Sunday, December 26, 2010

Polys in Court - week 3 - Dr Joseph Heinrich summary

from transcript of Dec 9,2010 - BC Supreme Court and with thanks to C.C. who was present for this court session for her notes. A PowerPoint presentation was used by the witness and you'll find a link to it at the end of the blog piece.

The BC AG called his principal expert on the causes of polygamy and its consequences, Dr. Joseph Heinrich to the witness stand. Dr. Heinrich holds the Canada Research Chair in culture cognition and evolution at the University of British Columbia and is co-director of the Centre of Human Evolution Culture and Cognition. He is also a member of the economics and psychology faculties and holds a PhD in anthropology from UCLA. Dr. Heinrich does interdisciplinary research to study cultural evolution and has published his findings in several academic journals. Dr. Heinrich was contracted by the BC AG to research literature specific to this reference case and produce a report for the court which was presented via a PowerPoint presentation. His research assistant was his wife Natalie Heinrich who also holds a PhD in anthropology and teaches Masters program classes at UBC.

Dr. Heinrich's testimony was a PowerPoint presentation and his commentary.
The presentation can be found here:
Dr. Heinrich discussed his application of theories from evolutionary biology to understand human mating psychology. His points of interest were:

* Humans tilt towards a polygynous mating system under a wide range of economic conditions.
* One potential outcome of a polygynous marriage system is that it increases the size of the pool of low status unmarried men that results in an increase in crime and substance abuse.
* Primates invest less in children who are not their own.
* Marriage systems 24% regulate male sexuality, 90% regulate female sexuality.
* Purpose of human mating and marriage systems is procreation.
* In a brief history of western monogamy indicates that monogamy creates more equality between men and sites the surety of paternity being the goal.
* Give examples where women who are not married and sex slaves are available with no comment on the very low status of these women as a result and the impact on themselves.
* In discussing in implementation of monogamy in historic Rome & Greece fails to note that the greater reason for it was breaking down tribal/kinship clans.
* Monogamy is not relgious.
* Men will increase risky behavioursw in order to get married.
* Only quality evidence for an increase in crime where there's an increase in the pool of unmarried men was an increase in rape in societies where women's sexuality is tightly regulated by marriage system.
* Effect of effect of marriage on crime is similar to the effect of having higher education is on crime.
* Japan, China and India have imposed monogamy recently.
* Doesn't seem to have controlled for female education and economic power in looking at the effects of polygyny.
* Noted that the score on polygyny in countries is very crude.
* Richer countries...there was a greater effect of sex ratio on women's role than in poorer countries.
* Implies that it could happen in North America because it happens in the FLDS.
* Uses a model that equates increasing the power of women with women being able to make reproductive choices and shows that polygyny is lessened somewhat
* Predicts impacts of polygamy on health and mortality of children within polygamous families using example of 19th century Mormon communities in Utah. Those communities were under siege from the neighoburing communities and having to uproot to escape which present some causality issues to his data.
* Harms to participants:
> infant mortality - difference between mono and poly using only African studies.
> health of kids - psychological/sociological papers vary quite a bit, cultural factors affect it
> crimes committed - inferential data eg. from step families.
> social harms - excess males/lost boys: strongest evidence.
> cross national child brides: strong causal link. Flows from mathematics of supply and demand of females to males. This happens in both mono/poly but some men are looking for much younger women to start with.
> increased male control of women - cultural evolutionary pressure for institutions to control women.
* Bountiful: only hard evidence in Americas of harms of polygamy
* Census: almost 90% of people will get married. Large pool of currently unmarried men. At birth men out number women so polygamy exacerbates the problem.

When asked what would happen in his opinion if polygamy were legal in Canada, Dr. Heinrich said that he didn't know if our gender norms have gone far enough to protect against polygamy. Social changes can happen quickly. Even if women gender normative, women may still want to marry up. If polygamy becomes legal, people may move north from US (although most many US states do not criminalize multiple conjugal households). Fertility is higher in polygamy.

Dr. Heinrich said that in India, Hindus have been converting to Islam in order to marry more than one wife (perhaps Indian law allows for things accepted under Muslim law which would not apply if one was Hindu.) He said that in western society serial monogamy shows that the psychology of polygamy is already present. High status men divorce to marry younger women quite commonly. In his classroom, he asked young women to say whether if they were in love with two men, one being a billionaire already married, and the second being a regular guy, who would they marry? 70% of his evolved University of BC female students said the billionaire.

Comments by C.C. & myself:
(Now, had he asked if they only loved the regular guy which would they choose, allowed for them to choose both, or told them both relationships offered an egalitarian relationship with laws in which they had equal rights to marry/divorce/ share property...the answers might have been different.)

The Amicus began is cross-examination by asking what the BC AG had hired Dr. Heinrich to report on and noted that Dr. Heinrich had been given a copy of the AG BC's position prior to doing his research and that his list of the harms of polygamy were the same as the AG BC had noted. Dr. Heinrich confirmed that he had not studied polygamy before this court case. He said that there were two main harms which were too many unmarried men and women marrying too young. These are the harms of peculiar to polygamy. When asked to consider these harms with respect to 3 men or 3 women in a triad he admitted that he had not considered these options and had restricted his work to polygyny. He could only associate the harms with polygyny. His thesis is that "rich alpha males will plausibly marry many women".

The Amicus clarified that legalization is not the issue before the court in these proceedings. Legalization being to recognize polygamy as a form of civil marriage versus decriminalization which would make it no longer an offense to be in a polygamous household. Dr. Heinrich admitted that he was unclear on the distinction and left us unclear as to whether he could determine the effects of recognized unions versus unrecognized unions. Dr. Heinrich has not studied how often section 293 had been used.

In reference to Dr. Heinrich's theory that men take greater risks to get sex/wife specifically theft, murder, and robbery. Amicus suggested that his study in China on which he heavily relied was in a period during Tiennamen square 1988-2004, and that he did not properly consider the effects of this in the study.

The Amicus questioned Dr. Henrich with regards to his two main harms. Dr. Heinrich agreed that there is a 1.05 sex ratio for most societies (men to women), with 10,000 newly divorced men every year and that proportionately, the numbers in Bountiful are very small by comparison. As to harms for young girls: he agreed that Canada can make laws governing the age of marriage and consent. With regards to people coming north from the US if polygamy is no longer legal here he agreed that Canada controls immigration laws and that Canada did not become a destination place for homosexuals following the decriminalization of gay sex.

The BC Civil Liberties Association's cross-examination of Dr. Heinrich was brief. The discussion was that polygyny is marginal in Canada and his theories were mostly speculation. Canada has well entrenched legal institutions that support human rights and promote human rights, respect and flourishing of children. Dr. Heinrich said that he did include democracy as a variable in his study and assured that sex ratios influence women's empowerment.

Dr. Heinrich's PowerPoint presentation can be found here.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Polys in Court - week 3 - 4 video testimonies summary

from transcripts of Dec 8, 2010
My comments:
I imagine the video testimony was quite poignant. I've not seen the videos but I have met women with similar stories who endured much of the same treatment also with a religious motivation but in monogamous relationships. They too told of spousal violence, sexual, emotional, mental abuse, indoctrination and child battery/abuse.

These things happen when men, women and children survive and repeat the behaviours that they were raised with and pass on for generations. These things happen to people who were not raised in that environment and yet still succumb to the mindset of low self-worth and the initial charm of someone who needs to control. Breaking the cycle HAS to be a priority in Canadian society. One reoccurring theme in these stories is how fear of the authorities sweeping in and putting the adults in prison and the children in orphanages enforces the indoctrination of secrecy and prevents these victims from seeking help. While this testimony is brought forward by the BC AG to show us how awful polygamy can be as practiced by some people in certain areas, it underscores the further harm that criminalization of polygamy does - right there in the depths of it all is the fear of prison making them endure more than any human being should ever have to do. Shame on us for having a law that exacerbates such horrors!!

Video testimony of Rowena Mackert of Anacortes, Washington filmed in July of 2010.
Rowena was born in Short Creek, Utah in December of 1953. Her mother was the third wife to a man with four wives and 27 natural children and 4 step-children. There had been a raid of the Mormon (but not officially yet FLDS) community resulting in her father who was a local teacher being convicted of unlawful cohabitation and imprisoned in Arizona. Her family moved to Salt Lake City and the children attended schools with non-community children and were the subject of some ridicule as well as having to use her father's middle name as a surname to avoid detection of the polygamy continuing. Having to lie constantly took its toll on them, and the sheer number of children to be maintained allowed for neglect, sexual abuse and a deep sense of not being valued. She said that there was no intimacy for the women or the men. It was always about doing God's will. There was much jealousy amongst the wives and as their children were seen as their contribution to God's work they would promote the well-being and efforts of their own birth children and be very cruel to the children of the other wives. There was jealousy amongst the children as well. She was sexually abused by her father from the age of three and married to her step-brother who was three years her senior at the age 17. This marriage lasted five years and produced three children. Her husband was also a bit of a rebel and denounced polygamy just prior to their fifth anniversary and left the community. She got a job as a cocktail waitress and occasional musician while her divorce was pending. She was moved into a smaller house near her father's home and daycare was provided by her family. She was reassigned to a man twice her age to whom her sister was married and she refused the match. For this and a rather angry conversation with the leader of the community she had her children removed from her care and was banned from the family. She tried for two months to get her children back but at not point thought of going to the police as she just wanted her children back and was afraid the crime of polygamy would send her father to prison and her younger siblings to an orphanage so she could not seek help. She moved to California and made her income as a professional musician where she befriended a lawyer who assisted her in getting legal custody papers for her children. She returned and collected her children. Her life has continued to be difficult as she sought solace for depression, post traumatic stress syndrome by self medicating with alcohol and drugs. She feels that her mental health and addictions issues are the direct result of polygamy as practiced in Utah.

Video testimony of Teresa Wall (also known as Teresa Blackmore) in Idaho in May of 2010. Teressa was born in August of 1980 in Hilldale, Utah. Her father had three wives and over 22 children. The first wife and her 8 children were favoured in the family and abusive to Teressa's mother who was second wife and her 14 children. Most of the household work was left to the second wife and her children to complete. They lived in the basement of the house and were not allowed in the upstairs area of the house where the first wife and her children lived. She recalls her older brother's being kicked out of the house and community at the age of 18 and 16. She was sent to Canada to live with her mother's sisters who were both married to Brendon Blackmore. She returned to Salt Lake City to find that her father had a third wife. At 13 yrs of age Teressa was considered for marriage to Rulon Jeffs who was in his 80's and already married to two of Teressa's older sisters. Teressa refused and was banished to Sundry, Alberta where she was sent to work in the Post mill making posts. The work was made as hard as possible in order to make her comply and agree to marry as arranged. At 17, she was told that she would comply and marry or be kicked out. She was illegally in Canada and had no where to go if sent back to Salt Lake City so she agreed. She was married to a son of the uncle with whom she had stayed and worked for at the age of 12. Her husband was also 17 yrs old and a more appropriate match. He was kind to her. She was taught from early childhood about her role and responsibility as a wife and that her mission as a woman was to replenish the earth. She said girls in Canada were frequently married before completing high school. She said she had no sex education and was raised to think that boys were evil and to stay away and then suddenly she's having to sleep with one who is a stranger and have this relationship. Teressa had three children with her husband. Teressa talked about living in Bountiful and the radical changes brought about by Warren Jeff's faction and that there was a great deal of movement between Utah and Canada most often the young and rebellious girls and boys were sent there. Canada was reform school. She said that one had little to do with one's neighbours "if we spoke to anybody outside of the group we could get taken away or that our father could get arrested and taken away"
Her marriage was happier than most but her husband was really devoted to the leadership and when they told him that he and Teressa were no longer married and their children were no longer theirs he jumped through hoops to make amends and pressed Teressa to comply. She played along until she saved up some money and arranged for a place to run to and then she left Bountiful and her marriage.

Video testimony of Sarah Hammon - second of two attempts to tape this witness and date/location did not get noted on this version:
Sarah was born in Hilldale,Utah and raised in Colorado City. Her father was in the upper leadership of the community and 69 years old when she was born. He had 19 wives and 74 children. She and her siblings were of different generations such that her oldest sister was old enough to be Sarah's grandmother. She lived in a large house with 11 of the wives and 29 of her siblings. There were 18 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms in a home that was highly organized. All the women and children had their roles in the family and their assigned household chores. She had no relationship with her father and had to remind him of her name and who her mother was when she encountered him. She had a strong bond with her mother because of the competition in the family amongst the women and the wife's value being the children she bore. If a wife had trouble with another wife she often took it out on the children. Several of the wives had a higher status in the family if for instance they worked. Their children would have nicer clothes and nicer things in their rooms. Sarah's mother did not work outside the home so her children were poorer.

Sarah went to a community school funded by the state which had a religious instruction basis. They were taught that a man had to have three wives in order to go to heaven and a woman's role was to learn how to become a good wife by learning how to cook, clean and take care of the children. Sarah graduated from the 8th grade and left home at 14 years of age when she ran away to stay with friends of her sister in St. George, Utah. She had trouble transitioning and became an alcoholic. In her testimony she makes a lot of comments about the patriarchal polygamist culture in which she was raised but says repeatedly that she "couldn't say so for sure" or had "no proof" but she's "heard" that there was this harm or that in the community.

My comments: I was very disappointed in this testimony as there was way to much hearsay and conjecture as well as the interviewer asking very leading questions.

Video testimony of Kathleen Mackert of Anacortes, Washington in June of 2010:
Kathleen is one of 31 children (27 natural children and 4 stepchildren) of a man with 4 wives. She grew up in the Salt Lake Valley of Utah. Kathleen describes experiencing physical and sexual abuse by her father from age 5 to 17. Her mother was the third wife and worked outside of the home. She is full sister to the first witness, Rowena. At 18, Kathleen was married to her father's 4th wife's son who was 10 years older, a convert to FLDS and had a career in the US air force. It was a good match in terms of his being known to her,very kind, and she would be first wife but as she had been taught to think of him as a sibling for some 10 years since her father had married her mother it was emotionally abusive. Her husband had a degree in Mechanical Engineering and had permission from the community elders to live wherever necessary for his job so Kathleen lived in the outside world but maintained an isolation so that she would not be tainted by the outside world as they were taught. Her husband was more "worldly" having not been born into the faith and living in the outside world. He never took a second wife and wanted only two children because he felt that the world was overpopulated. Kathleen and her husband left the FLDS as a family unit and have since divorced. She had some therapy and experienced eating disorders but her final comments were that she felt as if she was an empowered woman who had healed and was interesting in facilitating the healing of others. She talked at length about an organization that she and her sister operate which helps survivors of polygamy and other domestic violence situations find sanctuary and rebuild their lives. She said that getting identification to prove that they exist is the first hurdle as many children of these polygamous communities do not have birth registrations. She also said that there were many similarities in domestic violence cases that were not related to polygamy and that their organization worked with all survivors regardless of relationship structure or religious affiliations.

My comments: Hmmm...domestic abuse the biggest harm associated with patriarchal polygamy is not necessarily related to polygamy and multiple partner relationship structures according to this witness.

The other constant in these testimonies is the lengthy description of the rules of being a practicing FLDS man or woman. Beginning in early childhood they are conditioned to understand that their value to God is entirely based on their ability to obey their leader who speaks for God. Photos of the leaders in the homes to give a sense that he is always watching. Competition to be the more devout follower by following all the rules including polygamy which is seen as the way to get to heaven and thus be favoured of God. Excommunication from the community and the family for disobedience. Polygamy is clearly one of the rules, like tithing, dress code, absolute obedience of this particular religion. Polygamy is not the source of the abuse but one of the very strict rules applied that leave the people open to tyranny and abuse of all sorts. Power corrupts - absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is not the only religion to make controlled sexuality one of the rules to adhere to strictly to prove one's devotion. Chastity for priests and nuns, prohibition on birth control, marriage without divorce options are all found in the Catholic church and the resulting abuse via authority figures there is in every paper all the time. In our western society where women have fought hard for equality and it still rages and not just in pockets like Bountiful. Monogamy and the sanctity of marriage for life in a household where the husband is the authority figure is a common requirement of most Christian faiths along with obedience to one's parents. This didn't die in the 1950's but is alive and well and keeping many women and children in homes where the greatest fear is dad coming home from work. The divorce rates, and reporting of spousal violence & child physical/sexual abuse in Canada would indicate that there is some rot in the fiber of that scenario as well. We don't criminalize monogamy to fix it though. That would be silly. Criminalizing multiple partner relationships has not fixed the rot festering behind religious dogma here either. There are other more effective solutions and Sarah & Rowena's organization is definitely one of those. Well done!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Polys in Court - week 3 - Dr. Shoshana Grossbard & Dr. Zheng Wu summary

from transcripts of Dec 7, 2010
BC Supreme court - reference regarding Section 293 (Polygamy Law)

The Christian Legal Fellowship called Dr. Shoshana Grossbard to the stand. She is a professor of economics at San Diego State University specializing in labour economics, law and economics of household, economics of marriage including polygamy, gender studies, sociological and anthropological economics. Dissertation at University of Chicago was on the economics of polygamy based on a study of polygynous households in Nigeria. Published 6 articles and a chapter in a book on economics in marriage on the subject of the economics of polygamy.

Dr. Grossbard indicated that she was familiar with polygamy as practiced in most African countries, a majority of Asian countries and some parts of the Americas - North America in particular. Polygamy is found just in certain areas of some countries as a cultural phenomenon limited to certain tribes , certain ethnic groups or associated with certain religions. Muslims in African Arab countries, Canada, US & France; Christians (FLDS) US and Canada; and only amongst the Jews of Kortistan or Yemen as it is illegal in Israel. Mainly a cultural phenomena that is associated with religion. Dr. Grossbar was only familiar with FLDS in US and had not heard of Bountiful before becoming involved in this court case.

Dr. Grossbard discussed the theory of marriage market economics where by the demand for wives by men and the supply of wives by women is thrown when polygamy is introduced to the marriage market. The demand for wives increases but the supply remains the same which should make the women more valuable. The practice of paying a bride price is more common in polygamous societies than monogamous societies. This is where the men pay the woman's father at the time of marriage so the increased value doesn't benefit the woman and the men maintain control of the women as they negotiate the transactions. Female circumcision is also used in large parts of Africa to control women so that they don't dispute the amount of attention they get in a polygynous household. Muslim law has easy divorce for men with no rights to custody of the children to the divorced wife thereby controlling women who might be dissatisfied and making them afraid to complain or leave. Arranged marriages and young brides with older husbands maintains the supply of wives favouring arranged marriages and discouraging the ideal of romantic love so that the expectations of the women for a spouse are lower. The Muslim custom of perda or isolating the women from the outside world was also a way of controlling them that is seen worldwide in non-Muslim polygamous communities. The ability of women to participate in the labour market is limited and often non-existent. Dr. Grossbard noted studies that show a significantly higher prevalence of depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and a number of other mental illnesses amongst the senior wives in polygamous societies comparative to monogamous societies. This study was of Bedouins and the Palestinians of the Gaza and West Bank.

Dr Grossbard said that customs have been developed which are aimed at alleviating the problems caused by polygamy such as the Islamic prohibition on Muslim men having more than four wives. Other cultures institute a rotation schedule so to minimize the jealousy among the co-wives, senior wives may have specific roles or separate dwellings. In some societies the wives are real [natural born] sisters. Early widowhood and the availability of another husband to reassign the widow to or she will have no support is a problem. Lack of education for women especially but in general their is high fertility and the resources are spent on the quantity of children rather than investing in quality human capital. Related health problems, high mortality rates and limited literacy.

Justice Bauman asked Dr. Grossbard some questions with regards to the cultural or religious basis of polygamy in Africa and Muslim countries in particular. Dr. Grossbard said that Islam doesn't encourage polygamy but rather tolerates it. Muslim men then practice it despite their religion.

One of the lawyers on the Amicus' legal team covered cross-examination of this witness. He asked if Dr. Grossbard had conducted field research in Nigeria, Bountiful, Canada or North America. Dr. Grossbard said that she didn't conduct any field research as an Economist she would do her analysis based on the data collected by others. The Amicus asked what research or evidence was there that if polygamy were permitted in Canada there would be more of it as the doctor had stated and further what evidence was there in the doctor's report that prohibiting polygamy would decrease it - given that it was illegal now and still practiced.

The Amicus noted a section in the doctor's report where it was stated that in an industrial society there would be less demand for a polygamous scenario than in an agricultural society. He referred to a paper cited in Dr. Grossbards report that concluded that the personal incentives to become polygynous decline naturally with development as the ability to raise educated children and invest in human capital becomes more possible with a less intensive need to produce home products. Men will then seek out wives who can help them do that and naturally incline to monogamy. Dr. Grossbard then disputed the paper's validity and said she had only cited as reference to part of their argument and that she disageed with the author of the paper's conclusions.

Given the more prevalence of polygamy in less developed countries, the Amicus, asked Dr. Grossbard if there would then also be a greater prevalence of poor health, lower education, lower life expectancy, fewer civil liberties, gender inequality? Dr. Grossbard agreed that they would be associated with economic development but that doesn't mean they don't accompany polygamy although one can't say that they are caused exclusively by it.

On the point of early widowhood and financial hardship for the women, the Amicus asked if the removal of the male bread winner of a polygamous household because of imprisonment would increase the likelihood of financial hardship for the women in that polygamous relationship. The doctor agreed that this would be a negative factor. Several other points with regards to easy divorce, and arranged marriages were raised with regards to their prevalence in monogamous relationships in countries where polygamy is legal and in North American society where they have a different context entirely. The doctor stated that her sources about female circumcision were not Canadian but that there are cases of female circumcision in Canada mostly among immigrants from Africa.

Dr. Zheng Wu, professor of sociology at the University of Victoria was called to the stand by the Amicus. Dr. Wu's specialty is family demography which is the study of events in the family from marriage, cohabitation, separation, divorce, widowhood, child battering, child rearing and the well-being of family members. He has published a book on about cohabitation as an alternative form of family living and various articles on marriage, divorce, health and aging, immigration, medical sociology and mental health.

Dr. Wu's affidavit is a report of the demographic profile of conjugal life in Canada over the last several decades. His conclusion was that marriage although still a valid social institution has weakened with a delay and decline in marriage a high level or marital instability and a rise in non-marital cohabitation or common law unions. Most of his data was from Statistics Canada which in Dr. Wu's opinion is high quality data and the best possible in this country.

His report notes:
1. Spousal abuse and child abuse rates in Canada - a relative small percentage of criminal spousal violence gets reported to the police. According to available statistics 75,000 incidents of violent crime were committed against a family member in 2007, 40,000 were committed by a current/previous spouse or common law partner. There were 6,600 incidents of violent crimes were committed against a child within the family. Seven percent of Canadians who are married or live common law have experienced spousal abuse in the past five years. That's about 650,000 women and 540,000 men who have been victims of spousal violence. Predominantly monogamous relationships. Two percent of Canadians aged 18 to 59 (346,000 in 2005) identify themselves as being gay, lesbian or bisexual. In 2006, there were 1.4 million single parent families in Canada. 80 percent (1.1 million) were single mother homes and 20 percent single father homes. Also in 2006 census, there werer 4.8 million single/never married men and 4.3 single/never married women over age 15 living in Canada. There are, then, 550,000 more single/never married men than women. The same census showed 905,000 divorced men and 1.2 million divorced women. About 10,000 divorces occur annually in British Columbia. One third of marriages in Canada end in divorce within 30 years of initiation while 40 percent of marriages in BC end in divorce within 30 years of initiation. The average Canadian women has 1.59 children in her lifetime. The average Canadian man has 1.35 children in his lifetime. 5.8 percent of men and 4.6 percent of women are living with step-children.

Cross-examination by the BC AG was quite confusing focusing on areas that Dr. Wu declared no expertise and would comment only broadly or not at all. He was pretty focused on the decline of marriage not being so dramatic when one included common law relationships and LAT (where people maintain relationships but don't live together). Dr. Wu was unable to do any comparative analysis of polygamy or its impact as there is no data with Stats Canada. The AG of Canada's cross was a good half hour of discussion on the terminology of common law marriage, common law relationships and cohabitation.

The stats on spousal/family violence are very very sad and not at all surprising. The fact that so many men are victims of spousal violence is an important point that goes by the wayside with the focus on women and children. Male victims have a whole different set of issues when seeking help in Canadian society.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Polys in Court - Week 2 - Dr Lawrence Beall summary

from transcripts of Thursday Dec 2nd -
The court session began with a telephone conference call. One of the witnesses who's video testimony has been posted on the internet was calling to tell the court why this was upsetting for her. Justice Bauman had not yet rendered his decision on the BC AG's application to have publication banned of those videos.

Dr. Lawrence Beall then took the witness stand. He is a PhD of Psychology with a clinical practice in Salt Lake City. He has been a witness in 5 criminal cases with regards to polygamous relationships and written a paper called "The Effects of Modern Day Polygamy on Women & Children" that is to be published in an upcoming journal issue on polygamy. He has treated adults, adolescents and children who are recovering victims of domestic violence, vets from Iraq & Afghanistan, victims of gang violence, refugee trauma and torture victims. For the purposes of his paper and his expert witness in these proceedings his counseled 14 men and 16 women in a group of 30. 8 of the women were FLDS from FLDS communities in Utah and Arizona. He also counseled 11 more men and interviewed 6 more women from Hilldale/Colorado City area. He was able to do some background research of vital statistics data and correspondence in the Yearning for Zion Ranch.

From this Dr. Beall was able to say that the FLDS has a stronger emphasis on being saved by polygamy which is indoctrinated in the educational system and that there is a tighter network of control then found in non-FLDS homes. He said that there was a mental and emotional impact of underage girl marrying an older man. He noted a lot of travel between Short Creek (Hilldale/Colorado City area) and Bountiful mostin in young girls who were potential marriage partners.

A common diagnosis for the people in this survey was Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
which is where a psychologically traumatic experience in the past presents now usually in flash backs or nightmares. Memories of an event or events intrude on current functioning of the individual. This diagnosis was expressed in anxiety and depression in the women who shut down and internalized their anger as guilt and shame. The young men externalized it with anger and behaviour problems. The young men expressed a sense of unfairness as they were told to obey and be faithful and they would be rewarded with a wife but found themselves competing for wives with men who were much older and had more financial resources. Treatment was difficult because of their belief that mental health problems were a sign of weakness.

These people were taught not to question and this is key to an adolescent developing their sense of identity and critical thinking for adulthood. They were left with doubts about their own thinking and feelings and an inability to clearly state them, self-esteem issues, lack of ability to exercise judgment and make plans for the future. An adolescent's pre-frontal cortex is still forming and has insufficient cognitive capacity to make decisions like who to marry.

He discussed his discovery of sexual grooming in the communities which is a gradual relationship building that leads to a sexual content. The process involves increasing trust and affection; and a sense that this relationships is unique and special; secrecy and isolation of the victim from her support system;breaking down the victim's defenses with fear and guilt. All of this makes if difficult for the victim to say no when sex enters the picture and gives the illusion of consent. He said he would call this structured sexual grooming because it is endorsed by doctrine and teachers including her own parents. Treatment involved cognitive restructuring to get passed the indoctrination and conditioning. It also involved teaching basic life skills for survival in the general population community.

The description of sexual grooming sounds like what a battered women or child sexual abuse victim experiences in a monogamous setting as well. The sense that you somehow brought the abuse upon yourself and thus consenting or participated willingly feeds the fear and the guilt. He only hits me cause I'm a bad cook and should learn to do better. etc. Indoctrination doesn't need a prophet to be effective. The battery of the self-esteem and sense of being trapped doesn't need polygamy either. Both are found too frequently in monogamous households.

Barriers to girls leaving FLDS communities were:
1. needing to be ready to flee with her children when a brief opportunity arose
2. needing to have set up a place to run to with support people to help her
3. needing to find work and get established with medical and social supports for herself and children in a new community that you were raised to see as threatening and dangerous.
4. resulting legal issues of a fight for child custody, support & access while still remaining safe from her husband

Barriers for young men leaving were similar but they don't have the issues regarding children. They also have some skills for the labour market that the women don't have.

I have to say that these barriers are also there and substantial for thousands of women and men across Canada who flee from abusive monogamous relationships every year. I myself had to flee from Ontario to BC to get away from a husband (monogamous) who didn't see that even divorce should interfere with his control, treatment and rights over myself and our children. All of those barriers are contributed to by the average person's disengagement with the domestic abuse that is rampant and unacceptable all around us. Let's have zero tolerance for it and proper supports for victims and perpetrators in ALL relationship structures - monogamous or multi-partnered. NO ONE should have to live like that.

Cross-examination of Dr. Beall revealed that he had not familiarized himself with individual notes of these 30 people and was commenting from the memory of interactions of several years ago as HIPA (a US federal law that says you can't disclose information based on clinical notes without the written consent of the patients). His memory of statements made about these recollections during testimony for other cases was questioned and found failing several times. His generalizations were highlighted as being likely from opinion more than stated fact. He stated that he knew nothing of the FLDS before counseling his first of many FLDS clients and yet acknowledged that he was LDS himself. The fact that the majority of the men in his survey were sent to him via an organization that is a primary party in the Lost Boys litigation in the US and that this organization paid for their treatment. His comments were with regards to comments made but some but not all of is survey group and no access to persons who were in the FLDS communities.

In redirection Dr. Beall indicated that he also has a Masters in Education and he opinioned that the education in the FLDS communities was inferior because of the narrow scope of approved education, lack of resources and lack of teacher training and students were not able to develop critical thinking.

Finally discussion of the day was around scheduling of closing statements and that looks like it may be in March.

On a personal note: I apologize for being behind on these summaries and will try to catch up on things this weekend. Thank you for your patience.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Polys in Court - Week 2 Professor Angela Campbell summary

Reminder that I am not in court for the next few weeks but I am commenting based on transcripts.
The case of constitutionality of section 293 of the Criminal Code of Canada or "the polygamy law" was heard Tuesday to Friday this week(Nov 30 to Dec 3).

The BC AG and the court staff have set up a room in the court house for print copies of all the materials submitted as evidence in this case for reference only (not to be removed from the room) and copies can be requested of anything not on the internet.

The first day was a "voir dire" with Professor Angela Campbell of McGill University on the stand being questioned on her qualifications as an expert witness. She is a professor of law, Director of McGill law school and the Institute of Comparative Law. The latter is a graduate studies program that compares law across jurisdictions, legal traditions and disciplines. She also conducts academic research most recently in the area of women in Polygamy. She has written many papers and been published in academic journals. While doing one such paper commissioned by the Status of Women Commission she observed that there was very little primary source research regarding the experiences of women in polygamy in North American and especially in Canada. Prof Campbell had been contacted by some women of the Bountiful area when working on that paper and was not able for time and budget reasons to pursue interviews with them at the time. When she received funding to do a second paper she contacted those women again and others who had been outspoken on websites and in the media via Canada 411. As she began interviews in Bountiful others came forward. She did not seek assistance from community leaders for suggestions on participants in her research. 22 women in total were interviewed about their experiences of polygamy.

The next day the court heard the testimony of Prof Angela Campbell, having ruled that she did qualify as an expert. Prof Campbell discussed her affidavits of observations while doing research at Bountiful. She said that the background of polygamy in the context of the FLDS religion is where polygamy was seen as one of the steps towards Celestial glory and that the law of God would have more influence than the law of the land if there were a conflict. She learned that historically it was not uncommon for adolescents of 15 or 16 to be married but that this had been discouraged in recent years to age of adulthood or later. Historically the marriages were arranged and the new spouses did not necessarily know each other at all prior to the wedding but this has also changed and spouses will most often choose each other after a long period of courting each other. This is seen as resulting in happier marriages. Regarding family planning and contraception, she observed that the women talk amongst themselves and manage families such that the wear of too many children too close together is kept under control. Younger women have busier lives and don't have the time to handle families as large as their mother's and grandmother's and this is acknowledged.

The children of the community expressed strong bonds with their biological mothers but also a bond of protection was indicated with relation to their biological mother's sister wives who they refer to as Mother X or Mother Y etc. Children within a household whether full or half-siblings viewed each other as siblings with the same commonalities and rivalries as found in monogamous households. The bond between sister wives was noted as something of importance for the women interviewed. A division of labour occurs in the household and in the community as well as the support and companionship amongst the women. Some of the hard parts of being in a plural marriage were expressed as jealousy and competition amongst the women for the time, attention and resources of the shared husband. Lack of space of one's own is an issue and sometimes resolved by one of the women moving to a house of her own with her children. And thirdly, while the sense of sharing responsibilities and labour is strong it stops at disciplining another women's children. That is not a welcomed behaviour and causes much conflict. She noted that the women of the community do not all dress in the traditional fashion seen in the media but that some wear jeans and t-shirts, have pierced ears and wear minimal makeup. Work and education were seen as in the context of what is good for the community and what is good for the prophet so that you plan to generate your own wealth or educate yourself but as a way to give back to the community. Common vocations for women were nursing, midwifery, teaching, care giving, and service industry or working in the shops in nearby towns. Higher education is pursued by women but usually after they've had their children. The other wives support the study of each other which happens in neighbouring communities and US institutions. The people of Bountiful also access services in neighbouring communities like groceries that are benign and would not spot light them as being polygamists so they won't access marital counseling for instance.With regards to the fundamental inequality of polygamy in that one man may have many wives but the wives may have only the one husband shared, Prof Campbell noted that her interviewees did not see that way but felt sorry for the man who is outnumbered and if the women want something in solidarity they get it.They valued this plural arrangement for its religious and social context. As to abuse and sexual assault, they respondents said that it should be targeted and dealt with appropriately with law enforcement. In discussion of the children and youth, Prof Campbell said that she did not hear of an effort to push young men out of the community nor did she notice any disproportionate number of females to males.

The remainder of the day was spent cross-examining Prof. Campbell and while interesting, those points will come up in primary testimony with other experts and I'll not note them here.