June 5th or 6th, 2010....
Finally he is letting me out of the house! Ok, Us... About two days after being choked, slapped, spit on and more, I was Allowed to leave the apartment we "Shared." Mimi seemed un-phased by the whole situation. I can honestly say that she was a happy baby. I did my best to appear Normal...
That morning while getting dressed, I got up the courage to look in the mirror for the first time since he had hit me in the face, several times... I had a beautiful purple and blue eye that was starting to turn black. This is the time I wished I would had paid attention to my mother during her make up sessions she Tried to have with me. I packed on as much of that Mess as I could. But it just wasn't working... I smiled because even though I was in pain, I felt silly putting on make up. I don't ware it.
He called "What's taking you so long?" "What? You worried you didn't put on enough to cover your eye?" He then said before he even saw me... "LOOK at You, you missed a spot!" I braced myself for another blow but all he did was walk away laughing...
When we entered the library that Bright, Sunny day, I didn't realize how noticeable it was... I walked up the counter to ask about a book I was interested in or something and I remember the woman's face when she looked at me... She began to smile but that smile was quickly replaced with concern and worry. Fear for me is what I saw in her eyes. She saw my abuser and baby behind me and quickly went to look for what I had requested...
I'll never forget that day or the others. But this one sticks out to me the most because for Years I was so tough on my own mother and her experiences with domestic violence. I would call her weak and a coward because of her lack of willingness to leave or get help... But when I saw how that woman looked at me, with my child, and my black eye that I had Failed at hiding, I had to ask myself... "Is this what my own mother went through?" "Did she feel the same shame and guilt that I am feeling?" "Was she worried about Me just as I am about my own daughter, Her grand daughter?"
That is when I grew up and stopped hating my mother... That is when I stopped blaming her because I now knew what it was like to fear for your own life and that of your childs. I now knew what it was like to be under the control of a man who was hell bent on beating you for not doing as he had told you. And I am now learning the reasons as to why she didn't reach out for help like most might have told her...
To my mother, if you ever read this... I am so sorry for being so hard on you. The only way for me to make things right is for me to stay away from my own abuser and to protect your grand daughter, go to college and graduate, and to have a career so that I can give her a good life. I stay in this fight to get us back home to you because your grand daughter was ripped from you. You have been there for the past four years despite our rocky relationship and for that, I could never deny you your grand baby. She loves you mom... I really am sorry for judging you..
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
November 3, 2013 is a day I will never forget. My sister went to pick up my daughter from her father that day. The pick up point was a few blocks away and I trusted my sister to pick her niece up without any issue. Just as I knew my sister, who was/is 18 at the time, brought her niece back to me unharmed and happy.
That night my sister, and daughter and I walked home from a friends home a few blocks away. My boyfriend arrived a few moments later. Things seemed fine until I began bathing my daughter... I had noticed that she had a noticeable purple and blue bruse on the right of her bottom. I didn't panic because I knew Mimi would feel scared or began to feel pressure, so I causally asked her what happened...
Mimi said "Daddy hit me on my butt and put me in the shower and put me in bed." I said ok and then changed the subject to what she wanted for dinner and the new toy I had just bought her. As I continued to wash bathe her and talk to her, I was dying inside. How could he hit her so hard to the point that she turned PURPLE AND BLUE?! What did she do that was That bad?! She is just a child, not an adult out to harm you!
I didn't bother to call him. I didn't take her to the hospital or call the police. I was Terrified of being blamed for something I could never do to my baby. So instead, I took pictures of the area and wrote a statement to keep on hand. I didn't report it to CPS until about two weeks later. Again, I was afraid. Knowing that the courts had it in for me already and a CPS worker altered documents to suit her personal feelings towards me, I didn't trust that I would not lose my daughter...
I explained what happened to the CPS worker and social worker. After both women spoke with my abuser, they both stated that he denied doing such a thing. All I could do was cry. What if the daycare would have seen the mark on my daughter and assumed I caused it??? My daughter would have been ripped from me and traumatized because of this. I tried so many times to warn my lawyers and the courts that this would happen. They didn't listen. They never listen... How many more years do I have to sit back praying that my child doesn't come home hurt by her father. This is not the same as playing at the playground and getting a scrape or bruse. This was deliberate and he and his girlfriend knew that this took place in their home...
But, if I bring this into court, as usual I will be accused of trying to keep her away from her father. I feel as though I can't win... God please get us back home to Chicago, Il....
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
At first glance, many will say that I seem angry and hard to approach. I always tell them that if I carried those very same thoughts about people my whole life, I wouldn't have made the mistakes I've made that have led me to some of the most amazing people I've met in life...
I'm "Helena", mother to an amazing little girl named "Mimi." Mimi was born in the state of Florida where I met "Him." During my pregnancy I had experienced domestic violence. I stayed because I was afraid of losing my daughter. My ex had made threats on all of our lives and I didn't feel as if the police would believe me if I had made the decision to seek help should I had left him because of my staying. Once my ex was picked up on probation violation, I had left for Chicago, IL.
Back home in Chicago, my daughter and I began to develop a relationship with our family. With the new and unexpected support from family, I began setting realistic goals and seeking resources during those times when I would need them. My ex, her father called and convinced me to come to New York State to "start over." He made promises to never abuse me again and even stated that he would seek help before we were to marry. I had no idea he had been laid off from his job or was planning to began a whole new life while I took on the role as being a new single mother.
The last time he hit me I knew it was life or death. June 5th 2010 was the longest day ever... The blows to my temples and head were swift but hard. And that's not even the half of it. I did what any desperate woman would do and prayed to God. I told God that I didn't want a way out of the situation but a way Through the situation. I prayed for safety, for emotional stability, and for him to stay gone long enough so that when the time came, I would be able to leave without taking another beating.
I left about three weeks later. From that point on it was shelters, court dates and trying to find some sort of income before I sought higher education. Over time it seemed as if things would be ok until He began calling and verbally abusing me over the phone. I tried to reason with him but it never worked because he wanted what he wanted. The threats came to take Mimi away but I kept pushing on. I was determined to get situated. He violated the protection order October 25th of 2011 with the help of his girlfriend. Everything that I had worked for and was working towards seemed would pushed back because I had to go into hiding, again.
Sometime in March or April of 2012 I had had enough. I was afraid of him finding us again and knew that the harassment from him would began once the visitation started. I packed up what little we had and left the state of New York and returned to Chicago, Il. Fortunately for Mimi and I, my mother and sisters and even my mothers boyfriend support us emotionally still. I found a job and Mimi had an amazing daycare that she enjoyed and that I had approved of. I would even volunteer there on my days of or before work.
In May of 2012 I was told that I had to return to New York or lose custody to my abuser and his mother. I could stay in Chicago but my daughter that I had raised alone would be separated from me and I from her. This is what Goshen Family Court was/is willing to do based upon their "expertise" regarding situations like mine, domestic violence. I really wish they could be on this end...
Upon my return to NYS, I had found and lost jobs, had been denied childcare and housing, and entered an unexpected battle to keep my child with me all due to the poor representation from my lawyers, the unwillingness to allow me as a domestic violence victim have a voice in court, and the assumption that I was the typical single black mother who was incapable of raising her child due to "mental illness." I had a rough childhood and the CPS worker, SV twisted and falsified information to suit her unethical intentions instead of providing the help that Child Welfare/CPS/ACS claims to want to provide.
Of course there is more to each section of this piece. If you have made it this far I sincerely thank you for doing so because now I am finally going to help you to understand the point of this and what it is that I am fighting for.
For the past four years I have lived here with my daughter. I have raised her as a single mother sacrificing every single day to provide for her. My daughters father has avoided accountability due to my lack of understanding of this new situation, not knowing what I could ask for or what to fight for in court, and the courts refusal to hold him accountable as well.
My wish is to return back to Chicago,IL so that I can have the opportunity to attend Columbia College. Columbia College of Chicago has an amazing four year bachelors program in sign language. I first learned sign language in the sixth grade and absolutely loved it! I went to the Everest institute for Medical Assisting and graduated a B honor. I feel that combining my love for the field of medicine and my passion for helping others communicate through American Sign Language would not only allow me to work my dream job but to also provide an amazing life for my beautiful daughter.
Upon returning to Chicago, IL, not only would I have the opportunity to obtain a degree that is very very rare to find in other states, but I would also be able to afford to provide for my daughter and not have to struggle as much. My family have stated several times that they would provide any support they could and would be grateful to have the time back that was stolen from them. Even though my family lives in Chicago, IL, they have Always maintained contacted with my daughter.
I want nothing more than to be able to wake up and know that I have a stable home for my daughter, a career knowing that I Worked very hard for, income determined by education and Not by welfares requirements... My daughter deserves a life that I more than know I am capable of giving her once we are allowed to return to Chicago, IL.
If if fact, I am not allowed to return to Chicago, IL, not only would Goshen Family Court be denying my daughter a quality life. But they would also be denying me, as her mother, my right as an American Citizen to seek higher education to provide a better life for my daughter, obtain a job that would provide us income that would allow us to be independent of the Welfare system, Freedom to pursue “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Saturday, March 29, 2014
So apparently it's my fault that he doesn't call our child. It's my fault that I have sole legal custody of our child. It's my fault that she only sees Him twice a month. It's my fault that I pushed to protect my child from a man who helped to create her but has also made threats to kill her. Such a BAD mother I am, all of this crap is my fault....
Let me explain something to you men who have abused the mothers of your children and to the courts who support you. We are Not your baby mamas so please stop referring to us as such! Our corrupt family court system may fall for your crap but for those of us who have matured and wised up, I'm telling you that the Game you call yourself playing is officially OVER. The relationship with the mother of your child does determine how that child is brought up. You should show some respect towards the woman bending over backwards to raise your child Alone! Meanwhile, you pay no child support what so ever! If we put you on child support, we are gold diggers. If we don't put you on child support, we are bad mothers letting you off the hook?!
Good single mothers just can't catch a break....
For those of us who have survived being in an abusive relationship with you, this transitioning process has Not been full of food stamps and free rent because we supposedly refuse to work. So please, stop telling everyone that your "baby mama" is doing nothing but the bare minimum to raise your child, especially when we have to take You to COURT to pay for even the smallest thing for your child. Once we have gotten up the courage to leave you, we deal with so much scrutiny it's sad. If we would have stayed with you, people tell us that we were stupid and didn't care for our children. But because some of us have realized that we are worth so much more and our children come first, we are told that we are at fault for not having a father in our children's lives... What gives?
We as single mothers do not get rewarded or a bigger paycheck for raising our children. Do you want to know what We get?? We get told how we have destroyed black men. We as single mothers get blamed whenever one single mother decides to kill her kids, keep the child away from the father unjustly, abuses her kids, etc. We as single mothers receive no freaking respect half of the time. And when you add the father of your child constantly Blaming you for His BS that he brought on Himself, it doesn't help.
There are single mothers like myself who work two and three jobs just to provide for the One child that we have. There are single mothers like myself who have sat across from those of you who have blacked our eyes, damaged our backs and more, yet we keep standing strong!! Yes, we cry in court because it hurts and we don't always have support! What the hell did you think was going to happen?! Are we supposed to stop being mothers that love our babies just because our judicial system says you have rights that you don't deserve?!
You abusive ex's of ours should really reconsider how you talk to us, our families, and stop lying in court! This is not a game to some of us survivors of domestic violence. We work hard and love our babies even harder! We do Not deserve to have to live life under your control judicially or otherwise. Lay off!!
Friday, March 28, 2014
Sunday, March 23, 2014
I recently came across a news report stating that you are responsible for leaving your children alone, in a vehicle, for about forty five minutes while you went on an interview. While I do not condone what it is that you did, I can relate because I made the mistake of leaving my daughter alone as well.
Like you, I am a single mother who knows what it's like to be homeless and have to deal with the frustration of not having reliable childcare. Back in May of 2012, I was forced to return back to NYS or lose custody of my daughter to my abuser and his family and possibly the foster care system.
I reluctantly came back only to end up homeless like yourself. I had no real support and no reliable to watch my daughter. I felt the same way you were feeling leading up to the days before you lost your children. Tired and just wanting to give your babies a better life. Desperation.
A woman a few doors down that resided in the same shelter as myself offered to watch my daughter. She called and as I stood there speaking to her over the phone I thought to myself "My little one is asleep, I should take her." "No, I need to let her sleep. I'll leave the cartoons on with the volume low, secure her and lock the door. I won't be gone long." I leaned over and kissed my sleeping daughter. I was gone for maybe 15 minutes or so Shanesha. When I returned she was still asleep in the same exact spot and position.
My family court judge had already ordered CPS into the picture because the CPS worker came up with her own version of what happened in MY childhood. I had no choice but to try my best to comply. But then when they found out that my daughter was alone for a few minutes, they flipped.
Shanesha, the reason I am writing this letter to you is because I honestly do not believe you deliberately left your children alone to harm them or hurt them. I believe that in that moment, like myself, you struggled with the decision to leave them alone or not. But due to the lack of help available and offered, you left them alone out of desperation to land the job and hopefully provide a better life for them. Maybe you thought the interview wouldn't last that long and that you'd be be back in time before anyone had noticed. It saddens me that they have made the decision to take your children away from you and file charges against you.
I feel that instead of automatically taking your children away and jailing you, they should have sat you down and spoke with you to find out why you left the children alone. Then, they should have offered you a referral or something towards childcare until you got on your feet. And who's to say that you aren't seeking higher education? Maybe that could have helped your situation as well. If it were me, and I'm sure so many others who feel your pain, we would have tried to help you and your family before assuming the worst.
I believe that what you really need is a strong support system and people who are able to help you. I believe you need people who are going to do more than treat you like the typical single mother. I just want you to know that I can relate to your situation and ask of you to be strong for your babies. Please do not give up hope on ever seeing them again. It's ok to cry and even scream if you need to. But once that's over and you have gotten the hurt out of your system, for the time being, hug yourself. I know you probably think I'm nuts for saying that but you need to start doing this Now.
Hug yourself now because there are going to be court dates ahead and they may get to you. I know this from personal experience. Out of four years in court, only two people accompanied me to court. I had to learn to be prepared for the unexpected flood of emotions and frustration. You Will get through this and I believe that you will get your children back in your arms where they belong.
Whenever you feel like giving up, whenever you feel like your words and cries are falling on deaf ears, just remember that you are not alone. There are people out there that are going to feel your pain because you represent what they have had to endure and they will either pray or rise up and fight for you...
Shanesha Taylor, 35, ARIZONA MOTHER WHO LEFT HER CHILDREN UNATTENDED/ WHERE WAS/IS THE HELP FOR THIS MOTHER?
It's unclear if an Arizona mom got the job she was interviewing for, but after a witness found her children, ages 2 years and 6 months in a hot car outside, she now faces child abuse charges.
Scottsdale police said a witness heard a crying child inside a Dodge Durango parked in an office complex parking lot at 9700 N. 91st St. in Scottsdale about 12:30 p.m. Thursday. The woman reported to police the two young children were inside the vehicle parked directly in the sun, with the engine off, the doors closed and each of the four windows were just slightly open.
The mother, Shanesha Taylor, 35, returned to the vehicle about 45 minutes later and told the officer she had just finished a job interview and did not have anyone to watch her children.
"She was upset. This is a sad situation all around. She said she was homeless. She needed the job. Obviously not getting the job. So it's just a sad situation," said Scottsdale Police Sergeant Mark Clark.
She was arrested and booked into jail for child abuse.
Her children are now in CPS custody.
Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved
Many will argue that this woman made a horrible decision by leaving her children unattended for 45 minutes, in hot weather while she attended a job interview. Many will say that those children are in a better place and that this woman probably didn't care about her children anyways. Many will label her as just another single black mother who shouldn't be raising kids, alone especially. But, what if this woman is in fact a good mother but had no real help. Maybe she made a few mistakes with budgeting money or a past relationship, but now she is getting back on track.
I don't know Shanesha Taylor or have any connection to this case. All I know is that I have been right where she's at, desperate to give your child/children a better life. And just by looking at this woman's mugshot, I can feel her pain and frustration over what happened. What if this woman is not the abusive mother that CPS may now label her as? What if she did reach out to every agency in her area but was denied?
For anyone who has ever dealt with Child Welfare/CPS/ACS, we know that this woman is in for a long battle. We know that they are not going to care about how much she cries that she loves her children because They feel that They know what's in the best interest of our children. Her children. The help for this family is going to come too little to late.
So, to the State of Arizona, I ask you. What are you going to do? What are we as women who continue to be vilified by family court and the child welfare system going to do? This should not be just another woman who happened to "fall through the cracks."