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Activism

PAVE 014: Safe Child Act, ACE studies, Protective Mothers, Parental Alienation with Barry Goldstein

Barry Goldstein is an internationally recognized domestic violence author, speaker and advocate. He is the author of five of the leading books about domestic Violence and child custody, most recently, The Quincy Solution: Stop Domestic Violence and Save $500 Billion. Barry will be the featured speaker at an international conference in Melbourne, Australia on August 3. He developed the Safe Child Act which is the solution to the widespread failure of custody courts to protect children in abuse cases. Barry frequently serves as an expert witness to try to educate courts about current research. He is Director of Research for the Stop Abuse Campaign and co-chair of the Child Custody Task Group for NOMAS.

To listen to the PAVE podcast Episode 014 with Barry Goldstein  please click here:

About your host: 

Alianne Looijenga is an international speaker motivating organizations to effectively help survivors of partner abuse, child abuse and sexual abuse. She is also the founder of aliannelooijenga.com and the Professionals against violence (PAVE) podcast.   Alianne is a survivor of sexual abuse (including rape); partner abuse; and is the mother of twins who were abused by their biological father after a judge granted him visitation rights when the children were three years old.

Alianne is dedicated to the empowerment of survivors of abuse and to support organisations working to end the violence against women and children.

TOPICS DISCUSSED AND ORGANISATIONS/EVENTS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

2.20 How did you become a domestic violence speaker, author and advocate?

4.00 The definition of a protective parent?

6:29 PAS

  • Bad reputation
  • Court professionals, doesn’t know about the origin of PAS

7.00 Joan Meier ( is a nationally recognized expert on domestic violence and the law, appellate litigation, and clinical law teaching)

8:26 The criminalisation of protective mothers

11.27 Safe child act

20:00 When abusers try to regain control over their victims using the family court system.

25:00 Working with Mo Hannah and being an author.

32:00 How Barry got the nickname “Believer”. (+ court example of bad judgement and the consequences of not being believed by a judge)

TWEETABLES and QUOTES:

“Courts need to use the right experts. The original decision was to turn to mental health professionals as if they are experts in everything. And yes they are professionals in psychology, they are experts in mental illness. But they are not experts in domestic violence. They are not experts in child sexual abuse. And when they try to resolve those issues that’s where we go in really bad directions. When we have an DV issue, courts should use someone who is an expert in DV.”

MORE ABOUT MANISHA and SWAGGARLICIOUS

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/GoldsteinBarry/

Amazon: Scared-Leave-Afraid-Stay-Violence

Amazon: Quincy-Solution-Barry-Goldstein

The website of the stop abuse campaign is: http://stopabusecampaign.org/about/board/barry-goldstein

MORE ABOUT PAVE

Website: https://www.aliannelooijenga.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aliannespeaks/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aliannelooijenga/

SPONSORS

If you want to be a guest on the PAVE podcast, a volunteer working for PAVE, are you interested in becoming a PAVE sponsor, do you want to help us in an other way, email me to see how we can work together to end the violence against women and children.

email: alianne@aliannelooijenga.com

To listen to the PAVE podcast Episode 014 with Barry Goldstein please click here:

 

Abuse, Activism, PAVE Podcast

PAVE 012: Domestic abuse training & sexual violence training in every organisation with Lyndsey Dearlove from UK says NO MORE

Lyndsey Dearlove UK says no more

Lyndsey Dearlove has spent the past couple of years developing UK SAYS NO MORE – a national initiative to raise awareness of domestic abuse and sexual violence in the UK and Bright Sky – a domestic abuse and sexual violence awareness and prevention app for victims of abuse, professionals and for those who are concerned about a friend, colleague or family member. Prior to this Lyndsey has worked with victims of domestic abuse, sexual violence and violent crime for over 15 years.

She has managed domestic abuse outreach support services, refuges, children and family services, Independent domestic violence services (IDVA) and co-ordinated multi-agency risk assessment conferences (MARAC’s). During her time as the manager of the Hillingdon domestic abuse outreach service, she developed the award winning Butterfly Project which is an adaptable model for survivor led – peer support groups. Lyndsey has extensive experience in creating and delivering training around gender constructs, peer support, young people and abuse, risk assessment and management, domestic abuse and sexual violence.

She has delivered training to the Metropolitan police, Local authorities, not for profit organisations, universities and colleges and most recently the National Football League (NFL), where she created and delivered training around gender, domestic abuse and sexual violence. Lyndsey enjoys bringing people to together; to share experiences, ideas, knowledge and expertise and truly believes that only by working together can we end domestic abuse and sexual violence.

ABOUT HESTIA – Hestia delivers services across London and the surrounding regions, as well as campaign and advocate nationally on the issues that affect the people we work with. Last year they supported over 9,000 men, women and children. This includes victims of modern slavery, women and children who have experienced domestic abuse, young care leavers and older people. From giving someone a home, to helping them to get the right mental health support, they support people at the moment of crisis and enable them to build a life beyond a crisis. Hestia is supported by more than 460 volunteers across London who provide specialist skills such as art therapy, yoga, IT, gardening and cooking, as well as befriending and fundraising. Hestia is proud to be the home of UK SAYS NO MORE, bringing together a diverse coalition of individuals, charities, businesses and public sector organisations to campaign for an end to domestic abuse and sexual violence.

UK SAYS NO MORE is a national campaign launched to raise awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault across the UK. The campaign was launched by London charity Hestia in 2016. UK SAYS NO MORE seeks to unite and strengthen a diverse community of members of the public and organisations nationwide to actively take a stand against domestic violence and sexual assault under one powerful, visual symbol. The campaign provides open-source tools and resources for individuals and organisations to take action and get involved in ending domestic violence and sexual assault. Together we can challenge the myths and misconceptions around these issues, share resources and information, and ultimately work together to make real positive change.

To listen to the PAVE podcast Episode 012 with Lyndsey Dearlove please click here:

About your host: 

Alianne Looijenga is an international speaker motivating organizations to effectively help survivors of partner abuse, child abuse and sexual abuse. She is also the founder of aliannelooijenga.com and the Professionals against violence (PAVE) podcast.   Alianne is a survivor of sexual abuse (including rape); partner abuse; and is the mother of twins who were abused by their biological father after a judge granted him visitation rights when the children were three years old.

Alianne is dedicated to the empowerment of survivors of abuse and to support organisations working to end the violence against women and children.

Lyndsey Dearlove UK says no more

TOPICS DISCUSSED AND ORGANISATIONS/EVENTS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

0-19 minutes: About Hestia, UK says no more, Lyndsey Dearlove

20.00 NFL ambassadorprogram where football players teach other boys about what masculinity means in this society, concent in healthy relationships and what their role is to end the violence against women. 

“If I am unable to drive someone home in a car why are you able to decide if you are able to have consensual sex or not”

25:00 No more hub

26:00 UK says no more week

30:00 When Lyndsey is old and is looking back at her life, what does she want to have accomplished?

34:00 minuten Victim blaming Knowledge is nothing untill you share it “

“We have to have domestic abuse training and sexual violence training in every single organisation”

36:00 listening without judging

37:00 an exercise Lyndsey always does with her students to let them feel the reality survivors face when leaving an abuser. 

40:00 Managing UK says no more and working with surviving children

45:00 The importance of education 

49:00 How to leave your work at work

50:00 Taking time to reflect

51:00 With all things going on, what is Lyndsey most eager to solve

57:00 Advice inspiration and a succes story

 

TWEETABLES:

MORE ABOUT UK SAYS NO MORE

Our website is: http://uksaysnomore.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UKSAYSNOMORE/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/UKSAYSNOMORE

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/uksaysnomore/?hl=en

MORE ABOUT PAVE

https://www.instagram.com/aliannelooijenga

www.aliannelooijenga.com

SPONSORS

If you want to be a guest on the PAVE podcast, a volunteer working for PAVE, if you are interested in becoming a PAVE sponsor, or want to help us in an other way, email me to see how we can work together to end the violence against women and children.

email: alianne@aliannelooijenga.com

To listen to the PAVE podcast Episode 012 with Lyndsey Dearlove from UK says NO MORE please click here:

Abuse, Activism, Gender Equality, PAVE Podcast, Podcast, Women's rights

PAVE 011: Fighting your own battles first before you can save others and become a superwoman next door with Upasana Chauhan

Upasana Chauhan

Upasana Chauhan is the founder of Superwoman Next Door. She is an UN Representative  of Manup Campaign, spread across 23 countries to involve men in the battle of Gender Equality. Upasana send me an impressive list of 14 organisations/projects she is involved with including many from the UN, but it would be a too long (although impressive) list to share on this blogpage. If you want to read it for yourself, click here: http://www.womenshealthsection.com/content/documents/Upasana_Chauhan_Resume.pdf

Upasana’s dream and passion is to encourage and empower every girl next door to be courageous to DARE TO DREAM and be her own superwoman to get those dreams. She is on the drafting committee for the Newyork City for CEDAW bill.

To listen to the PAVE podcast Episode 011 with Upasana Chauhan please click here: PAVE podcast with Upasana Chauhan on Itunes

About your host: 

Alianne Looijenga is an international speaker motivating organizations to effectively help survivors of partner abuse, child abuse and sexual abuse. She is also the founder of aliannelooijenga.com and the Professionals against violence (PAVE) podcast.   Alianne is a survivor of sexual abuse (including rape); partner abuse; and is the mother of twins who were abused by their biological father after a judge granted him visitation rights when the children were three years old.

Alianne is dedicated to the empowerment of survivors of abuse and to support organisations working to end the violence against women and children.

TOPICS DISCUSSED AND ORGANISATIONS/EVENTS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

1:24 : Growing up in India

2:50 Paving your own path and paving the path for others 

3:15 NGO “I do dare”, ManUp campaign of the UN, Upasana’s career so far. 

7:00 Is there a change within the men of India, about how they view women? 

7:30 How men teach other men about women’s rights

8:00 Losing your identity as a woman when you marry in India

10:00 What Upasana discovered when she was looking for an arranged marriage

12:00 Passing values on to your children

14:50 What drives Upasana

21:00 When women are objects and have no rights

24:00 How do you re-energize when you fight so hard for other women’s rights?

32:00 Why people believe that they are entitled to judge another human being

33:00 Rediscovering your identity

35:00 Female suicides in India 

I can do anything for them, but I can’t go to their homes with them. Because that is a battle that each one has to fight for themselves.

I had to fight the battle myself inside my own home first. Then only I can fight it globally. You have to first fight it for yourself.

40:00 The importance of financial independence

Take that fear out of your body. Throw the fear out. Fear controls you. You get scared what happens if I do this, or what happens if I do that.

44:00 Upasana’s advice if you want to change other people’s lives

46:00 Why your work should not be about you

48:00 When you respond with kindness and love to people who put you down, you include them into your journey

51:00 How we can support Upasana by sharing stories about women who live next door to us.

“Alianne is equally Oprah Winfrey as Oprah Winfrey is Alianne.

You are your own superwoman in your own way doing your own amazing thing. So is Oprah. The only difference is that the whole world knows Oprah, and your neighbor knows Alianne. But is Alianne any less than Oprah? No. And that’s why I started SuperWoman Next Door.” – Upasana Chauhan 

59:00 Initial ending: yeah kidding, we talked further

1:03:00 Get out of that thing that holds you down

Be your own superwoman. Don’t wait for someone to save you. Nobody will come and save you. You will have to save yourself. There is no prince charming. And even if there is, he can come and join you while you save yourself. But you don’t have to sit and wait around. You have to take control.

1:08:00 Being grateful in difficult times, ending. 

TWEETABLES:

MORE ABOUT UPASANA AND SUPERWOMAN NEXT DOOR

https://twitter.com/upasanac?lang=en

https://www.facebook.com/superwomannextdoor/

Superwoman Next Door website

To submit stories to Upasana:

superwomannextdoor@gmail.com

MORE ABOUT PAVE

https://www.instagram.com/aliannelooijenga

Www.aliannelooijenga.com

SPONSORS

If you want to be a guest on the PAVE podcast, a volunteer working for PAVE, if you are interested in becoming a PAVE sponsor, or want to help us in an other way, email me to see how we can work together to end the violence against women and children.

email: alianne@aliannelooijenga.com

To listen to the PAVE podcast Episode 011 with Upasana Chauhan please click here: PAVE podcast with Upasana Chauhan on Itunes

 

Abuse, Activism, Gender Equality, PAVE Podcast, Podcast, UN women, Women's rights

International Women’s day

International women’s day

Here is to women. The one that got up this morning. The one that faces inequality, fear and desperation. The one that is smashing ceilings and breaking the silence. The one with the heavy load to bear but who still manages to smile to her loved ones. The one that shows courage because she believes in her cause although she is uncertain of the outcome. The one that stands up for other beings. The one that chooses kindness over bitterness. The one that chooses to put her ego aside for the greater good. The one that takes care of others. To the woman battling poverty. To the one who creates a future for herself. The one that decides how she wants to respond to things instead of letting other peoples behaviour influencing her respons. To the women who support each other. The one that, despite everything, just tries one more time – and knows that if this fails, she will try yet another time.

To Mandy, Kerry, Lisa, Olivia, Monica, Sabin, Kirthi and Jessica.

To women.

You. Are. Phenomenal.

Pictures from: https://www.boredpanda.com/inspirational-quotes-womens-day/

Activism, Feminism, Gender Equality

PAVE 009: Peace, the Red Elephant Foundation, Gender Equality, and how to inspire people into action with Kirthi Jayakumar

Kirthi Jayakumar is an activist, artist and writer from Chennai, India. She founded and runs the Red Elephant Foundation, a civilian peacebuilding initiative that works for gender equality through storytelling, advocacy and digital interventions. She is a member of the Youth Working Group for Gender Equality. Kirthi is the recipient of the US Presidential Services Medal (2012) for her services as a volunteer to Delta Women NGO, and the two-time recipient of the UN Online Volunteer of the Year Award (2012, 2013).

Kirthi is also the recipient of the Global Peace Prize 2016, from WeSchool, and the Rising Star of India Award, 2016, from We The City India. Her second book, The Dove’s Lament, made it to the final shortlist for the Muse India Young Writers’ Literary Award. Kirthi was recently invited to the United State of Women Summit at the White House in Washington DC, as a nominated changemaker. She is also a Zen Doodler, and her works have been commissioned by corporate establishments, non-profits and art collectors world over.

To listen to the PAVE podcast Episode 009 with Kirthi Jayakumar please click here: https://itunes.apple.com/nl/podcast/pave-professionals-against-violence-podcast/id1203285774?mt=2#episodeGuid=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.professionalsagainstviolence.com%2F%3Fp%3D932

About your host: 

Alianne Looijenga is an international speaker motivating organizations to effectively help survivors of partner abuse, child abuse and sexual abuse. She is also the founder of aliannelooijenga.com and the Professionals against violence (PAVE) podcast.   Alianne is a survivor of sexual abuse (including rape); partner abuse; and is the mother of twins who were abused by their biological father after a judge granted him visitation rights when the children were three years old.

Alianne is dedicated to the empowerment of survivors of abuse and to support organisations working to end the violence against women and children.

TOPICS DISCUSSED AND ORGANISATIONS/EVENTS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Kirthi suffered different kinds of abuse: sexual abuse, bullying, racism and ethnic violence. It made her empathy driven but it had a major impact. She chose silence over articulation of the things that happened to her with manifestations on her health as a result.
  • How Kirthi transformed because of the New Delhi rape and the wisdom of her mother:
  • You have two options: you can feel terrible about this, you can feel depressed, you can mourn about it, you can do whatever you want, fine. Or you can do this for some time and pick up your life. Whatever it is that you do, remember it is your choice and whatever you choose, I am with you.
  • Kirthi thought deeply for six months about all that happened, learned about alternative healing, read and thought a lot and after six months she gave her mom (on her birthday) the gift of Kirthi’s empowerment and founded the Red Elephant Foundation.
  • United state of Women (9:00 minutes)
  • The secret about how Kirthi can accomplish so much per day
  • Female infanticide (12:00 minutes)
  • Why Kirthi chose fiction to tell her stories to inspire people into action (13:00 minutes)
  • The writing proces of the writer of Dimashq (15.00 minutes)

– Syrian conflict

–  A different approach in thinking about war and conflict

Kirthi’s biggest dream (19:00 minutes)

Why peace is so important for Kirthi (21:00 minutes)

Alianne’s story regarding to health and trauma (35 minutes)

To listen to the PAVE podcast Episode 009 with Kirthi Jayakumar please click here: https://itunes.apple.com/nl/podcast/pave-professionals-against-violence-podcast/id1203285774?mt=2#episodeGuid=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.professionalsagainstviolence.com%2F%3Fp%3D932

MORE ABOUT KIRTHI AND THE RED ELEPHANT FOUNDATION

MORE ABOUT KIRTHI 

http://www.redelephantfoundation.org/

https://www.instagram.com/femcyclopaedia/

https://www.instagram.com/kirthipotamus/

The Doodle Kirthi created for me (I am still humbled to be featured next to these women): https://www.instagram.com/p/BSzC5e8A-R9/?taken-by=femcyclopaedia

Kirthi’s books, including the Dove’s lament and the doodler of Dimashq: https://www.amazon.com/Kirthi-Jayakumar/e/B076V6GJBY

MORE ABOUT PAVE

https://www.instagram.com/aliannelooijenga

SPONSORS

If you want to be a guest on the PAVE podcast, a volunteer working for PAVE, if you are interested in becoming a PAVE sponsor, or want to help us in an other way, email me to see how we can work together to end the violence against women and children.

email: alianne@aliannelooijenga.com

To listen to the PAVE podcast Episode 009 with Kirthi Jayakumar please click here: https://itunes.apple.com/nl/podcast/pave-professionals-against-violence-podcast/id1203285774?mt=2#episodeGuid=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.professionalsagainstviolence.com%2F%3Fp%3D932

Abuse, Activism, Feminism, Gender Equality, Health, Interview, Mindset, Patriarchy, PAVE Podcast, Personal, UN women

PAVE 007: Olivia Crescenzi; I am that girl, Embracing your authentic self, Shifting girl culture

Olivia Crescenzi is a student at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, about to graduate with a B.Sc in Microbiology and Immunology. Science aside, her greatest passions lies in creating safe spaces for girls and women to embrace and love their true, authentic selves. She hopes to dedicate her life to understanding the human experience, and empowering young girls to stand up and find the power of their voice. Olivia is also a senior intern at I AM THAT GIRL and has been involved with the organization for over two years.

I AM THAT GIRL is an organization helping girls to transform self-doubt in to self-love by providing a safe space to connect and have honest conversations about things that matter. Every day, girls are bombarded with messages that attack what she is NOT and they work every day to help her love who SHE IS; to see that in herself and inspire that in others. This way they are shifting girl culture.

Raising the standards for how girls treat themselves, each other, and the world. By building a community for girls to be seen, be heard, and belong, I am that girl is giving them something bigger than themselves to stand for and creating a healthier, more powerful world.

For listeners with an Apple product: https://itunes.apple.com/nl/podcast/pave-professionals-against-violence-podcast/id1203285774?mt=2&i=1000384639381 is the way to go.

TOPICS DISCUSSED AND ORGANISATIONS/EVENTS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

2:00 How Olivia’s positive upbringing influenced her to find her voice
6:45 I am that girl foundation
7:58 Transforming the epidemic of Self Doubt into an epidemic of Self Love
15:00 unlocking meaningful conversations
17:00 the importance for girls to find themselves and to reckognise how powerful they are
18:41 How Cheryl Strayed and Brené Brown inspired Olivia in her work

MORE ABOUT OLIVIA CRESCENZI and I AM THAT GIRL

https://www.twitter.com/iam thatgirl
https://www.instagram.com/iamthatgirl
https://www.instagram.com/oliviacrescenzi

MORE ABOUT PAVE

https://www.instagram.com/aliannelooijenga

SPONSORS

If you want to be a guest on the PAVE podcast, a volunteer working for PAVE, if you are interested in becoming a PAVE sponsor, or want to with us in an other way, email me to see how we can work together to end the violence against women and children.

email: alianne@aliannelooijenga.com

Activism, Feminism, Gender Equality, Mindset, PAVE Podcast

Abuse and the common sense of the family court system

I wrote some of my (more personal) blogs for the website lifesurfer.net in 2015/2016. This is one of these blogs. The organisations mentioned in this blog are no longer interfering with my family and I only have professional contact with them for when they ask me for advice regarding domestic violence.

The common sense of the family court system

Many abused women have faced injustice, heartbreak and fear when dealing with the family court system.

This article is addressing this international problem, but will mention Dutch organisations I have been involved with.

Dutch institutions and organisations and their abbreviations:

RVDK = raad van de kinderbescherming best translated as The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service which is set up to promote the welfare of children and families involved in family court.

AMK = The Advice and Reporting Centre was until the end of 2014 a Dutch organization that registered reports of suspected child abuse, gave advice and, and if necessary, took action to prevent further harm.

Jeugdzorg = Youth Care Agency is a Dutch care institution for youth with both voluntary and mandatory care assistance and guidance

Common sense

When I was 14 I started a relationship with my ex-partner, who was 21 at the time. The years that followed were characterized by emotional abuse, rape and financial abuse. During this time I felt as though my life was completely in his hands, as he made every decision. When I tried to escape, I found out I was pregnant, which was a complete surprise – a miracle, given my chronic disease. I decided to stay with him because I believed he would change for our children – I was having twins – and would seek help for his violent behavior, as he had promised me he would.

Because of the emotional abuse I suffered, my self-confidence was very low. I couldn’t imagine taking care of children by myself, and I didn’t want my children growing up in a broken home without a father. It turned out that this was wishful thinking, as during my pregnancy I was still abused, badly enough that my twins were born prematurely. Eventually we fled his house.

My stress increased every time I stood up to my ex-partner to protect my children from his abuse and after the social service wanted to receive child support for my children so they could withhold it from my allowance. Something for which I had never asked my ex-partner, by agreement.

Angry because he felt he was losing his power over me and because the social service wanted money from him, he wanted value for his money and threatened to call Youth Care and take my children from me.

Since then I have dealt with several youth care organisations and  RVDK ( Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) employees.

Talking about child abuse and partner violence is taboo

What I noticed about these employees is that they did not dare approach the subject of child abuse. I don’t know if that’s because they don’t have enough funded scientific knowledge, are afraid of the extra work or just have a blind spot for this subject; regardless, the results are the same. In the past, people used to cite PAS (Parental Alienation Syndrome) as a reason to let children visit their father, nowadays employees and the media directly address a divorce battle.

It is overlooked that different motives exist when it comes to violence between partners and a messy divorce, with each being a completely different subject is not realized and therefore disregarded.  An extreme example of this was when I made a statement to the police about child abuse and partner violence. It is a standard procedure for the police to alert the AMK (advice and child abuse reporting centre) when someone files for child abuse. When I was sitting at the desk of an AMK employee our report was literally pushed aside.

None of the employees of the RVDK, youth care or the AMK ever asked me why I hadn’t completely committed to the visitation rights but instead chose a less intense form of contact. None of the employees to whom I have spoken over the years has had specialised knowledge of the field of child abuse and partner violence. Everyone I have spoken to has acted out of dogmatic principles within Youth Care – that every child not only has the right to two biological parents but also that the absence of a parent always threatens the child’s psychological and emotional development.

An employee at the youth centre we had to visit had such a romantic view about the “always apparent and unbreakable bond between child and biological parent” that he approved of a case in which a child was forced to visit a parent in prison. This parent had tried to kill the child and had actually killed the child’s mother and little brother in front of the child’s eyes.

Acting out of gut feelings

None of the employees I talked to acted out of well-funded scientific substantiation, knowledge or research. Rather, they acted out of dogmatic principles like they exist within youth care, the AMK and the RVDK. These agencies suffer from tunnel vision; they assume that it is always bad for the development of a child if he or she has no contact with the biological father.

Of course, a bond between a father and an child is an important factor that should be considered when determining visitation rights but there already must be a bond and such a bond between child and father should have been developed long before the divorce (Source: Stichting Zijweg (2008) Uit het veld geslagen. Knelpunten na partnergeweld). This was, and isn’t, the case with my children. My ex left the house where we more or less lived in together when the children just became one year old when he abused me severely.

Earlier in the relationship he had been home only during the weekends because of his work, but after the children were born he was almost never at home even then. If he was home he didn’t interfere with the children at all. He never took care of them and when I left him and he forced his way into my house and a few times randomly showed up and demanded to take the kids (a request I initially didn’t dare refuse out of fear of him) he would bring the kids after an hour to my mother’s house because he didn’t know what to do with them. The children really met him for the first time when they were three-and-a-half years old. At that point, they didn’t have any memories of him. Thankfully, because it meant they didn’t remember the abuse.

Common sense

What I’ve missed in my contacts with Youth Care, the council and the court is the use of common sense. According to the prevailing dogma within Youth Care and the RvdK, contact with the father is more important than investigating whether the child’s physical and mental well being will benefit from contact with an abuser. Whether contact with this biological parent is in the child’s best interest. The risks of child abuse are greatly underestimated. Youth Care and the RvdK act as though once a divorce is agreed upon, the children and mother are no longer in danger because no family situation exists anymore.

However, it is generally known that violence often continues after a relationship ends. For example, the father uses the children as pawns, engages in emotional and physical abuse, maintains control over the mother via the children, files frivolous lawsuits, does not fully pay alimony or pays it late, blames the victim or threatens the mother. None of this is taken into account, a situation that results in the continued abuse of children and mothers by ex-partners.

A deal is sought without taking history into account and without adequately examining the statements and behavior of the father during his conversations with care workers. The children are delivered to him like packages – without consideration for how safe the situation actually is and under the motto that they never can be sure who speaks the truth nothing is done with the history of abuse and the earlier child abuse.It is literally pushed aside.Nobody asks about it. Nobody asks what the father’s plans are regarding parenting techniques when he yells in court that he wants to be in touch with his children, but then doesn’t show any initiative or attempt to contact them. The only thing that matters and what contains the value is the fact that he partially created the children and the blind dogma says that contact with a parent is always good for a child.

PAS is applied but disguised

No consideration of safety risks is made because one of the dogmas of Youth Care is that a child is harmed when he or she isn’t in contact with the biological father. Youth Care still regularly refers to the principles of parental alienation, which is caused by false information to the child by the custodial parent. This is despite the fact that PAS has been refuted by well-funded scientific research. The myth is still used in practice, and mothers who don’t fully agree to contact with the father during the intake of Youth Care are immediately labeled liars who are acting out of grudges and resentment stemming from the divorce.

Coercion and threats cause damage

In my contact with Youth Care and the RvdK, I’ve encountered significant coercion, in particular by two employees of Youth Care, the employees of the centre, the court and my ex. I had to cooperate and had to do what they wanted otherwise, the children would be removed from my home, the children and I would be placed under supervision by a guardian, the children would have to live with their father, I would have to pay penalties or I would even be held hostage. The OTS (under the supervision of Youth Care by means of a family guardian) and the penalties are actually imposed. My ex is able to demand 15.000 euro at any moment now and make our lives miserable – a situation hanging above our heads like the Sword of Damocles. It’s a powerful weapon of which he reminds me regularly and, just like in the relationship, when money was the weapon, it apparently gives him pleasure and a sense of power.

I didn’t feel understood by any of the employees. I didn’t feel as though they maintained essential knowledge of child abuse or partner violence or that they considered children in their decision-making process. Today, my children and I are still working through the damage that has been inflicted upon us by the visitation rights that were established when they were three-and-a-half to four years old and the events in the youth care centre when they were seven. The pressure under which I found myself triggered symptoms of PTSS. Together, we have had some rough years.

Common sense

Back to common sense. Since when is the right of the father (especially a father who is only a father in the biological sense, having begotten the children) more important than the right of the child to grow up in a safe environment? When are facts not considered and common sense not used to determine what really happened any more? Since when are no conversations had with children and their mothers about why they are scared? Why aren’t fears investigated? Why, when the mother doesn’t let her children go to an abuser, is she threatened with fines and the loss of her authority, with being forced to let her children live with a parent they don’t know and with whom their safety can’t be guaranteed? Where is the common sense that says we must investigate what’s really going on before we coerce contact with all the instruments of power we have?

The child as a percentage in statistics

When I asked a male employee in the youth care centre in Leeuwarden how the centre was going to ensure that my children would be safe emotionally and physically with my ex-partner, the employee just shrugged and said, “We can’t rule out the possibility of something happening with them if they’re with him”. I reminded him that one can’t gamble with the lives and welfare of children. Their emotional and physical well being isn’t something that can be put at stake so that the rights of the begetter can be maintained or from a dogmatic principle nor can one put blindfolds on and maintain a tunnel vision, saying that contact with the father is always in the best interest of the child. After all research shows that at least one child per week dies by child abuse, and with the attitude of Youth Care, that isn’t surprising.

Living in uncertainty

I know that this week when the family guardian wishes us a nice Christmas and a happy New Year, she ends her working day and goes home while we stay behind living in uncertainty and concern about what Youth Care is planning now that my children are doing a lot better upon the total absence of their biological father and family guardians.

This is because I have done everything in my power, despite the destructive influence that Youth Care has had on my children, to give them confidence and the sense that they are safe. I am the one that sought adequate professional help for them even though their biological father and employees of youth care frustrated my attempts to do so.

Now we must wait on what Youth Care is planning to do with my children. Even though their father has shown no interest in them and has made no initiative to contact them, the schools, or anyone else involved in their lives, Youth Care continues to believe that contact is possible and would be in the children’s best interest (False! as the children are doing much better now that they don’t have any contact with him and now that they are processing the trauma that the youth care centre caused them) . This is despite the fact that the children’s psychologist indicated that youth care should stop putting pressure on the children to have contact with their biological father, with whom they never bonded.

If Youth Care would forget its dogma’s, they would see that a partner abuser exhibits different parenting behaviour and maintains different motives than “normal” parents do. No term like PAS or divorce battle can change such parenting behavior. This can happen only when it is acknowledged that a divorce battle and a divorce following partner violence are completely different, non-comparable issues that ask for separate and different approaches.

This means more work for investigators, family guardians and employees of Youth Care, as well as more effort from judges. It means daring to enter a conversation with the victims of domestic violence and with the abuser himself, sincerely listening to children and, for every individual case investigating what the family needs with respect to rest, safety and stability. Having an open mind towards the family and considering every fact when making a decision. It means seeing the key players as individuals instead of placing them into the category of “a divorce battle” and not simply going along with the opinions of colleagues who have never seen the children. It means, as a family guardian, following one’s own observations and adhering to research.

 

More information about guest lectures and workshops:

For guest lectures or advice about complex issues regarding partner abuse, sexual abuse or child abuse and for which specialised knowledge is necessary, I’m available via alianne@aliannelooijenga.com. In your email, tell me about your organisation and what you would like me to do. I will contact you to discuss how I can be of help.

 

Collaboration and sponsorships:

I am open for collaboration and sponsorships. Just shoot me an email via alianne@aliannelooijenga.com so we can talk further.

Activism, Family, Mindset, Personal, Speaking

PAVE 006: Surviver of an Acid Attack, Speaker for UN women, founder of Mahendra Singh Foundation with Monica Singh

Monica Singh

Monica Singh was just 19 years old when a rejected admirer threw acid over her body. It took dozens of corrective surgeries and the life savings of Monica’s late father but Monica battled back to hit her goal: to study at Parson’s and become a fashion designer.

Not only that; but she is also involved with UN women and the founder of the Mahendra Singh Foundation – named after her late father which helps victims of physical and sexual abuse, acid attacks, rape and domestic violence in  rebuilding their confidence and strength on their journey to becoming survivors.  The foundation spreads awareness and mobilize community resources in providing counseling, training,medical-care, and career guidance to survivors in rebuilding their lives.

For listeners without an Apple product with the “podcast” app, please visit: https://soundcloud.com/user-476654029/episode-007-monica-singh-surviver-of-acid-attack-speaker-for-un-women-founder-of-msfoundation to listen to the episode.

For listeners with Apple product: https://itunes.apple.com/nl/podcast/pave-professionals-against/id1203285774?l=en is the way to go.

Topics discussed and organisations/events mentioned in this episode:

“So the question is coming; how do you want to pursue your life after that?

Because that is what life is about. Otherwise you could sit and lay on a bed and think about what has happened and why it happened, and you keep reevaluating your life. But you have this opportunity, and how long can revaluation go?”

  • 4:08 Monica’s story; how Monica moved on after the acid attack, going from survivor to thriver
  • 8:00 choosing brain over face
  • 9:40 Becoming a global youth champion and her new hope of becoming a good will ambassador.
  • 13:00 Face of resilience, UN Women
  • 16:00 New projects and the Mahendra Sing Foundation
  • 23:00 Stop selling Acid in the open market
  • 24:00 Repercussions for attackers, justice for survivors
  • 28:00 foolish men around the world, princesses and having a blessed life 😉
  • 30:00 Learning to move on after trauma, channelizing your experiences
  • 36:00 Monica’s love for movies

More about Monica Singh

Mahendra Singh Foundation twitter: https://twitter.com/MSF_joininghand
Mahendra Singh Foundation website http://mahendrasinghfoundation.org/

More about PAVE

Twitter.com/pave_podcast

Sponsors

If you want to be a guest on the PAVE podcast, a volunteer working for PAVE, if you are interested in becoming a PAVE sponsor, or want to collaborate with us in an other way, email me to see how we can work together to end the violence against women and children.

email: alianne@aliannelooijenga.com

Activism, Mindset, PAVE Podcast, UN women