I am Edward Charles, The Cornerstone Community Alliance (CCA) asked if I would be interested in submitting a life story for their website. As I believe in the cause of CCA I thought why not?
First off I have never submitted my views for anything like this before. I have however published a book about male victims of domestic violence and the the prejudice against fathers in the family court that I have experience. That being said I thought I would talk about what the impact on my daughter has had on her relationship with me her father. I would also like to talk about the mental health side of the family courts and the impact on both targeted parent and affected child.
First off, I can say for four years of Faith’s (my daughter) life we had what can only be deemed as a typical father daughter relationship. There was nothing typical to life in the house. Faith would come to me for everything, I think this was because of the abuse the mother was putting us through at the time. I would do everything to protect Faith, distract the mother so I took the brunt of the abuse. To say Faith was scared of her mother was an understatement.
“I had little choice but to not pursue court action, this was possibly one of the hardest things I had to accept in the whole episode.”
I have now been refused contact with Faith (my daughter) by her mother for over ten years. We separated when Faith was four, other than two times when Faith was nine I have not seen her at all. This wasn’t for the lack of trying as I went to court to get an order to see my daughter. Her mother sat in front of a judge and told them she would not stop me from seeing Faith. Received the court order, then while the documents were being filled out by my legal advisor we were told that contact was going to be refused. The mother knowing it was then going to cost me a few thousand pounds more to go back into court, she got what she wanted “the end of any chance of contact” plus knowing money was running out to do this. I had little choice but to not pursue court action, this was possibly one of the hardest things I had to accept in the whole episode.
While I have written to Faith and sent her presents, I am not too sure these have ever been passed along to my daughter. Any parent who has gone through this will tell you, there isn’t a day that goes by that you don’t think of your missing child. Wondering what they are up to, what they are thinking about and if you are ever in their thoughts. I can tell you now, there wasn’t a day that went by that Faith wasn’t in my thoughts, I had photographs of her when she was four and nine. These were my only contact with a daughter I loved so much; I would cry when looking at them.
Result of Sorts
Moving forward to May 2017, my family came together. They knew that my mental health was deteriorating with my struggling to come to terms with the abuse I had lived through and being ignored by authorities. But more importantly missing Faith more than anyone could imagine they started the ball rolling to get a court order once more for contact to start up. In May 2018, I was granted a contact order.
“To say I am over the moon to see my now fourteen year old daughter is an understatement.”
Sounds simple doesn’t it? Sadly no it wasn’t simple. Not after spending £13,000 on legal advisors and barristers and then having the mother delay and extend the court proceedings. This I can only believe was a hope of me once more running out of money. I got the court order and to start off it was twice at a contact centre, then for three months a day visit every other weekend. We are now at the point where Faith is staying overnight at her grandmother’s house every other weekend. To say I am over the moon to see my now fourteen year old daughter is an understatement. Faith is still at the mercy of her mother and she has been told not to tell me anything about her life.
But slowly and surely Faith will see that her father is not the monster her mother has told her I am. I will ensure her life will be full and she will learn about her extended family.
It is little wonder why men struggle to come to terms with being a separated parent. What you have just read, is just a small insight into what I have lived through. But what is not talked about is the emotional impact on the individual. Any loving parent, who is refused contact, will have their mental health affected. It is like cutting off your left arm and then trying to pick something up on your left side. It hurts because you have to adapt, you turn and use your right arm.
“If you need to talk to someone then do so.”
In my opinion mental health is hardest to adapt to for men, as we are brought up not to talk about our emotions. This is seen as a weakness and we should just grin and bear it. In my opinion, No. We are human beings and we need to learn to express our emotions, just because you are a man doesn’t mean you have no feelings.
If you need to talk to someone then do so. Trust me it doesn’t just help, it gives those around you a little insight into what is going on. Perhaps then they will be able to help even more and direct you down another path. Speaking with some experience now, I wish I had spoken up early on in what was happening to me.
I will from time to time submit a follow up story onto the CCA blog. These will be more about how Faith and I are doing. What we are both up to and sharing the issues I am facing and giving an opinion on topics.
Please take care of yourself, if you can relate to any of what you have just read then please share to help raise awareness. If you are struggling with your mental health, please oh please do not keep it to yourself… Talk to someone!
A big thank you from The Cornerstone Community Alliance to Edward Charles for contributing the above content.
Please Note: We pledge to never make a profit or any other form of financial gain from any individuals affected by the injustice of the Family Justice System.
If you have been, or are currently affected by any of the above issues, please do not hesitate to get in contact with our dedicated Support Team. Whether it is for support, to share your story, to seek advice, or all of these reasons, please do get in touch, we are here to help.