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Tony Miller Founder of DIDS new book extract

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Tony Miller the founder of Dads in Distress has saved countelsss lives since the org was founded. Tony is writing a book of real world experiences.

Single Dads

Congratulations, you are amongst the first to read Tony Miller's introduction to his new book, 'His, Hers and the Truth', an autobiography about Tony's journey and the work he has founded, 'dads in distress'. We look forward to Tony's book being published later in the year and wish him all the best with it. We are sure it will encourage and inspire many fathers and families across the world.

Tony would appreciate your comments. Please send them to: tmiller@nor.com.au  

His, Hers and the Truth (Pt 1)

By Tony Miller

Tears are rolling down the guys face and creating a small pool of water on the floor. He is leaning over, face cupped in his big hands. He cannot stop sobbing, wailing, crying, his back is moving up and down as he draws breath in between his sobbing.

'I just couldn't do it. I'm a coward. I'm a f*** coward,he cries out. He describes how he is a truckie. How he had hours earlier pulled his rig up on the outskirts of this south coast town, drove into the bush, pulled out a length of rope from his tool kit fashioned it into a noose and had climbed up on the roof of his rig. "I have been sitting there on my rig with this piece of rope slung over a tree and waiting for the guts to stick my lousy neck in it. I just didn't have the guts in the end. I'm here. I heard about this meeting on the CB network. I don't know if you can help me. I don't know if this is where I should be. I'm scared. I'm f*** scared. Maybe I will get the guts to do it. I just want this pain to stop. I just want to get off!"

His wife had left him 3 months earlier, three kids. He hasn't laid his eyes on them for 3 months.

I look around at the faces in the circle of men gathered at this meeting and detect that there isn't a dry eye in the house except my own. I had heard it all before. In every town, in just about every call, in just about every email. "I just want to stop the pain." "I just want to get off." "I've had enough." "I can't take it anymore."

There was a long silence when this guy finished speaking. We normally ask for a minute's silence in between each speaker, to reflect on what has just been said and to think about the honour that has just been bestowed upon us by someone sharing part of their life with us; and it is an honour. It takes a lot of guts to walk into a meeting full of strangers and spill your guts. I could see that the dozen guys in the meeting were all in deep reflection and all were feeling this guy's pain.

I find myself strangely not thinking of his story, but of another. A young girl called Chrystal. Chrystal was just 16 years old. Mum and Dad had split up. Mum went her way, Dad went his. Mum had the two children with her. The family home was put up for sale. A real estate For Sale sign placed on the front lawn. The home was on the market for some time when Chrystal returned one day without telling anyone. She should have been at school but some reason the authorities cannot explain she wasn't. She knew there was a window that was easy to open at the rear of her old family home; she had used it in years gone by to escape the arguments. Now she prized it open and climbed in.

She sat on the lounge room floor bare of anything but the carpet. She got up and walked from room to room. Standing in her own room she could only reflect on what it used to look like. Bare now but it once contained her prize possessions. It was once her haven, her getaway. It was somewhere she could escape. It contained her dolls from childhood, her posters of her childhood heroes, pop stars, and cartoon characters, make-up, jewels and of course her private diary. It was a place where her friends would sleep over and they would stay up way after Mum and Dad had gone to bed and where she and her friends would talk about boys, about life, about nothing important but to them, until sleep eventually took over. It was the place where Mum came in and tucked her into bed and kissed her goodnight and it was the place that Dad would also do the same even though Mum ha d already done it. It was a place which was hers. Now it was empty.

As she stood at the door, tears flowing down her cheeks she closed the door behind her and returned to the lounge room and sat in the middle of the floor of this large empty room. She sat there a long time thinking about the good times, the sad times, the laughter, and the arguments. Tears now streaming like a river down her pretty little sixteen year old face, she felt much older then she was. The pain of what had happened, the split, the divorce, the once happy family home now empty just like her life she thought. "I just want to stop the pain. I just want to get off!"

She reached into her backpack and pulled out a bottle of methylated spirits she had purchased earlier from the local corner store. With tears streaming now like a waterfall down her cheeks, she thought, "I don't care who was right or who was wrong. I have heard both sides of the story and I'm in the middle. It's my fault. If it wasn't for me they would be happy. I just want to stop the pain; I just want to get off!" She got up from the floor unscrewed the bottle of Metho and began splashing it over the floor, the walls; she ran from room to room splashing the liquid everywhere she could.

Then in one moment, one instant, one strike of a match. This sixteen year old beautiful young girl put an end to her pain. Chrystal was her name and I will never forget her. "I just want to end the pain; I just want to get off!"

I suddenly snap out of my thoughts and find I have tears streaming down my face. The guys are slowly getting up out of their seats and are heading for the coffee urn, this part of the meeting over.

Part 2 next week.

Please send your comments to Tony Miller: tmiller@nor.com.au  

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 

I hope you finish the book, Tony

 I hope you finish the book soon, Tony. It will be an important work.
Men have been so completely de-humanized by the family courts. People need to read the stories, and see that men are fragile emotionally. Even more, somehow there needs to be a wider understanding of the power of the commitment a man makes to a relationship. How much he will sacrifice for his family. And how deeply the end of that commitment can damage him.

I came so close to suicide, and the feelings lasted for more than a year. My mind raged with the urge. The roar of feelings was literally unbearable. Each identifiable emotion - relief, fear, guilt, anger, remorse, frustration, and others - was more than I could handle. The intensity of each feeling was like something possessed me. And when more than one feeling ripped through me, it was more than I could handle. I just wanted it to end.
The feelings would rip through me until I collapsed, exhausted. I'd live in panic attacks, crying uncontrollably, for days; and then collapse into sleep for days.

If it hadn't been for a few people who came from nowhere in my life, I would have committed suicide. There is no question in my mind about that. But these few people stepped forward and when I said I needed someone to believe in me, they replied with words, or actions, or both, over and over. Sometimes, one of these strangers would tell me to look again, that I had people around me who believed in me. That he or she did.
No matter how much or how long I hurt, that made suicide impossible - even if it remained attractive.

Even with these people, my neighbors and friends now, the feelings that ripped through me were often too much for me.
The worst of it all was that there was no social fabric to support me. All the agencies I was sent to treated me like a criminal. Even more than that, that I had done nothing that warranted this treatment. I had not been abusive. I was abused for the two years I was crippled and nearly invalid, my ex treated me more and more like I was something that she could hardly stand to look at.
Her cruelty, and words still live in my heart and my mind. Every year for three years certain dates bring the feelings back. I can fill my time with work, friends or study, but the raging feelings are just beneath the surface. A few moments alone and they come back almost as strong as before.
The best I can do is to tell myself that time will heal these wounds. It will, to a degree. No amount of time will heal these wounds completely. I have to accept that. Like the long scar down my leg from surgery, the remnants of these emotional wounds will never completely go away.

About two years ago, I read that I should be happy for the intensity of my feelings. There is very little pride in those words, but there is some sense of self-worth.
One of the most valuable things I was told was confronting. One (then very new) friend told me: "You chose to stay." My first thoughts were to explain all the reasons I could not leave - crippled, financial and emotional commitments, manhood, pride, or whatever - and then I realized she was right. I made the choice to stay and endure the abuse, on top of the physical pain. For whatever reasons I choose to turn to now, I made that choice.
Strangely, that was something where I could find pride and a sense of self worth. The feeling was stabilizing. It put my feet on the ground for the first time in months.

I could also take some pride in that I had chosen not to become violent in any way. There were certainly many reasons I could have used for violence. Many of those who heard the story of the abuse, and then the carefully planned extortion using the prejudice of the courts and system, told me that they would do this or that.
When the unjust attacks were fresh, I even tried to convince myself that I should, but I never could. Violence is not warranted in these situations. It's just that simple. It has no place.
Despite her goading, the threats from her family, and the police that were so ready to attack, I never raised my hand to anyone. No matter what the prejudiced system has in its records, that is the truth. - Not that the truth matters to anyone.
I found myself, and a sense of self worth, in that fact.
It feels so small at times because I now, for the first time in my life, have on record "incidents with the police." I found out when I tried to join the local neighborhood watch. I was rejected. None of those "incidents" are of an arrest or an attack. I never allowed myself to be provoked, even when facing an eager policeman - red-faced with his hand on his baton - twice.
And despite the insulting accusations of 000 operators and court clerks, who acted without any knowledge of the facts.
There was nothing just, fair, decent, or even reasonable in what happened to me. Yet despite losing nearly everything, I never became violent with anyone.
No matter what she may want anyone to believe, that is the truth. No matter what any report says, that is the truth.
But the truth is an orphan that no one wants.

I hope your book tells these stories. I hope others read and understand. This is a brutality that is being done against men and families.

PaulD


Amoranthus said
 I hope you finish the book soon, Tony. It will be an important work. Men have been so completely de-humanized by the family courts. People need to read the stories, and see that men are fragile emotionally. Even more, somehow there needs to be a wider understanding of the power of the commitment a man makes to a relationship. How much he will sacrifice for his family. And how deeply the end of that commitment can damage him.

There is some change in the air. That is the reality that is with us today after four years of consultation and chnages to legislation amongst a raft of other measures…but it has not helped in this case.

Amoranthus said
I came so close to suicide, and the feelings lasted for more than a year.
A work collegue (Dan) came to me only on Thursday and told me about his dear brother in law. A fine aussie bloke, Dan said, who had the misfortune to marry a litegeous women hell bent on carrying out a revengefull campaign of witholding contact and stripping his brother in law of any assets, presumably to pay him back for all the perceived ills of his failed relationship. That is the only reason I can find for some of these inhumanities to mankind. However to cut a long story short he was left destitute after numerous court appearances and ex parte orders over some years. She got the house and he lived with friends I am told. I just mention that because Jim was on a trip to Christchurch last week. He took his belt off sitting in a motel room on his own and hung himself.

I looked at my collegue Dan and what words of comfort could I give to someone who felt such loss at this tragedy. He said the mother was elated she no longer had to put up with Jim in her life and he would no longer be an impediment in the lives of his two kids aged 8 and 6 I believe.

I asked Dan if he had been able to refer Jim to any of the many groups out there especially DIDS and he said they had not known of such groups.

I am also humbled and glad that Amoranthus has shared some of his story with us on this site. It is indeed a story that tells me there is hope for those that we can find early enough. It also tells me we must renew our efforts to ensure DIDs is fully funded to reach the furtherest reaches of the Australian Territories and States to tell guys there is hope. There are support groups here in this web site community that can asist and it gives me inspiration to redouble efforts to ensure we have a portal site here that can facilitate many more support organisatiosn reaching the families of those in need when they reach that dark place alone.

DIDS cannot be allowed to loose its funding….  :o

Amoranthus said
This is a brutality that is being done against men and families.
And I sadly say women as well, as we reperesent both men and women who seek better parenting outcomes. We have assisted in cases where women have had a child taken by ex-parte orders and where the father does have the residence of the children refuses appropriate contact. I am saddened to say that separation brings out the worst in couples that cannot agree, but it gives me some solice that the new Family Law Act makes it a darn site harder to carry out the rotten regimes that existed before the new act was passed in the house last year. I have grave fears that should labor be returned to Federal Parliament we may face a severe watering down of the current legislation before it has had a chance to permeate the general populous for the better… However that is a thread and post for another forum not this.  :offtopic:

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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Posts from this topic have been moved by members. 3 posts have been transferred to topicview.

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Access in not possible

You got me to thinking.
In my case, I went to VLA and got the pamphlets about Intervention Orders. I do have internet access, so I read everything I could find on this stuff.
I didn't have access to a car, so I didn't go to the courts or other agencies - just legal aid and CentreLink.

I was going to represent myself in the second action, so I prepared a full interrogatory in the format for the federal courts, a statement to be submitted and read into the record as my testimony, took my medical records and even a letter from a psychologist I had been seeing. (I was forced to represent myself. The supervising lawyer at VLA had told me not to bother to ask if the case went to court a second time. She had felt there were no "important rights" at issue the first time. I had to illustrate the intimidation and threats daily for a week for her to assign a late and incompetent barrister - who was already prejudiced against me - the first time.)

All of this preparation was done while recovering from a major surgery. I could hardly walk, and needed a lot of rest. I literally had to learn to walk again.
I was having panic attacks that went on for days, then I would collapse into sleep for a day or so. This cycle was instigated by my efforts to prepare for the case. It affected how well I could read, think, write .. even just sit.
I could document a gran mal seizure, caused by the stress of the situation, where I nearly drowned in the local pool.
I had come to Australia with a diagnosed condition: a tendency to panic attacks and depression. In extreme cases, resulting from long-term stress, I went into a gran mal seizure. I had had a burnout breakdown, and had a disability pension from the US for these conditions. The burnout was the result of too many years of high-responsibility, high-stress work.
My ex knew very well what I was suffering from. She had used my tendency to panic attacks to "win" when she started abusive arguments.

I went to the court will documented evidence of all these things, and the magistrate refused every one. He had seen me in two previous panic attacks, and I'd told him what was happening. When I asked to read my written statement into the record as my testimony, - It had already been identified for the court as a submission. - the magistrate badgered me and told me that I could not read it in. It was all of four pages long; about 3 minutes reading.

Yes, it would be great in a perfect world if everyone had the energy and time, and mental state, to do all the research you did. But the fact is, those steps are not set out anywhere; and by far most who are subjected to this sort of prejudice don't have what is needed to do all those steps - much less get what they need from them.

I had hoped that a list of steps like you offer would be available on this site. It's good to see it in a forum post, but the steps need to be made more public.
In the past two days, I've met two men who are susceptible to panic attacks. They both speak of the way the "aussie courts" treat them - as something disgusting. I experienced that myself.
One thing I've observed as an aspect of the whole process is all of the 50 or so men I've met suffer from social anxiety and depression, in varying degrees. It is an issue that is not addressed adequately anywhere. I imagine DiDS has a nationwide roster of men with the same conditions.
The fact is this system is literally 'crazy making'. And costs this country billions in productivity and initiative daily. One estimate in Victoria alone is that depression costs $10 billion each year.
These courts cost the nation money and more.

This is a cruel system that damages people - men, women, and children. It is damaging the future of this country. It is costing this country money every day.
And, as DiDS illustrates in so many examples, this system is costing lives.

Paul

 
Amoranthus wrote

"so I prepared a full interrogatory in the format for the federal courts,"

What in heavens name is a full interrogatory? What Federal Courts use it? I am sure a local Court would be highly impressed by someone trying to use something they do not recognise. American Courts use interrogatories so that would have gone down like a lead balloon. Seems to me that you were also partly responsible for what happened in Court. Seems like you are confusing the process of local Courts and Federal Courts. In Federal Courts Courts submssions can be handed up or read, local Courts are at the whim of State Governments. If you have a medical problem then you should get a current Australian diagnosis for the Court, not something from overseas.

The steps you talk about are very well documented in the SRL peoples literature but some of it is only avialalble in various stages from them. They do some checking to ensure that the right attitude prevails before releasing certain materials. The stuff that the other poster referred to is Common sense stuff anyway



 Oh good greif. I only mentioned the US diagnosis and pension to date the process well before any legal issues arose here.
As I mentioned, there was a letter from an Australian psychologist the magistrate refused to even look at. If he asked, I could have also produced an diagnosis from an Australian psychiatrist that was produced as part of my immigration process that would have put the lie to some of the testimony my ex gave in the court.
If the court had bothered with this evidence, I could have also produced a half dozen people here in Australia that would have verified what I was going through, as I described it.
I could have also produced the letter from my psychologist in California who would have supported the diagnosis of the Australian psychiatrist.

I prepared my questions in the only format that I could find on the Net, a Australian federal court interrogatory, because I knew that I might go into a panic attack in the court. I prepared the questions in what I hoped would be an acceptable format. There were over 65 questions initially, forcing my ex to recant over two years of abuse. I had culled the questions down to 40 for the court.
The magistrate simply refused them. They did not fit the pre-judged outcome of the case, simply. They did not fit what this magistrate "wanted to hear."

Was I partially to blame? Yes. I am neither omniscent nor clairvoyant. I am however male, American, and fat. You get fat when you cannot walk for two years; when you are in constant pain and those around you treat you like an unwanted dog.
And the magistrates animosity and condescension was obvious every one of the three times I saw him.

I had no idea that SRL even existed. It was months afterward that I learned of the organization even existed. SRL Resources keeps a low profile. People only find out about the organization by referral. I had no such referral, until months after the court cases via email.
As you point out,
" In Federal Courts Courts submssions can be handed up or read, local Courts are at the whim of State Governments. "
Well, I could not find any such detailed information about the state courts. I had to assume what I had read about the federal courts in terms of rules of evidence and presentation, applied. Guess what? Every state has its own rules of evidence. But because the presentation of evidence is really at the whim and prejudice of the state magistrate, even the lawyers don't bother to read them. There is no point. The magistrate will simply do as he or she chooses.

Even more, the barristers and solicitors assume that none of their clients have any concept of rules of evidence or court procedure, for good reason. The courts are arcane and archaic.
The mindless prejudice stems as much or more from the fact that state magistrates can be appointed with no legal training or experience. A waitor or lifeguard can be a magistrate if he or she does the right political favors.

Was it partially my fault? Yes. I should have followed the advice in the VLA handout on Intervention Orders. The message there is very clear: Shut up and do as you're told.

The opposing counsel had printed out the contents of my blog, which was effectively a diary of abuse. He had about 50 pages there in court. Frankly, there was another 50 pages or so of her abuse that never got written. When he quoted a few lines from the blog, out of context in the most damaging way, I asked that the entire blog be entered into evidence. Despite best evidence and full information available there in the courtroom, the magistrate refused. He refused because the opposing counsel waved his hand. He didn't have any reasonable objection, but he didn't need one.

Do you really want me to go on? I still have the records of what I went through. The full diary of abuse. The full set of emails. Recordings of conversations between my ex and myself that I transcribed onto that blog. What is missing is even more important. There are no records of any injuries sustained by my ex. There is no record of the police or anyone being called to protect her - even after she filed Intervention Orders.
The only person who called the police was myself. I called them to report my own breach of the Intervention Orders when I tried twice to resolve the issues. Although I called the police to report a possible breach, she never told them she needed assistance. Why? Because she was never in any danger from me. Her own words to the police. Twice.

All she wanted was the house and its contents. Using the blind prejudice of the courts and system, she got those things. And she had the pleasure of painting me as someone I will never be. Just out of plain vindictiveness.
Her own barrister identified her motives on the phone to me - " a woman scorned". Her brutal abuse of me when I was near invalid and in chronic pain had taken the love and trust out of our relationship. I wanted nothing to do with her. I had learned that making love with her only gave her license to be that much more abusive.

Paul


Conan said
Amoranthus wrote

"so I prepared a full interrogatory in the format for the federal courts,"

What in heavens name is a full interrogatory? What Federal Courts use it? I am sure a local Court would be highly impressed by someone trying to use something they do not recognise. American Courts use interrogatories so that would have gone down like a lead balloon. Seems to me that you were also partly responsible for what happened in Court. Seems like you are confusing the process of local Courts and Federal Courts. In Federal Courts Courts submssions can be handed up or read, local Courts are at the whim of State Governments. If you have a medical problem then you should get a current Australian diagnosis for the Court, not something from overseas.

The steps you talk about are very well documented in the SRL peoples literature but some of it is only avialalble in various stages from them. They do some checking to ensure that the right attitude prevails before releasing certain materials. The stuff that the other poster referred to is Common sense stuff anyway




 
On and on and on and on………… ad nauseum……….

It seems this is what you did in Court

How about trying to move forward in your life ie Time to Move on

Why dont you go and clutter up one of the venting sites instead of trying to stifle a serious discussion about DIDS and the good they do and what further help they can receive

Looked at the pinned list and find your local DIDS group



Ad nauseum

I never intended to put any of this stuff here. But I'll be damned if I'll be blamed for what happened to me.
I did try to understand the courts and what was expected of me. There was no help from anywhere.

One of the presumptions is that the truth comes out in the courts. In my experience, partially described above, it does not. All that comes out is that the courts are prejudiced and incompetent.
You're accustomed to dealing with the federal courts. The standards are higher there, and I expect better results are common.
The greater proportion of cases never make it to federal court because of the prejudice and ignorance of the lower courts. From what I've seen, that is more often the reason.

I've tried to make some contribution to changing those facts. But as long as people like you ignore the problem, it will not happen. The courts do not find the truth. They are prejudiced - to the point they can be used confidently as tools for extortion.
And all the dismissals you can come up with will not change what I witnessed.

Oh, BTW. When I was going through all of this, I called DiDS. There was no local group in those days. DiDS turned me away because I was in a de facto relationship and none of my own children were involved.
I don't blame them. As I said, I applaud and admire the work DiDS does. But your dismissals only highlight the many gaps in your thinking and the system.
DiDS was not the only group that turned me away.
There are over a million de facto relationships in Australia. 40% of marriages begin as de facto relationships.
It is a huge oversight.

Paul
 
Amoranthus said
I never intended to put any of this stuff here. But I'll be damned if I'll be blamed for what happened to me.
I did try to understand the courts and what was expected of me. There was no help from anywhere.

One of the presumptions is that the truth comes out in the courts. In my experience, partially described above, it does not. All that comes out is that the courts are prejudiced and incompetent.
You're accustomed to dealing with the federal courts. The standards are higher there, and I expect better results are common.
The greater proportion of cases never make it to federal court because of the prejudice and ignorance of the lower courts. From what I've seen, that is more often the reason.

I've tried to make some contribution to changing those facts. But as long as people like you ignore the problem, it will not happen. The courts do not find the truth. They are prejudiced - to the point they can be used confidently as tools for extortion.
And all the dismissals you can come up with will not change what I witnessed.

Oh, BTW. When I was going through all of this, I called DiDS. There was no local group in those days. DiDS turned me away because I was in a de facto relationship and none of my own children were involved.
I don't blame them. As I said, I applaud and admire the work DiDS does. But your dismissals only highlight the many gaps in your thinking and the system.
DiDS was not the only group that turned me away.
There are over a million de facto relationships in Australia. 40% of marriages begin as de facto relationships.
It is a huge oversight.

Paul
 
 

There are three sides to every story and so far you have only presented yours in a sort of  'I was 100% right and 100% wronged' sort of way

Have you located your local DIDS group and been to a meeting? or are you just content to clutter up postings. What you regard as constructive is little more than ill informed venting 

I really dont understand your comments about the greater proportion of cases never making it to a Federal Court - what are you talking about, Family Law, Criminal or Civil Law. That is a very ill informed statement to make

I have read your blog and for someone that epouses their so called knowledge of computers the internet and programming and training it appears 'bs' that you you were unable to locate the neccesary knowledge to act in the local Court. 

Time to move on with your life, ill informed venting is not a form of therapy for something that happened years ago.





at DiDs we had a welcomed guest in tony miller last night, i would like to say, thank you tony and paul you are real lifesavers and unsung heros, god bless

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