San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Men's rights

Costa Rican president to establish commission to study men's rights issues, adviser says

Casa Presidencial has promised a men’s rights advocacy group that it will form a new interagency commission to study legal imbalances in domestic abuse, custody rights and child support policy in Costa Rica.

President Luis Guillermo Solís’ administration on Monday related the news to members of the Foundation to Support Men (FUNDIAPHO), which last week marched from their offices in the northeastern San José suburb of Guadalupe to Solís’ residence in Barrio Escalante, east of the capital.

FUNDIAPHO Director Miguel Herrera Córdoba said presidential adviser Luis Emilio Jiménez told him Solís had accepted the group’s proposal for the commission’s creation. A follow-up meeting was scheduled for Oct. 14.

“A new era will soon begin for Ticos and Costa Rican society,” Herrera told The Tico Times. “We are extremely excited, and we hope to finally achieve true gender equality.”

One of FUNDIAPHO’s primary complaints is the unbalanced treatment of men in the country’s court system.

“Women who are victims of abuse are offered free counseling and health care. Abused men, meanwhile, get nothing,” Herrera said.

During last week’s protest, members of the group noted that Costa Rica has adopted several laws to protect women and children from domestic violence, and to ensure that men are held responsible for child support. But no legislation has been passed to protect men’s rights, they said.

“We know that there are abusive men. But there are also abusive women, and that number is increasing,” Herrera said last June during a protest outside the Supreme Court.

About one in five domestic abuse victims in Costa Rica are men, according to the number of criminal complaints filed each year. In 2012, the judicial branch registered approximately 50,000 domestic violence complaints. Of those, 11,000 were filed by men.

“Costa Rica’s laws are imbalanced,” Herrera said. “They provide preventive measures ordering men to leave their homes, even if the men are the ones being abused. [Laws] also call for imprisonment for failing to pay alimony.”

Approximately 300 men are in prison in Costa Rica for failing to pay child support or alimony, according to the foundation.

Earlier this year, FUNDIAPHO sued the government at the San José-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights to push for reforms to alimony and child-support laws.

Alejandra Mora, executive president of the National Institute for Women, agreed that violence against men exists in Costa Rica, although “to a lesser degree when compared to aggression against women.”

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

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TheBashfulDwarf

Soupy, I only visit CR, but I have seen thousands of women forced into prostitution because the fathers of their kids don’t support them. I can easily walk you onto many pensions for you to interview these women yourself. Can you provide me thousands of men that have been abused in some way? I doubt it. If it was that easy to get the fathers into hot water for not paying child support, the CR jails would host thousands of deadbeat dads.
I am not saying that some men don’t suffer under seemingly unfair laws, but step back and see a more realistic vision of the situation.

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Ken Morris

You might want to consider the economics before you take the word of the prostitutes in the pensions.

The average monthly income for employed people in CR is in the neighborhood of $700 a month or less, so half the people earn less. On this amount, even an employed Tico (many are unemployed) living with his wife and kids can’t support a family very well, and the Ticas know this. Some Ticas therefore realize that they are financially better off leaving the man, or not marrying him in the first place, and working as prostitutes (usually while their mothers, with whom they often live, watch the kids). Especially if there are any tensions in the relationship, which of course there frequently are, the woman’s financial incentive leads her to choose to be single over married.

Then, when the couple split (or never get together in the first place) the man needs to go on with his life, which eventually includes paying rent, having a girlfriend or a wife, and maybe having more kids. However, at his income he can barely afford to survive himself, much less pay child support or alimony.

Of course, the women will often badmouth these men for not paying, but if you listen more carefully, you will notice that they don’t expect them to pay and chose to fly solo instead of receiving the paltry support he could provide.

And these are the Ticos. Half or more of the prostitutes in the brothels are Nicas or occasionally Dominicanas and other nationalities. The men who fathered their children are far more impoverished than Ticos.

A mistake we outsiders make, I’m convinced, is to assume that the men “should” pay when in fact many simply can’t. (A related mistake we sometimes make is to ignore that many of the men actually do pay a little, when they have it, but simply don’t have enough to pay enough regularly.)

To some extent the policymakers and legal regime make the same mistake, telling men what they “should” pay even though they can’t and therefore won’t pay it.

Mind, none of this exempts the fathers from responsibility, and the solution isn’t to say, “Well, they can’t pay so don’t make them,” since the kids still need the support. However, saying that the fathers should pay isn’t going to get anyone very far in the real world.

My own opinion is that the underlying problem is economic, for the men even more than the women, and I wish to God people would once again start talking about the “family wage” men need to earn in order to stop this spiral of problems. Unless men earn enough money to support families or pay child support, they simply won’t because they can’t.

Granted, men with the means who don’t pay child support and force the mothers of their children into prostitution are scoundrels, but I seriously doubt that there are many men in CR who fit this stereotype.

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Bryan Scandrett

This comment was deleted.

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soupydoupy

Because of Costa Rica’s (and Latin America’s) machismo culture in which women have been abused with impunity, these laws were drafted. Unfortunately they go too far. Men are looked at as “the enemy,” the family unit is defined as “mother and children.” Yes, there have been thousands of men who have been victimized by women….the official statistics are given in the article: of the 50,000 domestic abuse claims filed last year, 11,000 were filed by men. However the court tends to not do anything about the claims filed by men. And there is an epidemic of FALSE claims being filed by women. There are therefore thousands of men who are victimized by the LAWS each year because the laws make it too easy for women to misuse them for nefarious ends. As far as why the debtor’s prison consists of only about 300 men, not 3,000 or 30,000, well, the police do not come unless the woman requests it. So there are many situations where the woman does not send the police after the man. There are also cases where the man cannot be found or has fled the country. Such men should be caught and prosecuted. But there have been thousands of innocent men whose lives have been made into living hells by these laws and whose children have suffered irreparable damage by cut off from their fathers.

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Dan Gibson

The current ”men’s rights are” — 1. Disrespect the women as much as you can — 2. Have all the kids you want with as many women as you can and never pay a dime — those are the ones a gringo sees —

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Bryan Scandrett

As a survivor of feminism, I find your lies, prevarication and mischaracterization, offensive and degrading, exactly the things you accuse men of.
Calling people out on fraud, sexism and corruption is not misogyny, attacking women and girls, if the offender happens to have a vajayjay. Sorry.
It’s not typing rape, word rape, eye rape, all that is just you lying, to us, to yourself, to your history and your future.
Learn to isolate the little voices in your head and separate them from what others are saying to you.

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Lunos

What the f*ck? Are there mods on this website? How does this disgusting comment exist? F*ck you, racist scum.

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Nicole moeller gonzalez

“About one in five domestic abuse victims in Costa Rica are men, according to the number of criminal complaints filed each year.” Do you have any idea how many women do NOT file a complaint because their husband/boyfriend have threatened them? More than 60 % of rape cases are NOT reported to police, so imagine how it is for other abuses!! So this number of every 5 men is just plain bullshit, in a sexist society where abuse towards women is seen as completely natural and just part of daily live thing…

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MGTOW-man

Looks like this process in men needs to expand to the rest of the world. We need more men like the ones in Costa Rica. Most men in America are feminized wimp-puppets and “customers” for women.

There may be more women who suffer DV etc than men, but that does not define the situation. If the proven-UNBIASED stats say 40 % men are abused by women, then 40 % of the funds for help, counseling, shelter, etc need to go to men. Women who abuse need to be punished. Men (independent, unbiased men, not societal puppets who are male feminists) need to be able to equally help define and determine all the laws and punishments—not just feminists. False accusers (who actually hurt real victims), need to be punished—period. Stop making excuses for them. Stop the BS too.

If only one woman was subjected to something bad while all the rest were men, there would be public outcries to help that ONE woman. Why can’t we be as fair to men?

We must stop ALL DV, not just half. Anything else is stupid. We can’t help women by only half-helping. The example they set as DV abusers teaches men and children to abuse: COMMONSENSE? Got any?

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Marc Angelucci

Finally. Thank you! Men are people too. Denying services to male victims of domestic violence and their children is simply wrong. In California we had to sue the state and get the discriminatory law overturned as an unconstitutional violation of equal treatment.

A 32-nation study by the University of New Hampshire that included 5 Latin American countries found women are as violent and controlling as men in relationships worldwide. http://www.unh.edu/news/cj_nr/2006/may/em_060519male.cfm?type=n http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/ID41E2.pdf

In California battered men had to sue the State to overturn the unconstitutional law that excluded male victims from state funded domestic violence services.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise, “Court Rules Domestic Violence Programs Must be Open to Men,” http://www.metnews.com/articles/2008/wood101508.htm
http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/politics&id=6453627

San Diego Union Tribune, 10/17/08(?), brief mention in news blurbs
California Chronicle, 10/18/08, “Battered men being denied services is ruled unconstitutional by California appellate court,” http://www.californiachronicle.com/articles/78164

La Opinion, “Ellos también sufren maltrato” (“men also suffer abuse”), 10/24/08, http://www.impre.com/laopinion/noticias/la-california/2008/10/24/ellos-tambien-sufren-maltrato-89035-1.html

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Mark Kahle

Dan, That happens everywhere in the world and is actually an unfair comment. Lunos, your response is just as disgusting

The Constitution addresses “rights” in a couple of places and is ambiguous on the subject. I can say this from personal experience… when my daughter was 6 years old my wife went to court and and said “I suspect abuse” … she never said what kind of abuse or gave any examples or had any basis for the claims. Two days before this happened I received a note from my daughter (still on my fridge) that said how much she loved me…..

My daughter is 14 now and I have never been granted visitation rights and my daughter claims to hate me (wonder who instilled that).

Several lawyers have told me that even pedophiles get visitation rights even if supervised. My daughter did say to PANI psychologists on several occasions that there was never any abuse… but the judge said consistently through the years that she was too young to testify or even come to the hearings. My case has been languishing somewhere in Sala 2 for several years now….

You must remember… Pani is solely for mothers and children. They refuse to represent men. There is no true family (that includes men) help in any government agency. The fact that PANI does not also represent men in family disputes is inherently unConstitutional, but PANI is a sacred cow and no judge will even allow you to make the claim.

You see Dan… when it comes to family matters men have NO rights and serve solely as long as the woman wants them… when she calls the police your life is over, you lose the house, the kids, go to jail, lose your job and have to pay child support… You sir would also hide. Oh, you also have to pay the full equivalent of a years support in advance or have the womans permission to simply travel outside the country for any reason..You are basically jailed within the country.

I missed my mothers funeral, my fathers funeral and the birth of two grand kids.

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soupydoupy

Mark, your post is heartbreaking. Have you been in touch with FUNDIAPHO? They have lawyers who might be able to move your case forward. 2222 0614

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Varo López

Hi Mark, I´m living that same nightmare with my two eldest daughters (13 and 9 years old). I have been able to see the youngest, because she always wanted to live with me. But in the case of the one who is 13, the mother and her new husband have brainwashed my little girl to the point that she considers his step father as her true dad.
This is called parental alienation, and I founded an association to give some support to dads and moms living this harsh realities with their children. It´s name is ANASAP Costa Rica.
In Costa Rica, since the moment you get divorced, the government considers you as a second class citizen, and several of your fundamental human rights will be disrespected.
Only united we will be able to grant a better future for our children, because if this legal situation continues, all boys, will be considered as potential aggressors, from the age of 15. Just ask the INAMU!!!

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landshark

Sorry to burst your bubble of naivete, Lunos. But what Mr. Gibson states is applicable to virtually all races, creeds and colors…yes, even “gringos” around the world…more often than not in Eastern European countries and certainly among SE Asian countries. It is part of the almost universal macho gang culture. Women have little value other than sex objects. Creating as many children as one can is a sign of virility…however, supporting and loving those children is not. It is particularly prevalent in the Afro-American community in the USA. But it is not exclusive to that segment of the USA society either.

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soupydoupy

People who express Dan’s views are usually women. And some of those women wrote these discriminatory laws that make life impossible for good men. To put it crudely, “Men have been putting down and taking advantage of women for centuries–let’s get them back.” Because these laws give women so much power, they are being widely misused against unsuspecting men….For instance, if a woman wants to ditch her husband–let’s say she is having an affair and wants to get rid of him–all she has to do is walk into the domestic violence court (PISAV) and say that he did something to her (hit her, verbal abuse, just about anything will do) and within a few hours, the man will be kicked out of his house and a restraining order will be given to him that does not allow him to come back for, typically, 6 months to a year. In order to make this happen, the woman does not need to provide ANY evidence–just a verbal statement. It then becomes the man’s problem to prove she is not telling the truth. This is often difficult because domestic violence happens in the home and there are no witnesses. Furthermore, the man will not get his day in court for months (6 months or more is typical) and during that time he has to live somewhere else and cannot access his car and other shared possessions. If he has children, he will automatically be prevented from seeing them unless he undertakes a legal process of child visitation–this too takes months. When he finally does get his day in court, it is very difficult to get an “innocent” verdict. It takes, among other things, a really good lawyer, and really good lawyers are expensive and not very many men can afford them. Meanwhile, the woman can happily carry on her affair, can even have the new man move in, and the man will not know about it let alone be able to do anything about it. His children can be turned against him in his absence. To add injury to injury, the woman can demand alimony and child support, and this leads to the problems detailed in my previous post. Often the woman will request the man’s total income or, for spite and/or to get him in jail, twice his income. Uneducated men and/or those without competent lawyers will not know that they have to have a lawyer respond within THREE DAYS or else the amount requested will become fixed. Thus many men are, from the beginning, unable to pay the amount of alimony and/or child support demanded and they are put in jail, even if they are short a few dollars. There are many other things wrong with the laws pertaining to men, but I hope my post helps you to understand a few of the problems.

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soupydoupy

What the article does not make clear is that the financial state of those men who are in jail for not paying child support was not evaluated. Once the court sets an amount–typically based on whatever the woman requests–the man has only three days to dispute it, a right that many men don’t know about. If he does not respond, the amount requested becomes law. The man then has to pay it for years and there is no mechanism to address a change of circumstances. A man can lose his job, take a decrease in pay, even become ill or handicapped and the police will come and put him in jail regardless as if Costa Rica is some kind of police state run by unfeeling robots. I know of a case where the police were coming after a blind man to imprison him–all because he was sick and could not work for a period of several weeks. When the man comes out of jail he is responsible for all the payments that he missed….so naturally he is thrown back in jail again because how will being in jail enable him to earn any money? These are just a few of the outrageously unjust laws that are currently on the books in Costa Rica pertaining to men. There are many more.

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