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Children At Risk In Women's Refuges

Families Apart Require Equality (Fare)

"If what has happened in Canada is anything to go by, children are at serious risk of abuse if they are taken to Women's Refuges", FARE spokesperson Darryl Ward said today. He was commenting on recent disclosures of the Halton Women's Shelter in Ontario, Canada exposing children to violence and abuse.

"FARE has long questioned the activities of the refuge movement in New Zealand, its perpetual propaganda suggesting that violence is exclusively a male problem and its demonisation of men. Whilst we would never deny the existence of family violence, the fact remains that men and women are equally likely to be both the perpetrators and victims, yet the refuge movement continues to remain in deliberate denial."

"Furthermore, we know from inside sources that the majority of women domiciled in refuges are not there because of violent men, but simply needed a roof over their heads because they simply could not cope."

"The hard-hitting sexist message is being used to help attract the donations and Government funding that the Women's Refuges require to continue operating."

"Until we recognise that family violence and child abuse are human problems that can not be blamed on men alone, these blights will never be removed from our society, and innocent children will continue to be the victims of gender politics" concluded Ward.

Ontario Taxpayer Watch Report Published by the Ontario Citizen's Free Press By the citizens and for the citizens of Ontario 22 March 2002

Kids spill the beans: Halton Women's Shelter exposing children to violence and abuse

Young children forced to watch graphic video showing man beating up a woman as part of children's indoctrination process!

Burlington, Ontario - A young girl who recently managed to gain her freedom from the Halton Women's Shelter in Burlington, Ontario, has disclosed some bone-chilling information about just what goes on behind the closed doors of that facility, something which those operating the shelter would not like the community to know about.

One of the troubling things that this child revealed was that she and the other children in the shelter were made to watch a video in which a man was graphically shown beating up on a woman.

This video was part of a children's program at the shelter and all children who came to the women's shelter were forced to attend shortly after their arrival.

The young girl said she and her siblings did not like watching the violent video and that watching it made them feel very upset and uncomfortable.

The young girl also said that it seemed to her that the women who worked at the shelter did not like men and that everyone at the shelter was supposed to think the same way as the shelter staff.

It would appear that this program is being used to condition the children into believing that it is a normal for men to go around beating up women.

The children were also being told that what was on the video was what they could expect to happen to them when they get older.

It would seem that the Halton Woman's Shelter has developed its own in house children's propaganda program, possibly in collaboration with other shelters, to indoctrinate children at an early age into believing that men in general are wife batterers and abusers and that women are always the victims.

It's highly unlikely that the teaching of this program to young and impressionable children has received the endorsement of early childhood educators nor is it likely that this program for kids in the shelter is being taught by anyone with professional teaching qualifications who may better understand what long term emotional harm this sort of video may be causing children after they leave the shelter.

In all likelihood, this program is being given to the children by women, who themselves are former victims of abuse and likely harbour intense feelings of resentment against men in general.

If a child's feelings and perceptions are any indicators of the environment there, according to this girl, she felt frightened and afraid staying at the shelter, especially at night. She said she cried and wanted to go back to see her dad at her own home.

Many parents in the community would argue that only professional educators, such as teachers with local school boards, should have the job in the community of educating children about domestic violence.

At least in a more public forum, those that teach such materials would be under greater public accountability.

Many agree that exposing children to such a video is not appropriate. Even if children were being removed from a home where violence had occurred, to expose them immediately again to violence by forcing them to watch a video of a man beating on a women certainly is not the most appropriate thing to do under any circumstances.

Children don't want to have violence crammed down their throats, especially by women whose agenda is to spread hatred towards men.

Being forced to watch these violent videos is nothing less than a further abuse of the children.

Some of the things disclose by this child included:

- That she and her siblings had been taken into the shelter against their wishes and that although her mother and father sometimes fought, she had had never witnessed their father ever physically hurt her mother when they were at home.

- That she and her siblings hated the shelter and preferred being with their father.

- That they cried almost every day while in the shelter and only wanted to get out of that awful place.

- That women in the shelter said bad things about fathers and that the children were left with the impression that most of the women did not like men and that everyone else was expected to feel this way.

- That one day the children witnessed the Halton Regional Police come to the shelter to physically remove one of the mothers who was being physically and verbally abusive to staff and patrons in the shelter.

- That they felt afraid when they were in the shelter and only wanted to get out of there and get back to be with their loving father.

- That the kids had wanted to call their father but that they were not allowed to do so. When they did try to use the public phone on their own, they were told not to touch the phone and to ask their mother for permission to make phone calls.

- That it "smelled like pigs" inside the shelter and that this was disgusting.

Information from this girl would seem to collaborate previous information given by a mother, named Helen, who also reported in Feb of 2000 about her stay at the same Halton Women's Shelter.

Helen, was quoted as saying, "During my six week stay at the shelter, I met only one other resident who I felt was what most people would consider a decent mother. The rest of the women definitely had serious emotional problems. It didn't take any doctor to see that they were dysfunctional parents. They were terrible mothers who likely were a significant cause of the problems that landed them there in the first place. I believe that many of the women were not physically abused and out of anger wanted a break just like I did. I was not physically abused"

"Once in the shelter, I felt stuck until I got my own place", said Helen. Helen also indicated that the system offered no help to mend problems. Charging the father and then going after him seemed to be the main goal of the system.

Helen stated that many children at the shelter were being exposed to an abusive environment and that the shelter was no place for children to be living in. Some of the things she witnessed were:

- One night, a little girl cried for a long time looking for her mother. When Helen tried to locate the mother, she found that the mother had left the shelter to go drinking at a local bar.

- Mothers were staying up late at night without putting their children to bed at an appropriate time. At night, women could be heard yelling at their kids.

- Fights by women over donations. The more aggressive women were first to push their way to the donation room and got what they wanted while others waited in pecking line.

- Children being hurt while playing because inattentive mothers and staff were busy doing other things

- One woman at the facility had a drug problem. The mother did not take care of the baby properly. Half the time the mother left her child with others expecting them to baby-sit. Eventually, CAS was called in and the baby taken away from the mother.

- Most of the women and shelter staff used foul language in the presence of the children.

- Staff and residents spent a lot of time father-bashing and degrading men in the presence of the children. Helen said that she thought that it is terrible for children to be exposed to this type of hate.

- Many of the women could not be bothered to get up, and instead, they slept while their kids ran around screaming unattended.

Helen described how she felt that shelter staff were very biased against men. She said that it seemed that all the staff were abused themselves and told residents of their personal abuse stories. On one hand it may have been good for other abused people to help you but that the bias was so deep that it was fostering hate against the children's fathers.

In closing, Helen stated, "It was a terrible place. Not the environment where children should be ... not even the women."

It's no wonder these shelters have to operate behind a "veil of secrecy" and hide what goes on there.


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