A National Scandal: American Mothers March to Defend Motherhood and Children’s Human Rights

Mothers of Lost Children march from the U.S. Capitol to the White House in Washington DC to protest children being taken from safe mothers and given to battering or sexually abusive fathers through family courts.  This governmental cover up is similar to Penn State and the Catholic Church cover-ups. Mothers will protest at the Department of Justice and Demand Equal Rights for Women and Protection in Courts across America for whistle blowers who have the right to Defend Childhood.  Mothers are bringing attention to child trafficking in the Courts, and  States Judges who fail to Protect.  Help us send a mother from each state to represent the rights of mothers and abused children.

 Mothers March on Washington DC to end Child trafficking through the courts

October 1 – 2, 2014  Mothers of Lost Children demonstration and Lobby Day in Washington D.C.

California – Napa, Historical “Broken” Courthouse 12 pm

OCTOBER IS VIOLENCE IN THE FAMILY AWARENESS MONTH, Mothers of Lost Children (Mothers who have lost custody after reporting abuse)- bring attention to children of Domestic Violence.  October 1st is recognized as the National Safe Child Day.  Throughout the month communities across America will be participating in a campaign to bring attention to this National Scandal – Child Trafficking. We invite Mothers and Supporters from across the nation to join us in making the Safety of Our Children a National Priority.

To commemorate the National Safe Child Day- Mothers across the Nation will Protest  at Courthouses, State Capitals and the White house.  Delivering the message A Nurtured Childhood is Endangered, Declaring that we must make Safety the first Priority in US child custody Policies.

Vote like a mother-Mothers of Lost ChildrenHeal Mothers FlyerBring back our Girls and Boys

Vote like a mother-Mothers of Lost Children




Send the MOM museum your story and Art! The Motherless America Exhibit

 Did you know there is a Museum to Motherhood?

Ella Dreyfus Photography 1993 The Body Pregnant

MOM Takes Manhattan: The First Museum of Motherhood Opens

Phyllis Chesler writes:

Everyone who has ever been born has had a mother; most women have been mothers; women have been mothering children since the dawn of time. Historically, most women have spent up to twenty to forty years of their lives being pregnant, giving birth, breastfeeding, and tending children and grandchildren. Until recently — and still today — this meant facing an agonizing labor, potential death, or lifelong injury for the sake of perpetuating the human race.

Where, then, are all our MOMs — our Museums of Motherhood? Until last month, there were no such museums, at least not on planet earth. But on Sept 1, 2011, the visionary and energized Joy Rose, a mother of four, a rock musician, founder of “Housewives on Prozac” (1997-2007,) and an organizer of countless conferences, fairs, and festivals for mothers all over the country, opened the first such museum. It is located not far from where I live on the Upper East Side.

Visiting it is a redemptive experience. In non-motherhood museums, in marble silence, women are hanging, beautifully clothed and beautifully naked, painted by great artists who loved the female body. Strange how few of them are pregnant. A hint, a swelling, a critical interpretation is all we have to represent the most common female experience in history. Similarly, there are few high fashion models who are shown while pregnant. Imagine the demoralizing psychological effect this has on women who understand that pregnancy and motherhood, or at least pregnancy and womanhood go together. Those women who want children desperately and who love being mothers do not see themselves and their choices valorized or even depicted in High Culture.

Here at MOM, the Museum of Motherhood, pregnant women, women in labor, and mothers with children are cherished and displayed throughout the museum as brave champions. The subject is not hidden because it is sacred. It is honored for precisely this reason. The cheerful, brightly colored space is filled with artfully painted plaster casts of real women’s pregnant torsos—like so many modern-day versions of ancient fertility goddesses, like so many Venuses of Willendorf.



Send your ideas and stories about MOTHERLESS AMERICA…..THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE DUE TO FAILURE TO PROTECT and Gender Bias in Courts across America…….MOVING AWAY FROM SAFE NURTURING MOTHERS INTO DANGEROUS HOMES and choosing Fathering over Mothering.


9th Annual MOM Conference
- Museum of Motherhood Call for Papers -
“New Maternalisms”: Tales of Motherwork (Dislodging the Unthinkable)

- CFP Deadline Extended to January 15th -

April 30th, May 1st-2nd, NYC 2015

The purpose of this conference focuses on “new maternalisms” and explores “motherwork” and the invisible labor of caregiving in our everyday lived experiences. How do mothers, fathers, and caretakers experience “motherwork” what does it mean? How does “motherwork” impact the communities in which we live and work?

Here are examples of possible topics, but are not limited to:

What caregiving practices are pursued in “motherwork”? How have these practices been shaped by factors such as nation, religion, gender, and other axes of difference? How do caregivers frame/understand their “motherwork”? What alliances do caregivers build locally, regionally, and internationally, and why?

To what extent does caregiving intersect with other forms of activism/resistance??????????????????


Send Comments to:


Judge Fails to Protect a Mother and DV Victim We Mourn Her Loss

Protective Mom Heather Murdered 3 Years Ago Today
Denied TWO Restraining Orders Despite Abundant Evidence
Heather’s Story Included in Play: “Forbidden to Protect”


This Tribute was posted on Safe Kids International from Patrice Lenowitz co-founder of The Nurtured Parent Support Group and Children’s Justice Campaign-

“Heather’s young beautiful daughters must grow up without their amazing mother because a family court judge made the sole discretionary decision to keep this woman, and her children, in danger.”
Protective Mom and Activist Patrice Lenowitz

“There is a lump in my throat, and tears streaming down my face as I type this. I’ve been reading loving tributes from Heather Newman’s family and friends, and my chest hurts.

Heather, a beautiful mother, daughter, sister and friend, was brutally murdered on this day three years ago by her estranged husband.

As an abused woman seeking to get away and keep herself and her daughters safe, Heather did everything right. She worked two jobs to provide for her daughters, while her husband remained unemployed. She reached out and began to consult with family and friends about the abuse she was suffering. She attended a domestic violence support group.

As a loving protective parent, she filed for divorce and fled the marital home with the hopes that leaving an abusive marriage would benefit her and her two most precious little girls.

So WHY did our courts FAIL HER?

Even with indisputable evidence of the domestic violence she suffered, Heather was denied TWO restraining orders. To make matters worse, she was warned by her divorce lawyer that because the restraining orders were denied, she had to learn how to “co-parent” with her abuser, and he was to have unsupervised access to her daughters, for if she opposed, things would not go well for her in family court custody proceedings.

It is important for the public to know that Heathers attempts at getting a restraining order from a man that physically, verbally, emotionally, psychologically, and financially harmed, threatened, and harassed her– were met by judicial misconduct and gender bias. Judges and lawyers routinely state that women who file for restraining orders are trying to get a “leg up” on divorce and custody proceedings. How deadly this MYTH can be.

Domestic Violence is a CRIME, yet victims are re-victimized by our family court system every day. How many more of our women and children must be murdered before we do something about it?

Quick question: Does anyone know what happened to this judge? Is she being held accountable for failing to protect Heather, for failing to protect Heather’s daughters, and for failing to hold the criminal conduct of her violent estranged husband accountable?

The answer would be NO. Heather’s young beautiful daughters must grow up without their amazing mother because a family court judge made the sole discretionary decision to keep this woman, and her children, in danger.

The public cannot protest what it doesn’t know. WE NOW KNOW OUR COURTS ARE FAILING THE MOST VULNERABLE AMONG US. The very LIVES of our mothers, daughters, sisters, friends and co-workers are counting on our active participation to speak out and transform this conversation. It is up to us to inspire new domestic violence and child abuse laws and procedures that do everything in their power to keep our women and children safe.

My colleague Lundy Bancroft and I have worked for three years collaborating on a play project called “FORBIDDEN TO PROTECT.” Our play raises questions about legal responses to domestic violence and child abuse. Through extensive victim interviews, FORBIDDEN TO PROTECT tells the true stories of women and children who have been required by a family court judge to go into dangerous circumstances where they have been repeatedly harmed, separated, or ultimately murdered.

The play demonstrates how most contested custody cases are actually domestic violence or child abuse cases in which abusers have been allowed to use the courts to regain control over their victims and bankrupt the safe protective mom. In all of these stories, judges, lawyers and court appointed evaluators and therapists have chosen to ignore extensive evidence that the children and mothers were telling the truth, putting the victims in harm’s way, and leaving mothers FORBIDDEN TO PROTECT her children and herself.

We are honored that Heather’s loving mother and sister, Fran and Jamie Newman, kindly gave us Heather’s story to include in our play. Our hope is that through public awareness, peaceful protests, and an action plan for transparency and accountability within our courts, positive change will soon follow.

“I feel it is our new found reason to be Heather’s voice. It can not be done alone and I feel even as time goes by we need to continue what she started. She stood up for everything that was right … She would want change, she would want to make that difference.   Heather’s friend Jeannine

12/15/11 RIP Heather
- Protective Mom Patrice Lenowitz

Forbidden to Protect

Co-sponsored by the Center for Peace Justice and Reconciliation at Bergen Community College and Produced by Jim Bumgardner of Bergen Stages, FORBIDDEN TO PROTECT will open to audiences in Spring 2015.

If you would be interested in producing FORBIDDEN TO PROTECT in your area, please send an e-mail request to: patrice@nurturedparent.org

SHAME on Judge Andrea Carter Latimer for disregarding clear evidence of violence, denying restraining orders and forcing the children to live with the abuser. Heather’s blood is on YOUR hands.

[Pictured: Heather (left); Heather with friend (top right); CLA Judge Andrea Carter Latimer (bottom right)]

Mothers Grieve the loss of their children

  To Lose a Child Through Life

The second sunday of December for all the children lost to us through this era of the ‘Lost Child’.  

To sweet friends who mourn their children’s loss we pray for you and mourn together

The Worldwide Candle Lighting Remembrance Book is now open to add your message athttp://www.compassionatefriends.org/AddRemembranceEntry.aspx. You can read the tributes posted in the Remembrance Book athttp://www.compassionatefriends.org/ViewRemembranceEntry.aspx
The Worldwide Candle Lighting is an annual tribute to all children . . . that their light may always shine . . .

2014 Worldwide Candle Lighting REMEMBRANCE Book



From:Mothers Without Custody World

I will love you for always


Sometimes a parent grieves the loss of a child that is still alive. Mothers who have lost custody of children some very young never to see again mourn their loss as mothers who’s babies have died. Children who were kidnapped, from them. We mourn the loss of 58,000 Children a year. In the Era of the ‘Lost Child’. A secret holocaust in this country that is all but ignored as mothers and children weep the loss of childhood. We remember our friends and their children and pray for their hearts to be healed and that in their memory, the perpetrators will be held accountable and children will one day be returned and this era will forever be in our memory, and children will be saved from this tragedy. You will be remembered.  http://mothersoflostchildren.org/2014/12/mothers-grieve-the-loss-of-their-children/ We dedicate this message to Robin Karr and her children from Motherhood Interrupted,http://motherswithoutcustodyworld.com/to_lose_a_child_through_life

and Coral Anika Theil www.coralanikatheill.com Two brave mothers who have lost their children through life.

Photo: Please like and share out post to reach others.

Mothers of Lost Children are Survivors

You’ve been dropped like a dream to the floor
You’ve been told not to try anymore
But you’re wakened from yesterday’s war
Cause you’re a survivor

And your strength has been stolen away
And your faith has been worn to a fray
But you live to live on one more day
Cause you’re a survivor

And nothing can stop you now
Nothing can back you down
You never give up
You never give in
You’re a survivor

For the phone call that tore you apart
For the fear that gripped your heart
For the moment you saw who you are
And what you’re made of

For the cancer that stole all your hair
For the smile like you just don’t care
For your hope in midnight prayer
You’re a survivor

And nothing can stop you now
Nothing can back you down
You never give up
You never give in
You’re a survivor

I’m convinced neither death nor life
Neither demons or angels of light
Shadows present a future bright
Can seperate us

From the love that will lead us on
To the hope when all hope is gone
Til the day heaven calls us home
We are survivors

And nothing can stop us now
Nothing can back us down
We never give up
We never give in

And nothing can stop us now
Nothing can back us down
We never give up
We never give in
Cause we are survivors

We are
We are
We are survivors
We are survivors


The Motherless Child Project

Photo: First look at our cover!! We're tweaking a few things but here's the gist! We're thrilled...

A New Young Adult Novel

by Janie McQueen and Robin Karr

Congratulations to the Team of McQueen and Karr, the reviews are in and you did it, a hit! This touching and poignant story of a young girl caught off guard by a project, a song and her unanswered questions about her mothers absence in her life.  Now we’re looking forward to the Screenplay ladies!!!  Thank you so much Janie and Robin for putting to pen the story that needs to be told.  The kind of nonfiction that resembles life. Let’s hope life imitates art and it strikes a cord in the hearts of other motherless children and ignites a movement for mothers’ who have  ‘lost’ their children.

“It’s our hope and prayer that we can get this book into the hands of mothers of ‘missing’ children and children of ‘missing’ mothers and that we’ll see many, many mother and child reunions.”
Authors Janie McQueen and Robin Karr

We’re revving up our campaign for the Young Adult novel The Motherless Child Project. Will you please invite your friends to “like” us? There’ll be an upcoming launch party with fun and special deals and info flowing! Thank you!! https://www.facebook.com/TheMotherlessChildProject

Available for purchase now! Get a through the web store on the site and amazon http://www.amazon.com/Motherless-Child-Project-1/dp/0981611443/ref=sr_1_1_twi_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1418742000&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Motherless+Child+Project

before Christmas coupon code EX6fmz2A for 20% off


  • “I admire your writing, your outlook, and your career path; I remain a big fan of the Magic Bookshelf series. Best wishes for success with your new YA book. It sounds fascinating. It sounds like a book that lizzy Burns (A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy) would like.  Best wishes,  Robert (Bob) McCarty, Barking Planet Productions–author of the Planet of the Dogs series, and Academy Award nominee for short film, Rooftops of New York
  • “Any teen reader looking for a powerful, compelling story – especially those who are motherless themselves, whatever the reason – will find The Motherless Child Project a powerful saga worthy of attention and acclaim.”–D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, The Midwest Book Review (the book will be available in hard copy and in audio as well)
  • “Written with warmth, humor and honesty, with its remarkably realistic depiction of worst-case family court scenarios today, this book could become a game-changer.”–Randy Kessler, nationally renowned divorce lawyer, law professor, and author of Divorce: Protect Yourself, Your Kids and Your Future

Its official!
Publisher’s Cataloging-in-Publication data
McQueen, Janie Brooks.
The Motherless child project / Janie McQueen ; Robin Karr.
p. cm.
ISBN 978-0981611440
Summary : A young girl’s sense of displacement is heightened when an Internet project leads her to seriously question her mother’s absence from her life.
[1. Mothers and daughters --Fiction. 2. Fathers and daughters --Fiction. 3. Families --Fiction. 4. Secrets --Fiction. 5. Internet --Fiction.] I. Karr, Robin. II. Title.
PZ8.M1866 Mo 2015
[Fic] –dc23 2014921743

What It’s About

In her 16-year-old upscale Lowcountry South Carolina life, the biggest problems Emily Amber Gillies had to face run along the lines of having to design alternative Halloween costumes, losing five pounds before school pictures, sourcing aromatherapy candles, and finding a bridesmaid dress out of season.

Until she hears an old gospel song that leads her to wonder who she really is.

A dangerous crush, a disturbing world of police, judges, phony evaluations, and disappearing parents…

How can a routine school assignment go so wrong?

from the Midwest Book Review: The Motherless Child Project
Janie McQueen and Robin Kar
Burning Sage Publishing House
978-0981611440 $14.95

Excerpt from The Motherless Child Project, copyright 2014 by Janie McQueen and Robin Karr

Up or down? Even on dry ground, moving through my days, I’m not sure where I’m headed. To safety? Fresh air? More insanity? More excruciating places where I need to breathe but can’t?

Believe it or not, there are times I feel I’m about to suffocate, even when there’s plenty of good air around. (You can actually drown on dry land. It’s called “dry drowning”. I looked it up).

When I near drowned that time, even with the awful raw burning in my chest and my lungs threatening to burst if I was under for another split-second, I felt a lightness in my head like a suspension between life and death. And it wasn’t bad -that feeling- aside from physical suffering. Sometimes, I wish I could feel that way again – drifting… in the in-between. Between not knowing and knowing.

The knowing part has gotten me into a lot of trouble. I mean a lot. Enough trouble for a lifetime, and maybe even more. My shrink, who I have to go see twice a week since I near drowned, after they finally let me out of that hell-hole in Columbia, says I have to catch up to this knowing because I was raised on a steady diet of lies.

Copyright © The Motherless Child Project | All Rights reserved


The Motherless Child Project presents a powerful story told from a teen’s perspective and tells of teen Emily, who has grown up without her mother and is long used this absence in her life. But it takes a school project, which she tailors around her experience of being motherless, to really bring her feelings to the forefront, and her journey is the subject of a story investigating why her mother left.
Motherless children have been the subject of many a book (including many a teen novel): so what makes McQueen and Kar’s story different?

Does Emily want a life that’s a big lie? Emily’s not sure where she’s headed when she undertakes her journey; but one thing is certain: she’s driven by the absence of her mother as much as by other influences in her life, and can no longer ignore that gaping hole in her world.

Much of her life up to the point this story begins has been one of comfortable ignorance. Now she’s venturing into the realm of investigation and filling in the blanks and, more so than other books on the topic of motherless children, The Motherless Child Project documents this process of discovery and what it does to a child’s psyche and self-image.

Chapters flow smoothly as Emily progresses, bringing readers along for an Olympic effort as revelations are made, emotions assessed, and realities contrasted with belief and illusion. Long raised on a “steady diet of lies”, Emily is ready to confront the facts; and within that process lays transformation.
Another satisfying aspect of this novel is its focus on how one girl’s journey creates a new, interconnected community: for Emily’s Motherless Project isn’t a singular study: it’s one that embraces the experiences of all motherless children – and one that will change all their lives; not just hers.

It’s satisfying seeing one girl’s angst and journey connecting a community together. It’s unusual to find the outline of this community (and how it evolves) so smartly portrayed in the course of following a teen’s other concerns, from relationships to music. And, it’s about how one song can change a life, redirect it, and hone in on one’s hidden feelings.

All this is carefully orchestrated, like a minuet of emotions and characters: “Right now it was tempting to wish I’d gone to our church on the morning I went with Macy and heard “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.” But I had heard it, and now I had to make good with Dad. He hadn’t challenged me about the baby clothes thing. I was definitely swinging back and forth with the new and disturbing information I was finding.”

In the end everything Emily hold dear will be called into question: family, safety, friendship, and the very reason for living.

To say that The Motherless Child Project is a book about change and self-discovery would be doing it an injustice: it’s so much more. Through Emily’s eyes the entire process of transformation is displayed, analyzed, and revealed, with all its aches and pains. Through her actions readers are treated to insights on responsibility, community connections, and, ultimately, the lasting impact of decisions.

Any teen reader looking for a powerful, compelling story – especially those who are motherless themselves, whatever the reason – will find The Motherless Child Project a powerful saga worthy of attention and acclaim.–D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, MBR


Will Sing for Donations to Bring my Children Home

Help bring my children’s kidnapper to justice!

My children were taken by their father and I cannot afford a lawyer to help me get them back!  




I love you to the Moon and Back darling

Dear Protective Mothers of America,
We will be collecting vivid photos/drawings portraying YOUR CHILDREN’S ABSENCE for a pictorial entitled “TO THE MOON… AND BACK!” It can be a closet full of gifts you have never been able to give, a room left empty too long, etc…. This pictorial will be shown to the European media to compel the American media to cover this national scandal. Please send me the material for the pictorial with a short text. Thank you. And please share broadly.

To The Moon And Back is an artistic project throwing light on the suffering endured by mothers and children who have been separated by court orders.

To The Moon And Back
The mothers and children who feel like it are invited to submit drawings/photos/poems… about their personal experience of loss or absence, the void they are enduring because of the separation. Our goal is to collect testimonies which vividly show the horror lived by those mothers and children and the extent of this phenomenon in the USA to a broad public in order to achieve change. This initiative does not aim to attack the American family courts or the fathers’ rights but solely to portray the abuses endured by mothers and children in the most compelling way. Join - https://www.facebook.com/pages/To-The-Moon-And-Back/1518912741694653

Examples: Rag Doll  




One day, this anonymous mom will tell “Good Morning” every day to her son again.-

Photo: One day, this anonymous mom will tell "Good Morning" every day to her son again.

anonymous –  How many days….

Stolen Moment Collage by the child on no contact order-

Stolen moment collage


Stories -

Two Years ago I lost my son to court ordered abuse

A closet full of hope just in case they come home

A lifetime of waiting to see you again

Recently, Matthew turned 18 and in a sons life this milestone can mean many things.  You can vote…For mothers and children who have been separated by court-ordered abuse, it means your free.  Your free to act as your own agent.  To find your mother or child without any restraint.

For children separated for long periods of time they may find this very difficult.  They have been living with a parent who will not allow them access to a nurturing mother who gave birth to them and  fought to hold them and care for them.  The primary attached parent who has been denied access as Robin Karr has been for many years, suffers the loss of her children.  It must be so challenging for our children caught between the obedience to one parent and the unknown.  As many children are taught to believe there is something wrong with their mother when in fact there is something wrong with a system that rewards the bully and takes children from fit loving mothers.  The last time you were together you were 7! Your mother loves you, and misses you.


Robin posted a birthday message that included this message:

I love you so much Matthew. I’m reaching out to you.

Please share this page –  it is our hope that Matthew will see this post and he will know how much his mother loves him and misses him. We pray he can reach out to her for that hug they both need so much.

  • Mothers who strive to protect their children are commonly removed partially or completely from their children’s lives. The Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence estimates that 58,000 children each year are ordered into unsupervised contact with physically or sexually abusive parents following divorce in the United States.

Is World War Needed to Protect Our Children?

Is World War Needed to Protect Our Children?

by Phyllis Chesler

Phyllis Chesler is Professor Emerita of Psychology and the author of fourteen books, including Women and Madness, Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman, Mothers on Trial. The Battle for Children and Custody, and The New Anti-Semitism. She has published pioneering studies on honor killing and submitted affidavits for women in flight from being honor killed and who are in search of political asylum. Her new book, An American Bride in Kabul (Palgrave Macmillan) will be out in fall 2013. She may be reached at  www.phyllis-chesler.com.


Every time a news story breaks about a woman imprisoned as a sex slave (for example the Cleveland Three) people are, appropriately, shocked and horrified.

What is even more shocking is the fact that such crimes are committed every single day in every country on earth.  Children and adult women are routinely sold, tricked or kidnapped in epidemic numbers and trafficked into sex slavery for profit. Rarely do such pimps and profiteers bother to keep one girl (or boy) only for themselves.

Civilian pedophiles do that. We think of pedophiles as depraved older men or, increasingly, as men of the cloth, whose prey is an under-age stranger. Once caught, they are registered as sex offenders and law enforcement can, potentially, keep eyes on them.

But what if the pedophiles are fathers and their captive prey are their own children? How will the police ever learn about this? There is no system that monitors children in their own homes. When mothers try to do so, they often lose custody of their children. Pedophiles, including a child’s own father, are often charming, docile, and seem “normal.”

Given that it is almost impossible to “police” a man’s home (which is still his castle), mothers are on the front line in terms of protecting children. There is no one else. But when mothers try to protect their children from physical or sexual abuse they often lose custody of them.

This past weekend I delivered a keynote speech at the tenth annual Battered Mothers Custody Conference. This conference was founded by Dr. Maureen (“Mo”) Hannah and has functioned as a life line forbattered and “protective” mothers. The program included keynote speeches by Terry O’Neill, NOW’s national President and Toby Kleinman, prominent family law attorney and champion for women’s rights. More than 15 sessions took place, led by the most dedicated and fearless lawyers, mental health professionals, and mothers. More than 150 people attended this conference. Forty people delivered lectures; 10 of them were custodially challenged mothers.

Some mothers lost custody of their children to their batterers.  Many battered mothers lost their children when they alleged that their violent husbands had also been sexually abusing their child. Often such mothers are seen as “crazy,” and as “alienating” the child from their perfectly nice father. I first broke this scandal 27 years ago when I published my book Mothers on Trial. The Battle for Children and Custody. There have been some improvements. Documented domestic violence is often factored in a bit more often; where there are assets, judges may award mothers a greater percentage of them; gay parents and mothers with demanding careers do not lose custody as they once did for these reasons.

However, matters have worsened in many areas—so much so, that I added eight chapters to the 25thanniversary edition of this book. Two chapters are titled “Court-Enabled Incest in the 1980s and 1990s,” and “Court-Enabled Incest in the Twenty-First Century.”

The court system does not want to believe that a well-spoken, charismatic man could really be a savage wife-beater or child abuser. It is easier to believe that his traumatized, sleepless, frightened and rapidly impoverished wife is lying, exaggerating or imagining things. I have interviewed many such mothers, and many more were present at this extraordinary conference which was held in Washington DC at the George Washington University Law School.

The police do not rescue these children. In fact, the courts often award custody to their abusers and severely limit the “crazy’ mothers’ visitation.  When such mothers finally run away to save their children, they are routinely captured, imprisoned and lose access to their children for a very long time.

One such mother, Holly Collins, was beaten badly for a very long time in the American state of Minnesota. Her children were beaten, too. No one came to their rescue. On the contrary. Eventually, the father, who terrified his children, gained custody of them. The court system nearly destroyed this mother and her children. And so, in 1994, Holly fled the country. She carried her entire legal file with her in her suitcases. In 1996, after an extensive legal review and appeal, Holland granted this American mother political asylum (!) on the grounds that America had not protected her or her children and did not seem likely to ever do so. Garland Waller directed a riveting documentary about Holly, titled  No Way Out But One. The film was shown to the conference. According to Dr. Hannah, their reaction was “highly positive.”

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Battered Mothers Custody Conference and The National Organization of Men Against Sexism presented an award to the “People and Government of the Netherlands and to the extraordinary lawyer who fought for Holly and her children, Els Lucas.

The BMCC mothers asked me amazing questions. “Do we need to launch another world war to keep the children safe in America?” “Where is our Abraham Lincoln on this subject?” “What country should we live in if not here?” The mothers, including a group calling itself the “Mothers of Lost Children” demonstrated outside the White House.

According to the testimonies of these mothers, their children either witnessed their mothers being beaten on a daily basis and/or were also beaten; some children were also sexually abused. These were households of terror, ruled over by a legal husband and father, not by a stranger. Yes, I know, some mothers falsely allege domestic violence; most do not, nor do most mothers allege incest unless a teacher, pediatrician, social worker or other mandated reporter does so first. And why? Because 21st century mothers have all been advised by their lawyers that they risk losing custody if they make such an allegation. Even so, these mothers still lost custody of the children they were trying to protect.

Jennifer Collins, Holly’s daughter, has created a website for children who, like her, are living “underground.” Both Jennifer, who is working as a para-legal, and Holly, led a workshop at the conference.

The work I began in 1976, when I testified in my first custody case for a mother and when I worked with “protective”

mothers in the 1980s,continues. Now, there is a growing movement underway. I salute all those who are part of it.



Rhonda Case posted: 2013-05-17 07:51:49

It was my great privilege to be present at the BMCC X at George Washington University School of Law and to hear Dr. Chesler’s presentation via skype. What an honor to hear this pioneer and champion of protective mothers. We are refugees from the “Dirty Wars” which take place every day in our family law courts. We limp off the unseen battlefield, impoverished and traumatized having seen our children’s spirits shattered and bodies violated; we are collateral damage. Thank you, Dr. Chesler, for continuing to speak truth to power on our behalf.



Rosalyn Chatt posted: 2013-05-20 06:04:37

Your work and writing are always exemplary and appreciated, especially on a tragic topic like this. Balanced, rational, incisive. There has to be a better way to protect people from the charming manipulators who cause such horror. It starts with having respect for women.



Norman Simms posted: 2013-05-20 06:04:43

What Phyllis Chesler reports here is so outrageous that there are hardly words to express the disgust, frustration and rage any civilized person must feel, not just at the beaters and abusers at home, but at the judiciary, the police and the politicians who refuse to act. Yes, I think perhaps a world war is needed–if it is not already underway.



Coral Anika Theill posted: 2013-05-20 06:04:52

Thank you, Phyllis Chesler, for your excellent article. I appreciated hearing your presentation at the 10th Annual Battered Mothers, Abused Children and Child Custody Conference in Washington D.C. May 10-11th. The conference offers hope to many of us who have lost custody and/or visitation privileges with our children in America’s judicial system. Forcibly taking a mother’s children, and then controlling her emotionally by withholding contact must be publicly recognized as one of the greatest forms of ‘mis-use’ of the American justice system and one of the greatest hidden vehicles for wide-spread socially approved physical and emotional abuse and control. Nothing justifies the minimization or removal of a fit and loving parent from a child’s life. NOTHING. Keeping the faith and hope for future changes is often all that “non-custodial mothers” have. It is said that Lady Justice is blind, but she should not be mocked.  http://www.coralanikatheill.com/



Mo Hannah posted: 2013-05-20 06:05:06

Dr. Chesler was one of many big thinkers within the protective mothers movement who participated in this year’s Battered Mothers Custody Conference. This is the tenth time protective mothers and their allies, along with legal experts, journalists, activists, scholars, and and many others who, like Phyllis, gave generously of their time and resources to enlighten the public, support protective mothers and their children, and promote true change across the ugly landscape of America’s (and the rest of the world’s) family courts. The BMCC X turned into an historic event, due to the conviction and passion of the nearly 200 people who attended these events. We are making headway. We will persevere. Thank you, Phyllis, for your many contributions.



Tammy Risaliti posted: 2013-05-20 06:05:14

This is a wonderful article about a subject that most people simply want to ignore. The courts protect the abusers and not the rights of the children. Good mothers tend to get labeled as “emotional” even when there is much evidence of abuse therefore distracting from the abuse, but if we don’t report it we are then labeled as being “negligent”. And if we move to protect our children when the courts won’t they consider that WORSE than abuse and the abusive father gets the children. This is becoming an epidemic of absurd proportions and yes, I believe World War is needed to protect our children.



Maxine Browne posted: 2013-05-20 06:05:22

I attended the Battered Mothers Custody Conference. I have met so many women — far too many women — with this kind of story. The stories are slightly different and the names change. I have wondered why judges all over the country would refuse to look at evidence, hear witnesses, or believe medical reports in these cases. We must stand with these mothers to protect children.



Kathy Jones posted: 2013-05-24 06:23:13

These injustices will continue as long as there is no national document memorializing the personhood of women and children with rights “to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” and until our legal system is set up to recognize that all PERSONAL SAFETY is more important than PROPERTY RIGHTS. Women and children are still chattel in the US. What are we doing to change this?

Two Years ago I lost my son to court ordered abuse

I lost my son 2 years ago, tried to save his stuff although some got ruined through water damage at a storage unit.  Since I lost him in the middle of him doing his Lego Advent Calendar, my mom sends him one every yr, which she just did. Meanwhile trying to preserve records of love for him best I can. ( The loss of your child to this injustice is almost unbearable. In addition to the devastation and tragic event of an attached relationship-( primary attached mother-child) being torn apart  to lose all the special mementos, too….heartbreaking)

Two Years ~

  • December 7th 2012 was the day I lost my son, and I haven’t seen or talked to him since. He was doing a Lego Advent Calendar that year, as he did every year. That day he opened his little window for the 7th. Knowing that I had to go hand him over, I told him through tears that under the circumstances he could go ahead and open all the windows. He said No, that he would wait til he came back to me. I tried to get him to take his book he was in the middle of reading. He said No that he would wait til he came back to me. I couldn’t get him to take any thing. And the fact that he had to leave his room and might never see his stuff again or his room again about killed me. But he was very upset and adamant that he didn’t want any of his stuff to go to his father’s house, that he wanted it to stay with me. And I’ve never been able to talk to him since to see if he changed his mind on any of that. Also afraid that if I tried to give it to him through his father, that his father would just throw or give it away so that my son wouldn’t have any reminders of his life with me because I know he has done that kind of thing.
  • So I tried to preserve his room perfectly for a little while, but then I had to move, as many of us have. I got a storage unit for his stuff and tried to put it all up in there perfectly, displayed on shelves – so that when he saw it, it would be the closest thing to walking back into his room, and he would know how much I loved him to preserve everything perfectly like that. Then the sprinklers at the storage unit went off causing a great deal of water damage, and they didn’t even inform me for 4 days, so by then important things like “I love you Mom” pictures that he’d drawn for me over the years were blurred and mildewed and stuck together. :( Those things are priceless, especially to me, and obviously cannot be replaced. And while the cleanup people were suctioning the water out and moving stuff, they accidentally dropped several shelves and lego pieces – including custom ones that he’d created that I obviously can’t put back together but had wanted to save for him. I cried my eyes out. That day really broke my heart, as I thought despite the corruption of the court, etc, preserving his things nicely was something I could do, but then I couldn’t even do that . . . .
  • I still have some of his things that I try to preserve the best I can. Right now they are all mixed in with everything else in a little space, and I’ve been going through a renewed process of trying to organize them. Last night I went through all his baby photos and came across his baby book. I don’t know how I’m supposed to update that. Whose Baby Book has an entry that says “Day you were taken from me and last day (thus far) that I ever saw or talked to you”?  I knew him every day his entire life . . . until I didn’t. I don’t even know what he likes or is into now . . . . I basically know nothing about him other than what he was like and what he liked up until 2 years ago. I’ve heard he’s taller than me now; that’s all I really know. I still love him and miss him so much.I have a domain to make a website for him online, but haven’t built the website out yet. I’ve given it a lot of thought, but haven’t done it yet. I feel I want to do it soon because . . . what if it never gets done?One thing I’ve learned is that nothing is really solid or stable. A person can be taken in a second. Stuff can be ruined in a second. There are parts of this world that are very corrupt. The main message I want and hope for my son to receive is that despite how messed up things can be, that he was and is loved – and always has been. Even when he couldn’t see it, he was loved. That I love him and always will – and so does my family . . . even though we’ve all disappeared out of his sight.I talked to my mom today. She ordered and sent him a Lego Advent Calendar, same as she did last year and the year before. I doubt my ex would know the significance of it and will therefore probably give it to my son, even though he will probably take credit for buying it for him and discard any accompanying card. Regardless, I think my son will know it came from us and hopefully serve as a reminder that we are still out here and we still love him. I will continue trying to think of more ideas and am also open to all suggestions or things that y’all have done.  I’ve heard that love always wins. I don’t know about that and it doesn’t always seem to be the case. But it is all I really believe in . . . all I really have to offer . . . and I will continue to offer it until the end.

Loving Mother-  AL


  • Mothers who strive to protect their children are commonly removed partially or completely from their children’s lives. The Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence estimates that 58,000 children each year are ordered into unsupervised contact with physically or sexually abusive parents following divorce in the United States.