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Court-Ordered Domestic Violence
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Houston Teen Devastated She Can’t Save Her Little Sister From Dad’s Abuse

Nineteen-year-old says legal trauma is “Court-Ordered Domestic Violence”—encourages citizens with Internet access to end court-ordered child abuse during Domestic Violence Awareness Month

 

HOUSTON, Oct. 18, 2011 – In a devastating blow to a family racked by domestic violence, nineteen-year-old Tatiana Pauwels is bereft. What happened to her in a Texas Family Court twice before is happening again. This time to her younger sibling. The 309th Family Judicial District Court upheld joint custody of her fourteen-year-old sister to their father—choosing to ignore irrefutable evidence of his parental child abuse.

 

“Not taking domestic violence into account is an amazing omission, given that all fifty states and the District of Columbia require courts to consider domestic violence when making child custody determinations,” says Family Court legal expert Barry Goldstein in his book, Domestic Violence, Abuse and Child Custody. 

Family Court’s decision leaves the Lamar High School graduate stunned beyond belief

The court’s inhumane behavior is a double blow. Tatiana initiated the legal proceeding in hopes of saving her shy, quiet sister from suffering at the hands of the man who abused her. She’s stunned at the legalization of her sister’s guaranteed abuse. Simultaneously, Tatiana is being jolted into a déjà vu nightmare of the court’s initial joint custody decision handed to her in 2002. She’s been living in a home filled with her father’s rage her entire life.

 

State law forced Tatiana to see her abuser. She remembers her brother being dragged into the car, kicking and screaming. The weekend visits were long. To her, it was planned child abuse. She told the police she would run away from his home if they made her go again. She decided to petition the same court, on the same grounds, on her own behalf in 2006. By now, she was thirteen when the court turned a deaf ear.

 

“My father is mentally, and verbally abusive to me, with uncontrollable anger. My brother and sister, 12 and 9, feel the same way. Child Protective Services validated child abuse . . . hitting my head against the floor . . . but nothing was done.”

—Letter from Tatiana Pauwels to Honorable Judge, 309th Family Judicial District Court, April, 2006

 

“I listed specifically the types and incidents of psychological and physical anguish I was experiencing during my forced visitations with my father. I even wrote that ‘I cannot be with him the way I am court ordered.’ But the court didn’t respond. Do adults think that me, my brother, my sister and thousands of abused kids across America are making our hell-on-Earth life up? What aren’t these family court judges and mediators thinking?”

 

According to The Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence, more than 58,000 [known] children a year are ordered into unsupervised contact with physically or sexually abusive parents following divorce in the United States.

 

Fed up and fired up, the teen wants to help other kids trapped in this insidious situation.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Tatiana is calling for everyone —teens and adults—to sign a petition to stop what she calls “Court-Ordered Domestic Violence.”

 

It’s time for a change in the law.

 

Tatiana Pauwels’ Eleven Initiatives For State Legislatures To End Court-Ordered Domestic Violence By The U.S. Family Court System:

 

  1. Require judges, children’s attorneys, mediators, law enforcement and other professionals to receive certified training in recognizing domestic violence, gender bias, and the effects of domestic violence on children 
  2. Create a meaningful presumption that abusers should not have custody of children
  3. Screen for domestic violence in custody case initiation
  4. Ban Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) and other unscientific theories 
  5. Repeal laws and practices regarding “Friendly Parent” and Joint Custody
  6. Allow children to speak and testify before a judge  
  7. When courts rule against allegations of domestic violence, require written explanation for the decision
  8. Hold judges accountable for their decisions by eradicating the use of domestic violence gag orders imposed upon protective mothers and their support teams
  9. Require child protective agencies to consult and partner with domestic violence advocates when domestic violence is suspected 
  10. Correct past mistakes: Revoke joint/shared custody decrees where there is evidence of abuse in the child’s environment
  11. Abuser must pass the “Assessing Change in Batterers" by Lundy Bancroft and Jay G. Silverman, before he/she may have any contact with the person he/she abused. 

 

 

Court easily fooled: Tatiana’s father has the upper hand at bullying behavior while maintaining a “seemingly” spotless public reputation

 

Tatiana says her father makes guarding his public image his highest priority.

 

Legal gag orders forbid her mother from publicly speaking about him as an abuser. Meanwhile by proxy, her father’s lifestyle makes him look good in court. Mr. Michael “Mike” Lutomski is the president of the Lamar High School Parent Band Volunteers. Lamar High School is where Tatiana’s siblings –Sebastien and Chloe- currently attend school.

 

His position as risk manager for NASA’s International Space Station Program frequently has him in the limelight as a professional expert. In May 2011, he joined Former Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Christopher Cox, as a keynote at IBM’s prestigious OPUS event. 

But no one can maintain a façade one hundred percent. His narcissistic nature slips out into the public eye. Like the time the referee stopped his daughter’s volleyball tournament because he was screaming at his youngest child.  Or when it came out in a deposition in May 2011 that “… he got very angry. And it was really quick – his anger was very, very quick. He got very angry with me, pushed me off the bed, stood over me with his hand raised, …” said one of his former girlfriends.

These words from his own speaker presentation reveal the father’s ingrained thinking:

“You always hear women talk about men. They say, ‘Oh, all men are pigs.’ I keep telling my wife, ‘But I don’t have a tail; it’s not true.’ But I could say, being a member of the male gender, it’s probably only forty, maybe sixty percent of us.”

—Michael Lutomski, speech given to the Gulf Coast Chapter of the International Counsel on Systems Engineering on March 12, 1998, at South Shore Harbour, League City, TX.

 

“My mother can’t speak out, but I can. No telling what he is going to do to my sister next. The amount of anger I have toward my father is understandable. How much bullying can a human being take before snapping? My dad has a grip around my neck that’s pervasive . . . it’s like an invisible, negative control over me that won’t stop. I totally get what happened to Jamey.”

 

Jamey Rodemeyer made national headlines recently when he took his own life. The teen was being mercilessly bullied.

 

The fourteen-year-old wrote this on his blog:

 

“I always say how bullied I am, but no one listens . . . What do I have to do so people will listen to me?”

—Jamey Rodemeyer, one week before his suicide.

“My dad is getting away with murder and the family court system is helping him. It’s time for all Americans—not just abused moms and their kids who are forced to live in a world of unnecessary cruelty—to come together and end court-ordered domestic violence. It’s our birthright to live a life of peaceful dignity.


“My name is Tatiana Pauwels. Please, if you’re reading this, sign the petition.”

Help a kid get out of hell and prevent future generations from enduring it.

Add your name to the Stop Court-Ordered Domestic Violence petition. It takes 1 minute of your time and it’s free.

 

ABOUT TATIANA PAUWELS:

Tatiana Pauwels is a domestic violence survivor. The nineteen-year-old is fascinated about human rights, the environment, the economy, and how power and politics work in America. By educating judges, lawyers, mediators, and the United States Congress about the devastating effects of court-ordered domestic violence, her mission is to change the Family Court system so that no minor is placed in the hands of an abuser.

 

Email: Tatiana Pauwels, tatiana@scodv.com

Twitter: tatiana_pauwels

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SCODV/
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