My child often says, “I’m afraid Dad will hit me.” When my child plays “house” using dolls, the male is yelling at and hitting the female. My child’s play gets so intense that there have been times I have been hit with a doll that is hurled across the room or called “bitch ass” and “stupid”. The guardian ad litem has negated my concerns with the statement of “you’re living in the past”—meaning just because someone has a history of violence doesn’t mean there is any chance past behavior will be repeated.

Living in the past” means the guardian ad litem refuses to consider that my ex is the third generation of his family, to be involved in addiction, criminal acts and domestic violence. When I attempted to inform family court of the abuse I have endured including being slammed to the floor, threatened, and hit with objects, I was told that I need counseling because I am “upset” and my fear may cause my child to have a bad relationship with the father. The abuser has not been recommended to any counseling and effectively has been able to avoid any real responsibility for his actions. In the end, the children will suffer.

The system fails to protect families and children from violence and instead gives the perpetrator an excuse, and means, to further harm and intimidate the already vulnerable.

The reason for this—“you’re living in the past”. Protecting children from dangerous family situations must go beyond throwing the perpetrator in jail but also must include a justice and family court system that is trained and responsive to effectively handle situations of family violence, and be willing to put personal agendas aside in order to protect the children.

EJ, ⓒ 2008.