LONDON FREE PRESS
October 14, 1998
Allegations of abuse always investigated
By HELEN CONNELL
London Free Press
If dumb was dirt, MP Roger Gallaway could cover an acre. My apologies to U.S. columnist
Molly Ivins for borrowing her line, but it just popped into my mind as I read
about Gallaway's contention that some women go to battered women shelters so
they can ensure their husbands won't get custody or maybe even access to the
Odds are that somewhere, some woman has lied about being
abused and some man has suffered. But the statement by the Liberal
member from Sarnia-Lambton
shows just how out of touch he is with domestic violence, a crime which his
government and our courts have recognized as a serious problem. In Ontario,
the Conservative government, normally considered rather soft on women's issues, is trying
out a system of separate courts to see if that will help stop this crime.
And Gallaway is not just any MP spouting off. He's the co-chairperson of a
joint Commons-Senate committee which will release its report next month on how
non-custodial parents and grandparents can have better access to children in divorce
This is an important issue and Gallaway undermines this committee's
credibility when he spouts off.
Gallaway defends his statement, substantiate two-thirds of the claims of
CAS workers know all about unsubstantiated claims, for they are the ones who must live
with it when they're wrong. They must have evidence that will stand up to cross
examination in court and that can be difficult when dealing with children who don't want
to hurt either parent.
Seven-year-old Randal Kadeen Dooley is an
example of an "unsubstantiated claim." He died as the result of repeated
beatings, with Toronto police saying his is the worst child abuse case they had seen. [Note]
This tiny boy suffered massive head injuries, fractured ribs and a torn
liver. One of his teeth was found in his stomach.
While teachers reported their suspicions, the CAS and the police did not feel
at the time they had enough evidence to prove the bruising on Randal wasn't caused by
I share Gallaway's sense of frustration with adults who can't put their own
selfish interests aside long enough to consider what is in the best interests of their
children. And, at times, courts have not been nearly tough enough on mothers who deny
fathers access purely out of spite.
Adults may determine they want nothing to do with each other, but the
children from that relationship have the right to have as much access as possible to both
parents and other relatives, such as grandparents.
But courts are obligated to determine what is in the best interests of the
child and enforce that. If some fathers wonder why the justice system bends over backwards
to check out complaints about violence, it's because children's aid staff, police, judges
and court consequences.
Domestic abuse experts have said often enough that one of the times when
women are most at risk of abuse is when they decide to leave their partners. If he's
threatened or hit her, the courts should question whether he's fit to be a parent, at
least to have the child on his own without adult supervision.
Too often, men seem to conveniently forget the threats they made in the heat
of anger or minimize the force they did use. It's not unusual for men convicted by the
courts for repeated assaults to continue to blame the victim or booze.
The role of men in the family has changed radically as increasing numbers of
them want to be directly involved in raising their children. Losing the title of husband
shouldn't mean they forfeit being fathers.
The committee which Gallaway is supposed to be leading should be helping us
move forward in how we can help families, and especially children, survive the trauma of
separation and divorce.
We should be focusing on how we can use mediation better to help resolve
Instead, Gallaway is playing a cheap game of gender politics which may win
him points with extremists in the fathers rights movement, but that will do nothing to
help the children.
Helen can be e-mailed at - email@example.com.
Letters to the editor should be sent to - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 1997 The London Free Press a division of Sun Media Corporation.
Editorials express the views of the newspaper as determined by the editorial-page
staff, which consists of
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
"MP Gallaway needs our support"
I find it very perplexing to hear the chorus of spokespersons from the battered women's
They call for MP Roger Gallaway's removal from a parliamentary committee
looking into better treatment of Canadian children who find themselves the innocent
victims of their parents' divorce wars.
These harsh attacks at the suggestion that a woman could make up false
allegations of child abuse and go to a battered woman's shelter to enhance her legal
position in the separating family, are a sad commentary.
These were the same voices that spoke out in the past and said it wasn't a
myth that women were being abused in relationships and needed help to get out of violent
I can't grasp what will be lost when we embrace that injustices exist. That
our mothers as well as fathers are perfectly capable of perpetuating injustices on their
To speak out and change the wrongs does not jeopardize the efforts in the
past to end violence. It will not stop the funding.
In the crowded room of "I'm right and you're wrong," we often
neglect to look at the children at our feet and let their best interests be our guide to
personal actions versus our own pained and angered views.
Let the committee share its findings. This will not hurt us. It will open up
areas where we can build a better framework for our society.
We owe that to ourselves. Men need to speak up when they find themselves in
Gallaway needs the support from us to keep the voices heard. Like the women's
network in the past, we cannot remain silent and let it go on.
London, Ontario, Canada
Copyright © 1998 The London Free Press a division of Sun Media Corporation.
It must be made clear that Randal Dooley was tortured
to death and murdered while in the care of his mother. It is therefore no
surprise that the "allegations" that were made by his teachers and
other people who had thought and reported that he was being abused caused no response by the authorities. That would have required that someone would
have had to assume the unthinkable: that a woman is capable of being inhumane and
cruel to her child. The interesting thing about the article that is linked
above is that the author devotes a considerable amount of space to the failure of
the absent father (read non-custodial) to protect his child. It shouldn't
surprise anyone to find that poor Randal was the first-born. In the society of which his family is part, it is considered to be the ultimate injury to find
revenge on someone by killing his first-born son.
We truly have a two-edged sword with abuse allegations:
If they are directed against a man, they are believed
indiscriminately. As a matter of fact, rules and regulations force police for
example to arrest the man, even if he is the only one who is bleeding in a domestic
If they are directed against a woman, they hardly ever are believed
by anyone, not even if the victim is dead on the floor and the woman is bent over him with
a smoking gun or a blood-dripping knife in her hand. In that case, when it can't be
denied that she has done the deed, we go all-out and look for excuses. If it should
be that we even have to find her guilty, Heaven forbid, the Courts routinely give her
therapy instead of incarceration.
See also: Judge Finds No Undue Hardship in Cost
of False Allegations
If you feel like trying to set Helen Connell straight and to give Roger Gallaway a
helping hand, write to her at the addresses shown at the end of the article. Make
sure to send your message to both addresses and send a copy also to Roger Gallaway at - GallaR@parl.gc.ca
Here are some links at which you'll find information pertaining to
false abuse allegations:
Scroll down to "False allegations by school children" and then scroll down to
"Serial False Accuser Becomes School "Health" Educator "
"WHAT TO DO: False accusations of Sexual or Physical Abuse in Custody Cases"
Date: Thu, 15 Oct 1998 02:26:17 -0600 (MDT)
Thanks to Maggie Gallagher for sending us the following.
Anyone interested in the question of children and "implanted" memories should
consult: Stephen Ceci and Maggie Bruck, "Jeopardy in the Courtroom:
A Scientific Analysis of Children's Testimony," published by the American
Psychological Association in 1995 (Ceci is a psychology professor at Cornell, Bruck
is an associate professor of Psychology and of Pediatrics at McGill University).
Therapy Letters, a web site describing the ravages of recovered memory
therapy, with articles and anecdotes of how the lives of families are affected by this
branch of the psychological industry: http://www.geocities.com/~therapyletters/
Big Sister Is Watching!
An epidemic of state-sponsored kidnapping feeds a tyrannical system
hungry for revenues. Child Protective Services and Children's Aid Societies
systematically and increasingly often rob children from their parents. Kafkaesque
chicaneries that the targeted families find impossible to comply with are the tools used
to keep the revenues rolling in. Many families don't survive the ordeals that they
are being subjected to by any given CPS or CAS.
Last, but not least, have a look at
Abuse, where you can find a number of other links that lead you to information
about false abuse allegations.