And I thought I was the father of all my children!

Pauline Houle In some foreign cultures, not so long ago, women entering into adulterous behaviour had their nose cut off so the rest of the female community would know what to expect if they broke their bond with their husband. Other cultures, still to this day, disfigure their women if they even lay eyes on another man and thus dishonour the family or the clan. Centuries ago, women were burnt as the witch-hunt we all have heard about used to be the usual and customary. Fire was purifier of evil. Yes, women (and some men) have seen and lived the full spectrum of tortures and overpowering attitudes common to the ancient and non-evolved patriarchal society. So it was then. As a woman, I am part of a gender that was influenced forever as a result of those behaviours. Women's lib is a reaction, a rebellion that was over due. However, I believe in some cases, some of us have let it go way too far. Time has come for the pendulum to swing back not only to a path of having rights and privileges but mainly to a very profound sense of responsibility about the consequences of our actions. Higher conscience always comes at the price of becoming responsible and accountable. Justice and equality always require one to be responsible for one’s own actions. Lately, the medical world through its great scientific discoveries and its newest findings, have unravelled a myriad of possibilities for cures of all sorts. Amongst those findings, the almost "bullet proof" reliability of DNA testing has helped conquer numerous deadly diseases and solve many crimes. On the other hand, all those wonderful discoveries have presented a key to unlock a secret that some women thought safe forever. Let’s explore that new reality. As a therapist and a long time researcher in human behaviour, it appears a growing number of people explore extra-marital sexual encounters in their life; it seems to have become the "soup du jour". If an affair results in pregnancy, the woman can go for an abortion, that is a decision she can make and that is the end of it. But on the other hand, if after having the affair she decides to keep the baby and pass it along for her husband’s child, no one will dispute it unless she opens up the secret or else the husband starts to have a suspicion and goes to the lab with a simple swab of saliva from the baby comparing it to his in order to discover the truth. If the husband has any doubt about his paternity, as we speak, he has 6 months after birth to contest paternity; once that time elapsed, he is stuck to act, react, be accountable and responsible for that child. Let’s look at the usual reactions from the courtroom in our so-called modern society. Forget wandering eyes and adultery! That’s nothing! As I write these lines, in many states and countries, a wife can bear children of a man (or men) not her husband and what happens next is at her command! She can divorce, kick him out of “his family” and his home. She can then collect exorbitant spousal maintenance and child support to spend without accountability, she can secure a guaranteed college education for each child, she can also collect half the marital assets; to top it off, she will have deprived the father of his right to have his own genetic children. How does our culture deal with her? She gets rewarded! To this day, in spite of the growing numbers of false paternity cases, the courts will close their eyes to the entire situation with the excuse of the “best interest of the children”. The children, for their own good, will be left with the likes of this woman to be raised. And the man left on his own to mail cheques… Some years ago, JAMA found that 20% of their genetic testing resulted in finding the father was not the biological father! Since early 2000, that number has jumped to 30% in the States. Over the past 6 years, I started to research and try to understand that phenomenon. I have gathered many testimonies from men over the world that have been through such an ordeal of finding out one or more of their children were not from them. They are frustrated, sad and angry. They feel “raped” and violated to no end; and the court adds to the insult by forcing them to pay the bill. Not much has been done so far to rectify this situation. In some location, steps have been taken, as in the state of Georgia in May of 2001, following the constant efforts of Carnell Smith and his group of men, who also have been victims of identical facts. They finally saw a new law born. “From then on, a woman who lies to her mate about his biological reality regarding the children will be sued in criminal court.” But Georgia is the exception. I invite you to reflect on the consequences that our legal system creates and promotes in overlooking such a rampant reality. Having a child born in a marriage, fathered outside the couple is becoming a plague and the detrimental consequences are unlimited. Women engaging in such behaviour may now feel secure with this situation because of the power they have in the courtroom – but this arrangement has no place in a society that wants to promote values that will stand the test of time. The long term solution cannot have at its core hiding the truth and infringing on the fundamental rights of fathers. There must be something done in that regard. These men are real victims and ultimately, the children as well. Whether their role has a grander, unknown and spiritual mission than one can fathom, it is no reason to do nothing and just sit and watch it happen. In a book filled with testimonies of defrauded fathers all around the world, I propose many solutions. Some will be booed by thousands of lawyers for they risk loosing a wonderful money tree that divorce court secures for them, and at the same time, welcomed by a majority of other lawyers who have shared their intimate thoughts with me in agreeing that divorce should not be handled by any court as we know it now in our society. The radical women’s lib will want to put me in jail as well. I urge our society to investigate the unintended results of our current laws and look for solutions that will rectify the ongoing injustices. Right now, we promote a distorted set of beliefs in handling the father’s legitimate right to bear and raise his own children. From the outsider’s point of view, it would seem that women enjoy all kinds of rights and these men end up with responsibility of other consenting adults’ actions. As one of my correspondents shared with me: “How come if a drunk driver smashes through my house I can sue him and win and when another man sleeps with my wife and gets her pregnant, I become responsible for him?” History shows us how laws had to be set in order to stop slavery of all kinds. No one would think in our days of enslaving coloured people and whip them to work! Why does anyone can think they can enslave non-biological fathers. Dear Reader, I await your comments and invite your input to help me continue my research in that regard. One thing certain, you have not finished hearing from me. In the meantime, I offer all my compassion to those defrauded fathers and my sincere wish that those mothers finally healed why and what led them to commit this inhumane act to defraud a man of his child. In a book soon to come out, I have looked at the court system and the games that keep on going, I have looked at the children who find out their truth and all the ramifications such realities can engender. The paternity secret may be kept. But all too often, it is not. It may be discovered through a blood type that does not match or an organ that cannot be donated. Ultimately, the mother may not be able to keep the secret and finally let it out in a drunken destructed moment. Someone in her close circle of secrecy may violate the confidence. And how would it be if one day you discovered that your spouse is half-sister or half-brother? What would you wish to happen if you found out you were that defrauded man? Until my next article, I wish you all the Blessings your heart desires!

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