Part of an international fight to change attitudes over parental alienation has been described as thuggish and likened to football hooliganism.
A leading group three years ago came up with a dramatic but non-aggressive action to tell family courts about the true hell of PA.
It involves stripping off a shirt with hundreds of names hand-written on it outside courts across the UK to say starkly “You taken everything from me – now you can have the shirt of my back’.
Andrew John Teague, co-founder of D.A.D.s and NAAP, has been carrying out the protest for almost three years but after the Hull Live news site republished a picture of him, people took to social media condemning the action.
Andrew and a colleague were described as appearing to be menacing and looking like yobs.
The man who started the debate,Gary Bartlett, said on Facebook: “Topless men wearing jeans and looking unapproachable is a scene long associated with football hooligans, yobs on holiday abroad, August bank Holiday piss-ups in seaside towns and so on….
“The public will ask, ‘who are they?’ They’ll be told…. ‘we’re victims of parental alienation and we’re fighting to see our children’.
“But I can imagine what their thoughts might be… ‘why are you all men’? ‘You look quite menacing’ …I’m not surprised, looking like that!”
NAAP and D.A.D.s are set to march from Grimsby to Hull and then to the city’s court centre on Lowgate, where the Family Court is located, to hand-deliver a report on parental alienation put, together by NAAP, featuring expert opinions and information on parental alienation.
Led by founding member Andrew Teague, who said the teams also want to raise awareness over the number of suicides happening during family court proceedings.
But Gary said: “The image of hard looking topless men is the polar opposite of what you should be looking like.
“Dress up as one half of a well known double act… Holding an 18″ x 18″ photo of the other half of the act…. It could be Bo Peep with a photo of her sheep. It could be batman with a photo of Robin or it could be a big cheese with a photo of a cracker, a dad looking like a warm, nice dad…. fully dressed, holding a bicycle…. Who when asked by passers-by “what’s the bike all about”? Dad can tell them about the child who’s never ridden the bike because mum hasn’t let your child see you for 3 months, 12months, 3 years…”
Campaigner Mick Ogden, said: “You do have a point about the image looking like a drunken football fan.”
Another said: “The problem with this is the alienated parent doesn’t look good to the system. All alienated parents probably feel like doing this but in my view it’s not the right way.
“It plays into the hands of the alienating parent. This is where PA is not recognised or properly understood and I feel so sorry for these parents who demonstrate (and with just cause) but it’s playing into the narcissist parents hands.”
The comments prompted the consumerwatchfoundation.com to ask what do ordinary parents actually dress like? Middle-class business people, track suits, baseball caps?
Editor Leigh G Banks said: “I do find the descriptions of the two men brave enough to strip to the waist a bit insulting, football thugs? Really?
“I get the idea about soft and cuddly images of alienated parents – but isn’t PA about grit and determination?
“ The SOMB campaign is only a very small part of what is going on.”
Andrew John Teague said: “People should do what thy want to do to highlight the problems and real horrors surrounding parental alienation and family courts.
“But baring your chest hasn’t anything to do with thuggery, it is to do with making a point in a strong way.”
MP Andrew Brigden has said he is interested in attending a Shirt off My Back protest in the near future.