A press release announced yesterday that Alaina Giordano, the North Carolina mom with breast cancer fighting to retain custody of her children, was denied the stay in her court case against her estranged husband Kane Snyder. Snyder has hired Father’s Rights lawyer Jeffery M. Leving to be his spokesperson “for this unprecedented legal controversy.” According to reports on Giordano’s Facebook page, Giordano and Snyder’s children will move to Chicago at the end of the summer to live with their father, but not before they also visit him there for three weeks.
In the press release, this action is described, sadly, as a “pivotal victory” for Snyder. Leving goes on to say, “I can truly say that Mr. Snyder is a man of principle and a devoted father. He has made every effort to keep his children out of the daunting light of the media and continues to support his wife through her treatment. That’s what true fatherhood is all about.”
If the Casey Anthony trial has proven one thing, it’s that the majority of Americans are sick to death of this kind of disgusting spin, this pathetic twisting of language, this emotional grandstanding and frankly, this manipulative bullshit. “True fatherhood” is not about robbing your children of their mother, a mother whose cancer could potentially take her from them before they reach adulthood.
The whole concept of Father’s Rights is a tricky one, since I do believe that fathers have rights, and I do believe a child will typically benefit from having a strong relationship with his/her father. But I do not believe that children should be required to be exposed to fathers who have demonstrated that their desire to have a relationship with their children is merely a vengeful power play, nor do I believe that the rights of a father should supersede the rights of a mother.
To paraphrase an idea I heard in a great show I saw last night, “men enjoy the benefits of our patriarchal society their whole lives, so in the end they should have to pay up.” The sentiment was uttered when a couple attending a marriage counseling retreat were instructed by the disembodied voice of a serial killer that one of them must murder the other or their daughter would be killed. (Don’t get your panties in a bunch, it was a comedy, parodying films like Saw.) Ultimately, they decided that neither of them should die and the daughter would have to be sacrificed, which is an apt metaphor, I think, since we all understand that children are the ones who suffer most in contentious custody battles.
So which parent’s responsibility is it to back off, to give in, to acquiesce? Father’s Rights organizations want us to believe that men are being played by the system, and not just by not being granted enough visitation with their children, but – and I’m quoting Leving’s video message on his website here – by virtue of the fact that “paternity fraud runs rampant in our society.”
I see. So that’s how it is. Leving clearly sees women as contemptible, horrible bitches who will both/either try to keep your children from you AND who will accuse you wrongly of fathering their disgusting little bastards. Women are whores, women are liars, blah blah blah blah blah. I am so sick of the diseased battle of the sexes rearing its ugly head in all of our daily lives. (Maybe that’s one reason to examine the role of gender in society and how it fuels this battle on an institutional level.) On an individual level, many men and women in this country love and respect each other. But on a grander scale, we are still blaming each other, hurt, angry and pointing fingers, especially when it comes to divorce and child custody.
So what about Snyder and Giordano? What about their case specifically? Like with Casey Anthony, it’s hard for the average, good, trusting, kind person to prove Snyder is the guilty party here, especially since he’s “the sole financial provider,” as was also noted in the press release. (Money talks.) It’s true that both Giordano and Snyder behaved badly during their marriage, and Snyder can claim to be a hero because he is paying for his ex-wife’s cancer treatment (or, depending on how you look at it, enjoying the control he has while watching her die). There are tons of comments on the Facebook page created to support Alaina, but I think the one that describes most people’s feelings about Snyder’s “pivotal victory,” written in succinct, plain language is, “The day you take 2 children from a mother with stage 4 cancer, and consider it a ‘pivotal victory,’ is the day you are an official piece of shit.”
If the judge found that Alaina was the “least likely” to nurture her children’s relationship with their other parent, she should have been ordered to encourage more phone time, more Skype time, more visits, whatever. But Snyder is the one who walked away from his family for four months without disclosing his location – how is it possible that he’s really that interested in his children?
I’m disgusted with this decision, I’m disgusted with the way Casey Anthony’s defense team supported a sociopath in her quest to beat the system, I’m saddened and I’m disappointed. How does the best judicial system in the world fail us like this? Let’s discuss.