On Saturday 22nd September I had the pleasure of being one of the public speakers at an event called The Dad Takeover.
The event took place in London. It was organised by Priscilla Appeaning. Priscilla is the founder of The Step Mums Club.
“I set up this initiative to debunk the ‘wicked stepmum’ stereotype and give support to this growing community of mothers with their journeys.” Read more about Priscilla’s reasons behind creating her movement here: Why I Launched The Step Moms Club.
The event started with a panel of four laypeople up on stage. All of them fathers that gave different, interesting and unique insights into modern day fatherhood. This was well received by the audience and rightly so.
The next stage of the event involved a Family Law Solicitor, named Tejal and I going on stage.
Tejal introduced herself, her professional role and then spoke about the family court process regarding cases of divorce and separations. Tejal advocated for self representation and signposted the audience to where they could find the relevant forms online. It was refreshing to hear a family law solicitor advocating for self-representation. Tejal’s talk was clear, concise and helpful.
After Tejal had finished, I then took the microphone and introduced myself. First of all regarding my profession; I explained I am a Charge Nurse on an acute psychiatric assessment unit. I then introduced myself in a personal capacity; an alienated parent of three children, who I have not seen for over two years.
Staying within the event’s broad topic of modern day fatherhood I then went on to explain what parental alienation is. How it occurs, the long term effects on all those affected by it and the flawed legal system that enables it to go unchallenged and fails to protect an incalculable number of children from emotional abuse.
I was then bombarded (all be it appropriately) by numerous questions from the audience about parental alienation. There were many more people there that had/are experiencing parental alienation first hand. Some of these audience members were aware that it had a name, some did not.
There was then a brief break where I had another opportunity to speak with numerous parents and step-parents that are currently battling parental alienation, all at different stages.
After the break there was a general Q&A session. Such topics discussed involved the Child Maintenance Service, fathers legal rights, fathers mental health and society’s perception and expectations of modern day fatherhood.
The Q&A session invariably turned into a debate. However, as is always the case in such circumstances, the event simply run out of time.
After the last Q&A session there was enough time for all attendees to discuss with one another the various topics highlighted in the day’s event.
I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to many people that have been and/or still are affected by parental alienation. I was also fortunate enough to meet a member of The Cornerstone Community Project; one of many attendees that engaged in the lively debate.
From my own experience I know how emotionally difficult it can be to disclose your own personal story of parental alienation to someone you have just met. With this in mind I would like to say a big thank you those people that shared their stories with me. It is such shocking stories that fill me full of motivation and energy to use Peace Not Pas to continue to raise awareness of, provide support for and lobby for reform regarding all elements of parental alienation.
Thank you so much for having me Priscilla. I am very grateful that you gave me the opportunity to talk publicly about subjects that I am incredibly passionate about; parental alienation, mental health and last but not least the importance of shared parenting post separation.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”