Hi, my name is AJ and I’m trying to raise funds to help my friend Melissa fight a court battle and protect her wonderful children, Oscar (13) and Cora (7), from their abusive father.
For over 13 years, Melissa was trapped in a physically, emotionally, financially, and legally abusive marriage with the children's father in Shanghai, China. She was unable to divorce or separate from her abuser safely, under constant threat of parental abduction and deportation, fearing for the safety of herself and her children in a country with no protection against domestic abuse and with no avenues to leave safely.
Despite everything working against them, Melissa, Oscar, and Cora finally managed to escape their abuser. They flew to Toronto in August 2022, found safety among friends, and were looking forward to a healthier and happier life. However, that safety would be short-lived.
For the next six months, their abuser stalked Melissa’s relatives all over the US and constantly sent her and Oscar threatening and coercive messages. Despite Melissa’s best efforts to keep their whereabouts hidden while she built a case and established herself in Canada, their abuser managed to track them down.
On Saturday, February 11, 2023, the Peel Regional Police removed Oscar and Cora from their safe and happy home with their mother. A court order was enforced that suspended her parenting rights, suspended all her parenting time, and gave primary residence and sole decision-making responsibility to the abusive father.
The court order was granted on an ex parte basis, which explicitly did not allow Melissa to appear in court or give her the chance to explain the dangers of placing the children in the care of their abuser. She was never allowed to present any argument or evidence. The court failed to do any due diligence to ensure the safety of the children, instead believing a misleading narrative from only one parent. Issuing orders of this magnitude is not standard practice in cases of this nature.
Fortunately, Melissa was able to secure a team of passionate lawyers who took a personal interest in her case. They immediately requested to be allowed to present evidence before the court to express the danger of allowing the children to remain in their abuser’s care and explain the legal repercussions of granting an ex parte order in family court matters.
Justice Michael T. Doi, the presiding judge, steadfastly refused to consider any evidence on the matter for over a month, leaving the children in the negligent care of their abuser. Finally, on March 6th, Melissa was able to present her evidence of abuse in the form of:
- Timestamped emails detailing the abuse and her fears, including pictures of physical harm, over a year before she escaped from China.
- Years of journaled records of abusive events, towards herself and the children, written either the day of or the day following, which were sent regularly to a third party.
- Timestamped messages of Melissa sharing her story to an online support group, beginning nearly two years before she escaped from China.
- Screenshots of Melissa’s WeChat account being verified under the abuser’s name, identification, and bank cards, proving that he ultimately had control over her money.
- Screenshots of email login recovery pages showing recovery methods (ie email and phone number) that belonged to the abuser, which she had no access to, effectively locking her out of her email accounts and, by extension, social media.
- His own evidence included Melissa’s private emails, proving that he had control over her accounts. Furthermore, those emails included Melissa stating that her email was no longer safe and that she would try to change her passwords.
- Text message screenshots where the abuser acknowledges that he slammed Melissa’s laptop closed on her hands, tackled her to the floor, tried to force her to unlock her phone by shoving it in her face, and threw objects at her.
- Multiple forms of proof that he blatantly lied to the court on almost every matter he discussed in his original and subsequent affidavits.
Justice Doi concluded that Melissa’s evidence is self-serving and uncorroborated. Furthermore, he decided that it was in the best interests of the children to uphold the order that they stay with their abuser because Melissa is somehow a “proven flight risk”, despite the children’s passports being held by the police. The judge continues to delay in setting a timetable for the permanent hearing, which would decide if the children can remain in Ontario with Melissa, or if the court will send the children back to China without their mother, in the sole care of their abusive father.
It is imperative that the children are returned to the safety of a stable and happy home with their mother, surrounded by the people who truly love and care for them, and ARE NOT sent back to China with their abuser. Melissa and her children are not the first—and won’t be the last—survivors of domestic abuse to be at the mercy of the system and fall victim to its inherent biases and deficiencies
Help me raise money to enable Melissa to fight this brazen and systematic injustice by the court.
Funds will solely go towards legal fees and retaining legal experts. We appreciate any donations. Please show your support and help raise awareness by sharing this fundraiser on your socials.
Thank you for your time, your support, and your positive thoughts.