Child Abuse


(Jan 22, 2015, North Dakota) In a rare and extraordinary move, the North Dakota Supreme Court removed district court judge, Cynthia Feland, from a child custody case after it was determined her custody order was not in the best interest of the child, and that she ignored significant evidence of domestic violence.

In their Jan. 22, decision, the justices, ordered that Judge Cynthia Feland be removed from the custody and child support case of Nicholas Law and Danielle Whittet. The unanimous opinion signed by Justice Daniel Crothers read, in part, “A change of judge is ordered upon remand because of Judge Feland’s inability or unwillingness to follow our mandate, and out of concern for the tumult from and cost of litigation.”

Nicholas Law and Danielle Whittet began dating in 2010, they were never married. Ms. Whittet also has two older children from a previous relationship. In 2011 Ms. Whittet gave birth to their child. Mr. Law was proven to be the father through a DNA test.

In July 2012, Mr. Law filed a motion for custody and requested primary custody of the child. Mr. Law requested primary custody citing the Best Interest standards favored him, and a number of factors endangered the child if put in the care of Ms. Whittet.

Following a trial, Judge Feland granted joint custody to the couple and “ordered the parties equal residential responsibility for the child, each having the child on alternating weeks with exchanges taking place on Sunday”. (I will go into the evidence and arguments cited at trial, further in this article).

After the trial, in Nov 2012, Ms. Whittet plead guilty to disorderly conduct, assault and escape. The assault charge was later dismissed. The incident happened in September 2012. At 3 am, officers were dispatched to Ms. Whittet’s home because she was “very intoxicated” and was outside yelling and screaming at her boyfriend. When Ms. Whittet refused to stop screaming, the officers gave her the choice of going into detox or staying with a friend or family member. Ms. Whittet chose to go to her mother’s home for the night, where her 3 children were staying. At 4:30 am, officers were dispatched to the mother’s home. Ms. Whittet was screaming, throwing objects around the house, and had woken the children, who were witnessed to be crying. The screaming was so loud that a neighbor came to the home to investigate. The mother suffered an injury to her arm after Ms. Whittet pushed her against a bed. The mother requested that the officers take Ms. Whittet, and she was arrested.

Mr. Law then filed a motion based on the new evidence of the Sept. 2012 incident and conviction, requesting primary custody. Judge Feland denied Mr. Law’s motion and instead entered a permanent joint custody judgment.

Mr. Law appealed Judge Feland’s custody order to the Supreme Court, and won (Law v. Whittet, 2014 ND 69, 844 N.W.2d 885, filed 4/7/2014). The Supreme Court found that Judge Feland, “simply ignored the significant evidence that was favorable to Law and detrimental to Whittet” and “The district court in this case, without explanation, failed to acknowledge or address evidence which clearly indicated several of the best interest factors favored Law.”

The Supreme Court made its decision based on factors NOT considered in Judge Feland’s custody order, that were entered into evidence. Evidence included the following: Ms. Whittet lived in 10 different residences in the past 4 years, and was living with various men, at different times, who provided financial support. One of these men had physically abused Ms. Whittet’s older child. Ms. Whittet did not have stable employment.Ms. Whittet comes from a dysfunctional family background, and was found to have gotten into physical fights with her mother on several occasions; many of these fights happened in front of the children. In contrast, Mr. Law was found to have a stable job, owns his own home, and is soon to be married. Mr. Law was also has a supportive family and his parents share a close relationship with the child.

The Supreme Court struggled to understand how Judge Feland found these parents to provide an equal quality of care to the child, and struggled to understand how Judge Feland dismissed the Best Interest factors, “We are at a loss to understand or explain the court’s finding. On the basis of this record, Law has demonstrated a markedly stable home life and an extended family which has had a demonstrably positive impact on the child. Whittet’s home environment, however, demonstrates remarkable instability, averaging a move every few months, and has subjected the child to constant change and inconsistency. In addition, Whittet’s home environment subjected the child to a live-in boyfriend who physically assaulted one of Whittet’s other children, and her extended family life subjected the child to a physical altercation between Whittet and her mother requiring intervention by law enforcement and Whittet’s arrest. On the basis of the entire record, we conclude the district court’s finding that factor (d) was equal was clearly erroneous, and factor (d) favored Law.”

The Supreme Court was also troubled that Judge Feland ignored domestic violence happening in Ms. Whittet’s family, meaning the ongoing fights with her mother that the children were a witness to. (The record does not show, but evidence suggests, the children may have witnessed fights between the mother and her various live-in boyfriends).

Judge Feland found that neither party engaged in domestic violence and ignored Ms. Whittet’s troubled history with her mother. The Supreme Court argued that domestic violence statutes (N.D.C.C. § 14-09-06.2) require the Court to consider violence on a family or household member and that “the legislature intended the factor to apply whenever violence is directed at any member of the household or family, and domestic violence is not confined to instances in which the child or one of the parties is the direct victim of the violence.” Further, “A trial court cannot simply ignore evidence of family abuse, but must make specific findings on evidence of domestic violence in making its decision on primary residential responsibility.” Which means that even if the statute did not apply, Judge Feland should have considered the violent altercations between Ms. Whittet and her mother when making a custody determination. Also supporting this argument, is that the children were being cared for by their maternal grandmother at different times, and Ms. Feland’s acts of violence directly impacted the well-being of the children. Clearly, the children were put in the middle of these disputes, and had suffered emotional distress–and were at risk for real physical harm. (Just my thoughts–if the mother has this chaotic of a lifestyle, she should be required to sober up, and demonstrate stability before having any extended visitation with the child. This is clearly a case where supervise visitation is warranted).

The Supreme Court found that Judge Feland’s ruling was “clearly erroneous” and remanded with instructions that Ms. Law be “given primary residential responsibility of the minor child and to consider limited parenting time for Whittet”. The safety of the child was a major factor in the ruling, the Supreme Court writes, “In determining a parenting time schedule for Whittet, the court must bear in mind the presumption that any domestic violence, even if not directed at the child, negatively affects the best interests of the child. Accordingly, the court should consider limited parenting time for Whittet.”

Instead, Judge Feland drafted an order that required Mr. Law to pay child support, and gave Ms. Whittet parenting time with the child every other week. “Primary custody” means one parent has custody of the child more than 50% of the time. Further, Judge Feland issued an award of child support, with Mr. Law paying the majority of support, which did not support the fact that he has been awarded primary custody. The Supreme Court found that, “The child support was not calculated in proper consideration of the primary residential responsibility award to Law. The district court did not carry out the terms of this Court’s mandate.” In essence, Judge Feland’s custody order did not truly reflect primary custody, and continued to put the child at risk.

Mr. Law then went back to the Supreme Court, seeking relief because Judge Feland had not followed the ruling (Law v. Whittet, No. 20140268, filed 1/22/2015). The Supreme Court sided with Mr. Law, and ordered the removal of Judge Feland from the case, “A district court amended judgment will be reversed and remanded for failure to follow the mandate of the Supreme Court. A change of judge may be ordered on remand when a judge is unable or unwilling to follow the mandate of the Supreme Court.”

Ms. Whittet has two older children, it has not been made public if those children remain in her care.

About Judge Feland: Cynthia Feland is a judge for the North Dakota South Central Judicial District seat 5. Her current term will end on January 1, 2017. Prior to her election to the court in 2010, Judge Feland was an assistant state’s attorney for Burleigh County for 11 years. She was the Grant County State’s Attorney from 1992-1998, also worked in private legal practice in Mandan.

Prior Misconduct: November 2011- The disciplinary board of the Supreme Court investigated Judge. Feland and determined misconduct for an incident that happened when she was as an assistant state’s attorney. Judge Feland did not reveal a document during the prosecution of the director of the North Dakota’s Workforce Safety and Insurance agency, Sandy Blunt, who was accused of misspending funds. Blunt was convicted of a felony which was upheld by the North Dakota Supreme Court. Blunt says that Judge Feland withholding the document contributed to his conviction.

The North Dakota Supreme Court ordered that Judge Feland be admonished and that pay half of the expenses of the disciplinary investigation (about $5.600). Judge Feland denies any wrongdoing.

Sources: Law v. Whittet, North Dakota Supreme Court Opinions, No. 20140268, 1/22/2015 : http://www.ndcourts.gov/court/opinions/20140268.htm

Law v. Whittet, North Dakota Supreme Court Opinions, No. 20130241, 4/7/2014 : http://www.ndcourts.gov/court/opinions/20130241.htm

Judgepedia: Cynthia Feland: http://judgepedia.org/Cynthia_Feland

“N.D. Supreme Court removes judge from custody case” by Andrew Sheeler, 2/3/2015, The Bismark Tribune: http://bismarcktribune.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/n-d-supreme-court-removes-judge-from-custody-case/article_1e441522-d7d4-503c-a399-fa1adf646c54.html

Some thoughts on how the loss of my children due to an unjust family court order has motivated me to fight for family court reform. This post give you a glimpse into my family, and what the loss of my children means for us.

I dropped my youngest child (not involved in this custody dispute) off at preschool, he gave me the biggest hug and said “Love you Mommy… see ‘ya!” then ran off into the classroom. I remember the tight squeeze of my son’s arms wrapped around his neck. The softness of his hair under my chin. How he smells like bubblegum toothpaste and the crisp, wintery air that dusted snowflakes on his coat. I remember the sound of my child’s sneakers slapping across the linoleum floor when he ran into the classroom. And when the day is done, I will pick my child up from school, we will share our life together, as family.

I treasure each moment with my youngest child because I know the deep pain of being forced to live without your children.

My two oldest children have been unjustly taken from me and sole custody was given to an alleged abuser, with over a dozen child abuse allegations against him. As a result of the abuse, both children have suffered from anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, problems socializing, problems communicating and more. My daughter has been diagnosed with “adjustment disorder” for almost her entire life…I think it is a sign that she has never truly “adjusted” being forced to live an abuser. My son has clear memories of abuse, and when he was younger he would bang his head on the wall or hit himself in the head because physical pain was the only way to drown out the memories. My son now lives a “double life”. He has learned to project an image to the outside world, what he wants people to see…and hides who he really is. My son says that he on purpose blocks things out as a way to cope.

The abuser is using sole custody to totally exclude me from the life of my children. I do not get basic updates about their care or schooling. I wake up each morning with a tremendous emptiness. I do not get the chatter at the table as we eat breakfast. I do not get the hugs. I do not know what my children do during the day, or if they remember to say their bedtime prayers at night. I do not get to see my little girl grow up, and cringe at the thought of an abuser, who has shown no respect for women, is now guiding my little girl as she grows into a teen…all those important questions and conversations a mother and daughter share, will never happen for us. My oldest son spends all of his time on the internet; he has a new family in video games and Skype.

There is not a day that goes by that I do not feel the incredible grief for my children… the place where my children once nestled in my womb, safe beneath my heart, is empty.

The future for my family is a frame with no photograph.

It was my dream to be a stay at home mom. I wanted to be on the PTA, and attend play groups. I wanted to take my daughter to dance class, and play dress up with her. I wanted to encourage my son to develop his interest in science, and do crazy experiments together… Now I am the Mom involved in never-ending court proceedings. The Mom studying legal blogs, court rulings and rules of procedure—to fight a legal battle just so I can have a place in my children’s lives. I escaped the abuse to give my kids a better life, and now the Court is telling me their life is better with the abuser. Horrific.

I am the Mom who attends meetings, speaks out and takes every opportunity to advocate for my kids…and others like them… families negatively impacted by the failures and injustice within the family court system.

I will never stop fighting to keep my kids safe and to bring them home.

— EJ Perth

(Stearns County, MN, 2014) Shocking family court order: Supported by testimony from GAL, Family Court awards joint custody and primary residence of a child to a convicted child molester. GAL cites concerns that the mother is “protective” and orders orders her to have a “psychological evaluation” because the child has been tardy to school on several occasions….

As reported on the blog “Family In Law” by Michael Boulette on Jan 31, 2014 (I edited the names for privacy reasons)http://family-in-law.com/case-law-round-12713-understanding-endangerment/:

“One unpublished case out of the Court of Appeals this week.

In re the Marriage of H vs. H, A12-2127, (January 27, 2014) leaves the impression that Appellant (Mother) took for granted that the court would never award custody to Respondent (Father) because of his criminal history. (Father was a registered sex-offender for an offense he committed as a 13 year old.) It appears she was wrong.

After awarding Mother sole legal and physical custody in the parties’ 2009 divorce, the Court later granted Father temporary sole custody of their child in 2011. The district court restored custody to Mother a few months later, only to permanently modify custody in 2012 by granting the parties joint legal and joint physical custody and establishing Father’s home as the primary residence.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about H is the basis upon which the Court found “endangerment” sufficient to modify custody under Minn. Stat. 518.18: missing school.In affirming the district court’s custody modification, the Court of Appeals found support in the case law for the concept of endangerment-as-educational-neglect.

Apparently, the child’s difficulties in school, coupled with Mother’s interference with Father’s parenting time were enough to tip the scales towards endangerment and sustain the district court’s ruling.” http://family-in-law.com/case-law-round-12713-understanding-endangerment/

Background: Mr. H and Ms. B married in June 2006 in Stearns County, Minnesota. A daughter was born in the fall of that same year. A separation occurred in 2007 with formal divorce proceedings initiated in 2009. After the divorce, the mother, Ms. B was granted sole physical and sole legal custody of the child. Mr. H was ordered into supervised visits. Mr. H did not exercise parenting time during the time he was jailed for failing to register as a sex offender — this would have been the second offense for the same reason.

The Father, Mr. H, has a lengthy criminal record dating from 2003- with the most recent case being in 2012. Charges range from passing bad checks, theft to various traffic offenses. And two separate charges of intentionally providing false information under the Minnesota predatory offender registration rules (failing to register as a sex offender). There are conflicting reports about the age of the victim involved in the sexual offense. Mr. H was 13 at the time, the GAL reported the victim as age 11 while the police report states that an officer learned from the BCA the age of the victim as age 4. What is know is that Mr. H was found guilty, and was convicted of molesting a child.

In 2010, Mr. H petitioned the Court for more parenting time and an un-named GAL was appointed. The GAL criticized the mother Ms. B for being “protective and somewhat possessive” and felt it was in the best interest of the child to further parenting time, unsupervised, with Mr. H. Ms. B alleged that sexual abuse had occurred and on two occasions, failed to bring her daughter to visits. Ms. B also claimed that Mr. H brought her daughter to bars. A police investigation was conducted and found no evidence of sexual abuse.

As parenting time advanced, Ms. B continued to express concerns and in May 2011, denied Mr. H parenting time on other occasions. In June 2011, the Court gave Mr. H temporary sole physical and sole legal custody because Ms. B would not bring her child to visits.Keep in mind, at that time – Mr. H is still on probation and is a registered a sex offender. The Court felt it was in the best interest of the child to be reunited with her father, a convicted sex offender with a lengthy criminal record — and that the mother posed more of harm to the child by refusing to take her child to now unsupervised visits.

Reading the history of this case from the Appellate findings, it appears the Court moved rather quickly to push reunification with the father. Also, upon being released from jail, the father begins a new relationship with a woman who has a minor child living with them for part of the week. Which should be concerning — the guy just got out of jail for an offense related to child molestation, he is supposed to be establishing a better relationship with his own child and now is moving in a woman with her own young child. How much time and energy is Mr. H really putting into improving his own life? And how much can he provide his child when he is moving another family into his home–and his own relationship with his own daughter has not been established. And given his history, does Mr. H really need a minor child in his care? Not to mention the guy was in supervised visits for a reason and is now moving a woman and a new child into his home.. The Appellate findings do not answer these questions but they would have to be addressed by the GAL at some time, and clearly she was not concerned with any aspect of Mr. H’s parenting or home environment.

Around this time, the mother Ms. B suffered a mild concussion and while recovering, claimed she had trouble getting her child to school. Ms. B also said that some of the absences were excused because the child had medical issues and required frequent doctor visits. The record shows at least 3.5 absences and one tardy per semester. Ms. B. subsequently signed an Attendance Contract with the school. The school did not take any other formal action against Ms. B and did not notify social services.

The father Mr. H also suffered a back injury at some point, and missed at least one visit with his child because of it. Yet it appears the GAL dismissed his ability to parent based on a physical injury and instead focused on Ms. B’s physical injury as an indicator that she was not able to provide for her daughter.

It appears that the GAL pushed for Ms. B to get a psych eval, which the Court did order. The record offered does not show if Mr. H. was also ordered to undergo a psych eval. Ms. B psych eval showed that she has adjustment disorder with anxiety and depression, concerns with economics and concerns with the safety of her daughter and occupational problems.

When the child continued to be absent or tardy from school, the GAL cited “educational neglect” to recommend physical custody to Mr. H. It is unclear if other interventions or measures had been tried before removal was recommended by the GAL. Mr. H was living in a home with a girlfriend and her daughter. The GAL cited evidence that the daughter of the girlfriend was rarely late for school so the home would provide a better environment for the child. Which is somewhat strange because Mr. H never married the girlfriend, and is not the biological father of her child, so he is not considered a legal guardian. Further, the nature of their relationship as dating only, not marriage, does not indicate stability…the relationship could change at any time, and should not be used as a basis to determine custody. The Court then granted joint custody to both parties with primary physical going to Mr. H.

The appeal filed for this case was problematic in that the transcript from district court was not submitted, thus limiting the ability of the judges to make a decision on the Court’s conclusion of law. Also, Ms. B’s claims about contradictory statements made by the GAL could not be verified without an actual court transcript. Ms. B also did not submit the findings of her psych eval to the appellate court. When reading the findings, it seems clear the Appellate Court largely interpreted the psych eval based on what was in the GAL report. So presenting the psych eval would have been crucial. Also important, would be an updated medical report to note any change in condition or improvements. The Appeals Court upheld the findings of the district court.

Mr. H was discharged from probation in March 2014.

I am having trouble finding the best interest of the child in this ruling – The mother, Ms. B divorces her husband, specifically stating safety concerns for her child. At the time, Mr. H is put in jail and removed from society because he is a danger. Mr. H gets out of jail to be awarded increased unsupervised parenting time — while he is still on parole, and still be monitored because of concerns with his ability to be safe with children! And then the Court awards Mr. H joint custody and primary residence even while he is dating another woman, and moved a child into the home. That means the Court is awarding the non-relative woman who is staying in a relationship with the convicted child molester while punishing the blood relative mother who chose to divorce, and clearly expressed concerns for her child’s safety and left the relationship for safety rasons. Now we have two children in the home with a convicted child molester. And somehow missing a few days of school is supposed to be a bigger concern?!? The child molester father is given more resources and support to help gain custody of his daughter than help given to the protective mother, who has raised the child continuously since birth. And now the Court wants to introduce a live-in girlfriend and her daughter into this young child’s life? And this is really supposed to be in the best interest of the child? This ruling is problematic on so many levels — and yet it is so similar to so many stories many of us have experienced due to systematic failures in family court, and failures of the GAL program.

— EJ Perth

A heartbreaking yet courageous story of a mother fighting to protect her children…and the family court system that failed this family.

This story is reblogged from: http://amississippimom.wordpress.com/

The Guardian ad Litem recommended sole custody to an allegedly abusive, criminal and drug abusing father who was later to found so unfit and abusive towards the children that they were later removed from his home. This mother was then prevented from being reunited from her children because she was now being sanctioned by the court for failing to pay exorbitant GAL fees!
“Even though my children are fully cognizant, aware, of their own memories, of me, their mother, of my behavior, of my affection, my deep, abiding, maternal love for them, and of our lives together, I have yet to offer any reasonable explanation why their father, an indisputable criminal, abuser, drug-user, was able to obtain, and keep, custody of them for so long, and, how this was done with the complicity of those court appointed to see to the children’s safety and well-being … how all these things were done for so long, how I was given very limited, stringent visitation, as their mother, and for so long. Is it acceptable to try to explain to children? How does one do so in any rational way?”

amississippimom

Starting Over When You Can’t Go Back?  – To All Protective Parents:  Rebuilding when you can’t go home again:
To all of my friends:  I have slowly begun to rebuild my work and my career, my freelance paralegal research.  I had been self-employed in the same field for over 20 years when my life came to a screeching halt in 2010 when my young children (ages 9 and 12) were kidnapped by their father and taken over 200 miles away … this was parental kidnapping, against custody, against the law.  So many others are familiar with this horror but this type of kidnapping garners little sympathy and certainly less action.  This atrocity, and the long-haul of horror it places a protective parent in is in no way different than having your children kidnapped by a stranger.  Although with parental abductions there may some knowledge, confirmation, and awareness, however vague, that…

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Convicted criminals become foster parents of vulnerable children and safe, stable parents who provide appropriate love and care for their children are losing custody and being denied visitation by the actions and rulings of CPS/DHS and family court.

This has to change! #CPSReform #DHSReform

Boston Herald, Feb 8, 2014: “The state’s embattled child welfare agency admitted there are at least 475 convicted criminals now living in foster homes that care for at-risk kids, according to stunning data for 2013 released to the Herald last night…

The department’s decision to release the report after the close of business on a Friday came after a Herald report this week showing criminals with convictions for more than 100 offenses, including drug trafficking, armed assault and inducing sex from a minor, could be cleared as foster parents.”

Protective Mothers' Alliance International

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The state’s embattled child welfare agency admitted there are at least 475 convicted criminals now living in foster homes that care for at-risk kids, according to stunning data for 2013 released to the Herald last night.

The Department of Children and Families — already under fire from lawmakers — cleared the unnamed cons despite their checkered pasts.

DCF did not share the same data for previous years.

The department’s decision to release the report after the close of business on a Friday came after a Herald report this week showing criminals with convictions for more than 100 offenses, including drug trafficking, armed assault and inducing sex from a minor, could be cleared as foster parents.

The DCF data for 2013 states:

• In total, 557 waivers were granted to people with convictions ranging from misdemeanors to felonies to live in homes with foster children;

• Of those, 475 currently live…

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“You are GUILTY until proven innocent in family law” — Carlos Morales

CPS Whistleblower Exposes CPS’s Corruption, Kidnapping, and Drugging of Children by Carlos Morales: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0OiNdj2aP4

About: Former Child Protective Investigator, Carlos Morales, Exposes CPS’s Corruption, Kidnapping, and Drugging of Children. He explains the incentives that the State gives to destroy families, and what to do if CPS comes after you, your friends, and your community on The Renegade Variety Hour (interviewed by Taryn Harris).

The first podcast discussing this can be found at: http://therenegadevarietyhour.podomatic.com/entry/2013-09-30T15_45_15-07_00

Includes:

*How the CPS system is built to fail, and how its procedures destroy lives. Morales quit working for CPS because he saw the system was destroying lives
*Insight how how CPS “enforces the war on drugs more than enforcing the war on child abuse”. They vast majority of cases we had were not for physical abuse but for supposed neglect or they were cases that were completely made up–completely made up.” And then CPS had to question children about graphic allegations of abuse, which traumatized them
-In cases where actual abuse occurred, putting the children into a foster home, often was not a better alternative. Morales says, (2:52) “In foster you have a way higher chance of being raped, molested, abused and killed than you do in an actual home where you are already being abused.”
*Family law has an incentive to “prove” abuse and remove children from homes, because that is how we get paid (Morales)
*Financial incentives in the foster care system, labeling children with disorders and drugging them for profit (they get money for every disability a child has). Often times, these labels do not account for the natural stress, disruption and reactions child experience when taken from their homes and community, and put into a foster home. Morales says not all foster care homes are bad, he just wants to show the incentives and systematic failures that contribute to corruption, and put children at risk
*The lack of training, education, qualifications and experience in CPS officers
*Tips on what to do if you are investigated by CPS
*Tips on how to handle a CPS interview
*Tips on how to keep notes about your case
*Get informed about your rights!

Warning: This song may be triggering, as it discusses domestic violence from a child’s perspective, and the video contains images of abuse.

“Oh Mother” is a powerful firsthand account of abuse and survival–that has really touched my heart. This is a song for battered women and protective moms from a child who has survived, and grown into an amazing woman. That child is the talented Christina Aguilera, now a mother herself.

The lyrics are haunting….
“She was so sick of believing the lies and trying to hide
Covering the cuts and bruises (cuts and bruises)
So tired of defending her life, she could have died
Fighting for the lives of her children..”

“Oh Mother” is a powerful piano ballad sung by Christina Aguilera (featured on her 5th album, “Back to Basics”, 2006). “Oh Mother” describes Christina’s childhood, growing up in a home where domestic violence was present.

Christina says, “Growing up I did not feel safe. Feeling powerless is the worst feeling in the world… I turned to singing as an outlet. The pain at home is where my love for music came from.” (Thompson, DailyMail)

Christina say that of her violent father made her family’s life “hell” and that he physically and emotionally abused her. The father denies all allegations of abuse.

Christina’s mother fled the home with Christina and her sister, taking them to live with her grandma. Christina’s parents divorced when she was 7 years old.

Christina has expressed that there is too much secrecy about domestic violence; “Oh Mother” has certainly raised awareness about abuse and the effects of violence on children. Christina dedicated this song to her mother. The video ends with a sign lit up that reads,”I Love you, Mom”.

Source: “Christina Aguilera talks about childhood hell at the hands of her violent father” by Paul Thompson, MailOnline. Spet. 23, 2009: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1215346/Christina-Aguilera-talks-childhood-hell-hands-violent-father.html

Wikipedia: “Oh Mother”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oh_Mother

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