Father Wins Full Custody of His 9-Year-Old Daughter Who Sparked Standwithsophie Campaign

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Whether you have children of your own or not, this story will break your heart. Sophie was a healthy, happy child until her father began noticing a change in her behavior.

The #standwithsophie Family

As a child of divorce, Sophie spends her days shuffled between her parents’ homes. It was obvious to her father, Michael, that something was very wrong when she began refusing to go back to her mother’s house.

Michael’s new wife had become equally concerned about Sophie’s unhappiness. Consequently, in 2016, they began full custody applications. During investigations, it was discovered that the mother’s boyfriend and his friends were sexually abusing Sophie.

Why didn’t her mother know Sophie was being abused? How could her mother, week after week, month after month, not see how scared and upset Sophie was becoming? Most mothers have a sixth sense about their children and their wellbeing. Did she know but was in denial? Was she being threatened by the boyfriend?

The continued court battles for custody cost Michael thousands of dollars. He ran out of money and became desperate to save Sophie so he started videoing her and the interactions between her mother and grandmother when they came to get her. He said he didn’t want to do this to his daughter, but he wanted people to know exactly what Sophie was experiencing and that the court system was failing her. When this video hit the internet, a #standwithsophie movement began to build awareness of Sophie’s painful situation. As a result of this video, a GoFundMe campaign was started to help Michael pay for his legal costs. (4)

The System

How, in our civilized society, can a child be left in a home where she is being sexually abused? How is it that the mother was continually awarded custody? It seems that the courts and child protective services utterly failed Sophie. In addition, the waiting between court dates was excruciating for both Sophie and her father as he watched her continued anguish after visitations to her mother’s house.

Finally, in early September of 2020, her father was awarded full custody of Sophie and her two brothers for the few months until their final court date, when the right decision will hopefully be made. Even so, the long-term effects of this abuse will affect Sophie and her brothers perhaps for the rest of their lives.

The Statistics

Child sexual abuse is far more prevalent than most people realize. It is likely the most prevalent health problem children face with the most serious of consequences. In the US alone, about one in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. 60% of child sexual abuse victims never tell anyone. (1)

Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) investigated 243,039 cases involving sexual abuse allegations in 2019.  Sexual abuse may be much larger than federal statistics show due to under-reporting. (2)

Stop It Now! This organization has many resources including phone numbers by state for child protective services and other agencies. If you suspect a child is being sexually abused, call one of these agencies to report and get guidance. (3)

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About Sara Ding

Sara Ding is the founder of Juicing-for-Health.com. She is a certified Wellness Health Coach, Nutritional Consultant and a Detox Specialist. She helps busy men and women identify their health issues at the root cause, in order to eliminate the problems for optimum physical/mental health and wellbeing.


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