Virtual Library of Newspaper Articles

"Domestic woes not a one-way street"

London Free Press, By SHARON OSVALD, November 6, 2001

For all the times I stood up and shouted "unfair, unfair," on behalf on my own gender, it's now time for me to defend the other half of the room. Men are getting a bad deal.

It was while helping a friend edit an independent study for her social work degree this first came to my attention. I smiled politely when she first told me she was writing about male partner abuse. (It was sure to be a short report, I thought). Thus began my first introduction to the notion that real sexual prejudice and gender profiling exists for men, just as it does for women.

Although I am cautious to comment on families whose personal lives I am not intimate with, the acquittal of Carline Vandenelsen was my re-awakening to the topic.

While I'd likely be typing just as furiously in opposition were Vandenelsen sitting in a jail cell right now, the fact that she was completely acquitted by "reason of necessity" still astounds me.

By allowing Vandenelsen to break the law in such an obvious manner, the judge's ruling clearly shows when it comes to children, mothers trump fathers. I can't think of a better illustration that there are beliefs held near and dear to people in our society (glass ceiling and all) that unfairly disadvantage men while benefiting women.

According to the male partner abuse independent study, much of today's sexism against males is rooted in a shift of emphasis in feminism from equity feminism to gender feminism.

No longer do we want equity for all human beings, but now many feminists see men as the patriarchal oppressor, someone to take back the night from, not someone who can fight injustice and violence alongside them.

Society and laws that govern the family largely see women as victims of men (who are inherently bad), empowered by a society that oppresses women. Since we all know no man would have been acquitted on those charges, society also believes mothers are inherently better parents then fathers.

As a mother, I know that is not true. For all my "never send a man to do a woman's job" rhetoric, I can be just as egocentric as the next guy. I've witnessed my husband blossom with patience and maternal -- I mean paternal -- instinct when I was at the end of my rope, and visa versa.

I've also witnessed enough family breakdowns to know men don't have a corner on the market for bad behaviour. Mothers, not just fathers, use their children for collateral, as mini private investigators, and as weapons against their former partners. Even Erin Pizzey, an incredible advocate for women and the founder of the first modern women's shelter 30 years ago, came under fire from those who insist all women are simply victims of male oppression for saying some people actually choose violent relationships.

While I in no way wish to diminish the horrible reality of women who are victimized by their male partners and their need for help and support, being male does not make one immune to victimization or violence. The independent study showed research conducted by the Canadian and British governments found a significant number of men, although usually physically stronger, are physically and emotionally abused by women.

What is disturbing is society's reaction to men being abused by women. Our first reaction is, I wonder what he did to drive his wife to shoot him?

Violent behaviour by women is almost always perceived as a pre-emptive strike or self- defence. While violent men are seen as pure evil, women who harm or kill their male partners are assumed mentally ill and are often pitied as victims who finally snapped under all the strain.

If you doubt this, ever wonder why we don't have an annual Phil Hartma march or rally for men, or why John Wayne Bobbit is in comedy instead of therapy?

*Sharon Osvald is a London freelance writer. Her column appears Tuesdays.

Associated Press logo

Woman convicted of killing 3 kids after custody battle

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, USA, August 26, 2008

HELSINKI, Finland - A court in Finland has convicted a woman of murdering her three young children and has given her a life sentence.

The Espoo District Court says Thai-born Yu-Hsiu Fu was found guilty of strangling her 8-year-old twin daughters and 1-year-old son in her home.

She tried to kill herself afterward.

The verdict on Tuesday says the 41-year-old woman was found to be of sound mind at the time of the murders.

Court papers show the murders were preceded by a bitter custody battle with her Finnish husband who was living separately from her at the time of the murders.

A life sentence in Finland mean convicts usually serve at least 11 years in prison.

Canadian Press - New Brunswick woman ruled responsible in burning of baby's body

New Brunswick woman ruled responsible in burning of baby's body

ST. STEPHEN, N.B. - A New Brunswick judge says a woman who burned and dismembered her newborn son is criminally responsible for her actions.

Becky Sue Morrow earlier pleaded guilty to offering an indignity to a dead body and disposing of a newborn with the intent of concealing a delivery.

Judge David Walker ruled Friday that the 27-year-old woman may have been suffering from a mental disorder when she delivered the baby but that that was not the case when the baby's body was burned and its remains hidden.

It is not known if the baby was alive at the time of birth.

At a hearing last month, the court heard contrasting reports from the two psychiatrists. One said Ms. Morrow was in a "disassociated" mental state when the crime occurred. The other said she clearly planned her actions and understood the consequences.

Mothers Who Kill Their Children
Canadian Press - Mother child abuse - sentenced 16 years in jail

Ontario woman convicted of son's starvation death granted full parole

Canadian Press
Wednesday, May. 22, 2002

KINGSTON, Ont. (CP) -- An Ontario woman who was sentenced to 16 years in prison in one of Canada's stiffest penalties for child abuse will be released on full parole after serving less than half her term.

Lorelei Turner, 38, and her husband Steven were convicted of manslaughter in July 1995 for beating and starving their three-year-old son John to death in a case that horrified Canadians who followed the trial.

But on Wednesday, a panel of the National Parole Board in this eastern Ontario city ruled Turner will be released but placed on probation until July 2011.

Until then, she must remain within 25 kilometres of her residence, is not allowed unsupervised contact with anyone under 16, and must continue to receive counselling.

"The board would have looked at the risk and obviously found a low risk to reoffend," Carol Sparling of the National Parole Board said Wednesday.

Mainichi Daily News| Woman who cut off her newborn son's genitals handed 5-year prison term

Woman who cut off her newborn son's private parts handed 5-year prison term

Mainichi Daily News, Sakai, Osaka, Japan, November 26, 2006

SAKAI, Osaka -- A woman accused of cutting off her newborn son's private parts in 2004 was ordered Monday to spend five years behind bars.

The Sakai branch of the Osaka District Court convicted Shizue Tamura, 27, a resident of Izumi, Osaka Prefecture, of inflicting bodily injury.

"The way she committed the crime was unprecedented, inhumane and cruel," Presiding Judge Masahiro Hosoi said as he handed down the ruling. Prosecutors had demanded an eight-year prison term.  Read More ..

Canada Flag

Health Canada

Aggressive Girls
Overview Paper

This overview paper summarizes recent research on girls who exhibit aggressive and violent behaviours. It defines relevant terms, outlines factors which may contribute to girls' aggression and violence, and presents ideas for preventing these behaviours. A list of resources is also included. 2002, 13p.  Read More ..

Mothers Who Kill Their Children
Canadian Press - Mother child abuse - sentenced 16 years in jail

Ontario woman convicted of son's starvation death granted full parole

Canadian Press
Wednesday, May. 22, 2002

KINGSTON, Ont. (CP) -- An Ontario woman who was sentenced to 16 years in prison in one of Canada's stiffest penalties for child abuse will be released on full parole after serving less than half her term.

Lorelei Turner, 38, and her husband Steven were convicted of manslaughter in July 1995 for beating and starving their three-year-old son John to death in a case that horrified Canadians who followed the trial.

But on Wednesday, a panel of the National Parole Board in this eastern Ontario city ruled Turner will be released but placed on probation until July 2011.

Until then, she must remain within 25 kilometres of her residence, is not allowed unsupervised contact with anyone under 16, and must continue to receive counselling.

"The board would have looked at the risk and obviously found a low risk to reoffend," Carol Sparling of the National Parole Board said Wednesday.

AAP

Yeeda Topham killed her baby son but walks free

Australian Associated Press
December 05, 2008

A WOMAN who killed her infant son by jumping with him from the eighth floor of a city apartment block has walked free after being convicted of manslaughter.

Yeeda Topham, 40, of Roleystone near Perth, had pleaded guilty in the West Australian Supreme Court to a charge of unlawfully killing 21-month-old James Topham on November 5 last year.    Read More ..

Mother Charged with Killing Her Baby

Firefighters Find Baby's Body In Washing Machine

Fire Officials Claim Fire Intentionally Set

NBC4-TV, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

LOS ANGELES, USA -- Murder charges are expected to be filed against a woman whose infant son's body was found in a washing machine after firefighters doused what they say was an intentionally set fire, authorities said Tuesday.

Latunga Starks, 32, was taken into custody last night, according to the Sheriff's Department Web site.

Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Dennis Shirey identified the mother and her nearly 3-month-old son, Michael Kelvin Thompson.

Toronto Sun - Mother found guilty of killing all 4 babies

"Murder in the nursery"
Australian mom killed her 4 babies

TORONTO SUN, May 23, 2003

It seemed a tragic coincidence - at first.

Craig and Kathleen Folbigg's first son died in his sleep at 19 days old. Their next child, Patrick, died two years later at nine months.

Still, it was after their fourth baby died before Australian police suspected something was terribly wrong.

In Sydney's New South Wales State Supreme Court this week, Kathleen Folbigg, 35, was found guilty of killing all four of her babies.

The jury's work would have been made much easier if they had been allowed to read Folbigg's entire secret diary. In it, she practically confesses to following in her dad's deadly footsteps.

"Obviously I am my father's daughter," the Australian woman wrote in her diary Oct. 14, 1996, having already killed three of her four children.

"But I think losing my temper and being frustrated and everything has passed. I now just let things happen and go with the flow. An attitude I should of had with all my children, if given the chance, I'll have it with the next one."

Folbigg was pregnant at the time with her fourth child. She would go on to kill her as well.