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A Mom's Ex Accused Their Kids Of Lying About Him Hitting Them In Public — So She Got The Security Footage & Sent It To Police

Photo: TikTok
TikTok mom describing her experience

Protecting kids from an abusive parent really shouldn't be that hard—that's why we have child protective services and a family court system, after all. 

But as one Georgia mom has highlighted on TikTok, when it comes to a kid reporting mistreatment and abuse from a parent, a heavy burden of proof falls on the other parent—and it can take herculean efforts to gather the necessary evidence to keep a kid safe.

A single mom was forced to go to extraordinary lengths to prove her ex-husband was hitting their children after he denied the abuse.

After an outing with their father mandated by their custody agreement, Angel's four-year-old son told her that his dad had hit him and his sister in the face at a restaurant.

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The little boy's sister confirmed the incident, and the whole reason Angel divorced her husband in the first place was that he was physically violent. But as she went on to explain in subsequent TikToks, none of that matters in the eyes of the family law system.

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When her husband refused to give her any information about the incident, she began a long process of investigation, all on her own.

In screenshots in her video, Angel shared how she confronted her ex via email to report what their son accused him of. She also asked for the name of the restaurant they went to so that she could call a manager and asked if he or she had witnessed anything. "You sound like the government," her husband mocked in response. 

So Angel took things into her own hands. "I will call every restaurant in the area and search every camera until I confirm or deny what my children have told me," she wrote in onscreen text. But that proved next to impossible given the wide area she needed to search and her young children's inability to give her sufficient details about the restaurant itself.

Commenters on TikTok immediately began throwing out suggestions of questions she could ask her kids that might help her figure things out. "If your kids don’t know the restaurant, ask what they ate and what the kid cups looked Iike. It will help narrow it down," one commenter wrote. That ended up being a very helpful suggestion.

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By asking her children questions and piecing details together, the mom narrowed her search.

Angel began her follow-up video by sharing what she did know—that her children's stories were identical; that they both said they'd been hit in the face "for no reason;" that it happened in a Mexican restaurant, on a specific day, and that it happened while they were on an out-of-town trip with their dad.



After talking to her children, Angel also uncovered just how upsetting and dangerous the situation had been. "The hit was so hard," she said, "that it caused my son to violently scream, to where my daughter, and I quote, says, 'it caused the customers to leave.'"

Her children also told her they'd been to the Atlanta zoo just before the incident. Armed with all these details, Angel began calling around tons of restaurants, asking managers if they'd seen or heard any part of the situation her children spoke about. 

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The mom was frantically searching to find the evidence before her children's next mandated visit with their father, just two days away. 

It took Angel until Wednesday to get enough details together to be able to really investigate. With her kid's next mandated visit coming Friday, she was in a frantic time crunch because she was powerless to protect them without proof.

"Regardless of how whole-heartedly I believe my children," she said in her video, "I know the justice system needs some kind of proof."



In the comments of her videos, TikTokers threw out all more suggestions for how she could find the restaurant in question, from calling police departments all along the route from the Atlanta Zoo to her home, to looking at photos of restaurants on Google Maps to see if they jogged her kids' memories. 

Incredibly, it worked—with just one day left before her kids' next mandated visit—she finally figured out which restaurant it was.

And sure enough, the restaurant had footage of the incident, which Angel said a detective was retrieving for review as part of a child abuse investigation against her husband.

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The mom explained that without concrete proof of the abuse, the family court system leaves her powerless at protecting her kids from their abusive parent.

Some commenters on TikTok pushed back on the mom, asking why she didn't just take her children's word for it. But as she explained, that was beside the point. 



"I never once doubted my children from the time they told me about the incident," she said. "Me needing proof is simply for two reasons—1, I can't even file a police report until I found out where the incident occurred… 2, I can't do anything through the family court system without proof."

She then gave a startling summary of just how big an effort it was to nail down the information she needed to be able to get help for her kids—which she credited her fellow TikTokers with helping her do. 

"Because of you guys, and the private investigator work that us mamas can put in when we need to protect our babies, I found the restaurant," she said. "Out of hundreds of square miles between Atlanta and our home… we found the restaurant! So now I was able to file a police report and do the utmost for my children."

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Situations like Angel's are sadly incredibly common when it comes to protecting kids from an abusive parent.

As non-profit women's organization The Fuller Project and UK newspaper The Guardian reported in 2021, mothers like Angel are routinely failed by America's family courts, in part because they often cannot afford legal representation—Angel has highlighted in her TikToks how she struggles to represent herself legally in her court dealings with ex-husband—and in part, because the courts themselves are frequently biased towards fathers.

Lawyers and domestic violence experts told The Guardian that moms like Angel are often "seen as the 'less cooperative' parent in custody and visitation cases…because they’re not facilitating a relationship between father and child – a relationship the court sees as important for the child’s development." Attorneys often portray such mothers as "combative and intransigent" in order to make the abusive parent "appear to be better custodial parents."

And as the video below reveals, parents—especially mothers—are frequently penalized by family courts for alleging abuse against their ex-spouses and partners—to the point that they themselves end up losing custody.

Indeed, a 2019 study by the National Family Violence Law Center at the George Washington University Law School found that out of 200 family law cases in which a mother alleged child sexual abuse, judges sided with the mother only 15% of the time. For domestic violence, the rate jumped significantly to 45%—but still, that's less than half. 

And in most of those lost cases, the mother ends up losing custody to the man she's accusing of abuse. "That’s like the ticket to death," professor Joan Meier, who led the study, said of abuse allegations raised by mothers. "The odds are you lose custody."

In Angel's case, the burden of proof is even more absurd—her and her ex's entire divorce was predicated on documented abuse and stalking from her ex-husband, as she shared in another TikTok.



It simply should not be this hard to keep children safe from abuse. Thank goodness Angel had the time, energy, resources, and help from her TikTok community to meet the absurd burden of proof placed on her. Her children's future, sadly, depends on it.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or child abuse, you’re not alone and help is available. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or text "START" to 88788, or contact them via online chat.

For help with child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.