'A powerful documentary about a mother and daughter's tragic involvement with the judicial system when there were allegations of child sexual abuse. This riveting book is a must read for all those working in the fields of domestic violence, child abuse, or child trauma so they can realize what does occur even today. It is important to ensure that all judges, attorneys, mental health professionals, medical personnel, child custody evaluators, and social workers are trained in the dynamics of such maltreatment so that there are no more situations like what happened to Maralee and her daughter.'
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Maralee McLean is a child advocate speaker, protective mother, and author of Prosecuted But Not Silenced. Maralee’s passion for child advocacy developed over two decades of living a mother’s worse nightmare. Fighting the system both body and soul, she gained the insight that this was not her nightmare alone. She organized a National Rally of Mothers at the Capitol and is involved in legislative work on the task force for the Colorado Children’s Code appointed by the Governor. Maralee has testified before Congress to promote judicial accountability to better protect sexually abused children’s rights in our courts. She is with APB speaker bureau, Women’s Media Center and she has spoken at several law schools and conferences. Her story has been covered by many local media outlets and internationally on CNN.Review:
STOP CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE * STOP COURT OVERSIGHT OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE *
STOP OFTEN LINKED CHILD ABUSE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE * STOP LOOKING AWAY *
Prosecuted But Not Silenced: Courtroom Reform for Sexually Abused Children, written by
Maralee McLean, calls our hearts and minds to sharp attention. We simply cannot look away from
this reality, from this clear cut example of what can take place in and within all too common poorly
Far to often informed,flawed, biased, and at times evendishonest judicial and legal processes.
Frequently these processes and their professional participants actually enable the perpetration, and
virtualprotection of the perpetration, of childsexual abuse. Too often, we findcomplete misunderstandings,and at times even purposeful blurringsand distortions, of parental rights, parentalprotections, child abuse, intimate partnerabuse, accompanied by wobbly definitional shellssuch as the odd, risky and mostfrequently fallaciously applied "parentalalienation
syndrome" concept that has emerged.
Here,in this daring, disturbing, and inplaces immensely wrenching, book by MaraleeMcLean,we are taken on the abuse and litigation of abuse journey of author Ms. McLean and her daughter. And
whata bloody path we tread here, apath fraught with double binds, tricktwists, traps,and impossible choices. How does an abused woman who is a mother choose between the risk of losing
custodyon the one hand, and the riskof further sexual abuse of her childif she stays with the parent abusing herchild. How does this woman make herway through through the web of sloppy, inadequate, nonsenscal, uninformed poorly administered, and cruelly denied justice?
As Ms. McLean writes, "A mother's first instinct is to protect her child, and when the means and the
powerto do this are stripped unjustlyfrom a mother, there are no wordsto describe the constant heartachethat is felt as each day passesby." McLean tells us "my heart wasripped out every time myprecious little girl told me andothers what most people would describeas unimaginable." The abusethis child experienced is indeed difficultto want to know about, and yetwe must pay
attention to the reality that some children do indeed endure such abuse. We also must pay attention
tothe terribly inadequate response to thisabuse displayed by some courts, evaluators,clinicians, law enforcement officials, and other professionals.
For the most part, society's eyes are closed, shut, to the reality that too many courts do not protect
theinnocent from injury or further injury.Rather, the courts too frequently risk,and sometimes evenexacerbate further, injury of the innocent.We cannot tell ourselves this sort ofthing is not taking place. We cannot say that our system of justice protects us from the tragic failures of justice
thesemisunderstandings, blurrings and distortionspromote. We are talking about human lives here.
Dr. Angela Browne-Miller
DrAngela.com * DrAngela@DrAngela.com
Editor, Violence and Abuse in Society: Understanding a Global Crisis
Author, For Knowing No Hurt No Harm: Hidden, Subtle and Obvious Aspects of Intimate and OtherPartner
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