Fathers’ Rights Groups in Australia and their Engagement with Issues in Family Law

Miranda Kaye and Julia Tolmie, lecturers at the Faculty of Law, Sydney University

There is a constant and persistent view pursued by people who are often discontented litigants sometimes obviously dysfunctional, that the court is in some sense designed by anti-family groups to destroy the institution of the family in society… An unfortunate concomitant of this approach is that some people and some politicians with limited knowledge of the issues involved, tend to latch on to such dysfunctional persons for apparent political gain. This has the further unfortunate effect of empowering such persons to feel that their behaviour is not only acceptable but is the subject of sympathy and approval by politicians and government. It is all too often the experience of this court that its most persistent critics have behaved in a way which cannot stand up to public scrutiny, particularly in relation to issues of violence against women and children. Such persons, who often espouse the rights of fathers, do very little for their cause

Riding the Donkey Backwards: Men as the Unacceptable Victims of Marital Violence

MALCOLM J. GEORGE, Department of Physiology, Queen Mary and Westfield College, London, United Kingdom. The Journal of Men's Studies, Volume 3, Number 2, November 1994, p. 137-159

In post-Renaissance France and England, society ridiculed and humiliated husbands thought to be battered and/or dominated by their wives (Steinmetz, 1977-78). In France, for instance, a “battered” husband was trotted around town riding a donkey backwards while holding its tail. In England, “abused” husbands were strapped to a cart and paraded around town, all the while subjected to the people’s derision and contempt. Such “treatments” for these husbands arose out of the patriarchal ethos where a husband was expected to dominate his wife, making her, if the occasion arose, the proper target for necessary marital chastisement; not the other way around (Dobash & Dobash, 1979).