Category Archives: Child Abuse

“Dissociative Identity Disorder” by Therapy Glasgow

Broken-down house, Source https://www.flickr.com, Authors Forest and Kim Starr (CC BY-SA 3.0 United States)

This post from “Stephen” at Therapy Glasgow eloquently conveys the essence of Dissociative Identity Disorder:

“Still Like A House

Fractured?  No, curiously I feel fractured but I see myself in the mirror and I’m whole, standing still like a house.  The mirror may be fractured, but my eyes still swivel like windows in this head, guided by a nose that acts as a weather vane.  I open and close my mouth like a door and my ears sit like unoiled hinges.  But I don’t feel like a house.  I feel like a room: a room divided against itself.

Whole Not Hole

If I am whole, how come there are holes in my experience?  Not holes; they just feel like holes.  They’re no more holes than my forgetting what I had for breakfast last Tuesday is a hole.  If I decide, out of my indecision comes a need to follow a trail of breadcrumbs, walking backwards in flip-flop sandals: Shameday, Shatterday, Frightday, Thugsday, Whensday, Chewsday: vegetarian bacon that tasted like cardboard soaked in lapsang souchong.

Not Broken

Broken.  Like a wine glass washed in a lapse of concentration, snapped stem in the sink?  No, I just feel broken.  I’m no more broken than my daydream in the bubbles is a symptom of a broken mind.  I just went travelling for a second and broke a glass, not my hip…” [Continued at https://therapyglasgow.com/2019/02/02/dissociative-identity-disorder/?c=166#comment-166. ]

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

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Returning to Toxic Relationships, Part 3

“Healing of the Blind Man” by AN Mironov (2009), Author Andrey Mironov (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

“…He [Christ] spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay.  And He said to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’…So he went and washed, and came back seeing” (John 9: 6-7).

The miracle of the blind man is recorded in the Bible to teach us that infirmity is not necessarily the consequence of sin.

Certainly, as the victims of child abuse, we did not, ourselves, sin.  Trauma, however, lefts its mark on us.  Among its scars is the tendency we have to seek out and return to dysfunctional relationships.

What Christ’s love does for abuse victims is heal (or reduce) those scars, and cause the scales to fall from our eyes.  We can see the world more clearly, undistorted by the lies we were told by predators about the nature of love and our own supposed lack of value.

Christ’ love for victims is tender.  “A bruised reed He will not break…” (Isaiah 42: 3).  Rather than inflict pain on us, He grieves over the pain we have endured.  That tenderness restores our self-worth, eliminating the need we feel to return to toxic relationships, and making us again whole.

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

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Returning to Toxic Relationships, Part 2

Poster for the film Basic Instinct (c) copyright TriStar Pictures and/or the graphic artist, Source http://www.impawards.com

In the 1990s thriller Basic Instinct, Michael Douglas plays a troubled homicide detective who becomes involved with a female serial killer.  Despite this woman’s overt sexuality, others can see that she is dangerous.  The detective is blind to that.  He believes he has found true love and redemption.

What motivates the detective is not, however, love.  It is a deep sense of guilt over a shooting incident that occurred while he was high on cocaine.  He has, in effect, a death wish.

This is not to say that abuse victims have a death wish, when we return to toxic relationships.  Love can though be a minefield for us.

We are all too easily blinded by our childhood experience – experience that was tainted by abuse.  We frequently mistake dysfunctional relationships for love, and fail to recognize real love when we actually encounter it.

Having been trained to tolerate abuse, we do not see the danger.  We settle for what we had in the past.  That feels “right”.  That resonates with us, striking a profound chord, so “must” be love.  Other relationships pale by comparison.

It does not occur to us we deserve better.  Until we come to that realization, toxic relationships will continue to hold power for us.

This series will conclude next week.

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

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Returning to Toxic Relationships, Part 1

Old love letters, Source Flickr, Author Rachel Ashe of Vancouver, Canada (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

Almost all of us have, at some time or other, run into an old flame and felt the desire to reconnect.  What draws us is a mix of nostalgia and the desire to correct past mistakes, to “get it right” this time.

The problem is that many of the former relationships to which we find ourselves drawn as abuse survivors were, to put it mildly, toxic.

Why do we save the love letters of a man who repeatedly cheated on us?  Why are we tempted to call the boyfriend who stole our charge cards and emptied our bank account?  Why do we find ourselves checking Facebook for the ex who put us in the emergency room?

The answer is not that time heals all wounds.  It is not that we are seeking closure, that we enjoy pain…or that we are simply too dim to know better.

One reason is familiarity.  There is something powerfully familiar about these toxic relationships.  They evoke buried memories from our past, memories we once associated with love. Continue reading

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Systemic Evil

  • Child Sexual Abuse Imagery on YouTube. A large volume of child erotica is being monetized on YouTube [1].  The YouTube algorithm unwittingly works to favor child sexual abuse imagery.  Disney, AT&T, Hasbro, Nestle, and McDonald’s have pulled advertising over the fact their ads are running on videos of young girls which pedophiles have sexualized.  YouTube is blocking predatory comments, but not taking down these videos though social media is often used to facilitate grooming.
  • Violation by Labor Secretary of Crime Victims’ Rights Act.  Judge Kenneth Marra has ruled that Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act when he arranged a plea deal for multi-millionaire Jeffrey Epstein without informing victims [2].  Despite having engaged in human trafficking and the abuse of more than 80 underage victims, Epstein was sentenced to a mere 13 months in a private wing of the Palm Beach county jail.  Acosta, then the US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, not only failed to prosecute Epstein under federal sex trafficking laws, but denied victims their opportunity to oppose the plea deal in open court or appeal it.  Moreover, the secret plea deal shut down an ongoing FBI investigation, and guaranteed Epstein and his co-conspirators immunity from further prosecution.
  • Known Sexual Predator on Government Payroll for Decades.  Investigation by Frontline and the Wall Street Journal confirms that Dr. Stanley Patrick Weber was moved from reservation to reservation by the US Indian Health Service (IHS) for over twenty years despite allegations that he was abusing Native American boys [3][4].  The IHS serves a largely impoverished population with little or no other access to health care.  Weber supplied victims with money, alcohol, and opioids.  He was finally convicted in 2016 of assaulting two Montana boys.  Many of Weber’s victims have spent years in and out of prison and/or struggling with addiction.  In its defense, the IHS indicates it was desperate for medical staff.  Other physicians have been hired with drug problems, criminal convictions, or a history of violence.
  • Catholic Church Sex Scandal.  Although widespread clergy abuse has been uncovered in the United States, Chile, Ireland, Germany, and Australia, there is little hope that the current Conference on the Protection of Minors will result in genuine – and long overdue – reform by the Catholic Church [5].  Clergy abuse in India, Africa, and elsewhere in the undeveloped world has yet to be addressed.  Pope Francis attributes abuse to clericalism, i.e. an excessive deference to clergy and the assumption of moral superiority on their part despite all evidence to the contrary [6][7].  However, the failure to put universal mandatory safeguards in place has played a large role.  Recommendations by the earlier Commission for the Protection of Minors were approved by the Pope, then ignored by the Curia. Subsidiarity allows the bishops in each country to make their own decisions about reform.  Meanwhile, the rape of nuns by priests and bishops has been reported to church hierarchy for 25 years, but is only now coming to light [8][9][10].

Whether corruption is governmental, ecclesiastical, or otherwise, it can become so blatant and pervasive as to undermine any good that may be accomplished by an organization or institution.

But victims are not without recourse, in the face of systemic evil.  Public outcry in the form of protest and boycott can be extremely powerful.  The only question is whether the public will can be marshaled.

[1]  USA Today, “AT&T, Disney, Epic Games drop YouTube ads over concerns of pedophile comments on videos” by Mike Snyder, 2/22/19, https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2019/02/22/at-t-disney-epic-games-pull-youtube-ads-child-exploitation-concerns-pedophiles/2948825002/.

[2]  Slate, “Judge: Alexander Acosta, Now a Trump Official, Broke Federal Law in Brokering Jeffery Epsteing’s 2008 Plea Deal” by Molly Olmstead, 2/21/19, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/02/jeffrey-epstein-sex-trafficking-plea-deal-alexander-acosta.html.

[3]  PBS, “A Pedophile Doctor Drew Suspicions for 21 Years. No One Stopped Him.” By Christopher Weaver, Dan Frosch, and Gabe Johnson, 2/8/19, https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/patrick-stanley-weber-sexual-abuse-pine-ridge-blackfeet-reservation/ .

[4]  PBS, “Predator on the Reservation”, 2/12/19, https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/predator-on-the-reservation/.

[5]  The Atlantic, “What to Watch for During the Catholic Church’s Sex-Abuse Meeting” by Rachel Donadio, 2/20/19, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2019/02/pope-francis-hosts-catholic-church-meeting-sex-abuse/583129/.

[6]  Vatican News, “Protection of Minors: Card. Salazar says bishops’ responsibility ‘inescapable’ ” by Linda Bordoni, 2/21/19, https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2019-02/protection-minors-meeting-abuse-cardinal-salazar-vatiab.html.

[7]  Aleteia, “What is ‘clericalism’?” by Nicholas Senz, 8/23/18, https://aleteia.org/2018/08/23/what-is-clericalism/.

[8]  CNN, “The abuse of nuns is ‘going to explode’ ” by Christiane Amanpour, 2/22/19, https://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2019/02/22/marie-collins-child-sex-abuse-survivor-vatican-summit-pope-francis-amanpour.cnn .

[9]  NPR, “ ‘I Just Froze’: Former Nun Talks About Experiences of Sexual and Spiritual Abuse”, 2/9/19, https://www.npr.org/2019/02/09/693062479/former-nun-talks-about-experiences-of-abuse-in-germany.

[10]  AP News, “Nuns in India tell AP of enduring abuse in Catholic Church” by Tim Sullivan, 1/2/19, https://www.apnews.com/93806f1783f34ea4b8e9c32ed59cdc06.

The series Returning to Toxic Relationships will resume next week.

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

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Bunnies

Baby with toy bunny, Source https://www.flickr.com/photos/floridamemory/6520748155/, Author Florida Memory (PD)

WARNING: Graphic Images

  • Joseph Milano and Lauren Semanyk, a Maryland couple, have been charged with third degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the death of their 10 month old daughter [1].   Other charges pending include possession of drug paraphernalia.  The couple waited over 6 hours to report that the baby had ingested fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50-100 times more powerful than morphine.  They described Angelina to emergency personnel as having drowned during a bath.
  • A 16 month old Pennsylvania toddler is in guarded condition after having chewed on a discarded baggie that held heroin [2].  Narcan saved both the baby’s life and his mother’s, both found unconscious.  A search at the home turned up a dozen empty heroin bags.  The mother is expected to be charged.
  • Antonio Floyd and Shantanice Barksdale, a Michigan couple, have been charged with second degree murder and manslaughter in the death of their 18 month old daughter [3].  The toddler, Ava, died after ingesting some 15 times the amount of fentanyl commonly seen in overdose deaths.  Drug residue, baggies, scales, herb grinders, and guns were found in the couple’s home.  They have two other children.

We mull over baby names.  We paint our nurseries pink and blue; decorate them with bunnies or friendly cartoon characters.  We buy sound machines, cashmere receiving blankets, teddy bears 3’ tall, and designer baby clothes.

Amid all the excitement, we overlook only one thing in preparing for the birth of a child.  And that is the very thing a child needs most:  loving and responsible parents, capable of putting their child’s needs first. Continue reading

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BOOK REVIEW – Climbing Over Grit

Image result for wikimedia commons "climbing over grit"

WARNING:  Graphic Images

Climbing Over Grit by Marzeeh Laleh Chini and her daughter Abnoos Mosleh-Shirazi is a ringing indictment of child marriage, in the years leading up to and during the Iranian Revolution of 1979.

A moving story of courage, strength, and love in the face of abuse, Climbing Over Grit is a first-hand account of the early life of Laleh’s mother, Najma.

Neglected by her wealthy but self-absorbed parents, Najma is married at the age of 11 to a man thirteen years her senior who regularly beats and rapes her.  Despite horrific abuse, Najma’s spirit is never broken.  She forms a close relationship with her mother-in-law and manages to raise four children (becoming a grandmother at the early age of 30).

In the process – and despite her husband’s vehement opposition – Najma resumes her education, attaining a small degree of independence.  However, history repeats itself when Najma and her husband arrange a marriage for their daughter, Jaleh, at the age of 15.  Continue reading

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R. Kelly

“It’s too late. They should have did this s__ 30 years ago.”
– R. Kelly, Facebook Live [1]

The Lifetime channel recently aired a documentary series called “Surviving R. Kelly” which explores the R&B singer-songwriter’s reputation for preying on young girls [2].  The program contains statements by several of Kelly’s underage victims.  The young women describe having been groomed, abused, then finally abandoned.

A number of journalists have reported on R. Kelly’s reprehensible behavior.  Kelly was acquitted of child pornography in 2008, though a tape allegedly showed him having sex with and urinating on a 14 y.o.

The program sheds light not only on the singer’s pattern of predation, but the roots of this behavior.  It, also, exposes the complicity of others in the music business. Continue reading

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Gypsy – Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy

Gypsy Rose Blanchard, Source MyDeathSpace.com

Imagine you are told as a child that you have a debilitating illness, an illness that restricts your activities, an illness likely to be fatal.  Due to your fragile condition, you live a life of seclusion.  You cannot attend school or have normal friendships.  You undergo extensive medical treatment, even surgery.  But the illness lingers, impacting every aspect of your life.

Then you learn all this was a lie.

Munchausen Syndrome by proxy is both a mental illness on the part of a parent or guardian, and a form of child abuse [1].  A child’s caretaker – often the mother – fabricates symptoms on the child’s part and creates real one (whether through the use of poison, starvation, contamination of an intravenous line, or other means).

The underlying cause of the mental illness is unknown.  Experts suspect that the payoff for the caregiver is admiration for supposed “dedication” in the face of a tragic illness.  The abuse often goes undetected by health care providers for years.

Gypsy Rose Blanchard was one such victim [2][3].  Her mother, Claudine (“Dee Dee”) Blanchard, isolated the child from other family members, lied about Gypsy’s age, and treated her like an invalid.   Frail and confined to a wheelchair, Gypsy was told she had brain damage, leukemia, muscular dystrophy, seizures, asthma, hearing, and vision problems.

Due to these health issues, Gypsy was given backstage passes by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and free trips to Disney World.  She stayed at Ronald McDonald House.  Dee Dee meanwhile received a home from Habitat for Humanity. Continue reading

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Unbiblical, Part 6 – Forgiveness v. Victims’ Rights

“ ‘And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us’ ” (Luke 11: 4).

As I have said elsewhere on this website, forgiveness is a personal matter between abuse victims and their God.  Urging forgiveness on victims prematurely ignores the gravity of their trauma, and the depravity of the sins committed against them.

This amounts to a further violation.  Victims will necessarily feel that Christians are siding with the predator…even condoning the abuse.  Shockingly, in some cases Christians have been guilty of this.

Witness the Catholic Church sex scandal.  This was, at best, a product of poor judgment, and a distorted view of Scripture.  At worst, it was a cold and calculated attempt to avoid corporate responsibility, while facilitating the most heinous of crimes.

Detail from “Christ before the High Priest” by Gerar van Honthorst (1617), National Gallery (Accession No. NG3679), London, Source Web Gallery of Art (PD-Art, PD-Old-100)

Either way, church hierarchy applied precisely the same rationale to young abuse victims, as the high priest, Caiaphas, did to Christ:  “ ‘…[I]t is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish’ ” (John 11: 50).

To be clear, forgiveness is not a “warm and cozy” feeling, on the part of victims.  It is a deliberate decision by victims to leave the harm inflicted on them behind, and instead move on with their lives. Continue reading

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