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Most (75%) of the left-behind parents knew where the child(ren) was during the time that the child(ren) was away. Of these, many described the complete and utter devastation of finding that the child(ren) had been taken. One such mother spoke of the shock she suffered as being worse than the death of her parents. A left-behind father said that it was the worst thing that a father could face. Some interviewees disclosed having thoughts of extreme violence at that time as well as finding solace through religious faith.35 Others talked of their inability to settle while knowing that the child(ren) was somewhere else and of feeling constantly depressed and ill. Examples of this were given when these parents spoke of:

. . . . . . .

losing their hair, physical sickness, becoming dependant on pills and alcohol, feeling suicidal, being unable to function properly, the feeling of helplessness, feeling “in limbo”, as if waiting for a medical diagnosis


and the fear of having lost the child(ren) for ever.

35 Greif found that nearly half of the parents in his survey found support through religious practices,

“Parental Support” at 69.


These parents, in general, accept that all separations and divorces have an effect but are adamant that the abduction increased many times over the magnitude of these effects.

She explained how there were no support groups for those who had lost a child who is still living.

It was common to hear from these abducting parents that they now felt unable to trust people and never felt able to “let their guard down”.


Left-behind Parents:

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