Britney Spears was quite clear in her declaration that she wanted to dissolve her father’s conservatorship over her when a judge allowed her the opportunity to select her own legal counsel.
The 39-year-old pop star told reporters that she was “here to get rid of my dad and charge him with conservatorship abuse” after telling Judge Brenda Penny that she is “very afraid” of Jamie Spears. A probe into her father’s alleged abuse and control of her after he was appointed as her conservator in 2008 was also demanded by the woman.
Similar to this, Spears’ new lawyer Mathew Rosengart stated in court on Wednesday that he hoped Spears’ father will demonstrate his love for her by resigning. In any case, Rosengart raised grave reservations about whether Spears ever needed to be placed under conservatorship.
According to the experts interviewed by Salon, there are currently too many people under conservatorships, but the victims are voiceless. Concerns regarding the choice to place Spears under conservatorship in the first place were expressed by many.
Haley Moss, an advocate for autism and the first openly autistic female attorney in Florida history, told Salon, “I think that Britney certainly did the right thing in getting mental health therapy; it’s just that I don’t think that applying for a conservatorship was the proper option.” “In my opinion, her father’s behavior was really predatory.”
Despite the fact that some of the individuals who backed that choice likely had good intentions, Moss continued, “Most people are unaware of the fact that conservatorships and guardianships are very long-term arrangements. Since Britney Spears has been in one for 13 years, it is clear that they are incredibly challenging to escape from.”
Just consider how challenging it must be for the typical disabled person, she continued.
One of the issues in the Spears case, as well as for disabled people more generally (it is unclear whether Spears herself is disabled due to mental health issues), according to Shira Wakschlag, senior director of legal advocacy and general counsel at The Arc, an organization that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, was that they are simply not taken seriously.
This is clear from the fact that Spears must go to such efforts to persuade others to accept even the most basic constitutional rights she is only defending, such as the ability to select her own legal representation and make decisions regarding her own body.
Wakschlag stated that “people with disabilities must be presumed competent” as one of the guiding principles of The Arc’s work and the disability advocacy community in general.
“Naturally, you would assume someone is competent when determining whether they can make judgments on their own, make decisions with aid, or perform other tasks with support. However, because it’s not always assumed, whether, by the general public, the judiciary, or in other contexts, it’s crucial to enunciate this concept and let it direct our advocacy.”
A system that is biased against medical experts, according to Anna Krieger, senior attorney at the Center for Public Representation, exacerbates this mistrust of those with mental illnesses.
“The balances are skewed towards trusting doctors, towards trusting specialists, and away from the statements of people who have the lived experience of either having a mental health handicap or being diagnosed as having a mental health disability,” Krieger noted. They are the individuals who are the authorities in their own life.
Krieger remembered instances where her clients attempted to be released from hospital-based involuntary confinement. Her customers would frequently give lengthy explanations of how they could take care of themselves but would still receive no attention because they would show signs of mental illness.
The fact that the client told the judge, “I can take care of myself,” was what counted legally, Krieger said, but “they were having symptoms, something like a hallucination or some other symptom of their mental condition, and that was given more importance.” Therefore, I firmly believe that our society as a whole needs to address the deference that people have for doctors.
For those with disabilities who require assistance, Wakschlag noted that guardianships and conservatorships are not the only options available. The Center for Public Representation and other disability rights organizations, including The Arc, recently issued a statement supporting supported decision-making as one of such options.
Anyone who is experiencing a restriction on their rights can use that, according to Wakschlag, as it has become a more widely accepted less restrictive alternative to guardianship.
Additionally, it can be used in guardianships or conservatorships to make sure that the person’s rights are being restricted in the least restrictive way possible. People who require help managing certain parts of their own lives are given the opportunity to select trusted allies who can offer guidance as they make crucial life decisions.
As opposed to abusive conservatorships, which deny disabled people their autonomy, this guarantees that they can still make their own decisions.
Many people may lose their civil rights as a result of conservatorship and guardianship, according to Moss, who listed everything from the ability to vote and select where you live to getting a driver’s license.
It’s crucial to understand that guardians and conservators may not always behave in the conservatee’s or ward’s best interest when we’re talking about abuse, at least for those with psychiatric problems. That is made worse in Spears’ situation by the fact that she is wealthy and has numerous possessions.
Additionally, Moss noted that there isn’t much judicial oversight. “Most conservatorship and guardianship hearings are private and confidential. That we have this much access to what’s happening in Britney’s case is therefore really rare.”
The extent to which conservatorships and guardianships are misused is also poorly known to the general population. There are simply not enough statistics available.
We actually lack solid statistics on it, which is one of the structural difficulties with this more general issue, Wakschlag noted. “Obtaining additional data to have a greater grasp of the number of conservatorships and guardianships in existence, in my opinion, is one of the keys. making certain that monitoring systems, rights evaluations, and due process safeguards are all in place.
There are certain rights protections in existence under most state laws or pretty much all state laws, but it’s not always clear whether those rights are actually being upheld.” Similarly, nations must ensure that the facilities they have set up to assist disabled persons are accessible to them.
Is there a real possibility that persons with impairments could use and access it? Wakschlag questioned. It can be difficult to obtain a clear image due to a lack of data.
However, the Spears case goes beyond a simple illustration of how to not believe someone who has a history of mental illness. Spears is a woman, and regrettably, she too encounters discrimination due to sexism.
britney spears is by all means an imperfect individual, but if every time she posts something weird or objectionable on instagram you react with “maybe she does need to be re-enslaved,” i need you to reflect on how you think about mental illness
— matt (@mattxiv) September 13, 2022
When speaking about the public “meltdown” in 2008 that led to Spears being placed in a conservatorship, Salon’s Amanda Marcotte said, “There is this perception that women are ‘crazy,’ and I’m not capable of handling stress or adult responsibility to the same extent that men do.” “It was assumed that this idea was supported by her laughing.
But in all honesty, I doubt that anyone could have maintained composure in such a situation. In addition, males frequently experience mental breakdowns in the entertainment industry, but this is rarely used against them in a way that would permanently impair their ability to function as adults and make responsible decisions for the rest of their life.”
Moss endorsed Marcotte’s analysis.
According to Moss, “when Britney was younger, we anticipated her to be very mature, very grown up, and very far ahead of her time.” “We’re still treating her like a young child despite the fact that she is an adult and under a conservatorship. Even though she was a little child, we nevertheless treated her like a woman.
That, in my opinion, is simply absolutely perplexing and demonstrates so much about how we also treat women. We anticipate older, more mature behavior from women. Once they are older and more mature, we may treat them less favorably as well.”
Early Signs of Disease
Bipolar disorder “often begins in young adulthood from age 18 to early twenties,” according to Dr. Kirschner. The person seems to be fairly normal up to that point, but it’s like a ticking time bomb.”
“It’s very difficult for someone who has this kind of problem to be a decent parent,” she continues. The individual must receive treatment and make a full recovery. But for them to turn around and recover, they typically have to reach rock bottom.
There may not be much of a connection between the consequences of their behavior and their hysterical laughter as they are being brought away in the ambulance.
The terrible part is that Britney loves her children and would never purposefully put them in danger, according to a close family member. It is incredibly unfortunate that her mental instability prevents her from exercising sound judgment.