Monthly Archives: September 2016

Salmon

Sockeye Salmon jumping a waterfall, Author Marvina for Fish & Wildlife Service, Source http://www.public-domain-image.com (PD-Federal govt.)

Salmon jumping a waterfall on the way to spawn, Author Marvina Munch for Fish & Wildlife Service, Source http://www.public-domain-image.com (PD-Federal govt.)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

Suppose I took a knife and gutted you with it, like a fish.  Suppose I left you to bleed out on the floor, but you somehow survived that catastrophic assault.  Would you expect to be unchanged by it?  Would you expect to recover just by thinking happy thoughts?

Obviously not.

Physical v. Mental Complaints

Yet this is the cold comfort some physicians offer abuse victims suffering from long-term depression/anxiety and PTSD or other chronic conditions, for instance migraines, stemming from our abuse.  We are not trying hard enough for them.  Better still, we must be malingering.  Who could possibly grieve for decades over a “mere” childhood violation?

Forget it.  Put it behind you, we are told.  Easier said than done, however.

The ignorance of such physicians is palpable.  They simply do not consider psychological problems as significant as physical ailments [1].

Objective Findings

Many of us suffering from mental health issues seek help first from our primary care physicians.  Out of embarrassment, we may never consult a psychiatrist or psychologist.  If that is the case, we are likely to find ourselves accused of lacking “objective findings” to support our complaints, especially if they are chronic.

Which begs the question, do the scars of cutting and attempted suicide count?  How precisely are scars on the soul measured, anyway?

While these questions are meant to be facetious, it can be enormously painful for victims to confront the critical attitude of some physicians.  Our credibility is challenged exactly when we feel most vulnerable.  We are forced to justify our right to receive care to the very individuals who should be providing that care.

Remind you of anything?  The situation is, of course, reminiscent of the very abuse we endured.  Not that the physicians being consulted are likely to recognize that.

The doctor-patient relationship was never intended to be adversarial.  When it is, we can wind up feeling discouraged and rejected.  Some of us will give up seeking medical care at all.

Patient Profiling

One reason for this may be patient profiling:

“Patient profiling is the practice of regarding particular patients as more likely to have certain behaviors or illnesses based on their appearance, race, gender, financial status, or other observable characteristics.  Profiling disproportionately impacts patients with chronic pain, mental illness, the uninsured, and patients of color [2].”

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Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse

Gomer

“Thoughts of the Past” by John Spencer Stanhope (1859), Tate Museum, PD Art (PD-old-100)

The biblical prophet Hosea lived during a dark period in Israel’s history, around the 8th Century BC.  Though prosperous, the Northern Kingdom had turned away from the one true God, instead worshipping idols.

Against this backdrop, God’s puzzling direction to Hosea was that he should marry a prostitute:

Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry And children of harlotry, For the land has committed great harlotry By departing from the Lord” (Hosea 1: 2).

Hosea’s troubled relationship with his wife, Gomer, becomes a metaphor for God’s relationship with Israel [1].

Gomer bears Hosea three children, whose names are symbolic of the spiritual deterioration of Israel [2].  But Gomer is repeatedly unfaithful.  Hosea even questions the paternity of the younger children.

Despite that, Hosea is commanded by God to love Gomer (Hosea 3: 1).  God warns Israel of terrible chastisement to come for its sin [3].  Hosea is not though described as punishing Gomer.  Rather, he ransoms her out of slavery.

We can infer that Hosea provides Gomer food and clothing, and treats her tenderly.  Ultimately, Hosea forgives Gomer’s infidelity as God forgives Israel’s.

Motivation

Since Gomer does not speak, we are left to wonder about her motivation.  Here she is, rescued from a life of degradation.  Yet she does not – or cannot – remain faithful.  Did she feel ignored by Hosea?  Did she long for male attention and admiration?  For the excitement of the streets (or the sensuality of pagan worship)?

Self-Sabotage

Why can what we know is wrong sometimes feel so “right”?  For abuse victims, self-sabotage may be part of the answer.

Self-sabotage is the expression of low self-esteem.  Any behavior which undermines our success can fall into this category.  Examples include binge drinking, engaging in unprotected sex, and selecting an alcoholic life partner.  The behavior may be conscious or unconscious.

“Typically, one’s pattern of self-sabotage is closely related to one’s personal issues and family history.   Survivors who grew up in addictive families may self-sabotage by driving while drunk… Survivors from violent families may…[be] beaten or injured.   Survivors from wealthy families often find themselves losing money, getting swindled or making bad investments.  Studies have shown that survivors of child sexual abuse are more likely to be assaulted as adults [4].”

This is not to suggest that abuse victims are responsible for the abuse inflicted on them.  Nor is it meant to imply that victims want to be re-victimized. Continue reading

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

Candy from a Baby

National School Lunch Program, Author USDA (PD - Federal agency)

National School Lunch Program, Author USDA (PD – Federal agency)

‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me’ ” (Matt. 25: 45).

The fraud making headlines these days can run into the billions.  Ten million dollars may not seem an extraordinary amount, by those standards.  Still, it is substantial enough…especially when you realize that the stolen money was meant to feed hungry children.

A dozen people have been arrested in Arkansas for a scheme that drained funds from a federal program to fight hunger.  The program provides dinners, during the school year, and meals at community centers, during the summer months, to underprivileged children who would not otherwise have enough to eat.

The evidence suggests that employees of the Arkansas Dept. of Health Services responsible for administering the program approved wildly inflated claims, some by non-existent entities, in exchange for bribes.

The defendants have been charged with bribery, wire fraud, and money laundering.  Nine have pleaded guilty.  Statutory penalties will apply.  How much restitution may actually be possible has not yet been determined.

Arkansas has one of the highest rates of child hunger in the United States.  More than 275,000 children in the state qualify for free or reduced lunch.  The ten million dollars could have purchased 2.7-3.2 million meals.

An awful lot of milk and cookies never reached the table.  But stealing that food from the children who needed it was as easy as taking candy from a baby.

[1]  The Washington Post, “ ‘Mortified’:  Inside a $10M scheme to steal federal funds intended to feed hungry children” by Amy Want, 9/8/16,  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/09/08/inside-a-10m-scheme-to-steal-federal-funds-intended-to-feed-hungry-children/.

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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Filed under Abuse of Power, Child Abuse, Christianity, Community, Justice, Law, Neglect, Poverty, Religion

Dirty Little Secret

WARNING:  Graphic Images

The Armed Forces have for years now instructed our soldiers to ignore the sexual abuse of boys by Afghan leaders viewed as allies of the United States [1].  Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley, Jr. told his father, “At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it.”

In an effort to keep this dirty little secret, the Navy (which oversees the Marine Corps.) has decided to discharge Major Jason Brezler for sharing his concerns with fellow Marines, using an unclassified server [2].

A similar case arose in 2011, when Army Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland struck an Afghan police official for the rape of a teenage boy.  In that instance, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)intervened, and the Army allowed the Green Beret to stay in the service.

According to former Special Forces Captain Dan Quinn, “But we were putting people into power who would do things that were worse than the Taliban did – that was something village elders voiced to me.”

Quinn was relieved of his command, and pulled from Afghanistan after beating an Afghan commander who kept a boy chained to his bed as a sex slave.  Quinn subsequently left the military.

There is yet another layer of complexity to the situation.  The Taliban is using child sex slaves to infiltrate Afghan forces, and carry out deadly assaults [3].  Lance Cpl. Buckley (above) and two other Marines were killed by a group of boys living on base with an Afghan police commander. Continue reading

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Filed under Abuse of Power, Child Abuse, Physical Abuse, Politics, Sexual Abuse, Slavery, Terrorism