I am one of the millions of #NonThreatening #SupportiveFathers who are #ErasedFathers the world over. However, unlike many other fathers who shamefully remain silent, I am not afraid to speak out about this ignored emotional abuse of our children.
Caribbean fathers must come together and fight this emotional demon that is destroying the emotional and social intelligence of our children. The greatest champion of father’s rights are indeed females. Perhaps some may say I am a spent record, but truth be told, I am just responding rather than reacting to a societal ill against many good fathers who just want to be in the lives of their children but are just too frustrated and worn out by the inertia of our system to fight. COVID-19 does not mean the world has stopped and injustice must be given a free pass.
Emotional abuse starts with father’s names being deliberately left off school registration forms. Thus, PTA meetings are not attended, there is no cheering of that toddler at sports day, no form level meeting to enquire about little Matthew’s educational progress. All the while, Mathew is bullied by his peers on whether he has a father or not. According to my sources who are teachers, this bullying about absent fathers is an everyday occurrence within our schools. Who really cares? No one, for not even lip service is paid to the concerns of fathers. Denied access and malicious accusations just to deprive children of normal, emotional relationships with fathers are the weapons of choice. In an effort to correct the misogyny of some cultures and ego of some men, societies now treat all men as sexist delinquents.
Barbados, as part of the world order, is no different, where #FatherPhobia and #ParentalAlienationSyndrome unknowingly exist and are strategically ignored. I would never say it has anything to do with the women’s vote and the fact that they have greater emotional intelligence than men, thus they know how to get what they want. This Government has ignored the plight of fathers and the deficiencies within an antiquated Maintenance Act that is only relevant for extracting money from parents while totally ignoring the emotional needs of our children.
We have too many inefficient and bad statutes on our books and sadly, we have only a few within the legal industry willing to challenge the status quo. Why in 2020 are we playing politics with the future of our children? The crime statistics clearly show the correlation between juvenile crime and absent fathers, but our reaction is not to look at the root cause but to earn money for the treasury through fines. Yes, we know countries make money from crime, but where is the conscience to do right by children and their fathers?
Fathers do not need fanciful speeches filled with promises. Fathers need their issues of long adjournments, malicious prosecutions, denied access, malicious omission from the school registration form, and equal justice in these matters dealt with. Too many access and maintenance cases that should have been long solved by mediation are clogging the overburdened court system thanks to many attorneys who have failed to properly instruct their highly emotional clients; neither will I posit just for another payday. When will we learn from the rulings handed down by our highest appellate court, the CCJ? Are we too proud to see the insinuations of delivery of justice in Barbados?
Ask and it should be given, but not everything should be asked for. Some things should be obvious. Every Tom, Dick, and Sam are seeking payment moratoriums yet no one has the heart to consider the plight of fathers and mothers, who, to a lesser extent, are under court maintenance orders and now unemployed. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. The process to make Support In-Kind a part of the Maintenance Act was started under the last administration. Put politics aside and do the right thing.
Why ignore the plight of your constituents who will unnecessarily build up arrears which will equate to contempt of maintenance orders when you have the legislative powers given to you, to make a difference? Who cares about the plight of fathers, some may ask. Support In-Kind can equate, in some instances, to more than some of the meager amounts now paid in child support and allows the extended family to become part of the child-rearing.
Unfortunately, many non-threatening, supportive fathers are taken advantage of where the court system is used to extract funds and deny access as mothers flout access orders with callous impunity. My fight is not for those fathers who are delinquent and refuse to be in the lives of their children through their own selfish ignorant irresponsibility. No father can help positively socialize a child every other Saturday or Sunday for four hours; that’s eight hours monthly which equates to 96 hours yearly or four days a year. The worrying absence of non-threatening, supportive fathers is shown in our crime statistics as, according to criminologists, many juvenile delinquents come from homes of absent fathers.
Finally, we were recently told, in no uncertain terms, that laws are made in Parliament, and courts interpret and enforce. Why then, the total inexcusable indifference to the needed legislative change? No need to defend the indefensible, for not doing right by children and fathers is an unforgivable national disgrace.
Let me say to fathers, bet who bet you whenever elections are held, for your vote must count for representation. To those who may be offended by my frank opinion, let me say sorry, but deceit is not a favorite pastime and my conscience is clear. Veritas liberabit vos.
On behalf of Fathers & Parents 4 Justice