Tuesday, July 04, 2006

How to be taken seriously

A few days ago, I encountered yet another strident newspaper article claiming that parental alienation syndrome doesn't exist and, in this case, has been discredited by the American Psychological Association. It does and it hasn't. But that didn't stop this woman claiming to the world the opposite and another newspaper from failing to check its columnists' facts, motivations and credibility. The author, unsurprisingly, is someone big in the domestic violence industry. Doubtless she's well-meaning in her own way, doubtless she's seen many bona fide cases of abuse, doubtless she's even seen spurious claims of parental alienation to gain ground in custody battles. But none of that undermines the reality of a parent's ability to attack and even destroy the other parent in a child's eyes, especially when supported by the court. Consequently, she does everyone a disfavor by peddling misinformation and false ideology. I won't link to her because I don't want to spread such crap myself.

What I will link to is an article in the Salt Lake Tribune wherein Elizabeth Neff discusses parental alienation in high conflict divorce with admirable objectivity and without the unnecessary rancor which so often clouds people's vision. I recommend it.

She quotes: "[Judge] Kennedy has acknowledged in hearings that he is operating in a vacuum of sorts, at some points mentioning he might assume the abuse has taken place for the sake of argument." I wonder if he ever assumes that the abuse has not taken place for the sake of argument. Either way, imagine the consequences of such an assumption if it is unfounded. As she ends the article: 'The father in the 3rd District Court case agrees that sexual abuse is heinous. "But it's also heinous to allege it if it's not true," he says.'

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