Archive for November, 2009

The Fear of Domestic Violence

November 19, 2009

Honolulu seems to have a lot of people who are quick to use fear to describe domestic violence. My recent article to the Honolulu Weekly responded to Dr. Michael Ra Bouchard who advocates that domestic violence is a good enough reason to end a relationship. I answered that tearing apart families is big business. Then, Pablo Wegesend responded to my article calling me angry and parroting many of the same fear tactics used by Dr. Bouchard.

The common misconception–shared by Dr. Bouchard and Mr. Wegesend–is that the DV industry wants you to think that the majority of DV cases are about life and death issues. But, if you are a female talking to a DV victim’s advocate, you will be told that any time a man uses a vulgar word in anger or disrespects her in any way, that is prosecutable as domestic violence.

This is the big divide DV industry counts on.

DV in families exists. Sibling rivalry is DV. A man who gets a box of chocolates rather than the diamond necklace she wanted is a perpetrator of DV. Nagging, yelling, corporal punishment of children; these all fall within the industry’s definition of domestic violence.

Mr. Wegesend is wrong when he says that we’re not talking about minor disagreements. It is always minor things that escalate out of control. That same DV victim’s advocate may even encourage a woman to start an argument and keep it up until he hits you. She will tell you “Every man has his limit.” And, she is absolutely right.

Domestic violence is a woman’s ticket out of an undesirable relationship, with the kids, with child support, maybe with alimony. Phony statistics telling us that women suffer financially after divorce never look at a short 5-year window, by which time most women are remarried and far better off financially than the man who has just lost 5 years of his kids’ childhood.

I can accuse these victims’ advocates because I am their victim. My family is their victim. I am not angry at Dr. Brouchard. I am angry at judges, lawyers, psychologists, domestic violence victims’ advocates, and ignorant people. I think more people should be mad at the money-sucking, man-jailing, family-breaking machine domestic violence has become.

Mr. Wegesend is wrong to say that families can’t change. I’m not talking about decades of an abusive relationship. I’m talking about centuries of pre-programmed behavior within families that sows the seeds of domestic violence in our communities.

Dr. Brouchard waxes nostalgic about “Healthy relationships resolve conflict in ways that leave both parties feeling good about themselves.” Yet, he doesn’t tell us how to get there. He doesn’t tell you that healthy relationships don’t always come naturally. People have to be taught basic principles then they have to make conscious changes in their lives to implement these principles.

The 12-week Family Education Training Center of Hawaii (efetch.org) is structured to help families change. I have seen families turn conflicted, angry households into functional families in one session. It’s not rocket science. The principles are fundamentally democratic; respect, encouragement, credibility, patience, cooperation, and the list goes on.

How we train children without knowing it. How to raise responsible children. How to avoid conflict. How to encourage cooperation. All these things are easy to learn and–with our kids and our sanity as powerful motivators–the lessons are easy to apply to just about every facet of our lives.

There will always be wars and rumors of wars in the world and in our own homes. Domestic violence can be reduced in our community. Naysayers and fear-mongers like Dr. Brouchard and Mr. Wegesend can learn more about how to effect change.

I invite them to come visit my web site, www.LiveBeatDad.com and to join me in the long overdue, open and honest discussion about domestic violence.

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The Sixth TRO, the Story

November 18, 2009

Can you imagine my expression when I opened the door on Sunday, October 25, 2009 to greet two of Honolulu’s finest. “Do you know a Ms. Mahtab Trueman?” “Uhhh,” I said. My brain was working overtime. Look, I’m not the brightest street light on the corner. But, I did realize that they were here to serve me with another “TEMPORARY” restraining order (TRO). The name was off.

There are two major things wrong with TROs.
1) They are usually filed “ex parte.”
2) They are never temporary.

EX-PARTE

Ex-parte is a legal term that, in domestic violence situations, permits an accuser to take away basic rights afforded by the Constitution of the United States for a limited period of time. TROs are placed on the fast-track for court hearing because the act of unilaterally finding a person guilty of violence against another is unconstitutional.

The accused, as legal theory would have it, is entitled to an expedient hearing, usually within two weeks of the ex-parte action.

The judges who grant ex-parte TROs are hamstrung, especially in jurisdictions such as Hawaii. An individual need only experience fear to have their ex-parte request granted. There are jurisdictions, such as New York, where a petitioner must cite a violation of law in order for an ex-parte petition to be granted.

Hawaii’s judges typically grant TROs when a petitioner simply declares that they are afraid. Better to be safe than sorry and, BTW, CYA. This is a sad state.

TEMPORARY

The term “Temporary Restraining Order” is misleading. In general, the word “temporary” means “lasting for a limited time.” Most of us think of temporary as in an interruption of electric service that is restored before the items in our freezer defrost and are spoiled.

In Hawaii, the Temporary in TRO may be granted for up to 25 years. In most cases, a TRO is granted for a three-year term. During this term, the restrained person may not have any contact with the accuser.

Today, my cell phone is set to contact every cell phone tower within its reach. If you know my cell phone number, you can find me, possibly within 100 yards. If a TRO were granted against me, my accuser could find me, call the police, and have me jailed for a violation of the TRO.

A restraining order is tool that can be used in many ways. An abuser can have her victim jailed. The accuser gets bragging rights that she got a TRO against him. It can also be used to convince a child that his or her father is bad. A restraining order is never temporary and it can negatively impact more than one person for a lifetime.

TRO, THE FIRST VOLLEY IN DIVORCE

I sat down for a meal at Big City Diner one day. I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, I had my own book and was reading, but two women in the next booth were talking story. Their voices became louder as they discussed–you guessed it–Temporary Restraining Orders.

One was pushing the other to get a TRO against her husband or boyfriend or something. Women’s advocates of all stripes hold to the belief that a TRO is the fastest way to be in control. It can be used in situations where there is real domestic violence, with hitting, screaming, vulgar name calling, etc. And, it can be used to get back at man simply for cutting off a woman’s access to a credit card.

Most often, it is used as a precursor to obtaining sole custody of the couple’s children. When a TRO is in place, the man has to leave the house but continue making the mortgage payment. He has to leave his kids but the argument will be used that he has had little contact and influence on the kid’s lives. He has to suffer humility and even job loss because the TRO is in place. Then, he needs to start making child support payments. All this can happen before the divorce action even begins.

There is a small fact that domestic violence victim’s advocates do not share and–though the thought makes me sick–they even count on it. TROs increase the incidence and severity of domestic violence.

A TRO can make it a crime to cross paths with the woman who bore his children. A TRO increases the emotional reaction of a man from the loss of children to losing his identity as a father, caretaker and provider. We’re talking David Banner to Hulk.

In divorce scenarios, most TROs are sustained for at least their three-year minimum.

MY TRO

Consider this statement, “My DV advocate, Mr. Holbrook’s ex-wife, is fearful for me and my family’s safety because he has had several Restraining Orders against him in family court and was on probation for a year for violating them.”

To my accuser, it does not matter that, 10 years ago, my ex-wife abducted our children, bought me a ticket to Hawaii and slapped me with a TRO based on false allegations of domestic violence.

It does not matter that the alleged violation was during the term of a second three-year term when I should have defended myself but for very bad counsel.

It does not matter that the alleged violation was for dropping my kids off at the wrong police station, a parenting matter that was illegally inserted into the TRO by stipulation.

It does not matter that there is no TRO in effect.

It does not matter that my ex-wife has since filed three frivolous TROs against me that were all denied.

My accuser even sounds like my ex-wife in her petition against me. “On May 5, 2009, Mr. Holbrook posted a blog on his website entitled, “State Sponsored Interstate Child Abduction Revealed” where he used my name and made seriously false claims about me and my family.”

I just reported what her DV advocate wrote. Personally, I don’t believe that Ms. Carlin lied about my accuser’s involvement in the child abduction. Further, her involvement with Ms. Carlin and a state-sponsored, interstate child abduction scheme puts her in the category of very abusive people.

I did not know my accuser before writing the article and after having been formally introduced to Ms. Trueman in the Hawaii District Court on Thursday, November 5th, I still did not recognize her. Six months from now, I’m just going to remember her as some crazy haole lady but whether I remember her face in a crowd… Like I said before, even a street light in the dark is not going to shine where shadows fall.

FEAR DRIVEN

I want to thank Ms. Trueman for allowing the TRO to be dismissed. I think she understood that the judge was being very patient with her and was trying to understand the fuel that motivated her ex-parte action against me.

Fear may be reason to request a TRO. For two weeks, I was not allowed to cross paths with a woman I did not know. But it does not have to be the reason to grant a TRO.

In my opinion, it was important for the judge to understand where the fear came from. In Ms. Trueman’s petition for TRO, she pointed directly to the statements of her domestic violence advocate, Dara Carlin, my ex-wife, as the source of her fears.

No less than three times, Ms. Trueman credits Ms. Carlin with escalating her own fear to the point where she filed this TRO against me.

Am I surprised? No.

Though, after meeting her, I suspect Ms. Trueman has the qualities of an abuser, I also suspect that she was a victim and a pawn.

Long ago, I understood that my ex-wife was highly intelligent. That’s one of the reasons I married her. It was my misfortune that her intelligence would be warped into a father-bashing nightmare for my children that she has drawn into the Halls of Hawaii’s State Capitol.

Abusers, even abusive women, seek each other out.

In Ms. Carlin’s fear campaign against domestic violence, she is driving fear into her clients to the point where her client files an abusive TRO against a man who does not know her. If a domestic violence advocate can coerce her clients into filing TROs against her ex-husband, can you imagine what she has done to her children?

CONFRONTATIONS PERMIT SOLUTIONS

Ms. Trueman has a few unique opportunities. But from her behavior in court, I fear that she may not be aware. Even after the judge explained the precariousness of her request, Ms. Trueman continued to make wild accusations that I obtained confidential records of attendees at the FETCH program and that I was in direct contact with her ex-husband.

She can’t support these allegations because they are false.

Some bone-head, or maybe more than one, is sending emails to Ms. Trueman containing language that is terroristic threatening under Hawaii law. It is no small matter and I suggested to Ms. Trueman that she pursue John Doe subpeona’s rather than looking to shut down my right to free speech.

Her first opportunity is to identify the perpetrators of violence against her.

Second, Ms. Trueman should be keenly aware of Ms. Carlin’s breach of ethical conduct. Once Ms. Carlin hit the send button on that email, it was in the wild. Ms. Carlin is more dangerous to her and her child than anyone she has dealt with so far.

Third, the email written by her domestic violence advocate–which unethically disclosed her personal information–describes a clandestine, government sponsored, interstate, child abduction program. Major bells should be going off in the Hawaii’s Congress. Domestic violence is already a crime. Answering that with another criminal activity does two things; 1) It violates the trust of every honest taxpaying citizen in our government and 2) It creates an emotional tsunami for the targeted parent. HELLO, Mr. B, B, Buh, HULK?

Whether Ms. Trueman sought out this program or was coerced into making bad choices, she has exacerbated problems in her own life.

People who complain that domestic violence is a problem often don’t seem to understand that it happens whenever two people are trapped in an escalating conflict. Their own personal egos fuel conflict and their children suffer life-long emotional scars.

People who escalate, like Ms. Trueman, may themselves be children of parents with conflicts. Studies have proven that people seek out others who have similar past experiences. The children of domestic violence families repeat domestic violence in their own lives over and over. She can stop.

And here is Ms. Trueman’s fourth opportunity. Break the cycle. Resolve the conflicts with your daughter’s father and bring her back into his life.

FINDING THE CURE FOR DV

My ex, Ms. Trueman and I have a single purpose; to reduce the incidence of domestic violence in our communities. Our methods are different.

Ms. Trueman chooses conflict and escalation. She chooses to fear. She chooses to give her personal power away and to capitulate to other abusers like Ms. Carlin.

Ms. Carlin chooses to manipulate others and distort the truth for her personal gain. She chooses to deny our children access to their father. She chooses to prey upon vulnerable people like Ms. Trueman.

I choose dialogue. I choose resolution. I choose the courage to stand up for what I believe. It takes two to tango. No one is perfect. And, our children need both parents.

The roots of DV run deep in our society yet there are ways to short-circuit our predispositions for conflict and anger.

Learning to respect one another is the first step. Learning the “think, feel, act” cycle and how to change thinking to implement responsible and respectful actions. Then, teaching these values in our families. While we can use the principles in our own lives, our children are going to live the values that we teach.

Programs like the Family Education Center of Hawaii (efetch.org) teach us that every family has the same problems with their kids. Every couple has the same kinds of problems that men and women have had through the ages.

Every community has the same kinds of problems across the United States and across the world. We can teach each other to reduce the incidence of domestic violence. We can show the world by our own successes.

I HAVE ONE WISH.

I want the best for Ms. Trueman’s child. That child is made up of one-half her mother and one-half her father. Hiding the child from her father is teaching her one of the worst possible ways of dealing with problems she will have to face her whole life.

I wish for Mr. and Ms. Trueman’s child to know and feel safe with both their parents.

This is the same wish I have for my children.

To find out more about domestic violence and unwarranted TROs, stop by my web site at www.LiveBeatDad.com.

Jamila’s Fight; to what end?

November 12, 2009

There are cases of divorce and separation, in Hawaii, that do not make the “mainstream media,” the Honolulu Advertiser or Star Bulletin. But that wasn’t the case for Louis and Pam Jamila. The Honolulu Advertiser had published an article presenting Pam as the abused spouse for their domestic violence series “Crossing the Line.”

Don’t bother looking for the article, author Rob Perez, has pulled it from the internet.

While the children haven’t seen their mother in over two years, they are living contently with Louis, a caring and loving father who never gave up against the multiple false allegations of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Louis knows that this is not the best possible outcomes. He wants the children to regain contact with their mother, but she’s off somewhere on Big Island -no phone -no address, just gone out of their lives. The kids talk and it’s the pain in their voices that gives Louis the hope that someday the mother will return.

On September 28, 2009, there were findings of fact and conclusions of law filed in Louis’ case that is now on appeal. Yes, Appeal. The mother, represented pro-bono by anti-family advocate, Lynne Jenkins McGivern, filed for an appeal in this case where men guilty of far lesser crimes of domestic violence have served jail time.

Louis is 51 years young. He has two natural daughters and one not-quite adopted daughter living in Kailua in pure Ohana style.

Years ago, Pam got weird. Was it alcohol, drugs, an obsessive connection to the internet? None of that matters now. What happened was Pam’s daughters went through hell while Louis worked two and three jobs to keep the family solvent.

A tired and exhausted, but sober and caring father, Louis would spend precious moments in the company of his daughters at his family home after a long day at work and fall asleep where-ever he was.

During their break-up, Pam took the opportunity to report these incidents to Child Protective Services. Two CPS investigations cleared Louis of any threat or intent to harm the children.

When this tactic did not work as planned, Pam filed for a Temporary Restraining Order. Remember, in the State of Hawaii there does not need to be any incident of domestic violence; the fear of the alleged domestic violence victim is enough to grant the TRO. Immediately, Louis was ejected from his home with court-ordered visitation between his children.

The Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law (FOF/COL) filed in this case describe a “troubled, contentious relationship” between the mother and her three children. Alcohol, internet chat rooms, and hostile, unpredictable, and violent behavior became the norm. Verbal abuse and physical punishment were common.

Note that, in many families, when the state removes the father, the mother has unbridled power. Fathers do matter.

DJ, the oldest, was punched while sleeping. AJ’s cellphone use caused a Christmas rage from which the mother could not calm herself. Numerous 911 calls were made during Louis’ absence.

Inexplicably in October 2007, Pam left the family residence and her children for three weeks. The children dispute that the mother tried to contact them at any point during this unannounced sojourn.

After her return, AJ, the youngest, went to live with the grandparents and KJ became the focus of Pam’s emotional and physical violence. KJ was ejected from the family home on more than several occasions and was ordered to call her father to pick her up.

Louis–while his heart was breaking–knew the purpose of Pam’s actions. She was trying to get him to violate the terms of the TRO. She wanted her children’s father in jail.

During the course of the volatile actions, the Court’s Custody Investigation Unit awarded temporary and sole legal custody to Louis.

After this decision, Pam “abruptly moved out of the family residence in Kailua and moved to Hilo with her vehicle.” No one knew.

Still, to this day, no one knows where Pam lives, who she works for or what she does for a living. Her $100 per month child support payments are now delinquent from December 2008. A man would be at risk of losing his license to drive or engage in business. These penalties do not correlate to the crime and, though irrelevant, will mar a person for life.

The children have been hurt beyond their wildest imaginations by their mother. Even though it has been more than two years, they want no contact or visitation. Louis knows this is not healthy. These children need both their parents. He wonders what the future will bring. He will never accept his ex-wife back into his life, but he yearns for the children to know the wonderful woman he married in 1995.

Louis is now dealing with $100,000 in court costs and, occasionally, the mother who still claims the children for Head of Household purposes on her annual tax return. The court found that Louis needs to improve his parenting with regards to the children’s individual counseling and attendance at school.

Every father wants the best for his children. I’m convinced that Louis is doing his best.

If you know Pam and if you think she has improved, let her know, the kids do not want more abuse. They don’t want to live in fear of the woman she became. They want to know the Mom they had.

Time is critical. Life is short.

Contact me if you know Pam. Respond to this article. Visit www.LiveBeatDad.com. Or, email to penumbrook at yahoo.com.

The Sixth TRO, add 1

November 11, 2009

I appreciate your patience. I have prevailed against the latest TRO, my sixth, against me. This time, it did not come directly from my ex-spouse, the hater of men and manhood. Instead it came from one of her clients.

Yes. I agree. THat’s weird! Ya think? Not yet. I will write about this latest indignation and expose of hurt upon my children. But not yet. I have the story of another I would like to tell.

In the meantime, look for my latest book review, “Children Held Hostage,” on my web site. www.LiveBeatDad.com.

The Hero’s Journey

November 3, 2009

I wish I could pay tribute to all the children who have lost their mother, father or spiritual guide. Jen in the Dark Crystal, Luke in Star Wars, Harry Potter, Nemo, and Frodo (yes, he lost an uncle, but an important one).

Each of these children, younger than the age of “majority,” have to strike out on an adventure they never asked for. They have a challenge in front of them that they never wanted face. In the process, they grow and perform deeds of heroism beyond our imaginations, yet, exactly the way we would have done it if we were a child once again.

My favorite author, Joseph Campbell, talks about the Hero’s Journey. He accurately described the archetypes we know from the Star Wars series.

Does it seem so far fetched that our children are these heroes, too?

Every child has, within them, the ability to surpass the achievements of their parents in any or every category. A child may be the artist or musician we could never be. They may be the architect or engineer. They may be the medical professional who saves lives, one at a time, or by the hundreds of thousands.

I believe in my children. I want you to believe in yours.

Look in their eyes. Surprise them. Hug them. Play outside. Sing to them. Laugh with them. We never know when we are going to be the ones taken from their lives.

If you are a parent and have been removed from your child’s life without their permission, your child may be on the Hero’s journey. A hand-written letter, telling them about your day, may give them the strength they need to find themselves. Don’t wait another moment.