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to think it's common for abusive men to get unsupervised visitation?

(84 Posts)
sammatanga Thu 21-Mar-19 19:08:41

I've read a number of times over the last few days people saying 'he was mentally and physically violent but he still got 50/50' or 'he was prosecuted for being violent towards me but he still got unsupervised visitation of our children'

I'm sure this applies to women too but I've only read about it in regards to violent men getting unsupervised visitation of their kids.

I ask because I'm in this situation now and it worries me...

WisdomOfCrowds Sat 23-Mar-19 14:30:47

To assume that women do not use children as a means of revenge against a spouse who has left them - is naive in the extreme.

That most definitely wasn't what I meant. I'm sure they do, just like I'm sure that women do the other things I listed. I'm sure women accuse men of rape and abuse, try to with-hold their children, or sting them during divorce settlements, out of malice and revenge. I definitely don't think women are above that. I was just questioning a) whether it was as common as a lot of men would have us believe and b) whether they actually ever got away with it in court. Like false rape allegations - my BIL would have you believe that men are being thrown in jail all over town because some woman accused them of rape on a whim. And while I believe some women do make false allegations, statistically they are more likely to be arrested for wasting police time than the man is to be charged. So in the same way whilst I can well believe that a woman might try to use the children as a weapon to punish the father, I was just doubting whether it would actually hold up in court or indeed if attempting to do this would more likely end up being used against the woman than actually stopping the man seeing his DC. But if you know of examples where this has happened then fine, I'm happy to concede the point. I certainly don't hold women as being above such things.

And to repeat the earlier point, if anyone can block an abusers access to children, they should.

TwoRoundabouts Sat 23-Mar-19 14:30:44

@Gin96 a mother can harm her child.

Have you not read the news about the case where a mother drowned her 3 year old in the bath?

I have closer to home cases but I don't want to go into them in public.

Roomba Sat 23-Mar-19 12:48:40

I finally split with my ex five years ago and I haven't been involved with anyone since. He's out me off men for life frankly and I don't want to risk falling into another abusive relationship. My kids have appreciated this too tbh (though no judgement on anyone who has been able to move on happily, I'm pleased for you!).

Roomba Sat 23-Mar-19 12:45:30

I stayed with my abusive ex for years, despite utterly detesting him and it having serious effects on my mental health as I tried to compartmentalise it all and juggle everything to keep the peace constantly. I did this so he wouldn't get 50/50 access to my small children - which every solicitor advised me would probably happen. He was well aware of this and threatened it regularly (along with his brilliant idea of me taking one child full time and him taking the other, one each, fairs fair, right? hmm with no thought of how that may affect them)

Staying with him, I could carry on doing 99% of the childcare and keep them away from his abusive behaviour most of the time while they were small. As they got older, with their own opinions, and were harder work for him, it was too much hard work for him to have two kids 50% of the time. And they were far less susceptible to his attempts at parental alienation. He sees them regularly but has lost interest in battling me for them.

I'll never know if I made the right decisions. I imagine probably not, ideally I would have walked away years before. But the legal system's treatment of vulnerable children isn't ideal and would have put their best interests at heart. So I did what I had to do, though it took a big toll on me. If I'd left I would have been powerless to prevent my kids being abused too (yes I'm sure they've been affected by him but if I'd had to involve courts, cafcass etc and lost I doubt they'd be as happy, well adjusted and resilient as they currently are).

sammatanga Sat 23-Mar-19 12:25:09

Thanks @Gin96 - I'm scared to even think about a new relationship. Think I'll stay single for a while and just concentrate on my son...

Aeroflotgirl Sat 23-Mar-19 09:44:51

Yes with bells on, my friend is going through this with her violent and abusive ex, even though he was aggressive and abusive to the judge and professionals, he was still granted unsupervised contact with her ds.

Gin96 Sat 23-Mar-19 09:38:07

The only thing I can say to you is not all men are like this, there are some decent ones out there. I hope you and your son can move on and have a happy life, that in itself would be poetic justice to your ex, good luck flowers

sammatanga Sat 23-Mar-19 09:24:44

@Gin96 I am SO glad you said that. And that you spotted it just from the small amount I've posted. He does. He hates women. He really hates them. His mum, his ex, his daughter. Me. It's not all in my head. I just hate him so much and I don't usually hate anybody.

Gin96 Sat 23-Mar-19 09:22:29

Hi awful, poor little girl. I have no advise for you, I don’t know what I would do in your situation. Can you contact his ex and see if you can document his behaviour with his daughter? He will move on to someone else (poor woman) and then might give less attention to you. He sounds like he hates women.

sammatanga Sat 23-Mar-19 09:09:35

I've also been around him when he's with his other child who is 6. He has called her mum a slut in front of her, she's told me she's scared of him, she knows he hates her mum, she has had to watch him punch things, listened to him swearing many many times and sits there with her hands over her ears, he doesn't brush her hair, doesn't make sure she brushes her teeth, gives her sweets for breakfast, shouts at her when she gets her spellings wrong. She doesn't like him at all. She cried to her mum when I left because now she has nobody to talk to at daddy's. I miss her and feel sad that she now has to be on her own with her dad.

This for me is enough to not want my son anywhere near him.

sammatanga Sat 23-Mar-19 09:01:28

Some of these cases are so sad.

I really have no intention of going as far away as I can to stop him seeing his child. To be honest I would also be stopping my family from seeing him in that case. I've moved home with my family which is an hour away from him so he is unlikely to get overnights in the week ever if the school is an hour away. I'm not worrying too much about the future at the moment as my anxiety is already through the roof. My son is only a few months old and I'm just scared the courts will grant unsupervised access and that I will have to stop breastfeeding etc as I can't express, that he'll end up with overnights etc etc.

At what point do you tell your child the truth about how abusive their dad was to their mum? Is that even wise? What's the point of it?

I'm so confused. I just want to do what's right for my son. In reality I know that would be for him to never see his dad again but that's not an option.

Gin96 Sat 23-Mar-19 08:47:15

I have seen men and women use their children to control there ex partner but I would say 95% of the time it is more men than women that do this, more cases on the news, look at the recent case where ex husband had acid thrown at his 3 year old child to get back at his wife for leaving him, a mother just wouldn’t do that.

smallereveryday Sat 23-Mar-19 08:39:08

I genuinely don't know if I believe this. It's a good story - a story, told by men, which paints women as unreasonable, irrational, vindictive, and holding a disproportionate amount of power. It's society's favourite story in fact. But is it true?
Sadly - yes it is. We have lived through it for a decade. 12 court hearings for contact and enforcement- finally ending in a change of residency.
Allegations of alcoholism, cocaine abuse, dv, and physical abuse of the dsc. Each allegation made as a 'reaction' to the award of contact. Each allegation investigated and meant suspension of contact - some very brief , a few weeks for liver function and hair strand tests to prove to be malicious - abuse claims took 3 months of interviews with kids , me, my kids - to show ' malicious allegation no case to answer' .

To assume that women do not use children as a means of revenge against a spouse who has left them - is naive in the extreme.

In our case the Ex wife had an unshakable belief that having his children entitled her to live forever in a style she was accustomed to and that divorce and loss of that 'style' meant 'his punishment' was not to see his children. EVER. Yes bitter women do exist.

Thank goodness for the courts ability to listen to wishes of the children which supported the change of residence. Just a shame it blighted their lives for ten years !

Too much store in 'allegations' without evidence. However from a genuine abused victims pov I would encourage reporting at every opportunity to support your case.

CheshireChat Fri 22-Mar-19 23:45:54

Well, there's no 'poisoning' involved if you just state the truth, but I appreciate that's not what you meant.

Just really hate the attitude that you should lie to your children for the benefit of the abuser.

Ella1980 Fri 22-Mar-19 23:19:20

I don't get all of this "move away" business. How does that work if an abusive ex demands access via the courts?

Meandwinealone Fri 22-Mar-19 23:14:20

Well unfortunately it was a long and nasty game. Which in the end damaged everyone.

People give up. People are acrimonious. I don’t doubt in a second that everyone always puts a child’s interests first. Man or woman.

I also don’t believe any man who says their evil bitch ex stops them seeing their kids. That’s very different.

But trust me, if you’ve seen someone go through it, it’s very tough. The sense of ownership is something quite special.

And that’s one in many thousands. But if they can do it, it can be done. But the reality is you have to move far and poison your children’s minds. And if you’re a nice person that might be tough:

WisdomOfCrowds Fri 22-Mar-19 23:06:52

My main point was, if it is doable, then do it

Oh no I got that, I was just questioning whether it is in fact doable, or whether the trope of the good man who never gets access is a straw man and nothing more. I agree with you absolutely that if it is doable then she should do it, I've just never met anyone its actually happened to and as a scenario it sounds unlikely. But if you know someone it happened to then fair enough.

Meandwinealone Fri 22-Mar-19 22:57:27

I think you’ve totally missed my point. Totally. And that’s a whole other topic, which is clearly close to your heart, but slightly irrelevant in this case.

And yes I do know of one very vindictive partner. Women aren’t unable to be vindictive.

My main point was, if it is doable. Then do it. If you make it so difficult for someone to see their child they in all likelihood will end up defeated.

WisdomOfCrowds Fri 22-Mar-19 22:50:58

You hear tales of good men who are caught in a never ending cycle of trying to get contact and failing

I genuinely don't know if I believe this. It's a good story - a story, told by men, which paints women as unreasonable, irrational, vindictive, and holding a disproportionate amount of power. It's society's favourite story in fact. But is it true? Any story which starts with the assumption that the man is the innocent victim and woman is the one holding all the power, should imo be questioned. I'm not saying it never happens, but I've noticed a few stories like this, the main goal of which seems to be to create an "Evil Woman" strawman which they can then burn down along with any other safeguards for women that get in their way. Compare these similar stories:

- Good Man just wants to see his children, but Evil Lying Woman manipulates the justice system to prevent him. Better push for shared residency without questioning why the woman doesn't want him to see his children.

- Good Man just wants to move on from his last relationship, but Evil Lying Woman manipulates the justice system by lying about rape to punish him. Better assume all women are lying in their allegations and demand impossible standards of evidence, making rape convictions virtually impossible.

- Good Man just wants to exit marriage in mild mannered way, but Evil Lying Woman manipulates the justice system to take all his money, pension, and house. Better refuse to marry the woman who bore your children, even if it leaves her totally unprotected as a SAHM or lower earner.

- Good Man just wants to leave his controlling psycho girlfriend, but Evil Lying Woman manipulates the justice system by saying he was abusive. Better not ever ask him to do or not do anything in case you also get branded controlling. Better not ever have an opinion of your own in case you also get branded "psycho".

You get the picture. Does anyone actually know any men who have had access to their children withheld by their ex and failed to correct this by going to court, where they're confident that's the whole story? I don't. I only know one man who claims his ex doesn't let him see his children but the reality is he moved to a different country, claims he can't afford to visit, then rocks up unannounced twice a year and gets shitty if she isn't available to see him. Oh, and every time she "denies him access" he halves her maintenance "to make it fair".

My BIL said the other day that if he and his wife divorced "she could refuse to let him see the kids and there would be nothing he could do about it". I asked him if he thought his wife was the kind of person who would be so cruel and vindictive that she would destroy his relationship with the children for no reason. He said that she wasn't but that "you never know what people are going to be like if a relationship ends on bad terms." I asked him what kind of behaviour from him would make the relationship end so badly that she wanted to punish him in that way, and whether, in that case, with-holding contact might be less about punishing him and more about protecting the children from the kind of person who could do whatever he'd done. Shockingly he didn't have an answer.

SD1978 Fri 22-Mar-19 22:48:12

Unfortunately, abuse of a partner, but no 'documented' abuse of the child, shows no risk to the child, and doesn't necessarily affect contact awarded. Although I don't see how watching your parent being abused can't be seen as affecting the child. Also, because EA can be difficult to prove, it can have less importance. So yes. Access is given to abusive parents because of this. Then there are situations when there is a perception of EA due to how far the relationship has disintegrated between the adults.

Ella1980 Fri 22-Mar-19 22:45:43

*6 yo not 8 yo.

Ella1980 Fri 22-Mar-19 22:39:59


As you refer to kidnap, I shall tell you just a little of my experience of my abusive ex-husband. I still find it hard emotionally to recall five years on.

One day in March 2014 I had become so mentally distressed by my husband's constant financial and psychological abuse that I decided that enough was enough, I needed to be around for my kids as they grew up.

I left the family home at 8.30 am and dropped my 6 yo off at school. I went to my parents house with my 3 yo and asked them if we could stay a while as I couldn't deal with the relentless fear any more.

I messaged my husband at approx 12pm to tell him we were going to stay with mum and dad for a while (they lived about 15 mins away from us) as I needed some space and time to think. My husband knew that the marriage had pretty much broken down but had previously said that I could not leave him or I would "lose everything."

At 3pm I got a call from 6 yo's primary school saying very unusually dad had collected from school. I also was told my ex had contacted the playgroup the 3 yo attended to ask if he was in.The penny began to drop and the nightmare became real.

I drove to the marital home to find that in the approximate 8 hours I had been away ex had changed the locks.

What's worse is he had taken my 8 yo.

I did not know where.

My little 3 yo, who had never been without his big brother for a day of his life before, kept asking me where he was.

I called and called my ex but he did not answer. I called the police again and again but they said as he was his dad with PR nothing could be done.

I don't remember much of that first night apart from literally howling for my boy. I remember at one point my mum having to fight me to take a knife away so that I didn't cut my wrists. I couldn't sleep for nightmares-was my baby safe?

One week later my ex made contact. He demanded I meet them with my other son in a nearby McDonald's. He threatened to take my other boy too unless I went back to him.

For months after that ex's solicitor deemed it reasonable that the boys would be separated at all times in case I...I repeat...I tried to take them both. So ex got to use the children as a bartering tool.

About six months after this arrangement ex took me to court for full custody. He was awarded 50:50.

I hope this helps to clarify how an abuser can cause psychological pain above and beyond even the comprehension of most and also how our court system often fails women like myself.

CheshireChat Fri 22-Mar-19 22:26:02

Adam3322 because whilst the woman (usually, but not always) is there, the abuse is usually focused on her. Once the main target is out of reach, the abuser looks for someone else to torment and the kids are the most vulnerable, not to mention it prelongs the woman's abuse indirectly.

It's highly unlikely someone will make somebody else's life a living hell and be otherwise a lovely individual, it just doesn't work like that.

It also veers into the 'she made me do it/ they drove me to it' territory.

flirtygirl Fri 22-Mar-19 22:24:45

Sorry this subject is close to my heart, thank you.

Sammatanga I know it's not as easy as to say don't engage. If he does drag you into court and you haven't moved etc then read up on it all, knowledge is power. Arm yourself. Ask for second opinions with cafcass and social services.

Ella1980 you are right that it's not easy to just move away and now you are part of the system it's almost impossible to get out. I'm sorry as he will use the system to punish you. Its sad. flowers to you and your children and to all the other women and children in this situation.

It's people like Adam3233 that agree with a system that keeps children and women in contact with abusers. An abusive man cannot be a good parent. They are just very charming people but their masks can and do slip but there is never cafcass or a judge there to see it.

We take pets way from abusers and ban them for life from keeping pets but we willingly put children with abusers.

Meandwinealone Fri 22-Mar-19 21:31:18

Very many women do not call the police every time they’re hurt by their partner.

Emotional abuse is invisible.

So in a court of law it’s very hard to prove. And in your case op, I would think it would be extra hard as your child is so young.

I think you literally need to attempt murder for anyone to think it’s not a good idea for you to have contact.

So my advice would be to move as far away as you can for now. Change all your numbers.

You hear tales of good men who are caught in a never ending cycle of trying to get contact and failing and i feel sorry them, so if it can happen to them, you can do it to an abuser.

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