Child Abuse and the Legal System

by Jade
(Saskatchewan, Canada)

I did not grow up in a home with abuse but lived with an abuser for 15yrs. I had 4 children with the abuser and my children are my life. In group we have learned the term crazy making and this is what happened to me. My ex abused all 4 of my children and occasionaly would make me watch telling me that I had caused him to loose all control. The abuse started on me shortly after I became pregnant and when it no longer mattered what he said or did to me he started on the children. I honestly believe no matter how disfuntional our home was if I was a good parent I could erase the effects. Also living in it I did not realize how bad it had become.
I did try to leave 5 times before I finally got away enduring watching my ex physically, mentally and emotionally abuse our children. Eventually I did learn about the sexual abuse as well. I still to this day have so much guilt over what has happened to my kids. 4 years of counselling has not erased this. My oldest daughter thought I had turned a blind eye to the abuse I had not I was only trying to hold things together and felt helpless. My ex told me if I left no one would believe me and this I believed. Finally after my ex had choked my daughter (12) leaving hand prints on her neck, broke my sons (8) ribs by kicking him repeatedly in the stomach and allowing a total stranger to leave a party he had gone to to take our (5) yr old then arriving home drunk with our youngest (4). I felt I had no choice but to leave out of fear if I did not one of the kids was going to end up dead. I did leave and it has been the hardest longest fight of my life. I honestly don't know if I would do it again. It has been 4 years and over 100,000 trying to get away from a man who still considers me and the kids his property. Even my oldest daughter realized now why I stayed as long as I did.
The police and child protection have been a huge help however the family courts in Saskatchawan can overrule all the protections they try to put in place. My ex had lost all rights to my oldest 2 children the judge stating the abuse on them was so severe he did not believe it was appropriate or in the kids best intests to be forced into a relationship with him and they had appropriatly disconnected themselves. He did however grant my ex access back to my 2 youngest kids. On that day I stood up in court to protest and was told by the judge that my children were a mess due to my disfuntional relationship with the kids father. The 1st time my ex came to pick up the 2 youngest girls from my parents house my oldest daughter had stolen my fathers hand gun and was planning on shooting her father. Thankfully my father stopped her before this had happened. The abuse emotional and physical continued even though child protection had intervened 2 more times and orders again overturned 2 more times by the family court. Me and my 2 oldest children have had restraining orders against my ex for 4 years now. finally last summer when my ex was picked up and arrested for a D.U.I. while my 2 youngest were in the car did he finally lose rights. We have serious issues with our legal system and I believe family courts go too far to maintain a fathers rights. We in the 2nd year after leaving when my ex was trying to prove parental allienation got a access assessment done that yes I had to pay for that stated my ex was narcasistic a sociopath and should never be alone with the kids even this had not been enough for the judge to eliminate my ex access to the girls the judge stating he felt it was a step backwards and was not going there. I have fought for 4 years to get my kids into counselling and my ex has refused to grant his permission. Recently this has made sense as my 2nd youngest daughter told me her dad had been molesting her for years. Now that she did not see him she felt safe enough to talk about it. I did report this and still am not sure if it is the right thing as it is only going to traumatize my kids more. I feel that our legal system needs to do more to protect children when women leave abusive relationships especially when there has been abuse of children. For the abuse on my 2 oldest children and treatening me with a weapon my ex recieved an 18m suspended sentence. where is the justice and this is why more people don't come forward.

Darlene Barriere: author. speaker. survivor. coachNote from Darlene: If I have not left a comment on your story, please understand that it is not personal; it's just that my hectic schedule no longer permits me to do so.

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