Imagine at a very early age being taken away from the only life you’ve ever known. Losing your friends, your school, as well as contact with one parent and oftentimes other close relatives. This is the crisis of parental abduction and Sonoma Valley High School student Lindsey Davis is using her Senior Project to call attention to this devastating plight.
For Davis, interest in the topic comes from her own family. Her mother was an eight-year-old living in Southern California when she was abducted by her mother and taken into hiding for the better part of five years. Finally found in Anchorage, Alaska as a 13-year-old, the teenager was reunited with her father and thrown back into a life that was now alien to her, complete with a new sister and step-mother. As for her own mother, there were no repercussions as the abduction was ruled a custodial dispute and the case was closed. The teen was left to pick up the pieces on her own.
Today, Lindsey Davis is working with the nonprofit organization Takeroot.org to call attention to parental abduction. According to their web site, takeroot.org, 200,000 children each year are abducted by a parent or family member in the United States. Despite this fact, there has been a significant lack of research into the impact that this type of trauma has on those abducted. Davis is looking to help change that.
“This is a horrific crime that is so often put on the back burner,” said Davis. “I’m hoping to raise awareness and, in the process, help other children who’ve been abducted.”
Part of Davis’ project includes research into post-recovery services that go far beyond the “hug and go” method that has been employed for so many years. She believes that more intensive therapy is necessary to help children reintegrate into a life that, many times, they have left behind for years and often, never expect to see again. She calls attention to reintegration research on the site called the “Kid Glove Approach,” which will be implemented across the country soon.
For her part, Davis’ mom has shared her story on the Takeroot.org site and is in the process of writing a book. “All these years later I see the affect that being abducted has had on my mom. I want to be able to help others like her,” said Davis.