NATIONAL COALITION OF FREE MEN
FATHERS' MANIFESTO Home Page
PO BOX 129
MANHASSET, NY 11030
NCFM was founded on the realization that men needed a unified voice
their desires and beliefs on important political and social issues of the day.
TO OUR INTERNATIONAL READERS - NCFM was founded in the United States. Most
of its members are from the USA. While undoubtedly many of the issues NCFM
touches on affect
men all over the world, NCFM's focus is on issues that have arisen
culturally in the United States.
If any of the issues we raise here seem familiar to someone living
outside the United States,
then you will need to reinterpret what we say in terms of your own
culture. If none of what we
raise here seems familiar, then watch out! American feminist values are
coming your way through
the influence of our State Department, media, business contacts and tourism.
Unless you understand something about the social issues at hand, the
need for and
existence of NCFM isn't going to make a lot of sense. So, before
explaining what NCFM does it is
important to summarize some of the issues.
SOME COMMON UNTRUTHS ABOUT GENDER IN THE U.S.A.:
1)- Men have all the power.
2)- Only wives are abused by husbands.
3)- All men are in a conscious conspiracy to keep all women in fear of rape.
4)- Women are a special "oppressed" class in need of special compensation
because of past
The consequence of these and other charges has been to create a
climate where all men are
viewed with some suspicion and to create legislation that is unbalanced,
unfair and which has not
worked to the best interests of all of our citizens. This includes the
perpetuation of unfair
divorce/custody laws, unfair labor practices (taking away jobs and
promotions from men), and the
discriminatory enactment and enforcement of criminal laws. Cynically, we
must point out that
some people have made financial and political fortunes out of all of this.
A QUICK REBUTTAL TO THE ABOVE UNTRUTHS:
NCFM will be posting files that will deal in detail with these and other
topics. Editorials, rebuttals
and opinion will (for the most part) be available to you for free.
Directories of services, fact sheets
and "how-to" information will be for sale through Men's Action Press.
Cumulatively, the above list of charges has gone unanswered. The
first rule of politics in
the U.S. is that an unanswered charge is the truth. American men have been
because to criticize a woman (in this case the American women's movement)
is to be seen as
anti-woman. A lot of men would rather go to their grave than be accused of that.
Next, men were caught off guard by such notions as sexual politics.
Few guys, if any,
knew what it meant, so while women pundits were busy developing issues for
women, there were
no men developing issues for men. For 30 years the women's movement has
and this has contributed greatly to the breakup of American families and
the social ills which
follow: high rates of teen pregnancy, high rates of juvenile crime, high
rates of teen suicide,
depression and poor school performance.
American men have been raised to feel sorry for American women. It
is wrapped in the old
expression, "A Woman's Work is never done". The charge made by American
feminists that all
men had "oppressed" women was an easy charge to get past the guilt that
American men were
raised to feel.
The result of all of this has been a women's movement that has
sought special privilege and
which has gone unopposed in the pursuit of special privilege. In a nut
shell, women have been
given choices while holding men responsible for those choices. To wit:
* Men have no reproductive rights.
* Men can whimsically be denied access to their children after divorce.
* Men are at a disadvantage in the work place because of female hiring quotas.
Those who want to fuel the racial issue in the U.S. concentrate their
focus on black hiring quotas
(which often benefits black women) and articulate the problem as a "white
man's" issue. But black
men have been victimized by it too (by being passed over for promotion and
denied jobs, the same
as white men).
* Women have three choices: stay home and raise a family, work full time
or work part time.
Men have three choices: Work full time, work full time or work full time.
* Women can choose whether or not to go into the military and once there whether
to go into combat. There is no requirement for them to register for the
military. In the U.S. all
males must register. It is presumed that if the U.S. reinstates the
military draft that only men will be
required to go. In the past, that was certainly the case.
Let's go back and reply to the earlier charges made against men:
1- Men have all the power.
Feminists claim that the "men's movement" is the legislature. But
in America the
legislature caters to the needs of well funded special interests
groups. No one
knows how much money has been spent on women's causes, but the
amount is in
the BILLIONS. Almost every state, major municipality, county and
government has "offices", "commissions" and "task forces" to
needs. There is not a single one for men. Moreover, legislatures,
up of men have always been cognizant of passing legislation that
they felt was in
the best interests of women, because of their role as protector.
2- Only wives are abused by husbands.
Every study that has used the random sampling technique to look at
the issue of
spouse abuse has concluded that men are at least 50% (or higher) of
spouses in America. Since 1975 there have been more than 30 such
of them have been national in scope.
3- All men are in a conscious conspiracy to keep all women in fear of rape.
Try and figure this one out. It can be explained, but it would take
paragraphs to do
it. The reasoning is perverse. It has to do with the way
"feminists" define sexual
power and it relates to the way they have sought to disempower men and
empower themselves through the threat of false accusation (which is
counterpart to an overt threat). The charge was first made by Susan
in her 1979 work, Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape (page 14 of
4- Women are a special "oppressed" class in need of special compensation
because of past discrimination.
This charge surfaces to justify why so much money has been spent by
government and private foundations on women's needs and nothing has been
spent on men's needs. It also surfaces as a justification for
Affirmative Action in
the work place for women. The charge is that women were forced into
role in the home where they were made into servants formen. Every
women's organizations rests on this premise.
Because the charge that men "oppressed" women has been so powerful,
it is worth
exploring for a minute.
What escapes people who make this charge is that men had no choices
either in their role as
provider and protector. Men were expected (forced) into the work place
where they often risked life
and limb to provide for women. In the U.S. around 90% of all work related
deaths are by men.
Men also have had no choice (except to leave the country) when confronted
with a military draft.
American women have never been forced to serve in any capacity for the
good of their own nation.
Finally, feminists (radical feminsts inparticular) have
misrepresented history and the role
women have played in it by claiming that women have been "oppressed" by
men throughout time.
In contrdiction, Page Smith, (Daughters Of The Promised Land: Women In American
History, Little Brown and Co., NY, 1970) for one, notes that women were
among the professions during colonial America. Alexis DeTocqueville
(Democracy In America)
raves about the freedom and education enjoyed by American women in the
1830's. In her 1963
book, The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan explores the changing roles and
American women in the 1920's and questions why things became so
restrictive during and after the
Almost no one writing in America before 1970, who analyzed the
condition of the
American woman, blamed men for anything. Betty Friedan, (author of, The
for example, who is considered one of the most prominent founders of the
for Women (NOW), blamed the advertising houses on Madison Avenue. Writers
before 1970 were
concerned with cultural influences. Something happened after 1970 to
change all of that and to
convince American men that it was alright to scapegoat them.
What happened was the introduction of socialism and the adaptation
of its language which
described the "oppression" of the "proletariat" by the "bourgeoisie". A
quick glance at post 1970
feminist literature reveals that they did little more than substitute the
word "woman" for
"proletariat" and the word "men" for "bourgeoise". An account of how this
came about was given
by Simone DeBeauvior, considered by some the mother of modern feminism,
who recounted how
men in the socialist movement in France continued to treat women as
subservient despite their
doctrines against doing so.
The same thing happened in America among the radical student
protesters of the 1960's
(Carol Hymowitz & Michael Weissman, A History Of Women In America, Bantam
1980, Chapter 19). These young people with their resentment toward men and
gender issues grew
up to become, in the 1980's and 1990's, the loudest, and in some cases,
the most influential voices
in feminism. From within the Socialist movement of the 1960's women's
groups began to
In the 1960's, with the ever unpopular Vietnam War as a backdrop,
the Socialists gained a
foothold in America through the civil rights movement to which feminism
(During the Vietnam War, the U.S. government lost its credibility
with a huge
segment of the population. Much of the nation's youth felt it was
being lied to
about everything from war to drugs. "Tune in, turn on and drop out"
catch-all slogan of the day. This opened the door for attacks on
institutions, and not just the government, in the name of civil
liberties. The family,
the school system, morals, religion - all of it became the object
And that, gentlemen, is how modern feminism in America got its
start. The idea and slogan
that men oppressed women worked. Because of its simplicity it affected the
minds of almost
eveyone sympathic to women's concerns. It is an idea that blames one
identifiable group through
birth for the problems of all other groups. And that is the beauty of
"scapegoating", which has
from time-to-time been a very effective method in politics throughout the
world. It requires no
thinking or analysis.
Feminism in the 1960's and and beyond became a shrill political
movement that lobbied and
boldly claimed to represent the interests of ALL women, which, of course
it did not - but no one
was willing to argue with it. Only now, some 30 years later are we
beginning to see any courage
on the part of anyone to expose feminism for the damage it has done. For
example, Christina Hoff
Sommers in her book, Who Stole Feminism (Simon & Schuster, NY, 1994) for
the first time
examines the untruths that were/are propagated by phoney feminist research
that up to now no one
has dared to criticize. The ABC Television Network presented a show, Boys
and Girls Are
Different (aired, February 1, 1995) where in both Gloria Steinem and
Gloria Allred appeared and
stated that certain types of research should be blocked.
The left wing nature of feminism found a foothold and It brought
with it hostility for the
nuclear family and the work place, which were seen as the centers of male
power and the
oppression of all women. Never mind that men were forced to pay a high
price for whatever
position they had, never mind that most men go through their lives with
little or no power at all,
never mind that American observers such as Alexis DeTocqueville and later
analysts have insisted
on the dominant role women play in shaping culture. This presents a
different picture than we are
used to. It presents the picture of the powerful female in place of her
In fact one of the things what we need to start doing is to examine
spheres of female
influence and power and to pinpoint it. What makes it difficult is that a
lot of female power is
hidden or covert, but one place you could start is with Phyllis Schalfly's
book, The Power of The
Positive Women (a work no more complimentary toward men than feminism, but
one that does
teach women powerful techniques that utilizes sex discrimination to its
advantage). Esther Vilar is
another female author (The Manipulated Man, Farrar Straus Giroux, NY,
1972) who early on tried
to alert everyone to the POWERFUL woman. In fact, the only organized
opposition that has come
to feminism in the United States has come from groups of women (defeat of
the Equal Rights
Amendment to the U.S. constitution is a case n point). Simply put, men, as
a bonafide organized
entity, have just not been heard from and as individuals their opinions
have ranged from being for
or against feminism to hoping it would all just go away. In the meantime,
men are sitting ducks for
all kinds of abuse socially and legislatively. And, indeed feminism has
had many powerful and
wealthy male allies in the legislature.
The lesson to be learned here is that when we speak of a "men's
movement" we are NOT
talking about a movement that is inclusive of the interests of all men.
Nor is it exclusive of all
women. Many women belong to and participate in the National Coalition of
Free Men. FREE,
which is a well known father's rights organization on the Internet was
founded by and is led by a
woman, Anne Mitchell.
A men's movement is one that emphasizes a study of the male and the
problems and solutions that result from that study.
According to feminism women are "objects" without any responsibility
for the past and
men deserve whatever they get. Catherine Comins, Assistant Dean Of Student
Life At Vassar has
even gone so far a to extoll (unopposed and without any criticism) the
virtues of making false
accusations of rape (Time Magazine, June 3, 1991, page 52).
Male bashing today is as common as a Hall Mark greeting card. It is
politicians talk about "deadbeat dads" and give aid to ex-wives who would
deny children contact
with their fathers, it is evident in the feminist attitude that all men
are potential rapists, it is evident
when we see media continually characterize family violence as something
only men commit and it
is evident when we see all of the money, time and attention spent on
catering to only the female half
of the population. It has created an incredible and harmful imbalance that
has not allowed for the
proper framing of social issues and problems.
It may be true that women have unique issues related to their
specialized role, but it is
absurd to assert that they are a special class in need of compensation any
more so than are men.
What we have just said may go against the grain of many who first read
this file. NCFM is not part
of "politically correct" culture in the U.S., especially on university
campuses. Nevertheless, as
different and as politically incorrect as many of our views are we hope
that you will keep an open
mind, and look at what we have to say. You are invited to browse through
our files and to read our
We also want to make it plain that we are not engaging in the out
right condemnation of
socialism and all that it stands for. Social Security, unemployment
insurance and trade unionism
are examples where the influences of socialism have been successfully
applied in "capitalist"
America - and everybody likes it that way. Socialism becomes the bogeyman
feminism with all of its anti male and anti family positions, started as a
subset within the larger
concerns of socialism. From within socialism, feminism devised an
oversimplistic view of the
world that divided it into bad men and good women. Because of its
commitment to ideology it
never developed the capacity for consideration of the larger picture that
includes men and women in
a complementary struggle for survival. In fact some feminists reject
altogether the well established
scientific techniques for studying humankind. Science doesn't come to
their conclusions and so the
whole dynamic of how humans are interwoven has escaped them in view of the
aspects of venting their anger.
We will end our discussion of the issues with this: For every
women's issue there is a
men's issue because of the historic nature of our complementary roles.
ABOUT FREE MEN (NCFM) - Free Men, Inc. was founded in Columbia, MD, in
1976. It adopted the name "Free Men" as a verb, ie., free men "from"
unfair divorce laws. A list of
items was drawn up, but it soon became obvious that the issues were too
numerous to be restricted
to a set list. The vastness of the issues are better understood in terms
of: For every women's issue
there is a men's issue because of the historic nature of our complementary
roles. For men the social
issues can be broken down under three headings:
By 1977 Herb Goldberg, author of the Hazards of Being Male, had connected
with the group and
pursued selling it to a national audience while on book tours. Between
1977 and 1980 other
chapters formed, but no national structure was devised. In 1981 the first
national convention of
Free Men chapters was called and a coalition was formed. Each chapter with
ten or more members
were/are permitted to elect two delegates to be members of the national
board of directors. Some
modification to this rule was made when it became evident that chapters
made up of volunteers
would go through cycles of interest and that there would be periods when
the possibility of there
being no formal chapters would exist. Free Men differed from other men's
organizations in several
ways. First, in 1977 the two dominate groups were Feminist Men and
Father's Rights groups.
Feminist Men are still with us today. Their primary base of power is on
the university campus.
Their essential belief is that the function of the men's movement is to
assist men in unlearning their
oppressor role. The underlying political force behind it is a socialist
view of the world.
Free Men differed from this in at least two ways: 1)- Free Men
believed that men had
unique problems of discrimination operating against them. Gender
discrimination was not a
problem unique to women. 2)- Free Men was founded by middle class men
government and the corporation who supported the capitalist system as
practiced in the United
States. Free Men rejected the notion that men were a special oppressor
class and that women were a
special oppressed class.
Father's rights groups are also with us today. They form the largest
contingency of the
men's movement. Free Men supports the father's rights movement, but sees
its focus on divorce as
too narrow. For example, what is called the father's rights movement is
not inclusive of all fathers.
It is more representative of a divorce reform movement. Father's rights
people have been very slow
to embrace a broader more general approach to men's issues. Their
suspicion germinates from
They are afraid that the broader approach will encompass a tacit
approval of the homosexual
life style (which has been true for some broad based organizations), they
are afraid of the avant
guard nature of some of the issues raised by broader based groups and they
feel that to broaden the
issues beyond divorce will weaken their "focus" and, hence, their ability
to effect legal reform. The
problem with this has been the fathers right's movement's inability to
form alliances and to
articulate the big picture.
WHAT IS THE BIG PICTURE? - After some 20 years in both the men's and women's
movement, Warren Farrell, in his book, The Myth Of Male Power concludes
that for men, the
central issue is disposability. Men account for more than 95% of work
place fatalities, they can be
denied access to their children after divorce and there is the issue of
military obligation, which can
be lethal. Beyond these and other issues, there is very little in our
society that is male affirming. In
fact the endeavor of social reform over the past 30 years has been the
deliberate degradation and
dis-empowerment of men economically, legally and socially. By contrast the
central theme of social
reform over the past 30 years has been the empowerment of women and not
Quite apart from Farrell's analysis there are other profound issues
that go to the heart of the
question about gender relationships. For example, what is human nature?
Feminism is a rebuttal to
almost 2,000 years of Judeo-Christian thinking that teaches that the
genders are interrelated and
interdependent. Marriage, for example, brings together two people as one
flesh. In terms of more
recent thinking, such as with Sociology, we would articulate this as the
nature of complementary
relatonships. By contrast, feminism and its Socialist ideology is
committed to the idea of the
autonomous nature of each individual, as in the idea that each person is
an island unto themselves.
The resultant teaching is that we have no right to have expectations of
other people and that if we
indulge in this we are setting ourselves up for a fall. To be sure, this
subject is more involved than
what we have covered here, but we have, at least, raised a core area of
contention. And, we hope,
demonstrated that the issues and social policies raised by feminism are
not shallow topics. They are
What you need to grasp is that since feminism denies the existence of
complementary role behavior
that was functional and had aspects that were mutually beneficial to both
sexes, they are then able
to construct a social model whereby a ruling gender autonomously oppressed
a subservient gender.
It is this view that is being played out in our legislatures and courts.
It is played out when we hear
that women don't need men. It is played out when hear the argument made
for fatherless families,
which can happen when women use sperm banks to impregnate themselves, etc.
These ideas and
actions have been aided by men (some of whom are very powerful) who are
from their fathers.
Since its founding in 1960, the father's rights movement has brought
about very little
reform - although in recent years father's rights groups have exerted
influence in selected states
(Texas and Iowa are two examples). To their credit, father's rights groups
have done a marvelous
job counselling men on a one- to-one basis. The need for this service has
led some men in NCFM
to help create and maintain local father's rights groups.
Finally, a source of strength for the father's rights movement has
come from men in crisis.
While this helps to inflate membership in father's rights groups, this has
not provided them with a
stable membership. People in crisis, male or female, are usually in a
period of instability in their
lives. These people often appear angry and there is nothing like the
expression of anger to make
everybody looking on afraid. The broader based groups tend to prefer men
who are not
experiencing crisis and who are more concerned with the shape of society.
TO READ ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE MEN'S MOVEMENT, see Men Freeing
Men on our reading list.
WHAT WE ARE NOT:
We are not a gay rights organization. Gay rights involves two sexes who
argue for a particular life
style. That life style is beyond our mandate. We are upset over instances
where gay men do not
enjoy the same rights as gay women. That is a sex discrimination issue.
WHAT WE ARE:
We are an educational organization. The nature of our activities arise
solely out of the interests and
abilities of our volunteer membership.
Help, advice and resources at Men's Action Press. We offer advice and
referrals on various topics.
Among them are Divorce, Circumcision and Battered (men) Spouses.
Some Things Have Always Been Equal.
by John A. Rossler
John Rossler is a member of the National Coalition of Free
Men and is a past president of the National Congress for
Men. John has done extensive research into women and
violence. This article appeared as the cover story in the
May/June 1994 issue of Transitions (published by the
National Coalition of Free Men).
Feminism's greatest contribution to society may have been
its willingness to raise social issues of the sexes
heretofore thought too sensitive. Socially they forced us to
grow up. Their greatest failure was their unwillingness to
positively include men in the framing of those issues as
we've allowed them to self-servingly do. Precisely why
"insider trading" is a crime.
Outside the abortion issue, questioning how feminists have
framed domestic violence causes one of their strongest
emotional responses. If "Job Opportunity" gave women new
roles, "Abortion on Demand" their freedom from patriarchy,
then "Domestic Violence," as they've constructed it, gave
women political advantages as victims oppressed by men.
TV hosts Regis and Kathie Lee devote a show to "How to raise
boys so they don't become abusing men."
United Way solicits funds portraying a mother and child
battered by her husband "who shouldn't have to live this
Johnson and Johnson devises a campaign to donate a nickel to
a national women's domestic violence organization for every
The stereotype of the abusing husband and battered wife has
been added to America's lexicon of cultural wisdom.
All well intentioned; all wrong in their premise it is
mostly women beaten; all serve to perpetuate the myth of the
violent male; all contribute to "men's increasing legal and
social defenselessness." None would recognize the following:
"One of the cruel ironies of marriage is that, although
husband-wife relationships are largely male-dominant, the
use of physical violence seems to be one of the few aspects
of marriage which approaches equality between spouses."
(Straus 5, 6/'80 681-704 p. 681)
"She may cast the first coffee pot (emphasis added), but he
generally casts the last..." (Ibid.)
The serious examination of violence in the family began in
the mid '70s with studies by Straus, Gelles and Steinmetz
that challenged many of our preconceived notions of violent
men. Also challenged was the stereotype, the anathema of
feminists, of the "little women," docile and passive
compared to her husband. Whereas these original researchers
suspected violence was a major problem in American families,
consistent with our violent society, surprising was its high
incidence: at least one act of violence occurred in 16% of
families in the last year and 28% since the beginning of the
marriages ("Societal Change and Change in Family Violence
from 1975 to 1985 As Revealed by Two National Studies,"
Straus and Gelles, Journal of Marriage and the Family,
More surprising was the virtual equality of offenses by
wives to husbands. Wives committed 48.5% of all violent
occurrences, and 54.8% of all violence termed "severe."
In her 197778 Victimology article, "The Battered Husband
Syndrome," (p.501) Steinmetz (U. of Delaware) reveals "The
data from the nationally representative sample (Straus et
al., 1977)... found wives slightly higher in almost all
categories (of violence) except pushing and shoving."
As to frequency, the "little women" held additional
surprises, "The data suggest that not only the percentage of
wives having used physical violence exceeds that of the
husbands, but that wives also exceed husbands in the
frequency with which these acts occur." Of the five studies
she cites, only one shows a lower frequency rate for wife to
Another feminist myth debunked was the alleged greater
aggressive nature of men causing them to resort to violence
to dominate women!
"Gathered data plus insights gained from in-depth
interviews, suggest that women are as likely to select
physical violence to resolve marital conflicts as are men."
(Ibid., p. 505)
In another index of spouse abuse, researcher M. Mcleod,
"Women Against Men," Justice Quarterly, Fall, '84, found
that it is often men who sustain the severest attacks,
aggravated assaults. Whereas we have found that women are
inclined at least as much as men to initiate violence in the
family, women often lack the bodily wherewithal to execute
their intentions. Technology overcomes biology in this case:
women compensate by using weapons.
"The National Crime Survey data confirm the increased use of
deadly weapons against male victims. Of all incidences
perpetrated against female victims, 14% involved the
presence of guns or knives (McLeod 1982). Of all incidences
perpetrated against male victims, 35% involved the presence
of guns or knives. Wolfgang (1958), in his study of
homicides in Philadelphia, observed that knives and cutting
objects were used four times as often by women as by men."
She adds, "Offenses against men are significantly more
serious in nature than are offenses against women," (pp.
185, 186). She finds that 84% of the male victims of
domestic violence required medical care (p. 191).
It may be true there are more battered women because of a
physical pummeling by men, but indications are there may be
more scarred men because of women's weapon of choice in
domestic disputes, the knife.
A ten year follow up study by Straus and Gelles discovered a
remarkable 21% drop in wife beating in the years 1975 to
1985. However, they found no significant change in the
Severe Violence rate of wife to husband abuse and a 4.3%
increase in "Overall Violence" rate of abuse to husbands.
Two questions are begged: First, what factors contributed to
the 21% drop in violence against women. Secondly, why was
there no comparable drop for men?
Suggested significant factors for the drop in wife abuse are
given by the authors themselves:
"Most likely the findings represent a combination of changed
attitudes and norms along with changes in overt behavior.
This interpretation is based on a number of changes in
American society that took place during or immediately
before the decade of this study, including: changes in the
family, in the economy, in the social acceptability of
family violence, in alternatives available to women, in
social control processes, and in the availability of
treatment and prevention services."
It is significant to note the importance the authors give to
"treatment and prevention services" in the reduction of
violence to women. In virtually every metropolitan area of
the nation shelters can be found for women which are funded
privately or with tax dollars offering women an alternative
to a life of violence. Most shelters offer counseling to
help women start a new life, and many are beginning to offer
legal services for future protection or divorce.
Many of these shelters are forces in the community educating
its citizens to the inappropriateness of wife beating.
"If all that has been accomplished in the last 10 years is
to instill new standards for parents and husbands about the
inappropriateness of violence, that is a key element in the
process of reducing the actual rate of child abuse and wife
beating." (Ibid. P. 11)
Justifiably implied in the reasons for the reduction of wife
beating is a subtle pride in the part the authors played in
helping bring about this social phenomenon. But if you are a
man, aware of society's discrimination against males, you
may note something is missing that may help us understand
why there has been no comparable reduction in violence
against men. There is no evidence of concern in the numerous
social comments these authors make. In fact, throughout this
article and others by these authors, even when the data show
equality in offense frequency and severity of occurrences,
they still show a sexist bias in that they often interchange
the terms wife beating with spouse abuse and subtitle
sections of domestic violence with "Wife Beating."
In their "Table 2 Marital Violence Indexes: Comparison of
1975 and 1985," the authors show that wives outperform
husbands in the "Severe Violence" index (46 wives to 38
husbands and 44 wives to 30 husbands per 1,000 couples
studied respectively for the years 1975 and 1985) and that
in 1985 wives' "Overall Violence" was greater than
Try reconciling with the above data the authors' attempts to
diminish or excuse the violence of women in the following
" ...because of the greater average size and strength of
men, the acts in the 'Severe Violence' list are likely to be
more damaging when the assailant is the husband.
Consequently, to facilitate focusing on the rate of severe
violence by husbands, the term wife beating will be used to
refer to that rate," (P. 4).
They presume men's greater size necessarily results in
greater inflicted harm. The human species produces a wide
variety of sizes and shapes for both genders. Many women are
capable of physically overcoming their partner and for those
who can't, research by others has shown they compensate with
weapons or surprise a la Mrs. Bobbitt (the wife of John W.
Bobbitt, who maliciously slashed off his penis). The Bullet
cares not which chest it enters, nor the knife whose
genitals it mutilates.
Their assertion that women's violence is responsive to men's
doesn't logically correlate with their data. Table 2 noted
above shows "Severe Violence" by wives for both studied
years exceeds men's violence (55% and 59% for the years '75
and '85) and in another table comparing specific acts, women
exceed men in occurrences in 5 of 8 categories and tie men in
1 category. Although they make no reference to data within
this study supporting their claim of "responsive violence"
by women, a previously noted quote that "She may cast the
first coffee pot" indicates their interviews may have lead
them at one time to another conclusion. If more women are
hitting, are we to believe, without reference to specific
data, more men initiate violence!? Theologians call such a
mental exercise a "leap of faith"!
To interject a bias minimizing women's responsibility for
violence in the home ignores their greater involvement in
child abuse, and that, when added to spouse abuse makes
women the most violent members of the family. Only an
analysis of women's violence that excludes child abuse could
stretch to conclude with the politically correct and
advantageous "women as victims" formula. (A normal
comparison of data would not conclude women are victimized
more.) Or is child abuse responsive to "matri-abuse"?
Another researcher, possibly less intimidated by feminist
criticism, examined the motives of 145 female perpetrators
of the ultimate act of violence, killing. In an article,
"Getting Even? Women Who Kill In Domestic Encounters"
published in Justice Quarterly (March '88), Dr. Coramae Mann
concludes that although nearly 60% of the women legally
claimed self defense, a detailed examination of the
relationship and the circumstances of the killing did not
justify the "Battered Woman Syndrome." "I felt that under 6%
had justifiable self-defense as a motive..." she said in
Behavior Today (7-25-'88), and "In many cases, the women
went and got a weapon, then returned to the fight/murder
scene. In several cases the men were asleep and the female
assailants still claimed self defense." Mann also found that
nearly 30% of victims were incapacitated at the time of the
Straus and Gelles's interchanging of "domestic violence"
with "wife battering" in their ten year follow up study
becomes more perplexing. By their own assertion, "...in the
case between spouses, the 'OVERALL VIOLENCE' rate is more
important than is 'OVERALL VIOLENCE' by parents (against
children)" for the assignment of focus. In the 1985 study
the "Overall Violence" rate is 8 points per 1,000 higher for
women than it is for men and the "Severe Violence Index" for
both years is higher for women!
For researchers who have been impeccably accurate in the
reporting of the data it is a wonder how, knowing of the
virtual equality of offenses, such a bias could enter their
analysis. They may have revealed a significant reason why
violence against husbands has not dropped:
"Violence by wives has not been an object of concern. There
has been no publicity, and no funds have been invested in
amelioration this problem because it has not been defined as
a problem. In fact, our 1975 study was criticized for
presenting statistics on violence by wives. Our 1985 finding
of little change in the rate of assaults by women on their
male partners is consistent with the absence of ameliorative
programs." (Ibid. p. 8)
I submit that because the 1975 study by these authors was a
leading precipitator bringing spouse abuse to public
attention, that the above mentioned bias focusing on abuse
to women, to the detraction of abuse to men, contributed
greatly to husband battering "not being defined as a
problem." Add to that some factors other researchers have
shown to be relevant, the inability of men to report abuse,
the unwillingness of police to take reports, the fear men
have of losing their children in a divorce precipitated by
abuse, and it is little wonder abuse to men has not
The lack of attention to men's abuse while focusing on
women's has allowed (in conjunction with academician
silence) a misframing of the issue in such a way that it
serves feminists well in politicizing the social and legal
encounters between men and women. The dichotomy of
victim/villain diminishes both men's public support and
individual initiative for legal and social reform as society
strives for gender justice. Men have been doubly wounded in
this regard: unrecognized and unaided victims of spousal
abuse as well as stereotyped villains used by a political
agenda that excludes men from social reforms. The
authors mentioned in this article show the need for a wider
scope of study in abuse cases including not only the
initiators of violence or the verbal abuse preceding it, but
also more thorough examination of the inequities of power in
family structure that may well be a major source of inter-
The following explains the NCFM awards series and lists who has accepted
NCFM awards (all
awards were accepted in writing). NCFM offers three awards:
* Excellence in the advancement of men's issues.
* Award of honor.
* Excellence in addressing men's issues.
THE NATIONAL COALITION OF FREE MEN
The National Coalition of Free Men (NCFM) is a non-profit educational
organization that examines
the way sex discrimination affects men. It also tries to raise public
consciousness about little
known, but important, topics dealing with the male experience. In
addition, we sponsor a variety
of "men's rights" projects.
NCFM was founded on the realization that men needed a unified voice when
desires and beliefs on important political and social issues of the day.
THE PURPOSE OF THE NCFM AWARD SERIES - We determined no one presenting a
male perspective on gender issues was being recognized or complimented. We
felt that there had to
be a way to publicly say, "Thank you", in a lasting way for work that is
meaningful, is more often
rewarded by insults and rejection and which takes stamina, discipline,
commitment and character to
carry forward. We needed a way for those who were making a sacrifice to be
applauded and to feel
good about themselves. HERE! HERE! In the case of media, too often those
who write in are
critics. Media, as is the case with anyone else, needs to know that there
are those who truly
appreciate their work when it is truthful, goes against the tide of
popular thinking and when it
can genuinely be used to educate and serve a useful purpose, such as
alleviating the suffering of others.
NCFM AWARD RECIPIENTS:
FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE ADVANCEMENT OF MEN'S ISSUES:
1986 - Francis Baumli, PhD., Author of Men Freeing Men.
1987 - Warren Farrell, PhD, Author of Why Men Are The
Way They Are (his later work is, Myth of Male
1988 - Asa Baber, Contributing Editor at Playboy and
author of the Men's column.
1989 - John Gordon, PhD., Author of the Myth Of The
Monstrous Male And Other Feminist Fables.
1990 - Eugene August, PhD., Author of Men's Studies: A
Selected & Annotated Interdisciplinary
Bibliography. Has taught men's studies for over
1991 - Mitsuko Shimomura - Author of American Men Now,
published in Japan, 1982. The first book on the
American men's movement. Numerous articles in
Japan on the men's movement. Translated Men
Freeing Men (1991). Senior editor at Asahi
Shimbun the worlds largest circulated newspaper.
1992 - Susan Jeffers - Author Opening Our Hearts To Men.
1993 - Fred Hayward, founder and director of Men's
Rights, Inc., for his many accomplishments in
advancing men's issues. Among his
accomplishments are changes in law and his
appearance before the United States Supreme
1994 - Christina Hoff Sommers, PhD., author of Who Stole
Feminism (Simon & Schuster, NY, 1994). This
pioneering work is the first well researched
proof of the lies and deceptions of modern
NCFM AWARD OF HONOR - For those working
hard behind the scenes.
1989 - Tom Williamson - for his persistence in keeping
a men's advocacy organization functioning.
1991 - Jon Ryan - because of his work on the Gender
Bias Committee and the research he published
under our banner.
1992 - Ian Wilson - Because of his work on the Gender
Bias Committee and his research on men's health.
Ian has also been a generous financial
contributor and took over as NCFM Treasurer under
very difficult circumstances.
1993 Rod Britten & John Macchietto - Rod Britten
received our award because of his tireless
dedication in maintaining membership and other
records, without which NCFM could not survive.
Rod has carried out his duties at his own expense
and completely without complaint for more than
eight years. Rod is also an active volunteer
helping Denver's inner city homeless.
John Macchietto received our award because of
tireless effort to be productive within NCFM.
He was elected treasurer for one year. Served
as editor of Transitions for almost four years
and has promoted NCFM on various university
campuses whenever he got the chance.
1994 - Patrick Graham - For several years Patrick has
been in charge of creating and mailing NCFM's
renewal letters and flyers. For more than five
years Patrick has served as a state
representative spokesman. Most of what Pat has
done has been at his own expense. He has proven
himself to be dedicated and reliable.
AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN ADDRESSING MEN'S ISSUES -
This award is given to a media source for presenting the male perspective.
The award is given to particular coverage of an issue rather than to a specific
show, network or newspaper.
1993 - "Father's Fight Back", appeared on the CBS
Show, 48 last January (1993). The particular coverage being
awarded showed father's as caring and loving parents who
want involvement with their children. It showed several
father's fighting for custody. One father portrayed was
successful. Accepting the award on behalf of "Father's
Fight Back" was Cathy Lasiewicz, Executive Producer of
If you would like to nominate someone for one of our awards
you may do so by writing to Alistair Duguid, NCFM Awards
Chairman, PO Box 2733, Stamford, ct 06906. Be sure to
include a complete biography of your nominee. Include any
supporting material that you feel is persuasive.
NATIONAL COALITION OF FREE MEN
WHAT WE ARE CURRENTLY DOING:
WE PROVIDE SPEAKERS - Not all of the people available to us as speakers
are members of
NCFM, but most are. It makes sense. If you feel strongly enough to
research a topic it only stands
to reason to support an organization who will stand behind you.
We are not an agent. Therefore, we do not promote specific people
and topics for the sole
purpose of generating revenue. Usually, people will approach us with a
topic of interest to them
and will ask if we can find someone to satisfy their need. Speakers do
expect remuneration. The
amount of remuneration can vary greatly. We can accommodate small events,
such as a local club
luncheons as well as events held in auditoriums. Several of our most avid
Many of our speakers are prepared to travel. In most cases our
speakers can address the
broad nature of men's issues. If you are looking for a speaker who is an
expert on a narrow and
well defined topic, chances are that this will involve travel.
If you are looking for a speaker on father's rights or on false
accusation of child
molestation chances are good that there are knowledgeable speakers near
you. In these two
instances you will more than likely need to be put in touch with another
AWARDS - Each year the National Coalition of Free Men gives an award to
someone who has
outstanding achievement in terms of bringing men's issues before the
public. Some of the
recipients thus far include: FRANCIS BAUMLI, PhD, for his book, Men
Freeing Men. This book
has made unheard of inroads into college campuses where there is an
interest in men's studies.
WARREN FARRELL, PhD, for his book, Why Men Are. However, more recently he
The Myth Of Male Power (Simon & Schuster, NY, 1994). This is by far the
best book anyone can
purchase to get a solid overview of men's issues and to obtain a wealth of
resources that can be
used for further study. JOHN GORDON, PhD, author of the Myth of The
Monstrous Male and
other Feminist Fables also received our award. Dr. Gordon's book was only
out a short while,
before the publisher (Playboy Press) went out of business. Copies of his
1982 work are still
available (contact: Bioenergetics Press, PO Box 9141, Madison, WI, 53715 -
$8.00). Dr. Gordon
received the award because of his tireless devotion to being a speaker on
our issues and because his
book, while hardly known, is one of the most humorous, fascinating and
documents to yet become available. In fact it is a forerunner to the now
widely acclaimed, Who
Stole Feminism, by CHRISTINA HOFF SOMMERS (Sommers, in her book, captures the
distortions that have been foisted upon American society by the radical
feminists we discussed at
the beginning of this file). Sommers was NCFM's 1994 award recipient. In
1991 the award was
accepted by Japanese journalist, MITSUKO SHIMOMURA of Asahi Shimbun (Tokyo). She
authored the first book on the American men's movement back in 1982. The
book called, American
Men Now, was never translated into English. In 1991, her translation of
Men Freeing Men was
published in Japan.
Visit ourList of Award Winners
REFERRALS - There are almost no services aimed at men. Social agencies
claim that the reason
why there are almost no service agencies aimed at men is because men do
not demand such
services. THIS IS ONLY PARTLY TRUE.
An examination of the types of services reveals that those aimed at
men seek to change the
men. Those aimed at women often seek to treat them as a victim. But beyond
this it is also true that
men are not encouraged by outreach programs or by public service campaigns
to seek help for their
problems. Moreover, there are no publicly funded Task Forces On The Status
Of Men actively
trying to identify the problems men have.
What we do know is that when public service campaigns are aimed at
encouraging men to
seek services, that they willreadily come forward and that the services
are often successful. This is
true whether we are talking about family planning or men who are battered
by their wives.
Is there really a need for services that focus on men? We certainly
know that there is a need
in a divorce situation and for the men who have fought in our wars. But
there are other areas that
deserve our attention.
Consider this: Women attempt suicide four times as often as men, but
men succeed three
times as often as women. Men out number women 25 to one in the prison
system. Two thirds of
all grade repeaters are boys, women out live men by eight years (largely
due to issues involving life
style), 80% of the deaths of boys between the ages of 15 and 24 are caused
by accidents, suicide
and homicide (in that order) - Note: These statistics are not the current
year, but these facts have
remained very consistent for a long period of time.
MEN'S RESOURCES HOT-LINE - NCFM maintains a hot-line for men, who can call about
any type of problem facing them. The number is (516) 794-5151. There is no
foundation or public funding for this hot-line. It is funded entirely out
of dues and anything an
individual wants to give. For this reason we can not afford to return
calls unless they can be made
"collect". However, information and referrals are given for free.
At the moment, the most prolific referrals that can be provided are
to men going through a
divorce and to those (men and women - mostly men) who have been falsely
accused of child
molestation. For men the use of false accusation has reached epidemic
proportions where there is a
bitter custody dispute in family court. (by way of one research article on
this topic, see: One
Hundred Cases of Unfounded Child Sexual Abuse: A Survey and
Recommendations, by LeRoy
Schultz, in Issues In Child Abuse Accusations, Vol 1, #1, 1989, pages
29-38, This study will lead
you to other sources).
In the divorce arena, the groups that are, for the most part, crisis
oriented and who can give
emotional and legal assistance, are known as father's rights groups. NCFM
will discuss legal
"strategy" over its hot-line (as a matter of self-help counselling. We are
not attorneys) and makes
referrals to men in any state where there is a father's rights group.
Almost all states, today, have
A printed copy of the directory in its entirety is available for $15.00.
In the case of false accusation of child molestation, you should
contact, VOCAL (Victims
of Child Abuse Laws). Local chapters are listed in the CRC directory,
which we mentioned
immediately above. If it appears that a chapter is not near you, call any
of the other chapters listed
to see if they can help you further. The national toll free hot line is
run by VOCAL of Colorado at
Ken Pangborn is an often recommended consultant that you should
contact if you are
having trouble with false accusations. Ken can act as a consultant to
either individuals in trouble or
to attorneys. The area of false accusation has become a legal speciality,
and there are few experts.
Ken can be reached by calling: (813) 786-6911.
For a list of experts who can help adults who have been sexually
abused as children, call
Child Help, National Child Abuse Hot Line at (800) 422-4453. If you are a
man request to be put
in touch with therapists who specialize in men.
If you are a father who has surrendered a child for adoption and you
would like to explore
ways to reestablish contact, or if your child is being placed for adoption
against your wishes, you
should contact NOBAR (National Organization for Birth Fathers and Adoption
Reform. Call: (813)
In the area of health, we suggest that you subscribe to Men's Health
Rodale Press, 33 East Minor Street, Emmaus, PA 18098 or call: (215)
967-5171. In the area of
health men and women are clearly different. Yet little special attention
gets paid to the unique needs
men have. Men's Health Magazine reverses some of that. Try it. You may
live a little longer and a
SPONSOR WRITE IN CAMPAIGNS - The way this program works is that each member
who wants to become involved volunteers by signing up with our
coordinator, Bob McInnes. Bob
notifies each volunteer when a target for a letter campaign has been
picked. Sometimes Bob picks
the target. Often it is the individual volunteers who chose a topic of
their own and who then rely on
Bob to coordinate the others. Each individual NCFM member is invited to
write to Bob and pick a
Volunteers are not obligated to write letters every time they are
asked, since some issues
may not strike a chord, while other will cause excitement. Targets for
letter campaigns are not
limited to complaining about some injustice or bad public policy, although
most of the time this is
what motivates people. We encourage the positive. For example, an
advertiser may show
fatherhood in a particularly good light. A letter campaign, could be sent
in praise. We have targeted
advertisers, TV series or situation comedies, book publishers, motion
corporations with discriminatory policies, judges, anyone in the public
eye. And, we support other
men's groups in their letter writing campaigns when possible.
To produce really effective letter campaigns we need you to join
NCFM and to then
MAINTAIN A NETWORK OF STATE REPRESENTATIVES - We are presently
officially represented in 20 states. Our representatives work with local
media and are there to
answer questions from politicians, academics and the public.
COMMITTEE ON GENDER BIAS IN THE COURTS - In 1980 the N.O.W. Legal
Defense and Education Fund teamed up with the National Association of
Women Judges to form a
program where the goal was suppose to be to promote equality for women and
men in the courts.
Under this guise they are seeking to get every state to create commissions
on gender bias in the
courts. So far most states have completed their reports. Sex
discrimination against men has yet to
be dealt with in a meaningful way by almost all of them.
Several exceptions exist. NCFM managed to get heard by the Gender
Bias Task Force in
Texas (1993) and Equal Rights For Fathers, Iowa, got heard before their
state task force. The main
difference in presentations was that Equal Rights For Fathers, Iowa, spoke
only about divorce
issues. NCFM, on the other hand, addressed not only divorce issues, but a
whole range of other
issues as well.
The importance of these commission reports is in establishing an
atmosphere for reform
and in acting as knowledgeable guidelines in the formulation of future
policies. Not all of the
commissions have presented honest findings. A case in point is the State
of Maryland. Jon Ryan,
our committee chairman on gender bias in the courts, reviewed the raw data
and compared it to
what the commission said they had found. What Jon found in the draft of
the report were
conclusions blatantly unsupported by the commissions own raw data. Jon was
able to review the
raw data, so he tabulated the number of times that inaccuracies were
presented. He found that better
than 30% of the time the commission presented inaccurate data. Was it a
coincidence? Just a
mistake? Were they on drugs? What did they have to gain by presenting
With respect to how gender bias in the courts affect men here are a
few of our concerns:
Why do men out number women 25 to 1 in the prison system? Why will a
prosecutor most often
offer a woman accomplice in a crime a deal in order to more successfully
prosecute her male
partner? The reverse is almost never true. Men draw longer sentences than
women for the same
crime. A woman is more likely than a man to be placed on probation and not
be sent to jail. And,
then, of course, there is the whole issue of the awarding of child custody.
Jon Ryan would like to have NCFM begin its own fact finding task
force and see men who
are articulate about the issues demand to be on the commissions now forming.
To do this effectively we need you to join NCFM and to support Jon's
joining NCFM, we are asking for a mere additional $9.00 to register with
WILLIAM HETHERINGTON - To avoid the possibility of a law suit we will phrase our
comments in terms of, "our belief". William Hetherington is serving a 30
year sentence for spousal
rape in the state of Michigan. He has already served ten years. The charge
was made verbally by
his wife during a custody dispute. The written charge was made by a police
Hetherinton's ex-wife never signed a charge. During the divorce the family
court froze all assets,
which meant that Mr. Hetherington had no money to use in his defense of
the criminal charges.
Later, the divorce court awarded all of the assets to William's ex-wife,
but the criminal court
records were never changed to reflect his indigent status.
All Mr. Hetherington is asking for is another trial with fair
representation. In fact, he has
protested his complete innocence from the start by refusing to plea
bargain. We believe that he is
completely innocent. Anyone in the Flint, Michigan, area can investigate
the trial for themselves
since the transcripts will be given to any member of the public to read.
One of the problems was, however, that Mr. Hetherington had no money
to obtain an
official version of his transcript. In 1993 NCFM raised the $3,000 needed
to purchase a transcript.
Fact Sheet on William Hetherington
BI-MONTHLY NEWSLETTER (Published 6 times a year). The national organ of NCFM is
"Transitions". Transitions contains news about NCFM as well as news about
current events. It
carries academic articles, opinion pieces, book reviews, movie reviews and
provides a forum
where members can exchange ideas. It carries articles which highlight
gender issues that affect
men. Transitions accepts articles from all sides on the gender equality
issue (for and against). We
encourage members and non-members, alike, to submit original material.
"Transitions" is not available through subscriptions. It is free
with membership in the
National Coalition of Free Men. Transitions is a project of member
volunteers. As an example of
how people can work closely over great distances, Transitions is edited
and printed in Texas and
distributed from Pennsylvania.
MANAGES THE "MEN'S ISSUES SECTION" on the Compuserve Computer Network
(GO ISSUES, #12 on the menu). There, we encourage disussion and make
available. You can sign up for Compuserve by calling (800) 848-8990.
MEN'S ACTION PRESS: By selecting the Men's Action Press option here or on
page you will be taken to additional files created by NCFM. These files
are for sale at First Virtual,
Inc. First Virtual is an information shopping mall on the Internet. When
you select Men's Action
Press you will be taken directly to NCFM's store. Simply press the Page
Down key, use the Down
Arrow key or use the "slide down" feature at the right of your screen
(available with Windows
browsers) to see all of our files.
Just above our "store description" you will see a series of links
that will take you to other
places in First Virtual should you want to explore the shopping mall.
You can look at the description of our products for free. In order
to purchase products you
will have to register with First Virtual. You start the process by sending
email@example.com. First Virtual will return to you a form for you to fill
out. You will need to give
First Virtual a Visa or Master Card number. This number is given by you to
them over the
telephone and NOT over the Internet. This keeps your credit card number
secure. You can even
keep your identity a secret to others on the Internet. First Virtual
stores your personal data on a
computer that is NOT connected to the Internet.
Topics covered include such items as Divorce advice and referral,
before public hearings, Interviews, etc.
Men's Action Press
TRANSITIONS: Journal of Men's Perspectives - The bimonthly newsletter (6 times a
year) of the national organization. Covers gender issues as they affect
men. Transitions is free with
membership and is not available through subscription (except to
libraries). Transitions is a project
of the volunteer membership and has published continuously since 1981.
To become knowledgeable about what men's issues are, you should begin by:
Reading "Transitions", which is the national newsletter published by the
National Coalition of Free
Men (published 6 times a year). Portions of this newsletter will be
uploaded to Internet. For
example we will make available on a regular basis "NCFM News". This file
will be uploaded every
two months and will keep you informed of news, research and up coming
events. This file will be
available for free.
Read a book called, Men Freeing Men, edited by Francis Baumli. To order,
write, New Atlantis
Press, 4 Ranch Lane, St. Louis, MO 63131. Send $16.95. Missouri residents,
please add sales
tax. You can also place an order through your local book store.
Men Freeing Men is a collection of articles and contains a lengthy
chapter on the history of
We also urge you to read two other books: THE MYTH OF MALE POWER by Warren
Farrell, PhD, and THE HAZARDS OF BEING MALE by Herb Goldberg, PhD. The Myth Of
Male Power provides the best overview of social and civil rights problems.
It is especially well
documented. Of special interest is its treatment of employment issues
including sexual harassment
and affirmative action. The Hazards Of Being Male, dwells on psychological
issues such as the
pressure to be all things to all people and the double binds that men live with.
AT THIS TIME WE WOULD LIKE TO INVITE YOU TO JOIN. There is strength in
numbers. There are many things you can do to help, but even if you are not
a worker, your dues
and extra tax deductible contributions will go to support others who are active.
This is your opportunity to help bring about a better quality of
life, to make yourself heard.
Individuals who are victims of false allegation of a sexual
crime should contact Victims of Child Abuse Legislation
(VOCAL). Call: (800) 745-8778 immediately. Even if you
are not accused by a child they may be able to offer
guidance and legal referral. At the end of this article we
will offer several other resources.
The SAID Victim
by Reid Kimbrough
Accusations of sexual abuse in custody and visitation
disputes continue and studies indicate the national divorce
rate is increasing. Matrimonial attorneys are having
clients, the accused as well as the accuser, undergo
polygraph and psychological testing.
Statistics on the frequency of the accusations are
inconclusive on this social problem that is not limited to
the United States. Layman and professional cite high or low
percentages that support education, training, experience,
and personal beliefs. Only one study has been conducted on
the issue, the results eventually became the foundation for
the American Bar Associations' "SEXUAL ABUSE ALLEGATIONS IN
CUSTODY AND VISITATION CASES: A Resource Book for Judges and
Resource material on child abuse and allegations of child
abuse clearly indicate the mental health community is
divided on the accusations issue. Psychiatrists,
psychologists, social workers, therapists, and counselors
have taken definite sides, particularly in regard to sexual
This article is about the falsely accused - how they react,
the response they receive, what they learn, and what they
propose. The intent is to point out that many falsely
accused individuals react in ways that go far beyond 'I did
not do what you have accused me of doing'. Another intent
is to pose challenges to the mental health industry which is
sustaining the accusations.
The accused are parents who have been falsely accused of
sexually abusing a minor child in the context of either a
custody or visitation dispute. While the majority of those
accused are fathers, by pending or ex-wives, mothers have
also been falsely accused under the same circumstances. For
the most part their names are not known to the general
public. Some cases occasionally appear in the press, but
with few exceptions do we read about them in the national
For the purpose of this article the falsely accused will be
called "SAID Victims", from the June 1987 Karol Ross and
Gordon Blush paper "The SAID Syndrome: Sexual Allegations in
Divorce". SAID Victims will be further defined as
individuals who 1) never sexually abused a minor child, and
2) a court of law determined there was no sexual abuse.
Child abuse and allegations of child abuse are alarmingly
real in our society today - reports are both true and false.
They are made in good faith by mandated reporters protected
by judicial immunity, by anonymous callers to state hotline
phones, by malicious neighbors, by disgruntled day care
employees, by students, by step-children in blended
families, & by spouses in custody/visitation disputes.
While this paper concerns itself with the SAID Victim, other
falsely accused individuals may easily relate to the topic.
In 1925 Navy Lt. Lyman Swenson's former wife was awarded
custody of the minor children of the marriage. The "tender
years" doctrine applied. The former Mrs. Swenson interfered
with visitation and "made charges and statements against
(him) of a serious and derogatory nature, all of which
were untrue and made without any foundation and for no cause
whatsoever". In 1929 the California First District Court of
Appeals awarded custody to the lieutenant.
In 1955, after almost three years of litigation, the
Minnesota Supreme Court (Stoll v. Stoll) affirmed a trial
courts decision to transfer custody from the mother to the
father. The evidence indicated the mother had developed
delusions that the father desired to perform indecent acts
with the children and attempted to impress such thoughts
upon the children. The court stated, "The strain upon all
of these lives resulting from the (mother's) false
accusations and fixed delusions has been severe, and is
beginning to make itself felt in the formulating of the
mental attitude and character of these children".
In 1961 the Supreme Court of Iowa ruled (Andreesen v.
Andreesen) that the wife, who suffered from paranoia and
accompanying delusions, was not entitled to have custody of
the minor child. Among other things the mother believed her
minor daughter had been sexually molested by the father and
the child would become a prostitute. The court stated the
mother "seems to be furtherest from normal on sexual
In 1977 after a custody reversal from the mother to the
father the New York Supreme Court (Appellate Division)
stated in Hotze v. Hotze that in all her contacts with the
son she reiterated the same destructive theme to
him, "is your father beating you?", "try to escape", don't
give up hope". She also made unfounded accusations of
homosexuality against her former husband and accused him of
sleeping with her daughter.
In 1981 S.L. Kaplan and S.J. Kaplan alerted the mental
health community on accusations of sexual child abuse during
divorce and custody proceedings. This is acknowledged as
the first formal reporting of a potential problem.
In 1985 the House Committee on Children, Youth and Families
was told, "As many as 10-15 percent of the evaluations
involve the custody dispute between separated, divorcing,
divorced spouses, and/or other co-habiting persons...It is
clear that parents and lawyers have determined that the
only way to deny permanent visiting privileges of another
spouse is to allege child abuse or sexual abuse".
Accusations of sexual child abuse made in the context of
custody or visitation litigation were abundant during the
1980's. A study on the correlation between the accusations
and changes in state statutes on custody determinations and
type (sole, joint, etc.) would be interesting. More fathers
seeking custody during this decade is another factor that
should be considered.
During this period an increase of child abuse was seen on a
national level, many statistics failed to mention the rising
incidence of reports made in custody or visitation
The SAID Victim - What They Learn
Recall the time in your youth when you and your playmates
took apples from a neighbors tree and consider three
scenarios: 1) You took the apples, you know the neighbor saw
you, and you were confronted; 2) You took the apples however
the neighbor did not see you, and you were confronted; and
3) You never took any apples but were accused. Remember
your reactions to each.
In March 1986 Dr. Sharon Satterfield (University of
Minnesota) testified before the Minnesota Attorney General's
Task Force On Child Abuse Within the Family.
Dr. Satterfield was asked "what happens to the children who
have been falsely identified as being sexually abused?" She
replied, "the most horrendous thing that can happen to a
family is to be falsely accused. There are many well
documented cases of reported abuse where abuse did not
occur. It is a nightmare for both the accused and the
children". She continued, "the acute symptoms of families
who have been falsely accused are similar to those symptoms
of families where abuse has occurred. It is a post trauma-
tic stress disorder that these families go through."
In October 1986 the final report on the Minnesota task force
included the statement, "Not every allegation of abuse is
true. The impact of false allegations on families can be
devastating--the stigma within the community, the potential
loss of employment, and the trauma to all within the family.
In child custody cases this problem is particularly
This task force followed the Scott County, Minnesota abuse
cases. A report on that investigation was issued in February
Also in 1986, while Minnesota was gathering information for
its task force on child abuse, the Research Unit of the
Association of Family and Conciliation Courts announced it
was seeking input for the Abuse Allegation Project. This
project sought information on sexual abuse allegations in
A notice on this project appeared in a 1986 copy of the
Family Advocate, one of many publications not initially
known to falsely accused persons. Networking by special
interest groups urged SAID Victims to respond to the project
and many did to the researchers at the Association of Family
and Conciliation Courts.
How then does an individual react after being accused of
doing something they never did, specifically SAID Victims?
There have been comments from the mental health community
but no in-depth research studies are found in the resource
material. Most material has been written by special interest
groups and falsely accused individuals.
Until proper research is conducted, along with changes
required in the mental health and legal disciplines, SAID
Victims will continue an innate educational process on the
social issue they involuntarily became involved in.
Emotional support, effective issue-educated legal
representation, and precise documentation are predominant
needs for the falsely accused.
There are a number of things that SAID Victims must do when
a false accusation occurs, however because of many factors
they are not often in the best position to properly defend
themselves (timeliness, the trauma of a false accusation,
and lack of knowledge on the issue).
Extremely competent and knowledgeable legal counsel is
required, whether or not an accusation of child abuse is
made in the context of custody or visitation litigation.
Attorneys have many cases in which they are involved,
falsely accused persons have only one, which they know best.
Experience has shown that individuals who help their own
cause have a better chance of success. The collecting of
pertinent information, a chronology of events, and
supporting resource material is very important and maybe
used as a basis for direct and cross-examination of
witnesses by legal counsel.
Most SAID Victims initially respond to a false accusation by
contacting lay groups. These groups provide some of the
first resource material on the accusations issue as well as
other social issues that easily explain why the groups were
formed. SAID Victims quickly realize they are not alone;
other individuals have been accused under the same
circumstances, others are presently living the nightmare.
The falsely accused then find themselves involved in a
networking phase with understanding and informative
strangers: Bob Adams, Jimmy Boyd, Jim Cook, Peter Cyr, Nat
Denman, Richard Doyle, Richard Esdale, Bob Hirsch-
feld, Randy Ingle, Robert Karls, George Kelly, Al Lebow,
David Levy, Ken Lewis, Bob McGuigan, Michael Naylor, Ken
Pangborn, John Rutherford, Peter Sokaris, Tony Steffes, Dick
Woods, and many others.
Contacts with lay groups can be critically important to SAID
Victims. Depending on when an accusation was made, and the
status of legal matters, timely advice may be offered which
can have a profound effect on the future of the falsely
accused and the children involved. Thanks is given to
the above individuals and their organizations for helping
The falsely accused soon find themselves reading newsletters
called Legal Beagles, Liberators, Court Watchers, Divorce
Watchers, Father's Reviews, Father's Forums, Father's
Journals, NetWORK, Transitions, Speak Out For
Children, and numerous others. The subject matter in these
publications tells more than who the SAID Victims are,
concern is expressed for the true victims of the accusations
- the children.
True SAID Victims acquire, share, and read everything they
can on the accusations issue. Phone and mail expenses
increase; networking expands (at times to other countries);
and frequent trips to community, university, and legal
libraries are made. Sports Illustrated, Popular Mechanics,
and other publications of past interest are no longer read
as an abrupt lifestyle change, born of necessity, emerges.
The falsely accused learn of professional associations, and
private enterprises, they did not know existed: the
Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, the American
Orthopsychiatric Association, the National Association of
Social Workers, the American Psychological Association, the
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, the
American Academy of Psychotherapists, and the Institute for
Psychological Therapies are only a few.
For obvious reasons the first resource material that SAID
Victims receive from special interest groups relates to
accusations made in the context of custody and visitation
disputes. The falsely accused learn of individuals from the
medical, mental health, and other professions who express
concerns on the many issues associated with sexual child
abuse: Dr. Elissa P. Benedek, Douglas J. Besharov, Dr.
Gordon Blush, Dr. Harold Boverman, Dr. Lee Coleman, Kathleen
M. Dillon, Margretta Dwyer, Robert L. Emans, Dr. Richard A.
Gardner, Corey L. Gordon, Dr. Arthur H. Green, Dr. Melvin
Guyer, Dr. William F. McIver, Dr. David C. Raskin, Dr.
Domeena C. Renshaw, Karol Ross, Dr. Diane H. Schetky,
Professor LeRoy G. Schultz , Dr. Daniel C. Schuman,
William D. Slicker, Dr. Ralph C. Underwager, Dr. Alayne Yates,
Dr. John C. Yuille, and numerous others.
The falsely accused obtain publications these authors cite
and note that they appear to represent one segment of the
overall mental health community. The falsely accused is
aware that learning only one side of an issue is
fundamentally wrong, yet later discover many individuals,
representing all levels of this community, have no interest
in educating themselves on the accusations issue, and the
word "mindset" is added to an expanding vocabulary.
In time the falsely accused become knowledgeable on true
child abuse and its many forms: psychological, physical,
prenatal, selling, and sexual. It is in this phase that SAID
Victims realize the full extent of the two related social
problems and that other professionals in the mental health
community have widely different opinions on the accusations
New names and material is read on true sexual child abuse as
the falsely accused learns of their concerns: Dr. Gene Abel,
Cordelia Anderson, Lucy Berliner, Angela Brown, Dr. Donald
C. Bross, Dr. Ann W. Burgess, Dr. Jon R. Conte, Dr. David
Finkelhor, Dr. A. Nicholas Groth, Dr. Astrid Heger, Dr.
Judith L. Herman, Jan Hindman, Linda L. Holmstrom, Fay H.
Knopp, Dr. Richard D. Krugman, Kee MacFarlane, Mary
McQuiston, Ann Seig, Dr. Suzanne M. Sgroi, Dr. Frances Sink,
Dr. Roland C. Summit, Dr. Sue White, Dr. Bruce Woodling, and
True SAID Victims, and victims of other false accusations,
often acquire large amounts of resource material on child
abuse and allegations of child abuse. Such material may be
defined as any type of information created by any individual
or group of individuals who express concern on the two
related subjects. The use of computers to manage extensive
amounts of data is valuable in categorizing information,
noting trends, analyzing statistics, and correlating names
It appears that one segment of the mental health community
offered few or no opinions on the accusations issue until
February 1988 when the American Bar Association published
"SEXUAL ABUSE ALLEGATIONS IN CUSTODY AND VISITATION CASES: A
Resource Book for Judges and Court Personnel". This is based
on a chronological review of the resource material on child
abuse & allegations of child abuse from 1929 to the present.
The review, as well as the background for this paper,
included over 950 selections representing more than 5,000
pages of material.
The schism in the mental health community is evident as one
reads the professional material, with the titles and subject
matter primarily defining the writers position on child
abuse and allegations of child abuse. As is common in the
professions, researchers report on their findings, comment
on, and reference the prior work of others. It is easy for
anyone however to see how those in this community have
reacted to the accusations issue. Their own material shows
these individuals so divided that they trade professional
barbs across the boundary that separates the two sides.
More often than not they fail to acknowledge the findings of
others within their own discipline, and when they do, those
works with opposing views (often on the same topic of
concern) are either dismissed, downplayed, or strongly
Quite often the references in these papers continually cite
the same individuals who share and support the beliefs and
opinions of the writer. One segment is more guilty in doing
this than the other. One author cited material on the
accusations issue from another segment of the mental health
community as "one body of psychological literature".
At times the accusations issue within this community appears
somewhat analogous to a husband-wife argument where whomever
gets in the last word is "right". The last word being the
most recently published paper in whatever prestigious
journal published it. These individuals are at the top of
the mental health profession and are not those employed in
local mental health centers, county or state social service
agencies, rape crisis centers, or woman's shelters.
If one reads enough material generated by the entire mental
health community it is evident there are many authorities on
child abuse and allegations of child abuse, specifically
sexual child abuse. However, the actions of these
professionals, along with some common sense, tells the
falsely accused layman that with so much internal conflict
the profession has removed itself from being called
authoritative and raises the question as to whether there
are any true "experts". The 1986 Minnesota Attorney
General's Task Force On Child Abuse Within the Family, as
well as more recent resource material, reflects a national
concern on "experts".
Unfortunate as it is the law enforcement, legal, and media
professions often look to the mental health community for
guidance. "Nationally known expert", "sex abuse expert"
and "expert testimony" are frequently seen in resource
material from all disciplines. Consider, for example, the
article by Margaret Cronin Fisk, "Abuse: The New Weapon",
that was in The National Law Journal on July 17, 1989: "Too
often in these cases, the lawyer on one side will get
experts to verify that the sexual abuse occurred, and
lawyers on the other side will line up experts to just as
firmly refute the allegation".
Consider also the "psychologist" who had "enjoyed a national
reputation as an expert in child custody and abuse cases".
The individual practiced as a psychologist, had his license
revoked, and his doctorate was in philosophy. He coauthored
a paper in the American Bar Associations' "SEXUAL ABUSE
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