It has been 25 days since I’ve heard anything from CAS. It has been 35 days since my ex was reported. My understanding is that they have up to 45 days to make some sort of decision but I don’t even know where the process is because they haven’t called me back.
CAS feels like a very broken system.
I’ve been going through a variety of emotions since he was reported and most days I just feel exhausted with it all. I was definitely upset (sat on the couch and bawled my face off precisely) when I first found out—well, maybe afraid is the better word—about what would happen and what it would mean. I was afraid of how my ex and his wife would react and how it would be if they were angry enough (because from what I’ve experienced, it’s not pretty). I was afraid because I didn’t want to draw attention. I was afraid because I am worried that I will somehow end up in court and be labeled as just trying to get back at him by making a mountain out of a mole hill. I firmly believe they would use something like this against me and accuse me of trying to alienate them, even though it isn’t true. I am absolutely terrified to lose them.
I didn’t report them, but I don’t even know if it would matter.
I also think I was (am) a bit angry. Mostly at how the system works. It’s like all of a sudden, this thing happens and someone tells a person who is supposed to take care of it and you have no control over what happens next but you wait and wait for something to come out of it. But nothing happens. When nothing happens, it feels like there isn’t anything to back you up and you are left trying to make the best decisions but can only make so many decisions without someone standing behind you to support what you’re saying and doing. How long do you wait for something to happen? How long do you wait for someone to have your back? And if/when it does happen will it even make things better or easier somehow?
Of course there is also the fact that I’m angry it even happened at all.
This whole situation feels like just another example where the person who should be dealing with the consequences, is not, and once again the one who should be apologizing does not. It never seems to change. Those in the wrong can say what they want and do what they want and continue to get away with everything. They feel untouchable.
It’s very hard to convince yourself that it will ever be different.
CAS is supposed provide protection for our youngest and most vulnerable citizens but it doesn’t even feel organized enough to address the very real problems that exist. Repetitive “minor” physical and emotional abuse and neglect and poor parenting are seemingly ignored. What we end up with are child protection workers that apparently do not have the mandate to intervene appropriately in cases that get labeled as “custody cases”. They simply walk away and leave everything in disarray. And what happens then? Like always, you are left alone to find whatever supports you can find.
What about my ex? Without overwhelmingly powerful proof of harm, it feels as though his behaviour is vindicated. Any effort to genuinely try to protect a child from abuse is discredited. You can file a complaint if you don’t like what is happening—it’s actually one of the first things the CAS worker told me—but what’s the point? So they can look at you like some vindictive person who is unstable and wants revenge?
All the current system does is reinforce the long-held belief that it’s better to remain silent or not to disclose child abuse unless there has been the direct observation of abuse from an unbiased third party and the injury is serious enough to result in findings of major trauma.
A person is simply left between a rock and a hard place – unable to report evidence of child abuse to anyone in a position of authority who might be able to assist and living in fear of accusations of being a neglectful parent (and of breaking the law) for not reporting abuse when it comes to light that the child has been harmed.
He said, she said.
He always comes out ahead and gets to say what he wants and do what he wants.
She must learn to simply live with it.