The War on Fatherhood
KNOW YOUR ENEMY!
"Battered Mothers, Human Rights & Family Courts"
public forum held June 19, 2003 in Northampton, MA
Reported by Brian Ormsby, member of the Hampden County Chapter of the Fatherhood Coalition:
The Northampton event was interesting in several ways. It was called "Battered Mothers, Human Rights & Mass Family Courts, a public conversation on human rights," held Thursday, June 19 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Lyman Hall, First Churches, 129 Main Street, Northampton. The event was free & open to the public. We had about 8-10 coalition members in attendance; total attendance more near 60 people.
Here is a chronological recap to the best Brian's recollection.
1. The event was not a "conversation" as stated on a promotional flyer. In fact, there was no conversation, only lecturing and speeches from Lundy Bancroft and his women supporters.
2. A brief, slick video portrayed tearful moms recounting their struggles against the bias and prejudice they allegedly experienced in our MA courts. Footage showed the moms testifying as if before a government committee about the abuses they encountered. Camera shots moved from the tearful moms' testimony to the faces of many spectators whose faces alternately showed sympathy, revulsion, anger, and sympathy. It was an extremely well-crafted video, playing strongly to any viewers' emotions. The video left a number of women in the audience teary eyed at its conclusion.
3. Lundy Bancroft and several women alternately spoke about their experiences. A woman spoke about spending $100K on lawyers over a decade to "win her children back"; she has one, but the other still does not live with her. Another woman said she had been battered for 3 years, related her tale of woe, and claimed to be a survivor thanks to the aid of concerned women. Another woman apparently was a teacher who had volunteered to support this worthy cause.
4. After the speakers and testimonials, 3x5 cards were passed out for the audience to write down their questions for Lundy Bancroft. Somehow he failed to select any questions from the coalition members. He did, however, use all the allotted time to respond to questions favorable to his view and his agenda.
5. Lundy Bancroft acknowledged that in about 92% of uncontested cases, women are granted sole physical custody of their children. He claimed that in the approximate 2% of cases in which custody is challenged, men win sole custody a disproportionate 90%+ of the time. He never said what percentage would be acceptable to him or even satisfy him, and he never claimed that women lose these cases due to having been battered. It was not clear that he understands the reasons why men win these cases 90% of the time.
6. Lundy Bancroft confessed: He acknowledged that he had been "canned" by the MA courts from his job as instructor to court employees on the subject of battered spouses. Supposition is that he was so far out of bounds that the courts figured they had to remove him from his job. He later used his dismissal as a badge of honor, aligning himself with victims of battering by implying that he too was a victim of the prejudice and bias against women, for trying to "educate" the courts about battering.
7. Lundy Bancroft said he hoped the Wellesley group was successful in obtaining a second round of grant money to continue their work. (It went without saying, of course, that he hoped there would be some money in the public trough for his snout, too.)
8. Among the materials made available for attendees, was a reprint of a (June 6 2003?) Boston Globe article that panned the study Lundy Bancroft often referred to. In fact, one of the co-authors, a woman attorney, could only claim that she thought "roughly 25% of the claims made" by so-called battered women were actually fact checked. In the Globe article, a judge pointed out that neither the spouses nor attorneys were asked for their input. In short, the Globe discredited the Wellesley "study." The problem is, that has not embarrassed either Wellesley or Lundy Bancroft. They are out and about, proclaiming that their study shows the bias and prejudice against moms in custody battles in MA courts.
9. A portly female sgt. of the Northampton police dept stood guard at the door to the church room. Later, a Northampton police car with a male policeman arrived. Why did they do that?
Mike Franco's comments here:
Did the Northampton Police Department act appropriately in denying and prohibiting the use of video/audio recording equipment at a public forum from Battered Mothers' Testimony Project? There were up to two Northampton Police Officers working the event. The woman officer (Street Supervisor/DV Rep) said that we were not going to record anything on her "watch." I clearly explained to her that the City of Northampton may be in violation of our civil liberties and she said she didn't care. We kept our equipment in its bag. I reported to the NPD and completed an incident report stating the details after discussing the incident with Lt. Patenuade (who was very accommodating). The brochure promoting the event specifically stated, "This event is free and open to the public." We wanted to tape it for educational purposes.
10. The theme of the meeting was that battered women in MA are being ignored and discriminated against in MA courts. The courts are biased and prejudiced against women, Lundy Bancroft and Wellesley claim. I believe that Lundy Bancroft and the Wellesley feminists have aligned themselves with Amnesty International (they are now against violence and battering in the U.S.) and are trying to link their case for court reform to International Law. In other words, this is a worldwide problem, and MA is the place to stand up and "make a difference".
11. A sign up sheet was available for the audience members who wanted to join a network of grass roots supporters against the bias and prejudice that women face in Family and Probate Courts throughout Massachusetts as Lundy Bancroft alleged.
NOTE: Fatherhood Coalition North Central Chapter director Steve Basile debated the creator of the video and Kristin Lombardi on CN8 Nitebeat in June. Lombardi wrote a lengthy, favorable (to the feminazis) article in the Boston Phoenix. Contact us for video copies of the show.