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Author Topic: Breaking the Silence: Children's Stories.  (Read 800 times)


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Breaking the Silence: Children's Stories.
« on: Oct 06, 2005, 07:38:03 PM »
Preview Screening of, Breaking the Silence: Children's  Stories.

Join A Safe Place and the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual  
for a free preview screening  of this film to debut nationally on
late October. This film explores  the anti-battered woman phenomenon in
custody cases. To be held  this  from 4:30-6:30 at the indoor play room
at the
Community  Campus, Portsmouth.  
Limited seating so please call ahead. Refreshments will be available.  
Call Vicky Jaffe at the Coalition to reserve your seat 603.224.8893  
Please see below for an article about the film...
_________________________________________________ ____________________
News: Taking away battered women's  kids By Sara Catania July 1, 2005

When award-winning documentary filmmakers Catherine Tatge and Dominique  
Lasseur set out to chronicle the effect of domestic violence on
children, the  
husband and wife team imagined they'd be spending most of their time  
approaches to therapeutic healing. What they found instead was a  
system that
routinely penalizes women who are victims of domestic violence by  
their abusers in battles over child custody.
While there are a growing number of  courts responsive to the specific
of domestic violence victims (see  Order in the Court), most family
cases bounce women from court to  court in a judicial system that takes
account of their unique circumstance.  The scenario Tatge and Lasseur
time and again goes like this: A  woman separates from her abuser and
for divorce. The father, who has  shown little prior interest in the
decides he wants joint or sole  custody. The judge, seeing no link
spousal battering and child abuse,  grants the request. "The abuser
files motion
after motion to slowly gain more  custody of the kids," says Lasseur,
who first
became aware of the issue while  working on a documentary about victims
domestic violence five years ago.  "In some cases he gains full legal
physical custody of the kids."  
The problem, Lasseur says, is that  studies have shown that in cases
the father chooses to seek some form of  custody over the motherís
there is a high probability that he has  either battered the mother,
abused the
children or both. However, if the  mother accuses the father of child
in court, the judge could suspect she  is motivated by revenge and to
the accusation as false.  
Lasseur attributes this pervasive  misperception to what he calls "an
anti-woman bias in court" and to a theory  called parental alienation.
introduced by Connecticut psychologist  Richard Gardner in the
mid-1980's, the theory
states that women will concoct  stories of physical and sexual child
abuse out
of vindictiveness toward their  former partners. Though the theory has
denounced as junk science, it has  caught on among batterer's defense
and father's rights groups, as  well as in the courts. "When they get
court, what does the judge see? The  abuser usually has the better job,
owns the
house, has more money, and like  all abusers, has a great talent to be
and likeable," Lasseur says.  "The woman is upset, emotional, she comes
undone. It's like, wow, a crazy  woman."  
The anti-battered-woman phenomenon in  child custody battles was first
explored in Small Justice, a 2002  documentary by Garland Waller. Since
then it has
become a major battleground  for the battered women's movement. "What's
happening is threatening to undo  the past 20 years of progress,"
Lasseur says. "Now
you have police officers  who explicitly tell women, if you are in a
battle and you don't want  to lose your kids, donít mention sexual
abuse or
domestic violence."  
Lasseur and Tatgeís hour-long  documentary, Breaking The Silence:
Stories, is scheduled to air  nationally on PBS in October.

"Children learn what they live"


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