Independence Day: Celebration for Some...Mass Delusion for the Rest
Protective Mothers Deserve "Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness" by Coral Anika Theill
Most individuals prefer not to hear the story of how a cultured people turned a blind eye to the “court-sanctioned kidnapping of children through America’s family courts” and how the majority of our society, consisting of cultured people, remained silent.
In America there are many victims of childhood molestation and abuse, rape and domestic violence! But guess what: There are relatively few batterers and perpetrators. In their efforts to seek safety, justice and vindication, victims often become further victimized by our judicial system. Why? The batterers and abusers are “innocent” and protected by family, friends, co-workers and church members. Often family and friends turn against the victim in order to protect the abuser and their own reputations.
Victims suffer not only from the abuse they experienced but also from the threat of meaninglessness and powerlessness that comes with it. People who experience the trauma of violence at the hand of someone they know, (i.e., a partner, parent, relative, therapist, teacher, pastor, or priest) - struggle to make meaning, usually in a context of isolation, if not moral condemnation and victim blaming.
Historically, violence against women has not been treated as a “real” crime. This is evident in the lack of severe consequences, such as incarceration or economic penalties, for men guilty of battering their partners. Rarely are batterers ostracized in their communities, even if they are known to have physically assaulted their partners. It appears that “having a relationship with the victim” is an excuse for their crime.
Many mothers who seek safety from abuse are routinely prohibited from having even the most basic contact with their own children, not because they were unfit parents, but because they were outspent, out represented, and out-maneuvered in a court atmosphere that seems to favor those who inflict domestic violence.
Battered women may lose their babies and children, their homes, their friends and their livelihood. Survivors of childhood abuse will often even lose their families. Rarely does society recognize the dimensions and long lasting effects of this reality for the victim.
Women trapped in relationships with abusers come to expect horrendous misbehavior and violence from their partners. What they cannot fathom is the maddening reinforcement commonly provided to abusive men by the justice system, the religious community and the public at large. Tragically, the key abuse collaborator is the custody judge. Of all of the bad actors in a battered woman’s life, none wield more power over a mother and her children. It is beyond infuriating when women discover that their custody judges lack either lack understanding of domestic violence, or intentionally collude with abusers to take away women’s financial resources and, even worse, their children.
Losing permanent custody and visitation of your children feels like being doused in oil and set on fire. Healing is slow and difficult. The pain never goes away. I still wake up with night terrors. The memory of being forced to give up my children is a continual torment to my body, mind and soul. A non-custodial mother remarks: “to lose one’s children in such a way would unmake any woman.” And it is true. Taking a woman’s children is the last great punishment an abuser can scar them with. To be publicly and permanently branded ‘unfit’ is a new scarlet letter. It can and will scar an entire family for life.
Experts at the Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence estimate that more than 58,000 children each year are either placed into dangerous homes or forced to go on unsupervised visits with their alleged abusers by divorce courts that simultaneously deny the children’s safe, protective parents’ access to their sexually and physically abused children.
"When courts blame victims and fail to hold abusers accountable, they reinforce abuser behavior, subvert justice, disempower the victims, teach children that abusive behavior is permissible and may even be rewarded, and reinforce the cycle of violence. Most batterers know they can bring criminal and contempt charges at no expense to the abusers, but they take an enormous financial and emotional cost on their victims. The result is that many abusive men drag on the litigation and file spurious claims openly acknowledging they are trying to drive their victims onto welfare or into homelessness; half of all homeless women and children in the U.S. are homeless because of domestic violence." - Joan Zorza, Esq, Batterer Manipulation and Retaliation Denial and Complicity In the Family Courts
The courts are an extension of our patriarchal heritage that views women as less valuable than men.
The fear of reprisals and repercussions from husbands, pastors, the religious community and the judicial system prevents many women from seeking safety and wholeness. They are experienced with the ways abuse and trauma operates in their home. To seek safety would often mean subjecting themselves to further abuse in our judicial system as well. The choice to stay in domestic violence is not a choice at all. It is just the lesser of two evils. A battered woman weighs what kind of abuse she is most familiar with and can possibly survive. Fear of the unknown is often a crushing deterrent.
According to Euro-American history, women and children were considered legal property, the chattel, of the father or husband. By taking his name, the wife "belonged" to her husband. Today, women and children are not legal property, but attitudes have been slow to keep up with the law and many men still believe it is their right or privilege to control women. I experienced, first hand, the truth of this statement when I sought safety from my abusive husband and left with my youngest children and baby in January 1996.
The price for my own safety and freedom in 1996 was an imposed, unnatural and unwanted separation from my eight children, including my nursing infant. The injustice committed against me is not just the physical separation from my children, but the willful desecration of the mother-child relationship and bond, a sacred spiritual and emotional entity.
Coral Anika Theill with her newborn son and eighth child, Zachary David Warner
July 1995, Independence, Oregon
I choose to not participate in the silence that protects perpetrators and isolates survivors.
I will continue to seek justice from a corrupted system that protects those in power and rejects those without the resources to seek redress from the corrupters.
Awareness that such things can even happen is the first step toward change.
On July 4, 2016, a U.S. Marine asked if I would agree to a video interview about "patriotism." I shared with her that I support the troops. I feel a deep gratitude to our servicemen and women and believe our society needs to do more to respect, understand and support those returning from deployment in conflict zones. I declined the interview due to the epidemic of nurturing mothers losing custody of their children to their abusers (including myself) in the USA (and worldwide).
So many people have fallen through the judicial cracks of America, i.e., protective mothers, juveniles, the homeless, the mentally ill, veterans, prisoners, and victims of domestic violence, rape, child abuse and molestation. I have learned that if you really want to know about our justice system in America, you do not question the judges, police, attorneys and lawmakers, you go to the victims, the unprotected, the vulnerable; those who need the laws protection the most and listen to their stories.
I find it ironic that America, while involved in two wars in the Middle East, insists that they were improving the women's lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, while the hearts of tens of thousands of America's mothers were lying on the ground.
It is said that Lady Justice is blind, but she should not be mocked.
Keeping the faith and hope for future changes is often all that "non-custodial mothers" have.
Forcibly taking a mother's children, and then controlling her emotionally by withholding contact must be publicly recognized as one of the greatest forms of 'mis-use' of the American justice system and one of the greatest hidden vehicles for wide-spread socially approved physical and emotional abuse and control.
4th of July is a Celebration of Independence for Some....and Mass Delusion for the Rest.... by Melissa Barnett Give me liberty or give me death. In the USA today: 2016, the ERA has not been ratified. Mothers do not have Equal Rights under the Constitution and therefore unable to prevent millions of children from being harmed and removed from their care by judicial orders across our nation. Mama's are powerless to protect and prevent these horrific events which satisfy male superiority, cruelty, legal trafficking and gender bias federal grants in this corrupt and deeply flawed system. Today, protective mothers are fighting a secret battle against an age ol' system of patriarchal rule; the unfinished business of the suffrage movement. This mother cannot celebrate on this day or any other while our human rights have been violated in the land of the free, as our children are torn from our bosom after reporting crimes being committed and denied the safety of their primary attached mother's. No Rights, No Liberty, No Justice.... "I am an American Mother, I reported abuse and lost custody, I believe my child. Please protect my daughter....."
Melissa Barnett at Silent Vigil for Protective Mothers, White House, Washington D.C.
American Mother's are failed by our judicial system that rewards bullies. Women and children are regularly punished for reporting abuse by separation orders of no contact or supervised visitation to ensure the reporting parties discontinue complaints of further abuse. The legal system is used as a cruel tool for greedy and dangerous men who impose gag orders and force women into submission. These courts of law bankrupt safe non-offending mothers in their attempt to seek safety and justice. Mothers are marginalized, villainized and pathologized, driven into homelessness and criminalized in this patriarchal system of power and privilege, where millions of children have become Motherless in America.
Losing custody of your child is shameful and elicits public condemnation. It is also the symbol of "patriarchal ownership" that exists still today. The chattel laws of the past are very much alive and the only women who retain custody after divorce are those whose husbands did not fight. When we divorce in this society, we are divorcing the protection of marriage, like an umbrella, the rights given to men were shared with the wife.
Once divorced, we are not protected under the law and, therefore, our children are not protected either. Nor do we have a rightful claim to the children we birthed. We are set adrift in a society still clinging to archaic practices. The manipulation and retaliation, the denial and complicit behavior of community are foundations in patriarchal society where male superiority is king, and women who fight back against this rule are punished severely. Mothers desperately, both individually and collectively, need to be vindicated and our good names restored.
Mothers of Lost Children are heroic, fighting to protect their children and help educate other mothers.