Discover more from Women's Coalition News & Views
BBC Exposé: Family Court Is Inciting an International Exodus of Mothers Seeking Safety
Trauma & Death Due to Court Orders Endangering Women & Children
BBC aired an investigative report this week exposing how Family Court is inciting an exodus of mothers fleeing internationally into hiding after being court-ordered to hand their children over to abusive, violent, and child molesting fathers.
It also brings to light the resulting trauma suffered by mothers—the damage done to their physical and mental health by this systemic persecution, with some cases culminating in death.
Video Newscast: Mums on the Run: Failed by Family Court [highly recommend watching the video linked above to get a feel for the mothers’ desperation and terror]
Part 1: Family courts: Children forced into contact with fathers accused of abuse
Part 2: Family courts: “We kidnapped our kids from abusive dads and fled the UK”
Although the BBC investigative report is about UK mothers, the same thing is happening to women everywhere. Family Court is a patriarchal institution and, as such, operates much the same in all countries—empowering fathers and oppressing mothers.
Of course MSM is not going to point this out. That is the job of alternative media, like Substack, where it is more possible to speak truth to power, especially when it comes to the patriarchy (good reason to support us!). This and other important aspects of the crisis were either missed or mischaracterized, which will be addressed later. But the most important thing is that this landmark reporting lends tremendous credibility and validation for all mothers caught in the nightmare of being ordered by Family Court to hand children over to abusive fathers.
MUMS ON THE RUN
Mums on the run are being aided by a secret network of collaborators, a kind of international underground for women and children escaping to freedom from their abusive exes and Family Court—shades of slaves fleeing their masters a couple centuries ago.
BBC reports that there are hundreds of mothers who’ve fled from UK to Cyprus, Tunisia, Thailand, and elsewhere. They found nine who agreed to speak with them on the condition of anonymity. Four were living in northern Cyprus, so the reporter flew there to talk to them.
The Republic of Cyprus is a small, independent island nation off the southern coast of Turkey where the locals speak Greek, but the northeastern section of the island is a Turkish territory. It is not recognized internationally as a State and there is no extradition treaty, so it affords women some protection.
Despite Turkey’s own terrible record on women’s rights and domestic violence, it has provided a relatively safe haven for mothers from other countries. Mine Atlı is an attorney who is helping mothers from all over the world achieve safety through Cyprian protective orders.
These women are being failed in their country. They need some kind of amnesty and there needs to be a path to safety for these women and their children.
Hiding in Cyprus, or anywhere, is not a perfect solution, nor an easy life, the mothers admit. Most struggle financially and fathers are tracking some down using P.I.’s or locals who are bribed to give up the mother’s location.
It’s like we’re being hunted by Family Court and our abusers.
Many are placed on the Interpol no-fly list leading some mothers to feel like they’re in a sort of prison.
We are safe but in a kind of prison…But we’d do it again. My child is safe.
It’s so difficult. I’ve lost my family, my friends, I’ve lost everything.
The mothers all said they are glad they went into hiding despite the hardships. Protecting their children was worth taking the risk.
Rose* says that after she left her ex due to his violence, including rape, she was stalked and harassed. Her young daughter was coming back from visits with bruises saying, “Daddy’s hurting me.” This was all documented.
There were police reports and a finding by DV professionals that they were “at risk” of domestic abuse, and the police even advised her to not follow the court orders for visitation with the father. Then the judge accused Rose of alienating and said if she didn’t make her daughter visit him, she’d lose custody. She did.
At exchanges, her daughter would beg her to not send her back to her father’s.
The handover was horrific. My child was screaming, kicking, saying “Don’t make me go Mummy!” It nearly destroyed me.
My child was with an abuser. It traumatized me. I had to get out and run. I had to.
Sophie* left her husband due to physical, financial, emotional and sexual abuse. After she left him, he began abusing their son.
When her son told her he was suicidal and had an actual plan, she says she couldn’t do it anymore—she couldn’t set foot in Family Court again or force her son to visit his abuser father. So off she went to Cyprus with child in tow.
It broke me into pieces, I couldn't step into that family court again. My nerves went, I lost my job… anxiety and depression all followed.
I was handing my child to an abuser. I couldn’t do it anymore.
One mother was too afraid to go on camera, even with face blurred, but she agreed to speak on the phone with her voice was altered (a constant fear these women live with.)
This mother was one of the first to go to Cyprus. Her ex is a violent man with a criminal record. She says she sacrificed everything to protect her son. She lost job, house, friends and family.
Susan* had litigated for over a decade in Family court before giving up and running. There were over 120 hearings and 50 police reports.
Her kids were refusing to visit their father and she felt like she was going to have a breakdown, so she decided to run. She lost her life as she knew it: friends, family, job. Her family was told that if they contacted her they would be imprisoned. Her father died and she couldn’t even say goodbye.
It's a persecution…It's me who's labelled a serious criminal.
I've lost my family, friends and so much money. But if I'd stayed in England, I'd be dead…
She said she and her children were not listened to and called the court’s malfeasance “state sanctioned abuse”.
Her son told the reporter that he did not feel “abducted”. He is thriving in Cyprus, studying to be a doctor. A rare happy ending…
TRAUMA & DEATH
The report refers to a new study by the University of Manchester that documents the trauma caused to women who are trying to protect their children in Family Court. it describes the physical and emotional symptoms suffered by mothers.
And there were 5 deaths resulting from the trauma that were investigated.
Grace* was one of the five. Despite the fact that her ex is a convicted pedophile, the judge gave him custody. She was so traumatized, she could barely eat or sleep. She wasted away and lost the will to live. Her body just gave up.
Another mother died at court of a heart attack immediately after the judge made the order to take her five children away. Although unnamed, this is likely Haley, who the Coalition posted about when it happened six years ago.
[Haley’s father is supportive of using her real name in tribute to her and to raise awareness about how judges are taking children away from loving mothers.]
The three other mothers took their own lives as they could not bear the double pain of losing their children and not being able to protect them.
The essence of the severe trauma being experienced by mothers should not be missed: it is the powerlessness to keep and protect children; or, conversely, the power men have to take and abuse children, that is the root cause of the mothers’ suffering. Women must be empowered over their children, as in egalitarian matriarchies that provide safety for women and children.
The report clearly invites the reader to believe and sympathize with the mothers, not fathers. It leaves no doubt they were seriously wronged in Family Court and their fleeing into hiding was justified. There was sympathy for all the mothers who died, even those who resorted to the unthinkable and ended their lives.
The investigation implicitly acknowledges the crisis is gendered, speaking only of women fleeing to escape fathers. Of course, fathers fleeing to protect children from abusive mothers is not a thing anyway.
It covers the fact that many of the left-behind fathers have been credibly accused of all kinds of abuse, many of molesting the children, some of whom are convicted pedophiles. This implies the purposefulness with which judges are endangering children.
This is all great, however…
The crisis is being portrayed as a national scandal with hundreds of mothers fleeing from the UK, but really it is an international outrage. All the talk of UK mothers and not one mention of the thousands of mothers all over the world experiencing the same horrific treatment in family courts.
The terms “kidnapped” and “abducted” are used throughout. Those terms should never be used when a mother has fled to protect her children. That plays right into the patriarchal narrative of fathers owning children and mothers protecting them as criminals. Only something like “fled to safety” should be used.
The usual ineffective reforms were trotted out: more training, more DV laws, more custody laws, more child safety laws, and the new one that everyone’s talking about due to a UN Rapporteur’s report: banning parental alienation.
Parental alienation [PA] is identified as the culprit of the crisis. PA provides a handy “hook” for newscasts that gives sense to the public for the inexplicable horror mothers are experiencing.
In all cases, fathers had used a disputed concept in court known as "parental alienation”.
Experts are quoted as saying alienation is “handy tool for abusers” used “increasingly frequently” and its “acceptance by courts” is a “national scandal”. But it is a handy tool for judges and it has been used just as frequently for decades.
Saying the courts’ acceptance of PA is the problem makes it sound as if PA has invaded the courts and poor, defenseless judges are helpless to do anything but deploy it against mothers. When the truth is judges are deliberately weaponizing parental alienation to discredit mothers with the intended goal of entitling and empowering fathers. It has nothing to do with lack of training or laws or unregulated experts as the current reporting and narratives go.
The PA narratives need to be replaced with:
Family Court judges are falsely finding mothers to be alienating (and a whole host of other false accusations) to switch custody, and then allowing fathers to alienate kids from mothers.
A one sentence narrative to correct all the debate and controversy surrounding parental alienation. No need to banish the term or the entire concept (which is impossible legally and socially anyway).
The politician interviewed said that she had been contacted by thousands of mothers all over the UK and that it was the “biggest issue in her inbox”. She said the fix was a new law that that mandates contact with a parent be earned, not presumed. Like that will make any difference. That is just another ineffective reform, a version of “first litigate the abuse and then custody”. But that does not work because the problem is judges are doing their job: minimizing and concealing abuse by fathers so as to justify giving them custody.
And finally, it’s a shame that the newscast gives the government the last word, exonerating it by reporting that significant reforms have been made, as if the problem is being effectively dealt with (it’s not).
And worse, in the very last sentence, an ominous warning to mothers who may be thinking of fleeing after seeing this investigative report:
The government takes every case of international abduction very seriously.
Kind of spoils the whole sentiment of the report!—that mothers are doing the right thing protecting their children despite great damage and risk to themselves and there should be more places like Cyprus they can go for safety.
Join Women’s Coalition International to fight for women’s freedom from oppression and for safety after separation or divorce.
IN OTHER NEWS
SCOTTISH MOTHER WINS APPEAL
A Scottish mother won her appeal in which she objected to the appointment of a new evaluator tasked with investigating whether she is alienating her children from the father. She knew where that was going, likely in part thanks to the community of women exposing the pattern.
Other professionals, including an evaluator, had already concluded, amazingly, she was not alienating, that the father was the one with problems. She maintained custody.
Mothers often get custody initially and later it turns. If abusive fathers don’t win, they try, try again. In this mum’s case, the father got a new children’s attorney on board with him. He asked the court for another evaluator, who obviously was one who would use alienation against the mother.
The mother appealed and won, but it was remanded back to the same judge who can just use something else.
Interestingly, the appellate court suggested replacing the term parental alienation with “alienating behaviors”, since PA is not a diagnosable mental illness. This should enlighten all those activists who have been using the fact that parental alienation is not scientific in their campaigning. That does not matter. Judges are not limited to relying on diagnosable mental illnesses. Any behaviors that harm a child are fair game due to the Best Interests of the Child doctrine.
And there you have it: a new version of alienation judges can use against mothers. Remember: the system is the problem, not parental alienation.
SISTERS IN SOLIDARITY
Our next forum will be on Saturday, September 16th at 1:00pm Pacific, 4pm Eastern; 8pm GMT; 9pm BST. Participants will be admitted from 10 minutes before to 10 minutes after the start time. You must be signed up as a Sister to participate in forums. You can join by filling out this form.
Sisters in Solidarity [SIS] is for women who want to support each other, raise awareness, discuss topics related to the crisis, and engage in activism to end it. For more info see this previous column.
This new Sisterhood is made up of women who understand that the Post-Separation Crisis is caused by systemic male entitlement and is a form of oppression of women and want to join together to fight that.
NOTE: Sister Aides will be contacted individually but also need to attend the forums.
Women's Coalition News & Views is a reader-supported publication. Please consider a paid subscription of $5/mo, $50/yr or $200 founding member to support our important work of exposing and ending the Post-Separation Crisis! [Check alternate inboxes.]
You may also support the Coalition’s work through a one-time or recurring contribution through PayPal.