A selection of readers’ responses to Colin P. A. Jones’ Nov. 24 Zeit Gist article on child custody and abuse allegations:
I suffered domestic violence
Thank you for this informative article. Those of us who have been through this can relate.
In my case, it was the complete opposite situation. I would never hit or abuse a spouse/partner/child. My ex and I got into an argument about our 3-week-old child that led to her becoming angry and violent. I called her mother to come over and help (she only lived 15 minutes away), and her mother began slapping her and yelling at her to calm her down. I ended up calling the police to help with the situation. Of course they could not believe I was the one who called, and of course they accused me of instigating the trouble.
The second case was much worse. I was holding the baby and my ex again began attacking me. I was able to fend her off for 30 minutes, but could not even get my clothes on. I eventually escaped from the house at nearly midnight in my underwear and a ripped-up shirt, holding my innocent child. I had a friend pick me up, then called the police to explain the situation. The police then completely lied to me, got me into the station, and then the officer on duty started screaming at me like some yakuza guy from a movie. Then they called my ex’s father to come in and take my daughter away from me. I showed them I was covered in bruises all across my chest, but they just would not believe she had attacked me. My ex then basically abducted my child, withholding access for months.
False allegations tactic in U.S.
Unfortunately, false allegations of domestic abuse far outnumber the instances of real abuse, especially in the United States, where a woman has only to state that she is “in fear” of the man, without having to provide evidence or even corroborating testimony that any violence at all had occurred. The father is convicted on the accusation alone, and a restraining order is issued against him, labeling him forever after as a violent and abusive parent/spouse, terminating his right to be a parent to his children.
Even the past president of the Massachusetts Bar Association has stated that false accusations are often used as a tactic in divorce and custody battles.
When a U.S. judge gives custody to a father, on the other hand, you can bet there was pretty convincing evidence that the mother was unfit, abusive and a danger to the children. One judge in Massachusetts told a father fighting for custody that even an abusive mother was considered a better choice for custody than an innocent father. That’s the depth of prejudice fathers face.
A place for ‘verbal violence’
I have studied, traveled and worked in Japan, so what is going on in Japanese communities, politics, law and health care is of interest to me.
Regarding the article on domestic violence, I — a peace activist — feel it is generally going way too far to allege “verbal violence” due to past verbal arguments when dealing with issues of child custody. Every normal human being has raised their voice at sometime or another when arguing with someone.
Also, I think you have to be very careful about referring to necessary and controlled discipline of children as signs of violence. This type of discipline can help keep kids out of jails and mental hospitals later in life because it helps to teach them what type of behavior is and is not acceptable in society.
Mercenary for hire
I read your article with interest. As an expert on false abuse allegations in international cases, I can tell you with certainty that it is relatively easy for a woman to make an abuse allegation stick in court based only on a statement of fear of threatened bodily harm, with no evidence.
For Japan to accept women who make false accusations of abuse fleeing to the country to secret children under false pretenses is both appalling and unconscionable. Fortunately, so long as a foreign country has adjudicated a court order (giving dad custody) in international abduction cases, I have at my disposal a soldier of fortune or mercenary who can get the kids back.
Forensic trial consultant, Brandon, Fla.