A Broken Promise: Children Taught to Disclose Abuse Called “Liars” in Family Court

I clearly remember the day, back in 1st grade, when the teacher explained “good touch, bad touch” then instructed the class to tell a “safe person” or go to police if we had been touched in a way that made us feel afraid, or was unsafe. For most of my life I believed what I was told – that if a child discloses abuse they will be believed, that adults will act to protect a child in need. That the job of police and social workers (and the like) is to keep kids safe.

Years later, as an adult, my horrific experiences with family court showed me just the opposite – that disclosing abuse to the authorities is dangerous. In family court, there is great suspicion of those who disclose abuse, they will be called a “liar”, accused of mental illness and even told they are “harming” their child for reporting abuse. In family court, when you disclose physical, sexual, or emotional abuse you risk losing everything – even the child you are trying to protect.

A Broken Promise: Tell a Safe Person

1st Grade – I was a spirited child who colored outside the lines to see how far I could go, and thrived under the creative guidance of my teacher, Mrs. Paris.

I absolutely adored Mrs. Paris – she reminded me of Mom’s vintage Black Barbie doll, Julia. Julia was tall and slender with beautiful, dark skin. Julia’s almond shaped eyes were framed by long, black lashes. Her burgundy colored hair was styled in a Pixie cut. How Mrs. Paris, a Black woman, became a school teacher in a small town settled in a river valley by stern German immigrants who held tight to their religion, and prejudices that were passed down to successive generations, is an accomplishment in itself. I could count all the colored people in town on my one, small hand – to say you were a minority was more than being a smaller number, it mean you were treated differently, and generally not welcome. Mrs. Paris roared into town in her sporty, red Pontiac Fiero, with lots of attitude to give anyone who had a problem with her, and lots of love to give to us children. She was a sight to be seen – wearing long, flowing dresses with bold patterns and colors. Geometric shaped earrings dangled at her lobes. I instantly adored Mrs. Paris, and did my best to behave, even if I was a bit rambunctious.

On the day of the “Good Touch, Bad Touch” lesson, Mrs. Paris instructed the class to sit down on our carpet squares in a circle that contorted with our wriggling bodies that absolutely could not be still. Mrs. Paris walked around the circle, put her finger to her lips and silenced us with a gentle but firm “sssh”. Coloring sheets were handed out to explain “good touch” and “bad touch”. The boys got carried away with “bad touch” and punched each other, falling to the carpet squares with exaggerated moans. Mrs. Paris was having none of that – we needed to be serious, to listen. She pointed again to the paper and slowly explained until the class fell silent.

In my little girl world, Mrs. Paris was my “safe person”. She understood the “bad touches” that no one else in class did, children whose grandparents claimed this land as their own over a hundred years ago, and made all the rules we now follow. Mrs. Paris understood being called the “N” word, and worse. Understood how people move away from you when you went into a store or restaurant. That even when people gave you that stiff, polite smile and let you in they were just tolerating your presence, and not really welcoming you. Sure, there were some that really didn’t see you for the color of your skin, and some that even became friends..but they were few. And the pressures of “being a good person” and “doing the right thing” could even turn someone close to you. I wasn’t bitter – and am not today – it was just how things were. But I saw in Mrs. Paris that you could overcome “the way things are” – and even be successful, and happy, and admired her for that.

As a little girl, I didn’t really understand “bad touches” other than watching Skeletor battle He-Man with a sword. Skeletor was the obvious “bad guy”, that wicked laugh gave him away every time! But I trusted Mrs. Paris when she said if anyone made you afraid, or hurt you, did anything that made you feel uncomfortable, go tell a “safe person” like a police officer, a teacher, your mom and dad. As children we were promised that if we spoke out about abuse that we would be believed, and someone would help us. We were promised that grown-ups care about children, and would protect us. So we colored our “good touch, bad touch” sheets with naive trust.

We Should Have Been Warned

We should have been warned that not all adults listen to children – and that disclosing abuse does not mean you will be believed. That bruises can be covered up. And tears are a sign of weakness.

In family court, parents who disclose abuse, and make efforts to protect children, are labeled as being seriously mentally ill or harming their children.

Parents who abuse their children – beat them bloody, sexually abuse them, scream angry words into their heads until the children hate themselves – are considered model parents in family court.

When allegations of abuse are raised, the abusive parent is considered the victim – it is obvious, the ex is only saying these things because they are mentally ill or trying to gain an advantage in court! So he abuser is given sympathy and legal assistance by the family court system. Coddled by the family court and its judges, a dangerous abuser becomes a monster.

The process is always the same, you hear this happening time and time again from parents involved in family court proceedings, across the globe. After raising an allegation of domestic violence or child abuse, the protective parent is court ordered into psychiatric testing conducted by one of the court’s hired guns. The court appointed expert always detect mental illness, and will diagnose parents over and over with the same problem, one that can never be fixed. A parent who obtains their own testing is simply not credible or a Guardian ad Litem or attorney will over rule the results. Even with no medical experience, a GAL or attorney or court professional is ALWAYS more credible than a parent, and anyone perceived to be supporting them. Psychiatric testing – even if you “pass” the test with no sign of mental illness – is just a step towards having your child unjustly taken from you. The family court goes to great lengths to create a false reality. The protective parent is ordered into unnecessary mental health treatments designed to get them to recant abuse allegations. Or forced into classes to learn how to “co-parent” with an abuser aka shut up and just take it. Parents pay the “court-poration” until they are broke and homeless in a desperate attempt to save their children and their family for attorneys, court fees, GAL fees, unnecessary treatment, supervised visitation, child support etc

And in the end playing by the rules does you no good because there are no rules, or law, in family court.

The abusive, unit parent will be awarded sole custody in proceedings that are not only unjust but cruel. Parents who have lost custody of children to an abusive or unfit parent has a similar story – children being ripped from their arms, screaming. Children being taken by the courts under threats, and against their will. Children being taken by the police who are supposed to protect. Children being taken as the result of an ex-parte hearing where the protective parent is not present, and not able to defend themselves. And the abuse will continue under a false pretense of “justice”.

Only then do you realize that you have been lied to all along.

~ “Emily Court” © 2017

Read More:

Custody in Crisis: How Family Courts Nationwide Put Children in Danger by Laurie Udesky

The Family Court has a serious attitude problem when it comes to domestic violence by Jess Hill

The real life horrors of America’s family court system by James Carter


Posted in Child Abuse, Children Stolen by the Government, Family Court Injustice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Child Survivor of “Reunification” Speaks Out: “I Want to Save Other Children..”

I am posting this story of  about teen, Hannah Mills, to raise awareness of the systemic failures in family court to protect children from abuse. And raise awareness of the horrors of “reunification therapy” imposed on children who are forced into having a “relationship” with an identified abuser.

Public Domain: http://7-themes.com

MY STORY: I have similar experiences in family court with my children, who are also victims of physical and emotional abuse from their father. The children were not formally entered into a reunification program but the reunification agenda underlined every action of the family court; and caused significant harm to the children, and to my relationship with them as a mother. 

As a result of escaping the abuse, I became homeless with two traumatized children… I could not imagine how much our troubles would escalate when we became involved in family court proceedings. When I bravely spoke out about the abuse, after over 8 years of imposed silence, the family court not only failed to protect my children but assisted the abuser in gaining custody. 

My children also spoke out about the abuse, and displayed emotional and behavior symptoms consistent about abuse. While I fought to get help for my children, and rebuild our lives, free of violence, the family court placed my children back into the danger.

After forcing reunification on my children, they both de-stabilized, and suffered from PTSD, anxiety and other behaviors. While in supervised visitation, both children showed fear and anger towards their abusive father. As a result of the court’s actions, my precious son had a breakdown – at just 6 years old – and required hospitalization. While in the hospital he continued to disclose abuse from his father, even stating “I learned my tantrums from my dad” and recalling his “worst memory” as the time he witnessed his father physically assault me (all documented). My son said he felt “guilty” that he could not protect me… I now feel guilty that I could not do enough to protect him, and his sister, from continued abuse by their father, and the predatory family court.

~ Emily Court, 2017


Public Domain: quotespics.net

(Michigan) Hannah Mills was 15 years when forcibly taken from her mother and court ordered to attend a reunification program in California called Family Bridges.

Hannah recalls witnessing her father physically and verbally abuse her mother, and says tension was high in the home. Hannah was also a target of abuse, and recalls that her father once told her “you are a mistake. CPS was called when Hannah reported that her father deprived her of food as punishment but failed to investigate further because her father didn’t use “sticks or weapons” against her, so his treatment was not considered abuse.

As a freshman in high school, Hannah was so despondent at the thought of visiting her father that she considered suicide and began cutting herself. Her younger brother also struggled with being forced to visit the father. 

Instead of protecting the children, CPS worked to force the children to visit their father – going so far as to make recommendations to the judge that included ordering the mother Candy (Mills) Mezey into community service if the children continued to refuse to see their father. Candy’s efforts to protect her children did result in her being thrown in jail, overnight. Hannah recalls she felt guilty that her mom was in jail, and would do anything to protect her. 

Mother, Mezey was labeled with “parental alienation”. In August 2015 family court judge Judge Matthew Stewart awarded sole custody to ex-husband Kurt Mills. Hannah was taken into “reunification therapy” by a pre-arranged “escort” which caused more trauma, and placed her life at risk…

Hannah has finally escaped her abusive father and is now telling her story in an effort to “save other children”.

Read Full Story Here:Taken from mom, teen flees dad and waits for 18th birthday

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Battered Husband Neil Tweedy Films Wife Abusing Him: Struggles with Aftermath

(Greater Manchester, North West England: September 2017) Neil Tweedy, who endured 12 horrific years of violence and threats at the hands of his wife, Helen, set up hidden cameras in the home to record the abuse over a two month period because he didn’t think police would believe him unless the incidents were recorded. The video footage was used to prosecute Mrs. Tweedy with assault.

Helen Tweedy is accused of smothering, slapping,  swearing, punching and kicking Mr. Tweedy – with much of the violence occurring in front of their daughter, now age 4. Verbal abuse was also a problem. For much of the marriage Mr. Tweedy did not report abuse, due to fear of his wife, and that authorities would not believe him. 

Mrs. Tweedy admitted three charges of common assault by beating at Manchester Magistrates Court. Mrs. Tweedy was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 120 hours’ unpaid work and a restraining order prohibiting contact with her husband for 12 months.

Clearly the child’s physical and emotional safety are at risk due to the mother’s abusive behavior. I hope the Court, or another professional agency with the authority to intervene, considers the domestic violence that has occurred in this family, and the effects on the child, seriously and works to protect the child; and offer professional help to this family.

Mr. Tweedy is supportive of his wife having visitation with the child, and has blamed Mrs. Tweedy’s behavior as just being caused by alcohol.

Neil Tweedy with wife Helen CREDIT: CAVENDISH PRESS

Let’s be clear –  alcohol/drug use alone does not, and cannot, cause a person to become a perpetrator of domestic violence; and there is no scientific evidence to show alcohol/drug abuse causes someone to become an abuser. Domestic violence is complex, and involves numerous factors and influences. Domestic violence is defined by a pattern, or history, of using violence, threats and force to gain power and control over another. The need for control fuels domestic violence, not the loss of it.

Alcohol certainly can impair judgment, or contribute to the escalation of violence, but should not be used as an “abuse excuse”. 

According to domestic violence expert, Lundy Bancroft, who has had over 20 years experience working in batterer intervention programs,”Alcohol does not change a person’s fundamental value system. People’s personalities when intoxicated, even though somewhat altered, still bear some relationship to who they are when sober.” (Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men)

Abusers will act violent and controlling towards a partner whether they are drinking or not. A good example of this is my abusive ex, Martin. Martin has a long history of addictive behavior, including abuse of alcohol, street drugs and prescription pain killers. While abusing drugs and alcohol, Martin got into physical fights, had difficulty with family and peers, and got into trouble with the law that lead to criminal charges, and the issuance of a commitment order. I met Martin many years after he stopped abusing drugs and alcohol – but his abuse of me, and the children, began. Martin then became addicted to gambling and pain pills, and the abuse continued. The drugs and alcohol did not cause Martin’s violence towards me and the children, his attitudes, and values did. Domestic violence has also been attributed to being a learned behavior. In Martin’s case this is likely true because there is a long history of physical and emotional abuse in both his mother’s and father’s side of the family, that has occurred alongside alcohol abuse.

Domestic violence can happen to any person, from any background. The impact of domestic violence leaves both a physical and psychological impact on victims, and causes lasting scars. For men, particularly, the experience can be isolating and a source of shame or feeling “less than a man”. It is really sad, to me, that Mr. Tweedy felt he needed to record the abuse – and allow himself to be beaten and humiliated – so that he would be believed, and someone would help him. I am including resources below for men who are victims of abuse  to reach out for help, and assist with safety planning. 

As a survivor, I know how difficult it is to escape abuse and rebuild your life. I can honestly say, that you deserve so much more than to be mistreated or to live in fear everyday. Your children deserve a real childhood where they feel safe and loved, and can grow into their full potential. My pastor often reminds us that we have “unsurpassable worth“, that each person is lovingly created by God. Each person is cherished for they are. Each person adds something that is beautiful or unique, and makes this world a better place by your existence in it. You deserve so much more than to live a life of abuse or fear, you deserve to be happy, to be safe, and to enjoy life for all the blessings it has to offer.

If anyone is involved in an abusive relationship, I urge you to reach out for yourself, and your children, to get professional help or support.

Abused men can reach out to the following organizations for help:

For Men and Women: The National Domestic Violence Hotline or 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

Read FULL Story: 

Abused husband, 45, who suffered 12 years of beatings at hands of his hard-drinking teacher wife set up a spy camera to film her campaign of violence – but DEFENDS her after she is convicted (Daily Mail)

Battered husband secretly filmed wife attacking him as he feared police would not believe him, court hears (The Telegraph)


The Combination of Domestic Abuse and Alcohol (by Buddy T) 

Alcohol triggers abuse (Guyana Times)

Help for Men Who Are Being Abused

Lundy Bancroft’s website

Posted in Domestic Violence, Legal News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mother Sexually Assaulted During Custody Exchange: Understand the Risks of Post Separation Violence

(New Ulm, Brown County, Minnesota: May 16, 2017) – Derek Michael Roethler has been charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct and one count of domestic assault after sexually assaulting his ex-partner during a custody exchange. When questioned by police, Roethler claims he did not hurt his ex-partner but rather, they were just playing “50 Shades of Gray”.

Roethler allegedly followed the victim into the bathroom and then removed his pants and touched the victim sexually. The victim fought back, hitting and biting Roethler. The child walked into the bathroom during the assault and cried after witnessing Roethler hurt his mother. The victim told the child to run for help, at which point Roethler fled.

Roethler has a lengthy criminal history and made the news in September 2016 for a felony drug charge, at the time of arrest he displayed bizarre behavior and was believed to be high on methamphetamines:  NU man faces felony drug charge

At the time of this posting, this case is still ongoing. National surveys estimate that 1.5 -3 million women are victims of physical or sexual violence at the hands of their partners or ex-partners each year (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000).

Source: New Ulm Man Accused Of Sexual Assault Claims 50 Shades Of Grey

What Can Be Learned: Identifying Risks to Children When Abuse Allegations are Raised

This case is just one example, of countless many, of a mother who was a victim of violence that occurred during custody exchange. What we learn from this tragedy can be used to raise awareness of the escalation of violence that occurs post separation. And, hopefully, that knowledge can be used to improve the system’s response to domestic violence, to include offering supportive services and increased legal protections to victims. 

It is not clear if domestic violence had happened during this relationship but it is important to note that studies consistently show that the risk to children from parents who perpetrate domestic violence does not decrease after separation. It is a myth (that borders on victim blaming) to assume that once the victim leaves the relationship, the abuse ends. In reality, safety risks to children from domestic violence increase post separation. And in some cases, results are fatal.

Shared custody and/or visitation arrangements put victims in frequent contact with identified perpetrators of abuse, increasing the risk of harm to both the victim and the child.

Risks Posed to Children from an Abusive and/or Violent Parent Include:

  • Exposure to threats, or violence. Children may be harmed physically or emotionally when caught in the middle of an assault. Alternately, the child may become a target of violence when the abuser seeks to retaliate against an ex partner, or uses the child to gain power and control over an ex partner.  30-60% of children with mothers who are victims of abuse are at risk to be abused by their fathers, and an estimated 3-10 million children witness parental abuse (Edleson, 1999a1999b).
  • Risk of undermining the relationship the child has with the other parent, also known as Domestic Violence by Proxy or alienation. Higher risk of psychological abuse, manipulation and being victims of controlling behavior.
  • Risk of physical, sexual, mental or emotional abuse
  • Risk of neglect or irresponsible parenting
  • Risk of restricting access to children or denying parenting time. The loss of a primary attachment figure is tremendously harmful to children. Another risk of harm occurs when the protective parent is removed from the child’s life, and there is no one advocating for the child or working to keep them safe.
  • Risk of parental abduction 
  • The abuser as a role model as poses a risk to children in various ways as they cannot appropriately nurture, guide or discipline children.
  • A child who is a victim to abuse or has witnessed domestic violence cannot heal when they are forced into contact with an abuser, or exposed to continued abuse. For children, the experience of growing up with an abusive parent is extremely traumatic, and leaves lifelong scars.

Lundy Bancroft, domestic violence expert with over 20 years experience working with abusive men in a counseling program, wrote an excellent article on the risks posed to children from abusers, and how to identify potential harm: Assessing Risk to Children from Batterers by Lundy Bancroft and ASSESSING RISK TO CHILDREN FROM BATTERERS Lundy Bancroft and Jay G. Silverman (2002)

Those who have the ability to intervene – family court professionals, CPS, therapists, medical doctors, crisis workers, advocates etc – need to be educated on domestic violence (and I mean not just one class but ongoing training or education) to understand how it manifests post separation and trained to identify a potential risk of harm to victims and their children. Identifying harm cannot rely solely on physical or sexual abuse but also must account for emotional and psychological abuse, coercive control and alienation behaviors as being detrimental to children.

In addition, when a family court considers a parenting time or custody, safety must be a priority. Parents who raise abuse allegations should not be ignored or punished, but rather, given the assistance and support they need to be safe. And children should not be sent into unsupervised visits or contact with a parent who poses a risk of physical, sexual, emotional or psychological injury to the child.

This free, online guide is an excellent resource for  family court judges (also helpful for advocates, GALs and family court professionals) to help assess risk factors to a child, to review the evidence to ensure the safety and well-being of a child is met, and to draft orders that maximize safety: A Judicial Guide to Child Safety in Custody Cases

The family court has a responsibility to develop, and utilize, practices that promote safety for victims of domestic violence as this is truly the “best interest” of children. And as a society we cannot afford to ignore domestic violence, the stakes are too high for our children – and for our well-being as a community, as a whole. 

~ Emily Court, © 2017



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Crisis in Wales: Hundreds of Children Missing From State Care

Public Domain: wall.alphacoders.com

Source: Wales Online

Author: Thomas Deacon

Date: 7/22/2017

Link:  Shocking figures show hundreds of Wales’ most vulnerable children are going missing

Hundreds of children from Wales, who have been taken into state care, have gone missing – including a baby who was less than a year old. The children are all at risk of – or could have been experienced – exploitation on the streets, abuse and human trafficking.

According to an investigation conducted by Wales Online, “Figures obtained through freedom of information requests found dozens of children in care were reported missing between January 2015 and May 2017 in at least 1,695 separate missing incidents, with some children going missing on multiple occasions.

Caerphilly council’s response revealed teenage girls and boys as young as 14 were missing for as long as several weeks at a time, including a boy missing throughout the whole of last Christmas.

Catriona Williams, chief executive of charity Children in Wales, said it was “extremely dangerous” that the whereabouts of children in care were potentially unknown, adding that they were “particularly targeted” by paedophiles and drug dealers…

And,”According to data from the National Crime Agency, 43% of missing children incidents in Wales in the 2015-16 financial year related to children in care, who account for fewer than 1% of the child population…

Local authorities are charged with finding the children and promised to do better. It seems no one in social services or the government is investigating the circumstances which lead up to the children going missing from state care, whether placements are safe, or if the children are being properly monitored by social workers.

As of March 2016, close to 6,000 children have been taken into state care in Wales. What happens to the children when they go missing remains unknown.

I urge Wales Online to continue its investigation, and this news outlet may be the only hope we have for getting some answers – and giving voice to these vulnerable children, who have disappeared without any real urgency from the system to find them. 

Posted in Child Abuse, CPS/DHS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

UPDATE On Silva Case – Child Berated By Judge, Threatened With Jail After Refusing to Visit Abusive Father

(Las Vegas, Nevada: June 15, 2016) – An investigative news report by The 8 News NOW I-Team reveals abusive behavior towards a vulnerable 12 year old girl by Judge Rena Hughes, a judge for the Clark County Family Court Division.

Shocking footage of the  hearing has also been publicized on the YouTube channel of Veterans in Politics in which Judge Hughes can be clearly seen, and heard, berating the child, who is helpless and crying, and without any legal representation or support, as she is forced into the care and custody of her abusive father against her will. Allegations of emotional abuse raised by the child, and mother, were ignored when Judge Hughes made issued her ruling. Judge Hughes tells the child if she does not immediately go with her father that she will be put into a facility that is like jail. 

Welthy Silva and Daughter (Source: Go Fund Me)

In the video, a 12 year old girl, Annie, is called to court to answer to Judge Hughes in the midst of a custody dispute between her parents. The father requested a change of custody because he disagreed with the decision of mother, Welthy Silva, to home school the child. Silva has been described as being a primary caregiver since birth, Annie was doing well and thriving under her care.

The Father, defendant,  is represented by attorney Lesley Cohen. Silva appeared in court pro se, without counsel.

Silva comments on a fundraiser page about Annie’s reluctance to visit her father that,”We were not even divorced until April 2013 and then Annie did go every weekend with her Father for two years, having a complete meltdown almost every Monday when I got her back because of his emotional abuse. She decided she could not go for visits anymore May 2015. The court has refused to listen and blames me for not making her go into a toxic situation. Abusers are getting away with this left and right! I hope people will start paying attention to the lies and listening to children ~ it would fix the problem.” Fund Raiser: Get Annie Back

Silva says she was given a letter by the court in which she was instructed to bring the child to the June 15th hearing. If Silva refused, she was threatened with jail for up to 25 days. During the hearing, Silva was ordered to leave the court during the brutal inquisition of the child, while the father and his attorney were allowed to remain in court.

Judge Rena Hughes

Annie (Crying, Pleading) “Please no, I want to be with my mama. Please. I don’t want to be with him.”
Judge Hughes: “I’ve made my decision. I’ve already told you that.”
Annie: “I beg of you.”
Judge: “You don’t need to beg.  I’ve made the decision for your best interest.”
Annie: “How do you know my best interest? You don’t know me.”
Judge: “Because I told you, I’m a grown-up, and you’re a child.”
Annie: “Please, please, please, please, please.”

Annie objects to visits with her father due to the abuse she has suffered. In cases involving child abuse allegations, a Guardian ad Litem is usually appointed to advocate for the child, and to investigate the allegations and the potential risk of harm. A GAL was not appointed in this case. In fact, Annie can be seen in court – sitting at a large table all alone – without any legal representation or support of any kind.

Judge Hughes tells the clearly traumatized child that if she refuses to go with her father that she will be sent to Child Haven (video 3-3) and  says,”It’s not fun, in fact they put you in a holding cell. Just like it would be in jail.”

The child says in a small, brave voice, “Can I please see my Mama?”

Judge Hughes responds, “I’m sorry.” And, “You you already saw her, she just left.” (Reports say Silva was escorted off the courtroom property).

The child responds, “You don’t understand, I love her. And I’m gonna miss her so much. Please don’t do this to me.”

Judge Hughes coldly says,”I’m done, let’s submit the order.” A bailiff can be seen on camera approaching the child. Annie can be heard crying and pleading, ” I don’t want to go…” as the bailiff escorts her to her father.

At another point in the video Annie is heard begging,”I just want to see my Mom.

Silva says about the video footage of the hearing that it is too painful for her to watch. She also says,”I wasn’t thrilled about having my daughter exposed like this, but if it can get some justice, if it can save future children from this kind of abuse of power, then so be it.” Judge Hughes sealed the case soon after the court video surfaced on You Tube.

In response to Annie’s claims of abuse, and refusal to visit her father (the alleged perpetrator), Judge Hughes immediately orders that Annie be placed into the care of her father, who is given sole physical and legal custody. A date was then set in October for a trial to determine permanent custody. 

A no contact order was issued against mother, Silva. The father was also instructed by the court to immediately enroll Annie in public school.

Keisha Weiford was later appointed as “reunification” therapist. According to Silva, she failed to investigate abuse allegations or listen to concerns raised by Annie.

Ironically, Weiford comments on her blog:” During this past week, I had two new teenage clients come in.  This is nothing new, I work with teenagers all of the time.  I really love working with teens because they can be so open and raw.  What truly troubles me are when the parents come in that want help for their children but are unwilling to take a look at themselves or their relationships.  They just want me to fix their kid and blame everybody else for their problems… http://inlovewithkeisha.com/does-your-marriage-affect-your-parenting 

In this case, Weiford was unwilling to look at how the actions, and behaviors, of an abusive father have severely impacted the child. Instead, a protective, loving, mother, Welthy Silva was wrongfully branded with “parental alienation” with no evidence to support those claims, and the father has never been held accountable for the abuse of the child.

Keisha Weiford – Marriage & Family Therapist, MS, LMFT


Since the airing of this video, more mothers have come forward to complain about the behavior of Judge Hughes on their cases, who has been described as a “bully on the bench”. According to Action News 13,”More mothers are coming forward to Contact 13 saying a Family Court judge is a bully on the bench, accusing her of ripping families apart, failing to enforce child support orders and leaving children as collateral damage.. CONTACT 13: More moms come forward to say Family Court judge is bully on bench (Darcy Spears)

Another complaint against Hughes, “Well she did get elected and I ended up with her for my judge. She just took my son, who is less than 2 years old, gave him to his father- who has been convicted of domestic violence, is an ex convict, and who has also failed multiple drug tests, prior to her 3 other courts had left me with primary custody.

We go in front of her and her decision is a 180 from all other courts, using all the same arguments and evidence. As it turns out, she was partners in a law firm with my ex’s attorney.

It was never disclosed.She is as crooked as they come, god help my son.” Clark County Courts – Rena Hughes is a crooked Judge

Another commenter says,”I’ve seen this judge make terrible, unethical decisions and therefore I is my opinion she should should no longer maintain her position.”

Efforts are underway to impeach Judge Rena Hughes: Impeach Family Court Judge Rena Hughes

UPDATE FROM WELTHY SILVAJUL 16, 2017 — Rena Hughes was recused from my case. I now have Judge Pomrenze who has reinstated my legal custody and some of my physical custody. The new judge has said Annie has no “teenage discretion”. She is 13 and a half and every report shows how mature and intelligent Annie is. It is a small step in the right direction regarding custody however Annie nor I will be satisfied until Annie is completely free of this nonsense and LISTENED to as a human being.” Petition: Restore Primary Custody to Annie’s Mother


Read More:

A child’s nightmare; Judge Hughes alienated a daughter from her mother (Veterans in Politics)

I-Team: Judge criticized for exchange with child (Vanessa Murphy)

Judge slammed for ‘bullying’ little girl in family court as she begged to see her mother (The Mirror)


(Personal Note on Reunification Therapy) I do not understand how reunification therapy is considered “therapy” and not torture. If a child raises allegations of abuse, they should be thoroughly investigated and every measure should be taken to ensure the child’s safety. Reunification therapy operates under a dangerous presumption that children who talk about abuse are liars, are brainwashed, and should not be believed. This runs contrary to laws that require mandated reporting for suspected child abuse or neglect.

In reunification therapy, the child is forced into a relationship, leading to unsupervised contact and often joint or sole custody, with an identified perpetrator of abuse. The abusive behavior is never acknowledged, so the child is forced to carry a horrible secret, and is threatened with punishment if they speak out. The child is sent the message that if you talk about abuse, no one will believe you – or protect you. Children are made to believe they are somehow at fault for the horrible wrong done to them, this is traumatic and is abusive – and should not be considered “therapy”.

Reunification therapy is designed to “deprogram” a child to recant abuse allegations. As part of deprogramming the protective parent, who raises concerns about abuse or safety, is totally removed from the child’s life. The child is then isolated and made dependent on the abuser; which creates trauma bonding. 

Reunification therapy relies on abuse or trauma to occur to a child in order to “work”. Ripping a child abruptly, and without explanation from a primary caregiver and then denying all contact is standard protocol in reunification therapy. Creating trauma is necessary because if the brain experiences a high level of trauma or stress, it will induce amnesia or dissociation in an effort to protect itself, which can then be used to program the child or create a new set of pathways or commands to modify behavior and thought. 

The targeted parent is then issued a set of demands in order to see their child, which is needed to reinforce programming. Often the requirements are so challenging or financially expensive that the parent can never comply and remains alienated from their child. Parents who continue to raise concerns of abuse are often punished by the courts, with visitation or custody taken away. The high cost of reunification therapy, and other interventions ordered by the court, also generate profits and further the careers of professionals working in the family court cottage industry.

“Reunification” then programs, under a variety of methods – many questionable – the child to accept a relationship with their abuser, and pretend to be a happy family.  Programming itself creates a form of traumatic amnesia or brainwashing in the child, signs of success are often telling of deep scars, and wounding, on the psyche of a vulnerable child who has been forced to accept “reunification” as a matter of survival.  In truth this creates additional trauma and harm to the child, and reinforced the power and control an abuser has over a victim. There is no therapeutic value in “reunification therapy” conducted this way.

~ E.C.

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Father Murders 4 Year Old Daughter by Throwing her off a Cliff to Avoid Paying Child Support

(May 13, 2015: Los Angeles Superior Court, California) Cameron Brown showed no emotion after a jury convicted him of 1st degree murder after he cruelly tossed his 4 year old daughter  Lauren Sarene Key off a 120 foot cliff to avoid paying child support, and to get revenge against his ex partner.

On the last day of her life, Lauren Key was reported to be crying inconsolably when she learned that her father would be picking her up from school. Mother, Sarah Key-Marer decided to break the court order and pick her daughter from school but by then it was too late. A stepbrother Josh, who was 10 years old at the time, also came forward to say that he had a conversation with Lauren the night before her death, and she stated “I think I will die tomorrow” and made him swear not to tell anyone. Josh was agonized by Lauren’s death and due to the crippling emotional pain he considered suicide, and turned to drugs; but is now on the road to recovery.

Revealed in trial, Brown requested that Key-Marer get an abortion because he never wanted to have children, and also attempted to get her deported (she is a British citizen). He also bitterly complained about paying child support.

Betsy A. Ross of “The Trials and Tribulations Blog” (Sprocket & Company) has extensively covered the case and shares what she learned about Lauren: “Even in her short time on earth, Lauren was a delight to those who knew and loved her. Her mother Sarah, her step-father Greg, step-brother Josh, her teachers, and close friends.

Lauren could best be described as a girly girl. She played with dolls, believed in fairies and enjoyed playing house under the dining room table. Her mother’s best friend Annette said, ‘It was easy to fall in love with this baby.’

At Brown’s sentencing, her brother Josh described what she was like. ‘Her personality would brighten up the room. She would dance, sing and tell jokes. She would draw everyone in. She enjoyed making people happy. She had a fascinating imagination and she loved playing pretend. … She would have me play, too’.” Lauren Sarene Key 8/29/1996 – 11/8/2000

It took nearly 15 years to secure a conviction after two previous juries were deadlocked over whether Brown committed murder or manslaughter.

Sarah Key-Marer, said after the verdict,“All I ever wanted was that he would take responsibility for what happened that day, so I’m thankful for God for carrying me and my friends and family through this time.

Lauren was our gift from God, the best thing that ever happened to us. We just learned to live with the pain. There are no winners here, certainly not for Cameron’s family, and not for ours.

Cameron Brown was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on September 18, 2015. Brown has filed an appeal, which has been fully briefed on 2/27/2017 and denied a petition for review in the Supreme Court on 4/26/2017.

Lauren Sarene Key 8/29/1996-11/08/2000. (Source: Daily Mail)



Trial Coverage Cameron Brown (Sprocket & Company, True Crime Reporting)

Cameron Brown sentenced to life in prison for tossing daughter to death off Rancho Palos Verdes cliff (Daily Breeze)

Father threw four-year-old daughter off cliff to avoid $1,000 a month child support (Telegraph)

Mother’s tears of joy after her ex is finally convicted of throwing their daughter, 4, off a cliff 15 years ago because he didn’t want to pay $1,000-a-month child support (Daily Mail)

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Father’s Day When Your Children’s Father is an Abuser

Public Domain Image

This was one of the most difficult posts I have written… but after being continually emotionally and psychologically abused by Martin Hegland and seeing him use the children as a human shield in his war against me… I won’t be silent no longer.

Martin – When I think of you on Father’s Day bile comes up in my throat. The mention of your name, your presence in my life is so toxic that it causes my mouth and esophagus to burn with acidic memories.

Perhaps the fiery sting is what you will one day look forward to when you face judgment in a Court with much more authority, and power, than the corrupt family court in Hennepin County, Minnesota, that has awarded a identified abuser sole custody of the two children he has harmed so severely that both were diagnosed with PTSD and have never fully recovered.

What comes to mind when I think of co-parenting with an abuser on Father’s Day…

F – Fat… the image of sweat dripping down rolls of fat, pale and white as a whale belly … Martin’s large hands squeezing the tops of my arms. The spiky red shag carpeting rising from the floor like fire. The silence. I dared not to to speak. Or make a sound. The desperate attempt to escape by pushing thought and feeling into a small wisp of smoke that escaped into the cracks of the ceiling tile.

It was Christmas, and we were visiting Martin’s neurotic mother Marian who lives in Virginia. Martin’s anger intensified with her presence, he recalled her physical and mental abuse of him as a child.. and the cycle repeated into our family. We were staying with Marian for a few days over the holidays, along with our new baby, just a few months old. We slept in a wood paneled bedroom decorated in 1970’s style, that carried the dust of a bygone era. At the end of the bed was a playpen where the baby whined, small hands waving frantically in the air.

I hoped that after the birth of our first child that things would change. Instead I found myself subjected to another degrading episode with Martin. It didn’t matter that I objected, that I said no…that the baby needed attention.. Martin looked at my brown skin and told me I better get used it because quote “People in Africa do it in front of their children all the time…” He made me feel so dirty and degraded. These words remind me of something a cruel master would say to a slave…ironically the slaveholder that kept my ancestors enslaved has the last name Martin. So I counted the minutes until time blurred and the numbness finally took me away.

A – Answers… there are no answers for so many things. Like what happened to my daughter JJ at 3 years when I was in the hospital for a week dealing an illness and she was left alone in the care of Martin. When I came home, the house was a terrible mess and both kids looked neglected. Martin complained then promptly left. I was so weak I could barely stand but mustered the strength to clean the house. I knew Martin would be angry if the house was a mess so I literally dragged myself across the house cleaning dishes crusted with food, toys strewn across the room (many broken or swept into piles of garbage), and hefting loads of laundry into the machine while reeling with nausea. In between tasks I fed the kids because they complained of hunger and read to them from their favorite books.

But there was one thing I could not fix… my daughter was strangely quiet and unusually angry. JJ resorted to making tense one syllable noises. Or staring me down. Her vocabulary was reduced to “Stupey!” and “Fuckey!” and “No!”. My daughter, once chatty and outgoing, now barely spoke to the point she became speech delayed. JJ was visibly hostile. And lost the sparkle she once held – her energy turned to anger.

Only after leaving did JJ slowly begin to speak… she would repeat over and over in a sing song voice “Daddy call me stupey” and “Daddy call me fuckey” and “Daddy said shud up…” When JJ played with dolls she slammed the male doll to the floor. The female doll cried or ran away. The therapist noted there were themes of “power and control” in her play. Still a toddler JJ was recommended for therapeutic preschool. While most preschoolers learn their ABCs or how to cut and paste, JJ learned how to talk about feelings, calming techniques and safe hands/safe words.

TTorment when Martin slammed our 4 year old son, DJ, down on the bathroom floor, shoving his face into the floor smeared with his tears and snot. The shrill, high pitched cries of DJ were lost in an onslaught of rage. Martin held DJ’s slender arms and legs behind his back, pinning him down “hog tie” then placed a hand on the back of his neck. Martin swore, threatened.. and yelled “You are not the boss! I am the boss! Do you understand me? I am the boss!” DJ screamed he could not breathe. He attempted to wriggle away. Martin would not relent, until DJ finally broke.. and in a robotic, whimpering voice he desperately cried “DaddyisthebossDaddyisthebossDaddy…”

HHaunted, DJ was haunted by abuse and begun to re-enact the rage and violence his father inflicted on him. DJ would yell, swear and break things… he told the therapists “I want to be the boss just like Dad.” Therapist notes state that DJ was acting out because he had been a victim to or had witnessed domestic abuse.

E Evil is a family court that would give sole custody of two traumatized children to an identified abuser and punish a protective parent for reporting safety concerns.

After being assaulted by Martin, I fled the home with two small children… becoming homeless in order to escape. I worked hard to get help for my family, and to rebuild our lives, even securing permanent housing. In my care, the children were started to heal and make progress.

Then Hennepin County Family Injustice Center awarded Martin sole custody; devastating our family. At the time of the order over a dozen documented allegations of abuse were raised against him. The court ordered psych eval indicated that Martin has a personality disorder. He was a wanted fugitive with a lengthy criminal history. And engaging in a strange relationship with an underage cousin, Lisa, who ran away from home at age 17 to live with him, finishing her senior year of high school while playing wifey with her 42 year old first cousin.

The court then worked to alienate me from my own children, and severely restrict my contact with them – and I am the victim! There is no logical or legal explanation on how this could happen in a court of law… the decisions of the Hennepin County Family Injustice Center are pure evil.

RRe-traumatized- Children who are separated by an unjust court order from a fit, loving parent (who fought to protect them from abuse) are re-traumatized and exposed to further harm.

I remember an incident that DJ reported to me that involved Martin becoming angry and then locking him in the basement and threatening to leave the family if he didn’t act right. DJ frantically pounded on the door and begged Martin to come back. From behind the closed door Martin tormented DJ, teasing him that he was leaving until the fragile child was hysterical. Martin finally opened the door when DJ was begging he would do anything if his dad would only stay. To this day, DJ acts as an emotional caretaker to his father, watching his mood and placating him to avoid repercussion.

How do you say Happy Father’s Day to the person who has inflicted this much abuse and pain onto their own children?

Martin you do not deserve a “Happy Father’s Day”… you are not worthy to be a father to the two amazing children that you continue to abuse. So instead I say F– You on Father’s Day… and leave you with with painful memories that are forever seared in my mind, and cause my stomach to churn even, now, years later…

~”Emily Court”, June 2017

Public Domain Image: http://wallpaperpulse.com

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Krewella’s ‘Enjoy the Ride’ Video Raises Awareness of the Horrors of Human Trafficking

Public Domain Image

A haunting video called ‘Enjoy the Ride’ released by Krewella, a band performing Electronic Dance Music, raises awareness about Human Trafficking by telling the story of two children (a boy and a girl) who have been sold into slavery.

The video, directed by K. Tanch, takes the viewer into the world of a steam-punk influenced carnival where a young girl has been labeled as a “brand new act”. The scene flickers to a little girl, shivering with her arms wrapped around her knees, sitting on a pile of flimsy hay while held captive in a metal cage.

Enjoy the Ride” exposes the horrors of child trafficking and human slavery… a worldwide problem that is often hidden in plain sight. Many victims of human trafficking do not receive help because people do not recognize the signs, or are reluctant to come forward. More public awareness is needed to bringing perpetrators to justice and bringing victims out of exploitation – and “Enjoy the Ride” not only raises awareness but does so by targeting a younger audience who is statistically more vulnerable to exploitation. 50% of all people trafficked are children. Of that number, according to a study conducted in 2014, an estimated 1 out of 6 endangered runaways reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were likely child sex trafficking victims. Of those, 68 percent were in the care of social services or foster care when they ran.

In the video, Krewella watches the circus from a video monitor, witnessing the suffering of the children and the cruelty of their captors. Equally as disturbing is the nameless, faceless audience in white who has bought tickets to watch the spectacle the children have become. Sitting among the audience is a small boy wearing a human like mask with what looks like a padlock around his neck, being held prisoner in plain sight. The mask symbolizes the mind control involved in trafficking or abuse of any kind – that victims are so controlled that the face they project the world often does not reflect the ugly, painful reality of their life.. or the scars they carry beneath the facade. And this is the ugly truth about human trafficking is that many victims are living among our communities, our neighborhoods, working in local businesses – and their presence goes undetected. Or often, perpetrators are protected because they are esteemed in the community, hold power or intimidate people to keep silent.

The little boy is so captivated by the dance of the enslaved little girl that he takes off the mask… and smiles. In his miserable world, he experiences a rare sense of joy.

And then the video takes a turn when two people in the crowd make efforts to free the poor children. The first is a man who attacks one of the captors, causing a distraction. While the audience is in an uproar, another man works to free the boy in the audience. Interesting symbolism – the second man who took this daring act to save the little boy sits in the audience, wearing all white just like everyone else. But this man is different because has what looks like a bright yellow sun painted over one eye. This man defies what is expected of him, he sees a dark side of his world that everyone has turned a blind eye to.

The boy in turn frees the little girl who was featured as a circus act and the two run away from the circus together… discovering a EDM dance party in the woods where Krewella is performing.

Around the party video monitors continue to flicker.. exposing other injustices occurring in the world. That is symbolically contrasted with an image portraying those who “sleep”, and allow the suffering to continue by doing nothing.

The message I took from “Enjoy the Ride” is that suffering, cruelty, injustice and oppression will continue unless people wake up, and take a stand against it…whether that be working to help victims, holding perpetrators accountable or working to change or reform systems that are corrupted.

I won’t reveal the ending of the video but I will say… that for me, this video is unforgettable.


Human Trafficking is a form of modern day slavery that denies freedom, and degrades 20-30 million people around the world, who are exploited and held against their will. Victims of human trafficking are forced, tricked or misled into slavery. Trafficking is ongoing exploitation that generates profits.

Human Trafficking comes in many forms including:

*Forced sexual exploitation (including prostitution and pornography)

*Forced labor

*Child labor

*Involuntary servitude

*State imposed forced labor working in prisons, camps or conditions that violate labor standards

*Forcing children to become soldiers perpetrated by oppressive governments, rebel groups or extremist groups

*Forced marriage where victims are forced to enter into a marriage against their will or consent, often under the threat of violence if they refuse. Victims who resist or refuse marriages are often subjected to physical, emotional and sexual abuse, confinement or even death at the hands of family or community members. After marriage, victims are at a higher risk for domestic violence, rape, infant and maternal mortality and suicide.

*Victims are also trafficked so that their tissue, cells and organs can be sold or harvested. Trafficking for organ removal has been found in 16 countries around the world, though these numbers may be higher.  

Sex trafficking represents 80% of all human trafficking. In the United States, approximately 300,000 children are at risk of being sex trafficked.

Human Trafficking is one of the largest international criminal enterprises along with illegal drugs and gun running.


  • Child stopped attending school or not enrolled in school
  • Evidence of scarring or marks on body. Bruises or wounds in various stages of healing.
  • Child shows signs of abuse or neglect
  • Person shows signs of being denied or deprived of food, shelter, medical care
  • Person appears coached on what to say
  • Person not allowed to speak for themselves. Or not allowed to speak to others.
  • Person appears isolated or has limited freedom of movement. Person may not be able to leave freely. May have to frequently report or check in to another individual. Reports fear or anxiety when making choices, attempting to go out in public.
  • High security around living or working conditions. I.e. presence or guards or monitors, boarded up windows or doors, security cameras, restricted or no public access, barbed wire etc
  • Works excessively long or unusual hours, especially if a child.
  • Underpaid or paid very little, often through tips alone. Pay be taken or seized. Pay may used to repay a debt that never seems to be erased.
  • Under 18 and involved in commercial sex acts, pornography or sexual exploitation

Not all indicators listed above are present in every human trafficking situation, and the presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking.

You may also consider: Polaris Project – Recognize the Signs of Human Trafficking


Human Trafficking Hotline: Report Trafficking 

Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free hotline at 1-888-373-7888: Anti-Trafficking Hotline Advocates are available 24/7 to take reports of potential human trafficking. All reports are confidential and you may remain anonymous. Interpreters are available. Or text HELP to: BeFree (233733).

To report missing children or child pornography, submit a report to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST (843-5678) or through their Cybertipline.

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Anmarie Calgaro Lawsuit Dismissed: Mom Says Parental Rights Violated When Son Given Gender Reassignment Treatment Without Consent

(St. Paul, Minnesota: May 23, 2017) Judge Paul Magnuson dismissed a ground breaking lawsuit filed by Anmarie Calgaro. Calgaro sued the school district and St. Louis County, a total of 7 defendants, for assisting her 15 year old son “E.J.K.” in running away from home and then  secretly helping him obtain gender reassignment treatment, paid for with Medical Assistance. U.S. District Court Anmarie Calgaro Ruling – 5/23/2017

Calgaro claimed her Constitutionally protected parental rights were violated without due process when her teen “E.J.K.”  was emancipated without notifying her, and given medical treatment and government assistance without her consent. Medical treatment included giving E.J.K. hormones for gender reassignment. Calgaro claims she was also denied access to E.J.K.’s medical, educational and governmental records.

Public Domain Image: Pixaby

Calgaro filed the lawsuit against seven Defendants: (1) St. Louis County; (2) Linnea Mirsch, individually and in her official capacity as Interim Director of St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services; (3) Fairview; (4) Park Nicollet; (5) the School District; (6) Michael Johnson, individually and in his official capacity as Principal of the Cherry School (“Principal Johnson”); and (7) E.J.K. (collectively, “Defendants”). Calgaro says her case is about protecting parental rights, “I do this for all parents to prevent this nightmare from overtaking their lives and my most hope is that the law will be changed that restores the due process order that parents so desperately deserve…

In making his determination, Judge Magnuson says that the Defendants can not legally emancipate E.J.K. and their actions did not terminate Calgaro’s rights because only a court order can do that. E.J.K. has been treated as emancipated by the Department of Human Services and given public assistance, including food, housing and medical services.

Calgaro retains sole physical and legal custody of E.J.K. on paper but in reality she has lost all parental rights…  E.J.K. lives on his own, and will soon turn 18 and be able to make his own choices.

Calgaro’s representation, The Thomas More Society, plans to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit. Anmarie Calgaro is living a parent’s worst nightmare,” says Erick Kaardal of the Thomas More Society, “Her minor child has been piloted by third parties through a life-changing, permanent body altering process by organizations that have no legal authority over him, and that have denied his own mother access.”


Mom loses lawsuit against school that secretly gave her son ‘transgender’ treatment

Hibbing Mother Loses Lawsuit Over Transgender Child’s Emancipation

Judge Finds No Recourse for Mother Whose Son Obtained Hormone Treatments Without Parental Consent

Child Protection League/

(Commentary) The media is reporting the lawsuit of Annmarie Calgaro v. St. Louis County as if it is a “transgender” issue, implying she is not accepting of her transgender teen… Calgaro has openly expressed her love for E.J.K. and says she would welcome him back home.

This story is really about parental rights and abuses of government power. E.J.K. is being exploited, and used as a guinea pig by St. Louis County….we need to support Annmarie Calgaro because this case is setting a precedent and any of our families, or our children, could be hurt by due process violations, or by having our parental rights unlawfully taken away.

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