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Bagel Club - Domestic Violence Survivors and Court Reform

Sunday, December 4, 2022 10 Kislev 5783

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM

November has been declared National Family Court Awareness Month due to a public health crisis we are experiencing here in the United States that primarily affects women and children.  This silent epidemic, the unjust and violent reality of what happens to domestic violence victims and their children AFTER they leave their abuser, has, until recently, been kept in the dark. It has already been acknowledged that domestic violence takes an enormous toll on women and children emotionally, psychologically, physically, and financially.  This is strongly correlated to the CDC-Kaiser Permanente findings in their ground-breaking adverse childhood experiences (ACE) study which shows adverse childhood experiences, such as domestic abuse, drastically increase the likelihood of long-term negative health and financial consequences. 

ACE’s can have lasting, negative effects on health, well-being, and on life opportunities such as education and job potential. These experiences can increase the risks of injury, sexually transmitted infections, maternal and child health problems (including teen pregnancy, pregnancy complications, and fetal death), involvement in sex trafficking, and a wide range of chronic diseases and leading causes of death such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and suicide. Women are encouraged to leave an abusive partner, in order to protect herself and her children. The majority of people believe that once a woman leaves with her children, and is no longer partnered with the abuser, she is safe, and more importantly that her children are safe. Sadly, this is not the case.  According to The Leadership Counsel on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence, 58,000 children a year are handed over into the custody of a know abuser by the US family court system. Why is this happening? And more importantly, what can we as a community, and as a nation, do to address this crisis?

Our presenter is Ms. Sarah Kerlow, who holds a masters in human rights education, and is currently finishing her doctorate of education at University of San Francisco. She is involved in both local and international research and advocacy efforts; specifically with California Protective Parenting Association, Survivors Rising, and Backbone Collective.  She terms herself a “single mother-Domestic Violence survivor-activist-scholar.” She has been, and continues to be, inspired and humbled by those ordinarily extraordinary women in her life; namely survivor warrior mamas who work tirelessly to protect, honor, and nurture their children. As a survivor of domestic violence she is never the less continuously subjected to her abuser through the court-ordered and court-sanctioned violence against her children, as her abuser still retains 50-50 custody. Her deep belief is that in order to address the myriad human rights violations taking place against women and children in the family court and greater society, we must create, support, and embrace survivor-led initiatives, organizations, and legislation. Her greatest joy and accomplishment is mothering her five incredible children. 

Sarah has been featured in the Center for Judicial Excellence website, on the Women Spaces KBBF show with Elain Holtz and she has spoken with the Department of Human Services Sonoma County at the Rotary Club of Santa Rosa. She will be speaking about the loopholes and mis-understandings, as well as tactics that are being used by abusive controlling parents, that are harmful to children and enabling of abuse of children and mothers and harming a big percentage of our population health-wise, emotionally and financially.

Also presenting and host of this Bagel Club is CST member Odalis Medianero, who is a survivor herself. She has witnessed and experienced the chaos and confusion stirred up by attorneys, Child Protective Services, Deputy’s from Sheriff’s department, court-involved professionals in cases where children are coming back hurt from an abusive parent’s home. Then that parent uses the concerns of the protective, parent, 97% of time moms, to say that parent is alienating. In 80% of times the protective parent lost custody only due to the fact of stating what the children said or by attempting to protect their children from abuse, many cases include sexual abuse. She hopes by advocating we can find a path to keeping children safe by implementing safety measures via the court as well as have the courts implement a healing component and better trauma focused training of their judges and Family & Consumer Sciences professionals.



The Bagel Club invites you to join us on the first Sunday of each month for a bagel meal followed by a live speaker. Meal includes a selection of bagels, cream cheese, lox and all the trimmings. We welcome all CST members to join us.

We request a donation of $10 for the meal. Available in-person only.

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Tue, November 29 2022 5 Kislev 5783