This article was first Published on Sunday, January 27, 2008 at – : http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2008/01/wife-beating-morale-434.html
Surah 4:34 The (Wife) Beatings Will Continue ’til Morale Improves
Principles of human dignity are timeless and universal, you say? Well, maybe, but consider the complexity of the therapist’s task when a traditional Muslim husband and his not-so-traditional (Westernized) Muslim wife arrive in the office for marriage counseling and conciliation.
Bassam A. Abed and Syed E. Ahmad’s Discipline as a Means to Marital Reconciliation: the Husband’s Graduated Response to His Wife’s Disobedience Under Islamic Law explores “the Islamic legal perspective on wife beating specifically and wife discipline in general.”
Abed and Ahmad, law students at Michigan State University, dispute the suggestion that wife beating is an accepted doctrine of Islam, although they posit a notion of permissible, rightly motivated, non-abusive physical discipline as a means of restoring proper marriage relations. It is a very difficult concept for us Westerners to accept.
With robust immigration from Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, these situations will appear more and more often in the suites of Western therapists. How should it be handled?
By asserting our egalitarian values and expressing outrage at their violation, do we run the risk of driving Muslims out of therapeutic counseling? Do we want to throw the baby out with the bath water? (For example, there is a strong commitment to alternative dispute resolution in surah 4:35, which outlines a system of arbitration.)
Do we want marriage therapy to be the exclusive preserve of native-born and Westernized immigrant couples? Do we have anything to offer a Muslim couple whose marriage is in crisis?
These are not rhetorical questions. I would like to know the answers.
Abed’s and Ahmad’s article is on the Cienfuegos blog at http://gimmetruth.wordpress.com/2006/06/04/discipline-as-a-means-to-marital-reconciliation/. It’s long, but profitable reading for therapists in multicultural communities, and the Therapeutic Family Law practitioners who refer clients to them.
POSTED BY B. JAMES STINSON AT 4:06 PM 0 COMMENTS LINKS TO THIS POST
LABELS: ISLAM, MARITAL RECONCILIATION, MUSLIMS, WIFE BEATING
Thursday, January 24, 2008
District of Columbia’s Pilot Program Grapples with Fatherlessness
Here is the brief article about the District of Columbia’s new Fathering Court pilot program, taken from the DC Bar’s website:
District of Columbia Superior Court, Office of Attorney General Collaborate to Form New Fathering Court
The family court of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia has partnered with the D.C. Office of the Attorney General and other D.C. government agencies to create a new entity, the Fathering Court. This program, currently in the pilot phase, will help recently incarcerated fathers get the help they need to support their families through services such as drug treatment, parenting classes, and job training.
The Fathering Court will help an initial class of 45 noncustodial fathers become responsible for their children through a combination of needs assessment, case management, and linkage to community resources. Resources for Fathering Court participants include mandatory fathering classes, employment training, and family and parental educational classes. Participants also must maintain sobriety, which will be enforced through mandatory drug testing. An individual case manager and the Fathering Court program manager will monitor each participant’s progress.
“The Fathering Court is a unique effort to help fathers returning from prison become better parents—financially and emotionally—to their children,” said Family Court Presiding Judge Anita Josey-Herring. “[W]e will be able to help them find gainful employment, slowly increase the amount of child support they owe, and to develop meaningful relationships with their children. Custodial parents will get the child support they are due, fathers will have a chance to meet their support requirements, and the relationship between parent and child will be about more than just money.”
D.C. Attorney General Linda Singer agreed.
“Parents coming out of prison have many strikes against them, and this program is designed to give them a fighting chance to be a parent to their child or children,” she said.
Magistrate Judge Milton Lee, who will preside over Fathering Court cases, added that he looked forward to the challenge that this new program represents.
“Judges who hear child support cases can grow weary of excuses, just as those returning from prison can grow weary of job application rejections, and custodial parents can grow weary of not receiving court-ordered child support. And the children living without the benefit of appropriate financial and emotional support from both parents are the ones who suffer most,” he said. “We know that children benefit from having both parents involved in their lives.”
Some agencies supporting the Fathering Court include the Bureau of Prisons, Child Support Services Division, Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, Fatherhood Initiative of the Department of Human Services, and D.C. Office of the Attorney General. —J.R.
POSTED BY B. JAMES STINSON AT 7:38 PM 0 COMMENTS LINKS TO THIS POST
LABELS: CHILD SUPPORT, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, EX-OFFENDERS, FATHERING COURT, FATHERLESSNESS
Virginia Holeman’s reconciliation study
Here is Virginia Holeman’s description of her study on marital reconciliation, taken from the Campaign for Forgiveness Research website:
Marital Reconciliation: A Qualitative Study
Unlike forgiveness, the formal study of reconciliation is in its embryonic stage. I undertook an exploratory study of marital reconciliation to (1) develop a grounded theory of reconciliation, (2) to identify factors salient to reconciliation, and (3) to generate ideas for research and counseling.
This study used multiple case, in-depth, phenomenological interviewing to gain an understanding of marital reconciliation and the meaning that partners individually and conjointly attributed to that experience. A purposive sample of twelve couples (N=12) was obtained through referrals by clergy or clinicians.
Each couple completed three ninety-minute, audio taped interviews. The first two interviews were individual to allow participants to discuss the flow of events from the viewpoint of either the injured party or the transgressor. The final interview was conjoint and focused extensively on how the couple rebuilt their relationship.
Interview data were coded using The Ethnograph v.5.0. A grounded theory of reconciliation developed from the themes and trends that emerged from interview analyses. Triangulation was achieved by participant-observation, analysis of narrative data, and comparing study conclusions with psychological and theological literatures on forgiveness and reconciliation.
I define reconciliation as active commitment to the restoration of justice and trustworthiness by both injured party and transgressor so that their relationship may be transformed.
I employ the metaphor of preparation for wilderness trekking as an organizational scaffold for the eight themes that emerged. This metaphor avoids as much as possible a linear interpretation (i.e., steps) of the themes.
The eight “essential items” for trekking through the wilderness of reconciliation include the following: commitment to a transcendent spirituality, commitment to reconcile, the role of community or witnesses to reconciliation, individual maturation, forgiveness, repentance, rebuilding truth and trustworthiness, and the emergence of a new story about their relationship.
POSTED BY B. JAMES STINSON AT 5:51 PM 0 COMMENTS LINKS TO THIS POST
LABELS: MARITAL RECONCILIATION, RESEARCH
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Grant from State Supreme Court Underwrites Experiment to Serve Families in Crisis
The Indiana Supreme Court’s Division of State Court Administration has distributed about $1.8 million since 1999 to support Family Court projects in 22 counties, according to the Evansville Courier. The cautiously paced experimentation will penetrate Southwestern Indiana this year in the form of a $30,000 grant to urban Vanderburgh County (Evansville) for a two-year pilot project to assist pro se families.
The Courier’s Kate Braser writes that the object of the Vanderburgh County project, modeled on a Lake County program, is to coordinate multiple cases involving the same family, to avoid inconsistent orders and promote more informed decision making among judges assigned to domestic cases.
According to Superior Court Judge Mary M. Lloyd, the project’s lead judge, it’s not unusual for one family to be simultaneously involved in a juvenile case, a protective order and another legal issue. “Hopefully now the case before us will be able to be better addressed,” she told the Courier.
Part of the grant will fund a part-time employee to track and organize local Family Court cases. That employee will pull all the cases for a referred family, then brief the judge assigned to the case as to other ongoing legal issues the family faces, Lloyd said.
Pro bono attorneys from the local bar will assist pro se litigants referred by the clerk’s office. The Evansville Bar Association boasts unusually robust pro bono participation. A recent Courier article identified several attorneys who donated 50 hours or more during 2007.
Volunteer Lawyer Program district administrator Scott Wylie told the Courier that the grant will also allow the court to arrange for family counseling in certain cases. A small pool of money will be set aside for mediation services.
“There are many cases where the adversarial system doesn’t serve the family as well as allowing everyone to sit down with a mediator,” Wylie said. “Often it is a very stressful and sad time, and if you can have a third-party mediator sit down and help, many families can often come up with their own solutions.”
The grantees hope the Family Court project will serve 100 families within the first year.
“This is another example of (Indiana Chief Justice and Family Court project founder Randall Shepard) trying to provide access to the courts for every person in Indiana,” Wylie said.
“So many families are having to go through the entire court system without benefit of counsel. This is designed to help those people, so that they can get their forms and pleadings done in a way that will allow them to actually receive the child support or custody orders that they need and also ensure the judges have the information they need to make the best decision for that family.”
POSTED BY B. JAMES STINSON AT 12:00 AM 1 COMMENTS LINKS TO THIS POST
LABELS: COURT REFORM, EVANSVILLE, FAMILY COURT, GRANT, INDIANA, INDIANA SUPREME COURT, LAKE COUNTY, PRO BONO, PRO SE, RANDALL SHEPARD, VANDERBURGH COUNTY, VOLUNTEER
Monday, January 21, 2008
For Happily Married Women, Hand Holding is Physiologically Powerful
Neuroscientist James Coan, PhD, reports that functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scans confirm that happily married women are calmed in stressful situations by holding hands with their husbands.
Coan and colleagues from the University of Wisconsin and University of Virginia studied 16 happily married couples in their early 30s, on average. They were identified as happily married by a 151-point survey instrument. Any couple scoring 100 or more was defined as happily married. The couples selected for the research averaged about 126 points.
The wives wore electrodes on their ankles and the couples watched screens that warned them when a mild electric shock was coming or assured them that they weren’t due for a shock. When the wives knew they were due for a shock, their brain scans showed activity in brain areas that handle threats.
The fMRI operators scanned the wives’ brains and found that when the wives held their husbands’ hand their brain scans looked calmer, during the same threat, than when they weren’t holding hands.
While holding a stranger’s hand, the wives’ brain scans were less calm than while holding their husbands’ hand, but calmer than while not holding anyone’s hand.
This generally accorded with the wives’ self-reported stress and unpleasantness. The wives reported that they felt physically calmer while holding anyone’s hand, but that only holding their husband’s hand made the tests less unpleasant.
All of the couples in the study were happily married. But those whose marital quality rated higher (by the numerical scheme) than the others experienced the greatest benefits: the effect of spousal handholding under threat was greater in stronger relationships.
Doan and his colleagues caution that the findings may not apply to couples in less happy relationships, as the cut-off score for eligibility to participate in this experiment was 100. Struggling couples and couples in crisis were not invited to participate, and husbands were not tested or scanned.
POSTED BY B. JAMES STINSON AT 8:20 AM 0 COMMENTS LINKS TO THIS POST
LABELS: HAND-HOLDING, MARRIAGE, RESEARCH
Just the Facts, Ma’am (litigation humor)
A woman appeared in court pro se and told the judge she wanted a divorce. The judge looked through his stack of files, found none for the woman, gave his clerk a dirty look but, being up for re-election, settled down to try and accomodate the woman.
“Do you have any grounds?” the judge asked.
“Yes, your honor, about two acres.” she replied.
The judge cleared his throat, paused, and tried again. “That’s not what I mean, ma’am. Look, do you have, um, a grudge?”
“No sir, we just park in the driveway.”
The judge shot a mean stare at his bailiff, who quickly regained his composure.
“What are we dealing with here? Is your husband a philanderer?”
“No sir, he’s a barber.”
The clerk and the bailiff watched the judge clench and release his fists on his lap and noticed that a vein on his forehead had begun to pulsate.
“Does your husband beat you up?”
“Oh no, your honor. I always wake up before him.”
“O.K., lady, just tell me why you want a divorce.”
“Because,” she admitted, “we just don’t seem to be able to communicate.”
POSTED BY B. JAMES STINSON AT 7:27 AM 0 COMMENTS LINKS TO THIS POST
LABELS: DIVORCE COURT, HUMOR, PRO SE
Friday, January 18, 2008
Advance Notice and Call for Papers
Family Violence and Specialist Courts — National and International Perspectives
22-23 May 2008
Canberra, ACT Australia
Specialised court procedures and specialised family violence courts are developing rapidly in Australia. In many jurisdictions, these developments are paralleled by other specialisations such as Drug Courts, Indigenous Courts and Mental Health Courts.In Canada, the UK, and the USA specialised family violence court initiatives have been extensively implemented.
This national conference will be an opportunity to hear critical reflections from overseas and national speakers, and will provide an occasion for Australian judicial officers, administrators, victim advocates, prosecutors, policy makers and law reform advocates to share perspectives on the specialised jurisdictions, on what constitutes ‘success’ and visions for the future.
Conference Keynote Speaker: His Honour, Raymond E. Wyant, Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of Manitoba, Canada.
Call for Papers
The conference organisers invite you to submit an abstract for a paper or workshop to be presented at the conference. Abstracts should be between 250-200 words and be submitted by 29 February 2008.
We are particularly interested in papers that reflect critically on some of the practice and legal challenges inherent in specialised developments, the role of specialised justice courts or justice initiatives within the history of reform in relation to domestic & family violence, the ways in which the specialised initiatives do or do not respond to the interests of victims and/or offenders, and those projects or initiatives that are informed by research and evaluation.