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Father or Bear?

If you're on TikTok, you've likely seen videos about the "man vs. bear" question. I'm not 100% on the origin, but the first video I saw was of a woman asking her husband the question based on their theoretical daughter and the hypothetical conundrum of having to leave her in the woods alone with either a man, or a bear. In that particular video, you can watch the reality of what he chose (the bear, duh) sink in. It's fascinating, really to see the two different reactions to this. One defensive that screams "NOT ALL MEN!" and calls women liars or simply man-haters for saying they'd chose the bear...over...and over again.

I could go on and provide all the obvious support of that choice, but is that really necessary at this point? (TikTok is full of them if you'd like to indulge). We choose the bear. Sure, the bear could kill us, but since 1794, there have only been 180 fatal human/bear encounters in the United States. According to, 3 women are killed every day in the United States by intimate partners (That's 1,095 women per year--1098 in leap year).

We can talk all day long about hypotheticals and personal experience, but I'd like to shift the conversation a little to the Family Court System, specifically where a protective mother is attempting to divorce an abusive father. You don't have to look very far to find case after case where a father has murdered his wife/ex and or children where they were involved in a "custody dispute". I use quotes because a custody dispute is usually nothing more than a protective parent attempting to protect their children from an unhealthy or abusive person--and that unhealthy or abusive person using the court system to further abuse and coercively control their victim and the children.

It's disgusting the things that are being overlooked in our Family Court Systems every day as it fails our children and sends them back into the arms of their abusive fathers. Prior DV charges? Current restraining orders? Multiple DUIs? Well, he is their father. He beat their mother to a pulp in front of them. But he never hit them. He's so charming and he seems so sincere about his love for his children. He screams at them nightly when they don't clean up the way the thinks they should. That supervised visitation is so inconvenient for him. Meanwhile the protective mothers are labeled alienators or given just as much ownership for the chaos in front of the court. Simply put--they aren't believed. Why would that be any different than any other place in our society?

There's not really an analogy that fits well here--it's not a father vs. bear choice. The whole crux of the "man vs. bear" hypothetical is that it's a man you don't know--which is scary enough. The reality for protective mothers in family court is that they do know. They have evidence and sometimes there are even witnesses. They are presenting pages of documented harassment and threats--and being told to "get along and try to do better at co-parenting". Children are disclosing sexual abuse to mandated reporters and those fathers are still being allowed access to those children.

Maybe the Man vs. Bear conversation is more about listening to and believing the women. So much of the original response to that question was men not believing the answer or getting angry at us for labeling them all scary or creepy. There's also been an outpouring of positive response from men that get it and are ready to advocate and speak up. We need that same energy in the family court. Because right now we have a whole lot of women yelling that they'd rather leave their babies alone with a bear in the woods than their own father, and our current system doesn't seem to believe them--or they simply don't care. I don't know which is more heartbreaking.

If you are thinking about leaving or divorcing an abusive partner, how you present yourself and your evidence to the court initially can have a huge impact on the outcome of your case. There are strategies to get the court to see who the "problem" is, and to essentially believe you. I can help. Contact me today to set up a free 20 min. consultation.

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