Now turning to something much more serious than makeup and fabulous shoes…
The following story is from a fellow mom who is in need of help. I went to high school with her and reconnected a couple of years ago, just before she took steps to help herself and her daughter out of an abusive relationship. Her story is a story that we all hope to protect our children from. Unfortunately for them, they were subject to abuse from a man they loved. Now trying to break the cycle of abuse, she is sharing her story. And we can do something to help! Please read Randi’s story and while it’s a bit long, it includes important details.
Randie bravely shares:
I spoke with my daughter’s therapist* and her feeling is that the secrecy is what makes recovery so difficult for the victim. I know that first hand from hiding my own abuse, it was such a relief when I finally told someone what was happening. In light of that, I have prepared a letter to share:
“As some of you may know, two years ago I left my abusive husband and filed for divorce in California. We had a two year old daughter together at the time of our split and my biggest concern was for her safety. After almost a year of court ordered supervised visitation and anger management counseling, he was deemed rehabilitated. Also at that time the court in California allowed us to move to Iowa to be near family due to my husband’s lack of sufficient financial support which resulted in the loss of our home. Once we were in Iowa, every other weekend visitation began without supervision and five months later I discovered something that no Mother ever wants to hear…he was molesting my three year old daughter.
Since then my sweet little girl and I have been treading some very treacherous ground in the court system. In the 7 months since my daughter’s initial revealing statements, many things have happened. First, the Department of Human Services stopped all visitation and placed a “founded” case against the perpetrator for sex abuse. He was placed on a child abuse registry for the next 10 years and DHS filed an adjudication that places the abused child under the jurisdiction of a juvenile court judge. There was a two day trial for the adjudication with many expert witnesses testifying to my daughter’s credibility and their belief that the abuse occurred. The outcome of that trial was a disappointing dismissal in which the judge stated, “if the burden of proof were a preponderance of the evidence then the court would have reached a different outcome, but the burden is clear and convincing…” That ruling’s end result was that my child was not adjudicated and therefore would go back to regular visits that were ordered in California WITHOUT supervision! The legal team immediately filed an appeal to reverse this ruling, but that takes 3 to 6 months to complete and only 2% of appeals are won.
After receiving this upsetting news, I immediately filed for a hearing in California’s district court to try and adjust the existing visitation order. The judge in California decided that we had been in Iowa too long and he no longer had jurisdiction in our case so he dismissed our entire divorce! He did not make any changes to the existing custody order either which left my child with no protection from her abuser! After two years of fighting for my daughter’s safety, $20,000 in legal fees, and still legally married, we will have to start from scratch. Back in Iowa, I filed for yet another emergency hearing in district court to stop visits until we could get official documentation from California moving our case. I was forced to withhold my daughter from her visits while we waited for our court date and spent weeks worrying that I could be held in contempt and even do jail time for simply protecting my child. Thankfully that hearing produced a ruling for NO CONTACT until the perpetrator could be evaluated by a psychiatrist specializing in sex offenders.
As we wait for the outcome of that evaluation and the result of the appeal, I look back on the past two years and can hardly believe we’ve made it this far. If it weren’t for the dedication of law enforcement, The Department of Human Services, my daughter’s Therapist, and the support of friends and family, we could not have navigated our way through this. It’s as if children are the property of their biological parents, regardless of their character. I was hoping to stop the cycle of abuse with my daughter, but unfortunately I have failed her there. Now she joins me as an abuse survivor at the hands of a 3rd generation abuser. I am so proud of her courage to stand up against a very scary man and tell the truth in spite of his threats.
We have walked a very long road already and now we will begin all over again. Hopefully my little girl’s rights and well being will prevail over a grown man who has made the choices that brought us here.”
UPDATE 3-21-11: The Iowa Court of Appeals OVERTURNED THE JUDGES RULING IN THE JUVENILE COURT CASE!!!! WE WON THE APPEAL!!
OUR TURN TO HELP:
Now that they have the help of the law, healing can begin. Unfortunately the legal expenses have stacked up. Here’s where we come in! One person CAN make a difference in the life of another (or many!) and this is our moment! I hope you will join me…
On March 24 and 25, A Mom in Red High Heels is hosting a fundraiser with the assistance of Shop Suey Boutique. Shop and Help! Order yourself (or for another- stock up on girly gifts!) a new handbag, jewelry or other budget-friendly accessory from ShopSueyBoutique.com and 15% of the proceeds will be donated to help pay down legal fees.
- Use promotion code “Adessa” at checkout to be included in this fundraiser. Neglect to use the code will result in order being excluded from the fundraiser.
- 48 hours only starting at 12:01 AM PT March 24, ending 11:59 PM PT March 25.
- Discount codes will not be applicable due to the nature of this campaign.
- If you live local to Shop Suey Boutique, you can order online and request to pick-up in the store and pay no shipping.
- Share this with everyone you know. A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds so there is a good chance you know someone who has suffered and wants to be proactive in helping.
A Mom in Red High Heels has organized this fundraiser as I believe in the power of helping, I believe people want to help when called to action, I believe that every child is entitled to a childhood free of abuse, I believe every mother has the right to protect her child to the best of her ability and sometimes she needs to ask for help. All proceeds will go directly to to aid this mom and child in their journey of healing. Every little bit helps!
Thank you for helping.
*R spoke with her daughter’s therapist and the use of their story and picture were approved for use in this fundraiser. Please be respectful of their suffering if you choose to share this story and fundraiser.
UPDATE: Due to request, we will also be making a PayPal button available for donations. This option will be available for use from NOW- March 27.