News you can relate to

Some stories that caught our eye this week:

For Domestic Violence Survivors, Family Court Becomes Site of Continued Abuse Three years after Kate and her children initially fled her ex, the judge terminated his visits. By then, Kate had been in court every six weeks for three years and spent over $500,000 in legal costs.

We don’t do sex work because we are poor, we do sex work to end our poverty “Anti- trafficking law does not improve our working conditions, increase our options, or end our poverty. It does not reduce armed conflict in our homelands. It does not reduce corruption. It does not increase support for children and minors. It does not demand governments or society respect us or our basic human rights.”

Michelle Obama on why educating girls is vital “The barriers to girls’ education isn’t just resources. It’s not just about access to scholarships or transportation or school bathrooms,” she said. “It’s also about attitudes and beliefs — the belief that girls simply aren’t worthy of an education, that women should have no role outside the home, that their bodies aren’t their own, their minds don’t really matter and their voices simply shouldn’t be heard.”

Dear editor

We are really disappointed with the inaccurate coverage of domestic violence and family court in this Seattle Weekly article. We submitted the following letter to their editor.

We have deep concerns about Nina Shapiro’s January 18th article “Ripped Apart.”

Ms. Shapiro makes the important point that family court is significantly under-resourced, and decisions are being made about “the most precious relationships in people’s lives” with hearings that are far from comprehensive. Yes. This is a real problem in King County and across our state.

But Ms. Shapiro goes on at great length about how domestic violence allegations are used to manipulate the courts against dads and draws conclusions by presenting one side of the story. The Washington State Domestic Violence Fatality Review has studied domestic violence homicides over the course of twelve years in fifteen Washington counties. Inter-disciplinary groups reviewing these homicides found time and again that―even with the most violent abusers―courts failed to adequately address victim’s safety concerns and failed to understand how abusers’ controlling and violent behavior threatened the safety and well-being of their children. These findings are completely ignored by Ms. Shapiro.

We routinely hear about attorneys advising victims NOT to talk about the abuse they have experienced because it will bias the court against them. They remain silent out of fear that the court will think they are lying or trying to manipulate the system. This silence hurts children.

We agree that family court needs to be improved. But, whenever allegations of domestic violence are present, the focus should be on safety and the best interest of the children. We encourage The Weekly to exercise better judgment and present balanced material on matters such as this.