Posted by: CeCe | January 31, 2012

Something wrong?

So I have this friend.  I know this is really stereotypical, but I’m really not talking about me.  But really, I have this friend, I’ve known her for most of my life now (going on twenty years) and she’s one of my best friends.  A few years ago, she caught her child doing something he shouldn’t have been, and she gave him a spanking.  Now once the anti-spanking crowd gets their collective gasp out of the way, let me be clear that the story doesn’t end there.  This spanking incident wound up costing this friend her job, her home, custody of her children, and any possibility of ever again making an honest living.  Why?  Because it was reported, and it wound up that spanking her son also saddled her with an assault of a minor in the 3rd degree, which is a class C felony.  In this state, it can never, ever be expunged.  She is stuck with this for the rest of her life.

Now in the process of trying to help her get it cleared up so she can get a job and help pay her back child support,  and join her military husband who is currently serving our country overseas, I spoke to a few pro bono attorneys, both about trying to get her records expunged and about trying to obtain a pardon from the governor. Over the course of this process, one of the attorneys said something that really stuck with me.  She said that there are thousands if not millions of women out there like my friend.

Really?

So let me get this straight.  A woman spanks her child, goes to jail, loses her home, loses her job, loses her children, and that’s not enough.  The state also has to take away any chances that she has of ever getting back on her feet ever again.  Okay.  But if a person robs a store at gunpoint, as long as they don’t shoot anyone they can have their records expunged, especially if they’re under eighteen.  Wait, what?  Seriously, what?!

What is wrong with our legal system when a single mother trying her best is rewarded with getting screwed for the rest of her life, but a scumbag who robs a store at gunpoint can go on to have his records expunged and still obtain a job, and go on as though nothing happened?  I’m being serious here.  What kind of message is the legal system sending to people?  Go ahead and rob a convenience store at gunpoint or commit just about any crime that doesn’t involve sex, violence, or a DUI, and you can have your records expunged, but don’t you dare spank your child!

What’s really sad is that there are apparently thousands, if not millions, of women out there like my friend, according to this attorney, who have unjustly lost their children, lost their job, lost their home, and lost all hope.  And we call this justice?  Look, I’m no advocate of child abuse.  I believe that if parents consistently abuse their children that absolutely they should lose them and be burdened with criminal charges.  But my friend paid her debt, didn’t she?  She performed hours of community service, served time in jail, took anger management and parenting classes, and has paid for spanking her son every single day for the last nearly nine years.  Nine years, can you imagine that, parents?  She has missed birthdays, Christmases, Thanksgivings, Easters, and numerous other landmarks and holidays all because she spanked her son.  And because of the way the legal system is set up, there is no chance of her ever being able to get away from it.  No chance of expungement, no chance of pardon, no chance at true redemption or amendment, just more of the same, every day, forever.  And she wasn’t even an abusive parent!

Is this fair?  Because I say no, no it’s not.

How many other mothers out there are like my friend, who have been robbed of having a close relationship with their children due to a single mistake in the eyes of the law?  And who is responsible for allowing this injustice?  Is it the state appointed attorneys who are too overwhelmed or too apathetic to really make an effort to defend the downtrodden?  Is it the judges, who are too self-righteous and hindered by bureaucratic red tape to see that there are other perspectives to an issue?  Is it perhaps you or me, for not being able to come to the aid of a friend who is desperate for help?

And again, I have to ask, is this fair?  Is this the face of justice?  Because you know, if this is the face of justice, then I say justice is ugly and blind.

My friend and the thousands if not millions of other mothers like her out there all deserve a second chance, especially if it’s been nearly a decade.  I can’t imagine being in her situation, and I would hope that none of you can.  But I do hope that you find it within yourself to have compassion for her, and that you’ll stand with me and say that no, this isn’t justice.  No, no mother deserves this.  She’s paid more than enough, and it’s past time for the law to see that.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Why am I not surprised that there are people so adamant that any type of spanking is akin to abuse? Spanking in a controlled manner, to gain the child’s attention and get them to refrain from further behavior is not the same as beating a child. Which is worse? To have a child be told “no, no” when time outs and grounding do not work? To have the child then grow up, not fearing any type of punishment for wrong doing? Is that worse than a form of discipline which may get the child’s attention and correct the behavior? I’m not talking about beating.

    The law in this case is seriously screwed up.

  2. I am another mother who had my child basically stolen from me in this way. My in-laws were closely involved with the police in my city (father in law was a retired city cop) and ‘reported’ me for child neglect. Their assertion was based on the fact that I was sending my infant son to child care more than was necessary. In reality, he was there for 6 hours per day, 4 days per week while I went to school for 4 hours and to work for the college I attended for 2 hours to pay off the child care. A nasty social worker left a card on my door one day while I was in school that said to call. When I called she demanded I see her the following day, that day was also the day of my finals. I refused on that basis, asked for another date to meet with her, and was called non-compliant.

    It would read like a bad cop/bad justice system movie to type the events of the following 8 years, but those years were spent without permission to even so much as talk to my son on the phone. The original charge of neglect that got us into ‘family’ court was dropped and disappeared under immense amounts of red tape within the first year. I was accused of many things over the years, such as being a drug addict. But whenever I was accused, they would purposefully ignore looking at any proof that would negate their claims.

    For 8 years I was accused of being a drug addict, yet never tested once. The first person who looked at my case and said WTF, was fired the very next day. I am not joking. For 8 years I was judged somehow to be an unfit parent to ONE child, while being left alone to raise the other. Now explain THAT.

    What happened here? It begins with a corrupt system that teaches its servants how to get around basic laws. It ends with judges who perpetuated this trash because said defendant is an ‘old pal’ from his copper days and maybe sometimes they still play golf together. There may be a lot of extenuating circumstances in your friends case, but I’d be willing to bet it boils down to some shady friendship and bs story somewhere that got her this far, not to much the act itself.

    All I can say to this day is that the 8 years that went by in which my heart was torn from my chest every time I was sent school pictures of him, or like the one day when I went to pick up my oldest (they went to the same school but were not allowed to talk to each other, explain that too??) and seen that my youngest sons grandmother had signed him out sick too, as Mom. All of that was water under the bridge one day when I finally said, screw them and the law too, and found my son through a series of communications on Facebook. He remembered enough to know that he was done wrong, and has seen the 2 inch thick wide stack of papers like the ones that show I was denied visits because we had a cat or dog, because we had an expired inspection sticker on our car, because ______ place bs excuse there. And has looked at me and said, “Mom, we both got screwed right there, but I guess it made us who we are, and they could never tear us apart.”

    Your friend certainly isn’t alone, there are tons of people out there in the same boat. Worse yet are people out there, MANY judges and lawmakers that will still spout “If the court took a child from its mother, than the mother did something wrong,” instead of actually paying attention to the individual cases. Until that changes, nothing does.

    • Joy, thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s really scary how this happens to so many people. The thing that really bothers me is that in cases like this, the suspect is *always* assumed guilty until proved innocent, not the other way around. I’m all for advocacy of children and of giving children a voice against abuse, but if there is no abuse and the state cannot prove there is, why should a parent be robbed of their children? It is a huge miscarriage of justice and a symptom of a really huge problem in our system.

      • It is scary how it happens and even scarier how it can just go on and on, it leaves the parents dealing with this type of trash very confused and helpless. And that helplessness is on a phenomenal level. When the very people who are supposed to protect you and your children, turn against you, you get a real ugly wake up call about how ‘secure’ we all really are.

  3. (((((Joy)))) I’m so sorry that happened to you! Let me share a story of a woman I know. She had her children taken away because her husband sexually molested one of her children , and they deemed her as “failing to protect” Even though she divorced the trash, she lost ALL of her children. Here’s where it gets better….she followed these kids as they were shuttled through her state’s foster care system and would move to be near them. Upon the 2nd oldest child’s 18th birthday, her 2nd oldest moved back with her (the state could not stop the daughter as she was out of the foster care system). The mom then was able to prove a stable home environment and eventually regained her youngest two children. So, here is my hope to you. It’s only a matter of time before these kids become adults. When they do, they will know who still loves them. They are adults for a lot longer than they are children, and if you keep the lines of communication open, those kids when they become adults will realize the truth.

    • My son will be 18 this year, but because we forced our relationships, and because the grandfather died early last year, the remaining grandparent hasn’t refused to allow my son in my life any further. I don’t even need to tell her just how bad she screwed up a future relationship with my son, as he was seeing them for what they really were, even before we met and began communicating again. I was lucky though, I have a strong minded son with an affinity for learning the truth in all situations, there are some kids for whom the poison they tried to plant in him against me for years would have worked for whatever reasons. Again, I am lucky, not everyone gets that.

  4. I was actually talking to someone yesterday about parenting and how to deal with a troublesome child, but I had no idea the system in the US was actually that harsh.

    I know that the US and UK have rules in place now that are against parents hitting their children but I wasn’t aware it was that strict. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that there are other ways of dealing with children that hitting isn’t necessary but, coming from a family where you did get a smack for being naughty, I know that it didn’t do any harm long term. But this certainly is a fine line.

    • There are actually no laws against parents spanking their children here. The problem is that if a parent does spank their child and it’s reported, they can wind up in a situation similar to my friend’s. It’s pretty sad.

      Thanks for stopping by, Kelly, you’re always appreciated!

  5. CeCe, you should share this incredibly sad and pathetic injustice and start a petition on change.org. I sure as hell would sign it. It should only become the government’s business to intervene when the child is truly being abused. It should be a parent’s right to discipline their own children. This is disgusting beyond all belief. I hope you are able to help your friend find true justice… and then I hope she sues the judge that landed her in these waters in the first place.

  6. CeCe your love and compassion for our friend is amazing. I want you to know that I consider spanking to be something that is for each parent to decide if they want or they do not want. I know that most parent’s have at one point or another had to give a spanking to their child, and no I do not believe this is abuse. This story saddens me because I think of all of the children who are really abused that go unnoticed. Yet someone who is choosing to discipline their child has to suffer for the rest of their lives, that does not seem fair to me. I hope that somehow things can be righted for our friend. I will be thinking positive thoughts for her, and for you. CeCe you are by far one of the most amazing woman I know and you are a great friend.

    • Becca, thank you so much. I love you, my other sister from another mother! ❤ Just so you know, I just edited your comment to remove our friend's name, to protect her privacy. I'm so glad you stopped by!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: