After reading too many stories of women murdered by their exes, and a fair amount of stories of great mothers who have lost custody of their children to abusive men, I realized I am not alone, and that there seems to be a systemic problem, and it’s not just me. Without calling out anyone in particular, I’m writing this because I hope I can share it with another mom, and help her to feel empowered rather than beaten down and depressed. Because I guess if I’m not alone, then she is not, either.
To the child support enforcement system, aka, people who really think they’re doing a good job, because reasons, but who can’t be bothered with things like reading orders…
To the people who pretend to be doing your jobs in the best interest of the children… do you really think that while sitting on your high seat above everyone else in a courtroom, day after day, wearing a black robe, talking down to people as though you’re special, that your 1-2 minutes of condescension is helping the people in any way shape or form? Ok, I know you don’t think so, because I saw the look on your face, and I heard the tone in your voice when you invited my rapist to tell you whether Monday or Thursday worked for him better, just before you threatened to arrest me if I’m late again (never mind, you’ve brought me to court no less than 10 times and I’ve never been late before, even sitting for an entire day while you similarly reprimand other unfortunate souls whose exes are hell-bent on collecting that child support)…
To the judge who first stole my children for money…
You must think that when you ordered me to give my ex husband $687 per month, while I made less than that per month, you were doing a good job of sticking it to the women because they dared to leave an abusive, soulless marriage to a person who hides women’s maxi pads in his underwear at work. I’m sure you thought that you were doing a good job just enforcing the law, to send a message to someone.
Well I heard your message, which was that mothers are not valuable, that women are not truthful, and that the only thing you care about is the man sitting in front of you in that court room, and how much he’s going to pay his attorney, who’s going to pay a donation to your re-election campaign.
I’m sure when you went into the law, it was mainly because you wanted to make a lot of money, and to do something worthy of the great abilities of a mind God gave you which spends so much time thinking, it can’t fathom itself being unoccupied by anything less than the best for you.
To the custody evaluator whose last name sounds like what you did to my children’s hearts…
I’m sure when you rendered your custody evaluation, you figured that a life spent in relative luxury is what’s best for my children, and you decided that even though there’s a chance that I’ll still bring them to my middle class apartment, rental house, or parents’ house for barely less than 50% of the time, where they’ll be subjected to “instability” because we don’t have the same exact amount of money as my ex husband, that’s exactly who you were looking out for… my children.
To the members of the grand jury / aka, the incels of the county…
I have no doubt in my mind, when you voted to no-bill the man who pinned me down to a bed to rape me, that you were thinking in your head, I don’t want some woman making up a lie about me, so I’m putting this man back on the streets without giving his victim a chance to testify. Because everyone knows that if you don’t believe the victim whom you’ve never even met, there’s a chance a trial jury will, and you don’t want a man to suffer, after he’s worked so hard in his life to get the money that he has. What’s a little bit of raping going to hurt someone anyway. Move on with life.
To the lawyer who AWOLed on me in my 8th month of pregnancy…
I know that my responses to those discovery requests irked you because you didn’t want to have to get down into a laptop to send a last minute document that day, so you might as well just be lazy, not ask for an extension, and ruin the rest of my children’s lives. It must have felt like a good thing to do, to leave a pregnant woman high and dry, knowing what would happen to her and her child / children.
It must have been tough not drafting a Motion for Continuance for good cause, the day that you claimed I wasn’t allowed to study for the bar exam, and would have to go to court to defend my right to be a mother to my own children, despite knowing I was going to lose, because you knew I was going to lose, and didn’t see the point in putting it off until after my exam.
To the lawyer working for my ex to ruin my children’s childhoods…
I’m sure that the $500 an hour you were paid by my ex husband was justification enough for tearing a 6 year old little boy off his mother’s body in the middle of a school assembly, because he couldn’t cope with being sent away from her for over a week at a time, up to two or three weeks at a time, depending on the calendar, to be stuck in a house with his step-mother instead, who never raised him before the most recent month of his life, did not give birth to him, did not nurse him for over two years, has never cuddled him to sleep, and didn’t care about what happened to him as she stuck him in a day care so she could hang out with her own kids instead… She’s a great lady, you tell yourself, you know this because she has other kids, so he’ll be fine.
To every judge, ever…
I know that the article you wrote for that journal one time was a great thing to put on a resume. That makes it fair that you spend 35 seconds asking me if I agree to something while I’m clearly crying, and clearly don’t agree. Because if you can pack as many cases on your docket and shuffle them through the courts as possible in a single day, you get to justify your six figure salary for doing a prove up 1000 times in a week, which is really so much hard work.
I’m sure it will matter to my children, when they’re having families of their own, wondering if their spouse will ever leave them, abuse them, rape them, hurt their children, or abandon their children with a new spouse, it will matter that you had their best interests at heart and totally did everything you were supposed to do to ensure a good result for them as children.
To that custody evaluator again…
I’m sure it will matter to my son, when he tries to choose a wife, that you wrote your 20 page paper for $1000 per side, by copying and pasting what each side turned in, and collating it onto some document, when he tries to decide if this woman is going to wreck his children’s whole world, or if he’ll ever have to try and play dirty to keep access to his own children.
To the legal system as a whole…
I’m sure as I try to figure out who to let around my daughter, I’ll have to make sure he shows both no signs of being effeminate, and no signs of being overly macho, just to get the happy medium for her that I never saw with my first husband, and I’ll have to prepare her for the inevitability that she’s going to need to either stay with him even if he is abusive, or that she’s going to need to break up with him now and keep looking… we won’t have to worry when shopping for dresses for her wedding that one day she’ll come home to me in tears without her children and I won’t be able to do a single thing about it.
To every courthouse and every legislature setting up this machine…
It’s clear after several years of watching your machine operate, that the best interest of the children and the best interest of the family isn’t possible in courts with dockets of these sizes. The rules of evidence do not allow for victims of violence to put in a word edgewise. You’ve taken power from victims away completely and transformed children into bargaining chips for your own benefit. With zero understanding of what it is like to be a victim of domestic violence, rape, or stalking, you make your pseudo-scientific, biased, and discriminatory judgments against parents on a daily basis, knowing that your supposed impartiality will protect your conscience. But will your conscience matter as much as the results of the judgments that you make?
I think the results are most important. If a child is traumatized in the name of the father, or equal rights, does it make it fair or just that you were acting in the interests of the law? Are you really bound by your conscience, or the law, anyway? Or are you bound by something more personal to you, like staying in power?
A note to moms:
While reading the Bible looking for comfort, I came across some verses about being a mother that inspired me to create a cool outfit. Isaiah 49 verse 18 promises us that God will save our children, if we will adorn ourselves with them like a garment. So I’m just going to start designing clothes with my children’s hearts in mind, and make the most of this verse.
“As I live, saith the LORD, thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on thee, as a bride doeth.”
Or for a more subtle look, get this skater skirt with a Bible Verse about motherhood:
From Isaiah 49:
“13 Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.
14 But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.
15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.
16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.”
Verse 18 states, “Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold: all these gather themselves together, and come to thee. As I live, saith the LORD, thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on thee, as a bride doeth.”
The end of the chapter, starting in verse 22, states,
“22 Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.
23 And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.
24 Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?
25 But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.