Feminist Cassie Watter came to the attention of AVfM in October 2013 via her male-hating, gender-profiling, and association with the violence-promoting ideologues at the James Cook University School of Social Work. Unknown to us at that time was Watter’s history of involvement in family court proceedings.
In April this year, non-identical seven-year-old twin girls Isabella and Bronte Watter went missing after being dropped of at school by their father. It is presumed that they were abducted by their mother, Catherine “Cassie” Watter (nee Doubleday), whose car containing the girls’ school bags and uniforms was found abandoned a short distance from the school.
According to family court orders consented to by both parents, the twins resided full-time with their father (that is, the father had sole physical custody), the mother being allowed only supervised contact. Anyone familiar with the gynocentric and gender-biased workings of Australian family law will recognise that such an arrangement is rare and orders of that nature would only be made when the evidence before the court clearly indicated it to be in the best interests of the children.
Details of the family court proceedings are secret and can only be published with the court’s authority. It remains open to conjecture why the court would limit Cassie Watter to supervised contact only, but one must assume the court believed non-supervised contact represented a threat to the children’s physical and/or emotional well-being. Such a decision is likely to be based on a history of physical or emotional abuse, or the potential for it. Recent events confirm such a presumption to be correct, as Watter’s current illegal actions equate to emotional, social, and spiritual abuse of the twins by alienating them from their father, family, and friends, and condemning them to a life in hiding or on the run.
On April 7, the Queensland Police Service appealed to the public for information about the disappearance of the trio and expressed concern for their welfare.
On April 10, the family court made a publication order, under section 121 of the Family Law Act, which included the following statements:
Fugitive mother of two, Cassie Watter, remains on the run more than a week after she is believed to have abducted her twin daughters from their Townsville primary school. By now, she could quite literally be anywhere in Australia.
The suspected abduction is unlawful and in breach of Family Court orders which Ms Watter consented to and asked the Court to make less than a year ago.
It is inevitable that someone has seen the trio in their travels, and may even know their present whereabouts. Any assistance knowingly provided to a criminal to avoid punishment is itself a serious crime.
On the Help find Isabella and Bronte Watter Facebook page, the girl’s father explained the situation this way:
These girls have had their lives turned upside down by their mother, most likely with help from other people and organisations, who think what’s best for 7 year-olds to live a life in hiding. (sic)
The girls were living with me by the mother’s consent, with the orders sealed by the Family Court, as a direct result of her own choices and harmful behaviours. She had been told to stop it, but she wouldn’t or couldn’t control herself, which places the children at risk of harm in her care.
How can they see their friends or make new friends, go to school, or have their own home? Everyone they encounter will be a potential threat. It’s no life for little girls to live – please help bring them home!
The twins and their mother remain missing after almost four months. The police believe that Watter had assistance in carrying out her illegal acts and that she is continuing to receive assistance to remain in hiding.
In contrast to other abductions of children in the context of divorce where the abductor is a man, this case seems to have received relatively little media exposure and limited effort by the authorities. It’s as if there is a false underlying presumption that because the girls are thought to be with their mother, they are not suffering significant ongoing harm.
What is more bizarre and indicative of a culture of gynocentrism and female entitlement is the number of feminist academics and professionals who have publicly supported Watter. Although they stop short of overtly condoning her illegal behaviour, they imply it is “understandable” and give testimony to Watter’s wonderful caring nature whilst failing to publicly call on her to stop her ongoing abuse of the children and turn herself into authorities.
An unidentified “maternal relative” speaking on behalf of the “family” of the twins was reported in the Brisbane Times on May 17 as “hoping the children and their mother Cassie Watter are not found”—a clear endorsement of her illegal behaviour and child abuse.
In the same article, feminist academic Professor Freda Briggs, a supposed expert in child protection, believed Watter’s motives were “understandable.” “People don’t leave their family, home, car, job, possessions and support network for no reason,” she said. No, they do not, Professor Briggs, they do it to breach legal orders and perpetrate abuse on children by prioritising their own interests above that of the children and other family members, something a person in your position should unequivocally denounce, not minimise. The rhetoric of “perpetrators must be held accountable for their abuse” is eerily missing when the abuser is a woman.
Similarly, rather than condemn her illegal actions, JCU academic social worker Beth Tinning was quoted as saying, “Mrs Watter appeared to be a capable and devoted mother”—what part of child abduction, emotional abuse, and family alienation is “devoted” escapes me, but yes, she has been proven “capable” of acting with criminal intent.
On July 21, a website in support of Watter, www.friendsofcassiewatter.net , was created, with various testimonials as to what a wonderful and caring person and mother she is. The group responsible for the site is FIN, the Family Inclusion Network Queensland (Townsville) Inc. FIN largely comprises JCU academics and social work students, and one of its aims is to promote family inclusion in the legal and administrative process of child protection. How exactly they equate support for an abuser and alienator of children with that stated aim remains a mystery.
Again, the obvious omission from their page is any suggestion of a plea for Watter to desist in her illegal behaviour. Ros Thorpe, the site contact person, responded to an email enquiry regarding this as follows:
We support Cassie Watter as a good, sane person, as a loving, committed and protective mother, and as a caring friend. Nothing on the friendsofcassiewatter.net webpage should be interpreted as support for Cassie’s disappearance with her daughters as, no matter how much we may empathise with her motivations, this is an illegal act.
The obvious disconnect is between the glowing descriptions of this criminal abuser and the reality of her documented actions. One wonders exactly how these people can “empathise with her motivations” or even know what her motivations are? What motivation justifies criminal abduction, abuse, and alienation of children? Clearly nothing does, and if indeed these are the actions of a “good and sane person,” then all the more censure should be placed on Watter.
Whilst her supporters make it all about the mother, the father’s supporters continue to speak on behalf of the children, highlighting the harm Watter’s behaviour is causing them, harm the family court predicted and attempted to prevent.
Reports in mid-June led the police to conclude that Watter may be hiding out in the northern suburbs of Brisbane, but despite this, she and the twins are yet to be located. There appears to be significant inertia in attempts to do so, which would not exist if the gender of the abductor were reversed.
Meanwhile, the distraught father, extended family, and friends must face each new day wondering if and when the girls will be located and returned whilst the continuing ordeal wreaks its emotional toll on the twins’ well-being.
Please visit and like the “Help find Isabella and Bronte” Watter Facebook page and share with all your contacts. If you reside in Brisbane or surrounds, consider printing out and putting up posters available on the page in high-traffic locations. This crime needs to be made more visible to the public in the hope that someone will identify the twins or their fugitive mother, bring the girls home, and allow justice to be served.
It remains to been seen what consequences face Cassie Watter when she is found. Whilst a substantive custodial sentence would be appropriate, one can predict a slap on the wrist is more likely, and this will be based more on her sex than the seriousness of her crimes.