Friday, July 15, 2011

Does Family Breakdown contribute to Male Suicide?

Recently (July 2011) we had the very sad suicide of a "Dead-Broke" Dad  - Byron James Chayeski - who was overwhelmed by his mis-treatment under Family Law.  He was unable to cope and it took him down.

Then on May 9th there was another mysterious "disappearance" that turned out to be another suicide by a solider - Corporal Richard Curnow - who had only recently returned from courageous service in Afganistan - but who was also unable to deal with his wife's decision to divorce.   This was close to home as it occured on my regular weekly running route.

Here was how I reported it to a friend:
A couple of weeks ago a 27yr old solider (Master Corporal Curnow) -- recently returned from 2nd tour in Afganistan - and took his own life in an unusual manner. I mention it because it was - at least initially - reported as a missing person by his wife. 
Unlike the newspaper article - a TV news report also let slip that "they" had decided to divorce, were living separately and (presumably at her initiation) were discussing possible divorce. It was reported that Cpl. Curnow had spend the night prior to the fatal training run (here he disappeared) with a visit of his 3yr old daughter - and then returned her to his now-separated spouse that evening/morning.
Early the next morning he disappeared while on training run with his platoon on a route I do 2-3x week - so I am well familiar with it. The route follows the South Saskatchewan River which is a river park system thru the center of our city (Edmonton AB = 1 million pop). It is a large river fed from the mountains in the west and is always pretty cold (refreshing in July/August - but you need a wetsuit for anything over 3mins) but at this spring time of the year it is high, cold and swift. MCpl. Curnow was training for a local annual endurance race with a 30kg pack and he disappeared on a long bend that follows right along the river in a wooded area.
I believe he may have just entered the water and swam out until he was taken and swept under by the current.  Hypothermia, drowning or both - and few would have seen him at that time 7:30am and along that stretch of the river. I speculate, but it may be possible he could not bear the pain/sense of failure associated with his wife leaving him. Spending time with his daughter the evening prior must have driven home to him that he was going to have to face this reality - and that perhaps, perhaps - he might lose that contact. 
Men of iron are brittle.
The common point I wish to raise is that men are much more heavily "blind-sided" by marriage breakdown - and normally they are on the receiving end "These boots are made for Walking: Why most divorce filers are women"  Douglas ALLEN SFU (with Margaret BRINIG) American Law and Economics Review Vol. 2(1) Spring 2000, pp. 126--169.)

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