35: the percentage of child abuse allegations that were unsubstantiated in 1975
66: the percentage of child abuse allegations that were unsubstantiated in 1993
97: the percentage of child abuse allegations made during divorce proceedings that are unsubstantiated
(Source: False Allegations of Abuse in Divorce)
Having worked in a shelter and also having worked with abused children in various settings, I am unbelievably infuriated by the fact that finger-pointing about child abuse is a popular trick in so many parents’ grab bags of hate during divorce. I know first-hand how short-staffed and over-worked most agencies attempting to protect children are, and how precious little resources one must work with in these roles. When a parent knowingly falsely accuses the other parent of abuse simply to vilify that person and to paint themselves as the sympathy-worthy victim, they are selfishly wasting time and resources that could be (SHOULD be) directed to children who desperately need it, instead of serving as pawns in a spiteful, immature game.
And what about the kids who are the targets of these false allegations? Because they are often forced into the hate campaign by the manipulating parent and even roped into “counseling” to cement the false memories, these children understandably become depressed, lack self-esteem, and develop false memories, harming or destroying their relationship with the falsely accused parent. Reverend Dennis Austin calls this a parentectomy: the removal or erasure of a parent from a child’s life.
I give up trying to understand how a parent can do this to his or her own child. I am left wondering, what would stop this? What would stop parents from viewing their children as tools or game pieces, to stop abusing not only their children but also the resources attempting to protect kids, which are stretched far past their limits already? What would shift some parents’ focus from their own desires and where it belongs: to the kids?