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…And the world goes crazy. Or so I’m told.

Anyway, so Rachel Potter has resigned from AAR after making those highly inflammatory comments, blaming women for rape, and everything else that’s wrong in the world. She didn’t go quietly though. She slagged off the planet and her daughter on her personal blog, before rethinking and deleting the post. You may still be able to get the cached version if you’re quick.

Personally, I think she did the right thing. There are lots of comments over at Dear Author lamenting on what a shame it is that she’s no longer at AAR, but honestly, I don’t see how she could have continued there, after she’d shown her knickers in such a fashion.

I actually thought that Rachel’s comments were more of a one-off than her actual deep-seated beliefs – or at least I did until I read her personal blog, and saw some of the comments that she’d made on other anti-feminist blogs.

Yes, Rachel is an anti-feminist who fundamentally believes that post-modern feminism is the reason why the world is going to hell in a handbasket. She seems to also believe that young women of today who have discarded the traditional role of women (as in wife, home-maker, and mother) have played the biggest part in the disintegration of society.

She cites pop videos by female artists such as Kesha (sp?), as examples of how feminism is rotting the world from the inside, and worries about her son going out and meeting whores who are eager to either take advantage of him, or accuse him of rape. Now I’m paraphrasing here, but all you have to do is to Google grerp.blogspot.com to see that my take isn’t that far off the mark.

There’s been a lot of talk about Freedom of Speech and defending people’s rights to speak freely, but the great thing about free speech is that it works both ways.
With notable exceptions, people can pretty much say what they want, but other people are also free to challenge their opinions.

Somebody over at Dear Author commented that they would never ever try to limit free speech, because everybody has a right to freely express themselves, however I asked this commenter what she would do if she owned a store, and she had a racist person who worked for her who one day decided to put up a sign that read ‘Niggers Not Allowed’. Would she pull the sign down or leave it up to protect her employee’s right to express himself. I’m still waiting for her response.

The fact is, whether Rachel was just speaking for herself or not, she posted those comments using her AAR handle, so fairly or unfairly, people will assume that her opinions are shared by others on the site, because she was, afterall, one of the major players at All About Romance and had been with them for years.

Free speech is all well and good, but it doesn’t mean that there won’t be repercussions for people who take things too far. Just ask all those people who were fired from their jobs, after making inappropriate comments on Facebook and Twitter.

41 Comments »

  • You know I ask myself… What have we honestly gotten in return for tolerating the intolerant whack jobs of the world? Just more crazy batshit ignorance is all.

    I think we do everyone a favor by confronting them and saying enough keep it to yourself in polite company or leave because you are being rude. Just like listening to someone constantly smacking their lips in a restaurant.

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  • Nothing is ever free – there’s always a cost

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  • Free speech is all well and good, but it doesn’t mean that there won’t be repercussions for people who take things too far.

    Exactly.

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  • Free speech =/= freedom from consequence. Which means if you spout blithering, offensive and downright ridiculous things then people will, well, treat you like someone who spouts blithering, offensive and downright ridiculous things.

    And if you say a lot of anti-woman tripe, especially in forums that are primarily woman dominated… welllll freedom of speech means all those women who disagree are going to have their say as well. And they’re going to say you’re a fool. Loudly. At length.

    Free speech does not mean and has never meant you won’t be criticised – or that people won’t furiously respond to what you say – or that the orgs you are part of won’t drop you like a great big stinking liability

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  • When I think of female artists like Kesha or Gaga, I think girl power and feminism. And what is wrong with that? They are unique and proud to do it their way and succeeding.

    We need to teach the future generation of women to be proud of who they are, no matter how unique or strange they may be and not rely on others, to get what they want and go for theirs.

    I’m all for freedom of speech, but keep in mind, if you can speak your mind the way you want to, others will also.

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  • sallahdog
    April 15
    2:12 pm

    talking about free speech… We have a candidate in my area that is putting ads blaming “Jews and Mudpeople(his words not mine)” for our countries problems and exhorting white Americans to take back our country… Since they are political ads, the radio station is playing them, because they are afraid of getting sued…

    While I think its a good thing people see what a racist crazy this guy is, I am always wondering how many people are nodding along and saying “YUP! This guy speaks for me.”

    It truly freaks me out…

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  • Here’s the thing, I’ve already written and deleted two responses to this blog post because they’re were just further inflammation and attacking, and unhelpful. You need to think before you speak. Even on a blog, even in the comments!

    @Teddypig – The reason there are so many intolerant asshats still running around is that people like that tend to take any criticism, even the most benign debate, as a personal attack. They feel further justified in their beliefs and really dig with a sense of the “world is trying to silence me!”

    It’s fine to be conservative; it’s fine to celebrate the traditional roles of wife/mother/homemaker, even if they’re not as historically accurate as most conservatives think. It’s still a difficult job, and some women are fortunate enough to do be in a financially stable place to do it. I also think it’s fine to try to convert people to your belief in traditional female roles.

    But calling all women who do not conform to your standards sluts and whores isn’t likely to win you any new converts. You attract more Poohs with honey than carrots, or something. As Sparkindarkness already said, freedom of speech doesn’t mean lack of consequences. Think then speak!

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  • Throwmearope
    April 15
    2:33 pm

    @Sallahdog,

    That idiot Tancredo used to represent my district. He’s running for POTUS on an “I hate one segment of American society” platform. It appears to be his only plank.

    On a hopeful note, even his party is sick of him and wants him to slink back into the sewer.

    There may be rays of hope. . .

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  • Anonymous Me
    April 15
    3:50 pm

    It bothers me when people begin to scream about free speech. They think, here in the US, that it is guaranteed to them by the Constitution. Thing is, it’s not.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    What this really means in the context of the time in which it was written is that when setting up this country, the founders felt it necessary to ensure that the people had the right to criticize their government without redress, which is a right they did not have under the king.

    There are plenty of restrictions on speech in the US that we accept, and even laud, as triumphs. Harassment (both sexual and not) laws include restrictions on speech. It is illegal to threaten harm to a person or another group of people. The standard ‘fire in a theater’ scenario is still illegal, as, currently, is even joking about having a bomb or weapon in an airport. The standard set up by the Supreme Court that speech which presents a ‘clear and present danger’ is not protected is still in effect.

    Now, did what Rachel say meet the standard? No. She never made actual threats or said anything that actively presented a danger. And, as such, her words are not prosecutable. It does not mean, however, that A) she has the right to say what she wants without criticism because other people share the same free speech rights she possesses or, B) that she had the right to say those things in a professional environment.

    Had she made the same post in her personal blog, there would be no issue. She might still have had to deal with derisive comment, but otherwise, I think it would not have gone noticed. But, AAR is not her personal soap box. It is a site with a very specifically stated goal that attracts with diverse interests and opinions that share a common love of the romance genre. Rachel’s comments did not pertain to the stated goal of the site, and as someone who works for that site, is an expectation that she present a level of professionalism and decorum that she failed to do.

    I fully support her resignation, as it was inappropriate behavior given her position with the site. Had she been a checkout girl at a grocery store who hijacked the P.A. and made such comments, she would have been fired, regardless of any free speech rights that she wanted to claim.

    Quite simply, free speech doesn’t mean what we think it means. It’s usually thrown up as an excuse for those who say inappropriate and divisive things as an attempt to free themselves from the inevitable backlash. It boils down to ‘I can say what I want, but you can’t’. Rachel had every right to say that men are animals and women deserve the consequences when they provoke said animals, and everyone else had the right to tell her she was full of shit and wrong for stating such things in her professional capacity on a site about romance novels.

    But this has nothing to do with free speech and censorship, and people who are claiming it is are deflecting and derailing. The issue is not what she said it, but where she said it.

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  • Laura
    April 15
    5:38 pm

    One of the recurring analogies in the rape threads seemed to be that if you walked down a dark alley in provocative clothing, you shouldn’t be surprised if you got raped.

    I’d say that if you make provocative comments on a public discussion forum, you shouldn’t be surprised if you get flamed.

    Further, if you are only one partner in a site of people who don’t share your provocative opinions, and don’t want the site known primarily because of your controversy, you shouldn’t be surprised if you get the boot.

    (And on a purely judgmental note, I pity the girl that marries Rachel’s son.)

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  • sallahdog
    April 15
    5:51 pm

    @throwmearope

    I keep looking for the rays of light… I truly think I was just in a frickin state of denial because I truly thought that as a people we were getting past this racist, sexist, homophobic BS but it seems having elected a black president really exposed the seething underbelly.

    We may outnumber them, but I truly fear domestic acts of terrorism is in our future, and folks like Palin (dont retreat, reload) are inciting people to further violence..

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  • Throwmearope
    April 15
    7:18 pm

    @sallahdog

    (Sorry to sidetrack, but I gave up on AAR years ago, and I already said that I thought AARRachel is a tool*.)

    The fact that the seething underbelly is being exposed is one of my rays of light. The crazier the racist, homophobe, sexist is, the more people move away from defending the crazies. “I’m not as crazy as those guys!”

    I do think Murdoch ought to stick to messing up Australia and sell all his holdings in the US, however.

    *More or less. Since she wouldn’t back down from rapees get what they deserve, I decided to up the rhetoric.

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  • di
    April 15
    7:23 pm

    People having a hard time reconciling her recent statements with past reviews haven’t been following AAR blog.

    http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=3814

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  • “I do think Murdoch ought to stick to messing up Australia and sell all his holdings in the US, however.”

    Old Rupert? He gave up his Aussie citzenship – you’re stuck with him now….

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  • I think we should take our cue from Rachel’s own words:

    Blaming/shaming/judging was and is a useful tool for getting people to own their mistakes and readjust their behavior. Now we spend our time shaming people into not shaming people – “Don’t judge!” etc. – which is ludicrous and leads to social anarchy and societal dysfunction.

    People who are not called on their bad behavior will only get worse.

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  • jessica
    April 15
    11:21 pm

    I’ve said it b4 I’ll say it again. What i got out of Rachel’s comments were be careful of the situations that you put yourself in. Also i don’t see anything wrong with being anti-feminist. Am I? No but i don’t look down on someone who is.

    P.S
    If you ask me something chances are i’m not going to respond. I always fear it’ll turn into an ugly back and forth

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  • @Jessica I won’t ask you a question, however I will say this, it’s great that all you took out of Rachel’s comments was to be careful, however the backlash against her wasn’t merely because she was offering safety advice to young women.

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  • Throwmearope
    April 16
    1:02 am

    @amarinda jones–

    Rats!

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  • Anon76
    April 16
    4:45 am

    @di

    Wow, thanks for the link. I’m going to read all the comments, but I can already see that at least one of the key “modern woman” bashers from the recent debacle was the first to post.

    I’m starting to wonder if Rachel and some of the others are really more feminist than they think. Maybe feminist isn’t the right term, but I can’t think of an appropriate one.

    Okay, maybe it’s penis envy. Or…penis resignation. A type of “face it girls, we don’t have one, we will never have one, and therefore this is our lot in life. Just deal with it and play nice so all the ones with the penis don’t lash out at us.”

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  • Karen Scott
    April 16
    6:40 am

    @RRRJessica I think it’s amusing that she would make such a statement about naming, shaming, and judging, then throw her toys out of the pram when she herself is challenged and judged. It seems to me that she was only really talking about herself being allowed to judge and shame others. She makes me feel ashamed alright – ashamed that she’s a representative of the female species.

    I think that she along with Maria definitely deserves the Sarah Palin Award for Right-Wing Nuttery and Propaganda.

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  • Anon76
    April 16
    4:30 pm

    This is quoted from Rachel on the link @Di provided.

    “There is a male backlash coming for the unfairness feminism has wrought. Whether it’s men refusing to marry, men demanding that accusations of domestic violence and rape be proven before an automatic jail sentence is given, or men just dropping out of employment and off the tax roles and letting women pay for all the expensive entitlement programs they demand themselves. It’s coming. Because the way it is now is not equal – for men. And they are bigger than women, physically stronger than women, and, unlike the unborn, can do something about the injustice.

    If women want things to be better for their daughters, they should get married and stay married. A girl is both safer and more likely to thrive if her father is in the house with her and a presence in her life. It’s that simple.”

    I call this “white picket fence” syndrome. And while some would say this is attributable only to women with the same mindset as Rachel, I say it goes for the “very angry male” Rachel pointed to as well.

    Gone is the time when the man had full say. That wifey was there to meet his every need, raise the children, keep them from upsetting his dinner and his newspaper reading, etc. And his inalienable right as a man that his word was equal to “God’s” law. “I said so, so that’s how it’s gonna be.”

    I think Rachel’s version of this is more along the lines of the “Leave it to Beaver” type household, where the males in question see it more as the “Archie Bunker” type household.

    And as to women overtaking men nowadays because of feminism-that women can now do anything they want and have more rights than men, I ask this:

    Whether a liberal or a conservative in this issue, what would your gut response be to finding out a woman had packed up her bags and left her husband and three kids?

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  • @ Anon76:

    My first reaction? “I can only imagine the horrible things he must have done, or the insurmountable situation she thought she was in, to provoke that reaction.”

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  • @ Anon76: I would wonder what happened, but that’s less from a political point of view and more from I’m nosy.

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  • SamG
    April 16
    9:28 pm

    I think I’d believe if it is that bad, she should take the kids with her.

    What was the Bret Butler line on her Grace Under Fire show…something like ‘My family was already broken, I FIXED it’ (by leaving).

    Sam

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  • Laura
    April 16
    11:31 pm

    Wait, jail is automatic for domestic violence and rape? Without a trial? What country does Rachel live in? I couldn’t even get my rapist charged, much less jailed.

    BTW, loved the “unlike the unborn” comment Rachel had…..throw that pro-life agenda in there all sneaky-like.

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  • I think it’s amusing that she would make such a statement about naming, shaming, and judging, then throw her toys out of the pram when she herself is challenged and judged. It seems to me that she was only really talking about herself being allowed to judge and shame others.

    Hm. For a minute there, I thought you were talking about another star in the Crazies of Bloglandia looping spiral galaxy.

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  • linda
    April 17
    5:52 am

    Just have to comment on that comment about women staying married to ensure their daughters’ safety. As a victim/survivor of incest, this sure as shit didn’t work in my life. Ignorance – it kills me.

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  • Rissa
    April 20
    10:14 am

    @ Anon76: What you call “white picket fence syndrome” some others call research conclusions.

    Studies suggest that an active father figure presence in the household has a positive, nurturing emotional influence on young women, especially on their self-esteem, whereas “fatherless” girls were more likely to be more insecure and consequently, more likely in risk of being sexually abused.

    Somewhat related, studies also suggest that growing up in a single-parent household is more stressful and increases the risk of violent behaviour and criminality. Parental divorce also doubled the risk for risky behaviour, such as drunk driving.

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  • DS
    April 21
    3:37 pm

    @Rissa What studies are you talking about? I never buy the vague “studies suggest” without some references so I can see the source of the studies, the design of the studies, and most of all who paid for the studies in question

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  • I’m with DS. Before I believe anything suggested, I want to see the methodology.

    For example, about those “growing up in a single-parent household is more stressful and increases the risk of violent behaviour and criminality” do we know if perhaps these kids grew up in a single parent household after the other parent went away to prison for violent behaviour him/herself? In other words, how do we know that the kids’ behaviour was not caused by whatever happened before, while there were two parents around?

    Then again, “an active father figure” doesn’t necessarily mean the biological father, does it? So perhaps a household wherein the biological parents have gotten a divorce and the mother marries again, a good man who can and is a father to her children in all the ways the biological father couldn’t/wasn’t, would be much better for the children than if the biological parents had stayed together. I know that for me and my siblings it was much better than the whole “stay married for the kids’ sake” advocated by some.

    Further, studies can suggest whatever they want, but given that we know so little about the inner workings of many traditional (father, mother, children, no divorce) households**, I’ll wait until I know more fact, with some hard numbers to back the conclusions.

    (**I.e., we know now that physical and sexual abuse of spouse and/or children happens in families that are outwardly perfect, and that this is not a new phenomenon either).

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  • Rissa
    April 22
    1:46 pm

    @DS and AztecLady: I hesitate to hijack the blog comments with pages and pages of citations, so I try to keep the copy&paste as short and simple as possible (thus, random and by no means comprehensive).

    On criminality, risky behaviour, stress:

    Sauvola (2001): The association between single-parent family background and physical morbidity, mortality, and criminal behaviour in adulthood: The risk of criminal offending, violent offences and recidivism in particular, was significantly increased among males who were born to single-mother families. The trend of an increased risk of criminality was also seen among females from single-parent families. The results of this thesis suggest that growing up in a single-parent family is a potentially powerful predictor of adult alcohol-related problems, i.e. early-onset, late onset and recidive drunk driving among males. Females from single-parent families also had abortions, pregnancies and pregnancy related complications more frequently than other females.

    –> “fatherless girls” –> more likely to start having (premarital) sex earlier in their teens –> coupled with lower self-esteem –> more open to sexual abuse, teen pregnancy (http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/09/22/1064082932408.html?from=storyrhs). Also noted by Cherlin, Furstenberg, Chase-Lansdale, Kiernan, Robins, Morrison, Teitler (1991): Longitudinal studies of effects of divorce on children in Great Britain and the United States; Albrecht & Teachman (2003): Childhood living arrangements and the risk of premarital intercourse; Wu (1996): Effects of Family Instability, Income, and Income Instability on the Risk of a Premarital Birth; Uddenberg (1979): Experience of father and later relations to men: A Systematic study of woman’s relations to their father, their partner and their son.

    –> “fatherless boys” –> substance abuse –> drunk driving. Murray (1998): The home and school background of young drivers involved in traffic accidents: Men from single-father families had a higher risk of getting involved in a motor traffic accident than men from two-parent families. Women from single-father families also had a higher risk of getting involved in car accidents than women from two-parent families; Vanassche, Sodermans, Matthijs: Divorce, delinquent behaviour and substance use among adolescents: The role of parental characteristics[/url]:

    According to the chronic stress theory (<– the financial situation of single-parent families; a physical and psychological overload –> children’s well-being; <– reduced parenting ability due to a raised level of stress caused by persistent conflicts with the ex-partner or by the divorce itself; <– the broken/reduced community network of support for single parents; This suggests that marriage postponement and spouse selection according to parental divorce are partly an outcome of the differences in educational careers. Children of divorce are less likely to achieve higher educational qualifications, which decreases their probability of marrying highly educated marital candidates: children of divorce are less preferred spouses, for example because of low interpersonal skills, emotional problems, or other factors. If high attained education is a valuable resource in the marriage market, then highly educated spouse candidates can show more consideration in their marital decisions in hopes of finding better matches. This can partly explain the lower marriage rates of children of divorce. This result also shows that the lower chances of marrying highly qualified candidates adds to the other intergenerational effects of divorce and cannot be explained fully by the lower educational levels of the children of divorce. This underlines the importance of recalling that divorce is not only a decision which affects the two separating partners, but can have long-term consequences for their children. The results show that parental divorce has long-term effects, not only for the divorcees themselves, but also for their children.

    Several Norwegian (Breidablikk & Meland 1999; Breivik & Olweus 2005, 2006; Størksen, Røysamb, Holmen, & Tambs 2006; Størksen, Røysamb, Moum, & Tambs 2005) and international (Amato 2001; Amato & Keith 1991) studies show that school children and adolescents who have experienced parental divorce or separation are at increased risk of various emotional and behavioral problems, and school related problems. International studies indicate that also young children may show various reactions to divorce such as behavioral and emotional problems (Cheng, Dunn, O’Connor, & Golding 2006) and a more insecure
    attachment (Nair & Murray 2005).

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  • (Rissa, your comment was trapped in the spam catcher for a bit, sorry ’bout that)

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  • Rissa
    April 23
    11:57 am

    No problem! 🙂 Sorry my comment looks so messy.

    A usuful summary (with references) by Civitas, an independent British advisory think-thank, The Institute for the Study of Civil Society (http://www.civitas.org.uk/pdf/Experiments.pdf)

    [b]The Results: How does the Fatherless Family Affect Adults, Children and Society?[/b]

    Lone mothers:

    *Are poorer
    *Are more likely to suffer from stress, depression, and other emotional and psychological problems
    *Have more health problems
    *May have more problems interacting with their children

    Non-resident biological fathers:

    *Are at risk of losing contact with their children
    *Are more likely to have health problems and engage in high-risk behaviour

    Children living without their biological fathers:

    *Are more likely to live in poverty and deprivation
    *Have more trouble in school
    *Tend to have more trouble getting along with others
    *Have higher risk of health problems
    *Are at greater risk of suffering physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.
    *Are more likely to run away from home

    Teenagers living without their biological fathers:

    *Are more likely to experience problems with sexual health
    *Are more likely to become teenage parents
    *Are more likely to offend
    *Are more likely to smoke
    *Are more likely to drink alcohol
    *Are more likely to take drugs
    *Are more likely to play truant from school
    *Are more likely to be excluded from school
    *Are more likely to leave school at 16
    *Are more likely to have adjustment problems

    Young adults who grew up not living with their biological fathers:

    *Are less likely to attain qualifications
    *Are more likely to experience unemployment
    *Are more likely to have low incomes
    *Are more likely be on income support
    *Are more likely to experience homelessness
    *Are more likely to be caught offending and go to jail
    *Are more likely to suffer from long term emotional and psychological problems
    *Are more likely to develop health problems
    *Tend to enter partnerships earlier and more often as a cohabitation
    *Are more likely to divorce or dissolve their cohabiting unions
    *Are more likely to have children outside marriage or outside any partnership

    ***

    @AztecLady [i](**I.e., we know now that physical and sexual abuse of spouse and/or children happens in families that are outwardly perfect, and that this is not a new phenomenon either).[/i]

    That physical and sexual abuse also happens in two-parent families as well as outside family institution (church abuse, military abuse) does not refute the studies which suggest that single-parent children are more at risk of risky destructive behavior and abuse.

    Being a single-parent, a single-breadwinner, a single-limit-setter is extra tough. Even the strong welfare states with adequate childcare, healthcare, affordable housing, child allowences etc. cannot fully compensate the “missing” other parent. Of course, this does not mean that offsprings of single-parent homes are always and automatically worse off, yet growing up in a single-parent household (and “fatherless”, since the majority of single-parents are women) appears to be an extra hurdle. I’m unaware of any study conclusions that single-parent offsprings were better off — emotinally, financially, socially — and better equipped to meet life than children from two-parent homes.

    Rissa

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  • FYI: Civitas is “independent” in the sense that it receives no govt funds, but it’s politics are clear: it is a right wing think tank.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2004/aug/31/race.newschools

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  • Rissa
    April 23
    2:08 pm

    To further clarify, lest there be confusion, Civitas is “right-wing” in the sense that it leans to classical European-style liberalism (progressive, pro-individual liberties, mind-your-own-bedroom-business), i.e a polar opposite from the US-style religious-minded conservative fundamentalism seeking to legislate morality.

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  • di
    April 23
    7:40 pm

    As part of the ongoing Prop 8 federal trial, there was testimony that studies show that children do just as well with same sex parents, as they do with heterosexual parents. And while a two parent home seems to be best, a big part of how well children do is base on $$$$$. It’s not the lack of father (or mother), it’s the fact the a father (or second parent) can often times be the higher (or another) wage earner, offering more stability to the child and family.

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  • Rissa
    April 23
    8:57 pm

    @di: I believe that is the gist in the (Northern/welfare state) European studies: problems related to second partnerless/parentless homes, as in not necessarily “fatherless”, and how even the most extensive welfare programs cannot fully compensate the missing $$$ (and related stress & problems thereof).

    However, a divorce situation appears to be (not surprisingly) a stressful period for the “remaining” partner (and offspring), which in turn translates to less energy to concentrate on the child/ren, which in turn can lead to destructive behavior. As in, girls having an early start at sex, which can lead to unwanted teen pregnancy: father-absent teenage girls are three (New Zealand) to five times (USA) more likely to become pregnant than father-present teenage girls. What’s more, apparently, a whopping two-thirds of the of children born to teenage girls in the United States are fathered by adult men aged <20. For an armchair psychologist, it makes me wonder about the correlation between a girl growing up fatherless and seeking an older man's acceptance in form of pressured, early/teenage, unprotected sex.

    In fact, this is how I initially took Rachel's (now infamous?) comment: that dear ladies, if you don't want your teenage daughters facing pressured teen sex, unwanted teen pregnancy and possible abortion, you might be adviced to make sure the girl's biological father has an active and involved presence in your daughter's life.

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  • Laura
    April 23
    10:07 pm

    Rissa, how does one “make sure” that your child’s father has an active role? Staying married isn’t necessarily going to “make sure” that the father participates in much of the childrearing–and I know of a few marriages that prove that to me.

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  • Karen Scott
    April 24
    8:06 am

    @Laura The problem with stats is that they can be skewered to say what people want them to say. The other month on Fox news I learned that according to a poll conducted by the channel, Republicans were more likely to be happily married than liberals, and financially wealthier too.

    For me the key isn’t really just about two parents staying together to raise their kids, ergo avoiding said kids becoming juvenile delinquents, no, for me it’s about kids being raised in a stable and loving environment, and that’s not necessarily something that a two-parent family provides. I think the number of domestic abuse cases in the ‘ideal’ two parent households bear this out. One can quote stats all day long, but things are rarely that black and white when it comes to human behaviour. Also it’s often best to take a close look at the source of the statistics. If somebody is seeking information that backs up their point of view, they tend to ignore those statistics that may weaken their argument. I think that we all know that this is a common occurrence.

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  • Karen Scott
    April 24
    8:10 am

    Apologies Laura, the above point was meant for Rissa.

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  • Rissa
    April 26
    5:32 am

    @Laura: I’m no Dr. Phil here! 🙂 Of course, when we talk about single-parenthood (of “choice”), we are not only talking about divorce. For example, some unmarried, partnerless women deliberately set out to be single-moms and raising their child alone right from the “day one” (read: impregnation): want a child of their own but no man in their life. No doubt many of this type of single-moms ensure that their children do have good male role models (grandpas, brothers, friends, godfathers) present in their child’s life, but what of those single-moms who do not, who just want the child? Is it a basic human right for a woman to have a child of her own by any means, under any circumstances? Is it a basic human right for a child to have both a mother and a father to mitigate the stress and risks related to growing up in a single-parent household? How do we reconcile the mother’s “best” and the child’s “best”?

    @Karen Scott: Karen, with all due respect, an anecdotal poll on marriage by a US channel well known for its particular kind of political slant catering to a very narrow, localized audience does nothing to refute the findings of my (admittedly!) ad hoc list of studies. It’s all well and fine to stress the importance of critical reading, yet anecdotal evidence (“but my mom raised me all alone and I was just fine”), vague generalizations (“statitics can be skewered to say what people want them to say”) and the most platant red herring (“domestic abuse also happens in the ‘ideal’ two parent households”) are just that and nothing more: red herrings. True, statics can be mispresented, but you still need to show where and how did Størksen, Røysamb et al. mispresent their stats in their a longitudinal study “Adolescents with a childhood experience of parental divorce: a longitudinal study of mental health and adjustment” in order to dismiss the findings — or accept Størksen, Røysamb et al.’s study is competent and its findings stand.

    I was asked to provide some sources so that their “methodology”, “design” etc. could be assessed under the notion that “studies can ‘suggest’ whatever they want”, so more “fact” and “some hard numbers” are needed. Yet so far, no one has commented on my ad hoc list of actual studies showing that offsprings of single-parent homes are more at risk of risky behavior, such as substance abuse and early teenage sex and pregnancy. (note: I call this a risk well aware that there are those who consider it natural that teenagers experiment with sex and that fertile-age teen girls get preganant.)

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