There were several moving moments at the #TimesUp for Family Courts press conference held February 7 in Pittsburgh, PA. Allyson Bender from Dallas, Texas, a 17-year-old survivor spoke eloquently and forcefully about her eight years of "hell" while in the court-ordered custody of her abusive father. Allyson is now on a mission to share her story and advocate for other survivors. Here is just a sample of how she spoke truth to power.
On the #MeToo movement:
Just because we are not Olympians or famous actresses does not mean that I and the other children in my situation do not deserve to be heard or acknowledged nationally. We have been begging the world to listen to us for decades and now that everyone else is saying #metoo, maybe we will get our chance to make a change.
Her future plans:
I plan on attending college next year and majoring in human rights followed by law school so that I can help fix this broken system and help save kids like myself.
To her father, grandparents, the judge in her case and others, Addyson addressed them directly.
I am strong. You tried to break me but you didn’t. Nice try.
To all of us, she issued this challenge.
People of America, I know you may think that this is not your problem or that you can not help. But let me pose one final question to you. If it isn’t your problem then whose is it?
It was a true privilege to meet Addyson and her mom at the press conference. They are a fierce duo. And Addyson is right; the failure of the family courts IS our problem. Please join DV LEAP to help protect survivors and change the judicial system.