I was a teacher, and mother of two year old twins, living in an abusive marriage. My ex husband tried to kill me, shook the baby, sexually abused my daughter, hurt my children, and eventually abducted my daughter when she turned 12, turned her against me, and refused to give her back. All the while, I wrote many e-mails and letters, contacted many people and tried everything I could think of to change the turn of events in my and my children's lives, but nothing seemed to work to prevent a very manipulative and abusive narcissist/sociopath from taking my children and controlling our lives.
Today, 17 years later, I just can't seem to get over the loss of my children to an abusive man and a system that didn't care. Images of my children, especially my daughter with her bright and loving smile, flash through my mind. I also lost the better part of two decades of my own life, trying to cope with the situation. What could have been. My children lost their potential. My beautiful bright daughter never even finished even grade 10, and my gentle, intellectual son wants to join the infantry instead of continuing his education. Through great personal sacrifice (by that, I mean voluntarily being a prisoner to my ex, in order to maintain shared custody while he undermined and manipulated them away from me at every turn) I was able to maintain a relationship with my son, but my daughter and I are virtual strangers, in spite of my best efforts. I am a sensitive and caring person who never hesitates to help others. I used to have a natural energy and enthusiasm about life, and so it was with disbelief that I watched what happened to my kids, and my relationship with my kids, in spite of my best efforts to stop it from happening.
I was a good teacher, and a good mother. I don't drink, do drugs, had no mental illness (I now understandably have PTSD), and I loved my children fiercely, and put a lot of energy into giving them a good start, and also put a lot of energy into being a great part-time teacher for my students. Yet, none of that was enough to prevent a system from vilifying me (with the help of father's right's lawyers), and an ex-husband who was intent on not paying child support, and intent on with punishing me for leaving an abusive situation.
I can't even express the grief, the agony, of finding myself in such a situation. Having my two year old children handed to their dad by the courts without any deliberation (and without access to the proper records from MCFD). Having my affidavits disbelieved and cast aside because dad seemed "ok" (while I knew he was not ok) Desperately trying to find a lawyer who could help me, and the money to pay for it. All the while sliding further and further into poverty and fear for my children, and seeking help only to find people completely non-comprehending of the problem. I will never forget how the restraining order was ignored by police (because they said the law had changed and they needed an enforcement order). I will never forget my disbelief at the police hanging up on me when I called after he abducted my daughter. He took her from the boys and girls club, and they conveniently lost the records of the event.
I went to see a psychiatrist, who miss-diagnosed me, further compounding the issues (I have since had the opportunity to receive several diagnoses of PTSD, correcting the previous egregious error). But that mistake (from a man who simply had no idea of the grief of a mother in these circumstances), further cost me the opportunity to advocate for my children. Why? Social services at the behest of my ex (without my permission) obtained my records, and used them (as I discovered in a freedom of information request) as an excuse to do nothing to help me get my children back from an abusive man who was sexually abusing my daughter.
All the time, various parties claimed they had "no proof". And yet, here I am a sane, caring, human being telling them what is going on and they refuse, and have refused, to believe me.
It was not one but many system failures which led me and my children to this point. To further grind salt into the wound, my abusive ex husband managed to steal my assets (and credit) to obtain a house while I struggled in the Lower mainland to just even have a roof over my head with three bedrooms. Today, I am on disability and looking at retiring in poverty.
In the big picture, my life was trashed by a broken system. I blame The BC Liberal Government for de-funding all the systems, including legal aid, which could have helped me obtain a different outcome for me and my kids, and also for creating a climate of hatred against the poor and needy, including single mothers and children who were being hurt.
I take no pleasure in seeing the growth of Vancouver into a "world class city", and the enrichment of half its citizens at the expense of the other half. I see only ugliness when I look at the snow peaked mountains. Underneath it all, my children and I have experienced the callousness of greed and indifference, firsthand, and it has forever diminished us.
Consultation has concluded