Category Archives: Child Molestation

Vigilance, Part 2 – Emotional Abuse

Frightened child, Author Jean-Francois Gornet, Paris, Source Selfie Velib, Originally Posted to Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

Emotional abuse is an underrated form of abuse, but no less damaging for that.

The warning signs of emotional abuse include the following [1]:

  • A child who exhibits a lack of attachment to the parent.
  • A child who is delayed in physical or emotional development, unrelated to an identifiable medical or psychological condition.
  • A child who is either inappropriately adult (parenting other children) or inappropriately infantile (constantly rocking or head-banging, for example).
  • A child who exhibits behavioral extremes (acute passivity or serious aggression; demanding behavior or abject compliance).
  • A child who attempts suicide.

The parent who rejects his/her child will constantly blame, belittle, or berate that child.  The parent unconcerned about his/her child’s well-being may refuse offers of help for that child’s school problems.

On the other hand, a parent can be so self-involved that his/her child becomes little more than a pawn for manipulation.

[1]  Prevent Child Abuse America, “Recognizing Child Abuse:  What Parents Should Know”,   https://preventchildabuse.org/resource/recognizing-child-abuse-what-parents-should-know/.

This series will continue next week with Part 3 – Physical Abuse

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Vigilance, Part 1 – Neglect

Image courtesy of NSPCC

There are a thousand ways to harm a child.  The evidence of child abuse may be subtle or more obvious.  To remain vigilant against such abuse, those of us concerned for the welfare of children must learn to recognize the warning signs.

This series of posts will address such warning signs.  The signs here are derived from lists compiled by Prevent Child Abuse America [1A].  They fall into 4 categories:  neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse.  More often than not, these categories will overlap in the experience of a child.

No single warning sign, by itself, is considered definitive.  Occurring repeatedly or in combination, however, these signs warrant further investigation.

General

The general signs that child abuse may be present in a family include unusual wariness on the part of a child; sudden changes in a child’s behavior; deterioration in a child’s school performance; and learning disabilities on a child’s part unrelated to an identifiable medical or psychological condition.

But the children of abuse may, also, be overachievers, anxious to please.

That said, we will begin with neglect. Continue reading

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Hospital of Horrors

Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Author Roman Boed of Netherlands, Source Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

Most of us view hospitals as places of hope and healing.  According to a federal lawsuit filed last week, Aurora Chicago Lakeshore Hospital does not fit that bill [1A].

Damning Investigations

Investigations by both the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica confirm that children confined to Aurora were subjected to physical and/or sexual abuse there [1B].

Willful Ignorance

Child welfare officials at the Illinois Dept. of Children and Family Services (DCFS) allegedly ignored the issues at Aurora due to a shortage of other psychiatric facilities willing to accept DCFS referrals.

Despite an increased number of complaints to the state’s child abuse hotline regarding Aurora, DCFS did not stop referring patients to that hospital until pressure was applied by watchdog groups and state legislators.

For those reasons, DCFS is, also, named in the suit.

Continue reading

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A Modern Plague – Trafficking in a Small Town

Main Street, Smyrna, DE, Author Dough4872 (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

The I-95 Corridor which links New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington DC with Miami is a major conduit for human trafficking, a plague that has spread across this country [1A].  According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, as many as 100,000 children each year are victims of sex trafficking in the US.

Some 70% of trafficking incidents occur at truck stops.  There, predatory pimps seek out desperate young girls and boys, often runaways [1B].  Most vulnerable are children between the ages of 12 and 14 from broken homes, with low self-esteem and a history of trauma [1C].

Given its nightlife and gambling, Jersey City is considered a trafficking hot spot [1D].

Though situated on the I-95 Corridor, Smyrna – a small town in Delaware founded before the American Revolution – would seem an unlikely location for a human trafficking operation.  However, Smyrna police this week arrested James Walls and Sha Shen at the Kiki Spa for prostitution and human trafficking [2]. Continue reading

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Rotten Apples – Dangerous Apps at the Apple Store

Rotten apple, Author Vitalii Shmorgun, Source https://web.500px.com (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

An investigation by the Washington Post has uncovered more than 1500 complaints of unwelcome sexual behavior on popular apps offered by Apple’s App Store [1].

Children were frequently the target of offensive behavior that included surprise masturbation by adult males and pressure for participants to disrobe.  Along with sexual content, complaints were, also, made of racism and bullying.

The apps investigated were Monkey, Yubo, Skout, Holla, ChatLive, and Chat for Strangers.  These social media platforms allow strangers to connect via video chat.

Apple markets its App Store as a safe setting and claims to carefully review each app.

Tragically, we value commerce over the safety of our children.

[1]  iMore, “The Washington Post:  1,500 instances of ‘unwanted sexual approaches’ uncovered in App Store reviews of random chat apps” by Stephen Warwick, 11/22/19, https://www.imore.com/washington-post-says-it-found-1500-instances-unwanted-sexual-approaches-app-store-reviews-random.

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The Weight of Sorrow

“Compulsion is despair on the emotional level.  The substances, people, or activities we become compulsive about are those we believe capable of taking our despair away…Compulsive behavior, at its most fundamental, is a lack of self-love; it is an expression of a belief that we are not good enough.”

-Geneen Roth, When Food Is Love

For many abuse victims, food takes on an importance far and above its ability to nourish.  We eat our anger, stuff our guilt (misplaced though it is).  We use food both as a reward and a punishment.

The smallest morsel can set in motion a binge.

Weight issues feed into the sense of loneliness and isolation abuse victims already feel.  The life opportunities of which weight deprives us should be penalty enough.  But our losses generate regrets, and we carry those regrets forward, along with the pounds.

Purposes Behind Compulsive Eating

Like drinking to excess, compulsive eating serves two basic purposes.  While ostensibly numbing our pain, it actually recreates the emotional experience of abuse – our fear, our helplessness, our shame, our rage.  And it re-affirms (albeit in a dysfunctional way) that we deserve to have our needs met.

Self-Blame

“We had nothing to do with the reasons our parents abused or left or violated us.  We believed we did because blaming ourselves for the sorrow gave us some measure of control over it.”

-Geneen Roth, When Food Is Love

Though we were not abandoned, neglected, or abused because of what we weighed, weight issues become a “safe” focus for the emotions associated with our abuse.

We can now blame ourselves for the negative feelings the abuse caused, rather than blaming the loved ones who inflicted it on us.  But the least dieting failure feels like a sin, as well as a defeat. Continue reading

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Alleged Aboriginal Abuse

Indigenous Australian playing didgeridoo, Author Graham Crumb, Source gallery.imagicity.com/ (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

ABC in 2006 aired a show that alleged significant child sexual abuse among Australian Aboriginal communities [1].

In response, the Australian government commissioned an investigation into child sexual abuse in the Northern Territory. That, in turn, resulted in controversial legislation known as “the intervention”.  Many believe this did more harm than good.

The risk of Child Protection System involvement for Aboriginal children in Australia between 1986 and 2017 was some 7 times that of non-Aboriginal children [2].  Much of this was due to the extreme poverty in which Aboriginal communities lived.  Illness, drug addiction, and violence were related issues.

Racial bias on the part of government officials often led to harsh policies.

As a result:

  • Aboriginal children were more than twice as likely as non-Aboriginal children to experience high levels of distress.
  • Aboriginal children were less likely than non-Aboriginal children to receive formal education, and 18 times more likely to be admitted to youth detention.
  • Aboriginal children had a shorter life expectancy than non-Aboriginal children (boys 10.8 years less, girls 8.6 years less). Continue reading

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Finding Ourselves

In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God.   He created them male and female, and blessed them…” (Gen. 5: 1-2).

Each of us is made in the image of God, and each unique.  Abuse can bury that knowledge, along with our hopes and dreams.  We can lose ourselves – can feel so downtrodden, so crushed, that we believe we are worthless.  But that is a lie.

The challenge for abuse victims is to find ourselves again.  To find ourselves and reclaim our lives.

A song like Kelsea Ballerini’s “Miss Me More” may lift our spirits (a step in the right direction).  Even high heels and red lipstick may help.  Scripture, however, serves as a more reliable guide.

Accepted

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (Rom. 15: 7 NIV).

In Christ, we are accepted.  After a lifetime of rejection, this is an astonishing experience.

Loved

“…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself…” (Eph. 1: 4-5).

In Christ, we are God’s beloved children, members of His own family, selected from the beginning of the world. Continue reading

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Demons

“Litigatio Christi cum Belial” by Jacobus de Theram (1461), Bavarian State Library (PD)

My demons and I are well acquainted with one another.  We have grappled together for over half a century now.  Some days I tell myself I have won a battle.  But another always looms.  And my losses have gradually taken their toll.

There are many times I have hated myself for failing yet again – for the very fact the scars of my abuse remain.  Those are the most dangerous times, the dark mouth of hell yawning before me.

The temptation to give up, give in, can be inviting.  But a light of hope continues to shine, constant if at times faint.  It is the promise of Salvation. Continue reading

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Courage

Motivational poster, Cadiz, Spain, Author Emilio Rodriguez Posada (PD)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

Courage comes in all shapes and sizes.  In this instance, it took the form of a captive 14 y.o. girl, in fear for her life.

The girl was a Michigan runaway, kidnapped in Indiana, and forced into prostitution in California.  Though aware that her kidnappers would monitor calls, she bravely reached out to the non-profit, Crisis Text Line, which then contacted police.

As a result, the San Jose Police Dept. raided Motel 6, locating the girl and two other women held there against their will.  Antoine Williams, Christopher Lyon Johnson, and Curtis Lee Russell were arrested, and charged with kidnapping, pimping, and human trafficking.

Crisis Text Line https://www.crisistextline.org/ is a free service that connects people in crisis with counselors.  Over 100 million messages have been processed to date.

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you.  He will not leave you nor forsake you” (Deut. 31: 6).

[1]  People, “How a Text From a 14-Year-Old Girl Busted an Alleged Sex Trafficking Ring” by Christine Pelisek, 5/31/19, https://people.com/crime/text-14-year-old-girl-alleged-sex-ring/ .

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