It’s time for Tyrese to man up

I’m not talking about his emotional response to the violation of his parental rights (full video here).  My personal experience and 20+ years of father advocacy tells me what he is experiencing is a normal response to the trauma that he is enduring as I’ve seen it and done it.  Where he needs to “man up” is recognizing the biases within the system and how he can best survive it.  He also needs to face up to his contributions to the system which is now emotionally and financially eating him alive.

Tyrese laments “the uninvolved fathers has made it bad for the involved fathers because our voices are being someway, somehow drowned out”.  He goes on about good and bad fathers and the system not being able to tell the difference.  It is the myth of the deadbeat dad, a father uninvolved by choice, that this system is based upon.  And  “good men” holding the “bad men” accountable, turning bad into “responsible fathers” for children, myth’s which fuels the injustices.  The system dupes the “good dad” into believing that it only goes after the “bad dads”.  I can see Tyrese fell for it by his claim to be a good dad in a system that confuses him with the bad dads.

Here are some of the realities I give to every father who enters the system, most just like Tyrese, duped into thinking they are a good dad who was sucked into the system by mistake and if they just show they are a good father then it will be OK and they will be treated fair.  First, recognize that you are the only one in the court room who has to defend yourself and justify your parental right and you are the only one who is PAYING while all the others are taking in when in court.

Hard reality #1 – your abilities as a father count for nothing.  Hard reality #2 – Truth counts for nothing.  Hard reality #3 – The best interests of your child count for nothing.  Hard reality #4 – It IS about the money, your money going to others.  Hard reality #5 – you have no rights – PERIOD.  Hard reality #6 – Everything you say or do will be twisted and used against you.  Hard reality #7 – ANY display of ANY emotion will be used against you.  Hard reality #8 – You are viewed as a potential danger to your child and Ex.  Hard reality #9 – Most everyone will believe you are guilty and abandon you.  Hard reality #10 – you WILL suffer injustice, persecution, indignities, and assaults on your physical and mental health. 

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I expect that like most of us Tyrese is now figuring out his assumptions about “deadbeat dads” and a just family court working in the interest of a child are incorrect.  Many fathers come into this system thinking that they can beat it with a good attorney, win on appeal, publicize their unjust case and to win and foster change, or connections or fame will protect them.  They are wrong.  The system knows the myth’s. It is designed to move your assets into the pockets of those within the system and will run until you are drained of finances.  Nothing you can do will change the system while you are in it.

Tyrese case is the standard.  First a filing and the mother gets “temporary custody, a “temporary order of protection” (TOP) based upon “being afraid”, and ” temporary child support” all without him getting his day in court to defend himself.  She then makes allegations of violating the TOP for frivolous things like contacting your child or sending gifts.  He is removed from contact with his child “pending a hearing” but when you go in the attorneys broker a deal for “supervised visitation”, a scant few hours a week with someone looking over your shoulder (which you pay for).  You take it as something is better than nothing.

Being separated from your child takes a toll on you.  Everything you do results in another filing in court and you have to respond.  Attorneys fees (yours and hers most likely), child support, and lost income to handle the action are draining you of your assets.  The system assaults you on a daily basis with no contact with your children and continuous filings and you bleed money you don’t have.  Emotionally you are drained but if you show anger or grief (as Tyrese did) it is used against you in court (Tyrese had 4 deputies in court who patted him down in response to his video) and your friends and family make fun of you for being “emotionally unstable” (check youtube for the response to Tyrese).

Your ex is using the system to foster Parental Alienation between you and your child(ren) and the system is more than happy to oblige.  Allegations against your ex are ignored (Tyrese ex texted she would cut off his fingers and he gets no TOP) and anything you do results in allegations you have to defend in court (Tyrese was dragged in for “following his ex” based upon a private investigator hired to monitor her activity).  You are running out of money (Tyrese borrowed to pay attorneys) with no end in sight to the legal fees.  The stress is so bad you end up physically ill (Tyrese ended up in the hospital with chest pains).

If you end up so physically or emotionally ill you can’t continue you’ll be accused of “giving up” and “abandoning your child” you’ll be the “deadbeat dad”.  If you’re broke there is no assistance anywhere to help you in court and if you fall behind on your child support you’ll be put in jail.  The system defines a “good father” by child support paid.  Making money will take priority, even over spending time with your child, if the loss of money means jail.  Fall behind or miss “visitation” and you’ll be the “deadbeat dad”.  And should you grow tired of being a “visitor” for a scant few hours a week and not a parent, the child is moved away from you, or the mother just interferes with your time together and you can’t fight anymore, you’ll be the “deadbeat dad”.  And the world will pass judgement on you.

Now you know, the “deadbeat” is actually a beat dead, dead broke, and disenfranchised dad.  

I reprint my tips on managing your case below.  They are online at NY MAN and our NY discussion group is here and the international discussion group here.   You can find links and recommended reading here.

Jim Hays, Director NY MAN

 

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MAN’s 15 IMPORTANT TIPS ON MANAGING YOUR CASE

You woke up one day and said “I must be in the twilight zone, this can’t happen in America”.  Well, you ain’t in Kansas anymore Theodore, it does happen, on a daily basis (in KS too).  And to make matters worse chances are that the “opposing party” (formerly the person you would have given your life to protect) wants the divorce, filed against you, and is way ahead on the preparation.

First thing you should realize, you are not alone.  With a 50% divorce rate and one third our of wedlock birth rate chances are you are sitting next to a divorced/separated “non custodial” dad on the bus, at work, school, library or just walking down the street.  Just begin to speak of your situation and the kindred Dads will open up and begin talking to you.

There are some fundamentally important things you can do to help yourself.  First and foremost you have to recognize that YOU are responsible for your interactions with others including your ex, your children the Courts, whoever.  Second you need to build a support network.  We suggest a network of three.  One family member, a mother, sister or brother, etc. who can go to ALL meetings you have regarding your children.  Court, school conferences and public events you children are in.  One friend who understands you and is willing to attend an event or come to court when your family person is unavailable.  You can also discuss your emotions with them so you don’t explode later on.  One FaFNY member (or a divorced Dad), a mentor from within the organization.  Someone who has been through this before.  You can do this through networking, phone calls, e-mails and by attending the meetings.  You need someone who has been through the system to explain it to you.

Once your support base is set try the following suggestions:

1.         “Manage” your outward emotions at ALL times.  You can not afford an outward display of anger toward ANYONE, but most importantly towards your ex spouse.  As one father put it “I’m the Buckingham Palace Guard when I’m relating to her”.  Recognize they will try to make you act angry and argumentative.  Don’t fall into the trap.  Adhere to the Standard Conditions of Parental Behavior on this site.

2.         Keep a DAILY diary or calendar.  Cases often run months and even years.  Recalling facts and events is difficult and made worse because of the stress.  Write down all major points of your interactions with your ex, your kids and those involved in the case such as law guardians, etc. and include phone calls made and topic discussed.

3.         Buy a digital recorder or a voice activated pocket recorder and phone microphone and record ALL conversations and contacts with your ex.  False allegations are an accepted practice in family court and attorneys use them as leverage.  YOU HAVE TO PROTECT YOURSELF.  If you never suffer a false allegation you can destroy the tapes when your case is done.  But in a He said, She said when the allegations are against you, YOU LOSE.  Unless you have evidence to the contrary false allegations will be believed. (Speak with your attorney on the legality of recording conversations.  Presently in New York State a person can record a conversation as long as they are physically a party to the conversation.  Laws change, make sure you are up to date)

3.         Make yourself “father of the year”.  In the adversarial arena of family court there is a tendency to respond to attacks on your character with cross attacks on character.  Instead of showing you should “get the kids because she is no good” show that you should get your kids because YOU ARE SO GOOD.  Build yourself up, not tear her down.  Carry photo’s and brag about your kids. Get your kids because your deserve them.

4.         Know your kids!  Learn everything there is to know about your children PERSONALLY.  Learn all their sizes and tastes in clothes.  Learn about their friends and what they really like to do.  Know them as people.  Even if you end up with limited parenting time you will be much better off having really learned who your children are.

5.         Be involved in the major decisions in your child’s life!  Know who their doctor is by name and location and talk to him about your child’s health issues.  Be there when they get medical attention.  Know who their extra curricular activity instructors are by name in music, dance, soccer or whatever.  Attend games and events.  Share information with your ex spouse, they are still a parent even though not your spouse.

6.         Get involved in your child’s education!  Meet with your child’s teacher or guidance counselor and let them know of your continued involvement in the child’s education.  File the parental access form (FERPA) with your child’s school but bring it in in person and ask that it be kept on file.  Be aware of who is listed on the emergency release card and that the contact numbers are up to date.  Explain the current situation to school personnel so that they are aware of the family dissolution as it affects your kids.  JOIN THE PTA.  Attend school (and school board) meetings and events.

7.         Don’t be a Disneyland Dad.  Having limited time with your children can often result in a child-parent relationship based on “we have to do something fun”, McDonalds and a movie!  But this is not a natural parental role.  REMEMBER YOU ARE STILL A PARENT!  Act like it.  Time together should be spent on normal family functions.  Weekday evenings should be homework and dinner at HOME (the one they are currently at!).  Do these family things together.  Keep normal routines regardless of the parent in charge at the time.  Spend weekends at normal family events and gatherings.  Remember their religious upbringing consistent with what was done before the divorce.

8.         Allow your child to express his or her emotions openly and freely.  No child asks for divorce.  They are truly the innocent party that has to suffer the consequences of another’s decision.  Let your child express their emotions as they need to and DON”T BE JUDGEMENTAL.  They want and need security, not blame.  Listen.  Listen.  Listen.

9.         Respect the other parent!  Absolutely no bad mouthing of the other parent should occur.  This destroys your child’s self esteem no matter which parent is “bad”.  This goes for extended family, friends and the children themselves.  If someone bad mouths your ex-spouse in front of you stand up for your child’s parent.  You are not supporting your spouse, you are supporting the parent of your child (and thereby the child them self).

10.       Nurture your child’s relationship with their family.  Not only your extended family but BOTH branches of the tree.  On father’s day call BOTH Grandfathers and wish them a happy father’s day.  Same for mother’s day.  Aunts and uncles, cousins etc. are important to the child too.  Allow open contact with the other parent and all of the extended family when you are exercising your parenting time.

11.       Think outside the box.  Being “non custodial” means limited time with your children.  You can increase your time by thinking outside of the limitations placed on you.  Attend all public events your child is in.  All sporting events and presentations.  Volunteer to chaperone on school and church filed trips.  Volunteer to be a reading parent at your child’s school.  By being involved you gain time outside the court order and the limitations imposed there.

12.       In Court, once you agree to it you can’t take it back.  Never, EVER stipulate to ANYTHING on the record.  It will get twisted around and come back to bite you.  If you are unsure or confused, say so.  You can agree to something in principle and ASK THAT IT BE REDUCED TO WRITING SO YOU CAN READ IT BEFORE SIGNING.  If you don’t like something OBJECT TO IT.

13.       Understand the terminology and what you are agreeing to.  Vague references such as “such further visitation times as the parties agree” are unenforceable.  “Joint custody with primary physical possession with the mother” really means she is the custodial parent and you are the non custodial parent.  Make sure dates and times are specific.  A statement “Christmas in even years with the father from 10:00PM Christmas eve to 8:00PM Christmas night” is enforceable and is better than “the father shall have the child every other Christmas” which is unenforceable.

14.       Think Ahead!!!!  You are going to be in this system until your child reaches 21 years of age.  Think ahead about who will pay for college and which college.  Will you spouse try to move your children away from you when she meets a new boyfriend?  Ask yourself, “What can happen in the future to keep me away from my children and what can I do to prevent it from happening”.

 15.       Ask yourself, “Can I accept this definition of fatherhood” and “At what price is my fatherhood”?  Many people enter into agreements without asking themselves these two questions.  If the definition of fatherhood handed to you doesn’t meet your expectations your parental role will fade over time.  Also if the price to exercise your fatherhood is to high you won’t be able to do so.  If you have to work 60 hours a week to pay the support you won’t have time to be with your children if you have them say 40% of the time.  If you are abused by your spouse or arrested under false allegations of abuse when you try to get your kids the price of fatherhood will eventually, emotionally and financially, be to high for you to continue.  If your spouse slams the door in your face when you come to get your children will you have the energy and stamina to keep taking her back to a court that really doesn’t care about your parental time with your children?

Being a separated parent takes work.  But it is the most rewarding thing that you can do.  Stay at it.  Don’t give up.  The better the job you do in the beginning the easier it will be towards the end.

 

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I’ve been driven out by misandry and, I’m so lonesome I could cry

At a recent American Psychological Association (APA) convention the topic of loneliness, and how it impact health was discussed.  Dr. Keith Ablow writes about it on Fox news lamenting “we still don’t have a plan to reduce it”.  In the article he points to social media as increasing loneliness in America. Emma Sepala, Ph.D. tells us it is the American Protestant work ethic and drive to get ahead.  But both the work ethic and media (newspapers, books, long travel times) have been with us in the U.S. for 300 years.  And what explains the rest of the world?

Here I think they miss the point entirely.  We have throughout time always had distractions from close physical social interactions with others and a Protestant work ethic in America but what is different now is misandry and the removal of fathers from families.  The demonization of men has impacted how men interact to form families and interact within families, specifically the nuclear family of husband (father), wife (mother) and children and how these families interact with other families and the extended family is the change which has occurred in industrial societies and worldwide these past 40 years.

The government regulated family based upon the misandric common portrayal of men as deadbeats at best, and the demonization of men as dangerous at worst is resulting in policies which are destroying parental rights, individual rights, and tearing families apart, and harming men, women, and children in the process.  These government family regulatory policies have resulted in a 50% divorce rate, 1/3 out of wedlock birth rate, and 40% of children living apart from their father.  And now a generation of this has fostered young people averse to getting married or having children and if they do so are doing it later in life, often with children born outside of marriage.

In 1970, and for 300 years before that, it was recognized that the nuclear family was the building block of a strong society and beneficial to men, women, and children.  A 6% rate of children living in a home absent their father and a divorce rate of 5-8% in 1970 was considered high and cause for worry.  It was societies expectation that both husband and wife would get, and stay together, to have children (and siblings to have the same biological parents) and to raise them.  Marriage was a contract between 2 people not to be broken without cause.  Parental rights were fundamental rights which would not be interfered with absent applying the legal standard of strict scrutiny.  Parents, both parents, knew best how to raise their children.  No school, court, or state welfare agency would think to tell parents how to parent nor to designate one a “non parent” without a showing of harm to the children.

The 1970’s saw first the “war on poverty” which was the beginning of government subsidized single mother homes.  As government subsidized them they grew in number and to fill the federal coffers for expenditures to “single mothers” the government built a federal child excise tax system on “non custodial” fathers giving it the government double speak name of “child support”.  These systems followed historical sex based parenting patterns of the mothers having custody of children and receiving subsidies based upon the number of children she had and the father being charged a percentage of income based upon the number of children assessed to him, an excise tax.  Worse, the financial contributions were separated from child access for “non custodial” fathers.  These systems, originally designed for out of wedlock families with children were over time, 1970’s-80’s, applied to ALL families.

With out of wedlock, divorced, and separated single mother homes being subsidized we saw a increase in both out of wedlock births and divorced families with children.  Who needs a husband if the government will provide.  Add to this a system which based itself on women having custody of children and men paying the government for the children we end up with a government system which defined men’s value only as what they could pay for a family which they were not allowed to be a part of.  Historically a fathers responsibility to provide for his family financially was balanced by his right to parent and raise his children in the same home as wife and child.   Government collects the “child support” a father paid, but does nothing to preserve his parental rights.  A father taxation without parental representation.

As divorces increased the difficulty in obtaining one was seen as a “problem”.  Pushed by Bar Associations, enter “no fault” divorce.  Previously we needed cause to break the marital contract (such as adultery or abandonment) but now we were going to allow divorce based upon one party desiring to terminate the contract.   Called “no fault” they were actually a unilateral divorce against the wishes of one of the parties.   In the 1990’s studies showed that it was women who filed the majority of divorces (about 80%) and the number one reason given for the divorce was “we grew apart”, in other words a divorce of convenience by women to the detriment of men and children became the norm.

During this time special interest feminist groups were looking for funding sources.  Using the unproven and unchallenged feminist theory of a “patriarchal” system pushed on college campuses in “women’s studies” programs, they seized upon battered and abused women  at the hands of men as an issue and the domestic violence industry was born.  What was originally designed as a shield against physical violence against women in families was turned into a sword to be used by unscrupulous women to gain power and control over men and curry standing in the increasing divorce, child “support” and custody battles.  “Temporary” Orders of Protection (TOP) based upon unsubstantiated ex parte statements to a judge, with no regard to perjury, became the norm.

In law enforcement, prosecutor, and judicial systems, biased enforcement of allegations and reports, with the view of men as perpetrators and women as victims, became the norm even in casual dating relationships.  A woman’s allegations are always believed and a man’s dismissed.  Mandatory arrest took away law enforcement’s discretion to arrest or not. Mandatory prosecution took away a district attorney’s discretion, and legal mandate, to NOT prosecute a case which can not be proven.  Mutual aggression was dismissed as being the man’s fault under “primary aggressor” statutes.  In cases of blatant assaults on men by women “abuse excuse” and “female impunity” is applied and actions by women which would result in arrest of a man were dismissed with a warning.

Police, prosecutors, and judges are not trained by legal experts in the tradition of Blackstone, but by “domestic violence experts”, often a minimally trained worker in a “battered women’s shelter” who spouts dogma as fact.  Act of abuse, even minor ones, are lumped together with “violence” and protections for the innocent are thrown out under the guise of “protecting women”.  Innocent until proven guilty is now guilty until you prove your innocence.  Men are charged with felonies and high misdemeanors which carry sentences of years in prison, and then offered minor fines and TOP’s if they admit their guilt, thus undermining the system for innocent men.

Feminist rhetoric of “men are bad” is forced on boys in our public education system.  Systems are designed to reward girls and how they learn and boys are lined up and medicated for “A.D.D.” when they act like boys do.  Boys are falling behind at all levels within our education system yet we have no “White House Council” to address the issues like we do for girls.  The boy crisis in education has gotten so bad that 65% of all college graduates are female and many colleges are looking to try to lure men to attend as girls complain of the lack of available boys.  “Girls go to college to get more knowledge, boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider” and we turn a blind eye to this sexist biased bullying of boys.

Predatory act of abuse by female pedophiles (often by a teacher or trusted woman in a position of authority) are dismissed with the “lucky stud” myth that “boys want it”.  Abuse excuse is applied to the actions of the female (she was abused herself, she’s lonely, etc.) and when she is charged with a crime she is given female impunity in sentencing, often given time served or probation and not having to plea to a sex offense nor be listed on sexual offender registries.  By definition we don’t consider force able compulsion of sex by a female on a male as rape.  There are no counseling centers for female on male rape and sexual abuse victims.  Sexual abuse of institutionalized delinquent boys at the hands of female counselors and guards occurs on a regular basis and there is no hue and cry to address it.

We consider a drunk woman as incapacitated and unable to consent to sex with no similar protection for men and don’t allow a man to claim drunkenness as a defense of sexual assault.  Drunk women get protection, drunk men get prosecuted.  We readily believe allegations of rape by a female and dismiss a defense of consensual, even when it is a “he said-she said” case and the allegations of abuse occur days, weeks, or months later.  Again, defenses for the innocent do not exist when allegations are against men.

Woman can, and do, lie about their reproductive status.  Even though perpetrating a fraud we hold men financially accountable for children they did not want.  Even when a woman steals his sperm a man is held accountable for the child, in NYS the high court ruling that a “man’s right to reproduction ends at ejaculation”. Once on the hook and named the father of a child we hold the man financially responsible even if DNA results show the man to not be the father.  Another instance of a fraud perpetrated on men by women with no accountability for the actions.

The social interactions between men and women and social institutions have gotten so hostile to men that they are avoiding them wholesale.  At first it was risk aversion, now it is a conscious decision to NOT enter into a situation where you will be judged and risk life, limb, and property.  A generation of men watched their grand fathers, fathers, uncles, brothers, and friends get cleaned out financially, removed from their homes, their family and their children, arrested and persecuted, abandoned.   Young men learned from their example.  Indeed it is now so hostile that many men espouse “M.G.T.O.W. – Men going Their Own Way, no committing to spouse and children due to the risk involved.

The Myth of the “deadbeat dad” was debunked in the 1990’s with federal studies (see Sanford Bravers “Divorced dads: Shattering the Myth’s).  Studies over time have shown that women are as violent as men and the hidden problem within families is those with mutual violence or male victims, which are ignored.  The problem of female pedohiles is flat out ignored due to the “Lucky Stud” myth and female impunity in criminal prosecutions and in sentencing.  Drunken and stoned consensual sex and tawdry behavior which is later regretted results in him being arrested and her treated the victim.  In all these instances we blame men, arrest men, prosecute men, vilify men, ostracize men, and incarcerate men.

When men avoid the dangerous minefield of relationships we look to men as the problem.  We have “responsible fatherhood” programs which purport to teach men how to responsibly pay for children they are not allowed to raise.  We look to see what is wrong with men who don’t want to get married.  We wonder what is wrong with young men without families who seem happy to sit in mom’s basement and play video games all day.  We wonder what is wrong with young men who look to crime, gangs, and drugs and make our communities unsafe and try to get “mentoring” programs.  We look to find “father figures” for the boys who are growing up missing “male role models”.

Men are good. Men are not the problem.  Men are not problem.  Recognize this and we can then begin to address the misandric anti-male policies of the past 40 years.  If we address the hostile environments that men have to face we need do no more than remove the barriers and men will do the rest. (link to men’s/boy’s issues here)

If Ablow, Sepala and others in the APA want to address the underlying causes of loneliness, in addition to a myriad of other problems in America, perhaps they would look to debunk the myth of the patriarchy and abusive bad men and the anti family government policies (listed above) which have been developed based upon these myths.  And debunk the myth that men and women are the same and their differences “socialized into a gender” and recognize it it the differences and strength’s of men and women which fosters a strong family for the benefit of all.  And they need to recognize it is these policies which are hostile to men which are the problem, and stop blaming men for the hostile environment they now have to navigate in.

In the Hank Williams, Sr. classic, “I’m so lonesome I could cry” we get to the end of the ballad before we learn he is lonesome as he pines for another, lamenting, he “wonders where you are”.  “You” isn’t stated clearly but it is apparent that the loneliness will go when they are together again.  It’s not hard to imagine that he is apart due to work to provide for his family and it is his family which will solve his loneliness.  And it is not hard to imagine that without their husband/father they are also lonely.  Is anyone lonely when they have a family to come home to?

 

Do we support our Troops?

A common phrase which I hear a lot these days is “I support our troops”.  Good.  Regardless of personal political opinions we should recognize the sacrifice of the individual in the military who defends our freedoms here at home.  I expect “Troops” conjures up images in our mind such as the one below and others which can be found on the Department of Defense Web site of our Troops working towards goals and objectives to keep us safe.  Who wouldn’t support these fine young people sacrificing for our benefit.  Thank you for your service.

While it is important that we support our troops while on active duty our responsibility to support them doesn’t end there, it continues after they return home.  Unfortunately my experience as a father and family rights activist, Army Brat and Veteran, and member of the Critical Incident Management Team with a NYS law enforcement agency tell me that what we say is far different than what we do when we talk of supporting our veterans, more specifically our MALE Veterans.

A big part of the problem as I see it is men are treated at best as disposable members of society and at worst as  perpetrators of violence and abuse who we need to protect society from.  This bias against men works to foster the public perception that men don’t need any assistance with issues related to their service or due to their being males and in addition it is working to hinder men seeking the assistance they need by not providing male specific outreach and services.  We see this in the lack of programs and services directed towards the specific issues that men face, ignoring their problems.

First the stats:  Since the first Gulf War 97% of combat deaths and casualties have been men and they compose over 90% of US Veterans.  90% of homeless people are men and a large portion of that are veterans.  80% of suicides are men, and a large portion of them are also veterans. In 2016 males accounted for 86% of active duty enlisted personnel and 84.7% of officers.  If we look at longevity as a measure of overall health we find men have a life expectancy (76.2 years) 4.9 years younger than females (81.2 years).  White females life expectancy (81.4 years) eclipses black females (78.4 years), white males (76.7 years), and white females life expectancy is a whopping 14.1 years over black men (72.3 years).   It’s clear that there are many issues related to men which result in negative outcomes evidenced by life expectancy.

I go to the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs website under “Health” and “Conditions and Treatment” I find a link to “WOMEN’S HEALTH ISSUES”  which brings me to the “Office of Women’s Health Services” which links to a study to determine female veterans barriers to receiving care.  Even though men account for 85% of veterans there is no male (men) specific link to resources designed towards the needs of men.  A search of “America’s Male Veterans” returns hits to “Women’s health Issues”!   There is lacking any link to male specific health issues (showing the value the VA places on men), and there is no reference to male specific health issues available (showing the health field’s lack of attention to men)!  The links to “women’s healthcare” include “comprehensive primary care”, “reproductive health”, “child care”, “domestic violence”, “culture change”, and “Special Groups” which is “homeless female veterans”.  Which leads me to ask, DON’T MEN HAVE MALE SPECIFIC ISSUES IN THESE SAME CATEGORIES?

The VA classifies sexual assault and sexual harassment under the heading “Military Sexual Trauma” (MST) and when I look at the issue as portrayed by the VA I see “1 in 4 women and 1 in 100 men REPORT a history to the VA during screenings”.  For those of us who deal with male victims of domestic abuse, harassment, and sexual assault we understand the number one problem with male victims is their reluctance to report!  It is only when I dig through the materials do I find that almost HALF the victims in the program for MST are MALE!  One can only wonder, given the lack of male specific referrals and information, how many men are suffering in silence?

Usually when I author one of these truthful perspectives about the lack of male specific services I receive a ton of responses about being “anti-female”, to the point that I now include the (obvious) disclaimer that I am NOT promoting a reduction in services for females and/or female Veterans.  Indeed, to treat female Veterans like we now treat male Veterans woulds still be mistreating A VETERAN.  The VA (and US) should treat all Veterans equally based upon their individual needs understanding that their sex, race, religion, and national origin may require different outreaches and programs to achieve an equal outcome.  Veterans are not widgets, all the same, they are real people who have sacrificed for all of us and they deserve individual attention to their needs.

Men account for the vast majority of the homeless and the bulk of those men are MALE VETERAN’S.  Men account for the bulk of suicides and many of those are MALE VETERAN’S.  You can’t treat men as disposable members of society who don’t have male specific issues which require services and programs and then say “I support our Veteran’s” as the bulk of Veteran’s are MEN.  Disregarding the health issues of men is to disregard the health issues of Veteran’s.

If you would like to advocate for Veterans (feel free to cut and paste or send the link to this article) you can reach the VA here https://www.va.gov/landing2_contact.htm, and the White House is here https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact, The US Secretary of defense and the Joint Chiefs can be found here https://www.defense.gov/Resources/Contact-DoD/

They stood up for us, we should stand up for them.

When we memorialize those who gave all, in perspective http://prospect.org/article/american-war-dead-numbers the vast majority are men, and it is an issue for our younger generation that men still have to register for the draft (under penalty) and women don’t https://nymensactionnetwork.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/welcome-to-adulthood-gen-z-advice-for-boys-aging-into-men/.

Equal rights, equal responsibilities, equal access to services.