In prosecuted but Not Silenced: Courtroom Reform for Sexually Abused Children, Maralee McLean shares her legal journey to protect her daughter from her ex-husband’s alleged sexual abuse. She faced barriers at every turn and her ex-husband ultimately won custody. Her efforts to seek justice produced outcomes that would make many protective mothers question whether to travel her path. Changing the legal landscape motivated her to write her book.
By writing this book I wanted to make a difference for those working in the fields of domestic violence, child abuse, or child trauma so that maltreatment would not continue. I wanted to open the eyes of the legal system to mothers “trapped” in similar situations. I also wanted to make the public aware of the tragedy that is taking place in our courts and to make a difference in saving other children and protective mothers. When an alleged abuser wins custody and a safe, protective mother who is the primary attachment figure is limited to supervised visits, no visitation or parental rights terminated, it is an outcome that creates a reaction of disbelief for the media and the public, but sadly, is very common.
After experiencing the system fail time and time again, despite irrefutable evidence of abuse, hearing after hearing, enduring year after year of the child abuse not being admitted into the court record and finally becoming financially depleted, I began to realize a main problem was lack of education and training among professionals handling these cases.