|Subject:||CPPA Newsletter - Please Contact Your Congressmember|
|Date:||Sat, 15 Jun 2013 17:31:27 -0400 (EDT)|
|From:||CA Protective Parents Association <email@example.com>|
On June 5, 2013 the California Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) unanimously voted to audit Child Protective Services in three California counties. There was big rally before the JLAC hearing which was excellent - it gathered people to protest and to testify at the hearing.
Protective Parents Speak Out at the California Joint Legislative Audit Committee Hearing on Auditing CPS. http://calchannel.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=7&clip_id=1346 Starting at 41:00 of the hearing, protective moms Christina, Malinda, and Cindy Dumas from Safe Kids International speak to the committee about how CPS is failing children. Cindy speaks about the concept of initiating new legislation to take criminal investigations out of CPS and Family Courts where they do substandard investigations. Damon Moelter speaks for the children in support of the audit. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_psucBLYcqk
The parallels and crossover with family court are clear: CPS takes children from safe families and leaves them with dangerous families; family court takes children from safe mothers and gives them to dangerous fathers.
If family court and CPS have not kept your child safe from violence and sexual abuse in the LA and San Diego areas, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. She is collecting cases and making comprehensive binders to present to Assembly member Donnelly.
If you want to join an interactive list and find out about protesting in different areas, contact Melissa at email@example.com or go to www.mothersoflostchildren.org.
Good Judge blasts Colorado's Adams County Social Services http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36b-n8YpOgs
We hope you all meet with your own Congress members to insist on oversight hearings on the failure of family courts to protect children.
See below for documents provided to every US Senator and a handful of Congress members on May 13, the National Safe Child Coalition (NSCC) lobbying day in Washington D.C.
We encourage you to make an appointment with your own Congress member's office in your local area and provide information on the crisis in family court. Our request for oversight hearings on the systemic failure of family court to keep children safe and for a Congressional Resolution will only happen with your help!
- NSCC letter to Congress: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RU6nRv91Tni6rrrK20w4b_Wx6t3FQKCFn6Ag3UrSW6M/edit?usp=sharing
- BMCC_2013_Joint_Resolution_true_FINAL: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Q1VXTrEciHwa5P3BhKx0G_BVA_6e4TmdT9K5j4YAdcE/edit?usp=sharing
- PROTECTIVE PARENT SURVEY PROJECT - 2012: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1TcYVF1taRDnuK40CFv7Nz0tW32KdfbT-OE0nUEIvDik/edit?usp=sharing
- Conference shines light on plight of battered mothers seeking custody: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1biFRTDC--5VI_T1mdP9F3091z3FbEQDlEDrZxbBEh2M/edit?usp=sharing
- Damon's free at last: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NQaR22cJpPfBPbTswHibsFKn_ptR_RaoFkLWUR0O2dY/edit?usp=sharing
When you contact your Federal representatives, you might want to mention this frightening development and insist on stopping the National Security collection of information on citizens. You can suggest this money should go to the Internet Crimes Against Children to track pornographers who rape children.
Fox11 in Los Angeles continues to expose the family court horror. Kathleen Russell is writing a blog for Fox. http://www.myfoxla.com/story/22418990/title-look-to-family-courts-for-rise-in-suicides
http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/09/opinion/sutter-change-the-list-vote/index.html?hpt=hp_c4, or directly to CNN's John Sutter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do/did you have a case in Broward County, FLA?
Does anybody know Judge Hofer, Helen Lee, Kevin Ford, or Keith Lynch in Los Angeles, CA?
Does anybody know Byron E. Norton, a child psychologist from Greeley, Colorado.
Quenby Wilcox is starting a monthly Newsletter that she will be sending to journalists and posting on:
- Blog page www.quenby.wordpress.com
- Safe Child International linkedIn group and www.linkedin.com/groups/Safe-Child-International-3912973
- Safe Child International Facebook Cause page www.causes.com/causes/497298
Her May Newsletter is excellent. For the June 2013 Newsletter she will be covering information about individual cases using the format (and including cases) from http://www.safekidsinternational.org/kids-in-danger.html. If you are interested in including your case, and have a link to a website/petition etc. please send her information, whether it relates to child abuse or spousal abuse. email@example.com. If anyone would like to help with the Newsletters, please feel free to contact her, and pass the word on to anyone you know. She is also on LinkedIn.
The 16th Annual Ritual Abuse, Secretive Organizations and Mind Control Conference August 9 - 11, 2013 http://ritualabuse.us/smart-conference/ and Ritual Abuse And Extreme Abuse Clinician's Conference 2013 http://ritualabuse.us/smart-conference/ritual-abuse-and-extreme-abuse-clinicians-conference-2013/
The Women's and Children's Advocacy Project at New England Law|Boston has developed a first-in-the-nation program that brings together researchers and law students to facilitate the expeditious delivery of anti-violence research into legal practice and policy. Utilizing the combined skills of JD and PhD students, NELB has developed a simple system for bringing science to law by providing a quick assessment of methodological reliability of selected research, under applicable legal standards, so that all courts can more readily incorporate important anti-violence research to legal decision-making. Current projects can be seen at http://wendymurphylaw.com/jdphd-project/
New Survey: https://virginiatech.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_exhOCBfgWMJI9oN
Media Contact: Clare Hardy O'Toole
When 16-year-old Damon Moelter took advantage of Nevada's liberal marriage laws and tied the knot at one of Reno's iconic kitsch "chapels" recently, his ceremony marked the start of something remarkable. It wasn't his age or the fact that he had only met his bride in person a few hours prior to the wedding that was most significant.
What distinguishes this marriage and this groom from any other who might travel to Nevada to experience its offbeat brand of wedding services was that Damon chose to marry to protect himself from Family Court custody decisions stemming from his parents longstanding divorce battle. A marriage certificate gave him legal emancipation from his father, whom he claims has repeatedly sexually molested him, and from Family Court rulings that stripped his protective mother of custody and forced him to live under the sole confines of his abusive father.
Damon's mother, Cindy Dumas, explained:
"I have never doubted my son. I fought for 10 years to protect him in the Family Court system. I did everything I could but the judges wouldn't listen to me. They wouldn't listen to my son. So when he'd turned 14, he ran away from his father and was in hiding for a year and a half."
Unlike most custody battles that are played out privately behind the closed doors of Family Court, Damon's story captured public attention when, from the age of 13, he began to upload videos to YouTube calling for recognition that he was a victim of his sexually abusive father whom he said had threatened to kill him if he spoke out. His father, Eric Moelter, has persistently denied the accusations, maintaining his son and former wife are delusional.
Phyllis Chesler, Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at City University, New York, has spent at least three decades observing cases such as Damon's. She says no one would argue that all mothers are perfect, but most are "good enough" and very few go to court with a record that suggests they are genuinely "unfit" to parent. Yet, she says, increasingly, mothers are losing custody to fathers they allege are abusing the children.
Chesler is also a psychotherapist, expert courtroom witness and author of the recently updated, seminal treatise on abuse and child custody, "Mothers on Trial." In her opinion:
"The courts don't seem to realize a good father, by definition, doesn't launch the custody battle from hell. Battles can take tens of years - like going through a war. No one emerges unscathed, least of all the children whom the courts are supposed to protect."
Over the years, Chesler has seen a pattern emerging:
As she explains:
"Some mothers lost custody of their children to their batterers. Many battered mothers lost their children when they alleged their violent husbands had also been sexually abusing their child. Often such mothers are seen as "crazy," and as "alienating" the child from their "perfectly nice" father.
The court system does not want to believe that a well-spoken, charismatic man could really be a savage wife-beater or child abuser. It is easier to believe that his traumatized, sleepless, frightened and rapidly impoverished wife is lying, exaggerating or imagining things. I have interviewed many such mothers."
In 1986, after eight years of researching, Phyllis Chesler was the first academic to debunk the common misconception that mothers are more likely to win custody battles than fathers. She makes the significant distinction that mothers are usually the primary parent caring for children during the marriage, therefore they do not "win" custody as such, they "retain" it when fathers chose not to fight and custody of the children is agreed upon between parents. Chesler vouches for an increasing body of statistical research that demonstrates when fathers do fight for custody, and divorces goes to trial - contesting fathers win custody at least 70 percent of the time.
Many mothers might have cracked under the pressure of losing custody to a man they believe is molesting their child, but Cindy Dumas has shown remarkable tenacity and held her nerve. Likewise, over the course of proceedings, Damon came under the scrutiny of several judges, and an array of court appointed evaluators and therapists. Some tried to persuade him the abuse never happened; yet, he never veered from his molestation claims. He's remained adamant that he has no wish to live with his father. He said he would not feel safe.
While on the run from his father, Damon moved between secret havens provided by Good Samaritans. He conducted a social media campaign and petitioned the court to honor his right to be safe, to grant custody to his mother or give him emancipation. All avenues failed to bring him the security he desperately sought.
An unlikely champion stepped forward, and Damon's story was taken up by Fox 11-LA which followed the fugitive. His attorney, Pat Barry, told Fox 11:
"The legal system refuses to acknowledge just how much, how badly they botch these cases for children."
Typically, mainstream media exhibit extreme reticence to cover divorce and custody cases that are not celebrity focused, often citing privacy issues or limited resources to investigate the complexities of highly contentious cases and deliver balanced, objective reports. Even cases considered newsworthy because they involve the death of a child at the hands of a parent previously identified by a former spouse as abusive, tend to be treated as isolated incidents.
Significant stories and trends that should be newsworthy are therefore being missed, and in some cases - ignored. Crimes, such as the kidnappings of three women in Cleveland and Jaycee Dugard, draw huge response from media and public. But, crimes of equal depravity and ongoing cruelty that are Family Law based don't get the scrutiny they deserve.
Fox11 is, so far, one of the few media outlets to cover what is emerging as a tragedy of epidemic proportions in the U.S., mirrored by equally disturbing cases around the world.
Figures released by the Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence (a nonprofit independent scientific organization composed of scientists, clinicians, educators, legal scholars, and public policy analysts), show as many as 58,000 U.S. children a year are being taken from their protective parent and placed into custody or unsupervised visitation with molesters and batterers.
The National Safe Child Coalition (NSCC) has appealed to the Surgeon General to have child sexual abuse declared an epidemic, and are in communications with the Victims' Rights Caucus to raise concern about Human Rights violations of child victims.
While there are protective fathers, and couples in same sex relationships battling over child custody and visitation rights, these cases are comparatively small in number. It is evident from reports and statistics emerging from The Leadership Council, various domestic violence agencies and the Center for Disease Control - vast numbers of children are being taken from "good enough" mothers and placed in harm's way in the custody or care of their abusive fathers.
Statistics on domestic violence and child sexual abuse show that perpetrators are, most likely, male - usually the child's father or someone who is part of the child's familial circle of trust. In the case of child sexual abuse, the Leadership Council examined law enforcement as well as victim self-report data. As a result, it is estimated up to 90% of the perpetrators are male.
When divorce rates over time are factored in, Dr. Joy Silberg, Executive Vice President of the Leadership Council says;
"A conservative estimate, based on available research leads us to conclude: at any point in time, it is likely that half a million children are left unprotected from a violent parent after their parent's divorce and this parent is, more often than not - their father."
Many of these children are said to be held captive -psychologically and sometimes physically -by their abusive father, restrained from contact with their healthy, protective mother and subjected to subversive reasoning powers.
The behavior has been termed "Domestic Violence By Proxy." It was first coined by Dr. Alina Patterson in her book "Health and Healing," published in 2003, and is used in Leadership Council reports.
In these cases, it is said, the father might threaten to harm the children if they display a positive bond with their mother. He might destroy favored possessions given by the mother, or use emotional torture; telling the child the mother doesn't want to see them because she doesn't love them. In reality the mother may be court ordered not to see her children or may have severely restricted contact. The father may coach the children to make false allegations against their mother and combine this with creating and presenting fraudulent documents to the court to disadvantage the mother further.
In the most severe cases, DV By Proxy may lead to a child becoming trapped in a state of emotional mind that psychologists trained in domestic violence describe as: "traumatic bonding" - similar to Stockholm syndrome.
The Fox 11 series "Lost in the System" refers to specific cases, whereas, the Washington Post published an editorial based on developments at the tenth, annual Battered Mothers' Custody Conference (BMCC X). This year, it was held in Washington DC at the George Washington University Law School over the Mothers' Day weekend, in a bid to bring battered mother's child custody concerns to the heart of government.
The conference offers a national, public forum to explore and expose the many complex issues facing battered women and the children they seek to protect when facing the machinations of Family Court Law and those practitioners involved in the cottage industry associated with divorce and child custody matters.
For ten years, speakers, representing many of the keenest minds in research and advocacy for battered mothers and their children have gathered to share ideas and push for change. They represent the vanguard of the fight for improved outcomes from the justice system, with child safety the paramount objective. The lessons learned from this year's conference will be carried forward over the months ahead.
Currently, custody rulings are made on a judge's arbitrary interpretations of legal tenets relating to the "Best Interests of the Child." Findings from studies conducted by Phyllis Chesler, The Leadership Council and others, have been confirmed by Barry Goldstein and Dr. Mo Therese Hanah, co-editors of "Domestic Violence, Abuse and Child Custody." The authors agree that Family Court judges show a marked deference to fathers' rights and a casualty of this practice has been child safety.
I attended the conference and listened to several speakers explain how millions of taxpayer dollars have been poured into the federally funded "Fatherhood Initiative" to encourage fathers to become more involved in child rearing. It seems a tragic and unforeseen result has been the reunification of children with their abusive fathers, to the detriment of child safety concerns.
Likewise, Adjunct Professor of Sexual Violence at New England Law, Boston, impact litigator, former prosecutor and author of "And Justice for Some," Wendy Murphy, told how judges - faced with the decision of whether to put sex offenders and abusers behind bars -are pressured to put them back on the street to take advantage of questionable treatment programs funded by public money.
One of the most striking revelations came from Camille Cooper, Director of Legislative Affairs for "Protect," which spearheaded two successful acts of Congress to further child protection. Cooper unveiled an interactive map produced by the "Internet Crimes against Children Taskforce." She said law enforcement knows the whereabouts of 500,000 individual IP addresses trading in sadistic images.
She said it was the first time in the history of this issue that such a map had ever been shown to the American public showing the magnitude of child sexual abuse. But even with the tools to nail sex offenders through their Internet activity, it emerged there is a gross disparity between known offences and actual prosecutions in criminal or family court. Due to lack of resources to fund an adequate response, only 2% of cases identified have been investigated.
Cooper said the evidence gives the lie to claims that incidences of child sexual abuse are on the decline. And she insisted it is not appropriate to refer to the 30 million images produced simply as child pornography.
"These are crime scene images of very young children being tortured and raped."
Combined with CDC findings that there is an incidence reported of overall child abuse or neglect every 10 seconds, the clear record of criminal Internet activity involving child sexual abuse casts a dim light on the trend of family court judge's to automatically doubt the validity of mothers' claims when they make allegations of domestic violence and child sexual abuse.
Phyllis Chesler, who was keynote speaker for the conference, used strong language to define her frustration:
"There is now a toxic bias in the family courts, resulting in court enabled incest and the legal torture of protective mothers."
Some solutions were suggested by Murphy. She argued that domestic violence and child sexual abuse should be handled by criminal court and not left to the intervention of social workers and family court judges. She also argued for civil rights, regarding gender discrimination, and human rights issues to be brought to the fore. She stressed that violence against any person based on who they are in society is a crime against the fabric of civilized democracy.
I met with Damon and his mother. They had both come to the conference and appeared calm and collected and very relieved Damon is now free to take up a more "normal" life. Conference events concluded with a march and vigil with advocacy group, Mothers of Lost Children outside the White House, followed by a day of lobbying on Capitol Hill at the invitation of the NSCC.
Damon's mother, Cindy Dumas, addressed a crowd outside the White House:
"I'm here to speak out for other kids and hope the public become aware that this is a very serious and prevalent problem in our courts. Our Family Court judges every day give custody of children to abusers and molesters. This is not an accident. It is not out of ignorance and incredulity. It is a systematic, methodical cover-up of abuse, especially of sexual abuse. Just like Penn State, the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts. We have to do something about it. Kids are suffering. There are thousands and thousands of children suffering because our Family Court judges are handing them over to abusers."
The NSCC is supporting Mothers of Lost Children in asking for a Federal Oversight Hearing into the violation of civil rights when protective parents lose custody of the children they are trying to protect.
Compelling evidence was presented to senators and congressmen outlining the failure of family courts in the 50 States to protect victims of domestic abuse and their children during divorce and custodial hearings. The follow-through from these meetings is expected to gather pace in the coming weeks as the mothers continue to organize and hone their campaign for justice and safety for their children.
Members of the NSCC met with staff members from the offices of Senators Durbin, Franken, Boxer, Feinstein, Casey, Gillibrand, Hagan, Brown, Portman, Menendez, Schumer, Toomey, Thune, Leahy, Sanders, Kaine, Lautenberg, Reid, and Merkley, along with Congress members Conyers, Hoyer, Cardenas, Maloney, Neal, Poe, and Costa. Initial responses were encouraging, and behind the scenes, the work goes on.
A strong supporter of improved justice and safety for protective mothers and their children is White House advisor to the Vice President on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Lynn Rosenthall. She has openly acknowledged the high levels of discrimination against women in family courts. Rosenthall is encouraging protective mums to petition for change. She has offered to use her position to pass on any targeted recommendations stemming from the conference and its aftermath to Congress. She said a Federal task force was being convened to respond to the Family Court crisis.
One, wheelchair-bound mother told representatives of the Congressional Judiciary Committee her back had been broken by her violent former husband and her eldest son had committed suicide while in the care of his family. She said the combined trauma and tragedy had limited her ability to maintain employment and yet she'd been court ordered to pay child support to her custodial ex. She described how she'd been put in jail for accepting and smoking a cigarette after the judge told her she was under order to hand any gifts over to her ex in lieu of child support. She said he told her she should have sold the cigarette and given the income to her former husband.
Hearing her story and others, Ron Legrand, Democratic Counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary said: "I'm truly shocked and disturbed. Once in a lifetime something comes along that you feel you have to go out on a limb and give your all to support. This is such a cause."
Likewise, for Nevada, Senator Reid's office promised to do whatever it took to bring some satisfactory resolution to the dire state of custody rulings in the Family Court and the clear failure of the court system to keep children safe.
Dumas' story is typical of protective mothers around the nation. Lobbyist, Connie Valentine, a vocal member of the California Protective Parents Association (CPPA), said she's observed over the years of attending the conference:
"One mother can start her story and another can finish it. Specific details may be different but the general stories are all the same."
Since the inception of BMCC, ten years ago, mothers have shared how they and their children suffer, often years, of abuse from their partners. They've described domestic violence that can manifest as physical, psychological or sexual in nature. They've agreed all forms are interrelated, equally threatening and totally unacceptable. They've told how they are wrongfully profiled by judges, attorneys, and an assorted variety of custody evaluators as being the parent most responsible for the collapse of the marriage, the hostility of the divorce and any detrimental effects on the children.
Victimized mothers injured first by their abusers and then again by court processes, have persistently identified the act of making an allegation of abuse as the trigger that results in an onslaught of false accusations and misrepresentation from the opposing party. Too many times, protective mothers have sought to defend themselves and fight for the safety of their children, only to be undermined by court practices.
They've found no alternative but to take the child into hiding and face very serious charges of abduction. When mothers have chosen not to run, but to continue in a seemingly never ending fight for custody of their child, they have found themselves forced into bankruptcy or facing jail sentences when they cannot pay child support to the custodial father.
Phyllis Chesler's advice to battered mothers is stark and dramatic. She said:
"Battered mothers need excellent court representation and the best lawyers, often exemplified by those prepared to represent a mother pro bono. These lawyers are prone to 'burn-out.' Helping a custodial embattled mother is very demanding."
"The police do not rescue abused children. In fact, the courts often award custody to their abusers and severely limit or cut altogether the "crazy' mothers' visitation. When such mothers finally run away to save their children, they are routinely captured, imprisoned and lose access to them for a very long time."
Chesler likened the plight of battered mothers to: "the days of battling for Jews wanting to escape Nazi torture and control." Conference attendees asked her whether it was necessary to launch another world war to keep children safe in America.
Luckily for Damon, in Nevada a marriage license can be obtained with notarized permission from one parent only. He could therefore pursue emancipation through marriage without seeking his father's approval. The worst of his personal war is over and yet he is keen to stress he does not see this as a victory:
"I didn't beat the system, I circumnavigated it," he said. "I spoke to numerous professionals and none of them protected me."
His experience has led him to become a staunch advocate for children's rights and his closing comment, aimed at protective mothers and other child victims of abuse, was chilling:
"One in five kids is sexually abused. It's not as if the professionals don't know what they're doing, they deliberately cover-up abuse. They are entrenched. If you don't recognize it's deliberate, you may make the wrong choices and then you won't be able help yourselves."
Hera McLeod, is a special education teacher and mother of Prince McLeod Rams who was murdered by his father on an unsupervised court ordered visit has given a moving testimony.
In an open letter to Jude Michael J. Algeo of Montgomery County (full text at cappuccinoqueen.com); the bereaved, battered mother writes:
"Dear Judge Algeo,
You may not remember me, but I will remember you for the rest of my life....
I was the woman who came into your court room begging you to keep my son safe from his father...
I watched my son's body slowly shut down for nearly two days as I waited for the doctors to officially declare him brain dead. As I watched my innocent baby boy die, I thought about you. I remembered how you told us you hated Family Court. I remembered how you blamed me for falling in love with a con man. I remembered how you talked about fairy dust and how you explained that my son would need to come home with cigarette burns before you would believe Luc was abusive. I remember how you rolled your eyes, appeared to fall asleep on the bench, and opened up your computer as if to read your email - you did all of this as I pleaded with you to keep visitations supervised.....
You told us that you made your Custody decision based on what you would do if he was your child....
How terribly sad it is that you have become so jaded that when a mother comes to you pleading for your help, you dismiss her concerns as merely those of a scorned woman. Prince deserved better. He deserved to live just as your own child would have.....
I can't stop thinking about how my life would be different if I hadn't trusted you - if I had fled the country - if I had simply refused to comply with the court order.
Sadly, the story of Prince McLeod Rams is not unique. The testimonies of protective mothers who have lost their children in disturbing custody battles are increasing in volume. At the annual BMCC, on the Internet, among advocacy groups and catalogued by legal researchers, their stories of injustice are gaining ground. They tell of courts dismissing or trivializing material evidence of abuse, favoring fathers' rights over child safety and displaying entrenched prejudice toward mothers.
Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 7, 2013
Justice Department Announces Plan for Advancing Crime Victims' Rights and Services in the Twenty-first CenturyThe Justice Department today unveiled a plan calling for sweeping changes to advance crime victims' rights and services in the 21st century.
Developed by the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services Final Report, is the first collective examination in 15 years of current U.S. practices, funding and outreach in the crime victims' field.
"Today's announcement marks the latest step forward in the Department's ongoing work to protect and empower those who have been victimized," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "Through Vision 21, we've gained an unprecedented understanding of the current state of victim services from coast to coast. And we've developed groundbreaking strategies for responding to urgent needs, combating violence and abuse, and providing critical support to crime victims."
Vision 21 documents the need to better understand who is affected by crime, how they are affected, how they seek help, who reports victimization and the reasons why some victims do not. The report calls for continuous, rather than episodic, strategic planning in the victim assistance field and for statutory, policy and programmatic flexibility to address enduring and emerging crime victim issues. It also calls for the development of evidence-based knowledge founded on data collection and analysis of victimization and emerging victimization trends, services, behaviors and enforcement efforts.
"This is a bold and creative plan to meet the needs of crime victims in the 21st century," said Assistant Attorney General for OJP Karol V. Mason. "The recommendations in this report display the latest and best thinking in the field of victim services and set us on a course to ensuring services for all victims. I am grateful to my Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mary Lou Leary and OVC's Principal Deputy Director Joye Frost for leading Vision 21 and for their commitment to victims across the country."
Leary and Frost previously joined Patrick Leahy, President Pro Tempore of the U.S. Senate, on April 24, to announce the framework for this report. For the Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services Final Report, please visit: www.ovc.gov/vision21.
The Office of Justice Programs, headed by Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking. For more information about OJP, please visit: www.ojp.gov.
Melissa Barnett sent this heartening article
Lincoln Did Not "Free the Slaves" - The Little-known Story of How Feminists Ended Slavery
By Dr. Robert Brannon
It is widely believed that human slavery was ended in the United States by Abraham Lincoln's 'Emancipation Proclamation'. This is not true. Human slavery was ended in America primarily by a grass-roots petition campaign led by radical feminists - in particular, by Susan Anthony and her close friend Elizabeth Stanton.
Both women had been ardent and life-long Abolitionists. Susan B. Anthony had worked, since the age of 36, for the radical American Anti-Slavery Society, whose abiding principle was, "No Compromise With Slavery." Its fiery leader William Garrison had even publicly burned a copy of the US Constitution, which accepted and endorsed slavery. They were seen as far too extreme and radical in opposing slavery by most of the white Northern public.
In the first months after Abraham Lincoln's election as President, before the Southern states had seceded, the government appeared to be taking no steps to end slavery. On the contrary, there was much talk of possible compromise, to maintain peace with the South. A group of Abolitionists, including Susan Anthony, Elizabeth Stanton, and Lucretia Mott, went on a tour of New York State, speaking on "No Compromise with Slave holders," and, "Immediate and Unconditional Emancipation." They got what they later called the roughest treatment of their lives from white racist mobs, which assailed them in every city in New York between Buffalo and Albany. In Syracuse, their speech was invaded by a crowd of pro-slavery men, waving guns and knives. The Syracuse police refused to restrain the rowdy invaders, but instead escorted the Abolitionists from the stage. Susan Anthony alone refused to leave the stage; she stood dignified and defiant, as the jeering racist mob surrounded her.
Two years later, In January of 1863, Lincoln finally made his long-awaited 'Emancipation Proclamation.' It was quickly perceived by the Abolitionists as... a sell-out. The document was a bitter disappointment to those who had fought for so long to end human slavery. It did ostensibly abolish slavery, but only in the rebellious Confederate states, which would, of course, ignore it. But at the same time, it allowed slavery to remain, now legally affirmed and protected, in the four loyal states of Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware. Thousands of African-Americans in those states would remain in bondage, in a slavery now newly endorsed and backed by the U.S. government.
In addition, the war against the South was going very badly. There had been a string of Confederate victories on the battlefield, and it seemed to most of the public that the slave-holding South was about to win its battle to secede. In that event, no slaves at all would be freed. The losing war was becoming increasingly unpopular in the North, and resentment was directed against the abolitionists, and even against blacks. In the horrific anti-draft riots in New York City, in early 1863, anti-war sentiment turned into mob violence against blacks. Senator Sumner of Massachusetts, an abolitionist, had introduced a Amendment to the Constitution that would ban slavery everywhere in the United States forever. However, in the gloomy, war-divided climate in Washington, it had little public support, and seemed unlikely to get the two thirds majorities needed in each house.
At this bleak moment in the struggle for freedom, Susan B. Anthony traveled to New York City, to talk with her friend Elizabeth Cady Stanton. There had been no Women's Suffrage Conventions for the past two years, because of the War. The Women's Rights and Suffrage movement was in recess, in total suspension. Now the two old friends and allies decided that what was needed was a new women's organization, which would rally public support for the war, and turn the war into a moral crusade against slavery. The organization's central project would be to collect signatures throughout the country, on petitions demanding a Constitutional Amendment to end slavery forever.
Stanton and Anthony consulted with other Abolition leaders, and then sent out a call to women across the U.S. whom they had met as workers for abolition, women's suffrage, or both. The letter invited them to a meeting of "The Loyal Women of the Nation," - a carefully-chosen title - in New York City, on May 14, 1863. Ten days before the meeting the gloom thickened, as the Confederate army won another huge victory on the battlefield, at Chancellorsville. On May 14, hundreds of women poured into the meeting, at a church in Union Square. They came from a broad political spectrum, and there were many traditional women who came only to support the government, or their relatives in the Army, and wanted no part of abolition, or of suffrage.
But the national leaders of the First Wave feminist movement were present in numbers, and were working smoothly in unison. Chairing the meeting was the poised and eloquent Lucy Stone. Speaking from the floor was the impassioned Ernestine Rose, born an orthodox Rabbi's daughter in Poland, who had refused an arranged marriage at 16 and won her freedom in court, and had been working for women's rights in America for the past 28 years. And also on hand was Angelina Grimke Weld, now an elderly woman, still dazzlingly eloquent, who with her sister Sarah Grimke had worked against slavery since 1836, and had published the first written feminist analysis in America 26 years earlier, in 1837.
Swayed by the passionate words of the feminist leaders, the meeting voted to form a "National Woman's Loyal League," to support the war as long - as its main purpose was to free the slaves - and to collect signatures nation wide in support of the Constitutional Amendment ending slavery. A motion by Susan Anthony, that "the civil and political rights of all citizens of African descent, and all women" be protected, was adopted after much discussion. Elizabeth Stanton was elected President of the new group, and Susan B. Anthony the Secretary, with a salary of $12 a week, and a tiny office in Coopers Union in New York.
For the next fifteen months, Susan Anthony boarded with Elizabeth Stanton in New York, and the two women and dozens of others worked tirelessly for the anti-slavery amendment. Miss Anthony spent 10 cents a day on her lunch, and frequently walked long distances on foot. Mrs. Stanton enlisted local children, including her sons, to collect signatures. Streams of letters went across the country; more than 2,000 women, men, and children helped to gather signatures. Everyone who signed was asked to contribute one penny to help pay expenses; this appeal raised some $3000, and Susan Anthony raised the rest that was needed herself from lectures and contributions.
By August of 1864, the Women's Loyal League had over 5000 members nationwide, and had collected 400,000 signatures on the petition for banning slavery. The petitions were delivered to Senator Sumner, who presented them to the U.S. Congress, in a huge stack of scrolls carried by two African-American men, with a long speech and much fanfare. Sumner read out the huge numbers of names the women had collected from New York, from Illinois, from Massachusetts, from across the land... "a mighty army, the advance guard of a yet larger army." With this impressive expression of public support for the Amendment, it was passed by both houses, and became the thirteenth amendment to the Constitution, in December, 1865. Human slavery had finally ended in the United States.
It is ironic that Abraham Lincoln, who could have ended all slavery in America, but chose not to, has been recorded by history as "The Great Emancipator," while the heroic contributions of Susan Anthony, Elizabeth Stanton, and the many women who worked with them from 1863 to 1864 to finally end slavery, have been largely lost from our collective memory. But the historical record shows that it was the ephemeral "National Woman's Loyal League" - (a feminist front-group, if there ever was one) - that provided the leadership and the leg-work that passed the thirteenth Amendment, and ended slavery in the United States.
Eleanor Flexner, Century of Struggle: The Women's Rights Movement in the United States. (1968) Atheneum: New York. Pp. 108-111.
Miriam Gurko, The Ladies of Seneca Falls: The birth of the Women's Rights Movement. (1974). Schocken Books: New York. Pp. 197; 210-212.
- Dr. Robert Brannon is a Social Psychologist and Gender Studies professor at Brooklyn College, and founding member of NOMAS and the Men's Studies Association.
Lincoln Did Not "Free the Slaves" - The Little-known Story of How Feminists Ended Slavery | NOMASwww.nomas.orgIt is widely believed that human slavery was ended in the United States by Abraham Lincoln's 'Emancipation Proclamation'. This is not true. Human slavery was ended in America primarily by a grass-roots petition campaign led by radical feminists - in particular, by Susan Anthony and her close friend...
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