Category Archives: domestic abuse

Continuing FLDS Tragedy

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/15/Ira_Eldredge_and_his_three_wives_circa_1864_%28restored%29.png

Retouched portrait of Mormon Bishop Ira Eldredge with his three wives (Nancy, Hannah, and Helvig), (c. 1864)

Public Domain as published before January 1, 1928

An offshoot of the infamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) is carrying on the heinous practices of Warren Jeffs, though Jeffs has now been incarcerated for over a decade [1].

Samuel Bateman, 47 y.o., the leader of this polygamous Mormon sect, claims to be Warren’s legitimate successor and a “prophet” in his own right [2A].

Bateman is alleged to have taken 20 or more wives, some as young as 8 or 9 y.o.  He is said to have traveled through Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and Nebraska in order to have sex with underage girls.  As a result, Bateman is facing state and federal charges which include kidnapping and child abuse.

A total of eleven members of Bateman’s splinter group have now been charged with transporting children across state lines for purposes of sexual activity, recording that activity, destroying evidence, and witness tampering.

Mormon Polygamy Historically

Though it is today prohibited by the mainstream LDS, polygamy was among the original teachings of Mormonism, and practiced till 1890 [2B][3].  Doctrinally, polygamy was actually viewed by Mormons as being essential to Salvation, and more significant than baptism.

Downsides of Polygamy for Women

Polygamy — most recently pitched to the public under the seductive guise of polyamory — necessarily creates tensions and inequities, whether practiced by Mormons, Muslims, or others [4].  Women in such an arrangement do not have equal rights with their male partner.

Some “wives” will be favored over or replaced by others, causing harmful friction not only among these women, but their children.  Emotional abuse, depression, severe financial restrictions (even outright destitution), and ultimate abandonment are not uncommon [5A].

Polygamous relationships are, also, prone to domestic violence and/or sexual abuse, not to mention the negative impact they have on children [5B].

Continue reading

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Troop 6000

File:Girl Scout cookies (Girl Scouts of the USA).jpg

Girl Scout Cookies, Author Photoguy439 (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

New York City’s Girl Scout Troop 6000 has the unique mission of reaching out to girls experiencing homelessness or living in shelters for other reasons [1A].

Since its inception in 2017, Troop 6000 has raised over $1.6 million through the cookie sales for which the Girl Scouts are famous, and corporate matching donations.  These funds — which go toward trips, summer camp, and other adventures — have benefited some 2500 women and girls across 20 shelters throughout the New York City area.

This year, Troop 6000 was expanded to include the immigrants and asylum seekers at Emergency Response and Relief Centers.  Currently, there  are approximately 37,500 such migrants in the care of New York City’s Dept. of Homeless Services.

Troop 6000 is the brainchild of Giselle Burgess who was, herself, living in a shelter with her 5 children at the time.  Similar troops have now been started in Iowa, Tennessee, California, and Nevada.

“This population of young women has seen incredibly traumatic events.  And that is right at the core of what we need to do.  We need to take care of them and show them that they deserve the care.”

–Meridith Maskara, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater New York [1B]

[1A and 1B]  CNN, “This New York Girl Scout troop is the first of its kind.  Here’s why” by Vanessa Yurkevich, 5/9/23, https://www.cnn.com/2023/05/09/business/girl-scouts-troop-6000/index.html.

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“God Is Not Sick of Your Struggle” by Jennifer Arimborgo

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a7/Bernhard_Plockhorst_-_Good_Shephard.jpg/326px-Bernhard_Plockhorst_-_Good_Shephard.jpg

“Good Shepherd” by Bernhard Plockhorst (c. 1889), Source allposters.com, (PD-Art, PD-old-100)

As abuse survivors dealing with the scars of our experience, we tend to repeat certain mistakes and despise ourselves for that fact…as if will power alone could overcome trauma.

Often, we imagine that God despises us, as well.  God does not, however, view our efforts with contempt.  Far from it.

Author Jennifer Arimborgo who blogs at Feeding on Jesus https://feedingonjesus.com explores this topic in a post titled “God Is Not Sick of Your Struggle” (excerpted below).

Jennifer’s books are available at Amazon.com.

“…We sometimes live under the false impression that God is repelled by our imperfections and brokenness…Scripture teaches us that the opposite is true…His heart does not despise it when we lay bare our worst failures before Him.  He is not disgusted with us.  On the contrary, He gets stirred up with deep compassion and a desire to restore us to a place of wholeness.

After all, that’s what He gave His life for.  Our gentle Shepherd submitted Himself to torture to redeem us.  If He was willing to pour out his life unto death, what wouldn’t He do for us?…”

Continue reading

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“What Is Toxic Shame?” by Ann Bale

While the following post by Ann Bale was directed to those harmed through a partner’s sexual addiction, it applies to all those suffering from toxic shame, therefore, all abuse victims.

Ann blogs at Don’t Lose Hope https://sexaddictionpartners.wordpress.com.

“…Toxic shame is the feeling that you’re worthless at your core – so you deserve to be rejected, mistreated and ignored, despised and punished by the people in your life. These are damaging, erroneous beliefs.

Shame develops in response to being abused and unloved, especially by the people who are close to you.

Toxic shame often takes the following forms:

1. Feeling bad (utterly shameful) about something terrible that was done to you.

2. Feeling bad (utterly shameful) about choices and actions that belong to someone else. Here, the shame is “guilt by association” – even where the choices and behaviours have nothing at all to do with you.

3. Feeling stigmatized, or experiencing some form of prejudice, where you feel judged and less than other people. Here, the shame generally relates to feelings of inadequacy related to something beyond your control.

4.  Experiencing shame in response to the way someone else sees and judges you.

5. Experiencing shame because you have different outlooks and values from someone else.

6. Feeling awful (and wrong) because you have set and/ or enforced appropriate and healthy boundaries – boundaries which another individual isn’t happy with (usually because they want to control you and the situation).

7. Feeling ashamed of having and expressing emotions, and especially intense and/ or negative emotions.

8. Feeling ashamed of having and expressing legitimate needs, and asking for those needs to be met.

How to Cope with Toxic Shame

Self-compassion is the key to getting free of toxic shame.  It is making the choice to show compassion to yourself in situations where you feel like a failure, or inadequate, or where you hurt, or are suffering, or are struggling, or weak. It is making every effort to be kind to yourself, and being gentle, understanding and patient with yourself.

Something to Think About

‘Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourself.’ – Pema Chodron

Could you start to show this compassion to yourself [1]?”


[1]  Don’t Lose Hope, “What Is Toxic Shame?” by Ann Bale, 3/4/23, https://sexaddictionpartners.wordpress.com/2023/03/04/what-is-toxic-shame/.

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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Recognizing Satan

File:Alexandre Cabanel - Fallen Angel.jpg

“Fallen Angel” by Alexandre Cabanel (1847), Musee Fabre, Montpellier, France (Accession No. 889.2.1), (CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication)

The Daily Beast recently published a lengthy article exploring whether fundamentalist preacher Kent Hovind enabled convicted pedophile Chris Jones and alleged pedophile Brady Byron, ostensibly in the belief they had “reformed” [1][2].

Since The Daily Beast is a proudly left-leaning paper, much is made of the fact Hovind operated a creationist theme park.  Presumably, this is intended as a swipe against Christians.  The article, however, remains deeply troubling.  At a minimum, the details reflect badly both on Hovind’s credibility and judgment.

Failure to Pay Income Tax

For those who may be unaware, Hovind was convicted in 2006 of failure to pay income tax, and ordered to pay $600,000 in restitution.

He was charged in 2015 with mail fraud [2].  Those charges were eventually withdrawn or dismissed.  Hovind was though found guilty of contempt of court.

Domestic Abuse

Even more significant, Hovind was found guilty in 2021 of domestic violence for “body slamming” his estranged wife.  Both Hovind’s ex-wives, Cindi Lincoln and Mary Tocco speak extensively on YouTube about their disturbing experiences with him [3]. Continue reading

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Of Ogres and Onions, Part 2

File:Mixed onions.jpg

Red and brown onions, Author Colin © User:Colin /Wikimedia Commons /CC BY-SA 3.0

Self-hatred is not productive in the pursuit of change.  Self-forgiveness (as hard for abuse victims to accept as moderation) actually shortens the recovery time from what we may view as “failures” and backsliding.

But self-forgiveness is not a skill abuse victims are taught as children.  We must acquire it on our own.

Here are a few suggestions [1][2][3]:

  1.  Define the infraction, and identify the injured party.

In the context of attempts to move beyond our abusive past, victims are, for the most part, the injured parties [4].  We fail ourselves, and experience overwhelming shame.

The inner dialog goes something like this:

“How stupid of me not to speak up.  That saleswoman must have thought I was an idiot.  I’m sure she could tell I didn’t want the sweater.  I already have a nice sweater.   Besides, the new one is hideous.  If I wasn’t able to speak up in a department store, how am I ever going to speak up in class?  It’s too late for me anyhow.  It was ridiculous to think I could go back to school at my age.”

  2.  Put things in perspective.

Have you started World War III?  No.  Have you abused any children?  Again, the answer is no.  You have bought a sweater which can be returned, given as a gift, worn to an “ugly sweater” party, donated, or discarded outright.

  3.  Tease out the negative feelings.

You have, in a single instance, been less assertive than desired.  That can be remedied the next time.  You can visualize returning the sweater; can even memorize and practice a script.  You can buy sweaters to your heart’s content, and return them all.

And if a saleswoman is unimpressed with your taste, your demeanor, or your credit, what on earth does it matter?  The episode has nothing do with your school performance.  You simply projected your fears forward.

  4.  Be kind to yourself.

Ask yourself whether you would hold anyone else to the high standards you hold yourself, or criticize anyone else as harshly.  Chances are you are kinder to others than to yourself.

If you don’t feel “deserving” of kindness, try it anyway.  Encouragement produces far better results with abuse victims than rebuke. Continue reading

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Of Ogres and Onions, Part 1

Shrek | fictional character | Britannica

DreamWorks characters “Shrek” and “Donkey”
Copyright © DreamWorks LLC
Image courtesy of Encyclopedia Britannica https://www.britannica.com

“Ogres are like onions…Onions have layers.  Ogres have layers.”

Shrek, DreamWorks

Almost any American parent will recognize the quote (above).  It is from a conversation between the main character and his donkey sidekick in the children’s film Shrek.  The statement is meant to convey the complexity of ogres.

Change

I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it.  Instead, I do what I hate” (Rom. 7: 15 NLT).

Change – especially change for the better – is difficult for human beings, too.  Even the Apostle Paul complained of this.

The problem is not weakness of character.  It is our flawed nature, and the very complexity with which God made us (Ps. 139: 14) [1].  Nearly all our actions have multiple layers of causation and meaning (many of these unconscious).

What this implies for abuse victims is that a single psychological insight on our part is not likely to be support an overnight transformation.

That is not to say insights are insignificant.  Even when painful, they give us better understanding of (and better control over) our lives.  As important, insights are cumulative.  If we are patient and persistent, change will come.

Expectations

Our expectations for ourselves must, however, be realistic.  Even those who were never abused encounter challenges in life, and problems achieving their goals.  It is the human condition in a flawed world.  Weight loss programs and gyms have made millions off that fact.

We must not measure ourselves against a behavioral ideal that may be impossible for anyone to attain, abused or not. Continue reading

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Rest

There is much in the world to disturb us.  We can read and watch the news obsessively, can lose sleep focusing on the pain and sorrow.  In fact, with a history of abuse, we may be drawn to distressing subjects.

But our souls, also, need rest.  Rest and peace are necessary to our healing.  The God who made us knows this.  The Bible speaks of there being a time for all things (Eccl. 3: 1-8).

Our most profound rest is in Christ.  He is our defense against the world.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11: 28).

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

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The Upper Hand – False Allegations of Abuse in Child Custody Cases

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7c/Dependency_docket_bench_cards_for_juvenile_and_family_court_judges_and_magistrates._-_DPLA_-_e9eeb7b58aac3e0d3630ac5760aa3e99.jpg/360px-Dependency_docket_bench_cards_for_juvenile_and_family_court_judges_and_magistrates._-_DPLA_-_e9eeb7b58aac3e0d3630ac5760aa3e99.jpg

Dependency Docket Bench Card, Ohio State Supreme Court, Source Digital Public Library of America (https://dp.la/item/e9eeb7b58aac3e0d3630ac5760aa3e99) (PD)

You are a divorced mother of three, working part-time to make ends meet.  You have custody of the children your husband expressed no interest in, even before the marriage ended.  You receive no alimony and little child support since he, also, managed to hide assets at the time of the divorce. 

Your ex and his new wife now feel custody would be cheaper.  Their ploy for gaining custody is to accuse you of neglect.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  But you have to hire a lawyer to defend yourself, and wind up putting the $10,000 retainer on your credit card.

  • Although there are times divorce is the best option, divorced women are more likely than men to receive public assistance, live without health insurance, and have less earning potential [1A].
  • 29% of custodial mothers live in poverty, as compared with 16.7% of custodial fathers [1B].
  • Only 43.5% of custodial parents receive the full amount of child support [1C]. The aggregate amount of child support due in 2015 was $33.7 billion.
  • Children of divorced parents are 1.5 – 2 times more likely to end up living in poverty than children still living with both parents [2].

The lengths to which a good and loving parent may be forced to go, in order to defend against false allegations of abuse are troubling [3A].

A lack of financial resources will exacerbate such a situation.  An attorney is not likely to continue with representation in the absence of payment.  Necessary psychological evaluation of a child in such a case can cost money, as well.

Unfortunately, the better funded (and less scrupulous) parent often has the upper hand.  The falsely accused parent with fewer resources may find herself or himself attempting to prove a negative not only in a custody case, but a simultaneous Dept. of Human Services investigation and criminal action. Continue reading

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Change Is Gonna Come

The performer of this Sam Cooke classic is 10 y.o. Jordan Hollins.

Known as the “King of Soul”, Cooke was born in Mississippi in 1931, and later moved to Chicago [1].  Like Jordan, Sam Cooke began singing as a young boy.  He went on to write hits like “You Send Me”, “Wonderful World”, “Chain Gang”, “Another Saturday Night”, and “Twistin’ the Night Away”.

Cooke’s music contributed to the careers of such greats as James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder.

Sam Cooke is, himself, a charter member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  He was, also, important to the civil rights movement.  “Change Is Gonna Come” became an anthem of the movement.

Cooke died at the age of 33 from a gunshot wound.  The circumstances of his death are disputed.  He was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and National Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame.

To achieve peace, we must fight for justice and work for change.

But let justice run down like water, And righteousness like a mighty stream” (Amos 5: 24).

[1]  Wikipedia,”Sam Cooke”, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Cooke.

WARNING:  Graphic Images

A 12 y.o. Alabama girl chewed through her restraints to escape captivity by Jose Pascual-Reyes, her mother’s boyfriend.  The 37 y.o. Pascual-Reyes had kept the girl intoxicated after killing and dismembering her mother and brother. 

See, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/girl-chewed-restraints-bold-escape-week-captivity-alabama-rcna41351.

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