Monthly Archives: May 2022

“A Mother’s Love” by Kelly Fratamico

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/68/Mary_Cassatt_-_Mother_and_Child_%28The_Goodnight_Hug%29.jpg

“Mother and Child (A Goodnight Hug)” (1880) by Mary Cassatt, Source https://www.wikiart.org/en/mary-cassatt/mother-and-child-1880 (PD)

Readers of my other blog A Lawyer’s Prayers will be familiar with Christian Legal Clinics of Philadelphia https://www.clcphila.org/, a non-profit whose predecessor I had the opportunity of co-founding.

Through the efforts of volunteer Christian attorneys and paralegals, CLCP provides the poor of Philadelphia with legal services at no charge.

This is one story [1]:

“In 2016 Maria, a native of the Dominican Republic, sent her two young sons, to live with their father in the US.  She could not afford to come with them, so stayed behind…Maria made this sacrifice so her sons could receive a better education and not be influenced by violence in their town.

Maria was finally able to join her sons and their father in the United States…in the summer of 2021.  However, their father became abusive with Maria and tried to keep the boys from her.  With the help of the police and her sister, she was able to retrieve her sons and move into a place of her own.  However, Maria…was scared that he would use the court system to take  her sons from her.” Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Abuse of Power, Christianity, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Justice, Law, Poverty, Religion

Reliving Trauma, Part 2

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fb/Spaghetti_%26_Meatballs_%284%29_%2838218925246%29.jpgSpaghetti and Meatballs, Author John Freeman
(CC Attribution-2.0 Generic)

The Weight-Loss Battle

Again and again, you resolve to lose weight.  At times, you make heroic efforts in this direction.  You try fad diets, and supervised weight loss programs.  You try home exercise equipment and gym memberships.  You fast, may occasionally purge.

And you do lose weight, sometimes substantial amounts.  But as soon as you have acquired an attractive wardrobe in a smaller size, your weight shoots up again.  It is as if you were fighting a force outside yourself.

The pain of this is excruciating.  Giving away – one after another – the pretty items of clothing that no longer fit, you feel as if the flesh were being ripped from your bones, piece by piece.

This happens time after time, over the years, stripping you of hope.

Self-Control and a Negative Inner Dialog

Disciplined in other areas of life, you revile yourself for a lack of self-control where food is concerned, further contributing to an inner dialog which is already wholly negative.

You do your best to live a life of integrity.  But nothing you accomplish has value in your eyes, so long as you continue to have weight issues.

Scalding encounters with those who make clear their disgust at your appearance only reinforce your sense of worthlessness.

Weight Issues/Eating Disorders as a Substitute

Weight problems and eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, etc.) can arise from other causes than abuse [1].  But when abuse of some kind has occurred, they frequently serve as substitutes – an alternate focus for our shame, safer places to put our pain.

We may agonize over the difficulty of losing weight.  But, chances are, that is preferable to agonizing over the incest to which we were subjected.  The difficulty of the struggle reflects the depth of the wound. Continue reading

5 Comments

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

Reliving Trauma, Part 1

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e3/Sugar_in_Junk_Food_-_Doughnuts%2C_Biscuits%2C_Chocolate_and_Cake.jpgJunk Food, Author formulatehealth, Source https://www.flickr.com/photos/189590028@N07/50191150823/ (CC Attribution-2.0 Generic)

Food as Comfort

You endure a childhood of sexual abuse.  Food is a comfort, solace for this inexplicable violation you have repeatedly experienced but cannot understand.

The Roots of an Eating Disorder

By your teens, you develop a weight problem, along with an eating disorder.  Though you do not realize it, both these are related to the abuse.  You deal with all the usual adolescent turmoil and the pain you carry around inside by bingeing.

Shame and Lack of Support

You have no emotional support, no one to guide you toward adulthood.  And virtually no clothes, since there is little thought given by the adults around you to the needs of a growing child.

You try on your mother’s clothes – in part so that you will have something to wear, in part to see what it feels like to be a grown woman.  But your mother is shorter in stature than you, and the clothes are too small.

You feel ashamed, unworthy to be a woman at all. Continue reading

25 Comments

Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse