Category Archives: Religion

Appearances

Child abuse: x-ray of infant with multiple rib fractures, Author/Source National Institutes of Health (PD as work of federal gov’t).

WARNING:  Graphic Images

Another house of horrors was uncovered this week, this time in Riverside, CA.  Thirteen siblings were found emaciated, living in dark and stomach-churning conditions – several shackled to their beds – in a suburban tract home that to all outward appearances seemed normal [1][2].

David and Louise Turpin are being charged with dozens of counts of torture, child abuse, and abuse of dependent adults.  Their children range in age from 2 y.o. to 29 y.o.

Journals by the children have been recovered documenting the torture which included starvation, beatings, chaining, repeated strangulation, and refusal to allow the children to use bathroom facilities or bathe for months on end [3].  Many of the children have cognitive impairment and neurologic deficits as a result.  The 17 y.o. girl who somehow managed to escape and call police is so stunted she looks 10 y.o.  Her 29 y.o. sister weighs 82 lbs.

How is any civilized human being to react to this [4]?  Shock and disgust are followed closely by outrage.  How could this happen, we ask ourselves helplessly.

Regulatory Failure

This was depravity of the highest order, beyond the comprehension of most normal people.  But there was at least one gross regulatory failure.

The home in question was for the past 7 years listed by the California Dept. of Education as the Sandcastle Day School, a private K-12 campus with David Turpin as principal.

Supposedly the Accrediting Commission of Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) conducts a “comprehensive accreditation of public and private schools” in California, at least according to the US Dept. of Education website it does [5].  One cannot help but wonder how “comprehensive” that process was, in this case.

California does not feel it necessary to “approve” or certify private schools which do not provide special education [6].  There is no licensing required by the 3000 private schools listed with the California Dept. of Education.  There are no audits conducted.  California private schools are permitted simply to file an annual affidavit as to their operation.  Teacher certification is, also, optional.

Of course, there were no annual fire inspections conducted here either.  Had there been, this travesty would have come to light sooner.

The Turpins, it should be added, lived for many years in Texas before moving to California.  The abuse of their eldest children would have begun there.

Whether they claimed to conduct a private school in Texas is not currently known [7].  The chances are they did.  Otherwise their children would have been required to attend school (or investigated as truant).

The Human Heart

To say that appearances can be deceiving is an understatement.   If we are to protect our children, we cannot accept banal statements of compliance with the law at face value.  The darkness of the human heart has no limits.  We should by now have learned that.

Woe to you…For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matt. 23:  27).

[1]  Daily Hampshire Gazette, “Parents arrested after children found shackled and malnourished in California home” by Paloma Esquivel and Joel Rubin of Los Angeles Times, 1/15/18, http://www.gazettenet.com/Parents-arrested-14920013.

[2]  CNN, “ ‘This is depraved conduct,’ DA says of couple accused of torturing kids” by Madison Park et al, 1/18/18, http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/18/us/turpin-family-investigation/index.html.

[3]  The Washington Post, “Starved, chained and unbathed:  Police describe the lives of 13 siblings held captive in their home” by Marwa Eltagouri, 1/18/18, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2018/01/18/13-children-were-starved-at-home-with-some-chained-to-their-beds-police-called-it-depraved/?utm_term=.13a3a36bc663.

[4]  This is the type of horrific situation police, social workers, and child advocates confront on a regular basis.  These professionals experience secondary trauma, as a result.

[5]  US Dept. of Education, California, Private Schools, https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oii/nonpublic/california.html.

[6]  The Edwardsville Intelligencer, “Lawmakers seek home school oversight after 13 found captive” by Michael Balsamo and Kathleen Ronayne of the Associated Press, 1/17/18, https://www.theintelligencer.com/news/education/article/No-rules-for-California-home-schools-where-13-12503357.php.

[7]  The Texas Private School Accreditation Commission (TEPSAC) oversees private schools in that state.  See, Texas Private School Accreditation Commission, https://www.tepsac.org/#/home.

 

Advertisements

18 Comments

Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion

“What to Do if You Still Love Your Abusive Ex” by Catherine Liu

“Weeping Woman” by Arnoldus Borret (c. 1880), Leiden University Library/Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (Accession No. 36A221), (PD)

We cling to bad relationships for any number of reasons.  

Sometimes we assume the time we have invested in a destructive relationship is too substantial to relinquish.  But that is merely grief distorting our reason.  The loss of a year — or a decade — does not justify the loss of another.

Sometimes we believe the passion we feel — unreciprocated as it may be — is the only thing that gives our lives significance.  But that is false.  Our lives derive significance (and joy) from many sources:  faith, nature, children, family, friends, work, charity, and creativity to name a few.

Ultimately, what gives our lives meaning is the fact that we are children of God, made in His image.  Nothing and no one can deprive us of that attribute…though it is all too easy to forget, when we have been subjected to abuse.

This is a helpful article laying out 7 steps for victims to follow, if an abusive ex-lover or spouse still has an emotional hold on them.

“1.   Acknowledge that he Never Loved You

No matter how much you try to bargain with yourself, and no matter the lies he told you, people always show you how they feel about you by the way they treat you. Acknowledge that he doesn’t care about your feelings. He doesn’t care about your confidence or self-esteem. He will only flourish when he’s belittling you and you’re suffering for his ego. Screw that! You’re better off without anyone than with someone like that! You deserve someone who can give you support, patience, kindness, empathy and can reciprocate real love…”

TO READ MORE GO TOhttps://stepstowardhealing.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/what-to-do-if-you-still-love-your-abuser-7-truth-bombs-to-get-you-over-him/

Catherine Liu blogs on Improve Your Life After Abuse at https://stepstowardhealing.wordpress.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

12 Comments

Filed under Christianity, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Religion, Violence Against Women

Mangers

Nativity scene, Germany (early 20th Century), Author Andreas Praefcke (CC by SA 3.0 Unported)

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.  So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2: 4-7).

Every day 2715 children are born into poverty in America alone [1].  And every day 22,000 children across the globe die from poverty-related illnesses and deprivation [2].

We are surrounded by mangers.  Surrounded, yet 2000 years after that first Christmas we still decline to see.  Why spoil this festive season? Isn’t there another sale, another party somewhere?  Pile those gifts high!  We need no encouragement to put Saturn back in Saturnalia.  We can manage that all on our own.

If pressed on the point, many of us would echo Scrooge’s sentiment:  “Are there no prisons?  Are there no workhouses?”  Who brought all these children into the world anyhow?  Why should we be saddled with their upkeep?  Who gave them the right to impose on our comfortable lives?

“…[W]ho made lame beggars walk, and blind men see[?]” to use Tiny Tim’s words.  As Christians we ought to know the answer to that.  We ought to live the answer to that everyday.  If we did, no billboards would be necessary urging that we put Christ back in Christmas.  He would already be there.
___
[1]  Children’s Defense Fund, Research Library, “Each Day in America,” http://www.childrensdefense.org/child-research-data-publications/each-day-in-america.html.
[2]  Global Issues, “Poverty Facts and Stats,” http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats.

Originally posted 12/22/13

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

9 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Community, Justice, Poverty, Religion

Scandal…Yet Again

Scales of Justice with emblem of Holy See, Author Ktr101 (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

Just when the dust appeared to have settled, the Catholic Church sex scandal has expanded to a new venue.  This time the setting is Australia.  The proportions are massive.

A Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has uncovered the widespread abuse of children by religious schools and other institutions [1].  Most of those suspected are Catholic priests and religious brothers.

Tens of thousands of children were impacted.  While the exact number of victims cannot be known, the abuse extended across generations.

The Commission’s official report reads, in part:

“It is not a case of a few rotten apples.  Society’s major institutions have seriously failed.  In many cases those failings have been exacerbated by a manifestly inadequate response to the abused person.  The problems have been so widespread, and the nature of the abuse so heinous, that it is difficult to comprehend.”

More than 4400 victims have come forward and more than 4000 institutions been implicated.  In numerous cases, the commission found those in leadership were aware of the abuse, but failed to take effective action. Continue reading

18 Comments

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

“Cycle of Abuse” by Mary Mattison

“Children sleeping in Mulberry Street” by 19th Century reformer Jacob Reis (1890) (PD)

The history of child abuse in all its forms would astonish many.  It leaves little hope to be vanquished, considering in many countries it is deemed “culture”.  Although we can not stop child abuse in its entirety, we do have the power to help save one child at a time in America, and hope for humanitarian efforts to continue their fight for children around the world.

The life of Mary Ellen Wilson started an increased awareness for the need to protect children.  She was born in 1864.  When her Mother became  widowed, she sent Mary to boarding school, but could not continue the payments.  By the age of two Mary Ellen was placed in foster care, suffering the abuse for eight years.  Although neighbors heard the cries, and saw the condition she lived in, they did not come to her aid, but thankfully one concerned woman could not forget her. Continue reading

16 Comments

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

Filth

Ancient Jewish bath for ritual immersion (“mikveh”), Author Arie Darzi to memorialize the Jewish communities in Spain, Source http://yavan.org.il/pws/gallery!82 (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things…” (1 Cor. 4: 13).

Filth pours out of the wall.  It may look like water, cool clear water, but it is filth.

In fact, the entire bathroom is contaminated.  God knows when it was last cleaned.  The room reeks of the sweat of prior occupants, is covered in a fine white powder from the predator’s own ablutions.

The door cannot be locked; the predator has seen to that.

You take your clothes off preparing to shower, but cannot find a place to lay down the cotton pajamas into which you plan to change.  Perhaps the toilet seat will suffice, if the clothes do not touch the floor, do not touch the wall, do not touch the tank.

You stand naked on the throw rug, an old shag which is, also, filthy, and prepare to step into the tub.  You grit your teeth, avoid looking at yourself in the small mirror that hangs over the sink.  The tub, too, is contaminated.  You know this must be done, so you step over the edge, cringing, toes curled under.

In the shower, you scrub your skin till it is raw.

You dread having to use the only towels available, stiff and worn, rough and faded towels.  You pull one down onto the floor, in order to be able to step out of the tub.  You carefully avoid touching the walls, touching the toilet tank.

You dry yourself awkwardly, as if drying off a stranger, avoid making eye contact with your image in the mirror.  Then you dress, step into slippers, gather your clothes and the used towels in a bundle for the hamper, and step over the threshold, out of the room.

You can never really get clean.  The bathroom may be contaminated by the predator.  But the dirt, the sin, is inside you.

No Escape

“…and though the…young woman cried for help there was no one to rescue her” (Deut. 22: 27).

This is how a victim of sexual abuse feels.  We despise ourselves, loathe our bodies, would shed them if we could [1].  This flesh is what he wants.  His hands have been all over it, taking possession of what is no longer ours.

Desperation alternates with hopelessness.  But there is no sign of rescue and no escape. Continue reading

14 Comments

Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse

Hacking Barbie

Theatrical poster for “Cult of Chucky” (Copyright Universal Pictures) (NFCC#8)

Our society has become obsessed with technology.  Barbie dolls now come equipped with mechanical brains, and miniature versions of “smartwatches” are being marketed as necessary for a full and enriching childhood.

The technology tsunami is meant to keep our children on the “cutting edge” of progress, connect them electronically to the abundance of resources available online, and prepare them for a boundless future.

There is, unfortunately, a fundamental flaw in this theory.  Children need connection with live human beings.  Not only is technology retarding their social development, and alienating them from one another.  It is making them increasingly vulnerable to predators [1]. Continue reading

17 Comments

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

Sandpaper

“The Woodworking Shop” by Charles Palmie, Source http://www.bassenge.com/ (PD-Art l Old-100)

Artists who work in wood can create astonishingly delicate sculptures.  The tools used include jig and circular saws, routers, planers, and drills.  Sandpaper with a fine grain can make a wood surface feel as smooth as silk.

But the reverse is, also, true.  Because sandpaper is abrasive, it can create a coarse surface, spoiling the natural beauty of wood.  Badly machining wood can create defects which limit its usefulness.

Abuse can do the same to us.

Fragility

The fragility of children evokes a desire to protect in most sane adults.

Abusers, by contrast, seem to delight in destroying that fragility.  Innocence does not act as a brake on their actions.  Instead, it evokes an insatiable perverted hunger or a deep-seated hatred for what is pure and unattainable.

Either way, the impact on children is the same.  They are grist for the mill, victims of appetites they cannot comprehend, consumed by the selfishness of more powerful adults as their predecessors were once sacrificed to the god Molech [1].

Force

Cutting wood mechanically forces a structural failure in the wood.  The process is influenced by the direction of the force applied and the strength of the wood, itself (a quality related both to the species of wood, and moisture content of a particular tree) [2].

This is very like the impact abuse has on children.  The relationship between an abuser and his/her victim, the type of abuse, its severity, the length for which it takes place, the age of the victim, and the resources that victim brings to the situation all play a role. Continue reading

16 Comments

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

A Dangerous Thing

Traditional millstone used to crush olives in making oil, Sardinia, Italy, Author Giancarlo Dessi (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matt. 18: 6 Berean Study Bible).

Sexuality is a dangerous thing.  The Weinstein scandal has reminded us of that [1].  A power differential allows those with power to exploit those without it – sexually and otherwise.

But the exploited are not always women.  An account in Vulture by a man who alleges he was sexually involved with actor Kevin Spacey at age 14 (and that Spacey, 10 years his senior, attempted to rape him) sheds light on the confusion in a child’s mind, where sex is concerned [2].  Raw though that account is, I recommend it to you.

The Vulture account makes the following points:

  • Children are trusting. They do not question the motives of adults who appear to care for them.  For that reason alone, children can be easily manipulated.  They believe the promises made to them (and lies told them) by loved ones…however farfetched.
  • Immaturity can expose children to dangers of which they are unaware. It is the reason we have statutory rape laws in place.  Immaturity can, also, cause children to assume responsibility for circumstances over which they had little or no control…circumstances in which they were, in fact, victimized.
  • Children who have been victimized once are often victimized again.  Those who are emotionally needy are most vulnerable.
  • Children may mistakenly view themselves as adults long before they possess the capacities of an adult.  But judgment and perspective require life experience.  “Sophistication” on a child’s part is no substitute.
  • Homosexuality and pedophilia are not one and the same.

Christ, Himself, condemned those who would abuse children.  One way or another, in this world or the next, those who violate that prohibition will find doing so is a dangerous thing.

[1]  According to Entertainment Weekly, 56 women had accused producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment as of October 28, 2017.  Included in that number are Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie.  See, Entertainment Weekly, “56 Women Who Have Accused Harvey Weinstein of Sexual Harassment”; 10/28/17, http://ew.com/movies/women-accused-harvey-weinstein-sexual-misconduct/harvey-weinsteins-accusers.  High profile men similarly accused include James Tobak, Oliver Stone, Ben Affleck, Roy Price, and Bill O’Reilly.

[2]  Vulture, “Man Comes Forward to Describe an Alleged Extended Sexual Relationship He Had at Age 14 With Kevin Spacey” by E. Alex Jung, 11/2/17, http://www.vulture.com/2017/11/kevin-spacey-alleged-sexual-relationship.html.

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

7 Comments

Filed under Abuse of Power, Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Law, Rape, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault

Women and Hotel Security, Part 2

“Rape Victim in ZA” by Julian Trinidad Gardea a/k/a Julian Scorpio (2016) (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

There are larger issues than crime raised, in the context of hotel security.

Why are women so often victimized by men, both in hotels and elsewhere?  Why does God allow rape and other acts of violence against women?  What are rape victims to make of God’s promises of security?  Has He abandoned them?

A.  Violence Against Women

The relationship between men and women is complex and culturally varied.  It has though been impacted by sin the world over.

While there are countless good men, who would never think of harming a woman, there are rapists, murderers, and others who take pleasure in doing just that.  Men who vent their frustrations on women, who bully and berate women, who use and desert even the mothers of their children.

B.  Gender Inequality

Many such men do not recognize their actions as evil.  They define women – all women, including their own mothers – as less worthy than men.  In effect, less human than men.

This inequality is re-enforced to varying degrees by restrictions on the activities women may undertake outside the home, diminished opportunities for women regarding education and advancement in a given society, the treatment of women by the courts, and the stigma imposed by varying religions on women who violate such norms [1][2].

But the inequality between men and women is not of God’s making. Continue reading

7 Comments

Filed under Abuse of Power, bullying, Christianity, Rape, Religion, Sexual Assault, Violence Against Women