By definition, with the obvious exception of misogynistic, sexist bigots, we should all be feminists. I consider myself a feminist, why wouldn’t I? The definition of feminism is plain and simple; the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.
With the above in mind, there is absolutely no excuse for any kind of discrimination. Morally, discrimination is wrong. And we are fortunate enough that we live in an age whereby discrimination is viewed by the law as illegal.
The Equality Act 2010 aims to to protect certain factors from discrimination; age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and last but by no means least sexual orientation. The above Act states that it is illegal within the UK to discriminate anyone on the basis of any of the above protective factors.
As a society, here in the UK we have come a long way since the days of Emily Pankhurst. We have also come a long way since the first official UK Gay Pride Rally was held in London on 1st July 1972. I also believe as a society much progress has been made in breaking down discriminatory behaviours and attitudes regarding the other seven protective factors.
On a personal level, I am from London. And am proud to be a product of its rich and diverse multi-cultural heritage. A city where an individual can originally be from any part of the world, but still be considered a ‘Londoner.’ I was a child of the eighties; I attended a local school, where there were plenty of other children from foreign backgrounds. I’m not going to lie, I most certainly did hear racist comments at school. But these comments, in my opinion were learnt behaviours from racist parents. None of us are born racist.
With regards to any one of the aforementioned protective factors, discriminatory behaviours are simply a reflection of an individuals upbringing. We are not born with any inherent discriminatory beliefs, we learn them, from those around us during our formative years.
As much as we have come a long way, I accept that discrimination still occurs in everyday life.
So where am I going with this? Allow me to explain; I never imagined I would be subjected to the level of discrimination I have experienced over the last two years.
For those unfamiliar with our blog, I am what is known as an alienated parent. At time of writing I have not had any meaningful contact with my children since the summer of 2016. My children’s mother has denied me contact with them and has effectively brainwashed them against me. This is known as parental alienation. For a full explanation of this form of abuse see here.
During this period of alienation and contact detail, my children’s mother has breached numerous court orders that promote or would result in contact with me their father. My children’s mother is the resident parent only by virtue of the fact she changed the locks while I was out.
I strongly believe in a gender neutral stance against parental alienation. It can happen to mothers too. It doesn’t just happen to fathers. My approach and overall ethos is one of equality.
Just because statistically there are more alienated fathers than mothers, this should not equate to the belief that women are inherently more evil than men.
However, this begs the question, why are there more alienated fathers than mothers. Is it due to socio-economic reasons? Or is it due to parental stereotyping? For example, could it be argued that modern day society still continues to view the mother as being the more important parent?
In terms of human rights, Article 24(3) of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights states that:
“Every child shall have the right to maintain on a regular basis a personal relationship and direct contact with both his/her parents, unless contrary to his/her interests.”
However despite the above statement, lets look at the following statistics:
- 96% of all child arrangements order applications are made by fathers (University of Warwick).
- 97% of residencies are given to mothers (University of East Anglia).
- 50% of court orders are broken (University of East Anglia).
- Just 1.2% of applications for enforcement of court orders are successful (Ministry of Justice).
In addition to the above statistics, the graph below shows the huge difference between mothers and fathers regarding lone parent families in the UK.
The following is an anecdotal piece of evidence I would like to disclose; in terms of the discrimination I have personally experienced. This is just one incident of many I have experienced from services over the last two years of my own personal battle against parental alienation.
I once had a meeting with a social worker who is no longer involved in my case. I stated to this social worker that in the long term I was aiming for 50/50 custody. Her response was “well that’s unrealistic.” I then asked her why she felt this aim of mine was unrealistic. She replied “well the majority of my case load is single parent families and the majority of the resident parents are mothers.” I then stated “well okay, but what has this statistic of yours got to do with my case. Surely you are not saying that my aim of 50/50 parenting is unrealistic because the majority of the resident parents on your case load are mothers?” Her response was simply “Well that’s how it is.”
In my opinion the social worker’s comments were clearly discriminatory.
So considering all of the above, where is the equality?
Joss Whedan, the American screenwriter, executive producer, film and television director and actor, once said the following. “Equality is not a concept. It’s not something we should be striving for. It’s a necessity. It is life out of balance, and that imbalance is sucking something out of the soul of every man and woman who’s confronted with it. We need equality.”
I am an alienated parent of three. Part-time psychiatric nurse, part-time writer. I am also an online activist against parental alienation. I use my knowledge of mental health and lived experience of parental alienation to promote awareness of parental alienation.