Really. In modern day United States. Family courts are routinely supporting abusers in continuing to hurt innocent children. The system is broken to such a degree that the United States has a modern day Underground Railroad!
Is there a reason this has not been front page news?
Please take a look at this detailed, sad and informative article from 1989: Running for Their Lives, by Jane Sims Podesta, David Van Biema, and Paula Chin, People, Jan. 23, 1989.
It may be from 20 years ago, yet this has continued to go on in family courts throughout the United States to this day.
A study was publically released today estimating the number of child deaths from abuse or neglect in the United States between 2001 and 2007 to be in the range of 10,000.
On average, 5 children died from abuse or neglect per day in the United States during this time period, with the rate of deaths increasing 35%.
The real number was estimated to be 50% higher due to failure to report.
These are scary numbers. They were the subject of a detailed news article on ABCNews.com today. Five Children Die Each Day from Abuse or Neglect, ABC News, October 21, 2009, by Mary Bruce.
It is great that people are paying attention.
However, think about not only the numbers that are unreported, but the number of children that are abused each day who don’t die. If we could really see what goes on behind closed doors, the numbers we compile would be staggering.
Here is an highly important and informative article published in the Spring 1998 issue of Court Review, Myth of False Allegations of Sexual Abuse in Divorce Cases, by Merrilyn McDonald, M.S.W. Here, Merrilyn McDonald sets forth the facts about the widely held “false allegations” belief. Somehow, the system appears to align with abusers and become their enabling mechanism. Many continue to battle these issues with the family court system every day. We should support and protect, not further punish, innocent victims of abuse.
Here is her summary:
False allegations of sexual abuse in divorce are a rare occurrence. False allegations of sexual abuse in general are rare. Unsubstantiated is not the same as false. Child sexual abuse is a common experience. Child sexual abuse is grossly underreported. There is a belief that allegations of sexual abuse in divorce are epidemic because a number of anecdotal reports of allegations of sexual abuse were repeatedly referenced by various authors without listing the limitations of such reports, creating an image of “hard science” that did not exist. Allegations of sexual abuse are more likely to occur in divorce situations and must be taken just as seriously as allegations that arise at any other time. Sexually abused children behave in a manner that is hard for most of us to understand. It is extremely hard for a child to disclose sexual abuse and any child who does so must be seen as extremely brave. Children recant because of pressure or a desire to get their family back. Mothers of sexually abused children experience many conflicts and difficulties in our present system.
This is a very common and very sad scenario in family courts across the country.
Consider the information in this article by Kathleen Russell, a woman working very hard to help ease the suffering of innocent children and prevent their regular placement with abusers. Thank goodness for the hard work of those selflessly toiling for justice on behalf of abused children.
Child abuse: when family courts get it wrong, The Christian Science Monitor, October 14, 2009.