Harriett Buhai Center Helps Heal Child’s Wounds

Jimmy’s Trauma

Jimmy,*only 8 years old, clutched his stomach and fought the wave of nausea as he confided in the therapist and relived the mental images of his father hitting his mother over and over, punching his teenage brother and angrily calling his older sister names that he knew were bad. Back in counseling after finding out that his father wanted to see him, he was panicked and afraid. Diagnosed with PTSD as a result of witnessing his father’s violence and after some therapy, he had stopped wetting the bed and was doing much better in school. Jimmy tearfully begged his mother not to let his father see him.

Litigation Again

For the past two years, Jimmy’s father had failed to see Jimmy although supervised visitation was allowed by the court. Now, Jimmy’s father hired an attorney to get permission to see Jimmy alone. Knowing that Jimmy’s mental health was still very fragile, his mother, Sandra*, turned to the Center for help to protect him from his father’s destructive influence.

Mother’s Relief

After telling her story, Sandra cried aloud with happiness when the Center staff attorney told her that she would not be alone at court. In collaboration with the Center and armed with evidence from Jimmy’s doctors, Sandra’s pro bono attorney with years of custody experience, Don Eisenberg, argued that Jimmy’s continued struggle with PTSD would not survive his father’s visits. The judge, focusing on Jimmy’s mental well-being and his continued suffering, ordered no visitation for Jimmy’s father.

With the help of the Center, its volunteers and its supporters, Jimmy could begin his healing again without fear.

*Names changed to protect privacy.