Wednesday, November 25, 2009

In OZ ~ The clock ticks, but the hands the hands stay still

I made this comment on the newspaper site. Ozzy papers are odd in that they offer you the choice to make comments but frequently they never appear for whatever reason the editor has. This is currently the case on this story. Its a bit silly particularly if it is such a heartbreaking story as this. Maybe the maternalists (female supremacists who believe only moms have child rearing capability) and slime anyone who thinks otherwise) were sending in hateful comments. They are infamous for that.

I am one of many in the international community on watch with you. I know the terrible loneliness to have your child kidnapped emotionally and physically. Abduction is one of the worst forms of Parental Alienation and can have life lasting impact on an innocent child. Over Christmas the feelings become magnified beyond what mere mortals can comprehend into an agony of deep introspection. It passes and makes you stronger but it still hurts day in and day out.

Unlike a death in the family where the grieving may recede with time yours does not. It is with you each and every day with similar intensity and it wears heavily on your soul and your health. I wish you we
ll my fellow dad and know this - I have been in your dark valley and I have gazed at the abyss of hell without my children. You have my best wishes and with you I hope the light at the end of the tunnel gets a little brighter as the days pass. It can, against what appear to be impossible odds, become more luminescent. I know this from experience.

Be with other friends and family at Christmas. It is not a substitute but it will help.MJM

Ken Thompson

Counting the seconds ... Ken Thompson at in his son Andrew's room at Hunters Hill / Pic: Alan Pryke Source: The Daily Telegraph

THIRTY-one days, 11 hours, 44 minutes and 13 seconds. Eight seconds. Five seconds. Two seconds.

There's a certain depressing predictability about the countdown to Christmas, which kicks into high gear at this time of year: you know, for example, that some twit will refuse to hang decorations on the basis that it might offend a religious minority and that such a stance will have the sole effect of annoying everybody equally.

The first cards will arrive, smugly written and sent, proving that someone, somewhere, has nothing better to do than punch out 500 soul-destroyingly dull words about how Aunt Mildred was shipped off to a nursing home in May and cousin Werner took up the euphonium in July.

And then there's that stupid ad on the radio, reminding you at least four times an hour that you need to get your order in now if you want your couch delivered ahead of the festive season.

And so, with feverish visions of a sack-wielding Santa getting crushed to death by a couple of sofa-toting deliverymen, you'll rush to the phone, only to realise that you're panicking for nothing because you don't need a couch.

In the midst of it all, it's easy to forget that there are people who, through sheer miserable circumstance, are divorced from the kind of temporary madness that overtakes the rest of us.

Currently, Ken Thompson can also measure his life by days, hours and seconds, only in his case, there's absolutely no chance of respite coming along in the form of a credit card bill and a handful of broken new years' resolutions.

For 19 hellish months, he has been without his only child - a six-year-old named Andrew who was aged just four when his mother Melinda spirited him to an undisclosed overseas location.

Last December, Mr Thompson successfully petitioned the Family Court to lift a ban on identifying Andrew in the media, allowing him to go public with the details of his search for his son.

In another lifetime, he was the state's deputy fire chief, but three months ago he finally took a leave of absence, acknowledging that every moment spent not looking for Andrew felt like a gross betrayal of his boy.

With no idea as to where to start looking, he has pinned his hopes on a Find Andrew website and the resources of the international online community, which has rallied to support his exhaustive efforts.

In doing so, Mr Thompson has laid bare the raw details of his life.

At times, the strain has been overwhelming.

He has been examined by psychiatrists, submitted to polygraph testing and been admitted to hospital suffering double pneumonia.

Two months ago, his lung capacity was just 15 per cent - doctors warned him that if he didn't start taking care of himself, the consequences would almost certainly be fatal.

Every milestone brings fresh agony.

Statistically, Mr Thompson was told, children in Andrew's situation are likely to be returned within 12 weeks of their abduction. On that date last year, he wrote an email to international authorities to thank them for their continued efforts.

He cried as he hit the button to send it.

This morning, as with every other, he will get up and check his phone and his emails, praying that something will have changed overnight, spurred by the memory of his tiny son's hugs and the hope that one day, Andrew will be returned to him.

In the meantime, as the clock ticks on, he remains prisoner to a timetable he has no control over.

"This Christmas . . . I really don't know. Honestly, I'm just doing things day-to-day," he said yesterday.

"I can't plan ahead because I don't know how I'll be feeling from one day to the next. I'm living in limbo. It's just this ongoing, horrible trauma of not knowing where my child is - and my wife - and it's with me 24 hours a day.

"It's a really difficult feeling to describe. It's just constant uncertainty, incredible stress and anxiety and just not being able to move forward. My whole life is on hold until I find Andrew."

Anyone with information about the location of Andrew or his mother is asked to contatc the Australian Federal Police on 6126 7777.

Anyone who recognises the mother is asked not to approach her but to contact the AFP on the above number which applies in all states and territories.

There is an angry core of Australian men who use cyberspace as the latest forum to unload on how women have done them wrong

My observations left on the newspaper site but may not be published.

My goodness David you are a genuine Feminist. So glad to make your acquaintance. Do you exaggerate that "all" the men who complain are "angry"? Do you resort to hyperbole to defend the honour of feminists when you state "Setting aside the fact that there's no such thing as an over-exaggeration,..."

Well Mr. Penberthy you have been co-opted and you clearly have no clue at all about the wrath wrought by the opposite sex when they decide their partner is deserving of let me see where do I start...oh yes... verbal abuse which becomes at first annoying, then tiring and then just plain abusive. Do you not think men have feelings and their self esteem can be debilitated by constant emotional tirades? Then there is the matter of emptying the bank accounts and maxing out the credit cards. Then there is the use of weaponry such as 4.5' wooden rake handles which can kill. Did I mention getting beat on the head when not looking with a 10 lb water jug? How about your spouse robs, through fraud, your employer and ruins your career and does the same thing in a family business ruining the business.

You have not done any research to write this column and that is too bad but then its typical of those with your "manly" mindset. You criticize others for not providing citations but you argue the other way without citing any thing of merit either. You believe men are invincible and I'm not exaggerating (sarcasm). You really do not have a clue about the level of abuse women are capable of within a partnership and we haven't even gotten to emotional abuse through the alienation of children. Have you explored the abuse of children at the hands of females in your country. You should and you will be surprised to learn they are the leading gender in that respect. That is the same in the USA where single moms lead the pack for both maltreatment and killing of their children. It gets worse when you add in her new boyfriend.

In most western countries Domestic Violence is pretty much equal between genders. In my country of Canada 7% of females and 6% of males are impacted according to our lead Statistics gathering government agency. We live in a world suffused with mythological statistics that only women are victims and much of it is propaganda or gathered incorrectly. Its a pity.MJM

White Ribbon Day in forum's sight

News image Andrew O'Keefe 20091125

Ambassador: Entertainer Andrew O'Keefe spreads the White Ribbon Day message.

A few weeks ago we ran a column on The Punch website, examining their emergence. The piece documented

how even those columns with the most innocent subject matter, such as breast cancer, maternity leave, child care

or body image become a vehicle whereby crotchety men can bemoan the apparent neglect of men's health issues, the economic pressures faced by single dads and the raw deal they get from the courts.

The article had the unsurprising effect of attracting, well, an angry core of Australian men who use cyberspace as a forum to unload on how women have done them wrong.

There was a depressingly pertinent example of this mindset this week and it's worth pinging the perpetrators over it, as it demonstrated all the nonsensical self-pity of the men-are-victims-too brigade.

Bizarrely enough, the target of their anger this time was White Ribbon Day - you know, the wildly radical outfit that believes it's wrong to hit women, which argues that the overwhelming majority of victims of physical violence in the home are women, and that women are more likely to be sent to hospital or killed as a result of domestic violence.

Yes, the same apparently sinister organisation that believes it is appropriate that boys and young men should have their thinking challenged at a deliberately early age on the subject of how they treat girls and young women.

Let me be clear. The White Ribbon Day people argue those things because they are actually true. They advocate education programs for young blokes because the best way to address bad thinking is to nip it in the bud.

But it was White Ribbon Day that copped a clip over the ear from the Men's Rights Agency, which is the closest thing we have to an American-style woe-is-us men's movement in Australia.

I'm not sure how they do their sums but they claim that the domestic violence figures - official government statistics, no less - used by White Ribbon Day organisers have been exaggerated by 400 per cent and that one in every three victims of domestic violence is a man.

There is no evidence provided by the Men's Rights Agency to back up this claim of one in three, unless by domestic violence they are also counting psychological violence of the "For

God's sake, honey, will you stop watching the footy and just mow the bloody lawn" variety.

Their distortion of the stats is one thing. However, if they want to suggest that 33.3 per cent of domestic violence victims are called Nige and Bazza, and are hiding in the broom cupboard begging for mercy as the little lady gives them the rounds of the kitchen, sensible people will see it for the crock that it is.

But their continuing attempts to win a cheap headline and deter government from financing childhood education projects through White Ribbon Day should be deplored.

Parents are reporting their concerns when their sons come home wearing the WR wristband and then begin asking questions, which suggest the boys fear their future will be one of violence, the Men's Rights Agency said this week.

The MRA says there is no excuse for the intrusion of the White Ribbon message into our schools, particularly with their brand of over-exaggeration

of male violence and denial of violence by females.

Setting aside the fact that there's no such thing as an over-exaggeration, it would be nice if the Men's Rights people could line up this army of angry families who are appalled by this innocent educational gesture and, while they're at it, maybe they can also wheel out those long-suffering men for whom home is a place of terror.

Otherwise, we should just recognise it for the cant that it is.

David Penberthy is editor of The Punch website and a former editor of the Daily Telegraph newspaper