Though my blog has been pretty dormant for the past five years or so, today it experienced a spike in traffic. Thanks for visiting, and welcome! Feel free to take some time to wander through the archives; you might learn something you never knew before. I have not kept all my outboard links up to date, so apologies in advance if you click on one of my links and get a "404."
I give my thanks to the sleuths at "Help Find Our Missing Girls" Facebook page for revitalizing my blog today. I am most appreciative.
On that topic, I am not ashamed to say I support victims of abuse to be heard and to be protected from their alleged abusers.
For information about Syd and Dani Wolferts, who ran away in mid-July just before they were about to be forced to return to their father Brian (against whom they had levied charges of abuse in a peititon filed in June with the Utah County Juvenile Court), see The Missing Wolferts Girls Facebook Page.
For a video that Syd and Dani's 19-year-old sister Brittany posted a few weeks after her sisters ran away, see Brittany Wolferts Gives Her Sisters a Voice.
Here is a video obtained by a family member earlier this week, provided to police yesterday, and uploaded to YouTube today. In it, Syd and Dani express their frustration at not having had their voices heard and at being forced against their wishes to live with their dad in Kansas, where they do not feel safe. They say they will remain in hiding until they can be assured of their safety from the man they have accused of abuse.
So far, the girls' father has fought their efforts to have their day in court. In July, when their petition was scheduled to be heard, he argued that he had not been properly served and was able to get the court to vacate the temporary restraining order that had been entered. He also sought to deprive the girls of a guradian ad litem but failed in that effort. The accusations against him are serious and credible, and he is doing all he can to prevent them from being heard.
Some of Brian's supporters have been spreading misinformation and myths in their tightly controlled Facebook group. Many of these myths have been dispelled in an excellent summary paper from the American Bar Association. For example, one common misconception is that mothers frequently invent allegations of child sexual abuse in custody cases. Not true. In fact, only 6% of custody cases involve allegations of child sexual abuse. But two-thirds of the time those allegations are substantiated. False allegations are no more common in custody disputes than other times, and fathers are 16 times more likely to fabricate abuse allegations than mothers.
Another myth is that abusers don't win custody battles, and that the courts favor mothers in custody disputes. In fact, abusers are more likely to seek sole custody than nonviolent parents, and they are successful about 70% of the time. Moreover, mothers who are themsleves victims of domestic abuse are often depressed and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and as result often present poorly in court and to child-custody evalators.
For more facts dispelling may of the myths of the so-called "Fathers' Rights" movement, go to the Abusers Getting Custody blog. You may find it as illuminating as I did.
I believe Brittany. I believe Sydney and Danielle. And I believe in these girls. It is time that we as a society stop turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to allegations of abuse. It is time we stopped victim shaming and victim blaming. It is time we stopped defending abusers simply because they put on an outward appearance of righteousness and respectability. Standing up for children who are victims of domestic abuse and a legal system that all too often is stacked in favor of their abusers is never the wrong choice. And it is my fervent hope that Syd and Dani can remain safe until they can ultimately gain the protection from the legal system they so justly deserve.