Category Archives: domestic violence

The Upper Hand – False Allegations of Abuse in Child Custody Cases

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7c/Dependency_docket_bench_cards_for_juvenile_and_family_court_judges_and_magistrates._-_DPLA_-_e9eeb7b58aac3e0d3630ac5760aa3e99.jpg/360px-Dependency_docket_bench_cards_for_juvenile_and_family_court_judges_and_magistrates._-_DPLA_-_e9eeb7b58aac3e0d3630ac5760aa3e99.jpg

Dependency Docket Bench Card, Ohio State Supreme Court, Source Digital Public Library of America (https://dp.la/item/e9eeb7b58aac3e0d3630ac5760aa3e99) (PD)

You are a divorced mother of three, working part-time to make ends meet.  You have custody of the children your husband expressed no interest in, even before the marriage ended.  You receive no alimony and little child support since he, also, managed to hide assets at the time of the divorce. 

Your ex and his new wife now feel custody would be cheaper.  Their ploy for gaining custody is to accuse you of neglect.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  But you have to hire a lawyer to defend yourself, and wind up putting the $10,000 retainer on your credit card.

  • Although there are times divorce is the best option, divorced women are more likely than men to receive public assistance, live without health insurance, and have less earning potential [1A].
  • 29% of custodial mothers live in poverty, as compared with 16.7% of custodial fathers [1B].
  • Only 43.5% of custodial parents receive the full amount of child support [1C]. The aggregate amount of child support due in 2015 was $33.7 billion.
  • Children of divorced parents are 1.5 – 2 times more likely to end up living in poverty than children still living with both parents [2].

The lengths to which a good and loving parent may be forced to go, in order to defend against false allegations of abuse are troubling [3A].

A lack of financial resources will exacerbate such a situation.  An attorney is not likely to continue with representation in the absence of payment.  Necessary psychological evaluation of a child in such a case can cost money, as well.

Unfortunately, the better funded (and less scrupulous) parent often has the upper hand.  The falsely accused parent with fewer resources may find herself or himself attempting to prove a negative not only in a custody case, but a simultaneous Dept. of Human Services investigation and criminal action. Continue reading

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Change Is Gonna Come

The performer of this Sam Cooke classic is 10 y.o. Jordan Hollins.

Known as the “King of Soul”, Cooke was born in Mississippi in 1931, and later moved to Chicago [1].  Like Jordan, Sam Cooke began singing as a young boy.  He went on to write hits like “You Send Me”, “Wonderful World”, “Chain Gang”, “Another Saturday Night”, and “Twistin’ the Night Away”.

Cooke’s music contributed to the careers of such greats as James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder.

Sam Cooke is, himself, a charter member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  He was, also, important to the civil rights movement.  “Change Is Gonna Come” became an anthem of the movement.

Cooke died at the age of 33 from a gunshot wound.  The circumstances of his death are disputed.  He was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and National Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame.

To achieve peace, we must fight for justice and work for change.

But let justice run down like water, And righteousness like a mighty stream” (Amos 5: 24).

[1]  Wikipedia,”Sam Cooke”, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Cooke.

WARNING:  Graphic Images

A 12 y.o. Alabama girl chewed through her restraints to escape captivity by Jose Pascual-Reyes, her mother’s boyfriend.  The 37 y.o. Pascual-Reyes had kept the girl intoxicated after killing and dismembering her mother and brother. 

See, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/girl-chewed-restraints-bold-escape-week-captivity-alabama-rcna41351.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

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PTSD and Grief – Healing Through Nature

File:Early Fall in Sierra Nevada Range, CA 9-16 (29957191822).jpg

Early Autumn in the Sierra Nevada, Author Don Graham of Redlands, CA (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”

– John Muir

The respected naturalist and environmental philosopher, John Muir, believed that nature offers the body and mind opportunities to heal themselves [1].

Muir tirelessly hiked the Sierra Nevada, writing extensively about his experiences and ultimately co-founding America’s premier conservation organization, the Sierra Club.  His activism helped to preserve both Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.

Mission Outdoors https://missionoutdoors.org/ and Hometown Hero Outdoors https://hometownherooutdoors.org/ are two small non-profits which share Muir’s view.

They afford military service members and veterans a temporary escape from the stress of combat or the difficulties of transitioning to civilian life through hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities.  Hometown Hero Outdoors is open to law enforcement personnel, as well.

PTSD

Many of these individuals suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder – an illness to which victims of childhood abuse and domestic abuse are, also, prone. Continue reading

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Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Image courtesy of CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Published in 1891, Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles is now considered a masterpiece [1].  In its day, however, the book was seen as shocking.

Plot

An early examination of rape and domestic abuse, Tess of the D’Urbervilles is the story of Tess Derbeyfield, a simple country girl.

After a series of misfortunes, Tess is hired by the wealthy D’Urberville family but raped by their son Alec.  The following summer she delivers a sickly infant who dies shortly after.

Tess later finds employment as a milkmaid.  She falls in love with a farmer, Angel Clare, who is unaware of her past.

Since Angel confesses on their wedding night that he once had a brief affair, Tess tells him about the rape.  This does not go over well.  Angel views her as “impure”, and abandons her to try farming overseas. Continue reading

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“When Children Aren’t Allowed to Say No” by Cynthia Bailey-Rug

Narcissistic Personality Disorder - Causes, Symptoms, Complications, Diagnosis, Treatment

“Narcissistic parents are notorious for not allowing their children to have any boundaries. They have no problem going through their children’s personal belongings or even breaking or getting rid of things their child uses or loves. Children are allowed no privacy, & some narcissistic parents go as far as removing their bedroom doors. Possibly the worst thing narcissistic parents do is refusing to allow their children to say “no”.

Narcissistic parents are too self centered to realize or even care that by not allowing their children to say no, they are teaching their children some pretty terrible lessons. When children learn that saying no is bad & not allowed, this teaches them that others can treat them however they wish. This opens the door for other wicked people to abuse these children. It also sets these children up for a life of misery because they don’t believe they have the right to say no to anyone, no matter what. They also believe that they have to say yes to everyone & everything, & that obviously is a huge problem!…” [Continued at https://cynthiabaileyrug.wordpress.com/2022/05/26/when-children-arent-allowed-to-say-no/ ]

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

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Psychedelics for Anxiety, Depression, and PTSD, Part 2

File:FerndalePoliceStop102415.jpg

Drug paraphernalia including marijuana/cannabis and a methamphetamine pipe, following a police stop in Ferndale, CA, Author Ferndale Police Dept., Source https://kymkemp.com
(PD per California Public Records Act)

We continue our discussion of the risks and benefits of a drug-based psychiatric approach utilizing psychedelics to treat anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Despite growing enthusiasm for the use of psychedelics, the evidence is far from in.

LSD

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) – one of the most potent hallucinogens – was studied from the 1950s to 1970s in order to assess behavioral and personality changes, as well as relief from psychiatric symptoms [1][2A].

LSD was originally used in the treatment of anxiety, depression, addiction, and psychosomatic illness.  Readers may recall that the US Army and CIA, also, experimented with LSD as a truth serum.  But most early studies were not performed to today’s standards.

Across 11 randomized-controlled studies (involving a combined total of 567 patients) positive outcomes were observed, particularly with regard to alcoholism [2B].

In rare instances, however, psychedelics such as psilocybin and LSD can evoke a lasting psychotic reaction (more frequently in patients with a family history of psychosis) [3A].  Adequate screening of a patient’s vulnerability and prior psychotic episodes before the use of LSD is, therefore, emphasized. Continue reading

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Psychedelics for Anxiety, Depression, and PTSD, Part 1

File:Ecstasy monogram.jpg

Ecstacy a/k/a Molly, Author DEA, Source https://www.dea.gov, (PD as work product of federal govt.)

“I am more convinced than ever that psychiatric medications, over the long term, cause net harm.  I wish that weren’t the case, but the evidence just keeps mounting that these drugs, on the whole, worsen long-term outcomes…The inventor of frontal lobotomy…was awarded a Nobel Prize for inventing that surgery, which today we understand as a mutilation.”

-Award-winning science author and journalist, Robert Whitaker [1][2]

Recently, a number of drug trials have been conducted re-assessing the effectiveness of psychedelics for anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

While the results of these trials have been heralded as providing new treatment options for tenacious illnesses, there are serious dangers associated with psychedelics.

Serotonin

Psychedelics act on receptors in the brain for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that effects mood.

There is some thinking that psychedelics enhance the brain’s capacity to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially following injury [3A].  But this hypothesis needs further research.

In the therapeutic setting, psychedelics cause a receptive, dream-like state during which memories are readily accessible [3B].  The theory is that this state opens the door to fresh ideas the therapist can introduce.

Unsupervised use is not recommended. Continue reading

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“A Mother’s Love” by Kelly Fratamico

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/68/Mary_Cassatt_-_Mother_and_Child_%28The_Goodnight_Hug%29.jpg

“Mother and Child (A Goodnight Hug)” (1880) by Mary Cassatt, Source https://www.wikiart.org/en/mary-cassatt/mother-and-child-1880 (PD)

Readers of my other blog A Lawyer’s Prayers will be familiar with Christian Legal Clinics of Philadelphia https://www.clcphila.org/, a non-profit whose predecessor I had the opportunity of co-founding.

Through the efforts of volunteer Christian attorneys and paralegals, CLCP provides the poor of Philadelphia with legal services at no charge.

This is one story [1]:

“In 2016 Maria, a native of the Dominican Republic, sent her two young sons, to live with their father in the US.  She could not afford to come with them, so stayed behind…Maria made this sacrifice so her sons could receive a better education and not be influenced by violence in their town.

Maria was finally able to join her sons and their father in the United States…in the summer of 2021.  However, their father became abusive with Maria and tried to keep the boys from her.  With the help of the police and her sister, she was able to retrieve her sons and move into a place of her own.  However, Maria…was scared that he would use the court system to take  her sons from her.” Continue reading

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The Link Between Domestic Abuse and Mass Shootings

File:05 22 21 Downtown Minneapolis Mass Shooting (51196885820).jpgMinneapolis Mass Shooting 5/22/21, Author Chad Davis, Source https://www.flickr.com/photos/146321178@N05/51196885820/
(CC Attribution 2.0 Generic)

  • 6 were killed and 12 injured in a recent mass shooting in Sacramento [1].  Three shooters were subsequently identified, and found to have domestic violence backgrounds [2A].
  • Last year, a man who murdered 9 coworkers at a railyard had earlier been accused of sexual assault and abusive behavior toward a girlfriend [2B].
  • The man who murdered 49 patrons of the Pulse nightclub in 2016 had beaten and strangled his former wife [2C].

The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions reports that 7 of 10 mass shootings were committed by batterers [2D].

A study in the Journal of Injury Epidemiology confirms that violence against a partner and violence against a stranger are closely related [3][4].  Between 2014 and 2019, 75 of 110 mass shootings were either domestic abuse related or perpetrated by an individual with a domestic abuse background. Continue reading

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Discernment, Intergenerational Trauma, and a Red Panda

Turning Red Trailer, Poster and Images Revealed by Disney and Pixar

There is a heated debate surrounding Disney Pixar’s latest animated feature Turning Red, a cartoon about a 13 y.o. girl who magically transforms into a red panda [1A].

Many critics have praised the film, calling it a celebration of teen girls [1B].  Others view it as a narrative on intergenerational trauma [1C].  Still others see the film as demonic [2].

Plot Line of Turning Red

Mei’s mother expects her to work in the family temple which honors the red panda.  With puberty, Mei begins turning into a red panda, herself, whenever she experiences strong emotion.  She learns this problem has plagued the family for generations.  According to Mei’s mother, the cure is a ritual which buries happiness and passion, along with anger and fear.

Intergenerational Trauma

Intergenerational trauma is a concept used to explain how the traumatic effects of a historical event may be passed from one generation to the next [3][4].

Despite having survived a Nazi concentration camp, a grandmother who coped there by repressing her emotions may remain distant from her family for decades afterwards.  This will impact not only her children, but their children, and so on.  Generations of denial, emotional distance, and defensive behavior can result.

Intergenerational trauma is associated with rape, sexual abuse, murder and other forms of severe trauma.  It can be passed on even if the trauma is never identified by name or discussed with family members. Continue reading

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