Fatherhood Coalition

The 209A - a last straw

It's My View

By Mark Charalambous, Sentinel & Enterprise

September 13, 2000

(Editor's note: Mark Charalambous, who lives in Leominster, is a co-founder, newsletter editor and spokesman for The Fatherhood Coalition.)

Victim's advocates have been all over the media, wringing their hands over one of the state's most recent tragic domestic homicides.

"Do restraining orders work?" inquired Jim Broudy, WTKK FM's afternoon radio talk show host. Along with guest co-host Wendy Murphy, self-styled "victim's rights" attorney, Broudy fielded calls from sympathetic loyal listeners several days after the gruesome slaying was reported.

Bruce Gellerman, National Public Radio's "Here and Now" talk show host, later contacted The Fatherhood Coalition, asking for someone willing to answer the same question on a segment showcasing the expert opinions of Battered Women's Resources spokesman Nancy Scannell and the aforementioned Murphy.

They still don't get it.

Obviously, if the question is: "Will a restraining order prevent a women from being harmed or even killed?" The answer is clearly, "Of course not!"

If someone wants to commit murder, how is a piece of paper going to stop them? Are they are going to not commit the act because they will be fined $1,000 and sentenced to 212 years in jail?

Broudy, Gellerman, Murphy and others are asking the wrong question. The right question is: "Are restraining orders causing violence that would not have happened had there not been a 209A issued?"

That is, are people being driven to violence by the effects of the restraining order law?

After hearing from countless innocent fathers who have been victimized by this fatally flawed law, which is Chapter 209A of the Massachusetts General Laws, it is clear that the answer to both questions is an emphatic "Yes." Restraining orders are causing real domestic violence.

Do not misunderstand me. I am not defending anyone's violent acts, especially homicide. I know nothing of the details of the Harvard University educated dermatologist's situation. I am merely raising the point that the politically correct talking heads refuse to even acknowledge: That the zealous application of this flawed law is not only failing to protect true victims, but it is directly causing real domestic violence.


A little background may be necessary for those that have no first- or second-hand experience with Chapter 209A. The law was originally drafted to protect women from violence in the home. In its present form, it not only runs roughshod over any due process protections for the men accused, it is also used to prosecute people, mainly men, for actions that are perceived as threatening by the alleged (female) victim and have not yet happened, but may happen. Radical feminists have constructed elaborate "dangerousness assessment" tests that reduce to gender-profiling: Men are always dangerous, while female malfeasance is rationalized and excused.

In divorce, "irreconcilable differences" are often forged by Chapter 209A restraining orders into devastating legal vendettas that wreak havoc on all parties, including the children. Far from being a means to effect a "cooling off" period, as judges and battered women's advocates contend, they are fire starters.

Thus, women intent on "giving him a lesson he'll never forget," can use this law to throw a man out of his own home, take away his legal rights to even see his children, and set the stage for the financial rape that will follow by virtue of being in possession of the marital home, children and property.

Based on a 'victim's' feelings

All based on her statement that she "fears" him. No claim of actual violence is required. You see, in Massachusetts, we've done one better than "1984." We don't just prosecute for "thought crimes" - we prosecute based on the thoughts of someone else. And you want to know why some men are flying off the handle? Until you have been in this situation, you don't know what angry is.

I'm not talking about actual batterers, of whom there may not be nearly as many as the battered women's advocates wish us to believe, though even that's too many. No, I'm talking about the understandable anger that comes from being unjustly accused and adjudged of often extremely heinous acts, such as sexual molestation of one's own flesh-and-blood children - and then losing all the things that are dear to you in addition.

Law fails to define stalking

It is at once stunning and chilling to hear Wendy Murphy advocate for legislation to "improve" the state's anti-stalking law. Based on the new language, actual acts that constitute stalking are not even defined. All that matters is the perception of the alleged "stalkee." If a woman feels stalked - he's guilty.

For those readers who still don't get the message, let me spell it out for you. These victim-defined laws, domestic abuse/violence protection and stalking, are a blueprint for a police state. If you are a man caught up in the gears of retributive gender justice, you already know you're living in a police state. Just ask Ray Saulnier, formerly of Fall River. He was on trial for violating the Chapter 209A order his ex-wife held against him based on fabricated allegations that his children had seen him. During the trial, his ex-wife, who must have been "paralyzed with fear," to use the language of Murphy, moved within three blocks of his home.

In another recent case, Steven Cook of Needham, who was jailed for 60 days for calling his daughter on a Monday instead of a Sunday, took his own life soon after his release in April this year.

Listening to Murphy chills me to the bone. You should be scared too. Listen closely. This is not the voice of social justice and progress. It's the voice of social engineering and state terrorism.

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