By Mary Darcy
Friday, May 7, 2010
Battered mothers often shy away from publicity. But this year, in a sign of their growing organization, some plan to spend Mother's Day in Washington in a White House vigil to draw attention to a court system that often gives custody to abusers.
The California Protective Custody Association's Valentine understands the fear that keeps women from protesting and fighting the bigger battles.
"I waited until my own children were grown so we weren't affected by the family court system," she said.
Valentine says advocates and organizers need to study and replicate the successful civil rights campaigns of the past.
"Slavery was ended with a good law but slavery wasn't ended because a good law happened to come about. The law happened because huge masses of people put their lives on the line and fought for it," Valentine said.
This year "Mass Moms" is preparing to add some more public activism to their advocacy with a demonstration taking place in Boston on a date to be announced soon. In what they're planning to call "Confetti," the moms will symbolically shred court-appointed guardian reports--which they feel are particularly unfair to protective parents--into little bits and toss them at the statehouse to call attention to the plight of protective mothers fighting for custody of their children.
In New York City, a group called V.O.W., or Voices of Women, has been working within the court system to try to provide legal counsel and one-on-one help for women. On a wider scale its mission is to "promote long-term systemic change by documenting institutional failures, testifying at hearings, creating position papers and meeting with local and state officials."
Both Valentine and Hannah say this is the right time to take the movement to the next level.
"The new president is a fatherless man with a good wife and they will hear us," said Valentine. "And if they don't hear us, Vice President Joe Biden worked on the violence against women act and he will hear us. And if they don't hear us we will keep going until they do hear us."
Mary Darcy is a multimedia producer/host and documentary filmmaker. She's a two time Gracie Award winner for her work with Kate Mulgrew on Herstory and The Sounds of Progress, public radio series about great women in science. Darcy is a co-owner in Uptown/Downtown Media, producers of Alloveralbany.com.
Battered Mothers Custody Conference
Battered Mothers Custody Conference California Protective Parents Association http://www.protectiveparents.com/research.html
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