Thursday, November 4, 2010


There are lots of kids who no longer live or never lived with their dad or father figure. If these kids are lucky, their parents work out a visitation schedule on their own that both can live with and the child can tolerate.

If parents are not "friendly",live in different states,one partner is in jail, etc. a court usually works out the visitation schedule. Sometimes this works well; sometimes children are the pawns of manipulative or angry parents.

The above are fairly "normal" situations--hard to work out, but usually complied with for the sake of the child and staying out of court.

But consider this: what if one parent is terrified of the other? What if she is afraid her kids will be influenced, manipulated, or abused in some way by her ex?

In the case of the battered woman, trying to keep the batterer out of her life while still allowing her children to maintain their relationship with him is much more difficult and dangerous than it is for other women. When it involves young children who want to see their father/father figure or older children who insist on it, the victim of DV must find a friend, family member, or agency willing to accept and turn over the child on a regular basis so she can avoid contact with him.

If the victim has no car and still lives at the shelter, this can become a monumental task involving asking for rides, taking busses, and spending money she cannot afford.

Yet she cannot let the batterer pick the child up at the shelter for security purposes. She cannot turn the child over or supervise the visit herself because this may expose her to psychological if not physical abuse.

And this can go on for years. Being a battered woman is not a simple "leave him" and life will straighten out proposition." The victim's memories and her child's relationship with her batterer do not go away.

This is a life sentence.

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