January 16, 2016
A few years ago I was working behind-the-scenes on a film with Janks Morton. I grew up with a loving father in our home. This issue of child custody and how men are treated in the Family Court system was distant and foreign to me. And then, I heard the stories and saw the pain firsthand from 23 men of all races and walks of life.
Segments of this movie were filmed in my office. One evening we were filming late in the evening. It was cold and dark outside. I welcomed these men as they entered the office. They were strong and confident with firm handshakes. Moments later, sitting several feet away, I watched some these men break down emotionally, some in tears when talking about how the court system has treated them in their effort to be a part of their children’s lives. I stood motion-less with tears in my eyes. Some of their stories were gut wrenching. When their segment was complete, each guy took a minute to compose himself, before stepping off the set. One gentlemen looked at me and said, look at me and say, “Thank you.” I replied to one dude, “What are you thanking me for?” He said, “For most of us, this is the first time that we’ve been given a platform or a voice to share our frustrations and challenges in a way that may matter. We’re good guys. We’re not criminals. All we want to do is see our kids.”
These men did not know each other and yet, they hugged each other knowing that they were part of a brotherhood. This movie created by Janks Morton, the man I affectionately describe as coming to this earth from Mars because of his ability land and place topics before us with facts and figures that require a national conversation.
This film shows that custody is not a RACE issue. It’s a FATHER issue!
Biased family courts, spousal bickering, unfair alimony, child-support and lawyer fees impact fathers of all races. Through Janks’ vision, the public gets to hear and see what’s in the heart of many of these fathers and how they cope. Many of them are alone and with little or no knowledge of the whereabouts of their children.
I have two grown sons. I have young grandchildren under the age of 5 years old. Knowing what I know, I would NEVER want my sons to be anywhere near or in the Family Court system.
Statistically, it appears that the family courts in the United States are biased against fathers.
There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence citing situations where mothers were awarded custody in spite of fathers demonstrating interest and the ability or potential to provide and care for their children.
Here are some more statistics:
* 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. D.H.K.S., Bureau of the Census)
* 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes (Source: U.S- D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census)
*85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes (Source: Center for Disease Control)
*80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes (Source:Criminal Justice & Behavior,Vol 14, p- 403-26, 1978
*71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (Source: National Principals Association Report on the State of High schools)
Guilty Until Proven Innocent is informative and thought-provoking and certainly worthy of your time, should you choose to watch. Watch my exclusive interview with the “Man From Mars,” the film’s producer and director, Mr. Janks Morton.
Scroll down and tell us what you think? Have you or someone you know had a positive or negative experience with the family court system? We’d like to hear from you.
Gary A. Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In America.com a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In America.com Blog. Gary is also the author of the book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.”