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The Deadbeat Dad Myth:
Strategies and Research in Defense of Men In Divorce

Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2005 11:45:51 -0400
From: "Wayne Cook" <waynevcook@rogers.com>
Subject: [Parents Without Rights] The Deadbeat Dad
Myth: Strategies and
Research in Defense of Men in Divorce (1992)

[Unpublished Manuscript, 1992]

William N. Bender, Ph.D.
Professor of Education
The University of Georgia

Renet L. Bender, Ph.D.
Truitt-McConnell College

Preface and Dedication

The Deadbeat Dad construct is a lie; it is a half-truth which masquerades as a truth, and that is, perhaps, even more dangerous than a lie. The available evidence, presented throughout these chapters, will indicate that the deadbeat dad phenomenon is, like many of the negative images of men presented in our nation's media, almost entirely, a result of a biased court system and an anti-male bias in our society.

Men are not genetically predisposed to abandon their children, nor do they refuse to pay child support specifically in order to hurt their children. Rather men leave a court which, their attorney explained, would be biased against them. The available scientific evidence, presented in this text, documents that anti-male bias. Men have seen their children, their homes, their financial futures stolen from them by that biased court. They are ordered to deny their parental love for their children and become a second-class citizen--i.e., a "visitor" in their child' life. Their human right to actively parent their child is stolen from them--most often without any evidence that they did anything wrong and they are told--inaccurately--that this decision is in the child's best interest. Their money is stolen repeatedly, for the next 20 years as ex-wife support rather than child support (There is never any documentation that those monies go to the child, so many men refuse to call it child support--it is ex-wife support). Men are angry; indeed men are enraged by this discrimination, and rightfully so. In response to this bias, some men decide to not participate in that system. The best understanding of non-compliance with the current child support system is an understanding of an unorganized non-violent civil disobedience movement, founded almost exclusively on anti-male prejudice in the courts. Some men decide that they simply won't pay. I salute them, and encourage them in their courageous decision.
Furthermore this decision is the morally correct one.
Men should make that decision. The evidence and rational for this position is presented throughout the text, but a brief introduction is provided here--the theses, if you will. First, the scientific evidence demonstrates that our current child support laws are quite biased. Meyers and Garasky, two government funded researchers, documented in a recent study that child support laws were enforced against men and not against women. In point of fact, even when women are the non-custodial parents, they are rarely ordered to pay any child support at all! On the rare occasion when women are ordered to pay child support, collection efforts are not a vigorous.
Clearly, the application and enforcement of these child support laws represent sexist discrimination against men, and they are merely one example. A related example of the discrimination against men may be found in federal programs for "Families." These programs would include federally funded child support collection programs, "family crisis centers", federal welfare programs (i.e., Aid to Families with Dependent Children), and many non-government programs such as Habitat for Humanity. When men are excluded from families, and the divorce creates financial hardship on all parties concerned, these programs tend to favor the parent with the children. In point of fact, the vast majority of "families" which are assisted by these programs are single parent, maternal custody families; simply put, the automatic discrimination against men at the point of divorce disallows many men from participation in many of these federal and private relief programs. These programs would more accurately be described as "women support programs" rather than "family support programs," and here, as elsewhere, the discrimination against men is apparent for the honest observer.
Another example of the bias against men is the explosion of false allegations of child abuse, sexual harassment, and spousal abuse. The scientific evidence documents that women commit much more child abuse and slightly more spousal abuse than men (the chapter of this book). The information on sexual harassment is particularly revealing. According to Evan Kemp, who served as the chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under President Bush, only one if four allegations of sexual harassment investigated by his office had any legal merit. This indicates that 75% of the allegations are lies, or misunderstandings between parties.

I have personally participated in numerous courts--in my capacity as an expert witness on false allegations--and I have seen innocent men jailed for years on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations.
Unproven allegations do result in evidence which I mention here is documented in each related convictions in today's climate; I have seen it happen, and every man is at risk. One result of this anti-male bias is the almost automatic exclusion of the male role model from the lives of young males. Teacher salaries have not encouraged men to pursue teaching credentials for the lower grade levels, and the court imposed disenfranchisement of men at the point of divorce has removed male role models from the homes of young males in unprecedented numbers during the last three decades. Of course, young boys desperately need these male role models in order to grow and develop normally. Any unbiased glance at the research data will indicate that our nation's flirtation with sole maternal custody has been a dismal failure; the available psychological evidence presented herein documents that it is not divorce that hurts children--it is paternal absence which hurts children. The evidence documents this quite clearly.

Further, it is not unwarranted to suggest that this absence of effective male role models has led to many of the problems in our society. If, in general terms, it is true that mothers tend to be the more nurturing parent, then it is likewise true that fathers tend to be the disciplinarian in the family. While some caution is in order regarding these broad generalizations, the facts suggest that to remove the father from the lives of males is, in many cases, equivalent to removal of effective discipline for those children. The child development research, reviewed herein documents that mothers have terrible difficulties in disciplining children--particularly young males after the divorce, and the available research studies without exception document that young boys adjust much better on every measure when custody is given to the father rather than to the mother.
Courts ignore this research, in their self-imposed bias against men, and the lack of male role models for young men continues. Further, this lack of discipline and an effective male role model plays a significant role in our nation's crime, juvenile and inner city problems. The vast majority of inner city gang members have a mother at home; what those young boys need at home is a father. If our society truly wishes to combat these tough crime problems, we must reinvest in fathers. This reinvestment would include fatherhood training in high schools, federal fatherhood support programs, private agency fatherhood mentorship programs, and affirmative action which selects the father as the custodial parent of choice for young boys.

Thus far, our political leaders have expended their energies in punitive actions, and calling fathers nasty names, rather than reinvesting in fatherhood in any meaningful way. Perhaps this book can spell it out for them; punitive actions alone do not often solve society's problems, and it is time for positive action for fathers and men rather than negative actions against this sex.

The pervasive anti-male bias represented in the following chapters indicates a fundamental truth that some men have been aware of all along--that our society has historically been biased against both sexes--not merely against women. While women were discriminated against in employment and financial matters, men have traditionally been discriminated against in terms of child rearing, national defense, imprisonment, educational endeavors, parenting/nurturing opportunities, and more recently, in custody courts. The existence of, and documentation for, these anti-male biases is detailed in the chapters below. While many women's groups tend to, dishonestly, deny the existence of this societal bias against men, men have realized that this bias exists, and men are--increasingly--demanding that these biases be rectified.

This bias is so pronounced that a national witch-hunt against men has resulted, observable in the courts, the media, our nation's legislature, and in our national attitude. Some women, apparently agree with Murphy Brown, that fathers really are unnecessary and irrelevant to raising children, and this defies all of the scientific data currently available (Again, all of this data is presented in this book; unlike some other books, this text presents the cold hard facts, rather than just the perceptions of another angry male victim of these discriminations).

For all of these reasons, then, men in our nation need a defense strategy. As John Leo, a U.S. News and World Report writer recently noted, the "Demonizing" of men has become the national sport of many feminists and media persons. One chapter in this text presents specific examples of overt bigotry in the national media, presented, of course, as news. We would do well to remember that such demonizing through the courts, the legislatures, and the media was utilized effectively in Germany in the last 1930s, and the results were obvious. In point of fact, some of the most effective hate propaganda which I have read lately, I found in the pages of feminists newsletters.

I hope these theses have piqued your interest. Like Martin Luther tacking his theses to the door, I seek open and honest debate on these points. Each idea herein is true and defensible given the best available evidence. While this book is not politically correct, in today's anti-male climate, it is, to the best of my ability factually correct. Further, I also believe that this text is morally correct. While men's anger is certainly justified, I do not preach hatred or violence herein; rather I preach justice. Books which have attended to these issues before tended to be very "Angry" and not to concentrate on the available solutions. Those perspectives, while quite justified, have been routinely ignored, and perhaps they should have been.
This book, in contrast, presents solutions which can lead to a society in which justice is available for all, and which, because fathers and fathering is supported, less male juvenile delinquency, less crime, and fewer societal problems result.

I offer then, this book to my brothers in this struggle. The research reviews present the evidence which men should highlight in their own defense. The strategies suggested represent the strategies which I and others have successfully used to defend ourselves.
While there is a tremendous bias against men in the courts, these ideas do--sometimes-- work. I have used these strategies when I have been falsely accused, and in othercases as an expert witness; they work.

It is my earnest hope that men wake up soon to these lies and begin to defend themselves together. We all stand together, out of necessity; every man is at risk. We must face this challenge to our freedoms with facts, with courage, and with each other. We must fight together, or we will all die alone.

I make no special claim to insight, but I have been so victimized by this system, that I have committed myself to change this. The child that was stolen from me by this biased system was male, and he has a 50/50 chance of divorce when he matures. I will not allow this nation--supposedly founded on freedom and judicial fairness for all--to rob him of his children, his right to obtain a job without having to be "better" than all the women who apply, and his future.
While my son is forever dead to me--in terms of a meaningful parental relationship--I will change this system before his children are born. I will give everything that I have and everything that I am to assure that He will live in a free and fair country, which does not discriminate against men or women. I truly love my son, and I can do no less.

This, then, is my legacy and my dedication to my son; I will strive, for him, to create a land that is truly free from sexist discrimination. This book is dedicated to him.

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