30 November, 2008
Courageous Kids Network, Children Abused by PAS
Fighting the "Hidden American Disgrace" of Court Abused Children
We, the Courageous Kids Network, are a growing group of young people, whose childhood was shattered by biased and inhumane court rulings, which forced us to live with our abusive parent, while restricting or sometimes completely eliminating contact with our loving and protective parent.
Some of us, whose mothers tried to protect us from abuse, did not see our mothers for years, or were only allowed to see our mothers under oppressive supervised visitation orders. We were not allowed to hug our mothers, or talk about how we felt. Some of us were separated from siblings, grandparents and extended family. We lost our home, pets, toys, friends,… our childhood. We lived in fear, depression, hopelessness and helplessness for years. Some of us ran away from our abusers. Some could not handle the trauma and committed suicide.
We who survived, got older and stronger. Now we are telling the world how much we were hurt, first by our abusers and then by the court that refused to protect us.
Many of us in the Courageous Kids Network, in fact most of us, suffered because the court accepted an invalid theory, Parental Alienation Syndrome (nicknamed "PAS"), which was created by a child psychiatrist named Richard Gardner. Gardner was more than a psychiatrist. He was a shrewd businessman. He discovered there was a lot of money to be made from testifying in defense of incest offenders in family court.
Alienation does occur, and can exist even within intact families. However, it is not a syndrome, but a behavior that is not uncommon in human experience, and therefore should not qualify for "expert" testimony. It is the improper assignment of psychological labeling to normal protective behavior, through the use of "abuse excuse" legal defenses, that has resulted in the convoluted knee jerk reaction of courts in punishing protective parents by stripping them of custody.
In a review of hundreds of protective parent cases, batterers and incest offenders fought for, and won, custody by labeling the protective parent's efforts to keep the child safe as "parental alienation." Without exception, once the abuser gained custody of the child and control in the litigation, he engaged in the very behavior that he projected onto the protective parent: he alienated the child from the protective parent, and attempted to exclude that parent from the child's life. In no case was the custodial abuser held accountable by the court for thwarting a relationship, or for violating orders for visitation, between the child and the protective parent.
By virtue of giving the wrong parent custody, the family court condones and exacerbates the same behavior it allegedly seeks to prevent, that is: one parent damaging the relationship between the child and the other parent. By abolishing psychobabble testimony and focusing on parental history and behavior, under appropriate rules of evidence, the courts could make well reasoned custody decisions that would protect both the safety of children and parental rights.
For additional information on PAS, visit these links.
Courageous Kids Network