Thursday

Self-Esteem and Triggers

I did the jean test the other day: I tried on at least 5 pairs of old jeans that I had proudly put away last year because they were too big.

There were 5 other pair in there with them that I absolutely could not fit in the recent months because they were too tight.

Well, now, out of the jeans that I just pulled out, I can wear 3 pair. And I fit them like a nice body glove.

I went upstairs to verify it, and yep, I weigh as much as I did during my marriage while I was severely depressed due to the abuse. I didn't think it was a big deal at first, because when I look in the mirror, I don't feel big. But looking at the number on the scale reminded me of a place in time to which I never wanted to return.

I know I should eat better, start exercising again, blah, blah, blah, but I almost would rather be depressed . Seems easier. Fixated on this weight gain, I'm simultaneously angry and sad and feel like I'm sinking. But my brain just won't let me drown this time.

I'm fighting.

Contempt and the Protective Mother

The mother that I wrote about yesterday was found in contempt at the hearing today. Her (and the child's) punishment is that the child be returned to her father, and the mother is to have no contact with the child for the next month.

No contact. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

If the child is not returned (remember though, that she is refusing to go), the mother will be jailed.

Punish the mother, punish the child.

How can any real man/father stand by and watch this happen?

Wednesday

A Message from NCADV

I hope this goes forward...it would be about fucking time. Too bad Barbara Walters can't come back and stand in for this.

WE DID IT! The ABC News television show 20/20 has heard you loud and clear. They are now considering producing an hour-long story on a MOTHER who has suffered/is suffering from domestic violence and has had a negative experience within the family court system.

This is where YOU come in! If you have a story about a mother whose experience within family court resulted in (1) disbelief of her allegations of abuse and (2) her children being awarded to the abusive father, please submit it to the Public Policy Office no later than November 30, 2008. Be sure to place "ABC Custody Story" in the subject heading of your email or fax. There is no guarantee your story will be chosen.

We will inform you of 20/20's final decision and the show's air date. Thanks in advance!!!

Story Guidelines
1. No more than 1 page. If your story is chosen for further review, you can then provide additional details.
2. A mother who lost her children to the abusive father because her allegations of abuse (against her or her children) were found not credible.
3. Be willing to appear on television. Your identity can be concealed.
4. Contact information of the mother.
5. Contact information of the story submitter (if you are NOT the mother).
6. Submit to [email protected] or 202.745.0088 (fax).

Please email all questions to [email protected]


Contempt and A Protective Mother

There is a woman who, tomorrow, is faced with a contempt hearing brought on by her child's father. The daughter has been abused by the father and has decided, on her own accord, to refuse to return to her father's home.

The little girl told the police and her school. She's apparently had enough.

Now, mom will have to face this judge, who ignored the abuse evidence, to find out whether or not she will have to go to jail. She is prepared, she is fearless.

So many of us have to do this, so many children must go through this. It is a damn shame.

Monday

Joe the Wife Beater?

Is this Joe? Your hard-working, real-American citizen.


Sunday

Purple Ties

I've been meaning to say: I want to thank the men on MSNBC and CNN for wearing the beautiful purple ties...if it was intentional.

You know, breast cancer gets so much publicity because it has to do with a sexualized body part. But domestic violence gets hushed because it has to do with denial, power and control.

Friday

Family Violence and the Stars: Jennifer Hudson

I'm always on edge when I hear things on the news involving murder and missing children. Domestic violence. Custody. Domestic Violence.

I can't stop thinking about domestic violence as the cause of all crimes.

Please let me be wrong this time about what has happened to Jennifer Hudson's family. My heartbeat is on pause and my stomach has left the building.

Rapists and Your Children

So, rape is a crime. We know this. Under different categories of sexual assault, in different states, it can be a felony, or misdemeanor. If the accused is convicted, there is some prison time, perhaps some offender treatment.

The rapist is removed from society and punished because he is a danger.

If you have been accused as a sex offender you will be flagged by some neighborhoods, especially if near a school or daycare center. In Florida, thanks to the Jessica Lunsford Act, a sex offender will never be employed by the school district.

But...if your child's father is a rapist, sex offender, sexual assaulter, or whatever the hell you want to call him, he gets access to his own child[ren].

What's wrong with this picture?

My ex is a rapist. He wasn't convicted. I never said anything immediately after it happened to ME. I'm saying something now though---because he wants my kid.

Am I retaliating? Am I a vindictive-bitch-alienator?

No--unless you don't agree with protecting your child from a rapist.

Wednesday

Gag Order on Talking About the Fucked Up Court System

This isn't going to stop us from talking about it!

Attention: NO FREE SPEECH in Illinois

Re: Fred Flannigan & A Citizen's Voice, Shaw Publications & Bill Page and Robert Thomas's Empty Promise

It is one year after the settlement agreement made by Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Thomas in the Shaw Publications, Bill Pages case(s).....and there remains no equal treatment under the law and NO FREE PRESS. Neither the PEOPLE nor the PRESS have a right to "FREE" speech in the State of Illinois.

As two (2) of the three (3) intervenors (silenced without motions filed, yet by oral argument in federal case# 07 CV 3289, by the Office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan), Erin McRaith and I believe that Chief Justice Robert Thomas NEVER INTENDED to ensure a "free press" and equal treatment in the Judiciary that he heads as he publicly stated in his October 2007 settlement agreement. We believe his statement was a sham then and we believe can be proven to be a part of a scam now.

#1. We believe that the money given by Shaw Publications' insurance company, at the very least, was FRAUD.

#2. We believed and believe that Kane County Chronicle Editorial Writer Bill Page was/is 150+% accurate in his editorial comments regarding Illinois Supreme Court Justice Robert Thomas. We believe Robert Thomas "WRITES THE PLAY-BOOK" for the pattern of unequal, unjust and illegal practices. We believe the Illinois Supreme Court demonstrates "the game plan" to the entire Illinois Judiciary (where lower court judges are rewarded for unjust work with full circuit appointments and/or appellate level judgeships).

#3. Since August 7, 2008, Radio Host Fred Flannigan has spent Thursday nights on WKRS Radio focusing on the corruption in our nation's Family Courts and the cover-up of domestic violence and child abuse within the courts. While the telephone guests were national, the in-studio guests, like myself, brought the local stories back home with Illinois court cases.

Please find enclosed (below) a recent email sent to former WKRS-1220 AM Radio Host Fred Flannigan who was fired (effective Friday, October 10, 2008) from his popular show that had undergone dramatic increases in rating, with a national listener base, after the first family court corruption show was aired on Thursday, August 7, 2008

Just a few weeks ago in September 2008, Fred was a guest on CNN, drawing national attention to his show. Fred Flannigan's rating included large numbers of listeners tuning in over the Internet. While Fred's Thursday night show had a national listening audience giving the radio station the ability to attract large national advertiser contacts.....for no apparent valid business reason....Fred Flannigan was fired from WKRS Radio....and the station never pursued the national advertising dollars/venue.

Strangely, when Erin McRaith contacted WKRS radio inquiring about the reasons for Fred Flannigan firing and the cancellation of "A Citizen's Voice", Erin was told that it was for financial reasons....YET....Fred Flannigan was never paid by WKRS Radio or their parent company, Next Media Group. I do not know of a broadcast executive that would let a program be eliminated that had a national audience with an opportunity for large advertising venue. The only explanation is that some outside influence or high ranking public official(s) were against the topic of public corruption issue(s) on Fred Flannigan's popular "A Citizen's Voice" radio show.

The last Thursday night show was October 2, 2008. On this show, the callers were all local callers who told stories that demonstrated a pattern of what we believe is official misconduct involving the Lake County State's Attorney Michael J. Waller. We are finishing plans for a protest and will need you help in a telephone and email campaign to bring back Fred Flannigan and "A Citizen's Voice". Exposing the cover-up, in our American Courts, of child abuse and domestic violence hinges on Fred Flannigan's 1st Amendment Right to speak freely about this national crisis free from silencing tactics and retaliation! Fred was the only person who provided the forum for the public discussions!

Let's work together to bring back his show!

Sunday

From Feminists for Obama to RJ

Feminist Majority Launches Online PSAs Targeting McCain

If McCain and Palin win, Women Lose.

Eleanor Smeal, President of Feminist Majority, says, "Obama/Biden are running on the strongest platform for women's rights of any major party in U.S. history".

That's why Feminist Majority launched www.FeministsForObama.org, a side-by-side comparison of the Democratic and Republican nominees on four major women's issues: Violence Against Women, Abortion and Contraception, Women and Work, and Breast Cancer and Health Care.

To reach as many people as possible, Feminist Majority created three striking PSAs that illuminate some of the grave truths about the McCain/Palin record on women's issues.

One in Six

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fChyeoMJc3U

"Under Sarah Palin, rape survivors were forced to pay up to $1200 for rape evidence collection kits."

Unholy Trinity

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RFrEzQAOvM

"John McCain voted against funding to fight and prevent domestic violence."

Violation

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2w7ZZ5huKMk

"John McCain and Sarah Palin are running on a platform that seeks to outlaw a woman's right to an abortion even in cases of rape and incest."

Quick Facts

- Did you know Senator McCain voted against establishing the Army's Breast Cancer Research Program? This program, which started modestly, appropriated hundreds of millions to Breast Cancer research.

- Did you know Senator McCain opposes the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act? The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act would restore a woman's right to fight pay discrimination in court.

- Did you know Senator McCain has ducked questions on contraceptive insurance discrimination as recently as July 2008?

Visit www.FeministsForObama.org to read more.

Friday

The Scandal in Our Own Back Yard

By Talia Carner
author of Puppet Child

"There is something bad happening to our children in family courts today that is causing them more harm than drugs, more harm than crime and even more harm than child molestation, " said Judge Watson L. White from Cobb County, Georgia, Superior Court.

In researching for my book, Puppet Child, I discovered that "something bad" to be the judges, especially when it comes to adjudicating allegations of child sexual abuse.

In Clarke v. Cowles in California, eight-year-old Loren (not her real name) told her caseworker and later her psychological evaluator, "Daddy licks his fingers before he puts them in my vagina." The first report was suppressed by the judge, the latter was never presented at the trial. The father was awarded full custody while the mother received supervised visitations on the unproven assumption that she had brainwashed her daughter. Years later, after the girl wrote repeatedly to her caseworker about molestation, a judge refused to hear the evidence because the question of sexual abuse had been decided five years before.

Loren is only one child out of thousands being handed to their abuse rs. According to The American Judges Foundation, in 70 percent of cases in which abusive men ask for custody, they succeed in gaining full or joint custody. This national scandal is made possible by the secrecy within the Family Court System and by public disbelief in the scope of the problem. The very system designed to safeguard helpless children has become a national disgrace as injustice has reached epidemic proportions.

Whatever you have ever known about democracy becomes irrelevant at the gate to family court. There, one person is judge, jury and executioner. Paradoxically, a family court judge is the one professional in the courtroom who is not required to be trained in domestic violence and child abuse. As a result, wrapped in their own mix of prejudices, religious beliefs, or misguided assumptions, all too many judges are ignorant about the dynamics of family abuse, ignorant about the nature of child molestation, and ignorant about the ways in which an abuser manipulates the courtroom as the arena where he can hand a woman the final blow by taking her children away.

Although studies such as the one by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts Research in Denver—an organization which mothers' groups claim is biased against women—shows that at least two thirds of sexual abuse allegations made by a child were proven to be substantiated (the one third unsubstantiated are not necessarily false.) Yet a study by the California Protective Parents Association found that 91 percent of fathers identified by their children as sexual predators received full or partial unsupervised custody—while in 54 percent of these same cases the non-abusing mother was placed on supervised visitations.

How is that possible? Here are some of the more glaring errors the courts perpetuate:

o Viewing children as property. When the crime of sexual abuse is committed upon a child who lives next door, the perpetrator is subject to harsh jail punishment. The same abuse committed upon one's own child is likely to result in a father getting sole custody. Behind this unfair ruling is the lingering feudal tradition that regards children as the property of their father s.

o Mistaking controlling men for loving fathers. Used to getting their way and given to expressions of anger, controlling men fight hard in the court they regard as a boxing ring. Having seen too many men walk away from their children, judges often mistake for love a father's unwillingness to let go of the child who has become both a sexual object and a weapon against a mother trying to get away from her husband's control.

o Favoring the Parental Alienation Syndrome theory. PAS maintains that a child has been brainwashed to give false testimony. Not listed in the American Psychiatric Association manual, PAS is refuted and considered bogus theory by nationally recognized academic and clinical institutions— and by a 1999 Congressional act (VAWA). In fact, the lone advocate who coined the term, Richard Gardner, has also written that "pedophilia is natural." Nevertheless, increasingly, legions of children are removed from their mothers' care under the PAS theory.

o Tolerance of child sexual abuse. A Tennessee judge granted visitation rights to Ralph Gonnella two weeks after he had been arrested for taking sexually explicit photographs of his seven-year-old son. In California, Manuel Saavedra, a convicted sex offender who had pleaded guilty to lewd conduct with a child was awarded custody of his two daughters. All across America, convicted pedophiles—a crime known for its high rate of recidivism —are given access to their children.

o Refusing to stigmatize a man as a pedophile.A 1996 report by The American Psychological Association states, "women seldom make false reports of child abuse or battering." Yet in case after case, when a father is found to be sexually abusive, judges suppress evidence. While many judges, many of whom are fathers, do not truly believe that sexual abuse exists, they also do not wish to venture into the criminal arena of pedophilia due to overlapping jurisdiction between civil and criminal courts.

o Not following the law. In demanding burden of proof of sexual molestation that supercedes the required "preponderance of evidence" and instead seeking the criminal definition of "beyond a reasonable doubt," judges often demand dates, times or witnesses that are impossible for a child to provide. Interestingly, the same judges demand no proof when speculating that at the roots of the sexual abuse complaint is the mother's coaching the child.

o Misogyny. In Virginia, Kathy Wade was told by the judge handing Kathy's two-year-old daughter to the sexually abusive father, "This is what you get when you don't have a lawyer." In Florida, Judge Paul Marko told Marianne Price: "The singles' bars are full of guys… you go and find one." In Michigan, Judge Gregory Pittman ordered a couple shackled together after the woman complained that her former husband had violated the order of protection. Routinely, American women are denied the right to due process, are subject to ex parte hearings, and are victims of perjury or illegal out-of-state jurisdictions.

Through it all, children are at a disadvantage because they are dependent upon mothers with no or poor legal representation and who are short on financial resources to wage protracted legal battles and appeals. (Professionals in the field report increasing support for men from well-financed fathers' groups.) Moreover, men, poised and collected and surrounded by a legal team, "look good" in court when compared with frightened, distraught mothers, whom judges often view as hysterical, paranoid and vindictive. Yet all across the nation, behind every case in which a woman's constitutional rights are being ignored in family court there are children needing protection. Instead, they receive a life sentence without parole.

Public disbelief guards the system from exposure. There are child services, therapists, and legal guardians who commit atrocious mistakes. But ultimately, the untrained judges are the ones responsible for saving the children. While I met compassionate family court judges, the shocking overall picture of injustice indicates that they are in the minority. Until the public grasps the scope of the scandal in our own backyard and holds judges accountable for the grand scale in which children are being removed from the custody of good mothers to be placed with pedophiles, we are facing a national shame of catastrophic proportions.

Wednesday

Violence on the Rise

Can you believe it? They have finally figured out here that this financial crisis is linked to an increase in violence.

Haven't we known since the dawn of time that poverty and violence are linked?

When I was a domestic violence victim, most of our marital problems had to do with the fact that we were poor.

So now that America finally knows, what are you going to do about it? I need some VAWA money, a bailout, or something...

Tuesday

Yemen & Pakistan, Children & Sex

I am writing this post to call attention to the two Google searchers in the past seven days, one from Yemen, and one from Pakistan, who did a search for "children sex" and ended up on my site. Luckily, you ended up on this post, but I suppose it wasn't quite what you were looking for, you sick fucks.

Friday

What About the Statistics?

I read a lot....A LOT of stuff all around the internet. What disturbs me most aren't the ignorant articles that people write about violence against women, it is the commentary that men and women (mostly men) write in response.

I continue to see three main arguments surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault statistics:

1. that they are inflated by advocates
2. that there is an abundance of false allegations, and
3. men and women commit violent acts at the same rate

Now, I could go on reciting statistics and quotes from the CDC and other websites, but if you already disbelieve the sources, then those numbers are irrelevant. And sometimes statistics can show whatever you want them to. As a researcher, I understand that.

But sometimes, common sense is the best knowledge, sometimes.

Think for a moment, or two moments, back as far as you can about crimes. Who were your serial killers? Who were your college campus stalkers? Who were the robbers? Who did the drive-bys? Who came and killed his family or someone else's family? Who kidnapped? Who went to war and tortured? Who did you see on the news? Who fills the prisons? Is it men? Has this changed?

Now think again. How long have women had the right to vote? I ask this because that was the beginning of women having any rights at all. What happened to women before this time?

Think some more. What benefits are derived by making false allegations of domestic violence and rape? A house, a car, money? Is that worth it?

Talk to a rape victim and see what pleasure she received from reporting the rape and having the perpetrator punished by the law. Talk to her and see...that there is no justice.

If a rape victim isn't walking around with torn clothes, ripped panties, a tear-stained face, bruises, and semen dripping from her vagina then there is no justice that can be achieved for her. Because of this, women won't report it. Why should they? Who wants to get fucked all over again by a different set of people?

The statistics do not represent the actual number of victims. It never will. The number is too high to imagine. And people don't want to believe that this world is that cruel. People don't want to believe that this is reality in the United States. Maybe only bad Black people in war torn countries assault their women.

Instead of attacking the statistics and supposed false allegations, think about how you can be a part of the solution to stopping violence, period.

Tuesday

What I Want

I came across the website This is What Women Want a few months ago. I totally forgot to share it with everyone until I was reintroduced to it by another blog I was reading last night.

Please check it out. Get some shit off your chest. I hope that the Center for New Words really does something with the information...like make a big document and mail it to Congress and the next President...oh yeah, and to Hillary Clinton.

This is What I Want, and so is this. I could personally fill up their website on a daily basis....maybe I will....

This Is What Women Want


Other good ones:
one
two
three
four

Monday

Not So Golden Arches

I suppose that now, you can't even be safe at McDonald's while standing in line to place your order. What does society have to say when a grown man can BOX (as in right-left-right) a teenage girl in the face, while other young girls are watching, along with his own little boys. Watch it here.

And what do you tell the children? Is this one time okay? And so begins the cycle of violence...

To those of you who continue to claim that domestic violence statistics are inflated, get a fucking clue.

And dear silent Black America, reflect upon the stats quoted in this article.

Sunday

Lindsay Ann Burke Act

Congratulations to Rhode Island for enacting the Lindsay Ann Burke Act which will require that middle and high schoolers learn about teen dating violence.

But unfortunately, it always takes a death for people to do something...I hate being reactive instead of proactive. I hate it!!

Why must women and children continue to die?

I have been saying, and will continue to say, that if you want to have change, if you want to establish a movement, you have to utilize the youth. Teenagers are a powerful force that will continue to carry the movement forward. It is critical to include them.

I can't remember what I was taught about dating violence in school. I feel that the topic was covered, but the idea seemed so irrelevant to me.

Please make it relevant to our youth. Educate them so that they recognize the signs. Educate them so that this will stop. Please support this in your state.

Saturday

I Don't Know, O.J.

I awoke this morning to discover that O.J. Simpson is guilty as charged. I don't know what to think because I have conflicting emotions regarding the entire situation.

We all know that he was found not guilty of murdering his wife and her friend. Not guilty, which means, the absence of enough information to prove him guilty. Not guilty, which is not the same as innocent.

Am I trying to imply that he did murder them? Not exactly. Only O.J., Nicole, and Ron (and the Lord) can be certain. But my problem is that there was a history of domestic violence--from phone calls to photographs.

Yes, it seemed that the Black community rejoiced when O.J. was "freed," and White America was mad as hell; but, it wasn't that simple. It wasn't that we all believed his innocence, it was more so that we had be lifted from oppression in which the Black man had been set free of White accusations. "We won."

Historically, White women have accused Black men of "stuff" since...forever. This time, it didn't work. We were vindicated...liberated.

But were we?

As a people, perhaps. As Black women?...we are caught in a bind...one that, when forced to defend ourselves we choose defending our race, protecting our men. Our sex--status as a women--is secondary to the cause.

Maybe we've totally fucked up all this time and have been protecting the guilty...and where has this gotten us? We are still not free. We suffer the most out of anyone here in the U.S.

And I don't want to paint us as helpless victims. Black women have conquered many barriers and risen in situations of absolute destitution. We continue to fight.

Back to O.J.

Because we know that White America had a vengeance for O.J., could he ever get a break? Maybe he's been hunted for the past decade and now, finally, captured so that he could pay for his old crimes. I don't think that there could have been any impartial jury of his peers in the entire Americas.

Is this fair? Is this payback? Is there redemption?

I don't know, O.J.

Friday

Rape & Murder, Right Here in D.C.

This one wasn't a familial crime, but it damn sure was a familiar one. A 22 year old raped and murdered his elderly neighbor. Plain fucking disgusting.

Men, Drugs, Rape, and Murder

Now, you may begin to think that maybe I have a fear of men, or better still, that I'm a man-hater. That couldn't be further from the truth. However the power and control that men exert over women is why male on female violence exists. And, sadly to say, that violence often occurs within families. See here.

What are we to do?

Thursday

The Wheel: Power & Control

For those of you who have seen the following image, doesn't it bring back memories?
When I walked into my local domestic violence center, I had no idea what to expect. I was frightened by my visions of what may lie behind those doors. My fear wasn't alleviated when they requested my ID. Nor was it alleviated as I gained access to a waiting room which was behind locked doors.

I sat there anxiously wondering if women and children were going to come in with bruises and blood, or if some angry husband would gain access and come shoot us all up. I positioned myself so that I could see every door and every angle.

When the counselor called me back, she handed me informational papers, one, by one. It wasn't until I left that I actually reviewed the content. I looked at the Power and Control Wheel and thought,
Damn, this is domestic violence?
Never could I have imagined that family violence could encompass so many things. Surely I qualified, but so did a lot of other women I knew, and sadly they don't know.

Different Attorney, Same Shit

They say when you are seeking the services of an attorney, you need to survey him for his legal expertise and experience in the matter at hand--you have to shop around.

Well, I called the legal aid clinic that disgusted me previously to see what a different attorney would say. It was a man this time and when he spoke, dread filled my body. I can't seem to be comfortable with any man representing my family's interests.

I gave him the run down and his final answer was:
If the abuse was a long time ago, and you haven't presented it previously to the court, then it is not going to be considered.
Okay, so I wasn't surprised. NOTHING surprises me anymore. I've already heard this, from everyone. The point is, I'm sick and tired of hearing this shit from attorneys.

What part about family violence do people still not understand? Oh, most of it.

I wouldn't have reported this to the court during the time period in which the abuse occurred because, it would have left my family in a precarious situation.  I didn't report it during the divorce because it wasn't necessary:  I had the only thing I wanted--my kids. So, I brought it up when it was crucial and threatening our existence--during the visitation/custody modifications.

Which part is so hard to understand?

I wish attorneys would stop engaging conversations about how NOT to protect us, and start examining the laws and defending the truth.

Wednesday

October 1

October 1 marks the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. However it is important to acknowledge that this time is shared with Breast Cancer Awareness and National SIDS, Pregnancy, and Infant Loss Awareness.

Astrologically, October is concerned with equality, fairness, and justice.

What an important time for women! Let us unite, remember, rejoice, and continue fighting in the struggle.



"The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life."--Jane Addams