By Phyllis Chesler
WeNews guest author
Sunday, June 26, 2011
It's been 25 years since Phyllis Chesler wrote "Mothers on Trial" to help women fight their child-custody battles. In this excerpt from her revised book, she reviews what's changed, for better and worse.
These mothers said that social workers, mental health professionals, guardians ad litem and parent coordinators--especially if they were women--actively "disliked" and were "cruel and hostile" to them as women. (Perhaps they expected women to be more compassionate toward other women. In this, they were sadly mistaken.)
Also, many mothers found that female professionals were often completely taken in by charming, sociopathic men ("parasites," "smother-fathers"), dangerously violent men, and men who sexually abused their children.
Perhaps the mothers who sent me their stories were married to uniquely terrible men who used the court system to make their lives a living hell; perhaps mothers who did not write to me had the good fortune to have been married to and divorced from far nicer men.
Good fathers definitely exist. Some fathers move heaven and earth to rescue their children from a genuinely mentally ill mother but do not try to alienate the children from her. If the mother has been the primary caretaker, some fathers give up custody, pay a decent amount of child support (and continue to do so) and work out a relationship with their children based on what's good for both the children and their mother.
These men exist. They do not launch custody battles from hell.
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Dr. Phyllis Chesler is emerita professor of psychology and women's studies and the author of 15 books, including "Women and Madness" and "Woman's Inhumanity to Woman." She is a cofounder of the Association for Women in Psychology and the National Women's Health Network. She can be reached through her Web site: http://www.phyllis-chesler.com.
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