Faces of misogyny: Custody battles and 'baby mamas'
Author’s note: I’m not sure how far this will reach or how many of you reading this will follow it through to the end. It is a piece that requires a deep sense of sensitivity and attention I feel many of us lack. We are stirred by something only to forget about it as soon as it leaves our attention. I’m hoping to spark something in you that moves you to action, whatever that may be.
Has anyone else noticed a spike in fathers taking their children’s mothers to court for custody of their kids? Men are doing this and they are winning. From what I can tell, some are experiencing victories not necessarily because they deserve to win more than they have the resources to sway things in their favor. Some of the more recent cases include Dwyane Wade and Siohvaughn Funches, Usher and Tameka Raymond, Chris Bridges (Ludacris) and Tamika Fuller, Pilar and Deion Sanders, and Norma Mitchell and Tyrese Gibson.
Before I go further I want to acknowledge that every instance is different. I don’t know any of these people I’m speaking on, therefore, I’m dealing with a small amount of information I’ve gathered from articles, videos and essays discovered on the Internet. Please do not take my account of them as gospel.
With that being said, these women and I appear to have a lot in common, as I, too, am battling for my children against their father in a court of law.
What do these men have in common? They are celebrities/entertainment personalities. They’ve all taken their children’s mothers to court and won custody of their children or attempted to do so while attacking the women’s credibility as a mother and accusing them of mental instability.
My children’s father is also attempting to take my children from me.
We aren’t celebrities, though he does have a reasonable following as a hip-hop personality. He’s not rich but he definitely has more money than me and is using his money to bully me in court.
How is this even allowed to happen? I mean, there are really phenomenal fathers out there who love their children deeply. There are some fathers who make better nurturers than some mothers. There are some children who are probably better off with their fathers for various reasons. My argument is not that fathers don’t have the capacity to love and care for children. My argument is that these fathers are being allowed to take their anger and frustration out on the mothers with the help of the legal system.
Some of the women have spoken out about being bullied by their men with money and celebrity. They have made accusations of abuse. Some have gone broke trying to fight bitter men in a system that seeks to gain from the misfortune of the people it has been entrusted to serve and protect. It’s a sick game.
I find it all highly disturbing for many reasons:
- The children are used like pawns in a chess game by the men and the courts.
- Men are using the system to bully and attack the mothers in an effort to gain power and control over her and the children.
- Their actions in some cases aren’t of true love for the children and desire for harmony within the family but only to destroy her and make sure he doesn’t have to support her financially.
- The lawyers, especially on the side of the fathers, are only interested in how much money they can earn as a result of representing the fathers. There is no real concern for the children.
- The children are TRAUMATIZED in the end!
The ironic thing is that this is what many women have been doing to men for years, using the system as an act of revenge to attack the father of their children. But it’s been mostly achieved against men who are poor or gullible because, according to author and researcher Phyllis Chesler, as stated in Tamika Fuller’s essay, “For more than 5,000 years, men (fathers) were legally entitled to sole custody of their children. Women (mothers) were obliged to bear, to rear, and economically support children. Mothers were never legally entitled to custody of their own children.” In other words, the men losing the battles against bitter “baby mamas” have been lazy, miseducated, or not really interested in being a father anyway.
There are definitely cases where women have taken men to court because they refuse to assume responsibility for their children, and I am definitely not attempting to demonize theses instances. Sometimes, as I’ve learned the hard way, court is necessary and helpful. My concern is that the family court system is similar to other court systems in that they are dysfunctional and seek to serve the players in the system and not the families seeking help!
The courts appear to only be interested in the money they can make from the legal fees necessary to support the duel between the parents.
The system is a “one size fits all” system shuffling the children through a standard process of mediation and minimal evaluation that supposedly seeks to discover more information helpful in determining the court’s decision but, it’s not really that helpful. This has been my experience, anyway. My children have no true representation of their own.
I think it all speaks to the lack of integrity in the justice system. Not all lawyers are bad. Not all judges are wrong, but the system by its very nature is failing many of us.
Society is patriarchal and patriarchy is man’s attempt to usurp divine law by instructing nature instead of taking instruction from her. Patriarchy has socialized men to be so dangerously insecure that some believe their power comes from the dominance, possession and control of people and things.
Patriarchy has bred PEOPLE to be misogynistic — this is true for both men and women — and our misogyny runs deep.
It’s interwoven within every part of our society, from religion to hip-hop. Our men have been taught women are disposable when we are no longer a benefit to them. We are disposable once we cannot be controlled by them. This is the behavior men display when attempting to separate their children from their mothers for no solid reason other than to bruise their egos and to break their hearts.
My ex is a musician, and a dedicated one. Understand, musical projects aren’t sensitive to ‘normal’ people hours. His job is not a 9-to-5, it’s a ‘whenever inspiration calls’ job. Although he’s exercising his legal right to primary custody of our children, he keeps third parties in place to care for them. He travels all the time and keeps late studio hours. We were together just shy of 10 years. I was always the constant presence in our children’s lives when he was traveling and working. Because of his need to hurt me, our children, over the past year and a half, have been without either of us consistently. This enrages me to my core that he would rather this fate for them instead of putting forth effort to work with me. He knows what it’s like to be without a mother as his maternal mother died when he was 10. Why he would want a similar fate for his children is BEYOND me.
He has a hard time being logical and compassionate at the same time. Compassion would inform his heart of the truth that our children are probably best rooted with one of their parents while the other is away. At any rate, the court is supporting this while I lose time with our children and money to support them.
Like Tamika Fuller, Ludacris’ daughter’s mother, I am experiencing financial hardship as a result of fighting for the right to keep my children. I am an entrepreneur in the business of teaching and empowering women (go figure), but also a PhD student in the San Francisco Bay Area. This is not an inexpensive place to live. I am holding on by a string, paying lawyer fees and keeping my head above water with living expenses.
My ex is also badgering me about child support when he makes well over six figures. It’s baffling to me the lengths these men will go to prove a point to us women who have given our bodies, hearts, and souls to give birth to a part of them. Where is the dignity? Where is the compassion and respect for the womb? Do they feel so powerless in life they that they must use the power of the court to assert their egos? It’s as if the power of the court is an extension of their own false power. Real men who love their babies would never attempt to separate their children from their mothers unless she is a REAL danger to them.
Meanwhile, these men will cry foul while they are also throwing abuse. It’s crazy disappointing to hear women crying about being abused or threatened by men they love and allowed themselves to be vulnerable with, men they faced death for while giving birth to their children, only to watch others go hard to turn those women into liars. Sometimes other women can be the most vicious, attacking women for speaking against their abusers. People can be quick to call a woman out for being a gold digger, accusing her of fabricating her victimhood for the pursuit of personal gain. We saw it all day with the Bill Cosby scandal.
Sometimes the suspicions are spot on, though. I innerstand the reasons for skepticism, as some women seek time and attention of wealthy men in hopes of getting knocked up and turning a child into a monthly allowance. These women have no real desire of cultivating themselves enough to attract a man who cannot deny their magnetism and therefore have no qualms with planting his seed in her, no qualms about supporting their family. I get it.
But there are those of us who know our worth and have cultivated ourselves enough to know we deserve wealthy, ambitious men with the power of leadership as our mates and fathers to our children. Why would any healthy woman want anything less for herself or bloodline?
When we tell you we’ve been abused, please believe us. Do not go out of your way to discredit us. Our men have been socialized to be abusive to us, so it’s more baffling to me that the burden lies on the woman to prove her accusations, no matter who she is, than it is on the man to prove his innocence.
I love what Norma Mitchell, Tyrese’s ex-wife, had to say about men and their abuse of power and money: “A lot of men with money and more power, especially with passive women, are using the legal system to abuse these women. Then they can point the finger and say, ‘Look at her, she’s crazy,’ because one day you just explode and can’t take it anymore.”
I can definitely empathize with her words. My ex is claiming to the court that I’m mentally unstable. Well, I say to his claim, “Show me a mother who has been stripped of her children and I’ll show you rage that will make you believe she’s insane.”
My ex might not have the capacity for compassion, so I’ll do my best to hold enough for the both of us. I have compassion for him because I know his decisions are damn near not his own. He, like most men, is a slave to his emotions. He, like most men, has been taught to suppress his emotions lest he be soft and feminine. Our men are so emotionally suppressed, the only things they know to do when their hearts hurt or are in danger of being hurt is attack and annihilate the ‘source’ of the pain. When all hell breaks loose, their emotions manage them, and they come for you with one goal — dominate and conquer.
What have your experiences been? Share your story with me in the comments below.
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