OPEN LETTER TO ANGELINA JOLIE
I am writing you on behalf of thousands of women around the world to warn you about the discrimination you will face in Family Court in your effort to maintain your primary nurturing role, now that Brad has officially filed his response Friday to your divorce petition requesting joint custody.
All of us went into court feeling confident, believing our rights as women had, for the most part, been secured, sure in the knowledge that we would receive due process and equal protection in a just system. We believed that since we had been the primary nurturer of our children their entire lives, we would be able to maintain that role, as that would obviously be best for them. We never could have imagined how powerless we would be to merely maintain our relationship with our kids or, for some of us, to be able to protect them, given that a majority of fathers who fight for custody are unfit or abusive.
Nobody warned us, so we are warning you, and through this open letter, hopefully many other women as well.
This is the way it works:
Our primary nurturing role and importance in our children's lives is devalued, while the father's importance is exaggerated and his supposed “right” to half-time prioritized over the children’s best interest. Any unfitness or abuse by the father is minimized or disregarded, while judges and court-affiliated officials fabricate evidence against us to justify taking our children away and giving them to the father half or full-time. We are being falsely labeled liars, alienators, abusive, mentally ill, too enmeshed, whatever.
Most of us are placed on some sort of restricted visitation, giving the father control. Many women are not even allowed to see their children unsupervised or at all. Many have been jailed, some imprisoned for long periods of time for going into hiding to protect children, or for exercising their first amendment right to speak out about the injustices in their case.
I know you’re probably thinking the same thing all of us thought going into this nightmare: That could not possibly happen to me. I have been an excellent mother. I am a good citizen. I contribute to society. I have no criminal history. There is abundant evidence that the reason I want primary custody is because that is a continuation of what has been and what is best for my children. I am sure the court will do what is in the best interest of the children. After all, that is their mandate, isn’t it?
Well, yes, the best interest of the children is the Court’s ultimate mandate. However, the system is designed so judges can, effectively, do whatever they want. And what judges and other court officials want is to 'go along to get along' with the old-boys and their agenda to maintain paternal power and control in the family.
But what about system oversight, you might be wondering. If they do the wrong thing, I will have options. Well, no, because they have that wrapped up too. There is no effective oversight for family courts. The Appellate Courts are also, by design, able to empower fathers, rather than uphold law or policy, through the special discretionary standard afforded family court judges. And the judicial ethical commissions, the only other oversight, simply ignore us.
You see, ever since the '70's when women gained the power to leave men and exist on their own--ending the historical control men have had over women for millennia--fathers’ rights groups have operated an effective backlash. They understand that control of children means continuing control of "their" women. The power to take custody from us allows them to make the viable threat that they will take our children if we do not stick around or do what they want. They can use the rigged system to punish us for leaving or to gain financially by avoiding child support, or even receiving child support from us. They can also seriously damage or ruin us financially through lengthy and costly litigation.
One by one, women are being destroyed in a court system which they belatedly come to realize was designed not to ensure the best interest of children, but to maintain male power and control over them. Fathers' rights groups have always understood that this is men’s most important political as well as social battle. They have lobbied for mandatory equal parenting and friendly-parenting laws which help empower men and disempower women. These laws or presumptions are now in force in most states, which is what Brad will use to take your children from you. And the clincher: Brad just may get primary custody using the “friendly parent” law. That enables him to claim you are alienating, interfering with his relationship with the kids or just uncooperative because you are trying to get primary custody and/or reported abuse by him.
You’re probably wondering why, if this is such an epidemic, you are not aware of it. That's because we are being gagged-ordered, jailed and threatened with permanent loss of our children if we dare exercise our First Amendment right and speak out about the discrimination, oppression and injustice we are facing. They have all the power because they have the ultimate weapon: our children. Also because the media refuses to cover it.
You must be thinking, This is crazy. This is the third millennium. This can't be happening. I cannot lose my children. But it is happening. We have research, experience, social media and thousands of case histories which prove that children are being taken away from women in epidemic numbers all over the world, wherever women have gained the power to live independently of men.
Men have always been acutely aware of the fact that control in the family is their greatest power, while women have been too busy gaining equal rights outside the home to grapple with this issue of the right to our children. But the time has come now to focus on that and we hope you will join us in the most important women’s rights battle of the millennium: the fight for our children. This is the most important right as most of us would rather be paid less, or beaten, raped or tortured than have our kids taken from us.
The Women’s Coalition, a new grass roots organization, has finally taken up the cause to gain women the right and the power to keep and protect our children. We have petitioned the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, who subsequently confirmed gender discrimination in family courts is a widespread, international problem. We recently participated in Yoko Ono’s “Arising: Testaments of Harm” exhibit which contains almost a hundred of our stories, with pictures of our eyes, contending that the worst form of harm that can be inflicted on a woman is for her children to be taken or not protected. We also made a collection of videos which we used in an attempt to get media attention. [All these are linked to below.]
Having duly warned you about what awaits you, we certainly hope that your case is the exception to the rule and that what happened to so many of us does not happen to you. We want you to know that we all support you in your effort to get primary custody of your six wonderful children.
All the best,
The Women’s Coalition
Yoko Ono Arising project:
United Nations Petition: http://bit.ly/2aOfDYS
Mainstream Media video project: http://bit.ly/2fi85x485x4