Episode 49. Michele Swensen

This week my guest is Michele Swensen, mother of 3 children being held by their Father, a member of Al Qaeda, in Yemen. We talk of the events leading to her children being taken and her brave attempt to rescue them. She also written 2 books about her story “Straight of Tears” and “Mommy Don’t”

I also discuss up coming event’s in the U.S. and the recent U.S. Senate Judicial hearing into international parental child abduction. And previous show guest John LaDue’s up coming movie.

Join the discussion on Facebook

For Michele’s books

iStand national conference

U.S. Senate Judiciary hearing


14 Replies to “Episode 49. Michele Swensen”

  1. Experiencing trauma has significant implications for mental health. We’ve known this for some time but particularly since the early 1970s after observing and studying the effects of war on American servicemen in Vietnam. More recently, research has shown that experiencing trauma early in childhood has a significant impact on the development of the brain and the way it works.

  2. The emergence of shared parenting as a women’s rights issue is no great surprise, given the fact that in many countries, a paternal preference continues to dominate in judicial child custody decision-making and results in many mothers becoming alienated from their children’s lives, and the fact that in some countries, children are still considered to be the “property” of fathers. In North America, we see increasing rates of primary residence determinations being made in favor of fathers in states where a maternal preference previously existed. It is now well-established that women are as much at risk of parental alienation as fathers, both in North America and abroad (Warshak, 2015).

  3. SNA (Himeji) — Currently in Japan about 150,000 children lose all contact with one parent each year, according to the estimate of the Kizuna Child Parent Reunion (CPR), a non profit organization that seeks to help all children affected by this crisis. This is often due to parental abduction or alienation, which is the conscious decision made by the alienating parent to break the child-parent bond between the child and the target parent.

    The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which was signed by Japan in 1994, has already recognized that a child has a right to access both of their parents. Article 9, Section 3, mandates: “States Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child’s best interests.”

  4. When one parent says they want a divorce a common question by the parent who does not want a divorce is ‘what about the children?’ To which the first parent says ‘the children will be fine’. The impact of divorce lingers FOR YEARS after the separation! As demonstrated by this child of divorce who shares the hurt, emotional pain and disappointment of a parents’ divorce.


    My parents divorced 59 years ago! I loved my mother very much but I never saw my dad again. I can still remember the day he left. All those lies about no impact on the children, is just that, lies!


  5. “I recall hearing my parents argue and thinking: ‘Come on, this is torture. Just split!’ They stuck it out until I was 15, but I’d seen it coming for years. When they finally did divorce, I thought: ‘OK, this is the right thing’,”

  6. This wife and mother talks about her parent’s divorce, the blessing and difficulty of divorce. She reveals the goodness of God and how God is the foundation for the success of her marriage. (Comments to Turned Out All Right?, post #177, posted June 16, 2015)


    My parents divorced when I was a freshman in college. I remember my Dad saying to me that he was going to leave when my younger brother went to college. He waited to leave until we were older. I am sad that my parents marriage did not last, but in looking back, I am glad that they stayed together for as long as they did, and especially when we were younger.

    I have now been blessed to be married for 21 years. I am grateful to God for my husband, and I know that we are still married because of having God and Jesus in our lives. Marriage is a blessing, but at times is also difficult. I don’t know how marriages that do not have God as a foundation make it.



    Comment to Turned Out All Right?, by JH, July 29, 2013.

    Link to article:

    #178, God’s Goodness

  7. Artwork by a 10-year-old boy reveals the confusion he is experiencing with parental divorce. The definitive line separating the parents indicate how he feels forced to make a decision, thus the fork in the road. Who does he choose? Mom or dad? A tough decision for a child to make. This child is pointing at dad. What does this mean? The words of the child show the emotional pain he is experiencing: “This is what divorce sometimes seems like to me. Sometimes I am on the road I don’t want to be on. Sometimes I can’t decide which road to go on. At times, I get confused!”

  8. Special Opportunity to take part in an interactive conference with world leading experts on Parental Alienation including Amy J. L Baker, leading Judiciary and representatives from CAFCASS and Social Work in the UK. Calling all parents to join our interactive parent panel – tickets and more information email

  9. Should family court judges be on the dangerous humans list and come with a public health warning

    “Family courts Kill”

  10. An 11-year-old is able to summarize what many courts have not. Thankfully, this judge was astute enough to see this child’s plea for help! Truly, a case of the parents putting their anger and hatred before the needs of the child.

    She has witnessed countless bitter rows between her warring parents, including an incident at her primary school assembly that led to police being called. Her mother, a health worker, admits she has an alcohol abuse problem and her behaviour towards her former husband and his new wife has been ”appalling”.

    Her parents can barely speak to each other. Tempers flared when her father took her on an overseas trip without telling her mother.

    But when she wrote a school project about a child trapped in a vicious custody battle, a Family Court judge heard a cry for help.

    ”This has got to stop,” the 11-year-old known as ”T” wrote in a childish cursive script. ”Not in a few years. Not when people can finally be [bothered] to do it. It needs to be done NOW!”

    In four sentences, the student traced the despair of thousands of children dragged into messy familial dramas in the courts – and their struggle to be heard above the fray.

    ”The heading of the writing … said that in the Family Court, children should have a say,” Justice Paul Cronin said in a judgment published last week.

    ”She said the court got to choose the residence of a child or what the child did, and she rhetorically asked whether that was fair. She said that children should have a day to go into the court and speak up.

    ”In a pointed remark, the child wrote that adults buy and build houses and children should at least get an opportunity to decide where they lived and with whom they wanted to live.”

    Since 2006, the Family Court has been required to take into account any views expressed by the child when making parenting orders. In the vast majority of cases, their views are filtered through a lawyer, psychologist or a family consultant, who is an officer of the court.

    T’s writing project, in a school exercise book, was brought to the court’s attention by one of the psychologists who gave evidence. The child, he said, had been living in a ”tragic split world” since her parents separated when she was five. She was ”the linchpin through which parental conflict was channelled”. The law says the Family Court’s ”paramount consideration” when making parenting orders is the interests of the child.

    But for children such as T, who was assigned an independent lawyer by Legal Aid, court disputes over where they will live, and how, seem focused squarely on the parents.

    Justice Cronin noted that much of the evidence in this case was about her mother and father, ”even though they may not have seen it that way”.

    He said T’s mother was ”disarmingly candid” about her drinking problem but had produced records that it was under control. If she was unable to curb the problem, he said, ”the Sword of Damocles may now be sitting there” and T’s father would be ”well within his rights” to argue he could not have a relationship with his daughter while she was part of her mother’s world.
    In a second piece of writing, T wrote about a family ”falling apart” and a father who was ”mean to her mother”.
    ”It has all of the remarkable hallmarks of the child referring to her own family situation,” Justice Cronin said.
    ”It oozes with particularity in her stream of consciousness. In a bizarre ending, the mother is stabbed. The child returns home to find her mother covered in ‘bright red blood’. It is a cry for help.”
    The judge made parenting orders running to 27 paragraphs, including that neither parent should contact the other, outside of emergencies, until they had agreed in writing that they could be civil about their daughter. ”Unfortunately their focus has been on each other rather than on the child,” he wrote. ”It is time to stop for the child’s sake.”
    Sydney Morning Herald. Childs school project becomes a plea to the family court.

  11. One father shares the heartache of not seeing his son in 5 years! The tragedy of PAS is that the years are gone. The time for father-son talks, to share events at school, and sport activities are done. There is no way to capture the time back. NO ONE wins with PAS! A short term “win” will eventually be discovered. The truth will come out; however, until that point, the years are gone.


    The length of time, the separation, not hearing his voice, not knowing where he lives, does he think of me at all, if so than what does he think of me…… the list goes on……..

    5 years is a long time and counting.
    The Fathers Rights Movement/2-16-15

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *