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When the abducting parent eventually obtains leave to remove from the jurisdiction, the left-behind parent often views this as another effect of the abduction. Some left-behind parents think that the courts in the home State are affected and influenced in their decision-making by the abduction and give permission to relocate because of the background to the case, rather than because of what is truly in the best interests of the child(ren). One such parent says that he does not know where he gets the motivation for living and likens his situation to being a prisoner, hoping one day for freedom. He realises that the child he misses, and for whom he pines, does not exist anymore. He explains how “you know it’s your kid but he is a stranger to you” and says that it is “a horrible, horrible life”. He further states that his only happy moments are when he can forget the child but that all he thinks about from morning to night is how to get the child back. He speaks of “the madness in the brain” that he has to fight so as not to give in to stupid ideas about how to get the child back again. One mother, whose child now lawfully lives abroad with the abducting parent, describes herself as “damaged”, and feels the constant need to protect herself. Her personality has changed and she accepts that she is, in real terms, out of her child’s life so that she has become used to being on her own and her child no longer fills her thoughts. Another father in this position explains how he wants to be part of society but, in fact, stays away from it as he believes that society looks down on those who do not have their children with them. He feels lost with no work, no money and no family. He says that everything deteriorates, and his life is like a wound that keeps opening up each time he remembers what he has lost.

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Common Effects:

The effects of abduction on the parents appear to be far-reaching and long-lasting in certain respects. Both abducting and left- behind parents spoke consistently of the lack of security that they now feel in their lives, of “never feeling sure, of never taking anything for granted”. One parent graphically referred to

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