“We’re enslaved to this patriarchal society that controls our innocent lives without any justice at all. Without any good reason at all.”— Narkis Golan
In 2018, under the guise of attending her brother’s wedding, Narkis Golan and her son Bradley fled Italy to her home country of the United States. In Italy, Golan had suffered ongoing physical, verbal and emotional abuse at the hands of her husband Isacco Saada. Her maternal instincts to protect herself and her child saw an opportunity and it became essential to take it. After realising that Golan and Bradley weren’t returning, Saada filed a petition in the Eastern District of New York under the Hague Convention to have Bradley returned to Italy. Since then there has been a protracted series of legal contests that have provided some important challenges to the way the Hague Convention is implemented, but also continue to threaten Bradley’s right to a safe and healthy upbringing.
Both the way family courts operate and the way Hague Convention is implemented can be boiled down to one central question — are women and children allowed to leave abusive domestic environments? It seems an extraordinary question to ask, but culturally and legally the answer is often no.