My Story (Family Court, Shared Parenting Laws, The Parental Alienation Paradigm & Child Protection in Australia)
Family Court vs The Best Interests of The Child
All persons, places and objects shown in the images in this hub are models and are shown for illustrative purposes only. They have no relation to any real person or event.
An Insight into a Mother's Reality After Family Violence
It's not about "justice", or "the principle of it", so I will not react. To do so would not serve my purpose. I've done what I had to and I'll do what I must, because they asked me to keep them safe and I promised I would. It is not about getting revenge against you.It was never for revenge against you.It's not all about you; it never was and it never will be. Nor is it about me. It's about them and it always will be, because love should not hurt!
If you look online, you will find overwhelming amounts
of documented evidence and a great many blogs discussing the unforeseen
effects that Shared Parenting Laws have had on abused children in Australia
and in numerous other countries around the world, including Canada and
the US, and you will get an idea of just how many parents are facing
In May 2010, I was emailed a link to an article that read as follows:
"The three major Family Law reviews were handed down in January 2010. It was recognized that the current Shared Parenting Laws are not working in situations where domestic violence is a factor and need to be changed to ensure that children's rights, well being and safety is of paramount importance.
While this is good news for children, the extreme father's rights groups have been protesting about the recommended changes, threatening to not vote for the current government if they dare implement them. They say they have 16,000 members that they can mobilize.
The Attorney General has flagged that he won't make any legislative changes because of their threats before the election. Afterwards, we will have little if no hope because the reviews will be long gone and media interest faded."
It was after reading the above article that I decided to share my story. I am writing of my own journey here, to hopefully give people an insight into the reality that so many Australian mothers (and some fathers) have faced and are facing, in their struggle to keep their children safe from an abusive, controlling parent, since Australia's Shared Parenting Laws came into effect in 2006.
I feel we all have a duty of care to these children, and I plead with you all to make their cases heard. Tell your friends and family, write about it on your blogs, sign petitions, attend protest rallies and write to your politicians. Our children cannot speak for themselves!
Because I am currently in the middle of Family Court Proceedings, I cannot detail any of my or my childrens' specific experiences of physical or emotional abuse, so I will focus on things that I have learned are very similar to many other protective mothers experiences - the contradictory nature of our abusers, and how they use indirect threats and degrading analogies to instill fear and erode self-confidence. Abusers are NEVER what they appear to be....
Here is my story:
I have come to believe that the father of my children is a complete sociopath or even a psychopath and I am terrified for their safety. They have not seen him for months and do not want to. After much counseling, group therapy, completion of the Protective Behaviors Program, doing lots of fishing, gardening and other fun things, and receiving lots of unconditional love, they now say that they are happier than they have ever been, although I believe we all still have a long way to go.
They asked me to promise to keep them safe, and promise I did, but I am losing hope in being able to keep that promise as although I have violence restraining orders for myself and the kids, I will soon be facing their father in Family Court.
While I had always believed that my kids needed to be able to continue their relationship with their Dad if we separated, it is only in the months since our separation that I have come to be aware of what he is really capable of.
After he first left, I realized my kids were displaying most of the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which have thankfully diminished with time. Over the months the children have slowly been revealing what he put them through, and with counseling and by reading my journals I have been able to recall all the things he has put me through.
I also discovered information in hidden user accounts on my computer that opened my eyes to the extent of his lies, addictions to sex and violence, and his ability to hide his dark and sadistic nature and come across instead as a warm, genuine and caring human being.
All of his friends and family think he is wonderful, charming man, and that his only faults are that he is impulsive, irresponsible and homophobic.
But I now know that he is in fact, secretly bisexual, into beastiality, extremely abusive, controlling, violent, skilled at subtle cruelty, sadistic, criminally versatile and completely lacking in empathy, remorse and guilt.
I also fear he has some even darker secrets and certain things I discovered have lead me to believe he may also be into into some other extreme fetishes, and I fear he may have committed some horrendous crimes in the very distant past.
One of the things that concerns me most about him however, is his ability to lie so convincingly. He has lied about so many things, to so may people and for such a long time that he has become quite skilled at it. He is talented in his ability to concoct outrageous reasons to justify his abusive behavior, so that most people who hear his lies end up feeling sorry for him and think he has done quite well to have stopped himself from doing more serious harm to "those who have betrayed him"
I often used to wonder if he had told these lies to other people so many times that he had somehow managed to convince even himself that they are true. I even began to wonder what would happen if he was put on a lie detector machine, because I figured that if a person has forgotten that something is a lie, then they wouldn't actually feel like they were lying whenever they retell that lie, would they?
I'm not sure if I believe it anymore though, because as soon as I started to think he was, although abusive, also a victim of society's prejudices, and someone who genuinely wanted to stop hurting those he loved, he would somehow blow me away with some off hand remark or explosive outburst that made my mind boggle.
For instance, he would admit to some sadistic reason for his lies, or say something so vicious and cruel that I would be left thinking I did not really know him at all. At one stage I even thought I was crazy and that it must all be my fault or something.
My concerns and doubts got worse and worse with time. Towards the end of our relationship he would often admit to some past wrong doing of his which he had always previously vehemently denied, but such confessions would be anything but an expression of guilt, and more and more often his comments would reveal an alarming level of premeditation or contain some other element that was more than deeply disturbing on many levels.
One such confession occurred a week or so before we separated, when he was talking to me after having exploded in yet another violent rage. He broke down crying (I say crying, but there were no actual tears, just sniffing and crying "noises"), and then said he was violent and needed help.
Then he started confessing all these things to me including years of torturing animals when he was in his 20's: having once planned to rape, torture and murder his "friend"; an incident where he drugged and raped another male "friend" of his with the hope that it would cause the guy to later commit suicide, and finally he started confessing to an incident in the 1970s where he and some of his friends picked up a woman hitch hiker, bu I never heard the rest of that particular confession, as I ran out crying.
Afterward, as he had always done before, he denied having said any of the things he had said.
On a different night, he admitted for the first time to the times that he has raped me (he had previously always denied that he had). He then went on to say that the only way he could make up for it was to tell my son that he was conceived during one of those rapes. I was horrified!
There were many other behaviors that I witnessed that, in hindsight, I should have really seen as very clear warning signs, but I guess each behavior on it's own was never really bad enough to make me question his overall integrity.
Then again, maybe I was in denial. I still don't want to believe that the man I loved for so long could really be capable of what I can only call evil, but I have had to face the reality that there are just too many things he has done, combined with to many extreme behaviors and over too long a period of time that I no longer have the luxury of hoping it is just all a misunderstanding or that he will ever change. To give him any more chances would be more than irresponsible, it would be insanely stupid.
How can I trust a man who has very contradictory beliefs and values about pedophilia and incest? To explain: on one hand he believes that all pedophiles should be shot, but on the other hand, he believes his ex-girlfriend's father only molested her as a way of trying to show her how much he loved her.
My own experiences of sexual abuse as a young child were minimized and even outright disbelieved by him. A sexual assault I experienced a young adolescent that was perpetrated by a much older man whom I had loved and trusted and whose wife and family I cared deeply for, was also minimized, and at various times he would even say that I must have "asked for it". When I told him that he sounded just like the man who had abused me, I then had to run for cover as he erupted in a rage that saw my possessions smashed beyond repair and my framed photo's attacked with hammers until they were nothing but shards of glass, splintered wood and scrap card in the rubbish bin.
In stark contradiction to his outrage at my "attack on his character", one of his favorite pornographic videos was an X-rated homosexual video staring multiple young men of a questionable age, one of whom bore an alarming resemblance to his almost adult son from his first marriage.
He also made many off hand comments that revealed disturbing thoughts and feelings about his son, his son's friends, and younger nieces and nephews that I am simply not able to relate to, and are far too close to blatantly admitting being sexually attracted to them for me to be comfortable with.
For instance, he told me that he found it hard not to fantasize about things that may have been going on when this son had friends over to stay the night, that he fears that his relationship with his son may one day turn incestuous. He also goes on about how proud he is that the boy is bisexual like him.
He also told me he had been unable to stop himself from looking at his niece's breasts after she reached puberty, and trying to imagine what they looked like underneath her clothes. I always found all of these kinds of statements to be very alarming.
Almost everything about him seems to indicate that the man is a walking contradiction. For instance, he was always rather obsessed with news stories about family violence, child abuse, violent rape, incest, familicide and murder. He would go on about any one story constantly for days or even weeks, and would condemn the perpetrators with such ferocity that the kids and I eventually became fearful to be in the same room as him whenever he was discussing such things.
(Of course I would have been a fool to bring up the obvious hypocrisy of his statements in light of his own past acts of violence and abuse, not to mention his "confessions". I did actually mention it once without thinking, but his reaction was frightful enough to ensure I never made the same mistake again...)
Yet despite his constant claims of being disgusted by any form of violence, he would watch movies that would leave most people in a state of utter shock but would simply reduce him to hysterical laughter. I hated watching such movies but he would bully me into watching them and when I did, they sometimes made me vomit and often I would have nightmares for weeks afterward.
I do not think myself oversensitive, I can handle violence in epic movies that "moves you" and stuff like that, but real life snuff videos and real videos of kids dying as shovels are embedded into their heads?
His baffling behavior and contradictory views were further shown whenever he spoke of some woman who had supposedly cheated on her partner, whether it was the wife/girlfriend of someone he knew or a stranger, and even if it was just speculation or rumor.
He would spend ridiculous amounts of time suggesting suitable revenge or punishment for such women, most of which would be incomprehensible to myself or anyone else, but if anything was said about the irrationality of his thoughts, the unsuspecting person would be relentlessly insulted and humiliated for their supposed lack of humor and faith in his true nature (WTF?).
Of course I would always then be terrified whenever he harped on about how obvious it was that I was being unfaithful, which happened quite often even though I never once was unfaithful.
In fact, I only ever once came even remotely close to cheating on him, and all that was, was a period of a couple of weeks when I realized I was thinking about a friend more than perhaps I should, and that I felt happy whenever I thought of him. Though the thoughts and feelings were not in any way sexual, I guess I felt they were more than I should be feeling for a friend and that scared me to the point of telling the friend that I could not see him for a while, and I told my guy that I was confused about some feelings I had been having for the friend and that I had ended the friendship because I did not want to cause any more problems in our relationship, and that perhaps we needed to try and work on our own relationship.
Unfortunately I probably should not have said anything, because I was treated like I had confessed to a long term affair of filthy sex and emotional infidelity.He harassed me about it for years.
What hurt even more though was that he would say these things to the
kids, friends, family and professional people, claiming he had proof,
which of course he didn't. In fact all of his attempts to "catch me
out" ended up proving my innocence instead, but all this did however
was make him angry instead of more trusting. He even tried to set me up
by planting fake evidence in our bedroom, but i caught him doing it. He
I was once told he had been telling everyone of my "latest" affair with one of my "so-called friends" and the person telling me was lecturing me on my lack of morality. I asked the person who the friend in question was, and when they told me, I calmly pointed out that that friend had in fact been overseas for the previous 9 months and offered to give them the phone number of the friend's employer who had sent him overseas for the job, at which point the person's cheeks turned a deep shade of crimson...
Even his sense of humor raises concerns. I consider my own sense of humor to be rather quirky at times, but at least it is a "clean sense of humor. To me humor is at its best when it is in the form of ironic, intelligent insight. I do not find humor in things that have no intelligent play on words or images and are apparently funny just because they are gross.
Freddy got Fingered? I just can't see anything clever or remotely funny about such humor. It completely lacks whit and to me it is simply outrageously disgusting. I also think it was cruel of him to force me to watch it when I was pregnant with his child, and expect me to endure his gut busting laughter at the scene where Tom Green "helps" deliver a baby.
After he left, I realized my children were displaying learnt sexual behaviors. They also expressed ideas and opinions well beyond their years, and displayed other signs that indicate possible sexual abuse, which lead me to speak to their child psychologist. In a subsequent investigation by Child Protection Officers, the children did not disclose any sexual abuse. While this was the most important thing for me, and a great relief, I do still fear that he may have been grooming them for future sexual abuse.
The only abuse I know of for certain though, is the soul destroying emotional abuse that I often witnessed and experienced, the physical abuse that I experienced myself and instances of physical abuse experienced by my children, the first few of which I witnessed and the last few of which I did not see, but soon found out about, at which point I told him that if he ever hit them or manhandled them again I would have him charged.
We also had to endure feelings of hurt, anger and betrayal as he would constantly lie to them about me, and to us all about himself. He would often pack his stuff and leave for a few days, but tell them that I kicked him out or that I had cheated on him or that he could not abide my laziness/ craziness/ lies/ messiness anymore, or he would blame them for leaving saying that they were bad kids who were deliberately naughty to make him angry so that he would then get into trouble with me.
This would always lead to them being overwhelmed with feelings of guilt, confusion, fear, anger and more, because although they knew they had misbehaved, it was certainly not on purpose or because of what he said it was.
Further more, the messiness he always went on about was often his more than ours, and although it did get sometimes get messy, it was only clutter, not filth, and only ever after he had been at his most abusive. It would always be tidied up, even when it was him who had made the mess.
All of these things build a disturbing picture now that I have been able to piece them all together and have led me to re-examine my already limited trust in him regarding our kids. Combine it all with his long criminal record of multiple convictions for possession of drugs, cultivation of drugs, possession of unlicensed firearms, unlicensed ammunition and restraining orders and other things such as his prior possession of a shot firer's permit, extensive knowledge of, experience with and known associations with people easily able to obtain explosives, self confessed possession of unlicensed firearms, past association with many high profile criminals, intimate knowledge of the details of their crimes that he has revealed to me in the past (some of which has subsequently been substantiated and then revealed to the public by the media), crimes that I witnessed many, many years ago that he was never caught for (and which I was too naïve and in love to report at the time), and the many cruel direct and indirect threats he has made to me in private over the years, is it any wonder that I hold such grave fears for the safety of both my children and myself?
I did initially have strong support from both the Department for Child Protection and The Police Family Protection Unit, and they were full of praise about the steps I had taken of my own initiative to deep myself and the kids safe, and help us all to heal and move on.
Unfortunately, since my ex contacted them to inform them of "his side of the story", they have now decided that all my allegations are based on hearsay and cannot be substantiated, and therefore they will not support me in court (institutional grooming?!).
They further went on to accuse me of parental alienation, paranoia, negativity and of perpetuating fear in my children.
These departments have only met my children on one occasion, and myself perhaps half a dozen times, and if you were to contact my counselors, my children's counselors, their psychologist or our victim support worker, they would all tell you they believe I have gone from strength to strength since separating from their father, and have been extremely and consistently proactive, clear minded and positive in all areas of my life, including the task of helping my children heal from the harmful experiences of their own abuse and the witnessing of my abuse, and that rather than perpetuating fear in the kids, I have been successful in helping them to overcome their fears while still helping them to feel safe and teaching them how to stay safe.
Even so, the reports of counselors are opinions based on hearsay, and will not count for much in Family Court, so I fear it's going to be my word against his in family court.
I have reported all this to the police as well, including the things he confessed to me, but they will not do anything
and tell me he's just bluffing. Further more, it is just hearsay, as I
did not witness any of the really serious things he has confessed to or
any that I fear he has committed, and the ones that I did witness
happened too long ago for any charges made being likely to lead to
conviction. They also question why I only report them now and say how
do they know I'm not just out for revenge.
I face the same thing in family court and worse. Any allegations I make of his abuse of my children that I have witnessed and my own abuse experienced will be discounted as hearsay as I have no other witnesses. I may even then be found to have "Parental Alienation Syndrome", an unprovable, quite possibly fake psychological disorder that is laughed at by 95% of psychiatrists world wide, and which was actually invented by a psychologist who was later charged, convicted and jailed for multiple counts of pedophilia and incest (I read that but don't know if it's 100% true, as I have since read another article that only said he was suspected of it), and who then committed suicide. If a judge decides that I have this "syndrome", then it is most likely that the kids' Dad will be awarded sole residency, and I may even be restricted to supervised contact.
I have a lawyer who is going to do his best, but he fears for me and my children and doubts he will be able to do much to help us due to the current laws.
Our journey continues....
(Please keep reading below for some inspirational insights and links to more information)
- How To Help Save Abused Children From Dangerous Family Laws
I feel we all have a duty of care to these children, and I plead with you all to make their cases heard. Our children cannot speak for themselves! Remember that one drop raises the ocean! I have include links to many resources where you can find more
- Perpetrators Perfecting the Fine Art of Institutional Grooming
A lot of people will have heard of the term "grooming", but most will think of the term only as it is used in the context of child sexual abuse. What many people do not consider, is that grooming is an art that is practiced by most perpetrators of an
- Shared Care - An Unintended Consequence
Article from the Australian Family Magazine
- Australian Shared Parenting Law Debate
Great Blog with lots of info
- QLD Psychologists Attack Parental Alienation (Syndrome) (PAS)
- Child Sexual Abuse & Parental Alienation Syndrome Allegations (Forensics Talk)
A forensic nurse shares her training & experience, and Medical-legal news & commentary about general forensics, forensic nursing, criminal profiling, criminal & civil investigations, assault & abuse, fraud & posts on protecting yo
- The "Fathers Rights" Movement: How to Legally Stalk, Harass, and Intimidate Victims of Domestic Viol
- National Council for Children Post-Separation | Media Statement - 15 March 2010
Child Experts Outraged over Decision to force Children to spend time with Sex Offender Father
- Why Abusers Get Away With Claiming Parental Alienation
- Family Court of Australia amendments Petition
We call on the Federal Government to: Amend custody, access and shared care of Australian children following divorce where there is an allegation of violence or abuse by a parent....
A man does what he must - in spite of personal consequences, in
spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures - and that is the basis of all
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other
time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we
Love and compassion
are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.
Please join me on FaceBook
- STOP the Violence Against Women & Children
Organize to Resist! Together we can take on the Predators! Let's Break the Silence to End the Violence by working together to make our voices a Resounding SHOUT!!! Perpetrators BEWARE - you don't stand a chance!
All names in this article have been changed for legal purposes and to protect the privacy of the Author. Except where otherwise credited, or where text forms part of an external link, this article is under the following copyright:
Copyright © 2010 Mel Stewart, "safe-at-last", of Perth, Western Australia. All rights reserved.
All persons, places and objects shown in the images in this hub are are shown for illustrative purposes only. They bear no relation to any real person or event. All persons shown are paid models. Unless otherwise credited, all images are under the following copyright:
Copyright © 2010 Mel Stewart, "safe-at-last" and Licensors Nodtronics Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.