A battered woman, Holly Ann Collins, fled the United States with her children to protect them from abuse. They were granted Asylum in the Netherlands.
This is Jennifer Collins and this is MY site about what happened to me!
"My Dad would get mad at my mom and beat her!" Zachary - 11 years
Holly Collins - A True Hero!
“I should have left sooner,” said Holly-Ann Collins, 43, who was living in the Netherlands until a neighbor there recently saw an FBI wanted poster of the children and tipped off authorities. “It’s the best thing I ever did.”
"A victim's first scream is for help: a victim's second scream is for justice."Carol Anika Theill
Jennifer - 7 years
WARNING! Any posting to this site could result in anyone's ability to track you to a specific geographical location and address. Do not leave a message unless you are safe! I have been advised that this site may be monitored due to the controvesial name and content. Jennifer
My dad getting mad at me
Zachary - 11 years
Jennifer & Zachary
Safe in the Netherlands
"We have learned from our mistakes, and silence has previously bought us nothing." Randi James
When my dad moved out
Jennifer - 9 years
Holly Ann Collins
This is what I heard
Zachary - 11 years
The Collins Family Story written by Jennifer (22 years old)
My brother and I were abused children who were failed by the American Justice System. Remarkably our mother, a former battered woman, found the courage to rescuse us. We fled to Europe where we received asylum in the Netherlands.
In 1992 custody of my brother (9) and I (7) were reversed to our abusive father because my mother denied visitation. In 1994 she ‘kidnapped’ us back and went underground. We fled the United States and were apprehended in The Netherlands for having inadequate traveling documentation. After living in refugee camps for 3 years, we were finally granted asylum in 1997. We have been living (in secrecy) in Europe for 13 years. In May 2007 we were discovered by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation. The American authorities are trying to have our mother extradited back to the United States as a common criminal, but the Dutch government has refused. We are trying to get the charges dismissed so we can return home safely to the United States of America.}
My brother is 24 and I am 22. We are the “victims!” We want to be heard! We don’t think that our mother should be punished nor silenced any longer. We want to expose the injustice, help rectify the inadequacies of family court and find a way to insure the protection of bruised and beaten and children.
First we need to help our own mother who faces criminal charges for protecting us. Surely it is an affirmative defense that she reasonably believed that she was protecting us, when the judge even found in a court order that my father was abusive!
It is truly amazing that this shy, insecure, defeated, battered, young woman was the first American to receive asylum in Europe! It is embarrassing that our country fails to protect the most vulnerable citizens! Things need to change! We need to make a difference!
Holly Collins Letter 1990 When he kills me...
Dear Presiding Justice, Police Officers, Senators, Legislators, Doctors, Clergy, Parish Members, Family and Friends:
I am a battered woman. Do you remember me?
I was your neighbor. I sat next to you in church every Sunday. I was your patient in the emergency room. I was the woman who dialed 911 and begged for your help. I sat in your court room and pleaded with you to protect me and my children. I came before you and asked you to make laws to ensure our safety. I was the loving young mother you noticed playing tag with some children in the park.
Do you remember me now?
I am writing this letter for I know that he will surely kill me and I don’t want to be forgotten. My advocate has promised to give you this letter if I should die.
I feel as though I should apologize. Maybe for not being a good enough person or for not readily admitting how my face was bruised or bones broken. Maybe if I would have tried a little bit harder he wouldn’t have had to beat me. Maybe if I was smarter I wouldn’t have fallen in love with someone like him. Maybe if I was stronger I would have left sooner.
But maybe, maybe if you would have helped me I would never have to write a letter like this. I would not have to worry about whether or not today would be the day that he would kill me and you would not be inconvenienced by having to read this letter because I would still be alive. (But I am not.)
Do you understand? I you should come to read this letter - I am dead. He killed me!
So what happens now? I don’t want to be another statistic. I don’t want to be blamed any longer. I don’t want you to make excuses or justify my death because it never should have happened.
I was a good person. I was a devoted wife and a loving mother. I did leave. I tried to protect my children and myself, but I knew I couldn’t do it alone. I asked for your help. I told you that he would kill me. You saw the bruises. You knew that he was dangerous but you wouldn’t help. It wasn’t your problem. You turned your back on me and my children.
Oh my children. My sweet little children. I don’t know if they will survive because he promised to kill them also, but if they still are alive who will take care of them? Who will love them? Who will sing to them at night? Who will hold them and wipe away their tears when they cry for their mommy?
This isn’t right. I should be alive. You should have helped me. Why didn’t you help me?
I know that if he kills me it will be extremely painful and violent. He promised to use a knife. Oh I am so afraid to die that way. Please don’t let my death be in vain.
Please help the others. Please protect their children…
And please don’t forget me…
My dad and his girlfriend rena
Zachary - 11 years
Happy With Our Mom 1992
Right before the Custody Reversal
Holly Collins' 1993 Letter Cries Out For Help
Hello, my name is Holly-Ann Collins and I am pleading with you to please help me protect my children! My ten year old son and eight year old daughter are being abused by their father and the law will not protect them. I am violating a court order by speaking out. I risk being arrested, but I must continue to seek protection for my children.
I have evidence, including taped conversations, which prove that court officials deliberately made false statements to the court under oath. The judge ignored this evidence. He accused me of suffering from personality disorders, even though he states that he doesn't know what they are. I have undergone several psychological evaluations. They confirm that I do not I have a personality disorder, and that my reactions are consistent with someone who has been severely abused. Even the court appointed psychologist has come to my defense and believes that the court erred grievously.
I have been advised by my attorney and legal advocate that this is not the proper way to attain assistance, but I am a mother who fears for the lives of my children. Please help us! I no longer have faith in the system, but I know in my heart that there has to be someone out there who can and will help us if they just knew about what the Court was doing to innocent children.
I am so tired of fighting. I am only 28, but I feel so old. I have been abused my whole life. The court failed to protect me as a child, but I can not let the same thing happen to my children.
Please, just read the information I provided. Give me a chance to prove that we are telling the truth. Please help us. Please help my children. Even if you will not help, I strongly recommend that you hold onto this information, because I know that he will eventually kill me, one of the children or all of us. He has already attacked me with a knife. I have the scars and medical documentation. Please do not wait for an autopsy report to convince you that we need protection.
This might appear to be a dramatization to you, but it is our reality. My children and I live with the threat of death every day. It is a horrible way to live. The fear itself is even worse than the beatings.
My dad kicking my dog mickey
Zachary - 11 years
She really is as sweet as she looks.
Holly Collins Good Bye Letter 1994
"June 30th, 1994 To All of You Who Have Touched Our Lives:
It is difficult to imagine how I could possibly write a letter that would be appropriate for all of you. Please forgive me for the generality. I would also like to apologize for not personally saying goodbye to each and every one of you, but I must flee immediately to protect my children.
I have no other alternative. I have abided by the law, but the system failed me and my children. I took all the pain and torment that they threw at me. Even when court officials tried to destroy my bond with my children and deliberately set out to break my will, I continued to fight within the system. Again, the system failed.
Now I ask myself, why should I follow the law, when the very people who are supposed to uphold the law, break it themselves?
The bottom line is that I can not stand by and let my children suffer any longer. I am aware of the consequences, but the time that I may provide my children with happiness, love and safety will be worth any penalty I must endure.
I can not begin to explain how my heart has been shattered, my faith in the system destroyed and my hopes for the future discouraged. It is difficult enough to try to imagine a “normal” life after having been so severely abused as a child myself. I never thought I would be capable of such love that I have for my children.
After 11 years of physical abuse from my ex-husband, mark, and his emotional abuse, which still continues today, I find it difficult to imagine that I may ever live a moment without looking over my shoulder.
In addition to those scars, I have a tremendous disbelief that the legal system in the United States of America could be so archaic, gender biased and insensitive to the needs of battered women and abused children.
I have suffered such pain my whole life, and I know that my battles shall continue as a fugitive. Perhaps it is time for me to give up that dream of living happily ever after, but if I can secure some sort of normalcy and a life without violence for my children, my goals shall be attained.
I would like to thank all of you, for what part of our lives you touched. I am grateful that you were able to see the love and kindness that I have to offer underneath all my feelings of pain, betrayal and mistrust.
I am sorry for any trouble that I have caused you and may continue to inflict upon you by leaving under these circumstances. Please try to understand that I tried to be what each of you expected from me. I just was not totally and freely myself under these circumstances.
You who have come to know me and my children, know that it all changes when I am around my children. Something magical happens when we are together. I am able to let go of the pain and fear, for the most part. I am kind, loving and happy when I am with my children. They, too, are at peace in my presence. Zachary and Jennifer have been my reason for living, and when they were taken away, God blessed me with another little angle… to carry me through. The four of us will make it. I promise, that for my children's sake, I will never give up.
I must stay away until the children are old enough to have their voices heard and listened to in the Courtroom. If at any time, my children ask to return, I assure you that I shall turn myself in. Otherwise I will see you as soon as it is safe to do so...
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Sincerely, Jennifer Collins
Doctor haunted by case I can't thank you enough for this article. I've worried about this family for years and think about them every time the Munchausen diagnosis is used as a cudgel against women trying to protect their children in family court. May I ask you please to transmit my warm greetings to Holly, with my respect for her courage and values, and my congratulations on raising such wonderful children? Eli Newberger, M.D. Brookline, Massachusetts --- I am so happy to have found this site. I had the same Judge Porter, Susan DeVries, GAL was Jim Campbell who followed their lead and was hand picked by Judge. Doneldon Dennis was supervisor over Family Court Services, while running the AFCC side by side. Susan DeVries is also a member. Kay Kraus is partner in crime as well and they formed some private business. I would like to add to the Hall of Shame we need GAL’s and Evaluators on there. --- Fleeing abuse with your children is not child abduction. Legally and ethically, fleeing abuse with your children is an affirmative defense against accusations of abduction -- see NCCUSL's Uniform Child Abduction Prevent Act http://www.law.upenn.edu/bll/archives/ulc/ucapa/2006_finalact.htm. Victims of abuse need more support from the U.S. family court system and it's appointees. Teresa Lauderdale PIPCA (Prevent International Parental Child Abduction) ----- BRAVA Brava for this great expose and to the courageous individuals, such as Dr. Joy Silberg, who are speaking out about this systematic horror show in our family court system. Everything claimed by these young people, who were "raised by the courts," is 100% accurate. I personally receive calls, e-mails, and letters from protective mothers all over this country, as well as overseas, begging for help with their cases. The overriding theme is that their abusive ex--partner already has won or is about to "win" custody of their children.Ladies, think this could never happen to YOU? All you need to do is have a biological child with someone who is psychopathic, narcissistic, abusive, or otherwise sick enough to be willing--in his efforts to harm you--to cause massive harm to your child, as well. His task is simple enough; all he has to do is lie and manipulate the court system, making wild claims that you are a "fabricator," "crazy," "addicted," or an "alienator." He can then pay off all the court agents who are willing to do his bidding and take everything he says as the gospel truth, in exchange for his right to exercise power, control, and abuse over you and your kids until they reach majority age.The family court system, as it seems to currently operate, amounts to little more than a black market that gives children and babies to the highest bidder. The ONLY thing keeping this Potemkin village-like fiasco going in our family courts is the secrecy that cloaks the misdeeds. We need a deeply serious and impartial investigation of the family court systems of all 50 states, conducted by authorities with the will and the power to massively reform this corrupt machine. See www.batteredmotherscustodyconference.org for additional documentation about the family court fiascco.Dr. Mo HannahChair, Battered Mothers Custody Conference --- Americans Receiving Asylum Jennifer's testimony and Holly's story are laden with truths that no one wants to see or acknowledge because they are simply incomprehensible: AMERICANS receiving asylum? Family court professionals turning over children to a man they KNOW has abused them? Piles of evidence substantiating Holly's abuse by her EX-husband's hands AND abusing his own children? And the ONLY one looking at potential jail time for all of this is a protective mother whose life has been devoted to the care of children? Jennifer and Holly should be commended for their bravery in exposing America's dirtiest little secret, a secret that our most vulnerable (victimized women and children) have to learn the hard way: once they've fled their abusive home or situation. It is said that in every crisis there is an opportunity for change and I sincerely hope that this crisis will bring about a positive change for anyone who seeks assistance from abuse. Thank you, Holly, and thank you, Jennifer, for exposing the truth and lighting the way ~ Dara Carlin --- I know this family personally.... She did everything. Everything. For years she worked within the system (that yes, is broken) while she watched her children wear new bruises and heard their cries for help. I was there when Zachary and Jennifer were ripped away from their Mother. She fought and fought utill she could fight no more...then she did what any Mother would do...she protected her children. The law does not always equate justice. 150 years ago it was law that I could buy a human in the US. Those that fought against it were criminals then...now they are heros. Today it is law that you can beat a child. Are those that stand against it criminals, or heros? ~Heidi --- PAS is the catchy phrase. If a child tells one parent that the other parent is hurting him/her and that parent tries to protect her child, she is often accused of Parental Alienation Syndrome. This mother tried everything. You can’t just go to another county or another State! Apparently she knew the chance she was taking by running with her kids, but their lives were at risk. What if the mother didn’t rescue her children? What if the father eventually killed one of the kids? Then people like you would condemn this mom for not protecting her children. The father threatened to kill the mother and the children. He already fractured the boy’s head. He broke his wife’s nose 3 times as well as other injuries. It’s his words! They could not prosecute this woman because there is a clause called “affirmative defense.” This woman had reasonable belief that her children were in danger and this was her way to protect them. I just heard this great explanation from Jennifer: If you are walking your dog one night and see a house on fire. There is a baby crying inside the house. You break the window and rescue the baby. Technically you should be charged with breaking & entering and felony kidnapping. Should you go to jail? Of course not because you saved the baby. Well put! --- Rena Peters Collins got a DUI a few months ago! It is public record. Some fine soccer mom she is. Do the other parents know if this woman is sober when she is driving their kids around in her car? Is she still drunk around her own kids? She has an impressive rap sheet! It is about time that child protection did an investigation into the Collins home to see if the kids are doing okay. Mark and Rena Collins are both admitted substance abusers. They are made for each other. What about the poor kids left behind in that house now? ...Both Zachary and Jennifer confided in the court officers that both Mark and Rena kicked the little girl for bringing her blanket into the kitchen. Not a very nice step mother now… Is She? --- The children have been localized, together with their mother as having lived in the Netherlands for the past 14 years. During this time they have requested and been granted asylum, a return to the US being potentially harmful. The mother fled with her children after suffering years of abuse and hospitalization (hers and her children’s) at the hands of the father. Their neighbor decided to inform on them because he was fed up with the children (these and their siblings born in the Netherlands as well as three foster children) playing on his lawn. --- Holly is to be commended for the wonderful children she has nurtured into adulthood. I have been "talking" with Jennifer for at least a year. She is the most precious young lady, who gives all the credit for her own life having turned out so well, to her mother.Mark Collins is a criminal! Why has this man not been charged with assault, attempted murder, felony abuse of a child, or something for the crimes he committed in abusing his children and wife?What is more important? The loving care that Holly Collins has given to Jennifer, Zachary and their siblings, or the desire of a criminal to have a relationship with the children he abused? Jo, Houston Texas --- Holly Collins deserves our greatest respect and should be protected even against the law. We learn that Minnesota still wants to prosecute her, 14 years later and her children being adults already, a crazy way to look at the case. Minnesota could not protect her and her children, they let her down and she took her own decisions. I know what I'm talking about, having been involved in a quite similar case, sometimes the law is part of the problem, we all should acknowledge that. They, at Minnesota, should start sending her an apology for failing to protect them and then close the case with honor, because this was the finest way to save one's children and will radiate a positive awareness through next generations. MINNESOTA COME TO YOUR SENSES and save your energy for the urgent matters at hand ! Hans Kornalijnslijper, the Hague, the Netherlands, --- In this case it appears the mother did the right thing, and was fortunate enough to have the funds to get out of the country. In to many cases that is not realistic. --- People who do not live in a physically or mentally abusive household cannot understand why this woman would leave the COUNTRY to get away from her husband. Lucky for her that she was able to get out and stay far away until the kids were bigger and she was stronger. Lucky for him that she didn't blow him to kingdom come. Men who beat on woman, old people and children are cowards of the worst kind. --- I can't even begin to imagine what this family has gone through. I think that the mother had absolutely no choice, and she was absolutely right to do what she did. She did what she felt was her only way to keep the children safe. Their welfare and safety were her top priority.God speed to the mother and to the children. --- I know this family. I was at court yesterday with them. This is not a story about Mothers having more rights than Fathers or Fathers being believed over Mothers. This is not a story about child support or what "normally" happens and who is "normally" believed. This is a true story about a family from Minnesota that was, unfortunately for many other children, not abnormal enough in the level to which they were failed by our courts. Period. I know them. I saw this. It happened. There is a mountain of evidence...pictures, journals, police reports, reports from pediatritions and psychologists (numerous) all supporting the children's claims of abuse and disputing any mental illness on the part of Holly Ann save for post-traumatic stresss disorder (which most of us would have after years and years of beating of torture)...do you know that their Dr. in Boston had a gag order imposed? That Mark Collins never even tried to look for the children? After all, why would he? Now that they are grown he knows they can ruin him by exposing him for the monster he truly is. A child can't "fake" a fractured skull...or the other injuries not even mentioned in this report. There are great Fathers that deserve full custody. There are great judges and guardians that do everything they can to put children's safety and best interest first. This case, unfortunately, was the opposite. In this case, it was a perfect storm of poor judgement by the courts and its officers to a level that was criminal. It is not now and never has been a case of Mothers vs. Fathers. It is about the children. It is about children being hurt when the courts fail and a parent having no alternatives left to protect their child from further harm. Skewing it to a case of man vs. woman is grossly unfair to the true victims in this case: The children. Quit reading between the lines to fit your own agenda and hear what these now adult victims have to say...they are powerful. --- Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I appreciate any support I can get when I write about protective mothers and the results of their attempts to protect their children against any and all forms of abuse. Now if I could just figure out how to get the attention of someone in authority and get something done about this. Thousands of mothers in exactly this position...and no one much seems to care, except for a few of us "little people" who are supposed to be an important part of this government. Somehow I have come to doubt that we really are. Elsa Newman needs justice as much as did Holly-Ann Collins. Johanna vonGeldern needs justice just as much as Elsa Newman and Holly-Ann Collins. All the women members of mothersincrisiscoalition who are losing children to batterers and abusers need justice just as much as Johanna von Geldern and Elsa Newman and Holly-Ann Collins. Lynda needs justice--and needs to reclaim--her little daughter who is in the custody of a sexually abusive, HIV positive father, just as much as the women of mothersincrisiscoalition and Johanna vonGeldern and Elsa Newman and Holly-Ann Collins. I could continue, but I hope I don't need to. The point is that I, personall, could probably list hundreds of such women--and there are thousands of them in the US today, not to mention others around the world where husbands and fathers actually kill the mothers rather than wage court battles over children. Aine O'Brocken --- Very interesting case. It is unfortunate that they had to flee the U.S. for asylum. Barbara --- Good for her that she took her children and fled. The courts award too many children to abusive males that are called fathers. I am glad she didn't have to go to jail. It looks like she must have had pretty good documentation to gain asylum. Cynthia --- It looks like she must have had pretty good documentation to gain asylum.Too bad the U.S. courts didn't see it that way. What a shame she was forced to leave her country. Barbara --- I am too--it's what I would have done as well. Good report, Aine! Debra --- I'm glad the children were kept safe by their brave mother. We all should have contempt for our courts when they make these kinds of decisions. gbee --- My best advice, Aine is to keep doing what you are doing...telling their stories. Sooner or later, someone is going to come across these stories and be intrigued enough to contact whomever to help. --- Did you see that article about the woman who had to flee the United States to protect her child? It's all over the news. The feds dropped the charges. ~Grandmum --- If the law failed to protect these children, it needed to be broken. --- For those of you who want to know more, there was a much more detailed story in the City Pages earlier this summer. It detailed the abuse, the torture and the messed up system that is supposed to be protecting, not allowing further abuse. The father was so manipulative that he was able to pull strings that would make you sick. --- There was evidence of abuse..the children were hospitalized and bruised! That is why she was given the children the first time....read the website!
Then some arrogant judge decided that is was better to monitor the abuse from the father and give the children to him! The police were called at least 4 times for domestic abuse. When a domestic abuse call comes in, someone must leave the house for the night...that doesn't mean they are arrested. If they refuse to leave, then they are arrested. Get your facts straight!
Also, for someone living in fear, a restraining order is only a piece of paper to keep someone away. That doesn't stop them from coming back and trying to kill you! It only makes them more mad and more abusive. You need to think about what you would do in her position if someone was abusing your kids. I agree that the justice system failed. --- The same thing happened to my children and I in Ireland. My son was called liar repeatedly- and the court agents would not believe him.
In fact they traumatised him so much- it still bothers him They threatened to lock him up at 8 yrs old, never see his mother again and give Electric Shock therapy to normalise him.
Now he is 23 and sister 18- they are free and safe- no thanks to the court though, which is supposed to protect children and parents from violence. Posted by: Catherine M. --- Jennifer and Holly (and the rest of the family) if you read this - my thoughts and prayers are with you. I pray that one day the truth will be revealed so abused mothers and chidlren will finally be vindicated. --- If the father was not abusive then wouldn't he have fought this? From what I have heard he did not really have much to say. You would think that if he really hurt them that he would have had a hay day in court! Not sure.I am just so glad that this woman and her kids are okay and we are not reading about them in a staged death or anything like that!! --- I think this is an awesome story. She did what she felt was right for her situation. She is a mom, and a mom will always have gut feelings about stuff. I am glad to hear that people still fight for their lives against guys who abuse them. They get out, because no matter how many times that guy says he's sorry, and it will never happen again. Way to go Holly!! --- I think she is a great mother and did what she had to, to protect those kids. No body knows the whole story, except those that were there and lived it. --- tashapolistar (aka Beth Imm) please quit stalking Holly and Jennifer. Jenandrhi --- Thank you to Jennifer Collins for sharing her story, and for becoming a voice for abused children. I know you will be able to help others who are not fortunate enough to have a mom like yours, who was willing to break the law to protect you. Godspeed in your work to start your organization, and hopefully you'll be able to advocate for those children and change the way the court operates. Whenever a parent abuses ANYONE in the household, it is mental and emotional abuse on all the others. Viewing/hearing one parent beat another is mentally and emotionally ABUSIVE to the children. A child feels every ounce of that punch, and it stays with them forever. We need to write this into the law: If you are a convicted abuser of your spouse, you can NEVER get full custody of your children. You have shown that you can't handle yourself and are incapable of providing a healthy environment. So get your sick self into treatment and stay away from your spouse and children until you have become a real human. Posted by: M. Rice --- The court system is not the stand up solve everything fairly system that you are making it out to be. A lot of judges unfortunately don't take domestic abuse charges seriously. You would be surprised at how many people just ignore domestic abuse. --- The court system here is screwed up. I'm glad this woman was able to get away from this guy and save herself and her childrens lives. --- This woman had the guts to do what she feels is right no matter what. Congratulations!! I will never understand a judicial system that feels that they can make a decision for an entire family when they only spend a couple hours with them and the people involved seem to have no voice. What kind of "protection" is being provided by this kind of system? --- At least she didnt become a murder victim,like two other women in the metro area in the last few days. This lady was proactive, she did something to save her self and her children. --- Chalk one up for the good guys!! It sounds like a happy ending. One of the post's here said something about people thinking 'this woman is crazy'. Not so. I commend her and frankly I think the world could use a lot more like her. --- By the way, if "natasha" would have grabbed her kid and fled to the Netherlands, then Mr. Abuser Boland wouldn't have had the chance to treat her like an object and kill her. --- It is a sad situation all the way around. If everything happened the way she says, the court system failed her and she had to protect her children. l just hope that her now grown children can get on with their lives. --- Can you at least empathize with what this woman went through and what she did what she thought was best to get away from the abuse? --- I owned a laundromat in Dinkytown back when this story began. Holly and the kids came there several times, I got to know them a little and observe them together. It was apparent that there was trouble in their lives. If only I had known just how much. --- A sociopath can convince the best psychologist their views. Look at David Coresh in Waco, and the Nutcase who did a mass suicide when the comet came by. Kudos to the Mom. The husband can burn in hell after castration for harming kids. --- Ok, I think that this is one of those "who knows the whole story" things. I think that she was wise to get out of that situation. I too have been in an abbusive relationship and the legal system does not always work for you. --- The dad actually testified under oath to cracking his son Zachary's skull open, breaking his wife's nose several times and dislocating her arm. Read the daughter's blog (she is 23 now -- the link is above in the article). She explains the backstory in-depth. I guess, decide for yourself who and what you believe. --- This is one of few success stories you hear in this type of situation. I applaud the mother and if you look at the kids, you can see that she truly was the more fit parent (in opposition to the court's ruling). I find it sad, however, that she had to leave the US to get to safety. What is wrong with our family court system here?! AND... how the hell do you get off beating your children? I just can't comprehend this. I don't have kids and I couldn't imagine doing it. So, how does someone who does have kids beat their own flesh and blood, knowing it is causing enormous physical and emotional pain? The worst part is that these kids will live with the damage from this forever. The best part, (if there is a best part), is that the dad will forever have to live with the embarrassment of his disgusting actions. I hope he reads this story and realizes just how much he hurt his kids and ex-wife and how much of a man he ISN'T. --- Some of the worst criminals are the best liars. Kudos for the mom taking the kids to safety. ~JJ --- How can a judge ingnore facts in a case and why can't they be over turned? ~Louise --- After the last couple of stories I've read about those two women who were murdered by their abusive boyfriends, it is nice to finally hear of a story where a woman was able to get away with her children... A parent will do anything in the world to protect their child, regardless of what the law says about it. --- I'd do the same if the father was abusive. --- I would have done it. --- more power to the women who are willing to take a risk and protect their family... kudos. --- I am just amaze that the Judge in this case reversed the custody. Why in the world can't these children go back and fight the court and child protection services for not protecting them against an abuser. I wonder if the Judge in this case looks back ans says oops, I got it wrong. ~Louise --- A gutsy lady. If the abuse allegations are correct, she saved her two children. They appear to have grown up into healthy and happy adults. --- Check out the stories from yesterday, where two women had been killed at the hands of abusive men. I would do what this woman did if it meant saving my children from harm. Her daughter has defended her mother's actions, so obviously... there was something going on. Her daughter is old enough at this time to reasonably form her own opinions and clearly seems justified in defending her mother. --- When will our justice system be TRUE justice. It makes my heart hurt. I will continue to send her love and light. ~Sherry --- She should NOT have to compromise herself to come home! I'm in total agreement that ALL charges should be dropped and her record wiped clean! ~Stephanie --- I’m so sorry, Holly and Jennifer, that your troubles continue. --- We need to revise our laws to protect our children and women of abuse. A man beats his wife & child and the mother is the one who has to run to save her children’s lives. This is also the case for men that are abused by their spouse. Our laws protect the criminal and not the victim. ~Diana --- This is crazy you never can protect your children when people with courts backing the bad guy,stop this and bring them home...... ~Mary --- The system is falling down badly where children are concerned in my humble opinion... A very sad situation as it always is where children of an abusive parent are concerned. My heart is sad for the mother and her children and the injustice of it all. ~Jacque --- Very sad story it happens more than we know. ~Joann --- It's very sad that courts often get it wrong. They often blame the victims or don't help battered women until it is too late. More must be done in that reguard. ~Scott --- I hope everything works out for the family. Abuse is a terrible thing to live with. Thank goodness the mother got those kids out of that situation. The justice system needs to protect the victims, not the abusers. ~Laurel --- Oh yell heck yell I would have done the same thing this woman done or even worse. For I tell you the truth and no lies . If this person would have been beating on me no way much less my childern for he would be dead, They would not have to worry about being beat again. ~Joy --- what are the courts doing or thinking. this is a tragedy. ~Robert --- It's sad. Our laws need to be flexable enough to see when an injustice is being done. The children should never go to their father. ~Nick --- My heart goes out to this family and their courageous mother, Holly. This situation should not happen in, a so called civilized society???, in the most advanced country??? in the world.The land of the free????????? --- This is heartbreaking, and clearly it is obviously that many do not know how many abused, often severely so physically, are left with the father, no matter how much proof the mother comes up with. It is $, also if the father is now remarried, has more money, where they living, male domination society, this happens all to often and many you don't even know about. ~Cheryl --- This mother and her children have suffered MORE than enough! For those who think that justice can and will always be served haven't done their homework! Rotton, crapy, evil pond scum get away with this $hit every day in ...YES the good old USA! --- The children said they were being abused. That is enough for me. When a child has a scull fractured by a father, when a wife has bruises and broken bones from a husband, when children are bruised by father, then thats enough for me to say she did the right thing. And the authorities in Holland said she did the right thing. They believed her and her children were in danger. Is why they were given amnesty. --- First of all.I do admire her guts to run away from a man like that.He will do anything to get them back.Second I am sure that a man like that is very calculating in his abuse actions,maybe he is good at hiding the proof or good at lying... ~Alicya --- Oh wow! Thanks for posting this story! Judges placing children with dangerous fathers is a COMMON PROBLEM! Moms get zero protection from most judges regarding protection for their children from abusive fathers. Judges most often consider it a mere attempt on the mom's part to punish the dads during a nasty divorce. Judges are often very wrong. Remember the estranged wife of the Washington, DC sniper? She felt he was killing many people so as to not be the prime suspect when he eventually got around to shooting her -- his prime target. God bless Holly Collins and her children. I pray that God also helps the child's father -- he is obviously very mentally disturbed. Please stop him before he kills someone. If he was at his right senses, he would likely ask for mental health assistance himself. --- The video was very informative with actual evidence....Its scary and shameful that courts couldnt see what was going on. It makes me wonder what kind of clout the father had that they seemed to sympathize with him despite evidence that he was abusing his whole family... and the letter from the children now adults is continued evidence that what she did was right in a humanity and love perspective. Thanks --- The father was abusing them badly enough to kill any or all of them. Any responsible parent would flee the country rather than see one of their children murdered. If you read the details of the story, she did basically everything she could to prove he was abusing them. If she had stuck with that road, one of them would quite likely be dead today. The system failed this family. The facts have come out now and the DA and anyone who agrees with him need to see that it was a matter of life and death for her and her children. I'm sure her choice was a horribly difficult one to make, but it was also the only choice she really had. ~Adam --- There is something seriously wrong in this country when a woman has to flee her homeland to protect her children. The courts need to start looking at the evidence of abuse, follow laws that are in place and start punishing men for beating and raping their wives and children. --- WOW! I don't even know what to say other than wow! My name is also Jennifer. My parents divorced and had a custody battle at that same timeframe with the Hennepin county court systems. My brother and I were at first allowed to stay with our mother, but then custody was wrongfully awarded to my father, who was abusive... I have to ask. Who was the judge/ referee in your case? I have a feeling we had the same guy. --- Hi Jennifer!!!! I am so very happy for you and your family. Please hug your mom and tell her millions have been praying for her all over the world. I saw my email to you posted here on your site and I too one day hope for a resolution so my child can live a happy, healthy, free from abuse life... --- I am proud of you all!!! You are very brave!!! I have a daughter named Jenny too and we went through a 4 year custody battle and divorce with an abuser. I also have a son. Jenny was 7 then and my son a baby. The same thing happened to us 1990-1994... --- I truly hope the courts get the wake up call they need because you are speaking out. I am in the midst of a horrible case myself at the moment and what is happening to the children is a disgrace. ...a mom --- CONGRATULATIONS & WELCOME HOME!!!! What you have accomplished has given hope to all the Non-Custodial Momz that are fighting to save their children from their abusers. They stand behind you!~Angel Hugs~Tracy --- Thank You Hi Holly, Please tell your children that their mother is amazing. I am completely amazed by the enormous amount of personal strength you have. I wonder if the well intentioned may not be revictimizing you and your children. I hope not. You didn't ask to be an 'example' anymore than you asked to be abused. I thank God that you were given the joy of your children. Sometimes I think the understanding of partner violence has improved so much, then something like this happens. I realize we still have so far to go. I am a survivor and the shelter manager for a domestic violence agency. Everyday I see situations very much like yours. When custody goes to the abuser the abused returns to protect the children. You did what you had to do to protect your children. I wish more could get away. Everyone in the office is working hard sending letters, emails, and making phone calls. We educate to open the eyes of those that do not see and the ears of those that do not hear. God has blessed you and yours. Tina --- Thank you! We have been waiting for you to arrive..... We meaning us moms sit here so helpless and you are finally creating the awareness that is so needed. I have the same people on my case... Thank you, T. (MN) --- For Holly Family violence is not advertised orspoken about in the real world.People turn their heads, judges are for the fathers no matter what they have done. I do hope this will be over for you soon. If there is anything we ca do to help please let us know. Sincerely Barbara --- Good for youHolly Nothing is more important in this world than protecting the childen. I wish you peace and happiness the rest of your life and for your children too. Marilyn P. --- I Support Holly I am a mom going through a similar nightmare in Florida. I was in hiding with my infant for a year and a half. I will not stop advocating for mothers and children until we are safe from the corrupt systems failing to protect, and abuse of dangerous and cruel men. Keep going, Holly...this will turn around SOON!!! J.V. --- A Message of Support You are not responsible for, nor did you deserve, the violence you suffered. I am sorry that you experienced such terror in your lives. I sense that you are good people who were at the mercy of a despicable monster. I hope he gets everything back in his life that he dished out to you. Unfortunately, I don't think it happens like that. Otherwise, there would be no more abusers in this world if they got what they deserved. Robin B. --- We who have suffered from lawyers we hired and court abuse in addition, need outreach to many other local organizations wherever in the world they may be. Anne --- File A Lawsuit Each child should File a law suite for not protecting them from abuse as that is part of his job! A. --- It is a shame to here about all the abuse and not only mental but physical and the courts just sitting by and not doing the right thing for everyone concerned. Janice R. --- Holly, just to say what a courageous person you are to have done what you did. Emily --- I only wish our country had done more to help you and it would not have come to you had to flee your home and country to be safe for you and your children. Good luck and hopefully the legal system will change and you and your children can come home to safety soon.-- Sandy C. --- Dear mom and children My prayers are with you. You belong free of escaping the batterer... Things will come together for you all. Marie M. --- Be Strong!! Hello Holly, I just wanted to write and let you know you are not alone! There are many more women in your shoes than you can imagine. I too was a victim of domestic violence... I am so proud of you for proctecting your children and for standing up for what's right! I am praying for you and your family and hope to find you strong and happy and a survivor as well! Very Sincerely Yours, Kim R --- Drop the charges against Holly!!! Holly protected her children when the system wouldn't. They are alive because she risked everything to protect them. Shame on the system. The District Attorney should be prosicuting the FATHER!!! Ann H. (Spencer, IA) --- FOR HOLLY COLLINS I admire Holly for what she has done to protect her children. She did the right thing, because the courts would not protect them. My thoughts and prayers remain with her and her children and I hope she is able to return to the U.S. and to live her life with her children in peace. Good luck! Kristin --- You are the voice of a nation of mamas and children Dear Holly, Jennifer and Zachary, Though you may have felt much fear and intimidation in your lives, you now stand on the brink of being a powerful voice on behalf of a defeated and discouraged group of people. You all bravely took great risks and found yourself a place of safety. I think you are marvelous and you now command attention for a serious human rights issue that has scalded our nation. The truth is children in America do not have constitutional rights. If they did, the harm caused to them would not continue. Stay strong and stay loud for you can be a dazzling mouthpeice for the most vulnerable group of people... You are in my prayers and I will also speak up for your mother. Warm Regards, Jill P. --- For Holly Ann Collins and her children Holly Ann and family, I have prayed for you, your children, and the Minnesota court officials. You are not guilty of anything in my mind; you protected your kids, which is what Moms are supposed to do! God is in control and will keep you in His care! Bless you for what you have done!! M. Beckham --- LET ME KNOW IF THERE'S ANYTHING ELSE I CAN DO TO HELP. MARI --- Ms Collins, I am in awe of you. You are a courageous women. You took steps to protect yourself and your children when the system failed you. I was there also. I applaud you for doing it. I also applaud the underground for being there for you and your children. I hope only the best for you and your children.God Bless you Theresa (South Boston, MA) --- Dear Holly, Jennifer and Zachary, My prayers and wishes are with the 3 of you. Holly to are to be commended for the great job that you did instead of being harrassed and threathened with Jail. I am sure that what you and your children have been living with that demon - he devil was more like hell and Jail would not be so bad. I am sure that you hate pleading guilty for what you did but maybe you should turn it to the way it really is you are guilty of not letting him hurt you or your children ever again. You are a true testimony to what Women of today are and you make me proud to be a woman. Keep up the good work and I am sure that God wil take care of you and your children as he has and you will all be fine. Sometimes it takes America a little longer to work on the easy problems. Lets hope that they do the right thing for you. May god bless and keep you safe always Bernadette D. (NY) --- Prayer You and all in this situation are in my prayers Kathie K --- DA starting to negotiate Dear Holly and Family, I know this is nothing you haven’t heard before but I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of support. You are all such an inspiration! Your courage and determination to do what is right both initially and in the face of your continued struggle is just remarkable. I work with abused women and children every day and you are giving me so much hope that they might not have to go through what you all have gone through. Holly and Jennifer, you are both truly fighting the good fight. Please know you have my support (as well as the support of many others) in the form of continued emails to the DA, etc, and in the form of my thoughts and prayers. With deepest respect and highest hopes, Kitty K. --- Dear Holly Ann, I just want you to know that there are many people including myself who are deeply moved and outraged by your treatment by the Minnesota DA. When I think of you, I think of the amazing courage you had to be able to flee your and your childrens' abuser and how absolutely terifying it must have been. But you did it and you all survived quite well from what I can tell. You are a very special mother - I'm sure your children know that. When you do come back to the US, you should hold your head high and be proud of the extroidinary gift of life free of abuse that you gave your children (and yourself). I wish you all my very best in your journeys ahead... In sisterhood, Carol M. (NY) --- Hi Holly, Holly, I am so sorry for everything you have had to endure to protect your children. I am a survivor of incest myself. I am very impressed at your courage and devotion to yourchildren. Stay strong and all your hard work will pay off for many others down the road. Pam M --- Dear Holly and family, I commend you for your courage in the face of reprehensible ignorance and cruelty. Persist. You are and have, not only saved your chiildren, but are helping to inform the public and the "systems" about this cancerous behavior that destroys children and frequently, their mothers. This is historical ! Wonderful ! Deeply respectful, Elizabeth C. --- Holly, Your courage to protect your children is greatly admired by individuals that have lived in abusive homes. My father was an extremely abusive alcoholic and the courts did nothing to stop him... I continue to be amazed at the shameful way the courts allow women and children to remain unprotected. Holly, you are to be admired and respected for the courage you have shown. Your children are blessed to have you in their lives. Hope (Raleigh, NC) --- Angels will protect you Dear Holly -I never had to leave the country but... I know how difficult it is when a loved one turns against you and you feel you have no recourse. Our legal system is still not equipped to aid women and children nor protect them fully against abusive men. But you are safe now and the angels will watch over and protect you. Susanna --- Never Surrender Thoughts and prayers surround you..do the right thing. Never surrender and do not plead guilty. John K --- Holly & family I want you to know that I think you are such a courageous woman, what you did put you in harms way but you did it to save your children from further abuse. You are an inspiration to other women and children, who unfortunately face the same issues that you have. There are so many women facing abuse that it is such a shame to realize the courts don’t do what they are supposed to do to protect the mothers and their children. I want you to know there are so many women and even men that are very concerned about our judicial system and the way they handle abuse cases. Too many women and children have suffered because of the inadequacies within our court and social services divisions. We need to make so many changes within those systems, so that we can make sure women and children are protected, not further abused by the system that was meant to protect them. God Bless you Holly, and your children, if you ever need anything just email me I will do whatever I can do to help you and your kids. Praying for you in Colorado, Janette R --- saving our children Holly, My thoughts are with you. I fled my abusive husband with our 11 year old daughter and only the clothes on our backs 3,000 miles across state lines. We both did what had to be done to protect our children! The thought of prosecution in your case is ridiculous! You have my support!! Stay strong. Warmly, Jacqui --- Bravery Dear Holly and children, I commend you on your bravery and your commitment and love to your children. Your situation is just another sign of the ignorance and dysfunction of our court system. To be in the situation of keeping your children safe from an abuser is a sickness of our society in and of itself, but to be guilty of a crime for protecting your children is reprehensible. Thank you for being a role model to others who are frozen in fear and remain in harmful situations. Your example will prayerfully give them the courage to not be complacent and stand up to say "No, this is not acceptable." My thoughts, prayers, and support are with all of you. Sincerely, Robbie M. --- Support I can only say that you have 100% of my support. The lack of ability for parents to protect their children from monsters (related or not) is alarming!I live in a state where a child can be molested by one parent & still be forced to visit that parent while incarcerated for the crime against the child. Its one thing to protect the institution of 'family', its another not to have any thought to the consequences of some of these laws.Good luck to you! Carla C. (NJ.) August 20 2008 --- Our thoughts and prayers are with you My children and I struggle with similar issues and pray that we never have to take the steps that you so bravely have.> > Stay strong. We are with you 1000% !!!!! Amy August 20, 2008 --- Why do women put up with it? As a woman escaping abuse, I am often asked, "Why did you stay for so long?" The answer is unthinkable, but simple—I stayed because all the threats my ex-husband made against me are real. My ex says that he will make up stories that I am crazy to get custody of the children, and not only will people believe him but I will never see the children again. The family court system fails to protect victims of domestic violence. It elevates abusers to heroes, while repeating their taunts: shut up and it's your fault. Lynne (MN) --- Jennifer Thank you so much for sharing your perspective as a child living with domestic violence. I am the Director of a non-profit supervised visitation center in East Texas and plan on sharing your story with our staff and Board. You mentioned a supervised visit where the visit supervisor shut you down when you tried to show your mother the bruises. Although we re-direct the conversation during the visit, we talk with the children afterwards to get their statement in order to file a report with Children's Protective Services. What other ways could we as folks who supervise visits do to insure that you (as children) are safe outside of visits? We now have a Children's Advocate who is supposed to report any concerns to the children's attorney and Judge. Thanks for sharing your story! Carol M, Executive Director --- Dear Jennifer I am SO happy that you, your mom and Zach are safe. Over the years I have prayed for your safety and happiness. I wish you all the best. Bryan S. (MN) --- Yes, your mum is a hero and so are you. May you all have justice and peace at last, at last. brightest blessings, lynn S. --- I am so sorry that your mother and more importantly you and your brother have been put through this ordeal. If I may suggest to you - contact stop family violence on the internet. They have a petition with the IACHR abouut this very issue. They might be of some assistance. Also Justice For Children helps abused moms and children too. My prayers go out to you. I wish I could help in some way but I too am a victim of a biased court. My child is being victimized in horrendous ways.Best of luck to you, your brother and your mother. You have the prayers of many here on the Internet and all over the world. --- Interesting how some make this a discussion on women's supposed pathologies- and omit discussion of human rights- and children's rights. Could it be there aren't any- in real life ? Do we pathologize and blame the victims of genocide ? Well- some did -didn't they. The travesty and nightmares that mothers, including me, have had to endure is disgusting. The "best" interest of my child has been decided by the "good ol boys club" and no repercussions have been made for a father who was arrested for drinking and driving with his child. In fact a CPS worker told me that "he made a bad choice driving drunk with his daughter and that didn't make him a bad parent". Yet if that was a mother she'd still be sitting in jail. It's time for a revolution to show this patriarchal court system that if it wasn't for women they wouldn't be here! Elizabeth --- Has Holly Collins paved the way for other battered women to find safety? A case has recently emerged where another American Battered Woman (Chere Lyn Tomayko) has received Refugee Status in Costa Rica. D.J. (MN) --- Thank you for writing this article. Clearly, more attention for the consequences of domestic violence on the long run is needed. The society, but even family judges, think that the problems finished after the violent relationship is finished, but victims know that a great deal of the problems even start at that moment. Especially if the court rewards the batterer with custody over the children. This happens even if the batterer is sentenced for the domestic violence, not only in de US, but also in the Netherlands. Sometimes because of a false claim of PAS, sometimes because the judge thinks that is is better for the child to keep contact with the father, no matter what had happened (or can happen?), although research shows that this is not truth. We know that in some cases the child is obliged to visit the father in jail, while he is sentenced for murdering the mother. Although I am proud that in the case of Holly and her children, unfortunately I do not believe that in general the situation for battered women is better in The Netherlands than in the US. So please let’s cooperate world wide, to fight for the rights of battered women and children everywhere. Christine Amsterdam --- Mark Collins beat Holly Collins! Even though he claims it was an accident (he supposedly did it in his sleep) Mark Collins admitted during his testimony that he broke Holly’s nose 3 times!No way you can sugar coat that! Everyone agrees that this woman was battered! That is enough for the general public to know that he should never have received custody of the children!The children are old enough now to speak for themselves. Listen to them! TF --- Jennifer, I am so proud of you for taking a stand as you have been doing for the at least the past year. Ignore those too ignorant to read the skull fractures, broken bones, and abuse you and your siblings suffered.People need to remember that although this was some 14 years ago, this continues to happen in our courts today. When Jen recently tried to contact her father, hoping against hope that just maybe he would want to hear from her after 14 years, he was rude, crude, and hung up on her!Any man or woman would be proud to have children who have gone through so much and still comleted college, and continue to advocate for their safe return to the USA.The father is violent and did not care if he hurt his wife or children. That is not a real man, anyone can beat up on a woman and small frightened children! Some man needs to take him out behind the barn and give him a good talkin' to!The courts did not give Holly any help or hope. After being told she would have to move out or be charged with failure to protect, the children were then given to the abuser! How crazy is this?Bless you Holly! Hope Houston, TX ---
1. What's happened to Holly and her children is one of the worst cases of injustice I've ever heard of because there were SO MANY injustices AND the cover-up continues to this day! An AMERICAN asking for asylum?! Just think about that for a moment - and then it was granted?! The Netherlands did the right thing by this mom and children, yet the United States continues a self-righteous and vindictive pursuit of a mom who takes care of children and war orphans? This is absolutely beyond sick!!!Diamond's comment that Mark Collins is a victim is insult to injury and an example of a truly corrupt system if we're supposed to feel sorry for Mark's "time, energy and faith" he put into the court system - that's NOTHING as compared to Holly's placing her life and the very lives of her beloved children into the hands of that same court system that FAILED (and continues to fail) her and her kids! In light of all the confirmed evidence against him, Mr. Collins should have spent the past 14 years IN JAIL for abusing his children and the mother of his children! Last I heard, the use of violence against women and children was classified as A CRIME and is a fundamental Human Rights violation so how Mr. Collins has avoided arrest and incarceration simply baffles me because even in this article, the citations about his use of violence against Holly, Zach and Jennifer is repetitiously and freely spoken about!Sadly, Holly's story is not much different then the thousands of other mothers who've fled abusive marriages in this country and who've been ensnared by a court system that was designed to protect the weak and innocent that instead ensures "equity and impartiality" to criminals who claim fatherhood as immunity for their crimes. There is a difference between being a father and being a dad and a good dad does not terrorize, traumatize or otherwise hurt the children or the mother of his children! (Good dads also know they are so and never attempt to prove themselves in such a manner - if anything, they encourage other men to be the best dads they can be and live by example.) Mr. Collins is a father but he is surely no dad.Thank you for writing and publishing this article. I hope it serves as a springboard for outrage, inspiration and ultimately change. God bless and keep safe Holly, Zach and Jennifer; God forgive Mark and the people in the system that have contributed and continue to contribute to the abuse of women and children. Dara Carlin, Kailua, Hawaii --- Congratulations to Beth Walton for getting at the real issue. “In plain sight!” That says it all. You captured the essence of the true story. The court found that Mark Collins, beat Holly Collins and then awarded custody of her minor children to her batterer.It is a disgrace that the judge didn’t understand the dynamics of domestic violence. This woman’s fears were justified. Did the judge assume that she should feel safe after the divorce was finalized, despite her children having to go alone with her abuser? Statistics demonstrate that abusers are even more dangerous when his victim tries to leave. The judge misread the distress this battered woman was in… The judgment stated that Holly MAY suffer from a personality disorder, including MSbP, yet the judge admitted that he wasn’t sure which personality disorder she should have. All of the treating professionals confirmed that Holly suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome not MSbP. It is typical that the courts assume that something else must be wrong with this woman for being so afraid of her batterer, even though she’d been divorced for 2 years. The broken bones had healed by then. What was wrong with her? Who is the crazy one here? Broken bones?!!!! That is indisputable! Domestic Violence as well!!! The judge found it without doubt! The appellate court upheld it! Mark Collins is a wife beater! With just those facts alone, how in the world could he gain custody of the children?Munchausen’s is a rare syndrome when a parent inflicts symptoms of an undiagnosed illness on a child. Unfortunately many batterers have now used this opportunity to conform the characteristics of this very rare disorder to detract attention from his abuse to his wife and children. If one manipulates the signs of MSbP, as the last commenter did, any battered woman may be falsely accused. If Holly was ill, then her newborn son would be at greater risk than her two older children and yet she was given sole custody of the infant. RF Minnapolis MN --- I am a mother falsely accused of PAS. With the onset of my ex filing for custody, I suddenly become mentally ill and develop PAS. No doctor has ever diagnosed me--it was the lawyer for my ex and biased members of Hennepin County Family Court who claim I have PAS. The evidence: I am afraid, My children are afraid and acting out. Going to court to defend myself and keep the children safe is also evidence--I am just trying to keep the kids from the father is what the lawyer says. It's beyond belief how abusers get so much sympathy! PAS is not a valid, recognized disorder. PAS is not in the DSM-IV. Dr. Richard Gardner, the mastermind of PAS, had one theory discredited and pulled from use. He was also known to work as a paid court witness. Dr. Gardener believes that children sexually seduce adults and that incest is not bad--it's the cultural perception which makes a child fear sex. Dr. Gardner believed in "threat therapy" to reunite children with fathers who were alleged to be abusive; at least one child committed suicide after enduring threat therapy. Dr. Garnder was against the mandated reporting of sexual abuse. Dr. Gardner believes the cure for PAS is removing the mother (fathers don't develop PAS) from the lives of the children or using the threat of taking contact away with her children to get the mother to cooperate. Dr. Gardner later committed suicide by cutting himself up. PAS has never been oficially credited nor recognized as a medical sydrome. There are very few options for abused women to move into stable lives. Legal services are very limited--especially for those who cannot pay. There is a housing crisis with almost no subsidized housing available. Shelters are full and turn women and children away. And now courts give rights to the abusers while ignoring the victims. Many victims are denied their rights and due process in court… I was actually told by family court not to talk about abuse. Once I made a mistake and accidentally cried. I was told that I am hysterical and unreasonable. I am afraid to speak. Afraid anything I will say will cause me to loose my children. When I am calm, I am told i have no emotion--and labeled with a new disorder. I am told it is wrong to be afraid and angry towards my ex. I am told it is better to try to reason with him. Better to give him more time with the children. Better to give him another chance. My children are being hurt and there is nothing I can do... All the while the children suffer. And the abuser is emboldened to strike again.How can this be justice? E.L . MN --- Most of the people commenting on this story are making lots of assumptions, most of them way off base. I knew Holly and knew quite a bit about her case as it unfolded. NO ONE involved in the case EVER said she had Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy. The only Munchausen's experts involved said emphatically that she did NOT have it. It was "suggested" by a court services psychologist who testified at trial that she didn't have expertise in this area and that she had never had a Munchausen's client. This exemplifies one of the many problems with our current family court system: custody evaluations, guardian ad litem reports, and other reports that come into the courtroom are loaded with innuendo, assumption, untested theory and guesswork. Judges are making decisions based on this, treating opinion as fact.The individual who posted a comment regarding witnessing a "full-blown Munchausen's incident" is mistaken. Visitation supervisors are not qualified to diagnose people with psychiatric conditions (assuming MSBP is an actual condition, which is open to debate). Again, this demonstrates how the conjecture of an individual who works for the court turns speculation into fact and poisons the well for other people providing service to the family.Nor did Holly "hide" her pregnancy. Other visitation supervisors and others involved with her case knew perfectly well she was pregnant because they could see it. She didn't advertise it, but she wasn't required to.Ample evidence exists of the abuse of Holly by her ex-husband, and there is also plenty of evidence of her children's illnesses and their abuse by their father. The court acknowledged Holly's victimization, but as often happens, would not or could not understand the connection between abuse of a mother and abuse of the children. My personal belief is that no one wants to believe it. They'd rather believe she's lying or exaggerating.A couple of comments about Christopher's father. He was completely disinterested in his son. Holly had to beg him to see him. I don't know where writers get the idea that she interfered with his visitation, but she tried in vain to get him to show some interest. He was planning a move out of the country when Holly left, and showed no interest in a relationship with his son. He may or may not have changed his mind since then, but people should understand that he ignored this boy when they were both in Minnesota.Holly doesn't have to be perfect in order to be a good mother. Battered women are traumatized by the abuse they experience, and not surprisingly, act like trauma victims. They can be fearful, anxious, sometimes seen as manipulative (although I don't agree that's what's going on), and easily upset. Doesn't make them bad mothers. It's a perfectly natural response to having been abused. The focus should be on the people who have created that situation, not on the victims.Holly made a desperate decision because she obviously felt she was in a desperate situation. Minnesota, like every other state in the country, provides a defense to her actions if she felt it necessary to protect herself or her children. Ultimately, if she returns, a court will decide if she has a valid defense. But until we enact badly needed family court reform many abused women and children will be caught in this terrible dilemma. Thanks to Beth Walton for doing this important story. lucy minneapolis --- MSBP has also been discredited as a theory.It reminds me of the old witch hunts of medieval times.Get the witch and make some theory stick- in order to take over the lives of children and control them in as many ways as possible.Also, it is clear that all that is allowed to happen is ANTI- LOVE.The boys at the top want control of all the children and are removing it quite quickly now, because law is supporting the violence and punishing the loving parent and children.We need to wake up and take back our own power- stay out of secret family courts- known as Kangaroo Courts to those who know what really happens in there re- massive corruption and soul destruction of human beings, who end up with Legal Abuse Syndrome, ETC. --- PAS is only a theory made up by Richard Gardiner- self confessed paedophile, who committed suicide when the net began to close in after he had destroyed many families in secret family courts in USA and worldwide.PAS is not a recognised psychiatric dis- order- but a theory based on Gardners own unresolved mother issues.Gardner and Underwager see no wrong in abusing children, hence too many men have escaped justice.Now, truth finds a way through this family and others brave enough to speak out despite the gagging orders imposed by the court old boys club- who really do not want the public to know what is allowed to happen to children and abused parents- both male and female- but mostly females. L.P London --- This is not an article about Mothers having more rights than Fathers or Fathers being believed over Mothers. This is not an article about child support or what "normally" happens and who is "normally" believed. This is a true story about a family from Minnesota that was extremely abnormal in the level to which they were failed by our courts. Period. I know them. I saw this. It happened. A child can't "fake" a fractured skull...or the other injuries not even mentioned in this article. There are great Fathers that deserve full custody. There are great judges and guardians that do everything they can to put children's safety and best interest first. This case, unfortunately, was the opposite. In this case, it was a perfect storm of poor judgement by the courts and its officers to a level that was criminal. It is not now and never has been a case of Mothers vs. Fathers. It is about the children. It is about children being hurt when the courts fail and a parent having no alternatives left to protect their child from further harm. Skewing it to a case of man vs. woman is grossly unfair to the true victims in this case: The children. Quit reading between the lines to fit your own agenda and read the words written...they are powerful. Heidi MN --- Dear Men the World Over Don't beat the woman you're with. Don't beat your kids. Without taking a stance on the particular facts of this case, can we start by agreeing on this? Thanks! Sincerely Jeff Minneapolis --- The main thing here is not the woman's struggle--it's the struggle by her FOR her children. It's about the fact that they didn't want to see their father, wanted nothing to do with him, but the courts refused to acknowledge their opinions because it's easier to consider a female "hysterical" than it is to think a man could possibly be beating his children when he's saying's he's not. There's a lot of double-standards in this world (such as the slapping debate, OR the fact that any woman who isn't constantly happy and in perfect health is obviously a nutcase), and they're all bad, but going around and acting like women "have it all" and "oh no the poor menz!" is absolutely ridiculous and ignorant… Nothing matters except the emotional and physical wellbeing of the people who're in the middle of the battle--the children. If the children in this story loved their dad and wanted to be with him, they wouldn't have gone to such lengths to get him out of their life, no matter what claims their mother made about how horrible he is. It's really as easy as that. There had to be SOMETHING wrong in their relationship with him if they couldn't stand being around him to such an extensive point. K. Forest Lake MN --- Way to go Holly!!! As a mom I admire her bravery & commitment to her children! Thank god for women like her who put their children's safety ABOVE ALL!! Because of her amazing & selfless actions the cycle of abuse will end at her wonderful kids! I hope everything goes well for her in the trial. CITY PAGES: you should keep the twin cities updated as to the trial ETC. so we can show our support! Amy St Paul --- I know and love Holly and her children. What happened to them was a travesty. I saw the bruises on these children and on Holly. It is time Hennepin County did the right thing and admitted their mistakes in this case. Mark Collins is not a victim. He is a criminal. He has been for decades. Heidi Lakeville MN --- I strongly believe that the 'Best Interest of the Child' standard needs to be replaced with THE APPROXIMATION RULE. The new standard should be THE APPROXIMATION RULE if we want to stop abusers from gaining custody. (Abusers are rarely involved fathers.) The American Law Institute (ALI), Dr. Robert Emery (of UVA Center for Children, Families, and the Law), and even 'Mo' (Dr. Maureen Hannah of the BMCC IV 2007 Truth Commission) advocate the repeal of BIOC (the 'Best Interest of the Child' standard) with THE APPROXIMATION RULE taking its place as the new standard. (The Approximation Rule incorporates Tennessee's 'Protective Parent Reform Act.') Let's begin to urge our elected public servants to KEEP PARENTS WHO CARE IN THE LIVES OF THEIR CHILDREN by REPEALING B-I-O-C and ENACTING THE APPROXIMATION RULE. Veronique W. --- As for the subject at hand: This man who did what he did to this woman is an... and should be the one under arrest, not this poor woman. And the U.S. government should be hanging its collective head in shame for allowing this to happen, as well as the big moron from Texas who came up with the stupid 'No Child Left Behind'-hey George, you've left a lot of them behind! Neville --- Everything about the secret family courts is corrupt. They ought to be scrapped. The only reason they are secret is because if ever the general public really realised what was going on behind those closed courtroom doors there would be so much anger there would probably be rioting in the streets. The secrecy has nothing to do with protecting children and everything to do with protecting the wicked powerful men who are making a great deal of money from the whole dispicable system. Barbara --- Thanks to heavily funded and well connected misogynistic father's rights groups obsessed with stripping women of all rights,this is now massively happening everywhere,UK,France,Ireland,Spain,Russia,Australia,Canada,Austria,Germany,Italy,Serbia...fathers only need to apply for custody,regardless of what kind of fathers they have been,and they will win. And what kind of a human being has the heart to part a baby ,a toddler or an older child begging to live with the mother from his/her mother? That is not a man of an average mind hence most custody fathers have very abusive,sadistic past.In the UK,women are totally unaware that they are mearly incubators for their parents and completely at their mercy.The media REFUSE to report on dozens of thousands of good mothers who have lost their babies to abusers and who belong to organized campaigned backed up by academics,lawyers,many male.Is it because the media is also male controlled? Maya --- Many readers will ask- what on Earth is this person on about?? Of course the Government wants to stop violence!!!!!!!! Does it really?? No, that is propaganda. Violent men and women are rewarded by the system in secret courts not open to the public. Secret courts are supposed to keep the childs identity secret.!! That is not what is being kept secret at all. Rather- it is the corruption of the state agents, lawyers, judges etc that is kept hidden.Domestic Violence Why Is It Still Allowed.??? Catherine M --- Thank you to Jennifer Collins for sharing her story, and for becoming a voice for abused children. I know you will be able to help others who are not fortunate enough to have a mom like yours, who was willing to break the law to protect you. Godspeed in your work to start your organization, and hopefully you'll be able to advocate for those children and change the way the court operates. Whenever a parent abuses ANYONE in the household, it is mental and emotional abuse on all the others. Viewing/hearing one parent beat another is mentally and emotionally ABUSIVE to the children. A child feels every ounce of that punch, and it stays with them forever. We need to write this into the law: If you are a convicted abuser of your spouse, you can NEVER get full custody of your children. You have shown that you can't handle yourself and are incapable of providing a healthy environment. So get your sick self into treatment and stay away from your spouse and children until you have become a real human. --- Sadly, there are many instances where the misuse of the questionable diagnosis of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy is used to destroy families. Mama/MAMA is a documentary which explores this tragedy. www.munchausenmovie.com is the site for more info. Amy --- I am not surprising to see a story like this. I have been going though about same situation.I am a loving mom. My child loves me.My child wishes that her dad die. It is terrible situation.He still forces her to see him.She cries every night when she is with him. What can I do? --- Sadly this is not only in MN but all over the country and the world. Protective mothers are being denied the chance to live with their children free from abuse. Eventually the children are abused. A wife beater is 40 to 60 times more likely to abuse his children. We also need to remember that abuse is not just physical abuse it can also be mental and verbal. A wife beater (batterer) is a very controlling individual. Just go to glennsacks.com and read some of the comments to Mr. Sacks posts and you will see the incredible belief systems of some of these "men" and "fathers." Sadly also, most judges are granted complete immunity so the abused chidlren who are truly the victims here will never be able to seek a case of action against this screwed up judge and system. I can relate to Holly. I only wish I had the guts to do what she did. I would do anything to protect my innocent child from the abuse she recieves from her supposed father. Sadly I ahve a judge just like Holly's who puts absolutely no stock in anything I allege - even with numerous witnesses stating the same thing. What is our system coming to when these injustices are allowed to continue? ~Jennifer --- I think we should all take into consideration that most members of the judiciary have never studied family law. I have learned in the community that I live in a few of the judges have only practiced insurance law and some have only practiced criminal law. I think this makes a difference when they are assigned family law case - they have no working experience on family law except for the book given to them when voted or hired in. Kimberly --- It's utterly absurd that the court system is so concerned with father's rights rather than the right of a child to live in a safe and loving home - without fear, without abuse. If one parent - the father - is proven abusive in court and the other parent - the mother - is not viewed as a good provider, why didn't they place the children in foster care? There were a lot of mistakes made in this case, but the worst were the ones the male judges made in favor of the guy who reminded them of themselves. JB --- Holy smokes! The JUDGE who awarded custody to Mark ought to be charged with child endangerment and conspiracy to injure minors, found GUILTY and sent to PRISON for 10 years. Chris --- Yes the court system is THAT screwed up. What's fueling this, are the even more screwed up Judges. Take my word for it. I have experienced a Judge that is an 'advocate' for the dads - and it doesn't help anyone. It ends up hurting all parties. Becky --- It is UNBELIEVABLE that the court would grant custody to the father after seeing these pictures. Is the Hennepin County court system that SCREWED UP? Tom --- Jennifer: Thank you so much for sharing your perspective as a child living with domestic violence. I am the Director of a non-profit supervised visitation center in East Texas and plan on sharing your story with our staff and Board. You mentioned a supervised visit where the visit supervisor shut you down when you tried to show your mother the bruises. Although we re-direct the conversation during the visit, we talk with the children afterwards to get their statement in order to file a report with Children's Protective Services. What other ways could we as folks who supervise visits do to insure that you (as children) are safe outside of visits? We now have a Children's Advocate who is supposed to report any concerns to the children's attorney and Judge. Thanks for sharing your story!Carol A. Maderer Executive DirectorX-Change Place June 29, 2008 --- I knew this family here in the U.S. I saw the bruises on these children. I watched as their Mother tried every legal means to secure their safety time and time again. I was with her as she prayed and begged to protect her children as any Mother would do...I was at the courthouse with so many others protesting against the horrendous decisions being made that again and again placed these children in such a frightening environment. I am deeply, deeply ashamed of our courts. I thank God for the Dutch government for protecting this family for so many years. Those of you that wish to "hear the other side" should know that this "father" never once made comment for his children's return in our media. You should know that every word in those videos is true. You should know that it doesn't begin to describe the horror they lived through. You should be proud to have such courageous people in your presence as Holly, Zachary and Jennifer. I pray now that you who are closer than I am able to be will care for them now. I pray that you will respect that this family has certainly earned that most basic human right of SAFETY that sadly their own country failed to provide. Heidi April 6, 2008 --- You are all absolutely AMAZING! Thank you for having the bravery to not only stand up and speak out but to advocate on your mom's behalf. Jennifer, you are a living example of how we all hope our children will turn out when we leave our abusers. It is my strongest hope that your activism will not only provide you with the satisfaction of being able to "repay" your mom's courage, protection and sacrifice but will serve as an inspiration for the thousands of other battered mothers and children who are still living in fear of their abusers and those who support these familial terrorists by allowing them to continue their reign of terror or who excuse them for their sadistic and inhumane acts. May God and His angels continue to surround you, your mom and your brothers in this mission and remember that you never walk alone. With all my heart and soul, Dara Carlin, M.A.Kailua, Hawaii April 5, 2008 --- Thanks to heavily funded and well connected misogynistic father's rights groups obsessed with stripping women of all rights,this is now massively happening everywhere,UK,France,Ireland,Spain,Russia,Australia,Canada,Austria,Germany,Italy,Serbia...fathers only need to apply for custody,regardless of what kind of fathers they have been,and they will win. And what kind of a human being has the heart to part a baby ,a toddler or an older child begging to live with the mother from his/her mother? That is not a man of an average mind hence most custody fathers have very abusive,sadistic past.In the UK,women are totally unaware that they are mearly incubators for their parents and completely at their mercy.The media REFUSE to report on dozens of thousands of good mothers who have lost their babies to abusers and who belong to organized campaigned backed up by academics,lawyers,many male.Is it because the media is also male controlled? Posted by: Maya --- The secret family court tried to force me to send my son to visit the man who raped me - my son was born as a result of rape. I am one of the Pindown children's home survivors. My whole life has been abuse, abuse and more abuse. The man who raped me was my father's work mate. It's a miracle that I survived all of this - I can only put it down to the fact that I became a Christian and begged and pleaded for God to help me and my family. They were all at my throat like a pack of rabid wolves and there was no-one to help me except God. The ridiculous case went on for 7 years. They tried to label me with MSBP and PAS, but I pointed out that PAS was invented by a pedophile, so that put a halt on that idea! The rapist was forced to apologise to me in court, but they STILL tried to force my son to visit him, knowing full well how my son had been concieved! They actually tried to make me forgive and forget!!!!!And there was a threat implied if I didn't. I have been treated in an absolutly disgraceful and inhuman way by the secret family courts. People are supposed to be kind to victims of child abuse and rape. Not one of them offered me a single crumb of kindness but the rapist has been treated like the Prodigal son!!! But God took care of me anyway. Everything about the secret family courts is corrupt. They ought to be scrapped. The only reason they are secret is because if ever the general public really realised what was going on behind those closed courtroom doors there would be so much anger there would probably be rioting in the streets. The secrecy has nothing to do with protecting children and everything to do with protecting the wicked powerful men who are making a great deal of money from the whole dispicable system. Posted by: Barbara --- Astonishing by DEFuning - 01/15/2009 - 07:56 Thank you so much for this timely and horrifying article. I am a Parent Coordinator for a judicial district and sadly, these facts are all too well known to me. Here in Charlotte we are trying to work with the family court judges to prevent this from happening here. In addition, we have just begun an initiative to build a Battered Women's Shelter for women and their children because the need far exceeds our current capacity and we are woefully lacking in facilities given our large population. Mecklenburg County recently commissioned a study to address this need and got solid proof that the need is urgent and huge. This is a joint venture between Crandall Bowles (of Springs Industries and Erskine Bowles spouse) and Mecklenburg County Commissioner Chairman Jennifer Roberts to begin an aggressive fundraising campaign to build this facility sooner rather than later. I have forwarded this article to both of them. It is eloquent and horrible and explains the need better than anything else I've seen. Thank you so much for the ammunition. --- Remarkable story, aptly titled by luaptifer - 01/15/2009 - 18:48 Since it's difficult to imagine that a system knowing about a kid's fractured skull could put kids back into those circumstances for more injury or even worse. It's mostly in passing, from sensational (or horrible) stories that I've come to the sense that child welfare systems don't work well. I usually have to allow, however, that I really don't know the stories which don't break across the ever-rising threshold of what constitutes news to a jaded consumer. About the time I gave up on commercial media as a routine part of life, I think "extreme" was the standard. Your story is potent and the children made real through it. Depending upon the process for arriving to custody decisions that you have described goes to reinforce my existing sense. Whatever is the actual state of family welfare systems (I realize I shouldn't generalize too far). I'm glad that you've told this family's story because it certainly should not be repeated. Thanks, I appreciate the work and welcome you... --- Bary Nolan's article by pugbubbe - 01/15/2009 - 22:25 It is most gratifying to see the article by Barry Nolan, sharing his response to the Battered Mothers Custody Conference and the story of Jennifer Collins. As little-old-lady-type person and a retired school teacher who has been investigating, researching and writing for over a year now about the question of gender bias in the courts and the struggle of mothers to protect their children from abusive and/'or molesting and/or exploitive fathers, I find in Jennifer Collins, with her willingness to speak out and her determination to bring change to this abominable situation one of my heroes. Another is her mother, Holly Collins. These two women are not alone. There are thousands--literally thousands--of women in the United States who have similar experiences. And so I have another hero--one you may not have heard of--one whose case did not turn out so well as did the Collins case. Elsa Newman is unjustly imprisoned--some have actually called her a political prisoner--at Maryland Correctional Institution for Women at Jessup. She was convicted of a crime to which someone else confessed, a crime of which she had no foreknowledge and in which she had no involvement. The only crime of which Newman is guilty is a certain naivete in believing that the American justice system would protect her two sons when they disclosed sexual molestation and other abuses at the hands of their father. That system failed both her and her children. Newman was given a life sentence, although all but 20 years were suspended. Her children were sentenced to a childhood in the hands of their abuser. I applaud all who work to bring life experiences like this to the attention of authorities. God help us all--until something is done to rememdy the situation. --- Jennifer- You are in my thoughts and prayers. I am so sorry for all you and your family has been through. --- Sweetie, we KNOW the Truth. From the first time you emailed, about a year ago, your story has never wavered. Truth does not change and is not confused or confusing.
Have you noticed how liars have a hard time remembering the details and when they attempt to spread their confusion and lies, the stories keep changing? You and your mother should hold your head up high!
When the courts will not protect our babies, Holly accomplished what many mothers and fathers wish they would have done to protect their now dead children. If your mother had allowed your father to continue to abuse you and your brothers, (since he was cracking his 4 year-old's skull, death is not that far away) your mother could have, as have other mothers, gone to prison for not protecting you!!
...You have always been very straightforward and honest. Just keep being your precious self, and eventually, the chaff will fall away.
With Love, Joanna Wright Hope4KidZ, Inc. ---- I know this family and both grown children insist that they were abused by their father. When they were young they begged their mother to protect them from their father. I saw the bruises when they returned home from visitation with their father. The father beat the little boy so severely that he broke the child’s bones!
The family was granted asylum in Europe. That is nearly impossible for an American. Obviously there was more than enough documentation. If you look at Jennifer's blog, Americanchildrenunderground.bogspot.com you will see that every single medical doctor and all of the treating psychologists tried to protect these children from their father. (The medical reports are supplied by Jennifer, Holly's daughter.)
As for Holly's family not supporting her... that is because when she was 17 years old she finally admitted that her step father was raping her and her sister.
The high powered attorney/step father and the family did not want to be exposed!
Who figures??? --- I completely understand why this woman did as she did. I live in Georgia, and have experienced domestic violence at the hands of the father of our children. The children also by seeing, and at times experiencing abuse as well. People will think as they want, but one can't say what they would do unless they are living it. Escaping --- I was abused as a child 20 some years ago. And I have to be honest with you, the state did nothing to the man who abused me. Abused --- Travesties like the Collins families story are happening all over our country, the UK and various other countries that have adopted the misogynistic parental alienation theory made up by Richard Gardner. It is far to easy for courts to believe that the mother is a vindictive liar than to believe that a father abused his wife and children, and even more difficult for the courts to make the common sense decision that an abuser is not a safe or appropriate role model for children. It is a myth that fathers never get custody. In fact, they are highly likely to get some form of custody when it is contested. S note --- Glenn Sacks is angry because Jennifer made him look like a fool on tv. Now he is trying to disprove that these children were abused. Shame on him and his followers. If you want more information on this case, listen to the kids yourself. Americanchildrenunderground.blogspot.com AJ
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