When family courts don’t believe the children

Just a little over a year ago, two six-year-old twin boys were sent to sole custody of their father.

Besides the bruises, lacerations, black eyes, abrasions, and genital injuries the boys regularly sustained after visitation with their father . . .

Besides the fact that one of the boys described the alleged abuse “through fearful tears in a cell phone video where his mother asked open-ended questions” . . .

Besides the fact that he gave the same account to five other authority figures who questioned him . . .

Besides the fact that one of the boys broke down crying to another caregiver, saying “I don’t want to go back there. I’m scared. He hurts me.” . . .

Besides the fact that a neighbor testified that the father threatened to kill her dogs and beat her sons . . .

Besides the fact that the father himself admitted  that he had used pornography, used prostituted women, and had “problems with impulse control sexually” . . .

The father, a decorated war hero with traumatic brain injuries, was given sole custody of the little boys, while the mother, a Harvard-trained anesthesiologist, was ordered bi-weekly supervised visitation.

Is it an isolated case?

If only.

Elizabeth Morgan ‘s young daughter had been court ordered to spend time with her father. But Elizabeth made headlines by choosing to spend over two years in jail rather than reveal where her daughter had been hidden away—who had shown compelling evidence of having been sexually abused by her father since the age of two, evidence that was ignored.

Can this be true in the land of the free?

The documentary No Way Out But One demonstrates the injustice of the American family court systems against abused mothers through the story of one mother who fled the country with her children and found political asylum in Holland.

Can this be the case in the home of the brave?

Could the U.S. family court systems really be enabling physical violence and incest against young children? Could they really be removing children from competent mothers and handing them over to violent fathers? Could they really be—when the mothers tell how horrifically they themselves have been abused—restricting mothers from even seeing their children?

Say it isn’t so.

And yet it is. It is so.

And it happens over.

And over.

And over.

And over.

Throughout the family court systems of the land of the free and the home of the brave.

58,000 per year

This is how many children in the United States are ordered into the custody of abusive parents, after their safe protective parent has attempted to get help through the family court system. This sobering statistic comes from The Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence (which shows here how they obtained that statistic).

Phyllis Chesler, author of Mothers on Trial: The Battle for Children and Custody,  identifies herself as having “been battling the Great American Custody Wars ever since the mid-1970s.” She says,

People . . . believed that only unfit mothers lost custody and that only very fit fathers obtained it. Mainly, the opposite is true.

Mainly, the opposite is true.

So mothers take drastic action, like running and hiding with their children—even to another country seeking political asylum.

Like sending their precious children away and going to jail in order to allow the child to live a life free of rape.

It’s long past time for the family court system to change.

It’s long past time to believe the protective parents.

It’s time to believe the children.