Society gives women a mixed message.  We tell women being abused, and especially those who are also mothers, that they need to leave the relationship.  We tell them that domestic violence is also child abuse according to the law, and that they should leave.  That if they don’t leave, they may have their children taken away from them for “failure to protect.”  We tell them to get a restraining order for themselves and their children because that will protect them.  It will not. It only gets the police to respond faster when they call for help and it is a piece of paper that a judge requires for his/her proof that you are a victim of abuse. You have an obligation to leave.

Society is under the impression that once she leaves the abusive relationship that she will get justice in the family court system and they will help protect and give her economic justice. But nothing is further from the truth.  After all, the legal system is there to help victims of crime to get justice.  But this is far from the truth. Her experience of abuse is just getting started in the legal system called Family Court who adds to the abuse of the man/partner she was in a relationship with and she is still in peril.  The Dept of Justice did a study called the Saunders study.  Dr. Saunders researched  how the process’s of the Family court worked.  What he found out was that those working with and in the Family Courts are not trained adequately nor qualified to work with domestic violence and its victims and/or batterers.  They are NOT trained appropriately in domestic violence and/or domestic violence and child sexual abuse.  They cannot adequately  make appropriate decisions and judgments because of this lack of training.  Judges, attorneys, Guardian at litem (children’s attorneys/representative’s), parenting evaluators, mediators, child protective service workers – all are not adequately trained resulting in the addition of home terrorism into legal terrorism into the lives of these women and children.

The CDC conducted a study called the “A” study  which is one of the largest medical studies conducted to assess the healthcare consequences of children who are exposed to toxic stress. What they found was that toxic stress caused by living in a home with domestic violence, sexual abuse, a drug/alcoholic parent , or being separated from your primary protective parent will cause immediate injuries and illnesses and long term injuries and illnesses that will shorten their lives by up to 20 years.  CHILDREN WITNESSING ABUSE CAUSES TRAUMATIC STRESS TYPES I AND II WHICH IMPACTS A CHILD’S FUNCTIONING, PSYCHOLOGICAL AND EMOTIONAL HARM TO THEIR PERSON AND LIFETIME PROBLEMS.

Other problems for victims of abuse:

  1. Some of the leading causes of death in our nation are: heart disease, depression, anxiety, cancer, stress, and lack of social support.  All of these and more are found in family terrorism victims.  More consequences of being a victim are:
  2. Trauma Reaction (PTSD)
  3. Trauma Arousal (Adrenaline Addiction)
  4. Trauma Blocking
  5. Trauma Splitting (Trauma Escape)
  6. Trauma Abstinence (Compulsive Deprivation)
  7. Trauma Shame (Trauma Distrust)
  8. Trauma Repetition
  9. Trauma Bonds

Family Court helps abusers and becomes an abuser – I call them “court terrorists”  – due to lack of good decision making from lack of training.  I also want to add here that there is no qualifications for judges who are presiding over these cases and no oversight of those judges as family court oversight is by family court.  There is no domestic violence certification requirement, no psychological evaluation of judges before being made a judge, no history of domestic violence or child abuse in their background and the same with attorneys, guardian-ad-litems, child evaluators, mediators and you can see we can go on and on with those working with the courts in these cases. Another lie that is used against a victim protecting herself and her children, is a thing called Parental Alienation Syndrome – a syndrome THAT IS JUNK SCIENCE, that has never been put into the DSM yet used as gospel truth by mental health professionals, attorneys and judges to abuse a protective parent.  It takes children away from a victim of abuse who does not want her/his children exposed to a abuser and creator of trauma and tells the courts the children should not be given visitation, co-custody, etc. due to the harm it will continue to cause a child or children.  It is a false and unfounded “syndrome” used in family court that devastates victims and families and harms children for the rest of their lives. It is part of the “lack of education” by professionals which causes life long trauma on children.

What is the commonality in all of this?  What has been going on for centuries – women and children have second class status.  We know that European Common Law came to the United States with the settlers which said it was okay to beat your wife and children as long as it was with a switch no bigger than the girth of the man’s thumb.  That women and children were the man’s “property” and that he had every right to do whatever he wanted with them.  So when we have this continuing prevailing societal belief that women are second class, property, men are in charge of their women and can do what they want with them – then we have that coming into the court system and its beliefs about women.  Women are not equal in family court or society.

What can we do?  Get informed, get trained, get together as a society to demand court reform.  We need to support our victims and it is not okay for anyone, including family court, to abuse you, bankrupt you through long legal cases by an abuser using it against a victim, by attorneys charging enormous amounts of money to “represent” an victim (and they are not trained adequately to do that representation), and to have judges who are not looking at evidence, listening to experts in abuse, allowing a vexatious litigant to get away with long, money draining court cases so that a victim ends up penniless, homeless, and beat up legally. This is unconscionable when a woman is trying to get her freedom from abuse and protect her children from their life of abuse as well.

Now let’s also add to all of the above the fact that attorneys, law enforcement and others lie to a victim during this process.  I have had victims who I told to call law enforcement when necessary to protect themselves and their children, who did that.  The law enforcement officers lied to them and said they weren’t giving out emergency restraining orders anymore or that they would not take a report because it didn’t fall under their mandates for taking a report and on and on.  They know victims of abuse will not demand that the report be made or the emergency restraining order be given and will walk away defeated because of learned helplessness. I have seen judges in the court room telling a victim they deserved what they got from their abuser, calling victims “weak”, “dumb”, “emotional” and on and on.  It is outrageous what judges will do to a victim of abuse and society doesn’t have a clue that this is going on because society was taught the “justice” prevails in court.  Reality is this:  Family Court is broken and is a garbage pit for victims of abuse and their children.  Children get taken away from their loving and protective parent and given to the predator/perpetrator/abuser every day because of the lack of training mentioned, the misogyny in law enforcement and judges, gender bias that is conscious and unconscious, and the societal attitude of women and children being second class citizens.   Victims are also told to drop their restraining orders, just work it out for the children’s sake, you will not get custody and be able to co-parent, you will not have money to take care of your children if you have your abuser thrown in jail, you will be kicked out of the country because you are not a citizen, and on and on.   These lies heap more “helplessness” feeling and “lie abuse” into the lives of these women.

Family Court is a 50 Billion dollar business. So keeping women and their family in crisis, not providing protections, not getting adequate training, not having psych evaluations and history on judges, attorneys, and others, are all designed to keep this 50 Billion dollar business going. The Bar Association participates, the Judicial Council in every state participates, Child Protective Services participates, mediators participate and law enforcement participates.  No matter where a victim of abuse turns, the systems where she thinks she will get justice and protection fail her and her children.

Research shows us that most victims of abuse are women.  But the men who find themselves as victims of female abuse also find the same reality when they go to court.  Research also shows us that most child sexual abusers when there is domestic violence are also the fathers of these children.  80 % of all children sexually abused are by their father. They all find themselves in a perpetual downward spiral no matter where they turn.

Society fails them.  We fail them.

It is society’s responsibility to get educated and stop thinking “she deserves it because she stays”, or “if it was as bad as she says she would have left him long ago”, “women are emotional and over dramatic”, and on and on.  We have to understand that these women/men are our brothers and sisters.  They are our family.  The children growing up under our failure to get educated and demand court reform and education in domestic violence for all who work with and around domestic violence cases.  We can’t fix what we don’t know about or refuse to get educated about.  We need to stop allowing Family Court to be a “secret” in its harm and in its oversight.  We don’t allow the fox to watch the hen house as the saying goes.

Research was done on prisoners of war and victims of terrorism in their home and it was found that they have the same outcomes and the same techniques are used on both populations.  Terrorism is in the home causing children to grow up with a lifetime of problems.

Ask yourself what you can do to help the victims of abuse to get “justice” in the court system. What are you willing to do to help victims of abuse personally and not have the attitude of “other people will help them” and accept the fact that every victim of abuse is one of our family members and we need to do something to protect them.  DECIDE TO ADVOCATE AND EDUCATE. Then please go and do what you can do to reverse the abuse of the court system and home terrorism.  Victims, both adult and child, deserve our support!