PLEASE NOTE: This blog is a bigotry free zone open to all persons, regardless of age, race, religion, color, national origin, sex, political affiliations, marital status, physical or mental disability, age, or sexual orientation. Further, this blog is open to the broad variety of opinions out there and will not delete any comments based upon point of view. However, comments will be deleted if they are worded in an abusive manner and show disrespect for the intellectual process.
Showing posts with label DOMESTIC PARTNER ABUSE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DOMESTIC PARTNER ABUSE. Show all posts

Saturday, November 5, 2016

MS. PAIGE STVAN: VICTIM OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND FAMILY COURT ABUSE, PART V!

On Febrary 12, 2005, Ms. Paige Stvan's then husband, Mr. Thomas Stvan, yelled at her, telling her to "shut the fuck up", told her that she was "worthless" and continued to call her all sorts of names. Finally, he became extremely violent, grabbed a glass from her hand and crushed it on her head."  To protect herself, Ms. Stvan threatened to call the police, at which point her ex left the apartment and for some reason only known to him went to the police to preemptively report himself.  He was immediately arrested and an order of protection was issued on Ms. Paige Stvan's behalf.  

Needless to say, Ms. Paige Stvan is a victim of domestic violence.  This observation has been backed up by mental health professionals as follows:

Dr. Linda Gunsberg on Paige Stvan, "She has been going through a divorce and re-litigation until now and there is no end in sight.  Her ex-husband...is ruthless and will only stop when he has totally devastated Ms. [Stvan] financially and emotionally...As a result of this abusive marriage and endless Court appearances, Ms. [Stvan] is not only the victim of Domestic Violence, but also suffers from PTSD.  She lives in constant fear of what her ex-husband will do to her and her [child] next."  

Dr. Gunsberg's diagnosis?  Spouse Violence, Physical: V15.41 and Spouse Abuse, Psychological:  995.82.

Social Worker Ashley Adamson, "Ms. [Stvan] presents with a traumatic history of abuse and neglect [which includes] continuous Domestic Violence since her marriage to Mr. Thomas Stvan...With this in mind, treatment has focused on helping Ms. [Stvan] to understand how her past experiences with emotional and physical violence have impacted her current relationships...and to process...her sudden separation from her child after acting as the primary caregiver for the past twelve years."  

Ms. Adamson commends Ms. Stvan on her ability to "continue to advocate for herself despite constant accusations and hostility from her ex-husband."  

So how does it end up that at the same time that Ms. Paige Stvan receives treatment as the victim of domestic violence and remains currently a client of one of the State's well known domestic violence centers, Judge Gerald Adelman has Ms. Paige Steven down as a perpetrator, not a victim?  Let me make a stab at providing an answer to this puzzling phenomenon.  

Of course, we are all now well aware that the State of Connecticut has the highest dual arrest rate in the nation.  However, in addition to this, Ms. Stvan's case points to a  situation that has been well documented, for example, in a Forbes article by Jeff Landers who reports that abusers are "upending domestic violence laws" in order to get the upper hand in divorce.  As Landers put it, "this ploy is just as ugly as it sounds", "some men..[are getting their wives who are actually the victims] arrested, prosecuted and even sentenced as abusers."  Such men have learned to "reshape domestic violence laws into another weapon of abuse."  

In particular, the Women's Justice Center has posted information about how tougher domestic violence laws have inadvertently resulted in skyrocketing arrest rates of women for domestic violence to the point where arrests of women for domestic violence are now 30 to 40 percent greater than before.  

Another striking point this organization makes is that despite the higher arrest rates, the conviction rates for men versus women remain essentially the same.  While 90 to 95% of males arrested end up being convicted, only 6% of arrested women are convicted, essentially because there isn't sufficient evidence. Basically, they are innocent. According to the Women's Justice Center, this means that "in a significant number of these cases, the officers are mistakenly arresting the victim of domestic violence and not the perpetrator."  

In Ms. Paige Stvan's case this appears to be exactly what occurred.  

I have looked at a considerable amount of the documents filed in the Stvan v. Stvan case.  What strikes me in general is how, at every juncture, Ms. Paige Stvan sought co-parenting therapy, suggested mediation, spoke out about resolving conflicts between the parents for the best interests of the child, attempted to avoid confrontations, avoided calling the police or in any way attempting to get her ex in trouble.  

In contrast, Mr. Thomas Stvan used every single opportunity he could find to report Ms. Stvan to authorities whenever he had the chance.  Simply reading one of his court motions demonstrates an individual who is condemnatory at every turn, mean spirited, harsh, judgmental and blaming.  This is hardly how you speak in regard to the mother of your child, particularly the one who, for the better part, has almost single handedly raised her for 12 years.  

Going beyond that, there is the record of the case itself when it comes to economic abuse.  Clearly, the Stvan's were used to a wealthy style of life.  They had an apartment close to Central Park worth at least $1 million, most likely considerably more.  Mr. Stvan earned a six digit salary while working in the publishing industry for 30 years, and clearly had some family money which helped make their lives even more comfortable.  Ms. Paige Stvan was primarily a homemaker who took care of their child.   

Mr. Thomas Stvan's financial position was sufficiently solid that, at the time that the couple separated in 2008, the Court felt it was reasonable for him to pay monthly support of $4,500 as well as the mortgage for their apartment (As a side note, the couple obtained a legal separation in 2008, and then divorced in 2013).  The agreement also included a provision that would allow Ms Page Stvan and her child to remain in the apartment until the child turned 18.

Still, in the years leading up to that financial agreement and subsequently, Mr. Thomas Stvan regularly withheld and randomized these payments, making sure that Ms. Paige Stvan and her daughter's lives were perilous and uncertain.  Ms. Stvan could never be sure when her ex's failure to pay would lead her to default on her mortgage, when the lack of financial support, or a circumstance where her ex's decision to empty out the bank account, would force her to lean on her credit cards.  

Then Mr. Stvan met and presumably married his current wife, an attorney who worked in civil litigation and who is now a real estate investor.  From then on the situation went from bad to worse.  Starting in 2012, Mr. Stvan returned to court and asked to have his financial obligations to Ms. Paige Stvan lowered.  From that time on, the Court lowered and lowered his obligation until in 2015 it was reduced to nothing.  His way of doing this was the always the same.  Each time Mr. Thomas Stvan would report Ms. Paige Stvan to the police for one concocted excuse or another, and then he would simultaneously go to Court to request a reduction in his payments and, due to his repeated, yet unfounded, claims of being a victim, he would end up being successful.  He also continued to harass Ms. Stvan by repeatedly requesting that the police make wellness visits to check up on their daughter, as well as reporting her to CPS.

As a consequence of this constant emotional and financial pressure, naturally, Ms. Paige Stvan ended up in counseling.  Once that was so, Mr. Stvan then began to use the fact that she was in counseling to accuse her of mental illness in all of his Court documents.  At every court hearing, whenever the police were called (and Mr. Stvan called the police frequently), at every CPS investigation, Mr. Thomas Stvan would tell elaborate stories about how he was a victim of domestic violence and how his ex wife was seriously mentally ill, and with every hearing these stories would become more and more elaborate.  Since Mr. Thomas Stvan was not required to provide any documentary or testimonial evidence to support his lurid tales, he simply got away with it, and one success inevitably built upon that next.    

In one situation, on February 8, 2013, Mr. Stvan had Paige Stvan arrested by claiming that she had broken his glasses and headphone during an argument outside their apartment building.  What is interesting is the wording of the complaint where the police officer stated repeatedly, "I am informed by Thomas Stvan".  There was nothing in the report to indicate that police had checked with Ms. Paige Stvan to obtain her side of the story, and her perspective wasn't included in the report. 

As it turned out, in that situation, because Thomas Stvan insisted upon pressing charges, police handcuffed Ms. Paige Stvan's wrists in front of her daughter before she was taken to the police station.  Then when they arrived at the police station, Mr. Stvan informed the police that his ex-wife had mental illness and so the police, as a matter of regulations, handcuffed her feet as well.  Then since it was Friday and the Court wasn't in session until Monday, Ms. Stvan was then held in a prison cell for the entire weekend.  

Predictably, these charges were ultimately dropped.  On another, very similar, occasion Mr. Thomas Stvan had Paige Stvan arrested for not obeying a court order she'd never seen before, and that the judicial marshal had not even delivered to her yet.  This is the power of Mr. Thomas Stvan to persuade people to do his bidding.  Later, again, these charges were dropped.

However, the fact that the Court decided not to follow up by prosecuting these incidents doesn't appear to matter.   Mr. Thomas Stvan could now claim, as he did in subsequent court hearings, that Ms. Paige Stvan had been previously arrested for domestic violence against him, and for disobeying court orders.  At the behest of Mr. Thomas Stvan, after the 2013 incident, based upon mere allegations, the Court granted Mr. Thomas Stvan a restraining order, custody of his daughter and supervised visitation for Ms. Paige Stvan until the outcome of a CPS investigation, which of course, he instigated by claiming his daughter was present during the incident when, in fact, she hadn't been.  During the entire incident the child was inside the apartment building far away from where it took place.  Of course, it didn't seem to bother police or Mr. Stvan when Paige Stvan was arrested and placed in handcuffs in front of the child.

Again, at that time, during the CPS investigation, caseworkers heard ominous reports of Ms. Paige Stan's mental health status and tendency towards violence from Mr. Stvan, all of which were ultimately found insignificant as Ms. Paige Stvan's parental rights were fully restored five months later.  

Of course, even if Ms. Stvan was cleared of allegations of child abuse, this did not stop Mr. Thomas Stvan from telling the court during his next hearing that his ex wife had been investigated by CPS for child abuse.  

Interestingly enough, when you look at the timing of these attacks on Ms. Paige Stvan they usually parallel a situation where Mr. Thomas Stvan wanted to force Ms. Stvan into an agreement she might not want to sign.  For instance, the arrest and destructive aftermath of the alleged incident re the eyeglasses occurred when Mr. Stvan sought to force Paige Stvan to agree to the sale of her apartment.  A month after Paige Stvan signed the sale papers, she got her daughter back.  

If I can see this pattern so easily, I'm not sure why it is so hard for Attorney Rosa Rebimbas to see it if she makes a proper investigation.  I saw it and nobody's paying me thousands of dollars to figure it out.  

I also want to make the observation that it appears to me that men obtain restraining orders for frivolous reasons, in contrast to women for whom judges raise the bar very high.  For instance, in the arrest on February 8, 2013 the allegation was "Paige broke my glasses."  On June 25, 2015, Mr. Thomas Stvan obtained another restraining order by claiming Ms. Paige Stvan made a few off color remarks to him.  

Do folks remember how Arianne Oyola was unable to obtain a restraining order after reporting that the father of her child pushed and shoved her, violated a prior restraining order twice, threatened to kill her, dismember her body and destroy it with acid, and interfered with her access to her child?  Now that is a credible domestic violence complaint, not the silly nonsense Mr. Thomas Svan came up with.  You have to have a child tossed off a bridge to his death to remind Judges of their responsibility towards women experiencing intimate partner violence.  Men, however, all they have to say is, "She gave me a boo boo." and court professionals roll out the red carpet.  

Throughout this process, Ms. Paige Taylor was represented by a series of attorneys who did nothing to defend her and sucked out of her as much money as they could get without lifting a finger.  This is also a very common experience that abused women have.  While many attorneys will work for men on a sliding scale or establish a payment agreement, for women, particularly those dealing with domestic violence, attorneys want all their money in cash up front.  This gross disparity in the quality of legal representation speaks volumes in regard to why intimate partner violence persists and why so many thousands of women remain trapped in these abusive relationships.  In this situation it affected a vulnerable mother and child who had no defense from a legal system that refused to enforce the law and ensure their safety and wellbeing.  

In his final act of abuse, on September 25, 2015, Mr. Thomas Stvan wrested their child from Ms. Paige Stvan's custody during a rigged legal proceeding where the mother was denied an evidentiary hearing, and then cut off from all access to her child.  As Ms. Stvan explains, during their entire marriage, Mr. Stvan was always able to control her because he would threaten to take her child and never let her see the child again.  As it turns out, even though Paige Stvan did all she could to cooperate with her ex, this is exactly what he did.  

Mr. Thomas Stvan claims that he is the victim.  But how could that be true?  He is the one who no longer has to make any support payments to his ex wife a mere two years after their 2013 divorce.  He is the one who now has sole custody of their child and has been able to cut the mother off from all access.  Only abusers do stuff like that. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

NEW BOOK "MOTHERLESS AMERICA: CONFRONTING WELFARE'S FATHERHOOD CUSTODY PROGRAM" BY DOREEN LUDWIG EXPOSES THE FATHERHOOD FUNDED CUSTODY SCAM!


What happens when a mother divorces her abusive husband? "Motherless America: Confronting Welfare's Fatherhood Custody Program" six memoir chapters answer the question in a raw tale of corruption and cover-up. Three protagonists, a lawyer, a psychologist and a judge, collude to eliminate mother from the children's lives by calling her mentally ill, jailing, depriving her of financial resources and the ability to educate and improve herself. Under dire circumstances, Doreen plows forward, learns the law, only to discover and investigate the government program that funds father's abuse. Six memoir chapters humanize by using real life to demonstrate problems, showing how policy affects lives.



It is not common knowledge that our government finances a family court industry that mandates abusive fathers over protecting women and children. Motherless America shines a light on a government program designed to give fathers control of children by way of family court. Six memoir chapters with four research chapters that inform readers of the nature of abuse and how it is processed by the family court industry; who invented the government program to make sure men control the family even after divorce; occupations that administer the program; and government funding and program design. The book concludes with a chapter that lists problems and offers solutions.

To purchase the book, please click on the link below:


Also, check out the website "Mothers Against Court Custody Abuse at the link below:

Friday, January 28, 2011

CAN A BATTERER CHANGE HIS OR HER BEHAVIOR FOR THE BETTER?

For many of us who deal with abusers in our own lives the big question is:  Can a batterer change his or her behavior for the better?  Well, so far, studies indicate a 70% failure rate for batterers who undergo treatment, and the remaining so called successes are likely to simply replace physical abuse with verbal abuse.

I can recall asking Lundy Bancroft the very same question about whether abusers can succeed in treatment three years ago when I started going to his workshops.  His answer then as it is now was that it is quite unlikely that a batterer will change unless there are serious consequences to his abusive behavior.  But, as Lundy explains, how often are there any serious consequences to a batterer's behavior?  Not that often! 

If there is one thing I note about my abuser it is that divorce was very good to him.  Not only is he in the situation where he no longer has to listen to anything that I say, he no longer has to support our children financially or emotionally on the level that he did when he was married, leaving me with the great majority of the sacrifices and the expenses.  

The only redeeming feature of the situation is that with time he no longer takes as much of an interest in harassing me, but if he did, he would be able to harass me and there is nothing I could do about it. Yes, we have agreements, but they are totally meaningless if the Court chooses not to enforce them, and the Court does choose not to. 

Prior to my divorce, I had at least the illusion that society did not condone the oppression and abuse of women, as did my husband, and that kept him in check and limited him in the worst of his behavior while providing me with at least the illusion of a minimal sort of protection for me and for my children.  However, once the divorce was filed, it was interesting to see how many people lined up to support this man whose oppression of me and my children was so blatent, as was the physical and psychological damage he had inflicted.  Somehow, so many of these people--lawyers, GALs, psychotherapists, pastors, etc.--found reasons to explain away and justify my ex husband's abuse, and the rest didn't want to get in any trouble by getting involved. 

So, why should an abuser stop?  Where is the reward?  Where is the motivation? 

Also, programs to get a batterer to reform are based upon the concept that people can change who they are.  Of course, where would psychotherapy be if we didn't believe that people could change themselves, and transform themselves into better people.  The field of psychology is founded upon the belief that people can change if they want to. However, as you well know, abusers don't want to change.  They are really satisfied with the way things are.

Regardless, how reasonable is it to believe that people can change themselves in any significant way?  I know many people who have changed their lives in the face of new opportunities and new ideas.  But these are the exceptional ones, the people who look at life and view its potential for greater depth through ongoing personal transformation, and want to grab at the opportunity. 

However, the vast majority of people are perfectly happy to stay as they are and they will stay as they are unless they are hit by a train or something.  And how often does that happen?  This was a tough lesson for me to to learn. 

All my life I hoped to change my Dad who was very abusive towards me from my childhood on.  As a child he used to put me down and call me, let me say "lazy" (I've just invented this adjective because I don't want to get too much into my personal story.)  All my life, I tried in various ways to prove to him that I wasn't "lazy" taking on enormous projects, making sure my home was impeccable, keeping busy from morning to night.  And there were times as the years went by when my Dad would actually appear to see that I was hardworking and I'd be so proud of myself.  But in the months before he died, what was he saying again?  He was saying I was "lazy." 

Even though I'm sure he loved me in many ways, some ways in which I may not have been able to see due to my own blindnesses. After all, "I was his daughter" as he declaimed in those final months, desperately trying to comfort me even as he couldn't resist continuing to harp on the old themes regarding my laziness.  Until the day he died, I was his "lazy" daughter. 

So, I'm not one to talk to when it comes to thinking people can change, or batterers can change.  Batterers are batterers.  They like to batter.  Our culture provides no serious consequences to batterers so they will keep on battering.  I basically think that, like pedophiles, batterers are completely incurable.  There is one exception to this I would add, which is that I do believe that a batterer can relinquish physical violence and replace it almost entirely with verbal abuse.  So they can change from using one form of abuse into using another form of abuse, but whatever it is that they are using, it will be abuse. 

What particularly worries me about Batterer Intervention Programs or Fatherhood Initiatives for batterers which are so immensely popular nowadays among the folks that continue to abuse and oppress women is that they won't eliminate the abuse, because as we know outcomes in these programs are pretty miserable.  Instead, they will educate these men to talk an even more righteous talk so that they will be able to talk themselves out of the consequences for their actions with even greater facility. 

Then the burden ends up being on the victim to explain her unwillingness to let the abuser back into her life and the lives of her children.  The result is that the abuser is even more sophisticated and clever about using the system to harm the victim even further.  This is my greatest fear.  And not just a fear.  This is a reality going on all over the country as different states establish batterer intervention programs and reduce the legal consequences to batterers in order to ensure their participation in the lives of their children, no matter how harmful that participation may be. How long will it be before these batterers end up with custody of the children because the mother refuses to work with the batterer cooperatively.  Not very long, I can assure you. 

It's all very sad, but the fact that this is going on is a reality in this country and the sooner we face it, the better off we will be.