July 31, 2008

The Associated Press: Obama aids American in Mideast custody battle

I am not posting this as a political view or opinion of Obama or his campaign.  I am posting this because this woman contacted a senator and he is attempting to help her.  We have heard of and seen so many of cases where a parent has contact senate or congress members and been turned away.  Will his helping in this case give the push to others that would help in the future?

This woman is saying that her husband did abuse her and threaten her while living abroad with him and that he refuses to let her children return to the US.  He states that even though he has filed for a divorce she is welcome to return to Kobar, West Bank and live with them as a family.

KOBAR, West Bank (AP) — An American woman fighting to get back four daughters living in the West Bank with their Palestinian father has gotten unusually high-powered help — from Barack Obama.

The Associated Press: Obama aids American in Mideast custody battle

UPDATE: And, we expect them to watch our shores...Coast Guard Domestic Violence Cover-up? Or not?

I apologize for not getting this update on this story up sooner, I have been out of town and away from internet. But, now I am back!! I will be updating a few things over the next week.
Below is the video from NECN that provides an overview of the situation and where things stand at this point. I will include the link to the video page which has the written story under it.


July 30, 2008

UAADV Supports NDVH's "Million Voices Campaign" Add YOUR Voice!

Below is the information on the "Million Voices Campaign" conducted by the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

This is something that UAADV is supporting 100%, and we'll be helping get the word out that this is something that any Survivor, Advocate, Organization, or even someone that just cares about the issue should get involved in!

We NEED a Million Voices!  We NEED to join together as ONE Voice against Domestic Violence.
Having many Organizations, having many working on the problems is a wonderful thing, and I applaud all that everyone does.  But until we do it TOGETHER, NOTHING will EVER be accomplished!

About the Campaign:
Approximately 33 million in the United States have experienced domestic violence.* Domestic violence is one of the most serious issues facing Americans, yet few know how to help end it. A imagesolution begins when families and communities start openly discussing the issue.

You can help end domestic violence in the homes of loved ones and in your community by joining the Million Voices Campaign to End Domestic Violence in America. The Million Voices Campaign is a group of people and organizations in America willing to educate, inform, and raise awareness about the problem of domestic violence and sources of help.  Read from other members sharing their voice about domestic violence.

Joining is easy and free of charge! As a member of the campaign you can make a powerful statement to America that domestic violence is an intolerable act. We also encourage you to ask others to join the campaign, and to use your influential voice to educate on sources of help for victims and on the community impact of domestic violence.

Please complete the online form to enroll in the largest volunteer effort against domestic violence. Help us achieve the goal of ONE MILLION members by joining the Million Voices Campaign, and give America a million reasons to end domestic violence. If you have any questions, please contact Kelly D. Wagner at 512-685-6269 or kwagner@ndvh.org.

* The Harris Poll #49 and #50. Conducted by Harris Interactive® 2006.
National Domestic Violence Hotline » e-Activism

Amy's Courage Fund

Amy's Courage Fund

In April 2002, Amy wrote a note and taped it to the inside of her desk drawer. It read "Today Ron Ball and I are romantically involved, but I fear I have placed myself at risk in a variety of ways. Based on his criminal past, writing this out just seems like the smart thing to do. If I am missing or dead this obviously has not protected me... " Two months after writing this note, Amy Latus tragically lost her life to domestic violence.

This is a program from the National Network to End Domestic Violence, and I wanted to spread the word about it.  It was actually a program I hadn't heard of, and I dare say many victims have not as well. 

Too many victims stay because they can't afford to move on, or they are disabled, or or or......There are so many reasons that go with it, but Financial is one of the most common part of it.  When you have 4 children, or even 1, that look to you for safety, having no food and no money to buy any, or to provide a safe place, is a horrible thing for any Mother to go through.

The Amy's Courage Fund was established to alleviate the financial constraints that often prevent a victim from escaping abuse. Amy’s Courage Fund provides emergency financial assistance of up to $2,000 to victims of domestic violence and their children to meet their immediate needs after escaping an abusive home.

Since 2003, NNEDV have provided more than $600,000 in emergency financial assistance to families throughout the country, helping them to establish a new life free by paying for:

  • Moving and transportation costs for victims who are fleeing, such as plane, train or bus tickets, U-Haul rentals, hotels and other travel expenses;

  • Rent and security deposits for new, safe homes;

  • Utilities, utility deposits and phone hook-ups;

  • Medical expenses such as doctor appointments, medication and prescription eyeglasses;

  • Legal fees and expenses for filing for protection orders, custody agreements and divorce;

  • Car repairs and transportation needs; and

  • Furniture, appliances, clothing and other household needs.

A Great program........  Information that needs to be spread for those that may be of need of it and not know it's out there....

July 21, 2008

Missing Fort Bliss Soldier Found Alive

Sister: Missing Fort Bliss soldier Jeneesa Lewis found alive, 'tired, scared and weak'

I'm so relieved to be sharing that the Missing Fort Bliss Soldier, Jeneesa Lewis, has been found alive.

ABC has shared that she's hurt; was beaten and stabbed twice, and has bruises all over her body.  But, she's alive!

When seeing this story, I knew that if she wasn't found in the next few days, that the chances of her being alive and well was very slim.  Clinton Lewis, seeing himself on the news, turned himself in, and is now in jail on a $75,000 bond (I'm sorry, I don't think there should be a bond allowed on this).

One of the things that got me about this was something he said, that soo many of us have heard so many times.  "He told her that if she ever left him, he'd kill her. If he couldn't have her, no one could," Skelton said. "I've heard him say that myself, several times."

I'm so glad that this has turned out well, and that she can now go home to her children, and I have hopes that he'll be in jail a long time so that her, her family, and her children can now be safe from him.

July 20, 2008

Search Continues for Missing Fort Bliss Soldier

Missing soldier's family fears worst as police continue to search for woman and her husband

Have you seen them????

There's yet another Missing Soldier, now the fourth one in recent months to have gone missing. 

The Lewis's were married for 2 years, and it has been reported that they had a tumultuous marriage, and when she was readying to leave her husband to gain a better life for herself and her children, he came home and took her, and now they are both missing.  Thankfully her children are safe and living with Jeneesa Lewis's Mother, but we don't need yet another set or children loosing their Mother in yet another missing soldier case!

Our prayers go out to Jeneesa Lewis and her family.  We pray that she is found and can return safely to her children's and families loving arms.....

Her picture and the picture of her missing husband is included, if you have seen either of them since Friday morning, please contact the El Paso PD at 505-832-4400


     Army Pfc. Jeneesa Lewis                                      Clinton Lewis

"A missing Fort Bliss soldier sent a text message about leaving her husband two days before she vanished, her sister said Saturday.

Authorities say that by Friday morning, Clinton W. Lewis had come back and taken off with his wife. Now her family is worried about the 29-year-old air defense artillery soldier and mother of three children.

Army officials reported Jeneesa Lewis missing Friday morning after she didn't show up at work and no one appeared to be in her locked apartment. When El Paso police arrived and went into the apartment the couple had shared, the place was a mess and there was blood, Skelton said."

If you have any information, please contact the El Paso PD at 505-832-4400

Update: Iraq war vet gets 40 months on child abuse charge

All I can say at this time is Thank God that the Judge looked past the black and white issues, and did the right thing and sentenced this "man" to the full extent of his possibilities.  I still don't feel it's enough for what he's done, but at least it is the maximum allowable by law.

I was very glad and heartened to see this this morning, and I truly do hope that other Judges see what's been done here and starts truly dispensing justice in their court rooms.

There should be NO reason for abuse, and there should be NO leniency in abuse cases.  I truly feel that they should not have taken a plea deal here, but at least he will not be getting out for a time, and wont be getting custody or visitations with the daughter he abused so heinously.

Dad gets prison for abuse

Kirk Coleman, an Army paratrooper who served in Iraq, did for Americans what he could not do for his child, a Jackson County judge said Thursday.

"You failed to protect your own daughter," Circuit Judge John McBain said Thursday before sending Coleman to prison for attempted child abuse.

McBain, nearly tripling the maximum penalty that state guidelines recommended for the charge, sentenced the 27-year-old to 3 1/3 to five years in prison for injuring his baby daughter in August and September.

He said the extent of the girl's injuries, which included nearly 20 broken bones, injuries to her private parts and brain bleeding, inspired him to stiffen the penalty. State guidelines called for zero to 14 months in prison; the maximum penalty for the offense is five years in prison.

July 19, 2008

No Cash Makes Men Wife Beaters?

This article was shared with me by a Sister Survivor, and I'm thankful that she did.  I have to agree with much that Judge Jeanine Pirro says, and I am not looking forward towards the rise of DV now that the economy is going in the hole.

Those in the industry know that the lowering economy inadvertently also means a rise in DV.  This fact doesn't mean that any man without money in his pockets is going to commit violence, but those that are prone to violent outbursts are going to be harder pressed to contain it. 

This also means that we need to be more vigilant about getting the word out on DV, and get more community involvement to help curb this.  Society needs to open their eyes, and not think that someone else will handle what they see.  Everyone can take a participation in the fight against DV, and everyone can take steps in helping those that are experiencing violence within their homes.

Judge Jeanine Pirro weighs in on reports that say financial stress can cause a spike in abuse against women.

Any type of stress in an attacker's life will contribute to domestic violence, but let's be clear: First you must have a man who is willing to beat his wife.  And although there is no direct link to abuse and the fluctuations of the economy, an abuser will use job stress as an excuse to abuse. That said, studies do show during the holiday season (a universally stressful time) or in the summer (when people are hot and irritable), domestic abuse tends to increase. But there are also men who batter their wives because dinner isn't ready, or because the Red Sox lost. An abuser has no rhyme or reason and being violent is a choice.

Iraq war vet gets 40 months on child abuse charge

Ok, this article really got to me, and I have to question, what's going on here????

  An Iraq war vet raped a 3-month-old baby girl, who now suffers brain damage and 17 broken bones, was looking at a life in prison for first-degree criminal sexual conduct and child abuse, now is only looking at 40 to 60 months in jail after pleading to a lesser charge, and he's planning on appealing even that decision???

  And this is all being allowed?  I'm sorry, there are just some cases that should NEVER be allowed to plea bargain or take lesser offenses for!  This child, this gorgeous 3-month-old baby girl had a wonderful life to look ahead too, and now that is all changed because some sicko raped her??

  I'm OUTRAGED!!!  If you aren't touched, if you aren't outraged by this, I can only ask what is going on to demoralize Society at this time?

Please, make some calls, let them know that this is a total outrage, and that we as a Society wont accept this!  This has to end sometime, but it never will if we don't take a stand!

Executive Office
Governor Jennifer Granholm
Contact the Governor's Office
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, Michigan 48909
Information 517-373-3400
Lieutenant Governor's Office  517-373-6800
Washington, D.C. Office 202-624-5840
Northern Michigan Office 906-228-2850
Southeast Michigan Office 313-456-0010
Office of Regulatory Reform  517-241-1679
Attorney General
Contact AG
525 West Ottawa
G. Mennen Williams Building, 7th Floor
P.O. Box 30212
Lansing 48909

Iraq war vet gets 40 months on child abuse charge

The 27-year-old former Army paratrooper pleaded guilty in May to attempted child abuse in a plea deal with prosecutors. He originally faced life in prison on charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and child abuse.
Authorities say Coleman attacked the baby Sept. 14 in her home in Blackman Township, about 65 miles west of Detroit. She suffered brain damage and 17 broken bones.

July 16, 2008

A Million Voices To End Domestic Violence

People and organizations nationwide have come together around the Million Voices Campaign to End Domestic Violence in America – working to educate, inform and raise awareness about domestic violence, and where victims can turn for help. Members of the Million Voices Campaign are making a powerful statement to America: Domestic violence is an intolerable act.

“The launch of the Million Voices Campaign will address what has long been missing in domestic violence services prevention: an organized national effort driven by dedicated volunteers raising their voices against domestic violence,” said National Domestic Violence Hotline CEO Sheryl Cates. “Together we will make history and in so doing, we will raise the standard for domestic violence prevention in America.”

Joining is easy and free of charge. Help us make the goal of ONE MILLION members by joining and letting others know about this influential campaign. The National Domestic Violence Hotline will announce this accomplishment in the media, among our state and national leaders, and on multiple websites. Join the Million Voices Campaign, and give us a million reasons to end domestic violence. For more information, visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline.

California Women's Commission

The California Commission on the Status of Women will hold the last of three public hearings throughout California to learn what issues women and girls are facing and what role the state can play in addressing them.

Hearings will be made up ENTIRELY of testimony from individuals and organizations bringing their comments and recommendations to the Commission.

The deadline to sign up to present testimony is today, if you are in the area and are attending the hearing.  If not then you can email or mail you testimony:

Written Testimony: If you are not able to attend a hearing and would like to submit your testimony in writing, please submit no later than Wednesday, July 23, 2008. Testimony can be submitted by email or mailed to:
California Commission on the Status of Women
ATTN: Public Testimony
1303 J Street, Suite 400
Sacramento, CA 95814

To view the subjects that can be discussed, to sign up or to get more details:California Women's Commission

July 15, 2008

Placement - Second Chance Employment Services

This site could be a useful resource for a Domestic Violence Victim who is looking for a good job to help her when she is starting over.

...specialize in placing financially at-risk women, with skills ranging from minimal education and experience to skilled professionals, in meaningful employment positions.

Our volunteers are Human Resources (HR) managers who bring to our organization the benefit of long-standing networks with other HR directors and managers in both the public and private sectors.

Our staff members are trained HR professionals with experience in recruiting hard-to-place applicants and...

Placement - Second Chance Employment Services

July 14, 2008

Florida May Investigate Fewer Child Abuse Calls

I understand that the budgets are being cut everywhere and that government offices are short on staff everywhere.  But, what I don't get is trying to limit the number of investigations that are done.  I would not be willing to cut back on the investigations for fear that a child that needs help for real would fall through the cracks of an already broken system.

...The hot line averaged around 31,000 calls per month during the last fiscal year. About 80 percent of the calls resulted in an investigation...

As it is, we see news stories and reports from all over that there are children being taken from parents that really have done nothing wrong, and at the same time we see reports of children that are being abused forced to remain in those homes.

Yes, I agree that calls should be screened as much as possible, that is the only way to do that.  However, cutting back on investigations is only going to hurt the kids that really are being abused. 

Florida May Investigate Fewer Child Abuse Calls - News Story - WFTV Orlando

UPDATE: Husband Charged With Murder After Burned Remains of Missing Army Nurse Found

 The burned body of Army 2nd Lt. Holley Wimunc, 24, was found late Sunday in the Sneads Ferry area by police as they were investigating a brush fire there. She had been missing since Thursday after a fire was set at her Fayetteville apartment.

More on this story at:

FOXNews.com - Husband Charged With Murder After Burned Remains of Missing Army Nurse Found - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News


Statement from John Wimunc's parents-- This statement was posted to WRAL on July 12th, the day before her body was found...wondering now that their son is facing charges if they would like to rethink their adamant statement that he is so innocent.


And, we expect them to watch our shores...Coast Guard Domestic Violence Cover-up? Or not?

...and they can't even ensure that one BM1 is not allowed to leave his station to make good threats he made to his ex-wife....or how bout this novel idea; they can't even ensure that justice is served by turning him over to the civil authorities that have already charged (in two states) and in one state sentenced him?

Why so many state involved you ask??  His former spouse had to go into hiding and he found her, then she moved again, and he found her, and now I'm sure she is hiding again (I would be) since the very people this country depends on (the US Coast Guard) to protect us can not manage to protect one woman and one child.

Makes ya feel safe going to sleep at night doesn't it?  I would bet that she can't sleep!

I found a story while stumbling around the net earlier.  I at first couldn't believe what I was reading, I am prior service (not the same branch) and so yes I know these things happen...but this one just got to me.

Short version is that a member of the Coast Guard has been convicted of Domestic Violence (DV) in two different states, has been making threats to his wife and family, and is still safely in another state serving in the Coast Guard. 

Apparently the Command knows about the warrants and the jail time he hasn't served and supposedly know that if they keep him right where he is, then he doesn't have to worry about this.  Well...now ok, that wasn't fair, that was total speculation on my part, as I have not done any research into this case past these sites listed here:

http://equalcivilrights.blogspot.com/ --This blog covers in-depth and up to date this story.

http://www.cgblog.org/search/label/domestic%20violence  --This is to the search results of this blog containing all their posts about this story.

http://www.victimsofwarathome.com/id2.html  --From what I can tell this site is the main site for this case.  This particular link is to the page containing the time line and all copies of all the restraining orders, etc....  Most recent on the time line is as follows:

June-July 2008
2  Active Warrants for his arrest out of NH 
1  Active Warrant for his arrest out of CT
1 Active Arrest Warrant out of CA
As of June 9, his bailed was revoked out of Exeter, NH Court
* He has still failed to turn himself in*

June 27, 2008
BM1 Receives 3 Year Prison Sentence in NH
He Failed To Attend His Sentencing Hearing
BM1 Is Still Considered Active Duty and Stationed at a USCG Station in South Carolina

By looking more into this, not only is this guy evading justice, he is dangerous!  And, to top it off....it appears that the Coast Guard is allowing him to stay where he is and is pushing all of this under the rug as quietly as they can.

Please help get this story circulated, the more that know the better chances of justice being served.  This woman is in fear of her life, in fear of her child's life, something must be done.

As the UAADV National Rep.  I have already contacted one of the blog owners above and asked that a message be passed along offering our assistance, but that hardly seems enough in light of what is going on here.

Thus, in my prayers this family remains.

And, as a note; I would like to add that all the views and opinions expressed here are my own.


July 13, 2008

Landmark ruling used to challenge gun case

...one of the first to use the ruling to challenge the constitutionality of a federal statute that makes it a felony for a person under a protective order to buy and possess a firearm, said Lee C. Kindlon, his attorney....

Landmark ruling used to challenge gun case -- Page 1 -- Times Union - Albany NY


Judge's ruling on restraining orders draws concern -- Newsday.com

 State Superior Court Judge Francis B. Schultz found that some elements of the 17-year-old law are unconstitutional. Among them: a low threshold of evidence _ just a "preponderance" _ to get a restraining order violates due process protections. Instead, judges need "clear and convincing" evidence to issue a restraining order, Schultz said....Judge's ruling on restraining orders draws concern -- Newsday.com


Behind The Blue WAll: [FL] Police Chief Adderly is a domestic violence victim - of attempted murder or nothing major?

Ok, everyone seems so eager to believe that she was abusing him and decided to just get up on night in the middle of the night and starting shooting at him while he was asleep?? HUH?? Well, we could go with his explanation that she has "medical issues that require continual treatment." Then there is another side that I can not see that anyone has brought up yet...what if he is the abusive one and because of his job she is too scared to admit that. Ya know...if she goes to jail for this at least she is away from the abuse, may be her thought in the matter and she would still be alive....but hey, what do I know, I was just playing a little game of WHAT IF...
"The only way that was not an attempt to murder him would be if Mrs. Adderley were a CIA-trained marksman and was able to comfortably discharge the weapon knowing it would only land inches from his body."
...the chief is reinforcing the idea that victims should reconcile with abusers. "This is what the movement has been fighting for decades: self-blaming," Horne said. "That is the typical domestic violence victim behavior"...
Behind The Blue WAll: [FL] Police Chief Adderly is a domestic violence victim - of attempted murder or nothing major?

July 12, 2008

New law helps protect domestic violence victims

The technology associated with the law is geared toward prevention and giving victims a heads-up if their attacker is near. The suspect would wear a GPS device, and the victim would be alerted instantly, by their cell phone for example, if the suspect is within a certain distance....
WOODTV.com & WOOD TV8: Grand Rapids news, weather, sports and video | New law helps protect domestic violence victims

After 20 years’ fight, expanded domestic violence law in NY state

Twenty years ago, Assemblywoman Helene E. Weinstein of Brooklyn introduced legislation that would expand protections for victims of domestic and intimate partner violence in New York state. After reintroducing similar legislation every year since, the Fair Access bill has finally passed in the state legislature and will soon be signed into law by Governor David Paterson...Feministe » After 20 years’ fight, expanded domestic violence law in NY state

July 11, 2008

Remembering Jana Mackey

Remembering Jana Mackey

July 10, 2008

Jana Mackey was a daily inspiration.Jana Mackey, Kansas NOW activist, was found dead in the home of her ex-boyfriend in Lawrence, Kan. on July 3. She was a former Kansas NOW lobbyist and co-president of the Lawrence chapter of KS NOW. She was attending KU Law school, and was working as a volunteer advocate at the GaDuGi Safe House helping victims of sexual assault. It appears she was the ultimate victim of a sad and senseless crime. "She was a remarkable young woman and a devoted advocate of women's rights. She will be greatly missed," said Gina Austin-Fresh, National NOW Board member.

"Jana was a daily inspiration. She worked so hard to ensure the women of Kansas would know a better future. We have truly lost a champion. The world is truly dimmer without her." said Marla Patrick the State Coordinator of KS NOW.

Any NOW member who would like to reach out to Jana Mackey's family can write to:

Email: coordinator@ksnow.org
Christi Brungardt family
c/o KS NOW
Box 286
Lindsborg, KS 67456

NOW Home | Send to a Friend | Unsubscribe / Edit Profile

July 7, 2008

U.S. Mom in Dutch Haven Told Face Trial, Cede Kids

U.S. Mom in Dutch Haven Told Face Trial, Cede Kids

A U.S. woman granted asylum in the Netherlands because she couldn't be protected from domestic violence is suddenly in the spotlight after quietly living underground. She faces charges in Minnesota and fears she will lose custody of her son.

Holly Collins(WOMENSENEWS)--After living quietly for 10 years in the
Netherlands as an American granted asylum, Holly Ann Collins
is suddenly making headlines in Dutch newspapers and a criminal
case growing out of a bitter custody battle refuses to go away.

Collins became a focus of Dutch media attention as a U.S. "refugee"
from domestic violence after a neighbor informed the FBI that she
was living in Leiden, a town 12 miles from Amsterdam. That tipped
off her location to authorities in Minnesota, where parental kidnapping
charges against her are still pending from 1994, when she grabbed her
three children and fled.

She may be the first American to receive amnesty in the Netherlands; no other case has been documented, according to Dutch newspapers. She was granted asylum in 1997 after she lived for three years in four different camps with Bosnian and Somali war refugees.

Her plight has captivated the international domestic violence community, with advocates, court observers and lawyers sharing the story in long chains of e-mail forwards and word of mouth.

Speaking softly into the phone from her home, Collins said the Dutch judge let her and her children stay in the Netherlands for humanitarian reasons after deciding their safety couldn't be guaranteed if she returned to the United States.

"Then we were placed in a house, the kids were allowed to go to school and a normal life began," she told Women's eNews.

After avoiding the spotlight for more than a decade, she now faces a Minnesota prosecutor pressing ahead with the case against her, even though the Dutch amnesty protects her from deportation and arrest.

If she returns to the United States for trial, as a condition of bail Collins must agree to end all communication with her children, including her oldest who are now in their 20s. She fears that her youngest, Christopher, 13, could be placed into his father's custody. The older ones would like to return to Massachusetts, a place they consider home.

Federal Charges Dropped

Collins' attorney, Alan Rosenfeld, who practices in Louisville, Colo., and has decades of
experience defending battered women, picked up the case in March. The family was informed in May that federal kidnapping charges were dropped--although she still faces a federal charge of flight to avoid prosecution--but the state charges still stand.

Rosenfeld says although Collins' asylum status makes her case unique, he doubts it will set a precedent for other domestic violence victims. Other than her status, it is tragically similar to the hundreds of abuse cases he has seen.

"We as Americans I think are good people and want to believe that our family courts do a good job of protecting children," Rosenfeld said, "and so we close our eyes real tight in order to keep on believing that."

Married at 17, Collins says her husband sent her to the hospital three times, bruised and
bloody, within the first month of their wedding.

When she was five months pregnant with each child, she says her husband, who told her
he didn't like fat women, beat her more severely. A third pregnancy ended after another blow.

"That was just the way life was," said Collins, who saw no use in leaving. She says the violence was well documented in court by doctors that treated her and her children.

By the time her next child, Christopher, was born, her husband had filed for divorce, and
launched a custody battle. At first she received custody and he was granted visitation rights. Collins returned to him several times thinking the children were safer if she were around. "I really believed that I shouldn't have left," she said.

Pressured by Authorities

When state child protection officials threatened to charge her with failure to protect her
children if she stayed with her abusive husband, she left permanently, received full custody but began to refuse to send the kids on visits to their father after they returned home with bruises.

She was then accused of parental alienation syndrome, a consistently discredited psychological theory where one parent is charged with trying to demonize the other parent. Although the judge acknowledged that Collins and the children were abused, he ruled that her husband's physical abuse was easier to monitor than Collins' emotional damage, she said.

"I'm not a likeable person," Collins said quietly. "I'm whiny and I cry easily, and he's smiley and happy and pats everyone on the back, and he's everyone's friend when you meet him."

In the end, she lost custody of the two older children, who lived with their father for a year and a half. She was allowed supervised visits, and the children wrote her notes, leaving them in books, the bathroom and the refrigerator. "Help me," they said, informing her when they would be home alone.

Eventually, she called from a pay phone and told them to meet her at a video store.
They drove for an entire day. Collins cut their hair, died it black and slathered them with bronzing skin lotion.

They drove for weeks around the country. They got on a flight to New Zealand. Collins had read about the 1980s case of Elizabeth Morgan, a woman who accused her husband of sexually abusing their daughter and allowed her parents to take her to New Zealand, where they were allowed to stay.

They didn't make it there and were apprehended during a layover in the Netherlands. While in jail with her children she appealed for asylum. "I just started rattling off everything I've seen in movies," she said, and showed authorities a bag filled with court and medical records.

A More Settled Life

Following the amnesty, she met and established a new family with a Dutch man. Until six months ago, Collins thought she was the only woman to experience abuse and lose her children. Women started writing to her with their stories, she says, and "then I started feeling a little bit more empowered."

After Collins permitted her daughter Jennifer to read the court documents, Jennifer became "disgusted," as she wrote in one of more than 700 e-mails she has sent since November to politicians, advocates and anyone who might help her family.

"I just wanted someone to listen," she said. "I wanted something to happen."

But the Minnesota charges remain a concern. Hennepin County prosecuting attorney
Elizabeth Cutter said an active warrant is out for Collins' arrest and plans to prosecute
if she steps on U.S. soil.

Rosenfeld, Collins' lawyer, said talks with the prosecutor stalled after she made a condition of bail that Collins have no contact with her children when she returns to face trial.Cutter said this is a standard condition of bail, because she considers the children to be the crime's victims.

He is not trying to persuade the authorities to drop charges, however.

"Let's have all the evidence come out before fair people in Minneapolis," he said. "If they find her guilty then they punish her. If they find her not guilty, then leave her alone."

Marna Anderson, executive director of Watch, a program in Minneapolis whose members have observed court hearings for 15 years, said in Hennepin County courts said many of the problems relating to abuse cases persist.

"From what I've heard, it's gotten worse," she added.

Alison Bowen is a New York City-based reporter covering the presidential campaign for Women's eNews. Her work also appears in the New York Daily News.

Women's eNews welcomes your comments. E-mail us at editors@womensenews.org.

Read More

Related Stories

A rally of Voices of Women in New York Report: Abused Women See Danger in Family Court
Elizabeth Liu Custody Cases Put Under Supreme Legal Watch
Mo Therese Hannah Judges' Private Custody Meetings Raise Questions

For more information:

Jennifer Collins' Blog, American Family Receives Asylum in Europe

Note: Women's eNews is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites and the
contents of Web pages we link to may change without notice.

Link to Original Article: U.S. Mom in Dutch Haven Told Face Trial, Cede Kids

July 2, 2008

Bill shielding domestic violence victims from providing testimony signed by governor

...said in a statement. "Domestic violence survivors have been through enough; the last thing they need is to be re-victimized by our legal system or be exposed to threats of incarceration. This law is not going... Bill shielding domestic violence victims from providing testimony signed by governor PolitickerCA

July 1, 2008

North Florida NewsDaily - Governor Crist to sign Barwick-Ruschak Act

The "Barwick- Ruschak Act" expands the definition of domestic violence to include victims in dating relationships. This will include assisting victims with medical treatment, informing them of local domestic violence centers and providing victims with information outlining their legal rights and remedies. The bill also strengthens law enforcement officers practice of filing a written report in dating violence cases. Furthermore, HB 313 enables law enforcement officers to make a warrantless arrest when there is probable cause to believe a person has committed an act of dating violence.... North Florida NewsDaily - Governor Crist to sign Barwick-Ruschak Act