Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mothers of Lost Children Washington DC trip

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CA Protective Parents Association
Mothers of Lost Children Washington DC trip

Dear Friends,

Last week in Washington DC was extraordinary! Even though Mothers Day is tragically bittersweet for mothers who have lost their children to abusers through family court, mothers and advocates are mobilizing to petition our government for a redress of our grievances.

The following may be way too much information. Feel free to take what you like and leave the rest.

Sunday May 6 - Mothers and supporters came from nearby and far away: Hawaii, Iowa, Rhode Island, California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maryland, Colorado, Washington DC, and more. The women of Strengthen Our Sisters domestic violence center and director Dr. Sandra Ramos came from New Jersey in their van to support us. It was a huge effort for everyone to make the trip to Washington DC. We honor everyone who came, and those whose prayers lifted us up.

We gathered at the White House, holding our huge signs and white "Mothers of Lost Children" t shirts, looking like the impressive team we are becoming. The march around the White House grounds began at noon. With a police motorcycle escort stopping traffic for us, it took over an hour to march almost 2 miles down 17th Street, across Constitution Ave, up 14th Street, then back to 1600 Pennsylvania Street.

After a short rest and some food and more protesting, we marched around a second time. During this part of the march, we finally found the right chant: "Why are batterers and child molesters getting custody?" "Ask US!" We got attention and people began asking for our handouts. An impromptu speak out began around 3 pm. We stood in a line with the banners waving, and one by one, mothers stood forward and told their story. The crowd was stunned.

After stopping for dinner we returned at 7 pm for a candlelight vigil at dusk, which was interrupted by others seeking attention for their causes. In the end, we stood in the silence of the evening with our beautiful candles held by beautiful strong mothers in front of the brightly lit White House. We will post the photos and videos on the Mothers of Lost Children website.

Feel free to use our handout:

Your tax dollars are being used to injure children.

Here's how works:
  • A mother leaves her husband because of domestic violence.
  • The child, feeling safe at last, discloses that her father is also abusing her.
  • Child protective services workers close the case because the mother provides safety.
  • Child support enforcement garnishes the father's wages for child support.
  • The father, enraged at the loss of his victimized family, being accused of child abuse, and the indignity of paying child support to his victims, rushes into family court.
  • The father, assisted by fatherhood programs, has a lawyer. The mother does not.
  • Judges, evaluators, investigators, mediators, parenting coordinators, and other court related professional are mis-trained to be highly skeptical of women and children who allege abuse in custody situations, even though the research shows the exact opposite.
Guess who wins?
  • Research shows 70% of batterers who request custody receive custody.
  • Over 90% of children of divorce who report sexual abuse are not protected.
  • Every year, 58,000 children of divorce are placed with abusers, their lives destroyed.
  • $500 MILLION over 3 grant years goes to the Fatherhood Initiative to help irresponsible fathers, particularly ex-prisoners, with legal advice and help in custody cases.
  • $4 BILLION per year goes to child support enforcement, creating a perverse financial incentive for abusive deadbeat dads to get custody and child support.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights found the United States is violating human rights of battered mothers and children
Our country points fingers at other nations. We need to look long and hard at ourselves.

How can you help?

Ask your US Senators and Congress member to hold Federal oversight hearings on the
failure of family courts and child protective services to keep children of divorce safe.
Senator: Congress:

Thank you for caring. The plight of these raped and tortured children affects all of us.
"What is done to children they will do to society." Karl Menninger, M.D.

Mothers of Lost Children

Monday May 7 - A delegation of mothers gathered at the historic Sewall Belmont House at 144 Constitution Ave beside the U.S. Senate buildings. This lovely museum was the headquarters of the suffragists who changed the course of our lives. We owe so much to them, yet the work is not done. We are not truly free or equal citizens until we can protect ourselves and our children from domestic violence and sexual assault.

"It is incredible to me that any woman should consider the fight for full equality won. It has just begun. There is hardly a field, economic or political, in which the natural and unaccustomed policy is not to ignore women...Unless women are prepared to fight politically they must be content to be ignored politically."-Alice Paul, NWP National Chairman, 1920

The U.S. women's movement had its beginnings in 1848 when Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott called the Seneca Falls Convention in New York to "discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of woman."

This was our Seneca Falls meeting, to strategize how to end the barbarism of batterers and child molesters getting custody when mothers seek safety.

Co-sponsors included the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV); National Association to Protect Children (PROTECT); National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS); Battered Mothers Custody Conference (BMCC); Justice For Children (JFC); Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project (DV LEAP); National Organization for Women - Albany; Center for Judicial Excellence
(JFC); Witness Justice; California Protective Parents Association (CPPA); Mothers of Lost Children; Courageous Kids Network; and Incest Survivors Speakers' Bureau (ISSB).

The title of the meeting was Turning Family Court Right Side Up: From a Haven for Abusers to a Sanctuary for Children. Each panel speaker provided three top solutions to the problem. (Unfortunately, time constraints prevented hearing from everyone we wanted to have speak.) We compiled and voted on the most helpful solutions.

Some top solutions need to be done by our coalition: a massive campaign to expose the problem of children being given to abusers with an emphasis on the $500 billion dollars that would be saved if abuse is stopped, and complaints about unethical mental health professionals.

Other top solutions need to be done by our government: Federal oversight and elimination of Federal funding that fuels the problem.

Please contribute your top three solutions, if you wish, to to add to the list.

In the afternoon, we were trained on effective ways to approach Federal elected officials or their aides:

- Have a team of 4 well-prepared delegation members.

- Keep meetings to 15 minutes.

- Wear business suits with a white Mothers of Lost Children t shirt on top.

- One person introduces the team and frames the issue: For example, "There is a systemic failure to protect children when their parents separate and divorce. When children report abuse, they are often taken from their safe mothers and placed with their identified batterers and molesters. Many protective mothers are placed on supervised visitation or no contact."

- One person gives a synopsis of her history. For example, "I left my marriage after being beaten by my husband. My daughter reported that her father was also beating her. CPS and law enforcement closed the case. Her father went to family court and got custody of her by saying that I alienated her. I am on supervised visitation even though I am the safe parent."

- One person cites statistics to show this is a much larger problem:

- One person makes a request: "We request Federal oversight hearings to investigate and bring attention to this grave issue which leads to injury and death to our children."

Tuesday May 8 - We visited Senate aides to request Federal oversight hearings. We provided packets that included letters from mothers and cases histories printed from website.

We were asked by several puzzled and concerned aides, "Why would anyone place a child at risk?" The answers are complex, but everyone can understand that batterers with money hire attorneys who keep cases in litigation until the battered mother are bankrupt and cannot afford an attorney. Unrepresented, the mothers lose custody, especially if the judge is unethical.

You can provide the following information if requested.

U.S. Sacrificing Mothers and Children: Family Courts Behind an Epidemic of Pedophilia & Judicial Abuseby Keith Harmon Snow May 2012.

The Southern Poverty Law Center - abusive fathers' rights war on women by Arthur Goldwag 2012

No Way Out But One by Garland Waller

US Department of Justice study on custody evaluators by Daniel Saunders 2011

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights finds the United States is committing human rights violations against battered mothers and their children in August 2011.

The United Nations states the United States is breaching human rights of domestic violence victims in August 2011

California Family Courts Helping Pedophiles, Batterers GetChild Custody by Peter Jamison March 2, 2011

Dr Phil Family Court Crisis April 14, 2010

I-Team Examines High Costs Of Family Court November 1, 2009
Parents Say They Are Drained Of Money By Court Professionals

Family Court Crisis - Center for Judicial Excellence

Washington Times 2008

Breaking the Silence Featured on PBS 60 Minutes in 2005

Custodians of Abuse by Kristen Lombardi 2003

A few good websites

A few unethical judges

We also attended two Congressional events.

The first event was the annual Congressional celebration for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with Congressional leadership at the U.S. Capitol Visitors' Center. Mothers of Lost Children met with several Congress members at that function.

The second event was a Congressional briefing on stopping abuse, sponsored by the National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan (NPEIV) and Stop Abuse Campaign

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention speaker C. Schwartz discussed statistics and the effects of abuse on children and society of this public health epidemic.
  • The landmark Adverse Childhood Experience Study was referenced.
  • Andrew Willis from Stop Abuse Campaign spoke movingly about the extent and damage done by abuse.
  • Mildred Mohammad (former wife of the Beltway Sniper) said that 58,000 children were placed with their abusers every year.
  • Bob Geffner, PhD, a driving force in creating NPEIV, spoke on the effort needed to stop abuse in 25 years.
  • Christopher Anderson spoke about hope and healing after sexual abuse.
  • Mothers of Lost Children spoke out at the question and answer time, asking for help to stop the current abuse of their children. Their testimony added a powerful, direct and emotional reality to the excellent academic statistics and outcomes.

This was the fifth educational event to the U.S. Congress and Senate on child abuse and violence in the past eight months (Congressional hearings on October 11, 2011, October 12, 2011, and March 2012, and a Senate hearing on December 13, 2011 at which Senator Barbara Boxer from California testified.

Wednesday May 9 - We had coffee and photos with Senators. It is clear that 15-20 mothers wearing white Mothers of Lost Children t shirts over business suits is effective. We met with U.S. Senate and Congressional aides, and many agreed that oversight hearings would be a good beginning.


Next steps:
We plan another trip to Washington DC in October 2012, Domestic Violence month. Please join us.

Meanwhile, there is much to do on a local level.

We can approach our U.S. Senators and Congress members with one voice to insist on Federal oversight hearings. We can ask them to be our champion.

This is an election year. Congress members are especially responsive to our needs. They are listening. They certainly don't want us writing letters to the editor saying they support batterers and child molesters. They want letters to the editor saying how responsive they are to child safety.

We were told by some aides that system failures are strictly state issues. However, we have tried for a decade to reform the California family court system through changes to law and policy, and it has not stopped the problem. Since the practice of giving children to batterers and child molesters is a pattern occurring throughout the country fueled by Federal funds, It must be addressed at the Federal level.

You can remind Federal officials that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in the Jessica Lenahan Gonzales versus the United States decision found that the United States is committing human rights violations, and recommended multifaceted legislation at the federal and state levels to protect women and children from domestic violence, and to create effective implementation mechanisms with adequate resources. (page 53)

If our taxpayer dollars are being used to harm domestic violence child victims, instead of protecting them, through systematic failures by multiple organizations including family courts in multiple states, our elected Federal representatives need to investigate this serious breach in our child safety net.

You may be able to meet directly with your Congress member with a delegation of 3 or 4 people. If not, meeting with the legislative aide is very important, since the aides advise their Congress members. Enter your zip code at to find your representative.

The purpose of meeting is to educate, so it is important to keep the presentation short and formal. You can provide a one-page synopsis of your history if you wish.

We are moving forward and want to thank you for your wonderful help. We are inspired by your courage, strength, and perseverance.

The Low Road by Marge Piercy

What can they do to you?
Whatever they want.
They can set you up,
they can bust you,
they can break your fingers,
they can burn your brain with electricity,
blur you with drugs till you can't walk, can't remember,
they can take your child,
wall up your lover.
They can do anything
you can't stop them from doing.

How can you stop them?
Alone, you can fight,
you can refuse,
you can take what revenge you can
but they roll over you.

But two people fighting back to back can cut through a mob,
a snake-dancing file can break a cordon,
an army can meet an army.
Two people can keep each other sane,
can give support, conviction, love, massage, hope, sex.
Three people are a delegation, a committee, a wedge.
With four you can play bridge and start an organization.
With six you can rent a whole house,
eat pie for dinner with no seconds,
and hold a fund raising party.

A dozen make a demonstration.
A hundred fill a hall.
A thousand have solidarity and your own newsletter;
ten thousand, power and your own paper;
a hundred thousand, your own media;
ten million, your own country.

It goes on one at a time.
It starts when you care to act.
It starts when you do it again,
after they said no,
it starts when you say We
and know who you mean, and each day,
you mean one more.
Connie Valentine
CA Protective Parents Association

| P. O. Box 15284 | Sacramento | California | 95851

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