How Change Happens
According to Leadership Council statistics, family court is placing approximately 58,500 children every year in custody or unsupervised visitation with their abusers, which means that, during the M-F week that courts are open, this happens to an average of 223 children EVERY DAY.
Each and every story we hear as leaders and directors at Protective Mothers Alliance is tragic and horrific. We as leaders have either gone through our own battles with family court, or are currently in them, so we know exactly what protective moms are facing. We can also step back and take a look at the bigger picture.
This is a winnable war! We can effect change! In order to do that, we will each need to take a look at the bigger picture. Each of us must take that first difficult step into a place of change and positive future for ourselves and all of our children.
As administrators, we see many patterns, some tragic. Protective moms come to us. All may be fired up to help at first. Then things calm down with their case and for some, volunteer time is forgotten. Then, again the abuser takes the mom back to court and we receive a call from the mom who is now frantic and desperate for help which, at this point we cannot give.
Here is what happened in my case, and has happened with other moms. The youngest of my three children has recently aged out of the family court system. I was in the system for seven years. the terrorist did not stop until the youngest child turned eighteen The abuse was cyclical in nature. There were times when everything was quiet, which I never felt was a good sign…I somehow felt it was intended to give a false sense of security. Then a new surge of abuse would start all over again. Unfortunately, that last year when the youngest child turned seventeen was a particularly bad year. My domestic violence advocates had told me that the abuser was using my children as weapons to get to me. He pulled out all the stops and took advantage of the last year he had to make it a bad one for us.
One of the best things I ever did for my own health and healing was to step out and start doing advocacy. It was frightening at first, and it was through my domestic violence agency. I did it and I loved it! It energized me. I was helping others. Now I advocate with PMA, and I feel safe doing it because Janice and Lundy take many precautions to make sure protective moms are kept safe.
Moms, the abuse will not stop until your children age out of the system, at eighteen. But we have a wonderful opportunity right now to change this if we work together as a team. We can put our voices together and we will be heard.
Please join us! Even if your time is limited, we have volunteer projects that can be done in as little as one-half hour per month. Join us, let’s do this for all the children, they are so worth it!
Protective Mothers’ Alliance International
West Coast Regional Director