Will Rebecca Minnock become another mother apart?

The media reports of Rebecca Minnock who has gone into hiding with her son are sure to make chilling reading for mothers living apart from their children. I am wondering what the outcome of this story will be – will Rebecca and Ethan be separated from one another in the end? And if they are – was that the outcome Rebecca feared in the long term that contributed to her running away? Many mothers apart will undoubtedly have considered running away with their child(ren) at some point rather than risk their child going to live with a parent who they suspect of abusing/harming their child – or risk their child being alienated from them and losing their protective mother.

Few mothers take the step that Rebecca Minnock has taken. Most will comply with court orders and stand by helplessly as professionals disbelieve and ignore their concerns about abuse and hand their child over to their abuser. Mothers apart may be condemned to a life of wondering what they could have done to protect their child – rehearsing each step of the process of becoming separated from their child over and over. They might fantasise about what would have happened if they had just run away with their child and imagine living somewhere else in the world where the concerns of mothers are valued and the mother-child relationship protected. The tension between listening to the maternal instinct to protect our young and listening to the authorities who tell mothers to hand over their children is enough to make some mothers run for the hills – but most do not not.

Most mothers take a deep breath, put on a brave face for their children, try to stay calm for the sake of their children and do what they are told. Most mothers apart struggle to maintain contact when an abusive ex opposes and sabotages their contact but they stay committed to doing what they can within the restrictions imposed upon them. Many mothers withdraw from children’s proceedings because they can see it is damaging their child even when they know that the decision of the court is not in the best interest of their child. Being separated from each other when there has been abuse can affect mothers and children profoundly and for a lifetime. Many mothers apart watch from a distance as their child grows up without them and sometimes they see their worst fears for their child’s well-being realised. Then the fantasies return and they wonder how things might have been different.

About Dr Laura Monk

I am a researcher and counselling tutor based at University of Nottingham. My doctoral research investigated how to improve professionals' responses to mothers who become separated from their children. I developed a training workshop for the professionals who mothers come into contact with - largely at the intersection of health and social care, the family courts and domestic abuse services. I am also a counsellor and psychotherapist and offer feminist therapy for survivors of domestic abuse - especially coercive control. I am a Women's Aid domestic violence prevention advocate.
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10 Responses to Will Rebecca Minnock become another mother apart?

  1. An interesting read. I found the media’s reporting on this story to be odd. I now know an awful lot about Rebecca Minnock – that she doesn’t have a job, that she doesn’t drive and I think there was mention of a council house. All of these things seem to be designed to paint a negative picture of her. In contrast, I know nothing about the father.

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    • laurammonk says:

      You make a good point – we know nothing about the father, except his name. I also read that she is a mother of four children and I am wondering where they are. It’s a dreadful situation.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. she is not a mother of 4 children. Ethan is her only child. She is a friend of mine. She is articulate, educated, nurturing and a wonderful Mummy. She is a stay at home Mum as she gave up her job to do so when she and her ex partner were together. She was his sole carer and represented herself to begin with (in court). When other agencies became involved, she listened to their ‘advice’ to begin with. – ie be a good and quiet girl, in the long run it’ll do your case good. It did not, as he was able to hire an expensive barrister who got a report made on Rebecca (which said she was a good mum etc, but that at some point, in the future, she MAY cause Ethan harm by not allowing him to see his father). Cafcass virtually copied this bought and paid for report, word for word. I’ve heard a tape of the Cafcass Social Worker interviewing Rebecca and she is highly unprofessional – she later resigned. Rebecca is currently living apart from Ethan and is not allowed to discuss him or anything to do with him to anyone.

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    • laurammonk says:

      Thank you for your comment and for setting the record straight. It’s good to hear some support for Rebecca from someone who knows her. We at MATCH Mothers understand Rebecca’s situation well as many of us were also full-time mothers who went through similar family court experiences before being separated from our children. Many of us had our children alienated from us and sometimes didn’t see them again until they are adults or never again at all. This is why I do my research to try and effect some change in this terrible situation. Rebecca will find a warm welcome and support at http://www.matchmothers.org/ as will any mother living apart from her children – whatever the circumstances.

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  3. Tracy Clayton says:

    Firstly, I need to set the record straight. Rebecca doesn’t have four children. Her ex partner RW new partner has four children and a baby on the way. Rebecca has had jobs, Rebecca so what if she can’t drive or lives in a council house does that make her a bad mother? Of course not. I think like the majority of people who haven’t got a clue about this situation or have enough knowledge about both mother and father should not comment.
    Secondly, Rebecca was told she could never have children and as you can imagine Ethan was her world.
    Too much hating on Rebecca and not enough thinking of how Ethan right now is coping without his mum.

    Liked by 1 person

    • laurammonk says:

      Thank you for your comments and I quite agree with you. It’s good to hear support for Rebecca in this awful situation where people have been so judgmental and cruel as they often are to mothers in our society.I can imagine that Ethan was Rebecca’s world and I expect that Rebecca was Ethan’s world also as she was his sole carer. I hope that Rebecca and Ethan will survive this together and will not be driven further apart as so many mothers and children are by the system that supposedly places the children’s best interests at heart.

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  4. Minnie says:

    I think the four children, council house, never worked and doesn’t drive comment is actually regarding RWs current partner, RM has always worked prior to having Ethan, and lived in a lovely home until RW got bailiffs to remove her and child in 2013, RM was the best mum you could imagine, always with her son, so much love between them both, it was plain for all to see.

    This has been a huge injustice for Rebecca Ethan and her family.
    The fact the community are now coming together and tying purple ribbons around the town speaks volumes, the neighbours of RW all speaking out against him.

    Thousands signing a petition.

    This needs to put right. I think we should all wrote to HHJ Wildblood at the Bristol family courts. This is a disgrace and we owe that innocent child.

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    • laurammonk says:

      Thank you for this information, which is so affirming of what many mothers already separated from their children suspected about this case. I know of many mothers whose separation from their child began with the stripping away of their resources, i.e. home, money, support, a voice, self-confidence, etc.
      It’s really fantastic to hear how the community are coming together – the purple ribbons are a wonderful idea.
      I haven’t seen the petition and can’t find it on the internet. Is it directly related to Rebecca and Ethan or about the issue more generally?

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  5. Minnie says:

    Bring Ethan home on Facebook will direct you to the petition for somerset social services and the petition to judge Wildblood, both on change.org and both have RM and Es photos on.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. laurammonk says:

    Thank you Minnie. I have signed it, of course. I’m not on FB at the moment but have shared it on Twitter and with MATCH Mothers.
    https://twitter.com/monk_laura
    https://twitter.com/matchmothers

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