The Custody Game

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Jump through the hoops of family court. Dodge your abuser’s  fireball assault of gaslighting, stalking, and legal harassment while fending off fiendish judges, lawyers, therapists, GALs, FOC, and CPS workers.

Rated: E for every protective parent loses.

Warning: MA. May contain sexual violence; violence; adult situations; the physical, sexual, mental, and psychological abuse of children; human trafficking; human rights violations; and adult language.

This game is action packed, with out of this world bosses and twists you never saw coming. Just as you make it past the inciting incident, you’re confronted with the complexities of what you assumed would be a quick and easy play. Looks can be deceiving and this game is full of deceptive logic that will leave you feeling down the rabbit hole.

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Objective: to protect your children. A multiplayer RPG that allows you to be both the good guy and the bad guy! Forget about winning. This game is unbeatable unless you have a certain gamer profile. Protective parent is not that profile.

Inciting Incident. Gameplay begins on a Friday night. Your character has just been served an epic beat-down and you wake in a hospital suffering from a miscarriage, broken nose, missing clumps of hair, multiple contusions, gashes and scratches, and a busted lip that heartpixrequires stitches. Lose health and life before the game even starts. Recoup these by using the phone in your hospital room to contact the Women’s Shelter. Increase XP in counseling and stress management as this will make your health and life last longer, a necessity if you want to beat the game.

Your allies: shelters, friends and family, church leaders, therapists, and cops.

Level 1: Restraining Order. File an RO. Increase knowledge, confidence, and skill XP, which you’ll need in order to kill bosses. Level by killing bosses, which increases XP. Note: killing bosses is really fucking hard. After filing the RO, your abuser is still allowed visitation. Shock and anger over the rendered judgment zap your health, life, and XP. Vent to family and release stress. Best friend cooks you dinner. Health and life are restored. XP leveled in knowledge, confidence, and skill.

Level 1 Boss: Criminal Case Judge. Press charges against your abuser. Prove your case with certified hospital records and police reports. Your abuser is found guilty and is convicted of assault, and though he nearly killed you and did kill your fetus, he is punished with probation and anger management classes. In addition, your abuser can no longer have guns, but this isn’t enforced. Beware.

Next Mission: Contact CPS and Therapist. Report child abuse to CPS. Hire a counselor for your children after overhearing them say that daddy’s penis looks like a worm. The therapist diagnoses your abuser as a Narcissist with homicidal tendencies and prepares to ask the court to stop the abuser’s access to children. Earn XP in knowledge, confidence, and skill. Advance.

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Level 2: Stalking. This level is daunting and unremitting. Your abuser mounts attacks from this point on until the end of the game. He calls you, your friends, and your family some fifty or more times a day. He repeatedly breaks into your home and beats you for which you call the police (your allies) but they do nothing because your abuser fled the scene and they didn’t witness the crime, nevermind the fact that your face is red from fresh blows and the house is in disarray from the struggle. Next, your abuser follows you through town, runs your car off the road, and follows you to the job interview that was hard to get after being a SAHM for so long. This results in lost employment. Lose XP. Your abuser cuts your cable and electricity, hacks your social networking accounts, spray paints graffiti on your fence and leaves hundreds of letters in your home. He then requests daily welfare checks from the police (your allies). You carefully print out your cell phone records to prove to the police (your allies) that you did call your ex and he didn’t answer just so he could ask for a welfare check. Show the cops your RO, hospital records, pictures of abuse, and ex’s conviction to remind them that you’re the victim. The cops shrug their shoulders and say they’re sorry but policy and all. Watch in horror as they drag your children from the bed and the bathtub to check for signs of abuse. Tires are slashed at court hearing awarding you temporary custody. You suffer health and life damage due to stress. Lose XP.

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Level 2 Cutscene. You and your children flee your home for a safe haven after your abuser tells townspeople that he’s had premonitions that you all die in a fire. Contact abuser’s insurance benefit’s customer service. Reel at the fact that the insurance payout he would receive in the event of your deaths is over 300k. Receive a warning call from your church leader who is worried after your abuser informed him that you would die in a fire. Urge the church leader to testify on your behalf but he refuses for ethical reasons. Boil with rage when the holy man then tells you that by leaving your husband, you place the dickhole’s soul in danger of eternal damnation. You realize this leader cares nothing for you or your children because if he supports your case, it could influence more women to leave abusive marriages, and the men of his flock would lose power and privilege. Pack only necessary items and say a tearful goodbye to your dog because the shelter won’t let you bring him then disappear with your children to a new town. No access to finances means you must swipe a credit card for food. Suffer a breakdown as you realize your abuser has maxed out your cards to limit your freedom. Resigned, you look at the hungry, confused, and frightened children in the back seat and reluctantly swipe your debit card with a sick feeling because now your abuser knows your location. Lose skill XP. Advance to Level 3 with low health and life.

Level 3 Cutscene: You are served court papers by your abuser who wants sole, physical custody of your children. You laugh because there’s no way in hell the court will give an abusive, homicidal, dickhole custody of your children. Confidence XP receives a boost. Knowledge XP takes a hit because little do you know. . . .

fireball1Level 3: Magistrate Court and Gaslighting. Your abuser increases his legal harassment strategy designed to break you mentally, physically, and financially, a strategy hand fed to him by his female lawyer (female because what battering misogynist would hire female counsel? Strategy!). The purpose of this level is for your abuser to have you arrested for any charge he can throw at the wall and amazingly, though you have no criminal record and you have documented proof that your abuser has expressed a desire to and has actually gone through with, efforts to end your life, you now find yourself in the position of offender. This is where the intricate feature of the dual RPG player mode comes in. Depending on the situation, you are now the good guy and bad guy. Beat several magistrate minigames. XP increases, but only slightly as your health and life are still low from a now permanent state of fight or flight. You are beginning to show signs of severe anxiety, lack of sleep, and poor diet.

Level 3 Boss: Temporary Custody Hearing Judge. There are cheats in this game but not for the protective parent. This level begins with a cutscene and a twist you never saw coming when you witness opposing counsel paying off your therapist. Realize in horror that you didn’t follow your gut instinct to record the therapy sessions. Watch as the therapist takes the stand. She has switched the roles of you and your abuser in the report she filed with the court. You’re amazed by how smugly the opposing lawyer smiled at you as she handed the gift to your therapist and how the therapist calculatedly lies with no concern at all for the children she has counseled for months. Wonder how much that fucking check was worth and how in the hell your abuser can afford to pay for motions, subpoenas, and bribes when he isn’t even paying child support. Shock sets in, followed by disbelief, and finally, panic which triggers more of the fight or flight response. Take damages of tachycardia and severe anxiety disorder. Lose skill and knowledge XP. Health and life levels are low. Win temporary custody by the skin of your teeth. Receive a boost in confidence XP from the hope that the judge will see that the seemingly charming man – the one sitting on the bench with his arm around his lawyer, the one who winked at you throughout your therapist’s testimony – is actually a diabolical maniac.

rxNOTE: Difficulty levels begin to increase here, but you can’t change them back to easy in Options. Difficulty level will continue to increase from this point on. Your best friend returns now to give you a gift of nerve pills for future court hearings. You thank her and tell her you love her on social media. You rest and receive an antibiotic due to bacterial pneumonia incurred from stress in level 2. Health and life levels are restored. Earn XP.

Level 4 Boss: CPS Officer. Meet with CPS. Twist, she’s arrived at your home but not to discuss the allegations of abuse against your abuser as you expected, but to discuss accusations your abuser has leveled at you. Laugh incredulously because you have documented proof of his abuse. Confidence XP gets a boost only to immediately plummet as the CPS worker informs you that she spoke with your abuser who provided a report from a therapist (why that duplicitous, greedy ass, money grubbing bitch!), citing how you abused your children. Vehemently declare, “I hired her for Christ’s sake! What the bloody fucking hell kind of game is this?!” Cringe as your house is searched by CPS. Try to explain that groceries are only low because you had to pay the rent and retain a lawyer and explain how your abuser is withholding child support. Cringe again as you inform the CPS worker that your food stamps won’t be in for another week. She frowns and writes in her file. Lose XP in skill, knowledge, and confidence. Life and health are red-zoned.

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Level 5: Retain Lawyer. This drains your finances. Lawyer wins the first Hearing, but a second hearing is scheduled because that’s how family court works. Your lawyer informs you that opposing counsel is fully aware that your abuser is a dickhole. Nevertheless, she intends to milk this for all the money it’s worth and will continue filing one motion after another until you break. Your lawyer asks how much your children are worth, explaining that the parent with the most money wins. Realize you have no allies at all now. Lose all confidence XP.

Level 6: Self-Representation. Lose your lawyer Spend ten hours a day researching state and case law. Spend hours writing a trial brief because that’s what your lawyer did in the first hearing. Marvel at the beauty of it.  Sink into your chair in court as the brief is tossed out after opposing counsel calls it a high school essay. Mentally thank your best friend for the nerve pill because otherwise you’d be ripping the hair from the opposing attorney’s head as she’s just accused you of being a lesbian because you told your best friend you loved her on social media. Due to your new lesbian status, you’re an unfit parent, nevermind that your abuser damn near killed you and did kill his unborn child. Yes, you read that right, in family court, a homicidal, abusive dickhole is considered a better parent than a lesbian. Next, opposing counsel will throw in that you’re a slut, a drug user, a child abuser, did she mention you were a slut? Oh, she did, but who cares? She’ll say it again and again and again. You’re a dirty whore with a dirty house, and oh look, your kids just returned from visitation with your abuser. They have bruises and head lice, but in court, opposing counsel will blame this on you.

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Level 6 Cutscene: Subpoenaed. Watch in horror as friends, family, church members, and police officers show up to testify against you. Wonder what the fuck you ever did to deserve their hatred and betrayal. Wonder how they could sit on the stand and lie so callously knowing that doing so places your children in danger, a danger they’re well aware of as they’ve had to rescue you in the past. Wonder how they sleep at night with the betrayal of innocent children on their conscience. Receive a letter from your abuser apologizing for blackmailing your family and friends. No longer give a fuck about XP (which is zero for confidence, skill, and knowledge) because this game is fucking unbelievable. Sit in shock after hearing is over. Once the shock wears off stumble to your car in a daze. Call a friend to borrow money for a tow because your tires have been slashed. Again.

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Allies: Your allies are now your enemies because you are now the bad guy. At first, you may think this is a glitch. It’s not a glitch. It’s a cash cow. A broken system. A legal form of child trafficking. A breach of human rights. And let’s face it, no one in power would profit from family court reform. Now, where were we? Ah, enemies. Yes, everyone is your enemy now. Friends and family, the church, CPS, law enforcement, judges, therapists, FOC, GALs, hell, even the school staff members are giving you dirty looks. You discover that your abuser contacts school faculty daily telling them what a dirty, abusive whore you are. You wonder where your abuser gets the energy to carry out his obsessive stalking and phone calling. Also, that bastard still hasn’t paid child support.

Level 7 Cutscene: Aftermath. Arrive home after a grueling day of court, and take in the scene before you. Laptop and printer left on the coffee table with website permanently set to your cell phone account so you can print copies for police when they arrive to do welfare checks. Recorder next to phone for hours of recorded phone calls, all of which were inadmissible as evidence but hearsay was okay and didn’t have to be substantiated in accordance with the Federal Rules of Evidence. Stacked on the floor beside the sofa are files filled with evidence of domestic violence. However, this evidence was ruled inadmissible since the abuse occurred prior to the divorce even though state law says a judge must consider DV in custody cases. Empty cereal boxes line the top of the refrigerator and you hope CPS workers won’t open them. A copy of your lapsed RO is stuffed in your purse, another copy is hanging on the wall next to the door, yet another copy is in your car, and there’s even one on file at the school. Lament the fact that you couldn’t get a new RO in this town because they cost $500, not that it matters because your abuser’s lawyer expunged his criminal record eliminating your proof of his conviction for family violence. Baskets of unfolded but clean laundry dot the den, the trash is overflowing, and the sink is full of dirty dishes, all of which attest to the fact that you’re a dirty whore, but not because you are screwing johns all night, but because you spent ten hours a day for months trying to memorize state and federal law whereas lawyers spend years studying and preparing for court. Also, lament the fact that though the housework is untouched, no one verified that the kids never failed a test and their homework was always turned in on time and accurate. They were honor roll students. You somehow managed to attend every school program. Your kids never missed a meal. You purchased your children nice clothes. You tried to keep the nightmare in which you all lived concealed in shadow, and they seemed okay and resilient in spite of everything. You read to them. Played with them. Took them to the park. They  never missed a doctor or dentist visit. You were a loving and protective parent, but no one ever asked about that.

Level 7: On The Run. Realizing you have somehow managed to lose what was supposed to be an open and shut custody case, you once again pack necessary items. You withdraw your children from school while the principal and staff watch you with odd looks on their faces. You leave and later receive a warning phone call that police have been alerted to your activities and are waiting at the county line to arrest you for kidnapping. You’re told to hand your children over at the police station, whereupon your children are told that you have abandoned them. The court declares that you are both unfit and a flight risk. You are given supervised visitation that must be followed in your abuser’s city of residence. In a twist, the judge decrees that your abuser can stipulate the details of your visitation. Your abuser cunningly sets your visitation outside the city limit so that if you engage visitation rights you will be arrested for kidnapping. In the event that you’re unhappy with this arrangement, he says you may visit your children in his home, the home he forced you to abandon out of fear of death. Listen as your abuser laughs when he says he couldn’t kill you and get away with it so having you arrested is the next best thing.

Time progresses. You have not seen your children in years and wonder what they look like and wonder if they think of you. No best friend comes over to make you feel better because you haven’t spoken to her since she refused to testify on your behalf after your abuser blackmailed her, using the affair she had with a married cop as leverage. Sink into depression. Suffer devastating health setbacks caused by stress and damage from a continual state of fight or flight that lasted four years, the duration of your family court saga. Hate everyone. Trust no one. Go into hiding. Tell no one of the outcome of your case because who would believe you anyway? Moms who lose custody are unfit mothers, the scourge of society, some of the worst people on the planet, right? Lie when people ask if you have children because you haven’t got the energy to even try to make this story make sense. Even if you had the energy to tell your story, you’ve been gaslighted and there’s no way anyone is going to believe you. You hear from old acquaintances from time to time who can’t believe the crackhead whore you’ve become and this wouldn’t have happened if you had trusted in Jesus and it’s all your fault because you’re a gay lesbian who didn’t go to church and how in the world will your kids ever forgive you for abandoning them? You consider going to the press but realize you can’t because the judge presiding over your case – the same one who issued your RO, the same one who listened to the recorded phone call of your husband telling someone he was going to kill you and your children, that same judge, who gave your abuser sole, physical custody of your precious children – issued a gag order.

You slump into the chair at the kitchen table, stare at the knives on the counter and contemplate suicide but swallow the antidepressant anyway. You consider changing out of your pajamas, dismiss the notion, and return to bed. Fuck. It. All.

Final Game Stats: Confidence XP= 0, skill XP = 0. Note sardonically that your knowledge XP =100 for all the good it will do you now.

Health = 0

Life = 0

GAME OVER

 

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25 thoughts on “The Custody Game”

      1. Awareness will bring change. Hope for the reformation of family courts. The UN has been asked to intervene and they addressed DV in Ireland so maybe they will address the complaints filed by women worldwide who have experienced family court bias. You know you have to hit the boxes for gifts. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Kimberly,

    Brilliantly hits the mark. There was a point in my career in the 80’s when I was a CPS executive. I wound up leaving, though I loved the work, because of just the type of games you describe. I wouldn’t be a party to the “game”, that destroyed so many lives, while publicly pretending to save them.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Fantastic to see a young and gifted writer willing to focus on the “unpopular” issues. You nail it with flair. After spending a couple of months reading all of the Tsimhoni transcripts, this was actually a breath of fresh air. You brought the larger issues into focus, yet kept it so personally accessible. Thanks and looking forward to reading you in the future 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is so scary, so scary. I go to court in November. My ex has stalked me for nearly a year. I haven’t seen my son since January. There is no help to be given. My ex was physical only twice with me, but the second time he tried to strangle me. Now my son tells people that I’m dangerous, and I’m crazy and he hates me and doesn’t want to see me. There is so much judgement all around and no relief from this heartbreak. I wish for death at least once a day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Document everything. Keep a notebook and pen out in a convenient location. Date every day on a new page and jot down any incident, phone call, or correspondence with the time and location. Install a video camera to record stalking and harassment. Women should be documenting divorce and custody cases like one would a documentary. These videos can then be uploaded to YouTube or released to the press.

      When children are alienated from a loving, protective parent they are brainwashed and develop Stockholm Syndrome.

      Depending on the state, a judge must consider domestic violence when considering custody so make sure to have documented proof of the DV and make sure any court convictions are original. You’ll need to pay for these and will need to see the Clerk. To make police reports admissable, you need to subpoena the officers who made the report.

      It’s a sexist judgment. Women are cast into stereotypes and gender roles and when a woman does not fulfill her gender role of mother and nurturer, people ask what’s wrong with her. So when loving, protective mothers lose custody, they are forced into silence for fear of shame and judgment over having not fulfilled their maternal role. Most in our society will judge non-custodial moms as abusive or neglectful without bothering to discover what led to her loss of custody due to harmful gender roles and stereotypes.

      Positive thoughts for November, and if you need uplifting, click the graphics.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. This made me literally sick to my stomach to read. If I hadn’t been through my own custody battle I would think it was exaggerated and could never happen, but it gave me chills because I know it could and does happen. So well written, thank you. You can read articles siting facts saying the same thing, but when you write it down as experiential it has such a greater impact. These aren’t statistics or numbers or “others”. These are loving mothers (sometimes fathers) and defenseless innocent children. It’s heartbreaking, and you captured it so well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for stopping by, reading, and commenting. I hate that you can identify with this piece. The stories I’ve heard have been so terrifying. I agree it’s absolutely heartbreaking. It’s a human rights violation that demands reformation. Greed and corruption have infiltrated every aspect of our lives and people are suffering worldwide. It’s time to stand up for our rights, our children, and our futures.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Kimberly,

    I read through you entire piece with sense of dread and with the sense that it perfectly reflected the reality that women face in this country from abusive spouses, as they try to protect their children from the other parent. The problem is with this is that where do we begin to change things?

    Our society is male dominated and there are many who want to return women to positions of servitude, some being current Presidential candidates. Males are raised with a macho attitude and see women as their “playthings” rather than their partners. Police society remains a macho one and so the police find it difficult to understand what a woman is going through (this is true with rape as well). Almost all lawyers exist for their “billable” hours. Court systems are more about the convenience of the judges and staff, than they are about justice, therefore hearings and re-hearings go on forever. As a former social worker and psychotherapist I can assure you that most of them are not the helpers they make themselves out to be. I could go on and on, but by your post I know I would be preaching to the choir.

    So much has to be changed but where to start. For me it begins with the empowerment of women, as equal in all rights and privileges. The most important human rights issue in this world is women’s rights. That is where we must begin and posts such as yours are a place to start.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree on the issue of women’s rights and believe ending practices such as those described in this post must be multifaceted.

      Education needs to be implemented at an early childhood level to target discrimination. Efforts to teach safe behavior in relationships are commendable, but in my opinion, are too late when began in high school. The teachings of machismo and patriarchy are carried out systemically from a child’s birth and so education must begin in the formative years and progress in depth as children age. This would combat discrimination and with it create a ripple of change that extends to all matters of women’s rights and in regard to many issues of inequality as discrimination is the core issue we’re dealing with in so many of these issues.

      Family courts must be reformed as corruption runs rampant and unchecked due to closed hearings and gags, said to be implemented for the protection of children but in reality, used to conceal the corruption of proceedings. Citizen watchdogs and protective parents must work together to expose this corruption on a case by case level. Citizen groups working in the Maya Tsimhoni case have exposed the corruption in this case. Setting a precedent in this case would help protective parents on a national level. Family court reformation is a must. Closed hearings and gags must be ruled unconstitutional and occurrences of human rights violations must be exposed, investigated, and punished. Judges, lawyers, and GALs in cases such as the one outlined above are working together to profit off of victims of abuse and the lack of transparency and accountability in these cases allows that abuse to thrive.

      Gender stereotypes and labels further force victims to remain silent as mothers who lost custody are shamed into silence as society believes non-custodial mothers must be the worst kind of woman. Society views women without custody being inherently flawed since women are, according to gender stereotypes, maternal and nurturing. This gender stereotype works against fathers too, as they are viewed as the stern enforcers and teacher types of the heterosexual parenting model (which doesn’t work for heteros let alone non-binary parents.

      Having worked with some DV/IPV groups, I’ve noticed that some of these groups, fight over members, goals, and federal funding, and in so doing provide little to no actual victim support. Use of federal funds by special interest groups must be carefully monitored and tracked, and we should understand that any of these endeavors, while seemingly a good idea for the prevention of inequality, are not immune to corruption and when the interest of one side is preferred and funded, others will be disproportionately affected.

      Victims should form local networks to secure their rights. Aid is impossible to dispense to all parents who need it as funds are limited, goals of DV/IVP groups are too diverse and may contrast with the federal funding they receive, there are too many victims, lack of organization on many levels of activism and advocacy make aid to victims difficult and also, the problem affects so many different aspects of life that many groups are needed to target individual needs (medical issues, housing issues and donation of goods, pets, legal aid, shelters, etc).

      Protect parents are forced to comply with gags if they want to see their children and this allows for family court abuse to thrive. By forming global networks, parents can use their voices and the voices of like victims to break gags thereby exposing corruption and putting accountability back in family courts through transparency, accountability, and even voter education. This global network of parents could also serve as a way to help protective parents in hiding by providing support, food, clothing, and shelter, medical aid, and legal counseling. Victims come from all backgrounds/occupations should be organized according to talents, strengths, and occupations. People need not look any further than the Underground Railroad to understand how such a network would be successful (and how it should be organized).

      Religion is also in need of reform and must be called out for its harmful teachings and practices. Though victims hail from all walks of life, I find it telling that so many victims are religious and/or victims of abuse cover-ups by religious organizations. I also find it ironic that many religious victims of DV/IPV will discriminate against others like members of the LGBTQAP community while not recognizing that that discrimination is the same discrimination that led to their abuse, and contributes to violence and inequality of groups like the LGBTQAP community and others who are oppressed and is the same discrimination responsible for racism, the wage gap, denial of women’s reproductive and health rights, victim shaming, rape culture, etc.

      It’s my hope that posts like this will empower victims and give them a voice where corruption has denied them justice and where gag orders, stereotypes, and fear of judgment have further shamed them into silence.

      Apologies for the length of my reply. I thoroughly enjoy your site and your work and have shared many of your posts and I know you have discussed some of the aforementioned points in your own writing. I think men like you are hugely important in the fight for equality and justice.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I left out victim rehabilitation, which, in addition to counseling,should recognize and provide treatment for the many disorders victims may have after leaving IPV and family court abuse, such as PTSD, autoimmune diseases, anxiety and panic disorders, insomnia, depression, grief, and heart problems, to name a few.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Kimberly, I would like to thank you. I would also like to point out that all judges and magistrates receive absolute immunity from the decisions they make. They can permit fraud, forgery, fraudulent sales of marital property – for profit to pay attorneys or for a loss to stimulate one party to concede. They can even ORDER the above to take place. They can take your money, your insurance, your home, your children, your health and your family dog (if your ex can prove he or she bought the animal). They can refuse to enforce decisions that appellate courts have made. They can even retroactively eliminate support arrears – and make it disappear overnight as if it was never unpaid. There are judges and magistrates who will rule against any woman who is entitled to receive more than they earn in a calendar year. This is not polarized against men or women, but against the party who is the least likely to lie and the party with the least access to resources needed to accomplish everything you have written about in your blog.
    How many women know that in certain states – from their wedding day forward – they can never buy, sell or refinance property without the permission of their husband? Awareness is terribly lacking. Most learn the truth much too late. Most are then too ashamed to share the truth with others. The path is worn but shrouded in secrecy. More money flows through the family court than all other courts in our country combined.

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    1. I apologize for my late response. I’ve been sick this past week. I agree that US courts are riddled with corruption and that awareness, along with voter education, is needed to combat that corruption. I would also like to point out that all states passed the Married Women’s Property Act by the 1900s if I’m not mistaken. This fight was closely aligned with that of suffrage. I’m not sure what states you reference when you say women don’t have the rights afforded to them by the Married Women’s Property Acts (which is not to imply that women’s rights aren’t routinely denied). Also, while judges do have judicial immunity they can still be prosecuted for criminal acts, can be removed from the bench, and can be impeached. We do have checks and balances in place, but awareness is important for the plights of protective parents and family court bias and we must continue our fight for women’s rights.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. as i sit and take my nightly anti-depressants , i look behind me at the stacks of court papers by my couch and in the dinning room baskets of clean yet unfolded laundry , i came across your page telling almost exactly my story, except i somehow along the way found an angel, my fiance, my rock, my hope for a better future that i will prepare for my daughters when they are 18 and can finally come home and we can pick up the pieces and move on. i left my abuser 16 years ago but the abuse only escalated from there. I see now i , no matter how hard i try, will not “win” this “game”. i’m forced into silence because every effort i make to try to make things better only makes things worse, so i stop, hoping that will make them stop. i’ve been silenced from day one and now i know why. my only hope is that soon my babies will be 18 and i pray it stops and we can move on and heal then, finally.

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        1. Patricia, I’ve heard so many stories from women like you. In 2009, I came across a forum by accident, and read one post after another of women leaving abuse only to lose custody of their children to their abuser. Every story sounded the same and I was stunned. I couldn’t believe how many women had gone through such horrific violence, found the courage to leave, and only to have their children taken from them. I was shocked that women in the US were dealing with this and even more stunned that so many had never said a word (gag orders and fear). I began studying and found this to be the experience of women worldwide. It was shocking to me and I couldn’t remain silent. If so many women (and some men) were being forced into silence by the courts who abused them, then I would be their voice. I would speak out on their behalf about the abuse they suffered. I wasn’t bound by their gag orders. I could speak for them. Sadly, there’s been little coverage, if any, on this epidemic of protective parents losing custody. Women’s rights are still being violated. The media still downplays acts of violence and sexual violence toward women and society’s response is still to victim blame and shame. I’m sorry the game ended this way for you and your children. However, though your situation feels helpless, I encourage you to speak out or fight in whatever way you are able, when/if you are able. Though you, and many protective parent like you, have already lost your own cases, you must continue fighting to prevent your children from suffering the same fate. Speak out. Document your case. Visit the Women’s Coalition (linked) and submit your UN claim. And know that you’re not alone.

          http://www.thewomenscoalitionpac.com/petitioning-the-un.html

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