October 3, 2015, Saint Paul, Minn: When Shatavia Jackson attempted to drop her children off to spend the day with their father (name withheld), he refused to care for them. Shatavia insisted that the father take the children, and left the children at the house, as she began to pull away in her SUV her ex jumped onto the roof of the vehicle.

Now riding on top of the SUV, the ex was reportedly heard screaming and pounding on the driver’s side window. Shatavia kept on driving, travelling 9 miles through the city before driving onto a highway, reaching speeds up to 70 mph, with her ex still clinging to the SUV. When Shatavia exited the highway, a physical altercation ensued. The father narrowly escaped being maced, and despite the ordeal, was unharmed. It has not been reported if Shatavia sustained any injuries.

Multiple witnesses called 911. Police arrived on the scene and arrested Shatavia. She has been charged with felony domestic assault, driving after suspension and operating a vehicle with expired registration.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions about this incident, but what really resonated with me were the common issues that many people involved in divorce or custody disputes face. I am going to address those issues in a few insights on what can be learned from this near tragedy. If you have anything else to add, please leave your comments.

What we can learn from this incident:

1) It is not worth it – ever – to go to jail over some drama with your ex partner, or to risk your own happiness and chances in life for an ex. X your ex! When a relationship ends, look at it as a fresh start for you. If you have children with that person, and are co-parenting, you will have some communication, and dealings, with your ex. Be sure to maintain healthy boundaries, and to release ties to the past (and to that person) that are holding you back. It is possible to heal, and mature – you do not have to repeat past mistakes, or relive the drama.

2) If your ex partner says that they do not want the children in their life, they do not want to care for the children or refuse to take the children during their parenting time, do not attempt to force a relationship or force parenting time. If someone is that adverse to caring for, and spending time with, their own children it is a sign that something is seriously wrong. It is not safe to leave your children in the care of someone who shows so little concern for their well being. Document the incidents, and if needed, seek professional and/or legal advice.

3) Do not put your children in the middle of adult drama, fights or conflicts. Similarly, do not expose children to adult conversations, or tell children about personal business (for example gossiping to a child about the other parent, telling the children details of your divorce or custody dispute, making a child feel responsible for adult issues like paying bills, etc). Exposure to domestic violence and other adult conflicts is traumatic to children, and can cause psychological, behavioral and emotional damage.

4) Reach out for help. If you are struggling with a family issue, or struggling with a parenting issue, reach out for help or support. Call United Way 211 for resources. Churches are also a great place for resources and support. Ask a friend or family member for advice. Seek help from a community organization. Do not be embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help, not all battles can be fought alone. A football game is not won by just one player on the team, sometimes a team effort is needed. So be open to accepting help.

My heart and prayers go out to the children involved. That Shatavia Jackson was willing to leave her children with a person who clearly expressed that he did not want to take care of them is appalling. How do you drive away from your children with no thought to their safety? And that the father would so openly reject his children, and communicate to the children that they are not wanted, is also appalling. I hope that the children are now in an environment now that is safe, and with people who will show them appropriate love and care. I hope these children get to enjoy their childhood – and will not have to worry or be exposed to adult problems. And I hope these children are given positive messages and love – that they know how special they are, and that someone really looks out for their best interest.


Read More:

Man jumps on SUV’s roof, driver takes off.. by Chao Xiong, “Star Tribune”

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