Monthly Archives: May 2016

Cosby

A Pennsylvania judge has ordered Bill Cosby to proceed to trial on the sexual assault charges by Andrea Constand [1].  Like some 50 other women, Constand maintains that she was drugged against her will by Cosby, and unable to protest when he had sex with her.

The civil case by Constand was settled years ago.  Cosby subsequently sued Constand for return of the settlement moneys she received, alleging that she violated a Confidentiality Agreement.

The statute of limitations has run on the numerous other claims against the 78 y.o. comedian, who has been free on $1 million bail since his arrest in December.

What Cosby Lost

Without an adjudication, it is impossible to say with certainty whether the claims being made against Bill Cosby are true.  Under the American system of justice, of course, defendants are innocent till proven guilty.

That so many women have come forward (albeit belatedly) tends to suggest that at least some of the claims are likely to be true.

Either way, Cosby’s reputation is in tatters.  He has though led a long and illustrious life, while the women making claims against him have wrestled with their demons for decades.

What Fans Lost

Bill Cosby’s reputation will be forever clouded by these accusations.  The many fans who looked up to Cosby have lost a role model.  That is not insignificant.

“The Cosby Show” ran for nearly 10 years.  Cosby as Dr. Cliff Huxtable presented Americans with the image of an intelligent, urbane, and successful black man.  That was in sharp contrast with earlier media images of African American men as ignorant shiftless clowns and violent thugs.

Why Victims Waited

It is difficult for the average person to understand why seemingly intelligent, articulate, and capable women would not have pursued their claims of rape in a timely manner.  Some did make an attempt to report the crime, but were discouraged or ignored outright. Continue reading

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Mustard Seed

Mustard seeds, Author Dsaikia2015 (CC BY-SA 4.0 International) 

Abuse is among the most depraved and destructive behaviors of which human beings are capable.

Less than Trash

We were taught as children that we were inferior, inadequate, lacking. Victims were cruelly used, abandoned, and discarded. Valued as less than trash.

Those lessons sank in deep. They continue to warp victims’ reality. Now, our inner life is marred by a pervasive sense of worthlessness. Depression is rooted in this. Groundless guilt and shame (rightly belonging to our abusers) are added to the mix.

Whatever we may accomplish in this life, in our darkest moments we see ourselves as devoid of good, and our lives as meaningless. It is not though true that the world would be better off without us.

An Act of Faith

Our supposed worthlessness is the cornerstone in a system of lies which allows us to see only our faults. That fact has enormous significance for abuse victims, for it implies we have a choice in how we see ourselves: either as worthless or as the infinitely precious children of God we really are.

Many of us lost our faith, as a result of abuse. After all, God did not rescue us. We find it incomprehensible that God might cherish us, let alone send His Son, Jesus Christ, to give His life for ours. Yet, astonishingly, that is the case.

So the Lord said, ‘If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, “Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,” and it would obey you’ ” (Luke 17: 6).

The feeling of worthlessness is a link in the heavy chain of sin which binds us. That link was forged by our abuse. In its place, victims are offered freedom. We are invited to step out in faith by letting go of worthlessness.

To do that, we must trust God to be greater than our abusers. In point of fact, He is.

Trusting God can feel dangerous and foreign, at first. The journey of faith lasts a lifetime. But we only need a mustard seed to take the first step.

This post has been modified

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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Negotiation – Bargaining with the Devil

Maryland Car Dealership (courtesy of Chrysler/Jeep), Author Christopher Ziemnowciz a/k/a CZmarlin (PD)

Few people enjoy negotiation.  Most find it unpleasant, if necessary.  But, for abuse victims, negotiation can be immensely painful.

Why is this?  After all, most adults have been “bargaining” since they were children.  Just one more game.  Just one more story, Daddy.  Pleeze, Mommy, ple-e-e-eze.

Past Experience

Most people bargain with at least some expectation of obtaining what it is they are after.  That expectation is based on past experience, and a degree of prior success.  It pre-supposes an opponent can be persuaded to modify his/her position, perhaps even relent.

The experience of abuse victims is entirely different.  We were forced to bargain with the devil.

However else the abuser may have appeared to the world, however pleasant or sincere s/he may have seemed, however refined, relative to us s/he was evil incarnate:

  • unscrupulous;
  • manipulative;
  • single-minded;
  • more mature, intellectually;
  • erratic and confusing, with motivation outside our comprehension;
  • all powerful;
  • often brutal; and
  • wholly self-centered or, to put it another way, unmoved by compassion for us.

As children, we were powerless.  That point was made, again and again.

“My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws…” (Ps. 22: 15).

Negotiation was, by nature, a traumatic event for victims.  We may have pleaded with the abuser — quite literally — for our lives, certainly for our sanity.  That fact alone makes all subsequent negotiations highly charged.

And negotiation required abject submission on our part.  Anything else produced harsh punishment.  We could only lay our requests on the altar, hoping to withstand the resulting blast.

Negotiation and PTSD

As adults, we may find it difficult to ask for a raise or promotion; difficult even to contest a utility bill.

The very act of speaking during negotiation can be difficult for us.  Our mouths turn dry as cotton.  Our tongues stick to the palate.  We feel powerless, outmatched.

Buying a new car becomes an ordeal for us, topped off by shame, if we cannot manage to secure a reasonable price. Continue reading

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A Little Life

Baby holding toy, Author Asha Lall (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

Donald Trump is now the presumed Republican candidate for US President; and — despite Bernie Sanders’ optimism — Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic candidate.  These are major developments.  One way or another, they will ultimately impact world events.

We watched the story covered from every angle, examined in minute detail.  What we did not see much about, on the evening news, was the death of a toddler in Utah.

Eighteen month old Ethan Antes had been left in the care of his stepfather, Codey Jolley.  The child was found floating facedown in the tub, with trauma to his upper body.

Police have charged Jolley with abuse homicide [2].  Ethan had sustained injuries on two earlier occasions, after being left alone with his stepfather.

While momentous events were unfolding on the national stage, a little life was lost.  We cannot know what impact that little life might have had, given the chance.

Nor can we know what impact all the other lost lives might have had — Jahi Turner or Malachi Golden in North Carolina [3][4], Charlie Brame in Florida [7], Jeida Torres in New York [8], or two unnamed little girls in Oklahoma and Arizona [5][6].

But those lives mattered.  They mattered every bit as much as the lives of politicians and celebrities do.  No little life should be lost.

But Jesus called them to Him and said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God’ (Luke 18: 16).

[1]  Fox 13 Now, “Family remembers toddler who may be victim of child abuse homicide” by Kiersten Nunez, 5/3/16, http://fox13now.com/2016/05/03/family-remembers-toddler-who-may-be-victim-of-child-abuse-homicide.

[2]  Fox 13 Now, “Millcreek man faces child abuse charges; 18-month-old has died” by Mark Green, 4/30/16, updated 5/1/16, http://fox13now.com/2016/04/30/millcreek-man-faces-child-abuse-charges-16-month-old-not-expected-to-survive.

[3]  Fox 8, “Stepfather arrested in NC in death of 2-year-old”, 4/19/16,  http://myfox8.com/2016/04/19/stepfather-arrested-in-nc-in-death-of-2-year-old.

[4]  Fox 46, “Mother charged in death of young son, day after stepfather charged”, 11/2/15, updated 11/3/15, http://wwww.fox46charlotte.com/news/local-news/43529838-story.

[5]  News OK, “Stepfather arrested in death of 2-year-old in Norman” by Jane Cannon, 8/6/15, http://newsok.com/article/5438504.

[6]  Fox 10, “Police investigating death of young child; stepfather charged” by Brian Pryor, 6/5/15, http://www.fox10phoenix.com/news/2480066-story.

[7]  NY Daily News, “3-year-old Florida girl, raped, beaten by new stepfather before death: police” by Rachelle Blidner, 11/26/14, http://nydailynews.com/girl-3-dies-raped-beaten-stepfather-police-article-1.2025585.

[8]  NY Daily News, “Social workers gave apartment the ‘OK’ day before Brooklyn girl was beaten to death by stepdad at homeless shelter” by Caitlin Nolan, Greg Smith, Tina Moore, 10/20/14, http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/man-beat-brooklyn-girl-death-claims-escape-punishment-article-1.1980588.

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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History

“This House is a sanctuary; a citadel of law, of order, and of liberty…”

–        Aaron Burr

Imperfect though it is, the US Congress stands as a testament to representative government, an august body which has given rise to great men and women.  Names like Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, Stephen Douglas, and Abraham Lincoln once rang out in these halls.

To the nation’s shame, the name Dennis Hastert is included in the roster.

Hastert served as the 51st Speaker of the House of Representatives (1999-2007).  He might have been known to history for that fact, might have left a positive legacy, except for one thing.  Hastert is, also, a serial child molester [1].

Four of his victims chose to come forward.  There are believed to be others.  Hastert admitted to molesting the boys decades ago, as a high school wrestling coach in Illinois.  He was sentenced this week for having paid $1.7 million in “hush” money to one of them.  The statute of limitations has run on the actual abuse. Continue reading

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