Women as Backlog


I had the uncomfortable feeling that he was considering what kind of wife I would be. Like a game. It was just a feeling but one that I had never had before in my life. Appraisal, like a car.

This was the first day of my testimony in Ontario Superior Court in what became a six day trial. My former partner had sued for divorce after I told him I was filing in the state we lived in, and had spent the better part of three years dragging us all back to Toronto. This must have cost him a great deal. I cannot imaging spending money hiring a team to force my children out of their home and eliminating their mother.

This however was what he had done. He had ignored an Appeal Court ruling that Ontario did not have jurisdiction.

Before that he had stalked us at our hotel. My older child had returned to the states on his own. He had his last year of high school and refused to be forced to do it in Toronto. He also was an athlete and was about to be captain of his team, something you work for.

There would be no relatives at his graduation. My former husband told his mother-in-law that his own violence was mine; his own mental illness was mine.

During the ensuing months I would take an apartment in Toronto that was equivalent to the cost of my mortgage in the US.

A Canadian judge would accuse me of forgery, be told he was mistaken – go call this judge – return only when my former partner’s lawyer screamed to the clerk that she wanted two thousand dollars for forgery.

This judge, named William Horkins did indeed say he saw what was happening here, when I asked him (his face turning red). His orders, ones that were to return my son, did nothing remotely in that department. The lawyer would already know there had been no forgery.

Three years prior to this, the evening before the first hearing in Ontario to say, no Ontario does not have jurisdiction of our divorce, Hawaii does. The Hawaii Third Circuit Court would decided in March of the next year that my former husband ‘should not be rewarded’ for his influence of the child.

Ontario Divisional Court would overrule J. S. MacLeod, the Peterborough judge who allowed an abduction during a hearing, believing a child would ‘contact his father all night’. He did not. He was sleeping, without his iPad, at a family friend’s house in Toronto so he had no contact with the hearing that would become the beginning of his own lack of freedom from then until now. Divisional Court would write (J. Patillo and two other judges) that J. MacLeod made palpable errors.

My former husband hovered around the hotel the night before the hearing, texting my child to come down. This had been happening for a week so it was a good thing, I thought that my son was not there. In the morning there was another text, very early, to come down.

The lawyer made up this story.

Then she lied to the judge and said she had only received the Temporary Restraining Order on August 10. She said I had been hiding it.

This lawyer was served the Temporary Restraining Order three months prior to that date, and she would say so, in Transcript later.

She screamed in my direction at this manifestation of control I was doing.

But the control was all hers, the show all hers. She was an experienced person of whatchamacallit.

· * * * *

The array of devices used to twist and turn my children and my life cannot be easily explained and I am not going to even try.

In court, I would only be mocked for trying to try. Judge Hoskins made a comment of the length of my submission in 2020.

Judge Kimmel would be drawn into a nuzzled conversation with this lawyer over a story the lawyer told, that though false, drew that judge into believing I was a kind of witch, so focussed on revenge that I would ignore a large fund of money available to me in order to maliciously bring a motion.

These contacts with my children, who heard these stories over and over again, brought them stress, and then PTSD. One was at Emergency and called 911. The lawyer told Judge Kimmel this 911 call never happened.

· * * *

At the trial, I began by explaining a bit about our life. During my explanation I noticed the judge looking at me in a strange way. It was like he was leaning over and admiring me. I didn’t like it.

Later I thought about it, why didn’t you like it? Maybe if you would have liked it you could have done better.

Court is not about being liked, I responded. This man was appraising me, would turn out to be sexist, would deny my accountant (each party was to have an accountant witness – quite important since this was all about settlement, there was no longer any custody) and would believe a story that I had refused to repay my son, after seeing a mountain of cheques I had written for my son’s tuitions (and mortgage to keep the house from foreclosure after my former husband removed my name from the bank account. He did this during a contract to not do this, so this became a new story they made up as to why he had done this.) I am entitled to as much in property division as my former husband but this judge (Monahan) refused any such thing.

There was a radical change from the expression on the judge’s face once he discovered that I had used other money available to me after I was forced from using money that was for my use -- and not told my former husband while he was threatening me if I used other funds.

He thought that was terrible, it seemed from the look on his face and the raising of his voice.

· * * *

When I read the final orders (my son had called to warn me, having had it read to him) it was kind of like, the first time I though about self harm. Never in my life had I ever though I would do anything to myself, and having grown up in an alcoholic household, I had coped, and even thrived right after leaving at eighteen.

This man, this man in ultimate power, in his sixties, white, rich most likely, had identified with my former partner, the man I had two children with, lived with for more than twenty years. The man with the pen had decided that after looking at me in one way, he would now look at me in another way. He would decide that I had no value, that my rights or equality were nil. That I would pay the costs of this trial was his final decision several weeks later. (nothing about the restraining order, Divisional Court)

· * * *

I have no answer about writing about this scenario except to say that while I was housesitting I took some time to think about following up. Jason Michelle Patterson and I teamed together to make a documentary about children, young people, and the psychological abuse they endure inside their own homes.

About the court, this will be a through-line of the film, and many others will be doing the same, showing their expertise through experience, during an examination of solutions by Elders in Indigenous culture. TEK (traditional ecological knowledge) is Indigenous Science and uses patience. Western science and Indigenous Science together is Two-Eyed Seeing (Albert Marshall, 2004) and this gives us all a say in our solutions.

We live in a democracy, which is engagement.

What I can say from experience is that the people in the rooms with no windows are wrecking family life. They sit there all day, 'important', angry that the wifi is slow and blaming the stenographer, changing their facial expressions as they decide…yes? No?all day

This is not a solution.

There are far better people to help families engage in meaningful decisions which affect their entire life. The word is help.

#YesAllWoman #WhyIStayed #justice #humanrightstribunal #sexualharrassment #developing

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