Many of the women around me are sobbing now, as a child tells her story. "My father beat me" she begins. Well, she is not a child now actually, but she is a child to me. She is a poised, attractive young woman named Jennifer Collins who is a survivor of child abuse and of a Child and Family Court System that betrayed her and her brother, just as it betrays children across this country every day when it orders children to live full time with an abusive parent.
If you want to find out more about the conference, visit the the oifficial site of the Battered Mothers Custody Conference. Here is a little about the conference from their website:
The Conference includes presentations, round-table discussions, and question & answer sessions with nationally distinguished professionals whose work is focused on resolving the complex issues facing battered women as they strive to protect themselves and their children in and out of court during custody and visitation disputes. It is open to lay persons and of special interest toadvocates, social workers, psychologists, attorneys, judges, legal personnel, and others involved in the issue of battered women's and abused children's legal and civil rights being routinely violated by family courts, DSS, and other government systems.
Read Barry's article on the ePluribus Media Journal and come back here to discuss.
Hat-tip to Donna for bringing our attention to this disturbing story.
"Three years ago the Plant city police found a girl lying in her roach-infested room, naked except for an overflowing diaper. The child, pale and skeletal, communicated only through grunts. She was almost 7 years old.
The authorities had discovered the rarest of creatures: a feral child, deprived of her humanity by a lack of nurturing."
Click the image above or click here to go to the slide show. On that page, there are a variety of related, important links.
It's a horrifying story, but not one without hope.
Just before noon on July 13, 2005, a Plant City police car pulled up outside that shattered window. Two officers went into the house — and one stumbled back out.
Clutching his stomach, the rookie retched in the weeds.
Plant City Detective Mark Holste had been on the force for 18 years when he and his young partner were sent to the house on Old Sydney Road to stand by during a child abuse investigation. Someone had finally called the police.
They found a car parked outside. The driver's door was open and a woman was slumped over in her seat, sobbing. She was an investigator for the Florida Department of Children and Families.
"Unbelievable," she told Holste. "The worst I've ever seen."
The story has a happy ending -- not so much an "ending" as much as it is a new beginning. The young girl, now called "Dani," has a new family now, including an older brother named William, and has been making progress. Slow progress, but more than anyone had initially dared to hope.
This is an Open Thread.
For a recent story in a similarly disturbing vein -- but one which had an unhappy ending for the child -- see here.
Yesterday, on CNN, I caught this video . The incident happened in Oakridge, Oregon. Apparently, a teacher used duct tape to tape a 9-year-old boy to his chair. The news story does not tell the teacher's side of the story. The mother, the child and the superintendent are interviewed. The teacher is on paid administrative leave, pending an investigation. The Seattle Times reports the incident here and KMTR here:
Nine-year-old Austin Faile admits he was bored, and says the teacher repeatedly told him to sit down.
[Becky]Faile says she immediately called an attorney, and the school.
The story resonates with me on a personal level, as I had a similar experience with my son when he was in kindergarten. His teacher not only taped him to his chair, she taped his mouth shut too -- on more than one occasion. Was I horrified or outraged? No. Why? Because I lived with my son and could fully understand that when a teacher has 20+ kids in a class, she doesn't have time to deal with one that is creating havoc.
As a concerned parent, I knew it was my responsibility to discover why my son was exhibiting behavior problems and by the time he was in first grade we had discovered he had dyslexia and a severe muscular coordination problem in his eyes. Once we started dealing with his physical impairments his behavior improved immensely. The International Dyslexia Association estimates that 15%-20% of the population are afflicted with dyslexia.
I don't know that 9-year-old Austin from the news clip has a learning disability, but I do think that it is the parents responsibility to discover why their son is disruptive.
Should the teacher lose her job? Is taping a child to a chair child abuse?