Family court sounds so cozy and comfy
By Connie Valentine, M.S.
It sounds so cozy and comfy. So kind and gentle. So responsive to families and especially to children. But ask anyone who has ever stepped foot into those hallowed courtrooms exactly how kind and comfy it really is. You are likely to find yourself hearing something straight out of Franz Kafka’s chilling book The Trial.
When a child reports abuse, an inexorable twisted chain of events takes place that practically defies imagination. The pattern is well-known. We have heard the stories so often that we can predict each step with uncanny accuracy.
Instead of support, the child is dealt multiple crushing blows that are drawn out and agonizing. Instead of safety, the child receives anticipatory dread every weekend while waiting to be raped, or the suffocating knowledge that they will live full time with the person that beat them unconscious. Instead of protection, the child receives amplified and ongoing abuse. Instead of justice, the child receives a vicious type of betrayal that wounds for life.
And the children don’t even get to talk to the judge making the decision slicing them in half. They are divided up and parceled out just like the chairs and tables. The parent with most money gets most of the property. Money and might makes right.
It predictably takes abused children of divorce from safe mothers and gives them to predatory fathers.
These are not good fathers, the kind we all love and respect. A good father would never beat a mother or kick her in her pregnant belly. A good father would never stalk a mother through court, ruin her financially, then rip their child from her loving arms.
No, these are violent and pedophilic men who seem to enjoy harming children and persecuting their former partners through the court system.
And we wonder why children act out their pain. Is this where school shooters and child suicides come from? Are these the children who grow up with dead eyes, who sit dissociated in the back of the class, or enraged in the principal’s office?
Are these the children who become the next generation of morbidly obese patients who die from heart disease or lung cancer? Are these the children who grow up to beat their wives, be beaten by their husbands, drown in drugs and alcohol, live lives of crime or under a bridge? Probably so.
Why is it so hard to ensure child safety first?
Toby Kleinman, Esq explains in her article titled Family Courts Must Demand Science published in the Spring 2014 Trauma Psychology Newsletter.
“Family courts have the power to keep parents who harm their own children from parenting those children. Indeed, the family court is supposed to weigh in favor of child protection even over the right to parent. The judge is required to act parens patriae, essentially as the child’s super parent. When cases are presented in court, rules and statutes require that expert testimony, upon which the judge will rely, be reliably and scientifically based.
In my experience, sadly, despite these requirements and the available remedies for protection, states fail the test of assuring that experts testify based upon what is accepted practice within the scientific community when they are in family court.”
Why is it so hard for courts to believe children?
Attorney Kleinman continues.
“Family courts are affected by what is commonly accepted in society. There is an inherent disbelief in society as to children’s unreliability as reporters. It seems to be assumed that children overstate things that happen to them. This social belief contradicts vast amount of research which says that children do not generally lie about abuse….
Judges and many others all too frequently automatically suspect the veracity of children who report abuse, especially when the named abuser is a parent and most especially where the parents are in the where they feel safe and protected. So it follows that this would occur on the heels of a parental separation. Yet, when a newly separated parent reports a child’s disclosure of abuse, the focus of a family court investigation tends to gravitate to an inquisition of the reporting parent’s motives, reactions, and feelings rather than a child-focused protective response. This is in itself unscientific.”
It is an agent of social change, inexorably shifting us toward becoming a violent, pedophilic society.
Judges become abusive parents by proxy when they appoint shady evaluators, rubber stamp their reports, and order children to live with violent or incestuous fathers.
This is happening all over the nation. To your neighbor, your friend, your doctor, your lawyer. Maybe to you. To 58,000 children per year, which comes to over a million children in 20 years.
That means that in the past two decades, a cohort of abused children of divorce large enough to fill a big city, betrayed by the very institution designed to protect them, have been growing up.
Karl Menninger MD said it well. “What is done to children, they will do to society”.
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“When people get caught up with that which is right and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping short of victory.” Martin Luther King
Connie Valentine, M.S. is co-founder of the California Protective Parents Association. She blogs for the Stop Abuse Campaign and she is a Believer.