October 2, 2006
Contact: David Usher, <>
Irresponsible Newsweek Article Incites Gender Conflict, Harms Kids
Rockville, MD - The Internet is buzzing over Newsweek's recent article on divorce and child custody, many saying the article is biased, inflammatory, and hurtful to kids. "Fighting over the Kids," by Sarah Childress, makes the claim that divorce courts are often unfair to moms.
The Newsweek article, published in the September 25 issue, highlights the case of Genia Shockome of New York, saying she lost custody of her kids to an abusive husband.
Op-ed writer Carey Roberts debunked Childress' claim that "women are the victim in the majority of abuse cases," citing recent research that wives are almost twice as likely to be the instigators of severe partner violence. Roberts described the studies cited in the Newsweek article as "advocacy research" and "junk science." (http://www.ifeminists.net/introduction/editorials/2006/0927roberts.html)
In his September 20 E-Newsletter, columnist Glenn Sacks leveled a more serious charge, saying Childress failed to do her research, concluding "the Shockome case is questionable, to say the least."
According to Dutchess County court records, Shockome had been caught on videotape coaching her children to bad-mouth their father, and on one occasion Judge Damian Amodeo jailed her for contempt. The complete court transcript can be seen here: http://www.thelizlibrary.org/outrage/Shockomeappearance5-05.pdf
Just as disturbing was that Genia Shockome's allegations of abuse always coincided with custody hearings -- and her charges were never substantiated.
"Once again, we see a mother using the 'abuse excuse' in a failed attempt to win child custody, and then the media turns the woman into a poster child for judicial bias," notes RADAR spokesperson Terri Lynn Tersak. "Our epidemic of false claims is making it harder for the real victims of domestic violence to get the help they need."
False allegations of domestic violence have become widespread in our society, often used as a legal tactic to gain an edge in a divorce contest, acccording to a recent RADAR report: http://www.mediaradar.org/docs/Perverse-Incentives.pdf. As a result, kids lose contact with loving fathers, thus placing the children at greater risk of academic, emotional, and legal problems.
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.
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