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THE FAILURE OF COLLEGE FINANCIAL AID

by Sarah Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011 at 1:44 PM

Children of domestic violence are second class citizens when they try to get college funding. Score 100 for batterers and 0 for their victims.

1 in every 2 American children are victims of domestic violence. The government officials and non-profit domestic violence organizations have made it necessary for young victims of domestic violence to go to their abusers to beg for assistance in obtaining financial aid. The FAFSA blames students for their fathers’ incomes. If their violently abusive fathers are rich, funds are cut or eliminated. The government punishes children for being victims of domestic violence.

One typical case involves one of the heroes of the 21st century’s civil rights movement, Natasha H, the child who served as the chief spokesperson for the Kucinich Presidential campaign in Orange County and who wrote a series of poems and comic strips in support of the pro-democracy movement.

One of the surprises that has torn up the Southern California political community over the last year involves the discovery of the cover-up of the massive amount of domestic violence the child’s mother was subjected to at the hands of her father through the years. Now, we know that the mother was regularly beaten bloody and that the mother and daughter were threatened with knives and other violent instruments. Natasha often saved the mother’s life. Apparently, the father inherited the violent behavior from his own parents, who had become overwhelmed with hatred and anger after the deaths of their own parents decades ago. Natasha has broken free of the chain, showing that she is a humanitarian, ready to help all in need with a calm, loving approach.

In the Democratic Party, politicians seemed enamored by the family dynamic. Natasha and her brother were propelled into the limelight and became political leaders in their own right prior to the age of 12. Natasha’s brother had some serious problems for which school officials wanted to give him behavioral drugs. The mother had to pull the brother out of school and homeschool him to protect him from being drugged, making it difficult for the mother to leave.

The system often rewards violent batterers by giving them custody of the children of abuse following divorce. Most of the time, women leaving a domestic violence situation have a transitional period in which they try to stabilize their finances. Judges tend to feel it is in the best interest of minor children to live with a violent abuser over living in a domestic violence shelter or an unstable financial situation. This is the period in which most domestic violence victims who die do so. It is much more dangerous after leaving. Children are also in danger of being killed as a result of their mothers' leaving. For this reason many women stay to protect their children from likely death. There is a division in thought as to whether leaving and giving children of abuse to the batterers is wise or selfish or whether it is better to stay and ensure that someone is present in the home to protect the children.

Natasha’s mother braved it until Natasha was in college. Then the father’s actions disabled Natasha’s mother and her grandmother and left them penniless and on government aid. Both obtained restraining orders against him. Natasha provided affidavits regarding her father’s violent actions, angering him to take action to try to overtly destroy her ability to afford college and to cause difficulties to her in obtaining college housing. Money the batterer owed to Natasha was not paid. Her father cut off Natasha’s insurance and nearly caused her death. Her father had previously threatened Natasha’s life but now he was bent on revenge.

Like many other crime victims, Natasha is strong. The problems Natasha and other victims of domestic violence face is a system that refuses to assist domestic violence victims. There is no funding for children of violence to get into college. There is no funding for children of domestic violence to have careers. There is no survival money for victims of domestic violence.

Natasha’s case shows the hypocrisy of the political system. She has gotten more Democratic officials into office than any other girl her age in California. Any of these officials could change the landscape for Natasha and girls like her. None of these officials are willing to help domestic violence victims receive college funding.

The lesson for individuals like Natasha’s mother is that they must stay in violent relationships until their children get through college. To fail to do so is to risk making their children lose everything. Leaders are in a position to change this. It is low priority. Leaders say it is terrible but will not help.

It is incumbent upon community activists to demand change or resignations from government officials. No leader who fails to act to save so many women and children should be allowed to keep his job following the next election.

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Natasha is a great kid Jim Monday, Aug. 29, 2011 at 9:49 AM
What's going on here? mous Monday, Sep. 05, 2011 at 5:44 PM

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