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Tell Newsweek to Tell the Truth about Parental Alienation and Domestic Violence

Newsweek's September 25th article "Fighting Over the Kids: Battered spouses take aim at a controversial custody strategy" (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14870310/site/newsweek) attempted to sell the American public an impossible theory: abusive fathers are successfully winning custody of children by claiming that the mother alienated the children from them.

The article highlights the case of Genia Shockome, who lost custody to the father in her divorce. A study of case facts reveals that the judge made the correct decision. (http://glennsacks.com/enewsletters/enews_9_20_06.htm)

  1. Genia had joint custody of the children 60% of the time. The father filed for change of custody due to chronic custodial interference.
  2. Allegations of child and spousal abuse made by Genia against her ex-husband were never substantiated by the court.
  3. Abuse allegations made by Genia against her husband coincided perfectly with every custody hearing.
  4. Genia was caught on videotape at a supervised visitation center coaching her children to make remarks against their father.
  5. During the hearing resulting in her contempt charge and jailing, she was warned over 15 times to stop interrupting the judge.
  6. Despite a position with IBM paying $80,000 per year, Genia refused to pay her child support and attempted to avoid paying support in a bankruptcy proceeding. (http://www.nysb.uscourts.gov/opinions/cgm/136581_20_opinion.pdf#search=%22%22Timothy%20Shockome%22%22)
  7. A court appointed psychologist characterized Genia as highly controlling, and said the biggest hurdle to an amicable custody arrangement was this fact.
  8. Genia "failed to comply with virtually every decision, ruling, and order" of the trial court. (http://www.thelizlibrary.org/outrage/Shockomeappearance5-05.pdf)
  9. Her previous attorney had quit the case because she was too volatile and unpredictable.
  10. Genia's appeal to the New York Supreme Court, over the trial court's criminal contempt decision, was denied on September 19, 2006. (http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2006/2006_06589.htm)

Newsweek quotes Harvard's Jay Silverman who claims that "54 percent of custody cases involving documented spousal abuse were decided in favor of the alleged batterers".

The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, involved 39 women recruited as a non-representative, self-selected sample by the Battered Women's Testimony Project. (http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1448371)

The study clearly states that the report "involved reliance on the self-report of participants." ... "It is important that these data be recognized as documentation of a set of issues based on reports of affected individuals (i.e., battered women referred to the project based on their dissatisfaction with family court outcomes or processes) rather than an attempt at definitive research into the prevalence and nature of the types of cases discussed."

This study is a classic example of how opinion is transmogrified into science by federally-subsidized radical activists. It contains no evidence indicating that mothers are being treated unfairly by the courts. Mothers receive primary custody of children in approximately 85% of divorces. When cases involving false allegations of abuse and parental alienation do get fully heard, as happened in the Shockome case, courts sometimes bravely make the correct decision.

This Newsweek story is a carbon-copy of the discredited PBS documentary, "Breaking the Silence". (http://www.cpb.org/ombudsmen/060104bode.html) In both cases, allegations of abuse made by the mother were anecdotal and unsubstantiated, and the mother was found to be the worst parent by the court after great scrutiny and lengthy litigation.

Tell Newsweek to do another story that tells the truth about parental alienation, custodial interference, domestic violence and divorce. You can contact them at the addresses below:

Email: Letters@newsweek.com

Mailing Address:
Letters to the Editor
251 W. 57th St.
New York, NY 10019

Date of RADAR Release: October 2, 2006

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R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's approach to solving domestic violence. http://www.mediaradar.org