From our own
Thomas A. Lange II
5233 River Road
Sodus, MI 49126
Ms. Donna Shalala
Secretary of Health and Human Services
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW Room 615-F
Washington, D.C. 20201
October 21, 1999
Dear Ms. Shalala:
I am a member of the National Congress for Fathers and Children (NCFC) and I read your speech from the ACF Domestic Violence Conference in Chicago on August 30, 1999 and I found that you made a false statement. In your speech you stated that "Only 100 years ago-as we stood on the threshold of this century-it was legal in many localities for a man to beat his wife with a stick...just as long as the stick was no thicker than his thumb. That's where we got the term rule of thumb." That statement is false.
My Merriam - Webster's Collegiate Dictionary notes that the phrase "rule of thumb" has been used since at least 1692 to refer to 1: a method of procedure based on experience and common sense 2: a general principle regarded as roughly correct but not intended to be scientifically accurate.
In her book Who Stole Feminism? Christina Hoff Sommers traces how the inaccurate story got started. I am sending my copy of that book along with my letter. Pages 203-207 are the pages that outline Ms. Sommersí research on the rule of thumb story.
Ms. Shalala, would you inform the public the correct meaning of this phrase?
Ms. Shalala, as you do this please also tell the public that although women are more likely to be injured and more frequently face economic dependence on a partner that is violent, men are as likely to be assaulted by their partners. Please tell the public that an obstacle to men leaving violent partners is that doing so frequently means they loose custody of their children. I hope you understand that there are needs to be addressed in regards to violence against men. In the past it has seemed as if you have not.
Ms. Shalala, in closing, I would like to say that intimate violence against men has received too little attention for too long. Perhaps part of the reason this is so is the existence of misinformation such as you repeated. Your correction of your statement could help reverse the status quo, and make America a less violent place.
Thomas A. Lange II
A letter to the editor
From our own
We've been quiet for to long about to much. "We" is Fathers And Children Together (FACT), a local divorced and never married fathers group of which I am a member.
I read your editorial from June 22 titled "Too many dads are 'off the job'" and I want to tell you about the side of the story that everbody is ignoring.
That side is the barriers fathers face in their attempts for involvement with their children.
A father of a newborn who is not living with the mother of his child and has no previous fathering experience typically needs another adult experienced in child care to be present with him during initial visitation to get parenting time with his child. No helper, no parenting time. I know a professional who was in his thirties that needed his mother to help him get parenting time with his daughter. A father that is not allowed parenting time with his child as an infant is not as likely to be involvewd with the child as it grows older.
Custodial parents are allowed to move children anywhere within the state without getting court approval. In some cases custodial parents are allowed to move children out of state thousands of miles from the non-custodial parent. A move can cut back on the parenting time a non-custodial parent can spend with the children and add difficult to pay travel expenses to a person who already has difficulty keeping up with bills because of child support payments.
Parental alienation is another barrier that non-custodial parents sometimes face. A custodial parent can poison the relationship between the non-custodial parent and the children to the extent that the children refuse to spend time with the non-custodial parent. Other tactics that are used by custodial parents to alienate the non-custodial parent include not being present when the non-custodial parent tries to pick up the children and making false reports of abuse.
The census bureau has done research on the relationship between fathers legal rights to a relationship with their children and the rate at which child support is paid. The census bureau findings where issued in September 1991 in the document Series P-60, No. 173, a copy of which is available at the Benton Harbor Public Library. Where fathers had joint custody 90.2% had paid the support due, where fathers had visitation privileges 79.1% had paid the child support due and where fathers had neither joint custody or visitation privileges they had paid 44.5% of the support due.
Too much of the attention fathers have been given by the press, Hollywood and politicians has been negative and has resulted in poor public policy. I promise I will do what I can in the future to rectify this situation.
If you are a non-custodial parent who would like to advocate for changes in the way our society handles child custody, parenting time or support issues, are going through a divorce and feel your relationship with your children slipping away, or are just a concerned citizen you are welcome to become active with Father's And Children Together. We meet the the third Thursday of every month at the Stevensville United Methodist Church located at 5506 Ridge Road at 7:30 PM.
U.S. CAPITOL PICKET...
The permits have been issued to FARCE for our 2nd Annual Picket to be held on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. This picket will begin on June 14th and continue through June 20th... Father's Day. Make plans to join us on the steps of the U.S. Capitol... Please contact us for more information concerning this event.
Folks, PLEASE BE THERE.
Do whatever you have to do to show up. Move heaven and earth. Take a leave of absence from your job, run up your plastic, do whatever it takes.
BUT SHOW UP.
Friend of the Court class should
be more than a one-time experience
On December 20, 1998 The Herald-Palladium ran an article by Louise Wrege about the Friend of the Court (FOC) Start Making It Livable for Everyone (SMILE) class. The SMILE class is primarily an attempt at informing separated and divorced parents the consequences continued and prolonged conflict between them have for their children, but also informs parents of the consequences of their indifference to their children.
Sadly, there is no other real equivalent to this program at any level in our nation. Some programs stress child support compliance, some (relatively minor) are concerned with father involvement, but nothing with the exception of child support enforcement is anything close to a national crusade and nothing is all encompassing.
For to long parental conflict and indifference
have scarred childrenís life well into adulthood, who among us does not
have at least a few friends who grew up with a parent absent, child support
that went unpaid, and/or parents that continued the harassment game into
their own adulthood?
We applaud FOC Director Bill Klein for his initiative in establishing the class and his dedication for giving up his personal time to lead it every month.
At the same time, Fathers And Children Together, other local and national civic organizations, Berrien County, the state of Michigan and our nation need to have more going to discourage the strife to which separated and divorced parents expose their children. A one-time class generally has a limited impact on a personís behavior for a short period of time, but a national campaign continuously stressing cooperation and involvement through Ad-Council Public Service Announcements combined with states and deep-rooted local organizations playing supportive roles can accomplish a great deal more.
The day that this policy can be enacted will be a great day for the children of court ordered custody in America.
Growth in Single Fathers Outpaces
Growth in Single Mothers
The following census press report can be seen on the Internet at http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/cb98-228.html. It was the subject of a recent Kathleen Parker editorial appearing locally in the Herald-Palladium on December 20, that we found to make an excellent point. The point of the editorial was regardless of which parent is caring for the child, it is still loosing a parent if it is not being cared for by both.
We applaud Ms. Parker's opinions in support of children and the parents that they need. We applaud Ms. Parker for bringing out the fact that joint custody also grew at a 25% rate, and for her point that that growth is far more positive, as it leaves 25% more children with both parents. Right on Kathleen!!!
A wider range of information on families is available at http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam.html.
Here is the text of the census press report:
Growth in Single Fathers Outpaces Growth in Single Mothers,
Census Bureau Reports
While the number of single mothers (9.8 million) has remained constant over the past three years, the number of single fathers has grown 25 percent, from 1.7 million in 1995 to 2.1 million in 1998, according to tabulations released today by the Commerce Department's Census Bureau. Men now comprise one-sixth of the nation's 11.9 million single parents.
Other highlights for 1998 include:
A household is defined as a person or group of persons who live in a housing unit. A family is defined as a group of two or more people (one of whom is the householder, the person in whose name the housing unit is owned or rented) living together and related by birth, marriage or adoption.
The tabulations come from the March 1998 Current Population Survey. As in all surveys, the data are subject to sampling variability and other sources of error.
The U.S. Census Bureau, pre-eminent collector and disseminator of timely, relevant and quality data about the people and the economy of the United States, conducts a population and housing census every 10 years, an economic census every five years and more than 100 demographic and economic surveys every year, all of them evolving from the first census in 1790.
Men's Health Network
Thanks to Men's Health Network and AFC for sending us the following.
To: Concerned fathers and other men:
Immediate Action Needed:
Federal government has identified 37 health items to address for women over the next decade and only 1 for men. This critical issue affects not only your health but the health of your sons and the husbands of your daughters well.
Please read the letter below and send your comments either by snail mail or electronically.
If you comments are not received by December 15 they will have no effect.
For more information about men's health, contact the Men's Health Network web site after December 7.
Please cc us with your comments so that we may present them to the next Healthy People: 2010 meeting.
Thank you for your assistance with this critical
Men's Health Network
P.O. Box 75972
Washington, D.C. 20013
Healthy fathers make good fathers. Fathers who
are physically and
emotionally well can be involved in their children's lives. A father who is incapacitated, disabled, or emotionally distraught cannot be very supportive of his children. So what are we doing to promote fathers' health?
Every 10 years the federal government develops
a comprehensive health
plan. This "Healthy People" book serves as the blueprint for new health initiatives in both the government and in the private sector. In September, Donna Shalala released the draft of Healthy People 2010, which outlines health objectives for the first decade of the next century. Not surprisingly, it almost completely ignores men's health issues. And incredibly, it identifies women as the at-risk group!
Because this is such an blatant example of feminism-run-amok,
gives us a unique opportunity to put men's health on the front burner - if we act now. If we don't act, women's health will run the show at least through the year 2010.
We have prepared the following letter. Please
down-load it and mail it
to Surgeon General David Satcher. Or you can submit your comments electronically at web.health.gov/healthypeople. As always, expand and modify the letter to include your own knowledge and experiences. A letter that does not appear to be "boiler-plate" is always more effective:
David Satcher, MD, PhD,
200 Independence Ave., SW, Room 738G, Washington, DC 20201
I am writing about the draft of Healthy People
2010, released by DHHS
You may already know that in 1920, the gap in
life expectancy of men
was only one year. The life span gender gap widened over the years, and in 1990, women outlived men by seven years.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics,
men are at
higher risk of death for all top 10 leading causes of death. Almost twice as many men die of heart disease than women. Fifty percent more men die of cancer. And four times as many men die of suicide. Men are the high-risk group.
The life span gender gap is not caused by genetic
causes. It is not
the way things are "meant" to be. It is caused by gender-related differences in lifestyle, access to healthcare, medical care utilization, and overall societal demands placed on fathers and men.
So I was extremely disappointed and concerned
when I learned that the
draft of Healthy People 2010 ignores the fact that men are dying seven years early. Over and over again, it neglects men's and father's health issues.
For example, the 36-page chapter on Maternal,
Infant, and Child Health
does not say anything about the role of fathers in promoting their children's health. Fifteen objectives are directed to mothers, but not a single one to fathers. At a time when fatherlessness is being recognized as a major cause of children's problems, how can we neglect the important role that America's fathers play?
This plan does a profound disservice to fathers
and to the nation's
health. The tragedy is that we may well attain all of the Healthy People objectives in 2010, and the life span gender gap will still be going strong.
Isn't it time we stop ignoring America's fathers?