On this #SurvivorStories episode, we speak with Lana, a protective mother whose failed plight to seek help from the legal and justice systems in New York City for her daughter has led her to find refuge in Russia. Lana describes the police, court and child welfare response when she first suspected her toddler daughter was being sexually abused by her father. She has since adopted the protective parent nomer as a result of their collective unwillingness to believe and protect her daughter--despite medical evidence. Reflecting on her continued struggles, Lana will share the #signsofabuse that first directed her to seek help and the ways in which helpers in the system became unwilling enablers of the abuse. Lana also suggests #upstandertips for how friends, family and help providers can be more effective in making the child’s safety a priority over the abusers’ parenting rights.
**Trigger Warning** for those who may be experiencing similar challenges as protective parents or sexual assault survivors. Our goal in sharing these stories is to debunk the myth that predators and abusers have a limited or a particular profile or come from a narrow demographic, so that when protective parents or children disclose, you will not disbelieve, victim blame, deny, minimize or shift accountability away from the perpetrator to the victim, and for us as a society to really begin to step up to act with openness, acceptance and compassion.
Update: Since the recording of this interview, Lana has had two court dates in the United States. On October 18th, Lana reports that the GAL or her daughter's Guardian ad Litem told the court that she didn't know where the children where, despite Lana's more than sixty text messages with the GAL sharing news and updates on her daughter's well-being. As a result of this false accusation, Lana's case was adjourned to November 30th. On that day, the judge forbade Lana from filing a motion she prepared to seek protection for her daughter. At the same time, Lana's husband filed a motion for custody citing his primary caretaker status.
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