As a child I was a great fan of CS Lewis and the Narnia books (the Christian subtext passed me by at the time). In one of the books there was a world known as the World between the Worlds- this was a silent place, a sort of crossroads from which it was possible to travel between an infinite number of worlds.
I had an experience that reminded me of this world during my divorce. It did not involve magic lions but in its own way was a transforming and moving experience. It was also the day that the matriarchy almost got me.
It was one of those fantastically quiet and bright days when even the grass and the trees seemed to be waiting for something to happen. There was no wind and only a slight mist to obscure the crisp sunlight. This gave everything an unreal air as if it were nothing but a painted backdrop.
I was worn down, and yet even my own spirits were raised a little by this day. It was a day of possibilities, of new beginnings.
I had given every ounce of my strength into maintaining a relationship with a woman who was becoming more and more ill. I had been denied proper sleep as she would constantly wake me up to 'discuss' things. This caused me to becomes so tired that I began to fail at work and yet it did not affect her as she spent most of the day in bed. This is the power of the totally irresponsible. She even woke me once to tell me that she had set the house ablaze.
Finally things were looking up. She had assaulted a police officer- or so she bizarrely claimed as many of the criminal offences she claimed to be committing were fabrications. I could verify that she had been placed on list 99 (a child protection register) and that some of her more disgusting claims regarding children were true. To my shame the only response I had to these horrible events was to feel great relief. Maybe I would be believed at last.
Unfortunately mere evidence (including an actual written statement that she intended to kill me) counts for little in a family court which believes in 'no fault' divorce. In fact she was able to leverage her 'victim' status as a mentally ill person to generate litigation out of nothing. This had only one real purpose- to cause expense. She has access to legal aid while I did not so I was forced either to represent myself or go into debt.
The more crazy and irresponsible a person becomes, the more power they receive in the family court. Working people are denied legal aid while the unemployed and the mentally ill have free services showered upon them. Is it any surprise the family courts come to resemble a madhouse when the drivers are the worst elements in society?
It was on one visit to the county court when I had my ‘world between the worlds’ experience. I wandered into the wrong area of the courtroom where men were waiting to pay fines for minor criminal offences. The atmosphere here was almost festive. The majority of the men there (almost all were men) seemed to be career criminals. They swapped stories about prison and their latest adventures. Suddenly this began to seem attractive.
Matriarchy offers men a devils bargain. It offers freedom from responsibility, casual sex without parental responsibilities and relieves the man of any duty to behave as a man. This can be very attractive if life has kicked you in the guts and you are rolling on the floor in pain. The downside is that it steals your soul- all the strong and decent qualities that make up a man and a father.
It tells you it is OK to be weak, to cry and live off others and the only real crime is to judge another person. I stood outside of the courthouse for a long time, feeling the silence of that silver morning, feeling myself free to take whatever course I chose.
Feminism truly is beyond good and evil. Men are on the one hand evil but on the other hand not individually responsible for what the patriarchy makes them do. A man will always be wrong under feminism but he will always have an excuse. It was tempting to release myself from right and wrong and simply go with the flow.
Right and wrong were simply not factors a family court takes into account. The family court system in the UK runs a ‘no fault’ divorce system while at the same time blaming the man for everything. Why not play along? Why try to do the right thing at all?
I saw everything clearly in that one moment- the ways in which my sense of decency had be used against me and the heart of pure evil within the system.
I am not sure how long I stood there, but I remember saying to myself ‘let me do the right thing.’ Shortly after this I filed my papers and went home.
In fact I did decide to remain within the patriarchy. I supported myself and gathered together the fragments of my life. I even fought my divorce on the grounds of right and wrong- even though the courts are not supposed to consider it.
And I won!
Sometimes I wonder if that thing that I said to myself ‘let me do the right thing’ was in fact a prayer to the God I do not believe in.
I have no idea where the strength came from. Perhaps the Patriarchal God replied.
Sometimes people change when they finally admit to themselves that they lack the strength to do anything for themselves. I knew that the matriarchy was stronger than me as an individual and then I called upon God. Now I call upon all the enemies of feminism but the impulse is the same. I know I will be defeated alone.
Perhaps I will pray more often.