V is an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley. Her abusive father was awarded joint custody of her through the California courts, following which he continued to physically, sexually, and emotionally abuse her.
The first time he hit [my mother] was the day my brother was born. From that day on, the abuse escalated. One day, my grandma found her at the bottom of the stairs. My father had punched her and pushed her from the top. When we finally escaped and my mother filed for divorce, the judge ordered that we spend two weeks a month with my mom and two weeks a month with my father.
When I was 5 years old, my father molested me, and he molested my youngest brother. My oldest brother was always trying to protect us, so he took the worst of the beatings. Once my father grabbed him by the ears and push his head into the wall, and on several occasions, my father hit my brother over the head with one of his rifles. It affected him severely, and when my brother became a teenager, he started physically abusing my mother and me. One time when my mother confronted him about his use of drugs, my brother forced her into a headlock and beat her head into the wall repeatedly. Sometimes, my mom and I had to sleep in the car, because my brother locked us out of the house. Locking my mother out of the house was something my father used to do.
If FVAP had existed when I was a child and my mom had been able to appeal our case, my brothers and I could have been spared years of abuse.