I found your site through Yahoo.
I am the mother of a 7-year-old son and have joint custody of him with my ex-husband, who has a history of domestic violence resulting in arrest.
Recently, my son was threatened with a paddling by his father. He was forced to sandpaper the paddle and hang it over his bed as a reminder. I reported the incident to Child Protective Services and put my son in therapy because he was terrified.
I notified the father both verbally and in writing that this was not acceptable. I notified my son's school, and CPS interviewed him at school. Then, three days ago, the father hit him on the bare bottom hard enough to leave small red marks. I reported him again, and we saw the therapist.
My ex has become extremely defensive of his right to corporally abuse our son. He even left a note, printed from a Web site, on my door. It was from an organization that supports parents' right to hit their children, and even offers legal assistance to such parents. He has stated that he will continue to hit our son. He says he told his teacher that this would be the punishment for talking in class, and she supported this. I have that in writing from him, but the teacher denies it.
I don't understand why I, as an adult, have more protection than my vulnerable child does. I feel the urge to flee with him, but know that that could result in my losing custody completely. Then I wouldn't be able to protect him at all. And his father made a point of telling him after he hit him that his mother can't do anything about it, so he shouldn't go whining to her. It's scary that I can't protect him, and I am frightened for both him and myself. We live in a progressive area, and I'm a return full-time college student. This sort of thing isn't supposed to still exist. It seems archaic and barbaric and sadistic.
When my ex made my son sandpaper the paddle and put it on display on the wall, I thought that was sadistic. He was severely abused as a child, and maybe that explains his behavior now. I left him because of strange, sadistic behavior, some of which was psychological, some physical, which resulted in his arrest. I could detail this very specifically, but it's still too upsetting to me.
He seems normal, then he snaps. He holds down a decent job, but can't keep friends because of his strange behavior. He always can pull off "normal" in public, and that makes me worry all the more. He was arrested for domestic assault in our son's presence when the child was only two. He hit me in the face with a phone, while holding the child with the other arm. Then he put him down and knocked me out on our tile kitchen floor. The neighbors corroborated the screaming and thump. He tried to claim I hit myself! Apparently hard enough to give myself a concussion and a split lip.The police report I have doesn't make it sound that bad, just domestic assault. It was the third time he'd assaulted me. We were already split up. This was over 5 years ago. I know he's dangerous and I know he's a time bomb. I've seen him act bizarrely and violently and cruelly in the past, and could dig up 25 people to corroborate that. But in public he acts normal.
I firmly do NOT believe anyone should beat their children. I can't imagine treating a child in that way. My son and I are very close. He's an extremely sweet, affectionate, friendly child. He never gives me any trouble, and everything inside of me wants him to just be happy. He is mature for his age, and very articulate about his feelings about all of this. He even wrote his father a letter the other night asking him to stop hitting him because it hurt his feelings.
I am going to be contacted by CPS on Monday, as will the father. They are going to recommend family counseling for him. Is there anything else I can do? My son is terrified of him. He is in tears and hasn't wanted to go to his father's house since all this began about three weeks ago. He is adamant about that. I don't blame him. He says he doesn't want to live with him anymore -- bottom line. He has said it to his therapist. Doesn't that count for anything legally?
Can your organization offer any advice? Do you know of other organizations that can assist if you are not the correct one? If there is any legal help obtainable, please let me know. I've no idea how to go about getting some. I have no money. None. I'm a college student who has returned to school after 8 years and is living on private family assistance.
Thank you very much,
HAVE YOU BEEN|
TO THE NEWSROOM?