Archive for October 9th, 2008

Scene of Amarcord (Fellini)

Scene of Amarcord (Fellini)

Everyday there are new subjects to be aware and millions of do-gooders ready to raise awareness about it. These folks tend to focus on the tree and forget about the forest. Marching to raise awareness about AIDS is fine but it will be ten times more efficient to protest against insurance companies which deny cheap medications to AIDS victims in developing countries and lobby against universal health insurance here that would help Aids victims.

Domestic violence is a relatively new subject to be aware of. Especially in October, which is the domestic violence awareness month since 1987, as Barbara Fay (nationalpost.com) reminds us. I cannot wait to see in the New York City subway billboards messages like the one inciting people to denounce suspicious “terrorist” behavior:”if you see something, say something” abundantly translated in Spanish (“Si ves algo, di algo”). This month, pay special attention to your latino (macho) neighbor. Through the walls, covered by a merenge tune, you might hear the sobbing of the wife and the children who do not even have a dish of rice and beans to eat.

Nobody would deny that domestic violence is a serious problem, a problem that family courts and family laws do not take it seriously. True or false (which they are according to the study quoted in Fay’s posting), allegations of domestic violence are the “sesame” that opens the door to sole custody of the children and the domestic- violence rent in the form of cushy child support payments. In addition, they are painless. Plaintiffs do not have to prove her allegations and are not punished if the allegations are false. No wonder that women tend to use them as tissues.

The beauty of family laws is that they work like Guantanamo justice for fathers. A restraining order, which is often granted unconditionally, and that’s it: the alleged terrorist is out of domesticity, sometimes ends up in jail and will never get rid of the stigma of child abuse.

Barbara Fay is right. November has to be the fathers abused by domestic violence laws awareness month.

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