|Over 30 years ago, I was drawn to the discipline of
Psychology by a fascination with the complex questions being asked
and by a respect for science. There was an insistence then that conclusions,
answers, ideas and theories be cautiously examined and carefully scrutinized.
But today, the social and psychological sciences are no longer cautious.
They are, in fact, quite reckless, tending to give the impression
that they have all the answers. And some of those unfounded "answers"
are seriously harming people of both sexes and of all ages.
For over 15 years, I have been particularly concerned about the
influence of the highly suspect conclusions drawn from gender research.
One of the first papers I wrote on this topic was entitled: "Blaming
the Boys: A Feminist Fallacy." What I was seeing then was the
abuse of science and professional status to promote the stereotyping
of women as nurturers and peacemakers and of men as batterers and
warriors. What I found then and what I find now in much of this
gender research is a mixture of political ideologies, militant,
paternalistic feminism and a naive therapeutic, "do-good"
mentality. I am frankly outraged to see these opinions & agendas
presented in the brown paper wrapper of science. Under the pretence
that the notions contained are factual, accurate portrayls of reality,
these factions of our society are influencing the thinking of everyone,
including parents, lawyers, judges and even law makers.
What they tend to present as scientific studies/research/evidence
are actually biased surveys designed to lead to the conclusions
that fit with their preconceived notions. Using poor methodology,
shoddy sampling, leading questions, and generating questionnaire
data which can be manipulated to fit the desired conclusions, this
new breed of researcher is distorting reality so as to promote its
The much publicized "Violence Against Women Study's Women's
Safety Project" is a case in point:
Since when does science have a bias such as a
"feminist lens" that distorts its results?
Since when did 420 well educated Toronto women
represent women across the country?
Since when did women over sixty-four years of
age cease to count?
Since when can a question that asks "Was there ever a time
in your life when you had trouble sleeping, or staying asleep at
night, because you were nervous about or afraid for your personal
safety?" be so destructively transformed into a measure of
"women experiencing difficulty sleeping due to fear?"
Who, as a child, hasn't at some time been afraid to fall asleep?
The conclusions drawn from this survey and from many other equally
flawed studies are basically that men are violent and women are
vulnerable and in need of protection.
I am here today, basically, because I am terrified of what will
happen in Canada if this Committee is swayed by political and ideological
arguments presented as if they are facts, as if they are true, as
if they are accurate. If this Committee accepts such fraudulent
notions; then, it will construct legislation which supports and
concretizes this bias. The effect will be to divide our nation along
gender lines and to create an unequal, unbalanced justice system.
For women who want to influence the Courts, it will provide a script.
It will tell them how to influence judges by acting vulnerable and
abused and by pointing the finger of blame at men.
There are violent men, there are abusive husbands and fathers.
But there are, also, violent women, there are abusive wives and
mothers. Justice, as a system, is meant to enter into matters with
an open mind. Yes, it is reasonable to ask who, if either, in a
custody dispute is violent or abusive or negligent. And it is in
the best interest of the child involved to be with the better parent
though often who is better is virtually impossible to determine.
But it is not in the interest of the child, the parents or our society
generally to make this decision and place a child on the basis of
faulty, gender-biased policies.
To portray men as violent and women as victims is to stereotype
both sexes and harm both. There is already an ideological bias in
this direction. False accusations of spousal abuse and child abuse
are already a problem in custody cases. Too many therapists are
already caught up in theories which cast women in these roles and
cast suspicion on men. What I ask of this committee is that you
assume, despite emotional coercion and the pressures of political
correctness, a responsiblity to ensure that this bias does not further
contaminate our Courts by becoming the basis for any new laws regarding
custody and access.