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Is the Family Judicial System Broken Beyond Repair?

For those of us who have spent any time at all in the Family Court circus - yes, that is what it truly is - the answer is a resounding YES!!! The consistent failures and lack of action by the Family Court are rampant and widely known yet nothing is done. From all outward appearances this is not a societal priority - an appalling thought. My own experience notwithstanding, women - mothers - are painted by narcissistic ex's as villains who are dangerous and should be eliminated. While these women often put their own careers and personal goals on the back burner to support and care for the family, the other party is committed to an explosive, divisive and confusing environment for everyone. Pleas from mothers in the throws of domestic abuse of all kinds are being ignored - children are suffering abuse (physical, emotional, psychological) in staggering numbers. It is not worth reporting anymore and what is documented doesn't even come close to the truth. The court's non-action and laissez faire attitude is observed as an acceptance of this behavior and it is allowed to continue with ever increasing numbers.

The worst part is that we, the women and moms who are suffering this torture, do so alone. There is no help from the court, no support from police or public agencies - we have only the small network of others who are suffering the same fate to commiserate with. Then there is the stigma - abuse victims don't always have physical signs, abuse does not present universally. Parental alienation is still not recognized by the judicial system as a form of abuse but it can be categorized as nothing but that. The aggressive and often narcissistic parent (disproportionately the father) will tell the child/ren radical untruths about the other parent (more often than not their mom) that are inconsistent with their own experiences. This confusion is a form of child abuse but is not seen as such by the court. Children want to believe their parent(s) is/are truthful - how can we expect them to correctly process what they are being told if it is all fabricated for the purpose of one party? How can we expect that there will not be long lasting effects from this? These children do not believe their mom is the person they are being told that she is. For their entire life, she has been a constant presence, nurturing and supportive, a place of safety. Through constant and consistent manipulation by the other parent, they begin to believe that they are wrong.

The core of who we are and who we will be is rooted in how we are raised, how our parents interact and how our experiences are shaped by our relationships. When one parent aggressively goes after the other parent with the sole purpose to hurt, harm or alienate that parent from the children it causes serious and long-term damage to the mental, emotional and, potentially, physical health of the children. With the recent publicity around Catherine Kassenoff's assisted-suicide and the ongoing struggles of my friend Cobie Jane, alarm bells should be going off everywhere. For Catherine, a woman and dedicated mother who fought for her children until she could not fight anymore, death was her only palatable option and this is NOT ok. Sadly, for many of us, thoughts, and often attempts, of suicide are not uncommon; the courts don't help and the suffering is unbearable - this often seems to be the only way to make it stop. It is extremely dangerous for us to allow parental alienation to continue when women are choosing to end it all rather than continue to fight for what is best for the child/ren in the judicial system.

Families are suffering - society as a whole is fed-up with a judicial system that does not work - but what can we do? Laws are almost impossible to change and the Court is not vested in any of the cases presented before it. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who chooses court as their first option for resolution. The judicial system in it's current state thrives on a tactic of "delay, delay, delay" and from all outward appearances the purpose is to force the parties to "give up". This is not going to solve anything or help anyone and certainly is not part of any sort of larger resolution plan. If none of those in a position to enact change has experienced abuse personally, there is no reason to intervene in any way to change things. This thinking does not serve of any party except for the Court itself.


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