Parent Survival Guide Parent Survival Guide Issue 02 (Spring) - Page 28

Accused: My Fight for Truth, Justice, and the Strength to Forgive.

By Tonya Craft

BenBella Book

Good reads

28 spring 2017 PSG

Accused is Tonya Craft’s memoir about her fight against false allegations of sexual molestation of her daughter and

two other girls.

Tonya Craft was a mother of two and a highly regarded kindergarten teacher in Georgia when in 2008, these accusations sent her whole world into a spin and into a trial so public that she gains national public notoriety. Ms Craft’s memoir meticulously covers the trial and Ms Craft’s journey through it—a journey as absurd as it is infuriating; as inspiring in her strength as it is shocking in how unimaginable can so seamlessly turn into a nightmarish reality.

As many of our readers know from experience, the legal system too often fails to pursue justice, especially when masterfully distracted. It seems like Ms Craft had all cards stacked against her, including a resentful ex-husband and small-town politics. Her children were taken away without even a good-bye, and the reader comes to long for them along with their mother, who ended up waiting years to be reunited. During those years, her name and reputation were drug through mud, she was treated as a sex offender that she was not, lived out of a mobile home, hemorrhaged money and stood helpless as her own child was subjected to physical examinations and interrogations as invasive as they were unnecessary. Above all, she endured her children’s acquired disdain and watched their innocence demolished along with the truth. Sadly, Ms Craft’s ultimate acquittal only partially negates the impact this experience had on her life and her children.

The alienating adults formed a coalition, used fabricated accusations of sexual abuse, and manipulate the children’s memories.

While Accused does not use the term “parental alienation,” this story is, sadly, a classic expression of this form of retaliatory aggression—a form of bullying that aims to hurt a parent by leveraging her children. The alienating adults used fabricated accusations of sexual abuse to achieve these aims, a despicably common tactic of parental alienation. Also in a classic manifestation, the alienating adults in Ms Craft’s story form a self-gratifying coalition and manipulate the children’s memories with seemingly no regard as to the trauma this may cause them.

Accused is frightening proof that without an adequate legal system and a shift in civic opinion, parental alienation is like a rampant virus: we are naïve to think that morality or the interests of the children will keep in check. If anything, Accused is a confronting example of how far people are willing to go in retaliation, and how little regard truth or childhoods have in the process.

Accused also illustrates the devastating impact that parental alienation has on the targeted parents, irreparably destroying their spirits, careers and relationships; damage that is so undeniable and palpable in Accused that it may offer a shock to the world once actually documented scientifically across the demographic.

Even when Ms Craft felt utterly hopeless, she found the strength to go on, to clear her name, to regain custody of her children, and even to forgive. For that, Accused is a candid and inspiring story of tenacity, perseverance and faith in the face of the most heinous injustice. Accused is also a testament to all parents suffering, so often silently, under the weight of injustice compounded by the grief of loosing their children.