Effects of Domestic Violence Hold Families Captive
Parents who experience domestic violence and who lack adequate family and/or community support are susceptible to losing custody of their children. This is one of the most heart-breaking effects of domestic violence and needs to be addressed by agencies on the local and national level. A system to help victims reclaim their parental rights is imperative to the preservation of the family. It’s a growing concern as more and more “victims” are encouraged to break the silence yet offered little help once they do. Often, they are accused of not protecting their children by having stayed in an “unsafe” environment.
In these cases, parents are told that whoever’s family gets resources together quicker wins. The court doesn’t take into consideration who was the victim or the relationship between the victim and the family who gets resources together quickest. All they care about is that they can prove the children can be taken care of financially and with minimal care.
Sadly, the children are the ones who suffer most when they are handed to the family who is bitter against the parent who had the courage to say “enough is enough – I will not be your victim anymore.” They have no way of knowing that their mom (or dad) wants to be with them more than anything because too often they are seen as a prize. They are held captive with a ransom. If you get back together with our son then we can talk more visitation, the family says. And so the one who was victim is victimized once more… if they succumb to the unspoken threats. If you don’t play by our game, then we’ll withhold your children from you.
So the difficult choice must be made to let go… because going back would be a worse lesson. And all one can do is pray that the time passes quickly between now and the day when one can explain why they couldn’t bear to be the example of what true love isn’t.