My daughter Emma, who has strong feelings about this issue, penned the following :
I don’t normally spend my free time writing vitriolic articles about women, but reading the tirade that was the cover article of the Sydney Morning Herald, on April 7 “She once escaped a killer – under today’s laws she would still be trapped” prompted heated dinner conversation among my family and required an immediate response. In brief, the article discussed the proposed changes to family law which seek to promote equal time between parents.
The subject of the article voiced concerns that despite having suffered domestic violence that ultimately caused her to leave her husband “today [she] would not have left…family law in the 1970s and 1980s offered a degree of protection to women like [her]” and “today she would be required by law to force the children to stay with him even when they were too afraid to go”.
The implication that today’s family law supports perpetrators of domestic violence is absurd and incorrect. Unfortunately, the essence of the article was that the proposed changes to the Family Law Act do not go far enough to ensure that lives are not put in danger.
There is a perception that the Family Court can have a negative attitude towards fathers on some occasions. My concern is that fathers’ experiences in the Family Court can put lives in danger – not the lives of the wives and children.
My personal experience has previewed me to the relentless and malicious use, by women, of children as pawns in a vicious cycle of emotional and psychological abuse perpetrated by them against their (soon to be ex-) husbands. Curiously, proposed changes to family law include redefining the broad term ‘family violence’ to encompass the withholding of financial support; verbal, psychological and physical abuse; and the threatening of suicide.
One can only hope that the law soon starts to acknowledge the detrimental effects of such actions on the emotional and psychological well-being of divorced men, as research shows that separation and divorce trigger serious depression more frequently among men than women, and in turn, that the Family Court will view such actions as a form of ‘family violence’.
One is left to question when family law will place the needs of husbands on the same pedestal as those of their (soon to be ex-) wives?