Guest Column: Mothers who protect their children from abuse

Guest Column: Mothers who protect their children from abuse

By By Julia Colloton

Ever wonder what a woman who has had her children taken away from her looks like? Alcoholic? Needle marks? Indeed, while these may be some of the images, they are not correct.

According to New Orleans Attorney Richard Ducote, “The Family Court System has created a new type of criminal out there—it’s the mother who protects her children from abuse.” Unfortunately, most of these women have been victims of domestic violence and in an attempt to protect her children from the abusive spouse are labeled by the court system as, “irrational,” “unstable,” etc., The abuser, on the other hand, who is used to controlling the situation, appears in court as “in total control, “ because that is how he is used to manipulation. (NH Judge, Susan Carbon, 2001).

Fathers who battered the mother are TWICE as likely to seek sole custody of their children as are non-violent fathers. (Small Justice, 2001, APA).

NH Judge Susan Carbon feels that family court judges need to be held accountable. But according to Garland Waller in Small Justice… The public cannot protest what it doesn’t know. She further states that it seems, “In this country, if you beat your wife, sexually abuse your child and then ask for custody, chances are, you’ll get it.” (2001) She further states that there is a war in this country, it’s the war behind the doors of the family court system where no one is held accountable.

Child Advocate Diane Hoffheimer found that a pattern existed in every case: “Domestic violence followed by allegations of child (sexual) abuse and despite medical evidence, judges all over the country ignore the evidence and award custody to the abuser.” The men, upon accusation of abuse by the children, deny abusing them and accuse the mother of “brainwashing” the child and file for custody. Her statement which has now become popular is that, It’s okay to grow your own victim, but don’t touch the child next door.(2001).”

Domestic Violence is a widespread problem and judges, therapists, attorneys and child representatives who are not familiar enough with the profile of the abuser, actually become entangled in the offender’s web, thus beginning the polarization against the victim(s).

I know this because I am a victim. With a history of domestic violence, a 3-year Order of Protection and those “thoroughly investigated” DCFS reports, photographs, X-rays, doctor reports, etc., for myself and my children, the family court in Rockford, Ill., did what Richard Ducote stated

that they would, “Look for any sort of thread that can arguably suggest that the mother did something wrong, and unfortunately, many children are being destroyed in the process.” In my case, there was never a hearing, never a trial on that day of September 26, 2000; they just took my children, despite the overwhelming evidence. This is typical of court systems to deny due process in these situations because they are illegally taking the children away from the protective parent. According to a Chicago based law firm, “These cases are nothing short of court-sanctioned child abuse.” Carolyn Newburger, Ph.D., Harvard University, states that, “People have a preconceived notion of what a man who batters looks like, and when he doesn’t look like that, the woman is not believed.”

“There was never a law written to hurt children, no law enacted to hurt kids and if kids are hurt by the system or THE LAW, it’s because Judges have misapplied it.” (Ducote, 2001)

The next time that you have visions of what a mother who has been stripped of her children looks like, look at the woman sitting next to you. It could be me. It has been 648 days to date that I was denied my due process rights under law and my children were illegally taken from me. It is clear that the constitutional rights of an individual have been declared unconstitutional in the family court system.

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