A very good friend and well-known advocate of the men’s rights movement recently dropped a video clip into my inbox and simply said, “watch this”. I knew it was important and he had my full attention.
It took only a minute for me to be tuned out from the world and into ‘Laugh After Pokes’, a rap song about Paternity Fraud. Not something you see or hear every day and so I was intrigued. It was immediately apparent that this was one man’s way of sharing his story in a frame that was tragic and yet a clearly cathartic outlet for sharing his creative love with his personal crusade to find out the paternal identity of a child. A child he was told could be his.
I spoke with Dan Scott (Rapper turned Vlogger) to find out the full story and what circumstances led him to being denied confirmation if he was the paternal father of a child that he had not yet met. A baby girl, he believes to be born on or around 01/12/15.
This is not like any other story I have heard.
There can be little denial that if you have sex, there is a likelihood of conception. It’s a known risk that we mitigate with various forms of contraception and usually a level of trust that at least one of you is doing the right thing. Trust is usually where it goes pear shaped.
When we enter into a relationship and spend time with someone intimately we naturally develop a trust, often irrespective of our past history with others. This is the way it should be. We learn trust very early in our development (between 0-2 years) and at the same time we are developing bonds and attachments, all driven by Oxytocin, the hormone of love secreted to the brain. As nature would have it, we generate this same hormone after sex. We are after all, sexual beings.
When Dan entered into his relationship he naturally developed a level of trust. It wasn’t an ideal relationship, but there was love and attachment.
On an occasion after having sex his girlfriend made a comment that threw him completely – “did you release your little soldiers? “ and Dan was instantly suspicious. “Was she trying to conceive?” But there was another nagging question spinning in his head. Was she already pregnant and trying to deflect responsibility to him for being the father. At the time, he wasn’t sure why he questioned that, Sometimes it’s hard to know how gut instinct drives our thoughts, but it’s alarms are always strong.
A few short months later, she broke the news that he was to become a father. Shocked and surprised, he was a little reluctant but accepting of the fate from the dice they had rolled together.
But things were not good with them. It was a semi-long distance relationship and there were frequent disagreements and arguments – one of these arguments was about the paternity of the unborn child. There was a question about a previous lover and Dan wanted to know for sure if he was the father. His girlfriend was regularly consulting him on baby names, showing him sonograms and they were still communicating.
In October, the arguments outweighed the relationship and the two parted ways. She cut off all contact. Dan made many attempts to remain in contact, but was left to try and monitor social media for news of the baby’s arrival.
He repeatedly requested paternity testing and was either ignored or denied.
Dan was faced with enormous frustrations. Unsure if he was to become a father, and what rights or responsibilities he would have to parent and care for the child once it arrived. Naturally, there was some expectant excitement, but constantly quashed by the uncertainty surrounding it. It’s hard to grow an attachment to something you don’t know is yours, or may be taken away from you.
And this is what I admire most about Dan’s chosen path. He took a proactive and positive approach even in the face of what could bring others undone. He established the Vader Trust Fund. A fund dedicated to the life of this child, irrespective of whether or not he was the father. To raise awareness for this, he also took the medium with which he could openly communicate and one that he was inherently attached to – Laugh After Pokes was born and released on social media amongst family, friends and his supporters.
At no time in his dialogue does he berate or belittle his former girlfriend, instead, he makes his heartfelt and emotive plea through his music to express his frustration to not knowing his fate as a father.
This is his right, and the right of the child. For both of them, it’s a birthright.
During January he was alerted to a post on social media that made him believe the child had been born. Expectant and excited, he rushed to the hospital only to be told that the mother was not admitted there. Frustrated and confused, he left with no news.
A few weeks later, he received a glimmer of light that the baby girl had been born. He was unsure of the birth date, the details or anything about the welfare of the child or mother, but he had one small picture.
It’s unimaginable to me to be the person left wondering if the photo you are seeing is of your child. Human nature says he should be overjoyed, but human instincts are also fighting him saying it may not be. This excruciatingly painful state was forced upon him through no doing of his own.
He rose above it through music and importantly, finding a rational voice to create a movement for change.
Infant bonding is not just a maternal issue and the role of the father in a newborns life is required for their positive development. Studies show that children are more likely to have developmental problems as early as one year of age, where the father is not present.
“Disengaged and remote interactions between fathers and their infants were found to predict externalising behavioural problems at the age of 1 year.
There are many men awaiting the Male Contraceptive Pill – to be available in the very near future. Yes, it will give you control of conception, but not control over knowledge of the paternity of your child.
Your right to paternal testing must be fought for. They are not only the men’s rights, they are children’s rights to know who their biological father is so they can have attachment, influence and a relationship with both of their biological parents.
*** POST SCRIPT***
Possibility of Paternity – 0%
Photo courtesy of Christian Haugan Flickr