Category Archives: Community

The Link Between Domestic Abuse and Mass Shootings

File:05 22 21 Downtown Minneapolis Mass Shooting (51196885820).jpgMinneapolis Mass Shooting 5/22/21, Author Chad Davis, Source https://www.flickr.com/photos/146321178@N05/51196885820/
(CC Attribution 2.0 Generic)

  • 6 were killed and 12 injured in a recent mass shooting in Sacramento [1].  Three shooters were subsequently identified, and found to have domestic violence backgrounds [2A].
  • Last year, a man who murdered 9 coworkers at a railyard had earlier been accused of sexual assault and abusive behavior toward a girlfriend [2B].
  • The man who murdered 49 patrons of the Pulse nightclub in 2016 had beaten and strangled his former wife [2C].

The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions reports that 7 of 10 mass shootings were committed by batterers [2D].

A study in the Journal of Injury Epidemiology confirms that violence against a partner and violence against a stranger are closely related [3][4].  Between 2014 and 2019, 75 of 110 mass shootings were either domestic abuse related or perpetrated by an individual with a domestic abuse background. Continue reading

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Filed under Community, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Justice, Law, Rape, sex trafficking, Sexual Assault, Violence Against Women

BOOK REVIEW: Unsung Heroes

Unfold the Stories of Unsung Heroes: Common People - Uncommon Stories (Unsung Heroes Series Book 1) by [Aspiring  Blog, Ritish Sharma, Deepak Joshi]

We live in a day and age when celebrity is worshipped and fame for its own sake lauded. Ordinary people — those who grow the crops, who bake the bread, who make the deliveries on which the rest of us rely — are largely considered insignificant. Their lives, we are told, do not matter.

This is the message our children absorb.

So it is with great pleasure that I can recommend to you Unfold the Stories of Unsung Heroes: Common People – Uncommon Stories by bloggers Ritish Sharma and Deepak Joshi.

The stories here are both real and inspiring. They involve the lives of 10 individuals including Claire Wineland, Sindhutai Sapkal, and Pastor Lee Jong-Rak who exemplify devotion, self-sacrifice, and valor. These are the values we need to pass on to our children, if they are to have any hope of building a better world.

Unsung Heroes is available on Amazon in Kindle or paperback format at: https://www.amazon.com/Unfold-Stories-Unsung-Heroes-Uncommon/dp/B09RNS7HF1/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1VAFN1JHAI4JJ&keywords=unfold+the+story+of+unsung+heroes&qid=1644469472&sprefix=unfold+the+story+of+unsung+heroes%2Caps%2C155&sr=8-1.

This volume is the just the first in a series. Readers can look forward to many more.

Authors Ritish Sharma and Deepak Joshi blog at Aspiring Blog https://theblogera.com.

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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Purity and Virginity Testing

“The Virgin in Prayer” by Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato (c. 1645), National Gallery (Accession No. NG200), London, Author/Source Web Gallery of Art (PD-Art, PD-Old-100)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

Clinics in Britain offer controversial but ineffective tests for virginity which can place lives at risk [1].  Young women who “fail” such tests may be subjected to violence or sexual assault, starvation, banishment from their communities, and – in extreme cases – honor killings.

Shame and Dishonor

In a few cultures, the loss of virginity prior to marriage is still viewed as bringing shame and dishonor on the family and community as a whole.  For that reason, virginity testing is often required for marriage.

Of course, it is always the woman’s virginity called into question.

Forced Testing

Women may be forced by parents, potential partners, or future in-laws to submit to virginity testing.

Virginity tests are, also, at times carried out on sexual assault victims to verify that rape has taken place.  Needless to say, the testing is equally ineffective for that purpose, though it is traumatic. Continue reading

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Filed under Christianity, Community, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Rape, Religion, Sexual Assault, Violence Against Women

Gym Class

Elektrostal Grammar School. Gymnasium No. 6, modeling lesson, Author Dmitry Makeev (CC BY-SA 4.0 International).

WARNING:  Graphic Images

Most of us remember gym class – the awkward uniforms, the pungent locker rooms, the embarrassment of the showers, the sting of chlorine in the pool.

For six year olds, gym class is less about competition than activities which increase balance, flexibility, coordination, and strength.  Gym class is about cartwheels and backward rolls; about jumping rope, and learning to walk a balance beam; about building confidence.

Unfortunately, the students of Springboro, OH gym teacher, John Austin Hopkins were exposed to much more.  Hopkins has been sentenced to 8 years in prison for gross sexual imposition on 27 first grade girls during gym class [1]. Continue reading

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

Suicide Prevention

Suicide with pills, Author Manos Bourdakis (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) indicates that suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 15-24, the 3rd leading cause of death for ages 10-14, and the 10th leading cause of death in the US overall [1].

Risk Factors

The risk factors for suicide include [2]:

  • A prior suicide attempt or a family history of suicide;
  • Mental health issues (including depression) or a family history of such issues;
  • Substance abuse or a family history of such abuse;
  • Physical or sexual abuse;
  • Domestic violence;
  • The presence of firearms in the home;
  • Painful physical illness;
  • Financial difficulties;
  • Incarceration;
  • Suicide by peers;
  • Suicide by celebrities.

According to one study, the victims of child abuse were 2.56 times more likely to attempt suicide than others [3].   As many as 80.1% of those in the study who attempted suicide had been abused in childhood.  Continue reading

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Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Community, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women

A Voice for the Poor – The Parallels Between Poverty and Abuse

Poverty in Chicago, IL (1974), Author/Source Danny Lyon for National Archive and Records Administration (NARA Record 1709309; NAID 555950), Original Source Environmental Protection Agency (PD as work product of federal govt.)

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Prov. 31: 8-9 NIV).

Poverty and abuse have much in common.

The traumatic and repetitive nature of child abuse, and the huge imbalance of power between adult and child, can leave profound psychological scars on victims – scars that may include PTSD, depression, and anxiety to name a few.

Often, victims are left with a fear of authority as adults.  The impact of poverty is surprisingly similar.

Fear of Authority

Their hopes chronically dashed and their pleas for justice routinely ignored, the poor frequently assume further effort on their part will be futile.

People who have been repeatedly downtrodden – deprived of basic necessities, cheated of their rights by abusive landlords and the host of other scam artists who prey on the poor – will forget that they have a voice, and throw in the towel (already exhausted). Continue reading

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

Witness to Evil

Children at prayer, Author Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious, Source https://www.flickr.com/photos/99247795@N00/3750019119 (CC BY-SA 2. 0 Generic)

The Catholic Church sex scandal is well-known.  Tragically, it is not isolated.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses

The Jehovah’s Witnesses – considered a cult by mainstream Christian denominations for their failure to recognize the full divinity of Christ – maintain what is believed to be the world’s largest database of undocumented child molesters [1][2][3].

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the non-profit which oversees the more than 8 million Witnesses, has repeatedly refused to comply with Court orders to release that database.

The Watchtower’s Office of Public Information indicates that its policies on child protection comply with the law.  Barring a confession, however, no member can be formally accused of committing a sin without two credible witnesses.  Of course, sexual abuse is not generally a public event.

When child molestation is uncovered, the Witnesses do not routinely notify police [4].

Substantial jury verdicts have been handed down against this religious organization.

The Amish and Mennonites

Investigation into sexual abuse among Amish and Mennonite communities has revealed abuse as “an open secret spanning generations” [5].  At least 52 cases have come to light in the past 20 years, across seven states.  But that number does not reflect the true scope of the problem.

Victims who report rape and incest may be sent to “mental health” facilities or threatened with excommunication. Continue reading

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Filed under Abuse of Power, Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Christianity, Community, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Law, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Rape, Religion, Sexual Abuse

Domestic Abuse in a Time of Corona

Indications are that the coronavirus pandemic is increasing domestic violence [1A].

Arrests for domestic violence rose by 27% in Portland,OR in March. Domestic assault and battery reports rose by 21% in Seattle, WA and 22% in Boston, MA during the same period.  The Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline has experienced its highest call volume in 20 years.

“Domestic violence is rooted in power and control, and all of us are feeling a loss of power and control right now.”

-Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of National Domestic Violence Hotline [1B]

With stay-at-home orders in place across the country, the isolation victims typically endure has only been heightened.  Fear of infection, job and financial losses exacerbate the stress on victims and abusers alike.  The fact that gun sales have  spiked is not helping the situation [2]. Continue reading

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“Commercial Surrogacy” by Kaeley Triller Harms

Abdomen of a pregnant woman, Author Canwest News Service, Source https://article.wn.com/view/2009/03/19/Vitamin_B12_deficiency_linked_to_birth_defects/, (PD)

The state of Washington legalized commercial surrogacy in 2018, despite opposition by children’s rights advocates [1].  A list of the states which allow surrogacy in one form or another can be found at https://www.creativefamilyconnections.com/us-surrogacy-law-map/.bi .

“Last year I sat in stunned silence at a WA State Senate hearing concerning the matter of commercial surrogacy.  The proposed bill contained 55 pages of legislative text full of demands and bloviations about alleged parental rights.  Its goal was to legalize commercial surrogacy without limit through the entire state.

I listened as concerned citizens pointed out the many dangerous loopholes in the bill and requested amendments that would safeguard both the women and children from potential abuse, but every request was categorically shot down as unnecessary.

There were no limits whatsoever to prevent abuse:

  • No required background checks for prospective parents (Convicted pedophiles could commission children.)
  • No limit to the number of children any given person could order. (One millionaire from Japan has fathered at least 13 children via surrogacy.  His expressed goal is to father at least 1000 over time)
  • No limit to the amount of compensation any given surrogate can receive (Hello, money-hungry human traffickers)
  • No requirements for surrogates to be WA State residents (Again, traffickers?)
  • No language preventing mentally disabled women from being exploited for commercial gain

In all 55 pages of text, there was but one single solitary reference to the needs of the child.  The rest was emotionally manipulative language revealing a deep seated sense of entitlement and a devil-may-care attitude toward the myriad ethical implications on the people most greatly affected by surrogacy- the women and children.”

Continue reading

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Filed under Abuse of Power, Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Community, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Law, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Poverty, Sexual Abuse

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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Filed under Abuse of Power, Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Community, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, racism, Sexual Abuse