Category Archives: Child Molestation

Child Identity Theft

Anthem Breach Notification (security breach reportedly exposing the data of tens of millions of children), Author Tony Webster of San Francisco, CA (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

We do not give it much thought, but child identity theft is a growing threat.

According to the FTC, 4%-6% of the identity theft complaints received from 2014 to 2016 involved minors [1A].  At least 1 million children were victimized last year [2].

Personal Data

Child identity theft occurs when personal data like a child’s date of birth or Social Security number is stolen for the purpose of fraud.

A Shadow Identity

A child’s credit history is unmarred, and likely to go unchecked for years.  Because of that, child identity theft may go undetected for an extended period.

During that time, thieves can use the child’s identity just as they would an adult’s.  They can obtain driver’s licenses, sign leases, establish utility service, open bank accounts, qualify for credit cards, and purchase vehicles or property – meanwhile racking up debt in the child’s name.

Having developed this “shadow identity”, criminals can then sell and resell the child’s identity.  At that point, the process starts all over again. Continue reading

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Battery Acid

Car battery, Author Towel401 (PD)

The victims of child abuse often wrestle with the question of forgiveness.  Forgiveness can feel like defeat – another surrender to a predator who has already taken so much from us, including our self-respect.

Strength v. Weakness

But forgiveness is NOT a sign of weakness.  Nor is it a warm and cozy feeling.

Forgiveness is a deliberate decision to put the past behind us [1].  That requires enormous strength on the part of victims.  Most of us cannot accomplish it until we have first mourned our losses (a fact those urging forgiveness upon us must not overlook).

Unforgiveness

Emotionally speaking, unforgiveness is akin to the sulfuric acid used in storage batteries.

Battery acid is a dangerous substance.  It dissolves the skin, causing chemical burns.  Heavy scarring can result.  Contact with the eyes will cause blindness.  Long-term exposure to fumes is toxic.

Like battery acid, unforgiveness eats us up inside, creating scars that further tie us to the past, exacerbating rather than easing our pain.  And the longer our bitterness lasts, the deeper the scars.

Bitterness blinds us to the possibilities before us.  Forgiveness, by contrast, opens our eyes.  It clears our head, and cleanses our heart.  We can once again breathe freely.  The past no longer has power over us.

Release

Forgiveness is NOT salt in the wound, NOT an added stripe from the lash, NOT a final humiliation [2].  Nor is it an argument that predators’ horrendous behavior should be excused away at victims’ expense.

Significantly, forgiveness is not inconsistent with criminal prosecution, should victims choose to pursue that.  Prosecution may prevent others from being victimized.

Instead, forgiveness implies release for the victim…release from bitterness, from anger, from hatred.  From the groundless self-condemnation the abuse to which we were subjected left in its wake [3].

Victims deserve that.

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matt. 5: 44).

[1]  Prevention, “How to Forgive Someone Who Hurt You – Even When It Feels Impossible” by Cassie Shortsleeve, 12/13/19, https://www.prevention.com/life/a29995725/how-to-forgive-som.eone/

[2]  NPR, “Why Forgiving Someone Else Is Really About You” by Stephanie O’Neill, 7/30/20, https://www.npr.org/2020/07/28/896245305/why-forgiving-someone-else-is-really-about-you.

[3]  This is not to suggest that we were responsible for our abuse.  Children, however, blame themselves for the actions of the adults around them.  Victims carry that misplaced sense of guilt into adulthood.

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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Babies for Sale

Baby For Sale – Gag-Signs.com

Image courtesy of Gag-Signs.com.

German police earlier this year arrested a Bulgarian couple believed to trade in infants. 

The 58 y.o. man and his 51 y.o. wife whose names were not disclosed are thought to belong to a criminal ring that engages in the sale of infants.  At least eight women in an advanced stage of pregnancy but willing to hand over their newborns for cash were transported from Bulgaria to Greece for that purpose [1][2].

Human trafficking is an ugly business under any circumstances.  When there are children involved, it takes on a whole new dimension.  But infants would not be offered for sale, if there were not a market for them.

Many couples anxious for a child are willing to pursue adoption by any means, if they can secure an infant.  Even more sinister are the countless pedophiles and pornographers salivating to get their hands on a child – no questions asked.

Meanwhile, thousands upon thousands of older children await legal adoption.

How much is a human life worth?  Clearly, we have no concept, since we treat children like commodities in this consumer culture of ours.  Can we quantify the value of a child?   Evidently, older children have depreciated in value as compared with infants.

In God’s view, all children are priceless – even those being discarded and sold.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations” (Jer. 1: 5).

[1]  CNN,  “German police arrest couple suspected of trading newborn babies” by Claudia Otto and Stephanie Halasz, 5/3/21, https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/03/europe/germany-newborn-trading-arrests-intl-grm/index.html.

[2]  We do not know the dire circumstances of these women, or the promises they may have been made that their children would be placed in good homes.

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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Alternative Girls

Singer Melanie Martinez, Author DeShaun Craddock, Original Source flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

Definition: Alternative Girls – Girls with colored hair, tattoos and piercings [Surgical decoration of the body, esp. the ears, nostrils, eyebrows and navel; sometimes the tongue, nipples, or genitalia.  Considered attractive by some, disgusting by others].

They usually started out as a scene [good, amazing, fun, etc.], punk or goth chick in High School.

Melanie Martinez is an alternative girl singer.

– Urban Dictionary

There is a cultural phenomenon these days known as the “alternative” girl.  Alternative girls favor a lifestyle different from the norm [1].  They have a fashion sense, musical tastes, and opinions different from those of the population in general.

Whatever the origin of this phenomenon, it closely parallels the experience of many child abuse victims.

Desperate for love, we offer up to the world the worst possible aspects of ourselves in the forlorn hope of acceptance and redemption. Continue reading

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Flypaper

Musca domestica – Housefly, Author Nico Westerhof (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

My father helped uncounted strangers.  He gave directions, fixed tires, delivered groceries, shared tools, shoveled driveways.  He lent money that went unreturned.  He cleared debris, cut down unwanted tree limbs, and cleaned the home of one elderly man for years.

My father, also, molested me.  I have struggled with the scars of that incest my entire life…

People who have just learned of the incest will – after a distressed pause – often ask how it first began…I cannot recall the first time.  I simply do not remember a period when the incest was not a part of my reality…

Certainly I was acting out sexually by the second grade, a sure sign I was being molested.  I knew the basics of sexual intercourse by that point.  My father had conveyed that information in the interest of furthering my education.  So he repeatedly said…

I have no words to convey the horror my father’s assaults produced in me.

Imagine a cool summer’s day.  It is early morning.  You open the screen door and stop out onto the porch, kissed by a soft breeze.  The world is green and new…After a few moments, you turn reluctantly; go back indoors to chores and the real world.

It is only than that you see.  A hoard of flies somehow entered the apartment while the screen door was ajar.  You are at first stunned by their number.  There must be eight or ten.  How can this have happened so quickly?  Then disgust sets in.  Your gorge rises, but there is no relief at hand.  Somehow you have to deal with the situation. Continue reading

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Missing and Murdered

Remains of missing 15-month-old Evelyn Boswell found on family property:  Authorities - ABC News
Evelyn Boswell, Image courtesy of ABC News

WARNING:  Graphic Images

The 15 month old toddler, Evelyn Boswell, is about to have a Tennessee law named after her [1].  The baby disappeared from her home in December but was not reported missing till February.  Police were told she was on vacation with a friend or visiting her grandmother. 

When the lies were disproven, and the child’s remains were found on the family property, her mother, Megan “Maggie” Boswell, was charged with felony murder [2][3]. 

The new law would require that parents or legal guardians notify law enforcement or the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation within 24 hours of the disappearance of a child 12 years of age or younger. Failure would result in a Class A misdemeanor.  A higher penalty would apply, if the missing child were later found to have serious bodily injury.

But Evelyn Boswell is not the only missing child later found murdered. Continue reading

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Captives

“Young Slave” by Michelangelo (1520-1523), Galleria dell’ Accademia, Florence, Italy, Author Jörg Bittner Unna (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

Those of you familiar with the perfection of Michelangelo’s “David” or “Pieta” may not know that he created a series of sculptures loosely referred to as the slaves, prisoners or captives.

Art critics argue over the merit of these – the central issue being whether Michelangelo intended them as finished works of art or not.  Details on these statues are vague, chisel marks still clearly visible.

The figures though are striking.  Incomplete, they struggle not only to free themselves from their chains, but from the very stone in which they are encased.

The Scars of Abuse

Like Michelangelo’s captives, the victims of childhood abuse wrestle with the scars of their abuse – low self-esteem, perfectionism, boundary issues, depression, anxiety, PTSD, relationship difficulties, sexual promiscuity and/or dysfunction, addiction, and the rest.  We struggle against the chains binding us, desperate to get free.

The Figure Within

Michelangelo’s entire approach to sculpture was to envision the figure within.  He saw his role as first identifying that figure, then removing unnecessary elements to reveal the image present all along.

Despite our scars, God, too, sees the figure within.  Like a sculptor, He shapes us to an image only He can see.  Bit by bit, He removes unnecessary elements, always aware of the ultimate outcome. Continue reading

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Selfie Shame

File:Sabonete Dove.jpg

Dove soap bar, Author Felipe Micaroni Lalli (Dove.jpg micaroni@gmail.com) (CC BY-SA 2.5 Generic)

Dove soap, a Unilever brand, has launched a campaign in Canada to highlight the extent to which social media harms the self-esteem of pre-teen girls [1A][2A].

The campaign derives from a survey which showed that 80% of young girls already by the age of 13 use photo editing filters or apps to improve their image before posting a “selfie” online [1B].

Instructions in Parenting

The soap company urges parents to “have the selfie talk” with their children, and explain how image manipulation creates unrealistic beauty standards [1C][2B].

How low have we sunk when a soap company must instruct us  in parenting?  And how likely is it that our children will do as we say, rather than as we, ourselves, do? Continue reading

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Dreams

Belvedere Palace, Vienna, Austria, Author Diego Delso delso.photo (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

Our society urges children to dream big; to follow, even fight for, their dreams.  These are laudable sentiments.  But they presuppose that children can one day transform their dreams into reality.

For some children, reality is so painful that dreams are their only escape from it.  Whether this is the result of poverty or abuse, fantasy seems preferable.

Golden Goblets

Oh, the dreams, themselves, are beautiful.  Every detail is clear.

The dreamers will live in an enormous  palace, on a silver lake.  They will drink from golden goblets, wield magical swords, wear pearl-studded gowns or impenetrable armor, and sleep on satin sheets.

They will become world famous ballerinas, applauded by millions, or physicians who cure disease with the wave of a wand.  They will become race car drivers, and own fleets of flashy limousines.  They will discover the lost city of Atlantis and raise it from the sea, or fly rocket ships to the farthest stars.

Self-Defeating Traps

Tragically, the children dreaming these dreams have no means of achieving them, and no one to show them how to implement such goals.

Rather than a source of motivation, their dreams become self-defeating traps, all too often enhanced and perpetuated by illegal drugs in later life. Continue reading

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Red Carpet

Red carpet at 81st Annual Academy Awards in Kodak Theatre, Los Angeles, Author Greg in Hollywood (Greg Hernandez), Source Flickr (CC BY-2.0 Generic)

Watch Kim Kardashian on the red carpet sometime.  She smiles.  She preens for the cameras, turning this way and that.  She eats up the attention.

Many abuse victims are just the opposite.  We shun the limelight, feel awkward and uncomfortable if the spotlight is turned on us.  Instead, we prefer to go unnoticed, to fade into the background – wallflowers by choice.

Why is this?  Why is the very thought of attending a children’s play, a PTA meeting, or church service daunting?  Why is it difficult for us simply to enter a room full of strangers?

Staying at home seems so much safer.

Rejection

If pressed, we are likely to say that we fear rejection.  Often, this centers around our looks.  Some feature of ours seems less than perfect to us.  Our nose is too large or our hips too wide.  We’ve been trying for the past 20 years to lose the baby weight.

If not that, perhaps something about the way we dress is inadequate, in our estimation – deficient enough so that the entire audience may gasp, and draw back from us in horror.

We do not actually believe that will happen.  But we fear it, all the same.  Fear does not require a rational basis.  Ask any child whether there is a monster in the closet.

Monsters

Still, there is a clue here.  We’ve known monsters.  Been criticized by monsters for “flaws” we did not have.  Been assaulted by monsters, beaten black and blue, for our supposed defects.  Been violated by monsters, in ways we were too young to understand, then blamed for the violation. Continue reading

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