Monthly Archives: May 2015

Darkness

Pedophiles have found a way to communicate, exchange child pornography, and offer children for sexual activity in relative freedom [1]. To do this they utilize something known as the “darknet”.

The darknet is a private computer network accessible only by browsers which mask the identity of the user with encryption software. The darknet is a part of the Deep Web which, in turn, is a part of the World Wide Web we all know.

Not indexed by standard search engines like Google, the Deep Web was originally intended for military use [2]. It is still partially funded by the US government, with the purpose of facilitating free speech by political dissidents in China and elsewhere.

Unfortunately, authorities suspect the Deep Web has become a haven for criminality. Comprised of billions of websites (some merely massive databases), it is growing exponentially in size. The darknet is a case in point. Continue reading

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Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Law, Religion, Sexual Abuse

Blood and Gore

WARNING:  Graphic Images

You sit in a darkened multiplex, popcorn and licorice at the ready. The previews end, and the main feature begins. It is a horror flick. You settle in for cinematic blood and gore.

The mother of an infant with a fractured skull fakes cancer, in an effort to avoid liability. Wait. That sounds familiar.

Ashley Reichard faked ovarian cancer when she brought her 11 month old to the hospital [1]. The mother had shaved her own head, and forged a letter from a recognized cancer center to explain failure to follow with her probation officer.

Injuries on the little girl’s part could only be explained by abuse. They included two skull fractures, a broken jaw, a broken femur, multiple bruises and cigarette burns. Days had passed since the injuries were inflicted on the child.

Misspellings in the letter, and obvious inconsistencies in the child’s medical history gave the scheme away.

Back to the film, with a sigh of relief. Put those images out of mind. Try these instead. A brother and sister are found dead in a freezer. Oh, no. Please, no.

A 13 y.o. girl, Stoni Ann, and 9 y.o. boy, Stephen, were beaten to death by their mother, Mitchelle Blair, then stored in deep freeze for over a year, like slabs of beef [2].

According to an older sibling, Blair placed a plastic bag over Stoni Ann’s mouth, and strangled the girl with a T-shirt. Blair tortured the boy for two weeks before his death. Neither of the fathers was involved in his child’s life.

Child Protective Services had documented physical abuse in the home in 2002 and 2005. Michigan, however, allows children to be home schooled without external supervision. The children’s bodies were found by court officers executing an eviction notice.

Still in the mood for a horror movie?  Frankenstein and the walking dead have nothing on the stories social workers can tell. Continue reading

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Filed under Child Abuse, Community, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Poverty, Sexual Abuse

Mattress

Though women are encouraged to be sexually active in our culture, they are not always treated kindly when they take that advice.

Mattress

A sexually available girl who has many partners.

Mattress Back

A girl who has sex so often, whether with the same partner (nympho) or many different ones (slut), that her back seems to be constantly on a mattress.

-Urban Dictionary

Child victims of sexual abuse must negotiate this terrain with care. The emotional scars they carry do not make that an easy task.

Some women abused in childhood will seek as adults to reclaim their bodies by initiating frequent, anonymous sex. For them, sex is an attempt at self-affirmation. But no amount of it will fill the void left behind by abuse [1].

Tragically, a great many prostitutes fall into this category [2]. Drug use to dull the pain is common in the sex trade [3].

Other women will engage in sex (often with many partners) in a desperate search for love. These are the girls passed from boy to boy in high school; the women who settle for one night stands, since nothing else is being offered. Continue reading

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Greater than We Know

I’d like to tell you the story of two women. It is a true story, not a fairytale. Both these women faced hardship and loss. However, they responded differently which is the lesson for us at the heart of their story.

Naomi was an Israelite woman who moved with her husband and two sons to nearby Moab, during a time of famine. Naomi’s husband soon died. The young men married Moabite women with pagan beliefs. Ruth was one of these.

To Naomi’s sorrow, after about ten years her sons, also, died. Hearing that the famine at home had ended, Naomi decided to return. She urged her daughters-in-law to remain in Moab, and rebuild their lives.

But Ruth had grown especially close to Naomi, and was determined to follow her back. Ruth’s beautiful words have come down to us, over the centuries:

But Ruth said: ‘Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you. For wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God’ ” (Ruth 1: 16-17).

Naomi was an embittered woman, angry with God for what she had been through.

Ruth, on the other hand, is remembered as a woman of faith and integrity. Without complaint, Ruth went to work in the fields to sustain herself and Naomi on their return, in the process, winning the love and admiration of a man who would become her new husband.

We are not promised that Prince Charming will ride in on a white horse. Tragedies will befall us in this broken world. Our dreams will at times be dashed, and our hearts broken. But we can rest assured our lives will have purpose, even when we do not see that purpose.

Abuse can be devastating, its scars lifelong. But the violation is not the sum total of our lives. With God, there is always hope. Sometimes, in fact, God’s plans for us may be greater than we know.

Ruth could easily have become bitter when her first husband died. She could have doubted God’s plans for her life. When she chose to remain with her mother-in-law, Ruth had no idea that she would remarry…or that she would become the great-grandmother of kings, and enter the lineage of Christ [1] [2].

Yet she did.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jer. 29: 11).


[1] Ruth is documented in Scripture as having been the great-grandmother of King David, and the great-great-grandmother of King Solomon (Ruth 4: 13, 17, 21). She is expressly included in the geneology of Christ (Matt. 1: 5).

[2] Though scholars continue to debate its significance, archaeological evidence for King David appears to have been unearthed at Tel Dan, in northern Israel, on a stone stela dating to the 9th Century BC.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com

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Intimacy and the Real Self

As abuse victims, the majority of us have trust issues.  Intimacy, in other words, is a challenge for us. Lovers are likely to be selected for their inability to permit intimacy (or might as well be). The closer they get to us, the greater the chance they will run.

In the agony of trying to hold onto someone unwilling to commit, we lose sight of one essential fact. The closer they get, the greater the chance we will run. The attraction evaporates.

Our trust issues may be such that we cannot even allow for friendships. If we have managed to form valued relationships, we may still keep friends at arm’s length. While we need not fear or distrust genuine friends, it can be difficult for us to believe friends would remain loyal, if they knew all our flaws.

Our “true” selves.

Safety Zone

Painful as it is, abuse victims often rely on distance – geographic and emotional. Intimacy can be so unfamiliar it makes us nervous. Distance provides us a “safety” zone within which our secret selves live.

There is no actual safety in such a zone. It is merely a no man’s land with which we surround ourselves. Isolation takes the place of barbed wire, keeping us in and others out.

The Secret Self

Secrets can flourish within that zone. We need not explain the myriad after-effects of abuse (after-effects for which we may have been rejected in the past, for which we may despise ourselves).

We need not explain our eating disorders or sexual difficulties.  We need not explain what has compelled us to sleep with “so many” – or “so few” – men (or women, for that matter). We need not explain our complex reasons for remaining in abusive relationships – reasons we may not fully understand ourselves.

The Hidden Self

None of these secret flaws – these “terrible” aspects of what we view as our true selves – is harmful to others [1].

Strangely, we take no notice of our many positive qualities. It is as if these qualities were invisible to us, hidden in the same way we hide the worst details of the abuse and its after-effects from others. Continue reading

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Filed under Child Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Prostitution, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women