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Restore the Good Name of Protective Mothers: The 'Scarlett Letter'

Edited by Coral Anika Theill

Who wears the Scarlet Letter? The ‘accused’ is forced to wear a symbol of a Religious Patriarchal crime intended to promote public ridicule towards women. To be ostracized by society as a result of breaking ‘the rules of common decency’ is the ultimate punishment next to death for women of that time. (The Scarlet Letter: 1850 A work of fiction in a historical setting, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne) Why was it that the women/Hester wore the letter and not the adulterer man? (his name was kept protected)

Because the shared crime of adultery is not a male crime in a Patriarchal Ruling Class. In America today, we see this punishment as archaic, a distant past in a time when the church ruled our laws, but is it? A social order that punishes women for having sex out of the sanctity of marriage, adultery, and addressed not the man’s role is not such a distant past.

Such punishments of females for male crime is a long honored tradition in a Patriarchal Religious/Rape Culture. Even the victim/women hides his identity out of shame, fear, or misplaced loyalty. Our society still excuses male misbehavior, blames women and reward bullies. In rape cultures we excuse inexcusable behavior with victim blaming. Boy’s will be boys…and the girls assume the responsibility through our accusations. We direct the attention on what they are wearing, drinking, doing, why they didn’t protect themselves from becoming rape victims… becoming pregnant.

Women still bear the brunt of ‘Domestic Crimes’. In India this week a terrible punishment being fought by Amnesty International was handed down. Here in this terrible unjust and horrifying ruling the innocent siblings will be tortured and ridiculed for his crime. In the United States we like to think of ourselves as more civilized, and less barbaric. That these crimes against women are… over there not here. That we have fought long and hard for the rights and protection of women here in the US and should be proud of our achievements.

While it is true that we are not stoning women in the streets, nor are we protecting them. According to statistics one in three women is a victim of domestic violence. One in three girls and one in six boys are victims of sexual abuse before they reach the age of 18. Each day 3 women die due to Domestic Violence in the USA. Fighting back is not an option, if you look at the statistics for Women in the System, it is the largest growing population and 90% were victims of childhood sexual assault and sentenced due to issues related to DV.

  • #When Women Leave dangerous men they are more likely to lose custody if they report violence in the home or ongoing physical or sexual abuse of the children.

  • #When women leave- that should be the next hashtag campaign. #When Women leave it increases the chance for violence #When women leave its the most dangerous time for both mother and child. Violence goes up, yet protection for intimate partners goes down especially for those that share custody. Now that you have escaped and found shelter, you now have to mediate with the abuser and exchange the children and ‘co-parent’ in shared custody arrangements, while the children are reporting abuse. In family courts mothers are punished for reporting abuse, and “saying bad things about the father”.

We should stop telling women to #Justleave and Domestic Violence Services must do more than council women to leave…..they must do more!

According to a fact sheet released by The Domestic Violence Intervention Program: “Leaving a battering partner may be the most dangerous time in that relationship. Women are 70 times more likely to be killed in the two weeks after leaving than at any other time during the relationship.”

  • #When Mothers Report Abuse They Lose Custody. More than 58,000 children a year are ordered into unsupervised contact with physically or sexually abusive parents following divorce in the United States. This is over twice the yearly rate of new cases of childhood cancer.

  • #When women leave they experience, loss of income, homelessness, loss of community and family support.

  • #When Women leave they cannot rely on law enforcement, or the courts to protect them.

  • #When women Leave there is no to balance the playing field and provide representation, support and direction to the courts and society of how to raise nurtured children and prevent childhood traumatic effects. There is however a perverse incentive to choose fathering over mothering even when the father is a rapist, batterer and manipulating the system to their personal benefit not the best interest of the child. Replacing primary attached good mothers with violent offenders is not good for children.

Judith Herman, M.D. maintains that the function of domestic violence is to preserve male supremacy. “Perpetrators understand intuitively that the purpose of their behavior is to put women in their place and that their behavior will be condoned by other men [women] as long as the victim is a legitimate target. Thus, women live with a fear of men which pervades all of life and which convinces women that their weakness is innate and unchangeable. The legal system is designed to protect men from the superior power of the state but not to protect women or children from the superior power of men. It therefore provides strong guarantees for the rights of the accused but essentially no guarantees for the rights of the victim. If one set out by design to devise a system for provoking intrusive post-traumatic symptoms, one could not do better than a court of law."

The truth is that while we passed the 19th Amendment to ‘allow women to vote’, we have not ratified this amendment in the states and therefore Women in the United States are not equal in the eyes of the law. May be why the 14th Amendment is not followed by State Court Judges. Without such constitutional protection Due Process and Equal Representation in Courts is unjustified. Federal funding does not have to be equal. Equal pay, job equality, and security, protection for women and their children is only at the mercy of male systems designed by men to protect men from government. Until we pass this Amendment, Until we stand together and demand protection, Until we have equal representation, we will not be free. Such freedoms and protections are allotted to those who fight for their rights.

In the history of womanhood we have fought long and hard for other people’s rights and it is high time that they join us as we come together in achieving the recognition and protections of Human Rights. Until Women achieve such Equality in the Courts we will not be able to protect ourselves or our children, this is not my Scarlet letter to wear. The false accusations by covert Narcopaths and their Gang Stalkers, intent on ruining our lives and smearing our names win both in court and the court of social appeal…This rumor mill… intent on devastating our lives and covering up criminal activities…is easy in a social order defined by men and executed by women.

Our society has been engineered to benefit the bullies. The result of this campaign against the targeted mother is like that of the bearer of the Scarlet Letter, 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 therefor our children are not protected either. Nor do we have a rightful claim to the children we birthed. We are set a drift in society still clinging to archaic practices. ​

The manipulation and retaliation, the denial and complicit behavior of community all foundations in Patriarchal Society where male superiority is king, and women who fight back against this rule are punished severely.

The narcissists' favorite tool is ‘other people’ who will do their bidding, and while they are awkward and fail to connect socially, they do get it – they study real people and see how easy it is to get in their heads. The truth is the minions of these Narcopaths believe their lies, they lap them up and prefer that to the truth, ‘they are being lied to and they don’t care”.

For whatever sick reasoning, or a condition of the Patriarchal rule, Women love to take down other women – even with the flimsiest information. This condition has been bread into the female species, the idea that we must compete for men’s affection, there is little room at the top for the chosen women, and they will be admired for taking down one of their own. This is easy recruitment. The girl friend, or step mother will believe the lies, even exaggerate the events they have been told, gossip about it and see that it gets around town. Of course for the ugly stepmother (every fairytale has one) they gain the affection of the narcissist and of course there is a financial reward for stealing the children from the first wife.

Look how many female Judges are destroying the lives of good mothers and their children. There has been a social engineering to blame the victim (who is most often women) in order to allow the male to continue their reign of control and power. Failing to punish men for their behavior is neither a mistake or an oversight in a Patriarchal society. Women in powerful places have men to thank for it and therefore reward the bullies for personal and professional gain.

Mothers who lose custody to these dangerous men experience the loss of community, and family as well. People who can not see past the lies, or the court orders that were fraudulently obtained. Mothers who may have come from families that are abusive will often align with the abuser. The mothers community is small and gets smaller as the events go on. Mothers who were taking good care of their children are now being turned into criminals, forced into homelessness, experience joblessness, mental and emotional instability as a result of the trauma.

In these modern times people use the Internet, blog posts and web sites to continue their stalking. While the use of the internet is considered a crime of harassment, and slander, very few sue for damages and rarer still win. Recently the supreme court failed to rule in the favor of the DV victim whose ex-husband was shaming her and causing her professional damage.

When women try to tell the real story as victims of Domestic Violence, that the father is stalking through the courts and falsely accusing to gain favor. Mothers are ridiculed for airing their dirty laundry and often Gag ordered to not speak about the abuse. No matter how hard the target tries to defend her reputation and set the record straight…the crafty Narcopath knows that the damage is done and they will get away with it. Once the bell has been rung its impossible to unring it.

This character Assassination is a go to in the tool box for fathers rights lawyers. To demoralize and pathologize the good mother.

While the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups zealously expressed through briefs the first amendment rights of abusive ex husband in this notable case to the Supreme court in Elonis v. United States, 13-983, Elonis is found guilty! The National Center for Victims of Crime, which submitted a brief supporting the government, said judging threats based on the speaker’s intent would make stalking crimes even more difficult to prosecute.

People love these Charismatic Characters and being their champions when they feel their hero has been wrongfully treated. They are so convincing….no wonder we would prefer to believe the Cosby’s and the Sandusky’s….people were lining up to accuse the victims of lying and trying to make money off them. No one stopped to listen….in the case of Mother’s being accused…we love to blame mother. Who could blame them.

Of course its safer to believe that she is lying than the fact that the man is a cruel human being who has hoodwinked everyone into believing that is she who is the kidnapper, the abuser, causing all this drama, than the very real story that he is a pedophile. a batterer.

A con-artist of the most high cometh –con art·ist ( noun informal ) a person who cheats or tricks others by persuading them to believe something that is not true. “the debonair con artist lives by scamming women”, we love the rouge.

This is how society rewards the bully. They prefer to believe the lies and myths set down by these charismatic men. Hating mother is easy, Villianizing Mothers is a national pass time. Especially if they are accused of hurting a child or dare take a child from a father. In the stories told by these clever men is a nugget of truth, the foundation of their claim. The facts are what is incorrect and the order in which they tell them. These story tellers are very crafty and can spin a tale like no other. The Narcopath/Sociopath is especially convincing when they seem emotional.

The trouble is that there is a double standard of what we will accept and expect from men and women. When women get emotional we think less of them, when men cry we think its sweet and consider it genuine because to cry would make one appear vulnerable and no man wants that. There is no more biased a place than court (or social services) where preferential treatment towards men is both known and accepted. In court the man who breaks down in court is dealt with compassion and comfort while the mother is criticized and punished for her outbursts. In the Mothers Without Custody World Post, Robin Karr tells us of her ordeal of having been arrested and Jailed for crying.

Mother Arrested for Crying in Court “The pain and agony a mother endures when she is separated from her child is unbearable. I’ve often said that when you take a mother’s child from her, you have killed that mother. The grief is not just over the separation of mother and child, but also over the fact that it was inflicted by someone who knew no pity. The family court judges (and cohorts) who separate children from their mothers for profit have black hearts. Frankly, that’s a level of evil my mind cannot comprehend.”- Robin Karr, Mothers Without Custody World

"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." – Coral Anika Theill, BONSHEA Making Light of the Dark

"There is a very big “catch 22″ that Mothers Without Custody must overcome. If a Non Custodial Mom doesn’t show sadness and depression, she’s looked at like she must not love her children. But if she does show signs of depression she is labeled as “unstable” and “unfit” and is reduced to supervised visitation where, if she shows too much emotion (sheds a single tear) the visitation is halted until she can “compose herself”. It’s insanity to say the least."- Negative Social Stigma for Non-Custodial Moms by Coral Anika Theill

For many having your picture and stories of being arrested brings both personal pain and public shame. Sadly, they got the wrong picture, and it is the courts shame, and these brave women are displaying their own mug shots to bring attention to the abuse of women by the judicial system. This civilized nation is hardly that. We have been hoodwinked. and many people fail to look at the fine print. Allow the accused their day in court.

Civilized would suspend their thinking to hear the truth and once that bell has been rung…now what. What people don’t know: Family Court is a Civil Court Proceeding. Litigants file motions to get into court. The court rarely determines whether the motion is valid or invalid for there is a pecuniary interest in the vexatious litigation and particularly the father who fights for full custody. These contested cases which some call “high conflict” almost always are Domestic Violence Divorces and should be heard in Criminal Courts as the abuser has now moved to using the court to harass and punish.

Children are being taken from fit safe mothers during these expensive family court proceedings where they are outspent and out maneuvered. Taking the children is the greatest revenge for a cruel and violent man. The court rewards these bullies by ignoring the past history of abuse and blaming mothers for not being ‘friendly’. In Family Courts evidence of fathers abuse is often ignored and removal from these dangerous men it not considered in the child’s best interest.

When you learn that 58,000 children a year go missing….trafficked through the courts by ruthless men and the lawyers who extort for money it seems unfathomable yet true. The courts are using gender bias funding to balance the budget and uphold the social structure, such grants received by county courts come through Health and Human Services known as fatherhood funding.

There is no equal funding for mothers to protect their rights and their children. Judges are violating both civil statues and constitutional law by not providing equal representation and due process. Judges rule in favor of fathers over the safety of children and their mothers. Once you learn the truth about the injustice to women and children in our country you can no longer look at these stories in the same way.

If you haven’t done courtwatch for a victim of abuse you should, it will open your eyes. A true test of a man’s character is what he does while no one is watching. Open courts and accountability will improve the lives of women and children. Providing equal representation and equal funding will improve the outcomes for vulnerable women and their children. “The measure of a civilization is how it treats its youngest and oldest citizens“.

Many women feel the shame of Divorce and abuse. While they are not to blame for the loss of custody and the horrible lies told to cover the crimes of men. Men who are stealing our children and holding them hostage, they feel this shame too. Victims of crime often do. Society forces it on them. These mothers may have endured years of abuse before trying to escape. For many of these women the shame they feel is mixed up with the remorse from having brought these men into the lives of their sweet children who they are now unable to protect.

The confusion of living in modern times, believing women in America have rights only to be betrayed and abused by the legal system is overwhelming and debilitating. This poly-victimization of women in today’s society must be studied in contrast to the false beliefs we hold about ourselves and our government. These men who are seeking revenge and foregoing the legal financial obligations must be identified and seen as criminals. We must help these ‘Good Mothers’, and pin the scarlet letter on the rightful owner. The ‘Super Dad’ as he may refer to himself….the new deadbeat dad, and stop rewarding the bully.

Vengeful Fathers frequently use the law and the legal system as a means of enforcing their rights and demands and for continuing to persecute their victims, both mothers and children. They can also be found abundantly in the cases referred to voluntary organizations involved in Domestic Violence support services and child advocacy work.

Mothers desperately both individually and collectively need to be vindicated and our Good Names restored. I remember cringing when they would say my name in court. To see my name in court documents. To be falsely accused and a judge believe the hearsay statement and make rulings like a no contact order with the child I was trying to protect. Not only victims of this nightmarish Legal Abuse, and DV by Proxy.

"And just as there is a special beauty and importance to relationships between mothers and their children, there is a special and extraordinary cruelty in the abusive man who attempts to break or weaken the mother-child bond, whether by turning children against their mother, by harming the children physically, sexually or psychologically, or by attempting to take custody of the children away from her.

"Our society is currently giving mothers a powerful and crazy-making mixed message. First, it says to mothers, “If your children’s father is violent or abusive to you or to your children, you should leave him in order to keep your children from being exposed to his behavior.” But then, if the mother does leave, the society many times appears to do an abrupt about-face, and say, “Now that you are split up from your abusive partner, you must expose your children to him. Only now you must send them alone with him, without you even being around anymore to keep an eye on whether they are okay. What do we want? Do we want mothers to protect their children from abusers, or don’t we?” - Lundy Bancroft, The Batterer as Parent

Not only the loss of your child and relationship, but your identity as Mother has been stolen from you. Once the abuser gets a win in court they use it to build on and validate their false claims in public. Now ten years later as I walk down the street in a town where I was a community organizer, teacher and volunteer I feel the sting of one who bares the scarlet letter. As I try to hold my head up parading myself through town, daring for someone to ask me about my Scarlet Letter, I still struggle with what society wants from me, what’s a mother to do?

"When courts blame victims and fail to hold abusers accountable, they reinforce abuser behavior, subvert justice, dis-empower 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., "Crisis in the Family Courts: Batterer Manipulation and Retaliation Denial and Complicity In the Family Courts

These Good Mothers are fighting a secret war in the United States and deserve our respect and support. Please help by contacting your Senator and asking for Federal Oversight Hearings on Child Abuse and Family Courts. Its time for us to create a National Policy, Safety First for Children of Domestic Violence.


"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.

"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 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 either lack understanding of domestic violence or intentionally collude with abusers to take away women's financial resources and, even worse, their children.

"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." - Coral Anika Theill, BONSHEA Making Light of the Dark

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