The story of the 4 Vincenti girls, kidnapped from Italy where a separated couple had joint custody is ongoing. The world watched as the girls were made the centre of a legal and media battle with the mother, Laura Garrett, who kidnapped the girls, insisting the father that abusive and mentally unstable.
The back and forth, and finally in 2012, the heart wrenching seizure of the girls, forced on a plane to be returned to their father, was more than most people could deal with.
In the beginning everyone seemed to jump on the mother’s bandwagon, believing everything that was said against the father, without any proof. Such is the way of the world we live in now. Women, instead of gaining their rights and insisting on a standard that applies across the board to all human beings in all aspects of life, have replaced the “good old boy’s club” with one of their own. I just do not understand how, having been victims, any woman would now themselves victimize others. I understood that the women’s movement was about equality. No-one ever said anything about seeking revenge which is exactly what happens now.
Attend family court, work with social workers, maintenance enforcers, police . . . the man is almost always considered to be the bad guy and the woman is almost always believed and supported, even in the face of evidence to the contrary.
Such was the case here.
I don’t know these people. I don’t know anything about what happened or didn’t happen while they were married. I don’t know what happened to the children. And neither do any of you. Not even the grandmothers really know what happened. That is why people need to keep their noses out of other people’s business because all that happens when we involve ourselves and choose sides, is that we escalate that families pain.
Our only response should be to encourage the family to heal. Seek help if needed, work together, put the kids first and heal.
I am not speaking to the particulars. I am speaking to what happened in the media circus that ensued.
During the time the girls were with the mother, the family and the girls spoke out against the father making unsubstantiated allegations. They gathered a Facebook mob to support the feeding frenzy. He was kept from seeing them.
Last night during the interview with the girls, they spoke about their lives now. They are happy where they are. They love their father. They admit they did not know when they went to Australia that their father would not be joining them. I imagine if they were fleeing an abusive man they would have had some idea what was happening.
They went on to say kind and loving things about their mother and her family. They did not blame her. They did not accuse her. The oldest girl took the full blame of saying that she herself “exaggerated” the stories about her dad. The girls said their mother had not been to see them in Italy as she told them she was busy with work and school. They accepted that. The girls talked about loving both their parents, wanting to see both their parents, wanting to spend time with both of them.
The girls talked about how their parents had not handled things well and failed to protect them as children, instead putting them in the middle of it and causing them pain. It was the closest they came to saying anything unkind about either party.
While the girls were with their mother we heard nothing but horrible things about the father. The mother is the one who broke the law and lied to get the girls to Australia. When she was required to produce the girls in Australian court, she was aided by her mother and her friends and family to hide them. She had the girls hysterical with fear and spewing lies about their father.
The father, nor anyone in his family has said anything unkind, as reported by media, about the mother. He asked only that his children be returned to him as per the court order. Had a woman been in his shoes and a father escaped with the children, he would have been arrested and jailed and never allowed to see the children again. His life would have been over.
Since 2012 we have basically only heard of the story through the mother and her supporters who insisted the girls were miserable, completely unhappy with their father, and begging her to come back to Australia.
The reporter last night spoke of the Facebook comments sent to the girls suggesting ways the girls could make their father’s life miserable. Even now, when I checked, the campaign goes on to support the mother completely and to villify the father. I read comments where people say the girls were coerced, and that they looked miserable and about to cry and that the writers of the comments were still campaigning and supporting the mother to get her daughters back. That is not to “share” the daughters, or to work something out, but still to “win,” as if the girls are a prize in some incredible contest. It is clear, that for Laura Garrett, her children’s affection is an “either/or” propostion. There is not room in her rules for the girls to have both parents.
The response to the interview was addressed on Facebook again.
What is most disturbing is that even in the face of evidence to the contrary the war is raging. The woman is supported when she clearly has done wrong and the man is still the target of every effort to destroy. Instead of people looking at this and saying the girls are fine. They look like healthy, happy, beautiful girls who love both parents and want a relationship with both of them. Why is that not enough? Why is everyone still after blood? The mother can see the girls. She just has to share them with the other person who is responsible for them even being on this earth. She doesn’t get everything she wanted. She doesn’t get to leave the marriage, start a new life, take everything from him, and destroy him in the process.
I find myself asking what we should all be asking. What is this really about, this war between men and women over families, because it has nothing to do with doing the right thing by the children. I also want to know what it is going to take for the people involved in family situations, the very people we turn to to sort these things out, to actually do their job and handle each case as it comes up, getting the facts and acting on those instead of jumping to conclusions and carrying the banner to “even the score.”
This is a perfect example of the bias that exists in family courts towards the father. No-one investigated or bothered with the facts, not even the very agencies that are intended to do that.
How incredibly awful to accuse anyone of being abusive to a child, let alone that child’s parent. How do you “undo” the damage of false accusations? We have allowed false accusations because we are supposedly so desperate to protect our children, and better to be wrong in a couple of instances than to not have anyone saying anything and miss dozens. It all sounds good in theory, until you are the one accused. So maybe it is time to start looking at those doing the false accusing, and if there is even the slightest possibility it was malicious – prosecute. I can forgive a stranger who sees something, misinterprets it and reports it. That is erring on the side of caution. But when someone, like this woman, KNOWS, that there was no abuse, is it really so difficult to see what happened here??
And it is not just here, it is in so many family cases in family courts all over the world.