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U.S. Congress acts to prevent international child abductions

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Great! For all my criticism of the US, sometimes they do really good things. This is one of them.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Good step in the right direction.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

good news

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Sounds good, but I'm only hearing one side of the story.

I have no idea how many children are taken to the US from other countries illegally ?

To balance things out, will the US authorities co-operate fully in those cases ?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Good. Finally. Now let us how the US will take on Japan to get its stolen citizens back.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

So, when some Japanese mother abducts her kid back to Japan, then the courts take a very long time to do anything finally resulting in the verdict, "The child has been in Japan for quite a while and is used to living here now, so so sorry American father", the U.S. will go to the mat for the U.S. father? If so, in a meaningful way that may harm trade relations between the U.S. and Japan? I'll believe it when I see it.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I hope Japan carries on as it has been. The government has no business interfering in the family. Let these mothers BE with their babies, and the foreign men that drove them to go hide with the children huff and puff and not be able to distress the children or their mothers again.

-20 ( +1 / -19 )

@LaWren you have no idea what your talking about. the majority of these men are not abusive, and most of the children abducted from the US to Japan were born American citizens. if Japanese mothers wish to return to Japan with there children then they should file for divorce and go through the courts in the US. the same would have to happen for foreign parents in Japan wanting to take there children back to there countries. although the I doubt the Japanese courts would let them.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

@LaWren

In cases where the fathers did do something to the mothers and/or children to justify not being given access to the child, of course that should be addressed (and honestly, courts have a crummy track record in this regard, so I somewhat understand your feelings), but you can't just unilaterally deny people's parental rights based on an assumption that they must be bad people because their wives left them or decided they wanted to live in a different place. And it's not like it's unheard of for abusive men to abduct kids to use as leverage or punishment over their wives (or vice versa), either--should these people also be left alone to do as they please just because they crossed a border? The whole reason we have things like legal rights and court systems is to tackle issues like these, so better that people can't just use national boundaries to circumvent legal proceedings.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It's one thing to set up legislation, but making it stick in other countries is another thing. The Japanese system is a great example of stone age mentality. The woman only has to say, "I fear violence!" and that will be the end of it. I live in Japan and have been denied access to my kids by my ex-wife for no reason other than she can. I live 3k away from my kids and cannot see them. I pity anybody that is trying to get so up sort of visitation from another country.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The correct name for "England"in this instance is actually "the UK". Perhaps the writer should have learnt some basic geography prior to writing the article, or does England have more of a history of child abduction than Northern Ireland, Wales or Scotland?

Regardless, the UK has signed the Hague convention, so including it as a place where America needs to flex its muscles in this case is moot as it would comply with any requests for the children back.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The convention only very rarely gets children returned to a mother once they have been taken by the father. This is a private matter, NOT for the courts. The whole world is over-legislated.

No woman will leave and flee with the children for no reason, and fears of violence should always be taken seriously. Perhaps men shouldnt terrorize their wives.

Many of these men want to DEPRIVE the mother of her children and use the Hague to bully and harrass women. It is just another tool used by abusive men to hound their ex-wives with, and is biased in favor of the man.

-11 ( +1 / -11 )

Pink team, blue team.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

No woman will leave and flee with the children for no reason

That doesn't mean the reason is good. Sometimes the mother is just tired of the country she is living in. That's not a good reason to split up a child from their father.

fears of violence should always be taken seriously. Perhaps men shouldnt terrorize their wives.

And perhaps some women shouldn't lie about violence in order to provide an excuse to kidnap their children away from the father.

Many of these men want to DEPRIVE the mother of her children and use the Hague to bully and harrass women.

When the mother is unfit, then the mother should be deprived of the child. The Hague convention provides the cross-border means of ensuring that the proper parent maintains custody of the child.

It is just another tool used by abusive men to hound their ex-wives with, and is biased in favor of the man.

It's not biased in favor of either sex.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

No woman will leave and flee with the children for no reason, and fears of violence should always be taken seriously.

Yes, most women who flee with children have very good reasons and deserve protection, but there are crazy, manipulative, abusive, or just plain selfish women out there as well. Again, the whole point of having a legal system is to judge cases on individual merit rather than making sweeping assumptions about people and depriving them of basic rights. The legal system is indeed often used to further bludgeon and harass women who are experiencing violence, and that is a huge problem. I used to work at a women's shelter, it's not like I don't know this. That system should absolutely be reformed. But ignoring legal process altogether and simply saying, "Well, the parent that ran off with the child must have had good reasons, I guess we'll just let them keep the kid," is hardly a solution. Even aside from the unfairness to the other parent, it endangers the child. Like I said, I used to work at a shelter, and the number of mentally ill and violent spouses (not all men by any means) who run off with their kids every year is staggering. Not to mention, many spouses leave because of reasons such as infidelity, which, while reprehensible, doesn't necessarily mean that the guilty party should be denied custody/visitation of their children. Again, the whole point of going to court is to review circumstances like these.

And yes, fears of violence should always be taken seriously, but taking it seriously does not automatically mean unilaterally depriving the spouse of their rights without any sort of trial or legal review and allowing the child to continue living with someone who abducted them. A lot of things are indeed over-legislated, but violence and child abduction are not "private matters" that can be solved by turning a blind eye.

And I'm speaking as someone who was abducted as a child by a violent, mentally ill female relative, although luckily she only had me for a few days before we were found, and she didn't manage to cross any borders.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Good post Jennifer.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@LaWren: Coming into the decision with preconceived ideas and tainted views is why we need to leave the BIG decisions to the law, where logic rules. Maybe it's your experience that is seeing you write what you do, BUT... If men came in from a similar angle, we'd be screaming about how women drown their children or dropped them off cliffs, but as we know that is a terribly unjust and plain wrong way to label all women, we don't. The vast majority of us are loving, caring, involved parents.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The opinion that the man is always abusive and the woman always faultless is one taken by someone who hates men. Therapy might be in order.

Fair enough if that is left to stand...and you sound JUST like the kind of bully who would use the law to punish an ex-wife. Unfortunately therapy rarely helps such men...

-9 ( +1 / -9 )

" ...we need to leave the BIG decisions to the law, where logic rules. "

Logic several times removed, and lacking personal experience can be severely disadvantaged compared to someone who LIVES it day by day. And to label someone's opinions as 'preconceived ideas and tainted views' is shallow assumption indeed.
-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Paulsenglish The USA is a signatory to The Hague abduction treaty. If you are old enough to recall the USA government under Pres Bill Clinton forcibly repatriating Elian Gonzalez to his father in Cuba, then you will have your answer.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Hague convention is seriously flawed and needs reworking. It works in favor of abusers, and against the best interests of the children. Being forced to stay in a country after a divorce which is not their own, means that a lot of women cannot survive financially in those circumstances.

Abusers use this in order to keep the object of their abuse close at hand and carry on doing what they have been doing. Men who have not seen their children for years of their own free will, suddenly popping up and deciding they want to all of a sudden, and then going for 50 50 custody means that the poor children ar left confused, scared and suffering separation anxiety.

The person accused under the Hague convention very rarely wins. These women are often left at the mercy of a public defence, and the men have the money, therefore the best represention, and the power.

The Hague convention allows abusive men to legally separate mothers and children, it rarely means 50 50 custody, or access, it means the mother is kept apart from the children, and the father has sole custody.

Women carry their babies, the bond is so much stronger for a woman and her child. It is cruel beyond belief for men to stamp all over the rights of the children and mothers in these cases.

I dont think one SINGLE child will be removed from the Japanese mother, and sent to the USA, because at least Japan still values the mother/child relationship.

These men just dont think about the children, or what is going to cause them distress. It is all "me me me", THEIR rights, THEY are so hard done by.

Abusive men CAN and DO use this law to harass, maintain power over their ex's, and the result is the children suffer, often the woman is returned to her abuser, because she will not send the children back to the habitual residence alone and not be with them. The only people this law benefits are the fathers, and especially abusers.

As for someone who worked in DV saying that "some" women are abused, but others are just crazy and manipulative, that says a LOT about the standard of care in some of these refuges, and the attitude taken by the workers. NO woman puts herself in that position willingly, and they should ALL Be believed and helped.

-3 ( +0 / -2 )

LaWren, Please remember your history. The "mother/child" relationship as you call it was imposed by General MacArthur after WW2. Before that, women were the property of men, and in traditional Japanese culture men ALWAYS got custody of children in a divorce, because women had no rights, so what you refer to as traditional Japanese culture of the "mother/child relationship" is really 1940's era America-imposed values that Japan adopted after WW2. Japan has not yet caught up to the rest of the world in understanding that the best thing for a child in a divorce is to maintain a relationship with both parents, so your arguments for traditional Japanese values is really an argument for 1940's era American values vs. 2000s American values.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It has nothing to do with HISTORY and everything to do with humanity. What happened in the distant past has no bearing.

PRESENT Japanese culture keeps mother and child together, and emphasizes the bond between mother and child and good for them. Japan protects Japanese women and children from poverty abroad. A Japanese woman can leave for the safety of Japan with her children, back to her support system, not be forced into poverty, the children are kept with their mother, and they are protected from ex's with grudges and specious arguements.

-4 ( +2 / -4 )

Hague Convention has recently been used (for first time?) in Japan in a case in which both parents are Japanese and the mother took the child to live in London. Was washing dishes and didn't hear all the details (and too busy/lazy to research more) but I think they said the father took the action to get the child returned to Japan. Mother said she tried contacting the father to tell him about the planned move but was unable to get the message through. Also that it was only a temporary move (for work) and that the courts forcing her to move back to Japan shortly before her planned return was ridiculous. If anyone has more correct information feel free to add or correct.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't see what is so great about the Japanese system. If the ratio was fathers get custody 80 percent of the time, the pink team of today would be screaming about it. Why not have joint custody? Why not be fair?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_child_abduction_in_Japan#International_marriage_and_divorce_in_Japan

... In Japan, according to 2004 data from National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, mothers receive custody in roughly 80 percent of divorces involving children.[43] This is a shift from 1970 which awarded custody to mothers only in 50 percent of cases.[44] ... In Japan, when a marriage with children legally dissolves, full parental custody and authority is awarded to only one parent. Moreover, this custody ruling creates complete legal separation of the non-custodial parent from his or her biological children. ... The paper then goes on to describe a Japanese case whereby a father is granted a primary custody of the children after a divorce. A year after the divorce, the father marries another woman. Subsequently, the son from the previous marriage is adopted out without having given any notice to the son's biological mother and, moreover, her subsequent attempt to regain the primary custody of her biological child failed in court. In Japanese law, irrespective of her biological link, her separation from her son was complete at the point of losing the custody. The paper further states that in Japan it is seen as preferable that children make a permanent break with the non-custodial parent because creating a legal "right" for parent would cause conflict damaging to the welfare of the child.[47] The Japan Times states that experts in Japan have been skeptical about the benefits of complete joint custody because the child is tossed back and forth between the parents for their own benefit.[48] ... The typical 'deal' in Japan is that, upon divorce, the father pays nothing for the child's support, and he never sees his child.[49] It is noted that the decision by family courts in Japan with regard to both visitation and child support are unenforceable. ... The primary custodian, or caregiver, as defined by the Japanese legal system, is the parent who has physical possession of the child at the time the case is initially brought to court in Japan.[12] In other words, the court will likely choose the parent who already has possession. .... According to New York City-based international family lawyer Jeremy D. Morley:

A charitable view of the Japanese system of divorce is that it favors a ‘clean break’ so that the divorced parties have little or nothing more to do with each other after the divorce. A less generous interpretation is that it permits the spouse with economic assets (usually the husband) to keep most of his assets, avoid payment of alimony and provide little or no child support, but the price he pays is the abandonment of any relationship with his children, while the other spouse is punished economically, but keeps her children.[45]

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@ LaWren

As for someone who worked in DV saying that "some" women are abused, but others are just crazy and manipulative, that says a LOT about the standard of care in some of these refuges, and the attitude taken by the workers. NO woman puts herself in that position willingly, and they should ALL Be believed and helped.

Okay, no. You don't get to insult me and imply that I was offering substandard care to abused women because I acknowledge that some women commit violence and abuse and then lie about it. It's a fact. I can link you to a hundred news stories about abusive women and mothers who murdered their kids in grisly ways, often because they were mentally ill. It's ludicrous to pretend that this doesn't happen. I've seen it happen over and over again.

If a woman ends up in our shelter, and I see her pinching her daughter's earlobes between her fingernails until they bleed and grinding the girl's bare toes under the heel of her shoe underneath the table, and that woman is trying to get custody of her child, I'm supposed to...what? Ignore it? Assume that the father is worse because he's a man and the mother must have had some reason for leaving him? Maybe the father was also abusing the girl, and the mother was telling the truth about that. But I know for a fact that the mother was abusive, and that she was trying to pass off injuries that resulted from her own abuse as the father's fault.

In a situation like that, you need a court to sort out what the heck is going on. What are the ages and patterns of the girl's various injuries, what kind of strength/size would you need to inflict some of them, what has been witnessed by friends and neighbors and teachers and nurses, do all the witnesses happen to be close friends of either parent? or is all their information second-hand, only what they've been told by the mother or father about the other parent, but they've come to believe it as if they've seen it themselves? Are the parents cooperating to abuse the kid, or is one parent blaming the other in order to cover up their own crimes? Is the kid self-injuring and got too scared to admit it, so told her mom that her step-dad was the one hurting her? Is the father abusing both of them, and the mother is so mentally ill that she thinks her own abuse is some sort of ritual to ward off his far worse violence? I've seen all these scenarios play out at one point or another. Abuse is complicated, and it doesn't always fall neatly into categories by gender. I worked with many lesbian couples in which one woman was abusing another (and in a few cases abusing a child. You can pretend that it's some kind of insensitivity or moral failing on my part to say that women sometimes lie and hurt people, but it's plain truth.

Do I doubt the testimony of abused women for no good reason? Never. But pretending that fully half the human population is completely incapable of violence, manipulation, or deceit is ridiculous. The vast, vast majority of women who seek shelter or legal recourse from rape or abuse are telling the truth. And yeah, a sexist culture and legal system mean that they are often disbelieved and/or that the protections offered to them are pitifully inadequate (how many victims of stalking or abuse are found dead with their restraining orders in their pockets or purses? lots), and often their abusers are able to manipulate the system in order to keep abusing or terrorizing them, to keep them close and deny them a chance to move on.

I've been working to reform that system for years, and to help women navigate it in the mean time. I've met these women at the hospital and held their hands while their rape kits were completed. I went to court with them, and went shopping to find them decent clothes to wear to court because they couldn't go home for their clothes or go to the bank to get money because he drained their accounts. I also worked as a child advocate for kids whose futures were being decided in court, and followed some of those cases for years, until the judges knew me better than they did the parents or lawyers or kids themselves. These cases are not nearly as simple as you're making out. Often both parents are abusive, or one parent is abusive and the other is mentally ill or on drugs, or there is no abuse but very bitter conflict over infidelity or finances or other family members and both are trying to use the child against the other, often lying (both parents, both sexes, to each other and the kid and the cops and the court) in order to do so. Often there is genuine fear of violence, but no actual violence has yet been committed. Sometimes the kid is in foster care, and the birth parents are unfit but the kid has been abused repeatedly by foster parents and sexually assaulted in group homes, so even neglect and verbal abuse at the hands of the birth parents is looking like a better option. Pretending that these cases can be neatly categorized and the truth easily determined based on the gender of the parents is both dangerous and wrong.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I bet I could link you to many many more stories where women and the children were killed and harmed by the men they are fleeing from. Many more stories of these men like these, who ended up terrorising a dear dear friend of mine to such an extent she was badly hurt AFTER she got away.

The convention forces women to stay near their abusers, and to do so for the love of their child.

Of course, some people might like to tell stories of women who are caught in these places BEING the abuser. For a start telling stories like that is a terrible way to deny these women the basic human right of PRIVACY. If you worked on a case like that, to then use it on an internet forum is plain morally and possibly legally wrong.

To then call these allegedly REAL people names, to say they are mentally ill. Are you QUALIFIED to make that MEDICAL assessment, which you put SO politely. Have you ceased to think of them as human beings with feelings?

To allege sexual and physical assult of children is common amongst women in refuges absolutely sickens me. The vast vast majority are decent good women, doing their very best to protect themselves and their families.

I suggest either you get a new job, or else a sense of compassion and decency.

The Hague has sent MANY a woman back to her abuser, and many a child back to a man who will hurt them emotionally and physically. It does not give women a chance to succeed in breaking free. The fact you work in a refuge and argue in defence of men absolutely sickens me, but doesn't suprise me in the slightest. I PITY the women you work with.

Again, I hope Japan has nothing to do with this highly flawed law.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@LaWren

I bet I could link you to many many more stories where women and the children were killed and harmed by the men they are fleeing from. Many more stories of these men like these, who ended up terrorising a dear dear friend of mine to such an extent she was badly hurt AFTER she got away.

No arguments there. Men are far more dangerous to women than vice versa in the vast majority of cases, and the most dangerous point is when the woman is trying to get away or immediately afterward. Far, far too many women are injured, terrorized, or killed after they've fled abuse and the system has failed to protect them, which I've acknowledged over and over.

I'm not arguing that women are worse abusers than men, or that they are more likely to try to manipulate the system. The exact opposite is true. However, just because men are usually the abusers does not mean that they are always the abusers, and I believe that any case of child abduction should be subject to legal review for the safety of the child, rather than just sticking our heads in the sand and gambling on the statistics of abuse, since I have seen many cases in which children would have been in horrible danger if left unquestioningly with their mothers (again, not nearly as many as the cases in which the father was the danger, but a significant number).

You said that my merely acknowledging that women are capable of abuse was evidence of substandard care at the shelter I worked at, which is clearly ridiculous. Don't try to turn it around and make it seem as if I'm arguing that men don't commit abuse.

The convention forces women to stay near their abusers, and to do so for the love of their child.

Which is a big problem which needs to be fixed. Again, I've spent years advocating legal reforms, so it's not like I'm ignoring this problem (although this particular piece of legislation is not one in which I've been particularly involved). My point is that to ignore the abduction of children and allow it to pass with no legal review at all is not a solution, and is in fact a terrible idea, because not every parent who abducts a child and takes them out of the country does so for pure and valid reasons, whatever their gender.

Of course, some people might like to tell stories of women who are caught in these places BEING the abuser. For a start telling stories like that is a terrible way to deny these women the basic human right of PRIVACY. If you worked on a case like that, to then use it on an internet forum is plain morally and possibly legally wrong.

First of all, I don't "like" telling these stories, and most of the cases I usually discuss and deal with involve male abusers. I was directly addressing your assertion that my statement that some women are abusive and manipulative indicates that I was providing substandard care. I offered a few examples of these cases in order to show that I was not just making assumptions about these women, and that in fact it would have been dangerous for me to ignore them and their crimes--which would have actually been substandard care.

Secondly, I gave no names or identifying information about these women or children, and violated neither the law, my contract, nor my ethics by discussing generalized cases of abuse that I witnessed. You shared the personal example of your friend, as well. Did that violate her right to privacy?

To then call these allegedly REAL people names, to say they are mentally ill. Are you QUALIFIED to make that MEDICAL assessment, which you put SO politely. Have you ceased to think of them as human beings with feelings?

Umm, no, we work with psychiatrists and psychologists, as do the courts, so the women I refer to as mentally ill were indeed medically diagnosed with various mental illnesses. The more severe cases often had a history of incarceration or being involuntarily committed. "Mentally ill" is the correct term, at least in my area, and is common in the literature. And again, I provided no identifying information or any way to associate a diagnosis of mental illness with any particular woman.

To allege sexual and physical assult of children is common amongst women in refuges absolutely sickens me. The vast vast majority are decent good women, doing their very best to protect themselves and their families.

I didn't say it was common, I said that it happened. Sexual abuse of children by women is rare, in my experience (and statistics back me up). Men are by far the worst offenders when it comes to sexual abuse. Physical and verbal abuse by women towards children is relatively common, but it was pretty rare in our shelter--although quite common in the court cases I dealt with as a child advocate.

I suggest either you get a new job, or else a sense of compassion and decency.

Yeah, because acknowledging reality precludes compassion and decency. I should just let women keep abusing their kids because women are angels and their ex-husbands are probably worse.

The Hague has sent MANY a woman back to her abuser, and many a child back to a man who will hurt them emotionally and physically. It does not give women a chance to succeed in breaking free.

I've said over and over again that I acknowledge this problem, and that I spend a great deal of time working on legal reforms. I just don't agree with your proposed solution, which is to simply ignore the abduction of children across borders on the assumption that their abductors have good reasons.

The fact you work in a refuge and argue in defence of men absolutely sickens me, but doesn't suprise me in the slightest.

I don't argue in defense of men, I argue in defense of anyone who is being abused, whether child, woman, or man, and no matter what the sex of their abuser. I am a feminist and a queer woman and I have spent years working to end violence against women by men, but that doesn't mean I turn a blind eye to violence just because it happens to be committed by a woman.

I PITY the women you work with.

Maybe you should learn to deal with people as individual human beings rather than making categorical assumptions about them based on faulty, preconceived ideas. Trying to shove every woman who has suffered abuse into this idealized mold of a battered woman does no one any favors. Women do not have to be perfect angels in order to deserve protection from abuse. And just because one woman has abused someone or lied about being abused does not somehow invalidate the abuse suffered by all other women. I understand the urge to deny these sorts of things because women are so often disbelieved about abuse or (especially) rape. However, the fact is that these things do happen, albeit rarely, and sweeping them under the rug is cowardly and unjust to the victims.

And maybe you could reconsider insulting me and the work I do, since you've never spoken to any of the women I work with or (I presume) done this sort of work yourself.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Readers, please do not bicker. Also, it is not necessary to post such long messages.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You are presuming a lot of things about me, Jennifer. I asked my friend if she would mind me mentioning her incident, without her name and she agreed. Im sure you posted enough details about that woman's case for her to identify herself, or those children involved in the case to identify their parents being spoken of in a very unprofessional manner.

The people whom I have known working in DV have mostly been superior, unsympathetic, disbelieving and unhelpful to the very women they should be helping. I do not blame any Japanese woman in this situation away from her own country, to want to seek refuge and solace back in the arms of her Japanese family, with her children beside her. And the law as it stands will punish her for doing so. I feel that is wrong. You don't appear to. Which does not bode well if you actually work for refuge or outreach dv services.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I tried to keep this as short as possible, but there were many things I wanted to address, and I hope we can come to an understanding on this topic. I apologize for the length.

@ LaWren

For the cases I referred to, no children could identify themselves or their mothers from the details I posted. In fact, the women probably couldn't identify themselves definitively, since I mixed bits of different cases together, and since almost every circumstance I mentioned has occurred in multiple cases over the years, not just one particular case. I really do take privacy seriously.

I definitely don't blame a Japanese woman who is suffering abuse from taking her child and running back to Japan. I also think it is wrong to punish her for that. I really want to be clear that I'm not saying that the law as it stands is a good thing. I just think it's really dangerous to make a policy of ignoring that law altogether, because not everyone who takes a child and leaves is an abused woman. Many times it is the abuser who abducts the child, and I have unfortunately seen many cases where a child's birth mother is abusing that child, so I don't think that the fact that it's the birth mother taking the child necessarily guarantees safety.

I'm not denying that many people working in DV are jerks. Obviously I don't think I'm a jerk; you clearly disagree. But I think you're making assumptions about me and the way I relate to the people I work with that just aren't true. And I do think your ideas about who abuses whom are a little bit black and white, when my experience has been otherwise. Our shelter is not women-only, like many are, so we get a lot of clients who are not comfortable or not allowed at other shelters: trans men and trans women, gay men, lesbians, an increasing (but still very small) number of straight men who are abused by their wives or girlfriends, etc. The vast majority of people coming to us are still straight women, of course. I never doubt anyone of any gender who claims to have been abused without very, VERY good reason, because I've seen what people do to each other, so nothing surprises me.

But I want to ask you to sincerely consider the following scenario, which is pretty typical of what I dealt with on a daily basis (although, again, pieced together from different cases so as to preserve privacy):

A woman, let's call her Ann, comes to you and tells you that her partner, Sheila, has been abusing her and has locked her out of their apartment and told the school not to let Ann pick their son up from school. Since Ann is the adoptive parent and Sheila the birth parent, the school did as Sheila asked. Ann has bruises on her arms. She is admitted to the shelter. Ann gets a call from Sheila's lawyer, and it's passed over to legal staff at the shelter. Sheila alleges that she came home to find Ann whipping their son with a belt because he was dunking Sheila's cat in the bathtub and nearly drowned it. Sheila wrestled Ann away from their son and shoved her out of the apartment, which left bruises. Ann says that it's not the first time Sheila has hurt her, Sheila denies it, and says that now she wonders how often Ann has been hurting their son, who is autistic and could not necessarily report the abuse. There are no hospital records documenting previous injuries to Ann, although their son did break a finger once by having it slammed in a car door (at the time, everyone accepted that it was an accident on Ann's part). Sheila now wants to terminate Ann's parental rights on grounds of child abuse. Because of the son's autism, it's difficult to get accurate testimony from him, but his account seems to support Sheila--but Sheila is also his birth mother, and the woman who has complete control over him while he's cut off from Ann, so she might be coaching him. No one knows what happened to the cat. Ann says that the cat drowning/belt whipping incident never happened, and that Sheila made it up to explain the bruises and is holding the cat hostage to threaten and hurt her. Sheila says that the terrified cat ran off when she shoved Ann out the door and she can't find it. You have young children staying in the shelter, many of whom have been abused and/or have developmental disabilities. Do you allow Ann to stay, despite her alleged abuse of her son? Do you kick her out, despite the bruises and the fact that she has nowhere to stay?

Now, most cases are not this complicated--I'd say about one in ten are like this. But the thing is, abusers LIE, they lie constantly, and they often lie ABOUT abuse and make counter-claims, so just believing anyone who claims to have been abused without question is impossible in practice; what do you do when both parties claim to have been abused, or each claim that the other was abusing their child? What if Sheila in the above story had been Donald instead--would that change things? Or what if Sheila was Kome instead, and had taken their son back to Japan instead of just locking Ann out of the apartment? I think there are cases where you really have to look at the evidence closely to determine the truth and figure out what's best for the child, and the only feasible way that I know of to do that is to go to court.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That ends the bickering.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/pas/dv.html - Jennifer, a report on "Are good enough parents losing custody to abusive ex-partners". It makes eye opening reading for anyone who thinks men are hard done by, by the courts, or that an abused woman is assured legal justice.

The convention is deeply flawed, and shouldnt be taken up by Japan unless those flaws are ironed out, and it is no longer able to be used as just another weapon against abused women. Japanese women and children deserve the protection of Japan, without the trauma of going through a court case.

Court are far from infallible, and women who are scared and traumatised do not make good witnesses, and are very easy to dismiss and bully.

Japan does just fine as it is, in my opinion. which I am entitled to.

I do hope none of the cases are identifiable, Jennifer. Still you appear to have used your "real name", which does not help with anonymity for the women you are meant to advocate for. If they could not "identify themselves definitely", but could still recognize elements of their cases in your post, I would think that might be seen as a hurtful invasion of their privacy, especially as you make your disgust and distrust of them absolutely clear. Women have to trust those who are meant to advocate them, and no worry their cases are fodder on some news site. I might respectfully suggest asking the mod to remove those elements.

Ive said all I want to say on this thread, and dont want to risk the ire of the mod. So Ill leave it there.

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I agree LaWren, I believe we've said everything there is to say and are just rehashing it at this point, so I'll leave it there as well.

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I... I... I'm dumbfounded. My government actually ACCOMPLISHED something this year?!

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