“How are you, what terrors are you going through? Hiding it from the Abuser, the One you ran from, and are now imprisoned in his home..”

A YouTube video with absolutely no sound leaves an impression even more powerful than the mighty roar of a lion… “Silent Child” by Family Court Abuse is a narrative/poem about the pain, grief and fear a parent experiences after their child has been placed in the custody of an abuser by an unjust order of the family court.  As a result of the ruling, the parent has been forced out of the life of their child, and can only speak through the stark black and white images of this silent video. 

The video description reads: “This is about Family Court decisions to seperate children and mothers who are victims of domestic abuse/violence, giving custody to an abusive father, how they are broken and silenced by courtroom tactics, and the painful silent space left in the home of the child and heart of the mother (and child). The lack of training in domestic abuse for Judges and Cafcass is a strong influence on decisions to force children into damaging and traumatic situations with an abuser.

What is portrayed in “Silent Child” is REAL and happening to parents in the United States, U.K. and all over the world…. family courts are awarding custody to abusive or unfit parents at alarming rates, and punishing the parent who is trying to protect the child from harm.

Studies have been conducted on the intersection of family court and domestic violence and revealed a consistent pattern in the court’s failure to protect children from harm by granting custody and/or unsupervised visitation with abusive parents:

** The Committee for Justice for Women studied custody awards in Orange County, North Carolina over a five year period between 1983 and 1987. They reported that: “…in all contested custody cases, 84% of the fathers in the study were granted sole or mandated joint custody. In all cases where sole custody was awarded, fathers were awarded custody in 79% of the cases. In 26% of the cases fathers were either proven or alleged to have physically and sexually abused their children.” Are “Good Enough” Parents Losing Custody to Abusive Ex-Partners? (Leadership Council)

** “Only 10% of children alleging incest are adequately protected from their identified perpetrators by family courts through long-term supervised visitation orders or no-contact orders. The remaining 90% of children disclosing abuse receive no protection, with 70% continuing in shared custody and visitation arrangements without any supervision, and 20% being placed in the custody of the parent they accused of the sexual abuse, and losing unsupervised or all contact with the parent who sought to protect them.” FACT SHEET CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE IN CUSTODY DISPUTES (Child Abuse Solutions, Inc.)

** “… A history of violence does not stop batterers from obtaining custody. In fact, a history of abuse seems to increase the likelihood that the batterer will seek custody…In one recent study in Massachusetts, fifteen of the forty fathers (approximately 38 percent) who sought custody received sole or joint custody of the children, despite the fact that each and every one of these men were reportLosed to have abused both the mother and the child/children prior to separation and continued to do so after separation..” “One More Battleground: Domestic Violence, Child Custody, and the Batterers’ Relentless Pursuit of their Victims Through the Courts” by Mary Przekop

** “My own survey of the case law in 2001 identified 38 appellate state court decisions concerning custody and domestic violence. The survey found that 36 of the 38 trial courts had awarded joint or sole custody to alleged and adjudicated batterers. Two-thirds of these decisions were reversed on appeal. –  Joan S. Meier, Esq., Domestic Violence, Child Custody, and Child Protection: RATES AT WHICH ACCUSED AND ADJUDICATED BATTERERS RECEIVE SOLE OR JOINT CUSTODY (Compiled by Joan S. Meier, Esq).

The tragic result of family court failures is that children are being abused and have absolutely no avenue for help or legal protection because the abuser is being protected by the legal system (not the child), and the child has become silenced. As parents and professionals we have a responsibility to protect our children.. and when systems fail, it is our responsibility to fight for justice so these silenced children can finally have a voice. 

 

 

 

The article Fragmented Child: Disorganized Attachment and Dissociation by Robert T. Muller Ph.D describes how abuse can destroy a child’s sense of self, and cause them to seek refuge from a painful reality by dissociating.

The “Fragmented Child” article was very helpful to me to identify many of the symptoms I have seen in my own children; I am sharing a link to this article along with some of my own experiences to raise awareness about the effects of abuse on children. I also feel a purpose in sharing my story to illustrate the devastating impact of family court rulings that place children in the care and custody of an abusive or unfit parent – much of the harm inflicted on my children could have been prevented if the family court had protected them from abuse.

What is Dissociation?

In “Fragmented Child”, Muller describes dissociation and its cause. The “fragmented child” is one who uses dissociation as a defense mechanism to deal with a stressful, traumatic or abusive situation.

Muller says about dissociation,“As a way of coping, dissociation occurs when the brain compartmentalizes traumatic experiences to keep people from feeling too much pain, be it physical, emotional, or both. When dissociation occurs, you experience a detachment from reality, like ‘spacing out.’ Part of you just isn’t ‘there in the moment.’” Children who grow up in an abusive homes often dissociate because they can not handle the trauma, pain and/or dysfunctional environment.

Dissociation happens when there is a trauma or assault, our first instinct is to go into “fight or flight” mode. When there is no escape, the flight is taken into the mind – away from a present danger. Dissociation is a defense mechanism where a person separates from their memory something they do not want to deal with. There is a range of mild dissociation to full blown dissociative identity disorder (separating a part of yourself from memory). Amnesia may occur with dissociation because the mind is shutting out or erasing a painful reality.

Through dissociation, memory of the trauma is held within fragmented parts of the mind. The trauma causes the mind to break or split off into smaller pieces that make it easier to process what has occurred. Over time those fragments may form their own distinct parts or identities. Triggers or memories of trauma release the memories which emerge (this occurs in a variety of ways).

People who experience dissociation commonly report feeling numb, spaced out, may have amnesia, and feel disconnected. A dissociative disorder changes the way a person sees reality and impairs memory, consciousness and a person’s sense of identity.

For more info on Dissociative Disorders please visit: Dissociative disorders (by Mind for Better Mental Health(

Understanding the Dissociative Disorders by Marlene Steinberg, M.D.

Public Domain: http://absfreepic.com

The Devastating Impact – When Courts Order Children into the Custody of Abusers: What I Have Seen in my own Children

My children are victims of abuse who have been further traumatized when the family court gave sole custody to the identified abuser. My children suffer from debilitating psychological, behavioral and social problems as a result of the abuse. My children have had their childhood stolen from them.

It is distressing to realize that your children are coping with a dysfunctional home environment by dissociating, and that your efforts to protect your children are being challenged, and prevented, by the family court system. Filing protective orders or asking for a change of custody based on abuse or endangerment has resulted in reprieve, and punishment from the courts (financial sanctions, loss of visitation and/or custody, ordered into supervised visitation, gag orders, jail are all common forms courts punish protective parents). Seeking therapy and professional help for my family has resulted in me being accused of harming my children, being told I need to “co-parent” better and otherwise being told my concerns of abuse, and the supporting documentation I offer, is not credible. My legal rights have also been violated in the court process. I am told to stay silent, stop raising concerns, be a more “cooperative” parent. No parent should be asked to enable the abuse of their own children.

I have seen the following indicators of dissociation present in my own children:

1) Talking to my children, they are sometimes triggered or can not deal with a difficult emotion, their response is a blank face (emotionless) and silence. The tone of voice may sound monotone. Or their mood may not match the current situation or the prevalent emotions of the day (for example, it’s a birthday party, everyone is happy but the children are silent and withdrawn).

2) The child withdraws into their own world – retreating into distractions, video games or computer time, imagination or an intense interest that draws their attention away from the present and into an inner world. The interest dominates the child’s focus, and they have trouble staying emotionally regulated without it.

3) After a long separation from my child, I am finally able to reconnect or have some contact with the children. I am overjoyed, and emotional. The child appears detached, appears emotionless, eyes are blank, voice is flat and mood is somber or withdrawn. At times a glimmer of my child once was will appear. Maybe I will get an unexpected hug. Or my child will create a card or picture for me, showing love or affection. It is confusing to see the dramatic changes – the conflicting closeness followed by the coldness, some children reject the targeted parent entirely.

4) The child is reminded or triggered by a memory of past trauma or abuse, and they freeze or lock up. They are unable to talk or move – sometimes they blank out. Other times they are aware of what is happening around them but unable to move or interact with their environment. Amnesia often follows these events. Or the child is unable to identify how they are feeling or what they are thinking.

5) When the child is overwhelmed by memories of trauma or abuse, they have violent or intense tantrums. Often there is very little or no memory of the tantrums. They may fall asleep after the tantrum due to exhaustion. There may be physical or emotional signs of dissociation that is associated with the onset of the tantrums – regressive behavior, mood swings, a drastic change in facial expression or appearance (this is an emotional change), banging their head on the wall, etc

Other signs of dissociation in children may include: Memory loss, inability to concentrate or focus, hyperactivity, mood swings, nightmares, a flat or monotone voice, appearing weak or lethargic, anxiety, and changes in personality.

When Family Court Professionals Fail to Recognize the Impact of Abuse on Children

The judges, Guardian ad Litem, evaluator, attorney for my abusive ex and other family court professionals working with my children, etc who do not understand the effects of abuse and trauma on children, commonly assign blame to one parent for causing reported behavioral and emotional problems in a child. Other times the court will deny any problem exists with the children (this happens even when there is ample evidence and documentation) and falsely accuse the targeted parent of having some kind of mental illness that causes a parent to report abuse and seek help for this child. In this way, victims of abuse are not being protected by the family court, and are being re-victimized.

Where there is no safety for children, some have chosen to escape the abuse, pain and ugly world they live in through dissociation.

— EJ, May 2016

http://www.loverofsadness.net

Thinking today…
Mothers who speak out about abuse, who go to therapy or community services to get help, who live in shelters, who become the target for their childrens’ hurt & rage, who lose everything to start a new life, who living in hiding..and then go to family court & bravely tell their stories only to be falsely labelled as a liar, an alienator, crazy, speaking negative, a malicious mom...

 

Yet their story does not change, even as they are battered in court. Even as their children are taken away. Even as they are forced to go to therapy (a form of judicial brainwashing!). Even as they are told they will be given time with their children if they recant. Even as they are thrown in jail. As gag orders are issued. As they fear for their lives.
Their stories do not change. And when the children speak out about abuse, too often their stories match the mother’s–this happens even when they are separated, and have no contact! If anything this shows these Protective Moms are telling the truth..no one would lie to this extent, lose everything, and face such harsh punishment & hold onto a lie.
These Moms are telling the truth. And if the Court will not protect the vulnerable..then any one of us can become it’s next victim.

EJ, © 2013.

Family Court Mafia

Picture of the Year- Family Court Mafia by How Stuff Works, Inc. This just says it all! We need justice NOW!

October 5, 2012: The four sisters, ages 9-15, were ordered by a Family Court to return to Italy, their former home & now battle ground for a heated custody battle.  Justice Colin Forrest ordered the girls returned to Italy immediately, and in a nasty move meant to hurt the Mother, he cited the Hague Convention rules required he expedite the transfer. The girls had been pleading the Hague Convention rules should protect them,  by allowing the sisters legal representation to assert their rights & wishes before the Court.
When the children were forcibly removed from their home by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), their Mother chased the car down the street and was banging on the windows. The Mother was also at the airport, helplessly watching as her daughters were being flown out of her life, crying out to them, “I love you, baby!”
The girls have loudly protested the move, shocking the world with their desperate pleas for help

The elder two were also due to be on that flight but were taken off because of their behaviour.

They were reportedly upsetting other passengers by screaming and kicking before the flight left and four federal police escorts were unable to restrain them.”

 According to the great-grandmother, “‘‘It’s not over, those girls were terrified last night, they were scared out of their wits,’’ she said. ‘‘They were kicking, they were thrown on the ground.”

Footage shows the girls kicking Australian Federal Police officers trying to escort them to a car.  One screamed ‘‘leave me” and another screamed “no, you’re going to hurt me”.

 One of the younger sisters screamed “I want my mum, I want my mum” as officers dragged her by the arms.

The Mother of the 4 girls is considering taking up the fight in Italy but as of now, has no money to fly there–no way to support herself in Italy & fears harassment from local villagers. The family is absolutely devastated.

 Please continue to pray for this family. Leave a comment if we can be of help, write letters, anything… xoxox
Source: “Four sisters’ family consider taking legal fight to Italy” , October 5, 2012. The Age, Staff Reporters.
http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/four-sisters-family-consider-taking-legal-fight-to-italy-20121003-26zsg.html#ixzz28UfeTrgV
UPDATE: The four sisters are now in Italy, the fathers has separated the girls stating that the older sisters are a “bad influence” on the younger girls.
Nine Network News aired footage of the sisters at their father’s home, begging for help, and the father coming outside to drag one back into the villa. The father is refusing to allow the mother any contact with the sisters.
“Australian journalists were at the house today filming and they (the girls) were yelling out ‘help, help’.
“Particularly watching the father dragging his 14-year-old daughter back to the house … is extremely distressing beyond belief for any mother to witness.”
In Australia, the Mother, with the support of her family, vows to continue the fight to bring her girls home. She is filing a complaint against the AFP for their rough treatment of her daughters.
The Mother has received support from Hon. Alex Somlyay, “MP” of the Sunshine Coast (Member of the House of Representatives) who believes the girls were not kidnapped,  but moved for permanent resettlement on the Sunshine Coast.
Further, “Mr Somlyay said the process was “not fair” for the mother.The mother was three times denied Legal Aid and forced to defend herself initially in the court.The father, by invoking Hague anti-abduction rules, had the weight of Commonwealth-paid lawyers.

Errors in the mother’s handling of the case led to a critical declaration of an Italian witness not being presented in proper form for the court. It claimed the father, at the time he signed the children’s passports, was looking for work in Australia and intended to move here with the mother and children.”

“Sisters distressed at separation in Italy”, October 7, 2012. AAP. Sidney Morning Herald. http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/sisters-distressed-at-separation-in-italy-20121007-276×5.html
“Sisters returned to Italy reunited with dad as mum weeps” by Kate Kyriacou, Rome, and Tuck Thomspon. October 6, 2012. The Courier Mail: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/sisters-returned-to-italy-reunited-with-dad-as-mum-weeps/story-e6frg6n6-1226489513444


The failures of Family Court affect children with devastating consequences. Vulnerable, often abused or witnesses to abuse, children rely on Family Court to protect them, and ensure their well being in the choices they make when deciding custody or visitation. When that does not happen, children are traumatized and subjected to further abuse.

For children with special needs, such as Autism, the results can be particularly detrimental because not only is their safety being compromised but their medical needs are not being met. An abuser who gains custody of an Autistic or special needs child may neglect medical care or even deny there is a problem because they don’t want that child to get well, and reveal what is going on in the home. The abuser may also use the child as a pawn to gain control over the ex partner, to gain sympathy/attention or for financial benefit. Other abusers may neglect the child or not be able to handle the demands and resort to further physical or mental abuse. So these kids with special needs suffer the agony of a broken family while also struggling with tasks of daily life caused by their disability; their coping strategies are already weakened or impaired and the additional trauma can trigger symptoms or lead to crisis, causing their symptoms to worsen.

Another factor to consider is that if the Court does not have the education or experience to understand Autism, the child’s needs may be completely ignored or overlooked. In this case, getting help for the child becomes a legal battle—and is not considered a priority. An abusive father may negate the child’s illness, blame the mother or raise false allegations, and resort to manipulation to gain custody. Parents seeking help for their children are likely to lose custody because it now appears they can’t manage the child or the child only has troubles while in their care! And the abuser will be happy to point this out.

I lost custody of my son who is suspected of having Aspberger’s (high functioning Autism) in this way. I am sharing a little bit of my story to raise awareness, and to let other moms going through a similar struggle to know that you are not alone. Though I lost custody, I know I did the right thing to fight to get my son help. I will never stop fighting to bring him home.

Remembering…

The moment came with the darkness of raven wings soaring over my tiny one bedroom apartment, the realization that I have done all I could to help my son and now I had to let him go. The realization that Son (age 6 1/2) needed more help than I could provide (in-home PCA services and respite care) and since I shared joint legal custody with the abuser who was refusing treatment, I could not get that help.

The abuser fought my attempts to get treatment for Son knowing that when Son was well, he’d talk about the abuse. Already Son had disclosed that dad choked him, dad broke his toys, when dad gets mad the dog shakes…Son said he hit himself in the head with his fist because the pain took away the bad memories.

The abuser not only prevented treatment for Son but he would make no one would believe me when I asked for help by doing everything he could to destroy my reputation with various false allegations against me. I couldn’t just be a mother doing her best to help her troubled child I had to think like an attorney and anticipate the latest attack or legal charge the abuser would wage against me. I had to think like a therapist and find ways to help my son, often relying on my own resourcefulness and creativity. I had to be an advocate for my son. I had to be the punching bag when my son had a “meltdown” and take the hitting, biting, kicking, swearing and threats. I had to take it again when the abuser went to court claiming nothing is wrong with my son, I am making this all up…or I did something to provoke my son’s rage or I deserved to be hit. I had to hold back tears and stay strong.

When the moment came, Son had a “meltdown” and after hitting and spitting on me, I put Son in time out in the bathroom. A psychiatrist told me the bathroom was the safest place for time out because there was nothing Son could throw at me, and since I cleaned the bathroom out–nothing he could use to hurt himself. I kept the door open to keep an eye on Son, who leaned against the wall, heaving. His knees were to his chest and dark eyes glared at me, full of challenge. Son sat that way for some time when I turned my back to check on my daughter. Then I heard a loud crash BAM! Again, BAM! BAM! I ran to the bathroom, my heart racing. Son was now standing, pounding his small fist against the wall with such force that he was punching holes in it! Intervention was met with this fists pounding me. Tears welled in my eyes as I called 911. I knew when the police came, they’d take Son away..that there was a good chance my abusive ex would move to take my child away permanently. I also knew that things could not keep on this way, my son needed help. This was the hardest decision I had to make.

Later, in the behavioral unit of the ER, Son was strangely calm–detached, his face blank. He clutched his fist possessively to his chest. Then slowly his fingers uncurled, revealing a small chunk of drywall–a piece of the wall. Son would treasure this last reminder of home, and keep it with him through the changes that would come.

In a small voice, hardly audible, Son said, “I did this Mom?”

“Yes you did that Son.” I sighed, exhaustion dragging my shoulders down.

“Am I going to the hospbible?”

“Yes, to get help. We have to get you feeling better so you can be safe at home.”

“I like the hospbible. My big feelings go away.”

Since the abuser attacked me then threw the kids and I on the street like trash, we’d been homeless for months. Only recently had we been accepted into transitional housing. I wondered if the hospital psychiatric unit with it’s predictable routine, it’s warm bed and toys and fun OT activities, it’s dining room with meals Son could pick foods from several choices on the menu became the home, the safety Son was looking for. I felt like a failure. I fled the abuse to give my kids a better life and instead Son was falling apart.

“I’m gonna miss you Mommy. I cry at night for you.”

“I will miss you too Son.” I turned my head so Son would not see the pain written across my face, I’d do anything to have him come back home and be a happy child who did not struggle with memories of abuse.

— EJ  2011

___________

For More Information: Autism Custody Battles

http://autismcustodybattles.wordpress.com/blow-the-whistle-get-slanderered/

The recent CBN report noted the Jugendamt dominates Germany’s family court system and it appears to take children ‘when it wants, from perfectly normal families.’ …”There is a system of persons, of social workers, of teachers, psychotherapists, who live on children being taken out of the family,” German psychologist Carola Storm-Knirsch told CBN. The report suggested some 80 children per day are taken from their parents. CBN reported the case of the German 7-year-old generated $8,000 a month for the state foster agency to which he was delivered.” –“German bureaucrats take children from abused U.S. mom” By Bob Unruh, June 12, 2010, WorldNetDaily.
A recent article written by Bob Unruh of WorldNetDaily exposes how corrupt German government officials are kidnapping children and placing them in state care, in what appears to be a hugely profitable racket that has destroyed countless families. And this is perfectly legal!
At the center of the allegations of corruption is the  German Jugendamt, the government youth welfare office, who has jurisdiction over families who home school children as well as cases of domestic violence.
A story of Domestic Violence and Jugendamt Corruption:
In the case of Phelicia Jackson, she is an American woman from Arizona who married a man with German citizenship ties, and had two children together. The marriage broke up due to reported allegations of domestic violence, the husband fled to Germany rather than to face the allegations in court. It should be noted that the most dangerous time for an abused woman is when she separates from her abuser–the intimidation, violence, and attempts to win her back will likely escalate as the abuser fights to regain control. It is not easy for a woman to escape abuse. That being said, Ms. Jackson eventually decided to reunite with her estranged husband and traveled to Germany with her children where the abuse began in another vicious cycle. Even worse, the children’s passports disappeared.
 
Desperate, Ms. Jackson called her father (a pastor) for help, and he urged her to go to the embassy. Ms. Jackson and her children were able to reach the embassy then were placed in a battered women’s shelter. Instead of receiving help, social services workers from the Jugendamt took custody of both children and put them in foster care. A day later, Ms. Jackson was ordered into court and lost her parental rights.  Ms. Jackson remains in Germany fighting against the Jugendamt to regain custody of her children. It does not appear the husband has been held responsible or criminally charged for domestic violence. Ms. Jackson was told she probably will not regain full custody of her children, but may be able to work out a deal to have some custody or visitation.  
Families who home school are also being persecuted by the Jugendamt and losing custody of children–many are seeking asylum in other countries.
 
A German law, enacted during the regime of Adolph Hitler whose tactics for brainwashing children were used throughout Nazi Germany, outlawed home schooling as being detrimental to the child’s social development. That is to say, it’s considered “child abuse” to home school. During Nazi rule, children were enlisted in the “Hitler Youth” and were asked to spy on parents, neighbors and friends for suspicious activity. Children were used to report Jews in hiding and participate in activities where Jews were persecuted or killed. Girls were encouraged to bear children to breed a superior Aryan race and other children were also enlisted as soldiers. State schools were used to indoctrinate children, even to spread anti-Semitic ideology that was responsible for the Holocaust, and to this day has led to the development of modern extremist groups who still commit acts of murder and terrorism. Considering this brutal history, it is appalling the home schooling law has not been abolished. It’s use has led to further acts of intimidation and harassment against the German people–it is responsible for the deliberate destruction of families, whose children are taken away simply because they choose to home school.
Stories from families who home school have alleged that the Jugendamt has placed parents in prison, put children in foster care or psychiatric facilities, and fined the parents thousands of dollars. Yet, those parents who comply with the law should be seriously concerned about what the government is teaching the children, and how much control the government has over their individual lives.
 
For More Information:
German bureaucrats take children from abused U.S. mom” By Bob Unruh, June 12, 2010, WorldNetDaily
 
Phelicia Jackson’s site: HelpforPhilecia.com