Abuse is more than domestic violence. Abuse is committed against adults AND children. Abuse of self and children is a dominant cause of relationship dissolution. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined “Child Maltreatment” defined as physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect, is a considerable social and public health problem. ('https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childmaltreatment/definitions.html).
It is maltreatment – not fatherlessness - that has serious, deleterious long-term developmental outcomes for children. “Academic problems, anxiety, conduct disorder, childhood aggression, delinquency, depression, increased risk for suicide, high-risk sexual behavior, interpersonal problems, poor physical health, posttraumatic stress disorder, risky health behaviors, substance abuse and youth violence.“
Domestic Violence funding does not include protection from child maltreatment. Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) funding does not help women with minor children who leave abusing men. VAWA and the Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) fund a single form of maltreatment: physical violence against adults. Domestic Violence employees are required to facilitate father’s access to his children.
Alarmingly, OVW money funds Supervised Visit Centers where physically violent men are sent to be reformed and OK’d for unsupervised custody. “Fathering After Violence” an OVW report on supervised visit centers admits “in some centers mothers make up almost half of the (supervised) visit caseload.” Fathering After Violence highlights the shame that OVW and VAWA has not protected women and child victims of maltreatment. “In most centers some (if not many) parents ordered to visits) are mothers, some of whom might be in fact victims, rather than perpetrators of domestic violence.”
Obliterating the connection between physically abusing males and child maltreatment results in distorted beliefs also quoted in Fathering After Violence. “Abuse is a learned behavior and deliberate choice and therefore can be unlearned.” This is a completely false statement! Abuse is ingrained. It is often an irredeemable character trait. It has a wide scope of attributes that are frequently directed against children. Abuse is a matter of power and control. Males who believe they have an inherent right to dominate within the family are highly unlikely to change.
The OVW statement “Giving abusive fathers more opportunities for change and healing is an essential component of ending violence against women and children” reveals the barrier that women encounter when they attempt to cut-off his control. Family court Is set-up to foster his healing, even where it will never occur, rather than require safety, stability and nurturing.
In family court, with the approval of OVW, children are property.
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