in Zurich produces educational videos about health and sexuality for the Arab world
Amnesty International and Prostitution : Not in Our Name !
Open letter to rabble.ca - Support Meghan Murphy suffered a misogynist campaign by the sex industry lobby
"Insectual - The Secret of the Black Butterfly", by Barbara Sala
Canada’s New Sex Trade Law
Sharia Law, Apostasy and Secularism
“Harm reduction” is not enough to appropriately analyze prostitution
True Progressives Encourage Women’s Equality, Not Their Prostitution
Sexual mutilations outside Africa : new report and new denial except the Iraqi case
FGM slowing down ? The UN asserts it, the Indonesian case contradicts it
Prostitution, STRASS and the senator - When opacity becomes relevant
Is equating prostitution and rape ‘intolerable violence’ ? Really ?
Obama, Madonna and us
After Ontario Courts rule on Bedford : a rant
Comparing Sex Buyers and Non-Sex Buyers July 2011 (Boston)
Sex resistance in heterosexual arrangements
Abolitionists of the prostitution system : who we are, what we want !
Women Living Under Muslim Laws Statement on Libya
Prostitution is a Threat to Humanity
Prostitution - Call for Australia’s prostitution laws to be tightened
Violence - An Open Letter from Black Women to SlutWalk Organizers
Nothing that is sexual can be considered criminal : hidden sexual violence in the DSK case
The Truth about Global Sex Slavery – A Book by Lydia Cacho
Why reproductive rights and prostitution are not the same thing : A response to one decriminalization argument
Prostitution - The abolitionist project within the conference Women’s Worlds 2011
Montreal - The Turcotte jury got it wrong
Reasons I Will Not Go On the Slutwalk
International Sex Industries and their Accomplices Hamper the Autonomy of All Women
Ten Critical Reasons for getting rid of Harper’s Conservatives
Real solidarity with prostituted women is in the fight for abolition of prostitution
Decriminalize prostituted persons and criminalize those who exploit them (‘johns’ and pimps)
Polygamy in Canada Should Remain Illegal
My fears of the push for indoors prostitution
We cannot be satisfied with the simple harm-reduction model
The Native Women’s Association of Canada is Worried About Himel’s Judgement on Prostitution
Ontario Court Decision Abandons Aboriginal Women and Women of Colour to Pimps
Response to the VPD review in the cases of the Pickton Murders
Speech - The effects of globalization of political Islam on Women’s Rights, the question with polygamy, the Niqab and Honour Killing
Quebec Forges Enlightened Trail on Burkas
Breast Cancer a Disease, No a Marketing Opportunity
The International Campaign To Closedown Iranian Embassies
Violation of rights in Iran, a window from my experience to a broader picture
"Sex worker" ? Never met one !
The One Million Signatures Campaign has been awarded the prestigious Global Women’s Rights Award from the Feminist Majority Foundation
Prostitution - Feminist Perspectives, a book
Prostitution : Violating the Human Rights of Poor Women
More than 1 000 american historians call for equity in the stimulus package in open letter to Obama
Order of Canada Awarded to Dr. Morgentaler - Acts of intimidation should not rule Canada
Femaid report on Afghanistan, May 2008
Time for Quebecers to be more open : Bouchard-Taylor report
Canadian Bar Association supports strengthening equality in the Quebec Charter
Zero Tolerance for Johns : How the Government of Sweden Would Respond to Spitzer
Politicians are responsible for toxic, misogynist environment facing girls
Spitzer - The Myth of the Victimless Crime
Goodbye To All That (#2)
The freedom to never prostitute oneself
NO legalized brothels for the Olympics 2010 - Aboriginal women’s Action Network statement on prostitution
CLES says NO to the violence of prostitution
Does Porn Make the Man ?
A Trip Into the Absurd
Mothers File International Complaint Against United States
Prostitutes are victims, not criminals
Anthology of Québec Women’s Plays in English Translation, Volume I (1966-1986)
The Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle (CLES) intervene during the upcoming provincial election
Prostitution - Three Women and a Debate
Men Favour the Apolitical Discourse on Prostitution
The Whole Truth Must be Told : Sylviane’s testimony on her experience of prostitution
Democracy and Religious Obligations : an Impasse ?
What is liberation ? Feminism past, present and future
Books by Andrea Dworkin
Globalization, Militarism and Sex Trafficking
Muslim Groups Denounce the Cultural Relativism of a Certain Left
Canadian Muslim leader alleges her veil views sparked vandalism
Prostitution : CATW’S Post-World Cup Statement
NOW to denounce so-called parental alienation
Prostitution : for an Abolitionist Bill
The dimensions of trafficking for purposes of prostitution
"Charm is a Guise ; Batterers Belong in Jail, Expert Says"
Interview with Catherine MacKinnon : Are Women Human ?
Danish cartoons - Doing away with the Enlightenment ?
It’s happening next door : from incestuous girls to alienating mothers
Green Light for Pimps and Johns
Buying Sex is not a Sport
Prostitution is Violence Against Women
The Ideal Site for the Crime
Tell me, what does "gender" really mean ?
Gunilla Ekberg : « The best thing we can do for our sisters is to support them to get out of prostitution »
Interview with Catharine A. MacKinnon : « They haven’t crushed me yet. »
Decriminalizing prostitution, a magnet for pimps and johns
Declaration on Religious Arbitration in Family Law
Prostitution : Towards a Canadian policy of abolition
Prostitution inseparable of violence against women
The need for a public debate on prostitution and its social consequences
Prostitution of First Nations Women in Canada
270 000 $ granted to Stella for a four days event on sex work
IN MEMORIAM : Andrea Dworkin or The passion for justice
Decriminalizing prostitution will not improve the security of prostituted women
Dworkin - Taking Back the Night
Backlash and Whiplash : A Critique of Statistics Canada’s 1999 General Social Survey on Victimization
Helping the prostituted women or promoting prostitution ?
The Need for a Public Debate on Prostitution and its Social Consequences
The legalization of prostitution and its impact on trafficking in women and children
Prostitution Links, Women’s Justice Center
"If you don’t take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits"
Sweden Treating Prostitution as Violence Against Women
Forced marriage as crime
Why Women Must Get out of Men’s Laps
International Campaing Against Shari’a Court in Canada
Decriminalize prostituted women, not prostitution
Canada Contributes to the Sexual Trafficking of Women for Purposes of Prostitution
Fathers’ Rights Groups in Australia and their Engagement with Issues in Family Law
Women Rage Against ’Rape’ in Northeast India
Sexual domination in uniform : an american value
Tribunals Will Marginalize Canadian Muslin Women and Increase Privatization of Family Law
The sexual sadism of our culture, in peace and in war
Queer theory and violence against women
The Legalisation of Prostitution : A failed social experiment
Globalization and the Sex Trade : Trafficking and the Commodification of Women and Children
Ode to Survivors
Court confirms any woman’s human right to organize with peers
Program produces motherless kids
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN Labour Organization (ILO) Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part One)
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN International Labour Organization Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part Two)
Elisabeth Badinter distorts feminism the better to fight it
Prostitution : Rights of Women or Right to Women ?
The "Stolen Feminism" Hoax : Anti-Feminist Attack Based on Error-Filled Anecdotes
Hormone Replacement Therapy, the "Magic Bullet" Ricochets
For the sake of the children : the law, domestic violence and children contact in England
Friendships between women good for health
Children of divorce need our protection
Divorce Bill’s flaws inadvertently aid abusers
Problem isn’t little boys, it’s little minds
A report from Status of Women Canada about the discursive denial of gender inequalities
Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution
Poem for Peace
Peace Rally Speech of a 12 year old American Girl
Good clone, bad clone ?
Canadian Women’s Health Network
So hard to say goodbye
Even as fathers are disappearing from the lives of millions of women and children, they’re turning up in newsletters, local activist groups, and cyberspace as members of an outspoken movement for "fathers’ rights" whose declared purpose is to "fight back." Fight back against what ? Against the power of women and children, of course. Although these groups’ public pronouncements are full of high-minded sentiments - a desire to help men to become better fathers, for instance - and platitudes such as "Dads are more than a paycheck," members are not good fathers seeking support but rather angry men (and women who stand by them) seeking expanded male entitlement. Their private communications are diatribes against child support and in favor of controling women. Not even much lip service is paid to the father-child relationship.
These days, fathers’-rights activists, like right-wing militia sympathizers, are particularly active on the Internet. Some cybergroups, like the Fathers’ Manifesto, actively recruit members and spread misinformation there. The Manifesto is an umbrella organization founded by John Knight, president of the California-based American Institute for Men ; and although Knight has reportedly recently been put in prison and Manifesto’s site is no longer on the Internet, signatories from a wide variety of fathers’-rights groups still actively support its agenda : attacking single mothers, whose child-rearing, it claims, is the source of most evils from high crime rates to poor SAT scores. Nationwide, members petition courts for sole father custody - regardless of whether the father has been involved in his children’s lives or even has a history of domestic violence or abuse - and/or lobby for legislative reforms that empower fathers. In this group, highest priority is given to eliminating welfare, food stamps, HUD programs, social security, court-mandated child support, alimony, and "all other transfers of assets which encourage or support fatherlessness."
One timely recommendation, given the new federal Welfare Reform Act, is immediate placement of children with their fathers should the mothers apply for welfare. To quote a recent rant on a "mailing list" (cyberspeak for a closed e-mail discussion group) : "Gentlemen, start your custody engines (if mamma is on welfare)." Another cybergroup that also has a website, Men’s Action Network (MAN), seeks to define the new male rights as "safeguards" and to devalue women’s rights by referring to the "radical cultural philosophy that sees men as the enemy, regards the traditional family as a tool to oppress women and sees every male-female relationship as a power struggle."
Fathers’-rights groups have wormed their way into mailing lists devoted to domestic violence, rape, and family law, and urge terrorizing women’s groups that oppose their views.
What’s a woman to do after these "safeguards" have been put in place ? In a recent TALK-MAN message post discussing women, Jimmy (a member of Men’s Health Network, a Washington, D.C.-based organization with indirect ties to Gary Bauer’s Family Research Council) cited his favorite items from a widely circulated list of qualities of the "perfect woman" : "1) Knows when to shut up. 2) Knows when to put out." In another list posted by Jimmy - forwarded to him by Ben - called "69 Reasons Women Should Not Have Freedom of Speech," women are mocked with entries such as "27) If they can’t speak, they can’t whine rape. 29) Only one set of lips should be moving at a time." The most telling quote is "40) The only way women could get equal rights is to give up a lot" - the view of a majority of men in the movement. Jimmy opened this post declaring that Ben’s wife had left him. What a surprise.
A quick look at newsgroup threads (chains of messages and responses) shows the movement’s true agenda - and true depth of misogyny. In a thread called "Father Custody - No Exceptions," Daniel Amneus, a Manifesto signatory, correlates smaller female brain size to inferior female intelligence. With perplexing bitterness, he writes :
« Females earn 42 percent less than males on average, solely because of discrimination, and this lower income has nothing to do with their smaller brains, their lower math skills, their lower verbal skills, their smaller physical size, their weaker muscles, their shorter height, nor their lower stamina ? These are minor details which have little effect on the productivity of a worker ? »
Men’s-rights activists have also wormed their way into mailing lists and newsgroups devoted to domestic violence, rape, and family law in order to derail legitimate discussion. Even more outrageously, the National Council for Men’s newsletter, Men’s and Fathers’ Activism Report, available on the Internet, urges terrorizing any group that opposes its views. By far the most heinous, and illegal, action it has taken is its written support of phone harassment of the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Of course, fathers’-rights groups are still taking their agenda into courthouses and state legislatures. There, venom mixed with misrepresentation of the facts is their defining mode. Figures are twisted or used with no source citations at all. When pressed for sources, member/lobbyists get indignant, as recently did Richard Bennett - director of the Silicon Valley chapter of the Coalition of Parental Support (COPS), the organization that sponsored the failed rebuttal presumption for California joint custody, bill AB 999, and also sponsored the recently passed SB 509, which eliminates lifetime alimony. When he was questioned about his astounding claim that the majority of divorced mothers don’t work, Bennett snapped :
« Try looking at the Census Bureau’s statistics sometime, and not just your own navel. A majority of married mothers work outside the home, and a majority of unmarried mothers don’t. Now I’ll grant you, a lot of these are never-married Welfare Queens and not actual divorce cases, but even so we have over four million single moms failing to provide for their children, and either counting on the government or on daddy to do the right thing. No wonder they aren’t married. »
(Just to set the record straight : Current Population Reports, Census Bureau , shows 70 percent of women who receive child support worked a full month prior to being interviewed.) One solution recommended by many of the groups : Give custody to the wealthier parent, the father.
Anne Mitchell, founder of Fathers Rights and Equality Exchange (FREE, a California fathers’-rights group that has the endorsement of Governor Pete Wilson), quotes a common distortion : that 75 percent of fathers are paying all or some child support in a timely fashion. That figure, from U.S. Census data, doesn’t take into account that the majority of that money is paid not voluntarily but by court order and/or garnishment. And half the women owed child support in the U.S. receive nothing or partial payments.
In fact, fathers are angry that they are being asked to part with their assets and support their families rather than play with all that cash themselves. In newsletters and on the Internet they proclaim that their ex-wives dress the kids in rags (read : comfortable clothing) and spend child-support money on new cars and expensive vacations. They ooze self-righteous anguish, like that of Bill and/or Robbie Fetzner of Wisconsin Fathers for Equal Justice, who posted a note on a mailing list called Family Law-L that "forcing" a father to pay child support - instead, presumably, of waiting for him to volunteer - "hurts the recipient custodial parent just like our current welfare does. And it deeply offends the noncustodial parent-wage earner.... Milking the cow even harder won’t increase the supply, and kicking the giver won’t solve the problem." (Perhaps jailing will. See "It’s a Crime," page 18.) Wisconsin Fathers for Equal Justice have infiltrated Wisconsin NOW, which has been brought to the attention of National NOW.
The fathers’-rights movement receives both tax-free federal funding and money from member dues. Women under siege need to do the same. Additionally, feminist women’s groups need to start working with state women’s commissions and the pro-feminist men’s movement in order to counteract propaganda and keep therapists, court personnel, and attorneys accountable for their actions when handing children over to abusive fathers. If elected judges are found awarding children to abusive fathers, they should be voted out of office. Ignorance is deadly ; continued monitoring of Internet men’s/fathers’ websites, newsgroups, chat rooms, mailing lists, and harassment of woman-friendly forums is important. Databases of individuals, specific groups, and potentially illegal actions should be maintained. Some of these suggestions are in the works. National NOW’s new Clearinghouse Against Fathers’ Rights, for instance, alerts members to protest proposed fathers’-rights legislation. But more organization is needed. Above all, we must not be silenced by hate speech. Women do have the power and resources to stand up and fight back.
Trish Wilson is a freelance writer and activist who concentrates on domestic violence issues. She is currently working with the National Organization for Women’s Clearinghouse Against the Fathers’ Rights Movement.
© On The Issues. Winter ’97, Vol. 6, No. 1/Web page : 12-20-96/ Webmaster : Sara Yager
For more information, contact the Clearinghouse Against Fathers’ Rights, National Organization for Women, 1000, 16th Street NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036.
Mis en ligne sur Sisyphe le 12 janvier 2003