Friday, February 29, 2008

Daddy's DNA

Wall Street Journal, 22 February 2008; By Christine Rosen

The cultural stereotype of infidelity is well entrenched: The lousy, cheating husband who destroys his family makes frequent appearances in the advice columns of women's magazines and is a stock character (usually played opposite a vulnerable Valerie Bertinelli-type) in made-for-TV movies.

Yet the problem of female infidelity is equally serious, particularly when it results in the birth of a child. When a woman strays, how can a man know if the child is really his? Maury Povich has made paternity testing a staple of his TV show. And while the DNA samples in his "Who's Your Daddy?"

segments have revealed the paternity of plenty of guys who had been unwilling to acknowledge their flesh-and-blood offspring, the test results have also shown that the doubts of many other men were fully justified. A surprising number of the women who contacted Maury to prove paternity, in fact, had no clear idea of who their children's father was - some have appeared on the show countless times trying to solve the mystery. Often a
man is so relieved when Maury bellows "You are NOT the father!" that he ecstatically whoops and dances around the stage while Maury attempts to comfort the obviously distraught mother.

But outside the world of daytime television, the "Who's Your Daddy?" problem - "paternal discrepancy" is the official term for a situation where a man is unknowingly raising another man's child - has had little impact on the public consciousness unless it involves celebrities. The dueling claims to fatherhood made in the wake of Anna Nicole Smith's death and actor Eddie Murphy's false claim not to have fathered the daughter of Melanie "Scary
Spice" Brown come to mind.

That might be about to change, though. In a 2005 article in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, researchers who had studied families in the U.S., Europe, Russia, Canada, South Africa and several other countries wrote that they had found rates of paternal discrepancy of about 4%, on average. Which means that approximately one man in 25 named as the
biological father on a child's birth certificate is not the real father - and may not know it. The authors of the study also noted an apparent increase in public interest in determining paternity: Between 1991 and 2001, the number of people seeking paternity tests more than doubled in the U.S., to 310,490. Although it is difficult to measure whether infidelity is
on the rise, these numbers suggest that suspicion about it might be.

For every burgeoning cultural crisis there is a product that offers to solve it: Enter Identigene, a company owned by Sorenson Genomics that is now selling an over-the-counter paternity test. Available in Rite-Aid and Meijer drugstores nationwide (as well as over the Internet), the test has a suggested retail price of $29.99 (plus an additional $119 lab fee). The box features a tasteful sketch of mother and child and promises test results
"admissible in most courts of law" three to five business days after you send in cheek swabs from the child and "alleged father." As Identigene's Web site promises, "Putting your mind at ease, or making sure that a potential parent acts responsibly, has never been more convenient, confidential, affordable, or accurate."

The benefits of over-the-counter paternity testing are clear, particularly for men, and Identigene seems subtly to be marketing the test to them. The Web site notes, for example, that "32% of all paternity tests exclude alleged fathers." Inexpensive paternity testing could theoretically level the playing field for men involved in child-support cases; court-ordered
tests can cost as much as $500. Paternity fraud litigation is on the rise; a 2006 study in New Hampshire found that nearly 30% of fathers paying child support were not the biological parent of the child they were helping. Fathers' rights advocates have been working to change state laws that, although well-intentioned in their effort to protect children from the taint of illegitimacy, have long held that married men are legally assumed to be the fathers of children born to the marriage, even in the face of genetic evidence to the contrary.

In fact, the increasing popularity of paternity testing seems to confirm what sociobiologists have been noting for years: From a strictly genetic point of view, it has always been in some women's interest to adopt a "mixed mating" strategy - acquiring supposedly superior genes from one man but turning to another for the resources to raise the child. Indeed, a recent study in the Journal of Theoretical Biology argues that one reason men produce so many defective sperm during any given sexual interaction is that they are required to produce so much so quickly - as part of a broaderevolutionary strategy to try to compensate for the fact of female infidelity.

But paternity testing raises new challenges as well, not least with regard to privacy and consent. Identigene hawks a version of its product called the "Discreet Paternity Test," which encourages consumers to send in "licked stamps, ear wax, fingernail clippings, socks, chewed gum" or a "used razor" to surreptitiously test another person. Although it notes that
such test results might not be legally finding in court, the company adds that "sometimes it is important that the DNA test is done without the knowledge of others."

Identigene's trademarked slogan is "For questions only DNA testing can answer." It even offers a "DNA Consultant" via a toll-free number. But it seems unlikely that the perky looking woman pictured with a headset on its Web site will be able to guide you through the emotional mine field that your marriage will become if you find your husband swiping your baby's cheek with a gigantic Q-Tip or surreptitiously searching your handsome male
neighbor's garbage for a bit of chewed gum.

There are some questions raised by paternity testing that even the most devoted ethicists (and marriage counselors) might have trouble answering. These tests are really tests of trust. And like many modern technologies of suspicion, such as GPS tracking devices and software that secretly tracks the keystrokes on another person's computer - they make it very easy,
perhaps too easy, to indulge our doubts about our significant others.

Perhaps the growing interest in paternity testing reveals a broader
cultural anxiety about fidelity in contemporary society, an anxiety exacerbated by the fact that an increasing number of parents bear and rear children outside the institution of marriage. Adam Phillips, a British psychotherapist who has published a book of pithy observations on monogamy,
writes: "Not everyone believes in monogamy, but everyone lives as though they do. ... Believing in monogamy, in other words, is not unlike believing in God." In the church of monogamy there are many secret heretics. New technologies might help us discover infidelity with more accuracy and convenience, but they are unlikely to solve the more vexing and timeless dilemma of why we stray.

Ms. Rosen is a fellow at the Ethics & Public Policy Center in Washington.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Incontrovertible Facts About Fathers (USA), 27 February 2008, By Janice Shaw Crouse

This should be the final word - 24 scholarly studies covering 22,300 separate sets of data published in the 20 years between 1987 and 2007 report essentially the same finding: active fathers are absolutely essential in preventing behavioral problems with boys and psychological problems in girls. With such a massive body of evidence the debate ought to be over and the findings established beyond question. Policymakers ought to

make it a priority to strengthen marriage and reestablish marriage and family as the central building blocks of society. They should set about establishing a father-friendly culture and all aspects of society ought to do everything possible to promote father involvement with children and work assiduously to prevent father absence in America's households.

In fact, the authors of the review of all that research said as much.
According to, the lead researcher, Dr. Anna Sardaki of Uppsala University's Department of Women's and Children's Health in Sweden, said, "We hope that this review will add to the body of evidence that shows that enlightened father-friendly policies can make a major contribution to society in the long run by producing well-adjusted children and reducing
major problems like crime and antisocial behavior."

The review of the studies was published in the February issue of the peer-reviewed journal Acta Paediatrica by researchers at Uppsala University, Sweden. The majority of the studies (18 out of 24) included analyses of the socio-economic status of the families studied. Those analyses showed that "regular positive contact" with the father "reduces criminal behavior among children in low income families and enhances cognitive skills like intelligence, reasoning and language development." In other words, when a father is around, the kids learn to behave, obey laws and end up learning more. Having both a mother and a father present in the home and active in the children's upbringing keeps them in line and reaps positive behavioral and psychological benefits.

The benefits include very practical outcomes like having children who are less likely to smoke or get in trouble at school or with the police. Such fortunate children do better academically and develop good friendships with other children.

Perhaps the most significant of the findings for women is that by the time they turned 33 years of age, those girls who had a good relationship with their father when they were 16 years of age had a "greater sense of mental and physical well-being" and "better relationships with a partner" when they became adults.

With all the evidence in the massive Swedish report about the importance of having fathers present in the family, we should be very concerned about America's children. Every year more than one million children are separated from one or the other parent by divorce, and many more are added to that total by unmarried biological parents, with some cohabiting for awhile and then simply deciding to stop living together. In 2006, some 1.6 million
births (38.5 percent of all births) were to unmarried mothers. Some of these unmarried mothers will eventually marry the father of their child, but those who do not add to the rising number of children who are being raised without the presence of their biological father.

In fact, the United States leads the world in the percentage of mother-only families. In 2006, about 28 percent of all children were being raised in single-parent families, and children being raised in a mother-only family where the woman has never been married make up over 43 percent of all single-parent children.

The rapidly increasing numbers of single-mother and divorced mom households represent a tidal wave of change, all of it posing an increased risk to the children's well being.

For centuries, we have viewed marriage as a sacred institution and the foundation for family - a covenant between a man and a woman and God that is honored by people across the faith traditions. It is also a legal contract carrying both responsibilities and privileges. Marriage between a man and a woman is the essential foundation for "family" - a group of related individuals bound together by the marriage covenant between a man
and a women, birth, blood and/or adoption.

Thus, family is a unique relationship characterized by love and commitment, rather than convenience and choice. It is no coincidence that as the nation has changed its definition of marriage and family to eliminate the necessity for fathers, it has also increased the number of vulnerable children.

Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D., Senior Fellow at the Beverly LaHaye
Institute, the think tank for Concerned Women for America,
is a recognized authority on domestic issues, the United Nations,
cultural and women's concerns.

On domestic violence, no one wants to hear the truth

By Barbara Kay, National Post (Canada), 27 February 2008

In a just world, Englishwoman Erin Pizzey, who founded the world's first shelter for battered wives in 1971, would be a sought-after speaker on the subject of domestic violence. In the real world, however, Pizzey's name is a byword for politically incorrect apostasy.

Pizzey's crime? A humanist, she challenged the belief system dictated by radical feminists, who colonized her shelter and made her presence untenable. Their ideological mantra, still alive and kicking, insists that men are the default perpetrators in domestic violence (also known as "intimate partner violence," or IPV, in the jargon) while women are invariably innocent victims who inflict violence only in self-defence. But Pizzey knew from her own experience (her wealthy, socially elite parents were mutually abusive, and her mother violent to Erin), and from what the women in her shelter told her, that most partner violence is reciprocal.

Holding women responsible for their violence was so at odds with the received wisdom of the movement's activists that, for her whistle-blowing pains, Pizzey's dog was killed and her entire family received death threats. Undaunted, she pursued her equal-responsibility crusade in the United States for many years in a fusillade of articles and books.

While dramatically extreme, Pizzey's story is nevertheless emblematic of the hostility truth-tellers confront in the domestic violence industry.

Another outlier, University of British Columbia psychology professor Don Dutton, is acknowledged by his peers as a world expert on IPV. He has proven, over and over again - most recently in his definitive 2006 book, Rethinking Domestic Violence - that the tendency to violence in intimate
relationships is bilateral and rooted in individual dysfunction: Men and women with personality disorders and/or family histories of violence are equally likely to be violent themselves, or seek violent partners.

But Dutton's scientific credentials and extensive 25-year archive of peer-reviewed research cut no ice with Canadian policymakers, none of whom has ever solicited his advice.

Instead, pseudo-science absolving women of violent impulses, delivered on demand to interest groups by the same tiny, incestuous coterie of ideologically sympathetic professionals, is routinely applied in training police, family law judges, social workers and women's shelter personnel.

A lazy, politically correct media dutifully spreads the party line by reporting uncritically on bogus selection-biased "studies" by
non-accredited stakeholders, who extrapolate to the general population data that are based on testimonials from men in court-mandated therapy programs or women in shelters.

Ah, women's shelters! Southern Ontario resident Mariel Davison offers up a rather damning story of what happens when naively impartial volunteerism collides with women's shelter groupthink.

Davison has an honours degree in psychology. A few years ago, considering herself an "equal opportunity feminist," she volunteered to serve at a local women's shelter. During eight weeks' "training," Davison was subjected to relentless male-bashing and junk science. That, and the puzzling incongruity of the female-as-victim message with the battered lesbians who also sought refuge - lesbian violence was a taboo subject amongst trainees - led to further intellectual inquiry.

Davison thought her trove of cutting-edge findings would prove welcome, but instead they got her turfed by her peers: "I was told I had too much education to volunteer at the shelter."

Incredulous, Davison dogged the shelter's supervising and financing government ministries with demands that they review objective literature, but was stonewalled at every turn. Nothing came of her campaign.

And nothing will for the foreseeable future, because the domestic-violence industry is a closed shop, from Women's Studies courses (don't look for Pizzey's or Dutton's research there, or in Men's Studies, since there are none), to women-only shelters, to Status of Women, to the National Judicial
Council, to the Supreme Court of Canada. They're all reading from the same myth-riddled hymnbook.

Erin Pizzey and Don Dutton were both keynote speakers at a recent Sacramento, Calif. conference sponsored by an independent body, the National Family Violence Legislative Resource Center (Motto: "Advocating for nondiscriminatory and evidence-based policies"). Pizzey accepted a lifetime achievement award to a prolonged ovation.

Pizzey told her standing-room-only audience that for gender politics "Canada is the scariest country on the planet." Scary to men who suffer because of it, certainly, but apparently not to most other Canadians, who remain curiously indifferent to the demonstrable misandry permeating the institutions that define and shape our culture.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

We need parental leave not just maternity leave

Its great that the Rudd government (new Australian Prime Minister) has taken steps to promote paid maternity leave, however as their terms of reference state (see list below) they are trying to provide "support for parents", which would include both mothers and fathers.

Thus any program that would only see mothers provided with financial compensation is a direct case of discrimination. We need to lobby this government and let them know that this is not acceptable and in order to achieve true gender equality it is vital that fathers are supported in their role to an equal extent that this is provided to mothers.

What follows is the press release from the government outlining the aims of the commission and its terms of reference (with my comments in italics)

Productivity Commission to Investigate Paid Maternity Leave

Delivering on its election commitment, the Rudd Labor Government will ask the Productivity Commission to examine ways the Government can provide improved support to parents with newborn children. Any policy reforms in this area will be aimed at ensuring strong and sustainable economic growth, take into account our ageing population and the importance of early childhood development, and support Australian families balance work and family responsibilities.

We want to explore ways to make it as easy as possible for working mums (surely this is a typo they must have meant parents ........didnt they........GRKLEIN) to balance their employment with the important job of raising a new generation of Australians. The Productivity Commission is uniquely placed to advise the Government on the best way to balance economic considerations with the aspirations of working families.

The Productivity Commission will be asked to look at the economic and social costs and benefits of paid maternity, paternity and parental leave.
(There is plenty of research that proves the importance of both parents, and based on basic equity theory we should do away with the outdated terms of maternity and paternity leave and move to adopt the term parental leave to ensure that boths parents have access to such support - GRKLEIN) The Commission will conduct a thorough examination and provide an opportunity for public participation. The Commission will be asked to report by February 2009.

Public hearings will be held and submissions from the public will also be sought, with a report produced for the Government to release publicly.

To register an interest in the inquiry or to find out more, details will soon be available from the Commission at or phone 02 6240 3239.

Matt Martyn-Jones (Mr Swan) - 0419 418 394

Kimberley Gardiner (Ms Gillard) - 0434 159 842

Meg Dixon-Child (Ms Macklin) - 0400 116 032

Terms of Reference for a Productivity Commission Inquiry
Improved Support for Parents with New Born Children

The Australian Government wants to consider how to improve support for parents with new born children. The context for this is the need to ensure strong and sustainable economic growth, adjust to the imperatives of an ageing population, promote the early development of children and support families in balancing work and family responsibilities.

In undertaking the inquiry the Commission is to:

1. Identify the economic, productivity and social costs and benefits of providing paid maternity, paternity and parental leave.

2. Explore the extent of current employer provision of paid maternity, paternity and parental leave in Australia.

3. Identify paid maternity, paternity and parental leave models that could be used in the Australian context.

4. Assess those models for their potential impact on:
* the financial and regulatory cost and benefits on small and medium sized business;
* the employment of women, women's workforce participation (men now comprise 66% of all people receiving unemployment allowance in Australia, so perhaps this should be revised to include men - GR KLEIN ) and earnings and the workforce participation of both parents more generally;
* work/family preferences of both parents in the first two years after the child's birth;
* the post-birth health of the mother; (Here we go again what about the father......? GRK)
* the development of young children, including the particular development needs of newborns in their first 2 years; and
* relieving the financial pressures on families;

5. Assess the cost effectiveness of these models.

6. Assess the interaction of these models with the Social Security and Family Assistance Systems.

7. Assess the impacts and applicability of these models across the full range of employment forms (e.g. including for the self-employed, farmers, shift workers, etc).

8. Assess the efficiency and effectiveness of Government policies that would facilitate the provision and take-up of these models.

The Commission is to report by February 2009. The Commission is to hold public hearings and seek public submissions for the purpose of the inquiry and is to produce a report for public release by government.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Russia - No country for old Men

The average male life expectancy in Russia is just 59, while for women it is 70 an exceptionally large gap.

In the cities, as in the countryside, there is a perplexing absence of old men. The usual suspects include poor health care, smoking, unemployment and alcoholism.

However, experts agree that the most significant fact is that on average, Russian men consume a bottle of vodka a day, with some 30% of all male deaths in Russia alcohol related. The reasons why they consume so much alcohol are not so clear but are surely closely associated wth male socialisation.

By comparison, the average life span for men in the United States is 73 years and for women 79 years. Male life expectancy in France and Germany is 74 years, while for women it is 82 and 80 years respectively.

While in Australia the male life expectancy is 78 and for women it is 84.

Today in the Australian parliament the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised to the indigenous population of Australia for the poor treatment they have received at the hands of successive governments. This was a great step forward for Australia to address this profound injustice.

In an interview Kevin Rudd is quoted as saying that "......we can get on with the business of closing the gap in terms of life expectancy, education levels and health levels between indigenous and non-indigenous communities."

Lets hope he will also confront the injustices that have been perpetrated against men in this country that have lead to a gap in life expectancy, education levels and health levels between men and women. It is interesting to note that from 1996-2001, the life expectancy for an Indigenous male was 59 years, while for an Indigenous female it was 65 years.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Gender Myth Busters

People often ask me why a site that is dedicated to eradicating misandry includes articles that seem to portray women in a negative light. Well the simple answer to that is that certain groups (radical feminists) have tried to suggest that men have a monopoly on violence, men are always the aggressors, men are always the perpetrators of sexual violence, and victims are always female.

Yes men can be violent but so can women, people are capable of a vast array of behaviours and both genders are capable of despicable behaviour and beautiful behaviour.

The classic feminist catch cry "all men are rapists", should make all reasonable men stand up, listen and perhaps think, its time I defended myself from such utter rubbish.

A recent domestic violence campaign in Australia focused soley on female victims and male perpetrators implying that this is the natural order of things, when research has shown this to be untrue (Check out MediaRadar for some great resources on this topic).

Now when faced with such pervasive propoganda, the key to challenging it is undermining its credibility and this can most effectively be achieved by busting the gender myths. The Mythbusters on TV have done a great job of demonstrating how certain widely held beliefs are nothign more than spurious myths. I have taken a lead from them and would like to attempt to shed the same sense of clarity on the gender war.

A first step in gender myth busting involves identifying cases of women who have engaged in DV, child abuse, partner murder and other violent acts in order to demonstrate that women do indeed engage in such behaviours. While also reporting cases of male victims of domestic violence, partner abuse and sexual assault.

The next step is to identify the postive examples of fatherhood that exist and the new research that is being published that clearly establishes the important contribution that fathers make to the development of their children.

Lets reflect on the great feminist slogan, "Women can do anything", and I must say that I generally agree with the implications of such a statement and note that women are capable of great acts of love, generosity, leadership and bravery but they are also capable of violence, sexual abuse and murder.

Mum accused of raping 8yo daughter

Christine Flatley | February 11, 2008, Brisbane Times

A woman raped her eight-year-old daughter as she lay in her bedroom, a court has been told.

The 41-year-old woman, who cannot be named, has pleaded not guilty in the Brisbane District Court to one count of rape.

It's alleged the offence occurred in the woman's home at Donnybrook, north of Brisbane, between November 2005 and February 2006.

The court was today told the child allegedly saw her mother standing in the doorway of her room holding a sex toy, or what the child called a "fake boy thing".

The woman allegedly entered the room, pulled down the young girl's pants and inserted something into her vagina.

The girl told police she then "blanked out" and does not remember any other details of the alleged offence.

The court was told the girl has been medically examined but that the examination was inconclusive.

The court heard the girl told her grandmother about the alleged incident and that the police were then informed.

The crown indicated this morning on the first day of the trial that the grandmother and the girl would both give evidence during the trial, which is expected to last for three days.

The court was closed today following the crown's opening address while the jury watched prerecorded evidence from the girl.

The trial continues.


The accused pedophile in the story above has since been pronounced guitly as charged - GRK

Research on Fatherhood

The following artilce comes from the Wisconsin Fathers organisation

Fathers' contribution to family and how their presence affects children have been reexamined in recent years. The increasing recognition that father absence has led to a variety of crippling social ills seems to be leading to a renewed appreciation of fathers' contributions to the emotional and developmental well-being of their children.

Politically, this is evidenced by President Clinton's Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies directing them to implement policies and procedures maximizing father involvement [1], Vice-President Gore's announcement of a Department of Education finding of fathers' contribution to children's educational achievement[2], the National Governor's Association resolution regarding Paternal Involvement in Child Rearing[3], the establishment of a U.S.. Commission on Child and Family Welfare, development of governors' conferences on fatherhood in several states, and the Congressional Fatherhood Initiative presently gathering steam in Congress.

Among researchers, the long-neglected male side of parenting is in vogue, leading to an increasing number of articles and conferences focusing on the short- and long-term effect on children of father absence. This is evidenced by the NIH Conference on Fatherhood held each year, eye-opening
studies by Sanford Braver[4], Kuhn & Guidubaldi[5], Horn & Bush[6], Christine Nord[7], and numerous others.

Are researchers and policy makers just discovering that children need a father's influence to develop into productive members of society? No.. Researchers and politicians[8] have long known that father absence leads down the path to a dysfunctional society. Child custody determinations and the assumptions made by judges and court personnel about fathers will
affect the well-being of millions of children. We present the following articles as a sampling of earlier research into the causes and results of children being raised in fatherless families, and of the parenting ability of fathers.

1) Effects of Father on the Educational Achievement of Urban Black Children

- (Child Study Journal - #1, 1975) by Frank J. Sciara, Ball State Univ.
(Sampling size = 300)

"... significant differences favoring the academic achievement of both boys
and girls from father present homes ..."

"Father absence had a much greater effect on ... boys and girls ... whose
... I.Q. was above 100."

2) Fatherhood : Contextural Variations

- (American Behavioural Scientist - Sept./Oct. 1985) by Shirley M. H.
Hanson, Ph.D., R.N., Chairperson, Dept. of Family Nursing, Oregon Health
Sciences University, Portland, Oregon

"... child development is enhanced by more father involvement ... there is
less sexism in the children."

"... househusbands are pioneers for a new society of alternatives for
family living."

"... single custodial fathers ... make conscientious efforts to be
expressive and physically affectionable with their children.'

"... the quality of father/child interaction ... quite good in these
households ... ."

"... are able to meet the emotional and nurturance needs of children."

"... fathers are more often required to pay child support than mothers are
in the same situation."

3) Father to Infant Attachment : Effects of Early Contact and
Characteristics of the Infant

- (Research in Nursing and Health - #4, 1981) by Colette Jones, Ph.D.,
Chair., Dept. of Primary Care,
School of Nursing, University of Maryland

Study of 51 dyads at 24-72 hours of age and at 1 month. Seems to indicate
that fathers and mothers interact with the boys and girls within the
context of stereotypes.

"The father plays an active an unique role in part in his child's

"Early contact (at birth) between fathers and infants appears to enhance
nonverbal communication at 1 month."

"... fathers participate in child care as much as the mother allows."

4) Can Men "Mother"? Life as a Single Father

- (Family Relations - Jan. 1986) by Barbara J. Risman, Professor of
Sociology and Anthropology, North Carolina State Univ.

[Sampling of 141 single fathers -- those who fought to get custody came out
exceptionally well.]

"... 4 out of 5 fathers did not rely on outside housekeeping help ... ."

"... the traditional assumption that children belong with their mothers
after divorce needs to be re-examined."

"... social workers and counselors employed in family court should be aware
that females do not necessarily make better mothers."

5) Single Father Caretakers : Demographic Characteristics and Adjustment

- (American Journal of Orthopsychiatry - April 1982) by Pi-Nian Chang,
Ph.D., and Amos S. Deinard, MD; Dept. of Pediatrics, University of
Minnesota, Minneapolis

[A study based on 80 fathers with custody. Of 275 contested custody cases,
fathers " won" 61 (22%) in that the father was awarded some form of custody
(joint, split, sole) but only 41 of these were sole custody (14.9% of the

"... fathers sought custody because of their love for their children and
their confidence in their parenting ability."

"... most of the fathers demonstrated satisfactory adjustment."

"... the presumption that the mother is the better parent .... and thus
better fit to be the custodial parent, has dominated most divorce hearings
and court decisions for the past 50 years."

"The societal attitude that fathers should be working regardless of the
presence of dependent children ... ."

" ... Single custodial mothers, on the other hand, have the option of
either working or staying home, either of which is condoned by society."

6) The Impact of Marital Separation/Divorce on Children

- Parent and Child Separation and Child Adjustment (Journal of Divorce -
Summer 1978) - by Doris S. Jacobson, Ph.D., Professor of School of Social
Welfare, University of California @ LA [30 families - 51 children]

[Part 1 of a 3 part study.]

"Findings indicate a statistically significant association between time
lost in the presence of the father and current adjustment. The more time
lost, the higher the maladjustment score."

"No significant association between time lost with mother and child
adjustment was found."

Of those families in the sample, "... in which custody had been decided by
the court, there was one family in which there was joint custody. In all
other cases, whether custody had or had not been determined by the court,
children lived with their mothers."

"... of a 6 year old boy who, when asked what the most difficult aspect of
his family situation was, responded tearfully, 'I miss my daddy.' He had
not seen his father for 2 months."

"... an 8 year old boy complained about the interference of the extended
family in allowing him to telephone his father. He had learned to put
through emergency calls to his father quickly when others were not around."

"... the direct impact on the child's psyche of reduced contact with the
father is an important factor to be considered in further research."

7) Infants of Primary Nurturing Fathers

- (The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child - Vol. 38, 1983) by Kyle D.
Pruett, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Yale University

Studies of infants reared by fathers. The summary is illuminating:

"One of the more intriguing questions raised by the assessment of the
infants is why these babies are developing so well. Most of the babies
seemed to have a heightened appetite for novel experience and stimuli."

"... the father's role, even when not primary, has been vastly

8) Differences in Children's Behaviour Toward Custodial Mothers and
Custodial Fathers

- (Journal of Marriage and the Family - Feb. 1982) by Anne-Marie Ambert,
Department of Sociology,
York University, Toronto

[A study of 20 custodial mothers and 7 custodial fathers. Three main
findings: children had a better relationship with the fathers than with the
mothers; those in custody of fathers verbalized their appreciation more;
and children of low SES mothers were more dysfunctional that those of
higher SES mothers. In general, the fathers did better than even the high
SES mothers. Write expressed great difficulty in locating custodial fathers
anywhere -- especially on the lower SES scale In the cases studied,
apparently the father had to demonstrate greater assets in order to gain
custody. -- MHN]

"All but 1 of the fathers who sought custody had to contest it, while only
3 of the mothers had to contest it. ... 2 women had not wanted custody but
had had no choice, 1 father had deserted, and the other was mentally

"All fathers had at least 1 son, 3 had no daughters."

"... striking difference ... children's general behaviour .... ."

"Since most children are awarded to their mothers at separation, a
mother-headed family is the situation in the majority of cases. Yet these
same mothers, mainly those of lower SES, fared less well than the fathers."

"... mothers tend to be more restrictive and authoritarian in the first 2
years after separation."

9) Effects of Divorce on Children : Differential Impact of Custody and
Visitation Patterns

(Family Relations - Oct. 1985) by Lowery and Settle, Department of
Psychology, U. of Kentucky

[Examines problems with samples used in much of the published material -
concludes that joint custody will mitigate many of the problems with child
support payments and the child's emotional development. Focus is the
cumulative stress on the child rather than looking at divorce as a single
event in the child's life. Concludes that relationships among family
members do not end when divorce occurs, they are "... merely altered ... ."
- MHN]

"... fathers tended to move less after divorce than did mothers ... mothers
more often have custody of the children ... this means that the children
... not only loss the relative loss of the father from the home ... but the
loss of the home itself, ... neighborhood friends, and other familiar
surroundings. (DeFrain and Eirick, 1981)"

"Current patterns of custody, visitation, and child support show low
deviations from the traditional mother custody, bimonthly visitation with a
father who pays child support. This fact challenges any supposition that
arrangements are tailored to meet the specific needs of the particular
family. It is more logical to conclude that these decisions are made
according to fairly rigid, conventionalized standards that poorly
accommodate the variety of circumstances among individual families in
minimizing stressful situations." (several sources quoted)

"... duration of contact with the father was directly related to the
quality of the father-child relationship and, indirectly, to the child's

"... key factors ... insure that the father ... easy access to his children
and input into his children's lives, both of which are frequently denied
fathers in actual practice."

[Studies show that boys fare better in the custody of the father than the
mother -- severe problems otherwise.]

"... the mother may vent hostility toward the father on the son." [This
could be reflected in the high rate of child abuse in mother-headed single
parent families. -- MHN]

"Ample confirmation of the ability of custody fathers to function
competently in the role of primary caretaker ... "

"However, ... it is still highly infrequent for a father to receive custody
except under very unusual circumstances."

"... show better results for joint custody than sole custody."

"... relitigation rate for joint custody was half that for sole custody
(16% vs. 32%)."

10) Games Fathers and Mothers Play With Their Infants

- (Infant Mental Health Journal - Winter 1981) by Michael W. Yogman, M.D.,
Associate Chief of the Child Development Unit, Children's
Hospital Medical
, Boston, Mass. and The Harvard Medical School.

"... fathers as well as mothers can establish a direct social relationship
with their infants."

"In contrast to mothers, fathers more often engaged in limb movement games
in which their behaviour attempted to arouse the infant."

"Father's play ... more likely to be proximal, social, physical, arousing,
and briefer in duration, and fathers reported that they enjoyed it more
than mothers. Infants at 8 months responded more positively to play with
fathers than mothers and at 2 1/2 yrs. of age not only preferred to play
with fathers but were judged to be more involved and excited with them."
(This style contrasts to mothers' which seems to be oriented toward
care-giving and to playing structured games. The fathers choose to
stimulate the infants more, as reported in other studies. - MHN)

11) Childrearing Fathers in Intact Families, II : Israel and the USA

- (Merrill-Palmer Quarterly - Jan. 1982) by Norma Radin, University of
Michigan, and Abraham Sagi, University of Haifa

"... in both countries (USA & Israel) the child's internality was
positively related with paternal involvement in childcare."

"... that children reared in nontraditional families will manifest more
internality than their peers in traditional homes."

"... both social learning theory and reciprocal role theory suggest that
youngsters in families where fathers are primary caregivers will adopt
non-sextyped perceptions of mothers and fathers."

"... children reared in homes where fathers have a major role in their
upbringing, tend to be more internal, more empathetic, and hold less
stereotyped views of paternal role."

"... considerable father presence is associated with an internal locus of
control of children."

12) Joint Versus Maternal Custody for Families With Latency Age Boys :
Parent Characteristics With Child Adjustment

- (American Journal of Orthopsychiatry - July 1986) by Virginia M. Shiller,
PhD, Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy, Yale University
(Study involved boys aged 6 - 11, 1 - 6 years after divorce : 20 joint
physical custody families and 20 maternal custody)

"According to rating made by parents and teachers, boys in joint custody
had fewer behavioral difficulties than their maternal custody counterparts."

"... fewer emotional and behavioral problems ... ."

"... classroom adjustment ... superior ... ."

13) Parent-Child Interaction and the Acquisition of Lexical Information
During Play

- (Developmental Psychology - Vol. 16, #5 - 1980) by Elise Frank Masur,
Department of Psychology,
Northern Illinois University , and Jean Berko
Boston University (supported by a National Science Foundation
grant) and several others

"Fathers were also more cognitively and linguistically demanding..."

"Children, in turn, produced more total vocabulary to fathers than to

"... suggests a strategy of attempting to maximize the language performance
of all children, and particularly the younger ones who might require more
direct prompting."

"The effectiveness of the fathers' behavior is demonstrated ... ."

14) Single Parent Fathers : A New Study

- (Children Today - May/June 1978) by Harry Finklestein Keshet, Ph.D.,
Research Assoc., Department of Sociology, Brandeis University, Director,
Resource and Mediation Center, Cambridge, Mass., and Kristine M. Rosenthal,
Ed.D., Professor, Department of Sociology, Brandeis University (sample size
of 49 divorced or separated fathers with formal or informal custody)

[Boston area fathers --- 1/2 were legally divorced. Majority highly
educated. -- MHN]

Quotes E. E. Master,

"... failure of marriage likely to mean loss of child custody for fathers.
Most men do not seek custody and those that do may experience sex role bias
on the part of the judiciary."

"Over 90% ... frequently performed the homemaking functions of ... ."

"... fathers in our sample were very active in all the aspects of parenting
that we explored."

"... fathers even protected their children from the influence of other

"The bond between parent and child became a new focal point ... ."

"... limited work and social activities to meet the needs of their children
... ."

"... restructuring their daily lives in order to care directly for their
dependent children."

15) Father-Infant Relationships : Their Nature and Importance

- (Youth and Society - March 1978) by Michael E. Lamb, Department of Human
Growth and Development, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan,
and Marguerite B. Stevenson, Department of Psychology, University of

[A critique of the literature dealing with father and mother interaction
with infants and toddlers, including Lamb's own work. Draws conclusions
from same.-- MHN]

"Fathers are more likely to play in physically stimulating and
unconventional games."

"... older infants directed more attachment behaviors to their fathers than
to their mothers when observed at home."

"The types of play that fathers choose are those that infants enjoy most
... ."

16) Disciplinary Encounters Between Young Boys and Their Mothers and
Fathers : Is There a Contingency System?

- (Developmental Psychology - Vol. 15, # 3 - 1979) by Hugh Lyton,
Department of Educational Psychology, University of Calgary, Alberta

"The mother's tendency to engage in relatively more control actions, and
the child's tendency to show rather less compliance to her than to the
father ... ."

17) Yours, Mine, or Ours? : Child Custody Decisions

- (Childhood Education - Sept./Oct. 1984) by Betty Spillers Beeson,
Professor and Coordinator of Early Childhood Education, Ball State University

A 5* rating for joint custody.


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Letter to the Editor

The following letter was forwarded to me by a colleague. The writer of the letter raises some interesting points in response to a previous article- GRK

CAROL Ford laments the increase in violence, specifically against women at the Summernats. She's sure it has something to do with toys parents buy for kids. The facts are that the Family Court has ensured that boys have been raised by women for 35 years.

The Australian Institute for Health and Welfare research shows that single mothers perpetrate 40 per cent of all child abuse compared with 5 per cent by single fathers. Most of the abuse is against boys.

Additionally, women kill more children under the age of 11 than men. In fact, if a baby under one dies, it is 86 per cent likely the mother killed it. And you guessed it, most murdered babies are boys.

We have also known for 35 years that the less time a child spends with its father the more likely it will be involved in drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy and the courts. So these males have been abused by women all their lives but Carol expects them to be nice to their abusers.

Phil McLuskey, Venezia St, Woree. Letter to the editor, Cairns Post, 7/2/2008

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Facts and Fictions of shared parenting

From Research Brochure by Dr. Linda Nielsen

Fiction: Most children are satisfied with the amount of time they spend (or spent) with their fathers after their parents divorce.

Fact: The vast majority of children say they want - or wanted - more time with their fathers after their parents stopped living together. Kids want more shared parenting. 1-16

Fiction: As long as the mother has enough money, children don't pay a price for having too little or no contact with their father.

Fact: Kids with too little fathering are more likely to have problems throughout their lives related to father absence than kids whose fathers remained actively involved after the parents stop living together. 1-17

Fiction: Most divorced or never married parents are too hostile to share parenting or to benefit from programs on co-parenting.

Fact: Parents generally cooperate more after attending shared parenting programs. Only 10- 15% are in high conflict. 18-22

Fiction: Shared parenting is bad for infants or young children because they should not be separated overnight from their mother.

Fact: Very young children should not be away from either parent for more than a few days and are able to spend nights in each parent’s home. 23-26

Fiction: When parents share parenting, children are worse off financially because their dad pays much less child support.

Fact: Fathers who share parenting are the most likely to pay child support, spend additional money on their kids, and contribute to college educations. 27, 28, 33, 9

Fiction: Shared parenting is less important than good mothering because fathers know so much less about raising kids than moms do.

Fact: Fathers contribute as much as mothers to children’s well-being, even if their ways of parenting are different. 12, 17, 29-31

Fiction: Most divorced fathers are not interested in sharing more of the parenting.

Fact: The overwhelming majority of divorced fathers want more time with their children and more shared parenting. 32-39

Fiction: Children dislike shared parenting if they actually have to live part time in both parents’ homes, moving back and forth.

Fact: Kids who live part time with each parent after divorce prefer this to living only with one parent. 2, 10, 40, 41

Almost half of the children in the U.S. are deprived of the lifelong benefits of two parents who share the parenting throughout the first 18 years of their children’s lives. Who are children living with?

  • 55% mother & father - 4% unmarried
  • 21% single mother - half divorced and half never married
  • 14% mother and step-father
  • 5% neither parent
  • 2% mother and her boyfriend
  • 1% father and step-mother
  • 0.5% father and his girlfriend

Only 15%-20% of parents share parenting after divorce. 6, 9,15 Existing legal procedures and attitudes of people who influence the decisions about children’s living arrangements often make shared parenting harder to achieve. 25, 26, 33, 43-47

For more information on the
Shared Parenting: Facts and Fiction Research Brochure by Dr. Linda Nielsen, you can contact her below

Professor of Women’s Studies
Wake Forest University
ACFC President 2008

American Coalition for Fathers & Children

Michael McCormick, Exec. Dir.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The silent epidemic of male suicide

BBC News, 4 February 2008, By Dan Bell

Whatever the individual reasons that drive people to suicide, the one thing that puts you most at risk is being a man under the age of 35.

Of the 13 people who killed themselves in
South Wales over the past year, all but one were men aged under 27.

John Hogan, the father who threw himself off a hotel balcony in
Greece, was aged 32. When his two brothers Stephen and Paul killed themselves, they were aged 17 and 35.

Suicide is the second most common way for a man between the ages of 15 and 34 to die. It is outstripped, only just, by road deaths.

Suicide 'epidemic'

About 900 young men take their own lives each year, and they account for about 75% of all suicides in this age group.

"You've had what is effectively an epidemic of young male suicide," says the National Director for Mental Health in
England, Professor Louis Appleby. Between 1970 and 1998, the rate more than doubled. At its peak, five men were dying for every woman.

Yet according to Prof Appleby, less than 20% of young men who commit suicide have had any contact with either their GP or mental health services in the previous year. Quite simply, he says, "they don't seek help when they have problems."

If suicide is the second most serious public health issue for young men, why don't we know about it?

According to Jane Powell, coordinator of the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), the only national organisation that specifically reaches out to young men at risk of suicide, it is because no-one wants to know.

With endless headlines about ASBOs, knife crime and guns, she says, "It's just a very tricky thought that young men might need care and attention, because they are very often seen as the cause of the problems."

In 2002 the National Institute for Mental Health in England (NIHME) launched the first National Suicide Prevention Strategy (NSPS). Its goal is to bring about a 20% reduction in suicides by 2010, and young male suicide is touted as top of the agenda.

One of the first tasks of the NSPS was a review of studies on what works and what does not when it comes to preventing young men from killing themselves.

"Historically it has not been the top of people's agendas," says Angela Harden, co-author of the report.

Jane Powell says removing the means by which men kill themselves is only a plaster on the wound. The real question is why so few men seek help in the first place.

A huge factor is the pressure on men not to show any weakness, she believes.

"The one thing that they are supposed to still be is strong and silent," she says, "and if you are going to be silent, then of course you are not going to take any action over the problems that face you, and if that's the case it's just going to get worse."

According to Dan Kindlon, a Harvard lecturer, and co-author of Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys, young men don't ask for help because we don't allow them to.

Even from early childhood the emotional 'steering' that boys and girls get is different.

Parents encourage boys more than girls to 'tough it out' if they fall over, or suffer a disappointment, he says, and they unconsciously encourage emotional conversations with their daughters, but discourage them with their sons.

By the time he reaches school, these patterns have not only become more entrenched, but more brutal as well. "In school a boy who shows a more effeminate side, or cries, or expresses his feelings, he's open to a lot of ridicule and teasing," says Kindlon. "Especially at these vulnerable ages when we see a lot of suicides."

Alone and adrift

And it's a vicious circle: the less a young man shows his feelings, the less anyone sees he has any. "Because boys have been taught to not show their emotion," says Kindlon, "too often we don't know there is a problem until they do something that is fatal, and people need to do more to notice sooner."

There are two main groups of young men who kill themselves, says Professor Appleby. There are those with severe mental illness, and those who are defined by "a set of social facts that mean they have lost their ties to society, work, family and friends." In other words, they have come adrift in their own lives.

All of this resonates with a fact about suicide that was discovered over a hundred years ago by the founding father of sociology, Emile Durkheim.

Durkheim established that the rate of suicide in different countries remained stable over time, and at different levels, despite the fact that it was different people killing themselves for different reasons.

His conclusion was, that it wasn't the overall degree of despair in society that determined its suicide rate, but how effective the society was in creating ties between the people within it.

With this in mind, it is worth mentioning another two statistics: men make up 73% of people who go missing each year, and 85% of people who sleep rough.

Sexism and the Mary Winkler case

Just when I thought it couldnt get any more absurd, I find this outrageous case, read on if you dare......or are able to stifle the rising sense of utter indignation that is sure to accompany your perusal of the material that follows - GRK

By Denise Noe, Antimisandry

The killing of Church of Christ minister Matthew Winkler of Selmer, Tennessee, by his wife Mary Winkler appeared to be an obvious case of first-degree murder. She shot him in the back while he lay sleeping. The nearby phone had been disconnected, apparently to prevent the wounded man, who did not immediately die, from calling for help.

After shooting her husband, Mary piled her three children in a car and drove off. She drove 200 miles to Mississippi on the day Matthew was killed and checked herself and her kids into a hotel. The next day, Mary drove another 200 miles to Alabama where the now fatherless family checked into a motel. She was arrested later that day at a traffic stop.

Investigators soon uncovered a motive for Mary to murder Matthew. According to a Dateline article by Keith Morrison, a check for $6,500 arrived in the Winkler’s mailbox in December 2005. Morrison noted that a “specialist in bank scams” described the check as an obvious fake.

However, Mary took the check to the bank. The teller failed to catch it and the check was deposited. Morrison writes, “[Mary] spent the money, but the check bounced.” Mary opened a P.O. box at the Selmer post office. She also opened up five different bank accounts. The article states, “She would deposit a worthless check into one bank, then draw money on the check and put it into another bank before the first bank discovered it was worthless. It’s called check kiting, it’s illegal, and bank tellers noticed.”

Officials from one of the banks demanded a meeting with Mary – and her husband. That meeting was scheduled for March 22, 2006 -- the day Mary killed Mathew.

However, according to Mary’s attorneys, she was the true victim, (oh of course she killed her husand, is a women therefore must be the victim....can you see anything wrong here? GRK) suffering for years under her husband’s tyranny before she snapped.

After all, she was a member of the Church of Christ, a denomination that, like many conservative Christian groups, emphasizes the Bible verse in which St. Paul admonishes, “Wives, submit to your husbands.”

Mary’s lawyers said that the disconnected phone was innocently explained: she had unplugged the phone so that the baby could play with it. The P.O. box, the bank accounts, and the check kiting were all Matthew’s idea. Mary had acted under his orders. (yes of course that old chestnut, didnt you know that anytime a woman commits a crime in the company of a male she is always under his direction, and extrapolating from this any time a woman kills her husband we know that she must have been provoked to resort to such extreme actions and that any dodgy deeds that the couple may have engaged in were no doubt the product of his foul, twisted, wicked, coniving murderous, lustful male mind.......quite simple really...GRK)

Moreover, the defense contended that Matthew had been an abusive husband who had beaten her. To back up these accusations, the defense put on a neighbor who said Matthew threw a temper tantrum over a dog’s barking. A church member testified to seeing Mary with a black eye.

The defense also contended that Mathew had sexually abused Mary. To prove the point, Mary’s attorneys displayed white platform shoes and a wig that Matthew was said to like her to wear, along with what she considered “slutty” lingerie, for a sex life that included both oral and anal sex. He also “made” her watch pornographic videos. Sure enough, hundreds of porn pictures had been downloaded on Matthew’s computer.

Perhaps most damaging to the dead man’s memory was Mary’s testimony that he had abused their children. In order to get a baby to go to sleep, Mary claimed Matthew would “pinch her nose and hold her mouth" (yeah pinching a child's nose will really help it get to sleep this is utter BS - GRK)

After years of such abuse, the defense suggested, it was not so shocking that Mary went into a “fog” state and killed her husband without being able to form the conscious intent necessary for murder. (Funny how you can fail to form the conscious intent to do something that is utterly reprehensible ie committ cold blooded murder, that requires clear planning and thought, was she possessed by the devil, perhaps a demon.....she took a bloody pistol, loaded the thing, probably fired off a few practice shots in the backyard in the weeks leading up to the event, waited till her husband was asleep so he was defenceless and then, disconnect the phone before shooting him in the head at close convenient that she was unconscious during all this.... I might use that excuse the next time I get pulled up for speeding and see how far it gets me...GRK)

The jury rejected both first-degree and second-degree murder charges to convict Mary only of voluntary manslaughter. (she didnt mean to kill him when she shot him at point blank range in the head while he slept in their bed......yeah right, pull the other one - GRK ) She had been in county jail for five months at the time of the verdict. The judge sentenced her to an additional 210 days, up to 60 of which could be served in a mental health facility.

Mary is now free and has had the obligatory Oprah interview. Unlike a verdict of either first or second-degree murder, that of manslaughter means that she can sue for custody of the children she rendered fatherless. (So girls if your husband gives you the shits just shoot the bastard and tell everyone he was a violent man who beat her and sexually abused the kids..... guaranteed to work every time - GRK)

Why was Mary treated so lightly? ( because she is a woman and not a man or otherwise she would be spending life in jail - GRK) The role of sexism in the case may be easily seen if we try to imagine a husband who killed his wife offering excuses similar to Mary’s. It is unlikely that one black eye and a wife’s temper tantrum would be accepted as evidence of a continuing pattern of mistreatment. Nor would people sympathize with a man who had accommodated a wife’s sexual fetishes.

However, they did sympathize with Mary because she and her attorneys slotted both Mathew and Mary into traditional sex stereotypes.

Mathew appeared as domineering and tyrannical while Mary seemed proper and pious. Men have traditionally been viewed as the “lustful” and “beastly” gender; women are considered the romantic sex. These traditions made it easy to see Mary as a victim of male sexuality, a woman yearning for “a Sunday kind of love” and degraded by the role-playing represented by a pair of clunky shoes.

It also seems possible that traditionalist churches, perhaps in reaction to the feminist movement, have over-emphasized a handful of Bible verses counseling woman’s “submission” to men. Stressing men’s dominance and women’s obedience may inadvertently hand a get-out-of-jail-free card to female criminals because it paints women as puppets to men. It is also contrary to the truth that intimate relationships are inevitably more complicated than ones of simple dominance and submission.

Charles Dickens saw this when he wrote in Oliver Twist that the character Mr. Bumble was told that “the law supposes that your wife acts under your direction.” A flabbergasted Mr. Bumble makes the famous reply, “If the law supposes that, the law is an ass.”

Loving mother who didn't understand what she was doing

Society has invested so much in the the "good mother" myth that when faced with cases that contradict this myth, experts resort to mental illness as the excuse. while so often when males are accused of such crimes there is no such invocation, take the Robert Farqharson case as an example - GR Klein

Independent (Ireland), 20 January 2008, By Larissa Nolan

Friends, colleagues and family never suspected the turmoil within this mild-mannered woman, writes Larissa Nolan

Not guilty by reason of insanity. It was only the second time in Irish history that those six words had been issued in a court in
Ireland, under new insanity laws.

On hearing them, Dr Lynn Gibbs' impassive face managed a smile, as family and friends came over to the bench where she sat in Court Number One of the Central Criminal Court.

Of course, there was little to smile about - the psychiatrist had spent two days on trial for the murder of her teenage daughter.

Lynn Gibbs admitted to drowning the 16-year-old in the bath after becoming convinced she was suffering from anorexia, and that there was no hope for Ciara. (One can only imagine what poor Lyn was thinking, perhaps something like, ......'You'll never amount to anything Ciara just like your father'....GRK )

It is something that Lynn Gibbs will have to deal with for the rest of her life. (Oh gee I feel so sorry for Lyn oh the terrible guilt she must feel.........what about the fucking victim, who was murdered, should we not feel sorry for her to have perished in such a heinous manner - GRK)

But with the verdict, Dr Gibbs and her family at least had the consolation of knowing that publicly, it had been recognised that she was not a bad, evil woman, who had cruelly killed her own child; but that she was deeply unwell at the time, suffering with - as a number of professionals testified - a severe form of psychotic depression and bipolar disorder (That allowed her to kill her daughter in cold blood, can you imagine the struggle that would have gone on as the mother held her daughter's writhing body under the water - GR KLIEN)

The only tragedy, the court heard, was that it hadn't been spotted sooner, by her friends, family and colleagues in the medical profession.

If so, the psychotic episode that led to the killing could have been
averted and Ciara Gibbs would still be alive today.

It is an intervention that those who knew the Gibbs family, from Killure, near Gowran, about 20km from
Kilkenny City, wish could have happened sooner.

Anne Ryan - a local activist who works with those suffering from mental health problems, to ensure they receive the proper treatment and care -- said it was shocking to think that Dr Gibbs had been working as a locum psychiatrist in the Department of Psychiatry in St Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny, but no-one spotted that she was suffering from a serious and dangerous form of depression.

Some colleagues and friends who work in the medical profession were aware that she was ill (maybe because she wasnt actually ill at all, just angry...GRK), but could not see she was headed for a psychotic episode that would lead to such tragic events.

"She was working as a psychiatrist with the HSE just a few weeks before the killing," said Ms Ryan.

"It is worth remembering that psychiatrists are just the same as everyone else - they suffer depression, they commit suicide, they fall victim to alcohol addiction, they self-medicate.

"They are not superhuman, just because their job is to look after the mental health of others. We cannot forget that."

Anne Ryan did not know Lynn Gibbs personally, but said that everyone else who knew her described her as "gentle" and "kind" and "a quiet lady". (who murdered her daughter in a fit of rage!)

A local businesswoman who knows Dr Gibbs well said she was the last person you would expect to carry out such an horrific act on her own child.

"She was quite nun-like, a quiet type who didn't make an impression one way or the other. If you saw her, you would hardly remember her. "

From a wealthy family, she was rich enough to afford to have her own apartment when she studied psychiatry in
Trinity College, Dublin.

"That was very unusual at the time, there was plenty of money in her family. They were rich farmers. When she married Gerard, there was a feeling she had wed below her," said the woman.

County Kilkenny person who knew her painted a picture of a somewhat controlling mother.

The Gibbs, Lynn, 47, and her college lecturer husband Gerard had two children, Ciara and her brother Gearoid, 14, neither of whom were allowed socialise much and were rarely seen out.

"Perhaps she was just over-anxious, but she seemed to like keeping Ciara and Gearoid at home all the time. You would never see them out, in fact, some people would not have even known they had children.

"After Ciara's death, a neighbour told me they did not even know there were kids in the house."

Locals say Ciara was a brilliant, hard-working student who got 13 As in her Junior Certificate exams. But she was not allowed to take the bus to her school in Loreto in Kilkenny and she was not allowed to use her mobile phone to call friends in the evening.

But those who knew
Lynn told Justice Paul Carney that she had been a loving mother who put her children before anything else.

Husband Gerard Gibbs even broke down in the witness stand, holding his head in his hands an whispering "she loved Ciara" in evident distress.

Psychotherapist Leslie Shoemaker says that sometimes, but not always, anorexia can be caused by growing up in a "perfectionist" environment.

Ms Shoemaker said: "Anorexia is a complex disorder, but in certain cases, it can be caused, maintained and even recovery can be scuppered by family relationships.

"You do get a pattern of anorexia sufferers who are children of controlling parents, a mother or a father who is a perfectionist. This pressure to be perfect is a trait in anorexics.

"Also, if the parent is isolating the child from others, this will also be a factor."

Perhaps it was her own background that led to Lynn Gibbs' over-anxiety about her daughter, worrying that Ciara, who weighed eight stone, was suffering from an eating disorder and feeling she would be better off dead. (the good doctor was practicing a bit of euthanasia, but I must admit her technique drowing in the bath, was perhaps less than humane........GRK)

Dr Gibbs' mother Iris Hutchison killed herself in 1983 when she drank weedkiller.

Last Wednesday, the jury took just 21 minutes to return the verdict of not guilty for reasons of insanity.

The jury agreed that she either did not know the quality of her actions; that she did not know what she was doing was wrong, or that she was unable to refrain from what she was doing.

She will remain in treatment at the
Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum until an order is made by the State for her release.

Justice Carney, in summing up, had advised the jury that to return any other verdict would be to suggest that "all psychiatry is bunkum".

Superintendent Aidan Roche, of Thomastown Garda Station, later said he welcomed the verdict.

(So much of this article is focused on justifying the killers actions with little mentioned of the consequences of the killers actions.....was she given special treatment because she was a woman, a mother, what do you think? - GRK)