CA Protective Parents Association
Mothers of Lost Children Washington DC trip
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
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. www.mothers-of-lost-children.com
Feel free to use our handout:
IN A GREAT RECESSION, YOUR TAX DOLLARS ARE USED TO HURT CHILDREN
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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
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 email@example.com 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:
This is happening to over 58,000 children per year. www.leadershipcouncil.org. One child every 10 minutes is placed with an abuser in a national pattern and practice.
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHRA) and the United
Nations found that the United States is breaching the human rights of
domestic violence victims and recommend federal and state remedies. "It's
a huge embarrassment for a nation which considers itself to be among
the most equal in the world - and the kind of slap on the wrist that the
UN normally administers to nations with dismal human rights records." http://www.channel4.com/news/us-breaching-human-rights-of-domestic-violence-victims
- 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
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 www.protectiveparents.com 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
You can provide the following information if requested.
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.
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
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.
WHAT CAN EACH OF US DO NOW?
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.
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. http://www.law.miami.edu/hrc/pdf/USPU12626EN.pdf (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 http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ 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
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.
CA Protective Parents Association