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I’ve just found out that the brilliant and amazing Alice Miller died on April 14, 2010 at the age of 87. She was a psychotherapist, a prolific writer, and a devoted champion of children’s rights, working throughout her life to spread awareness of the effects of child abuse.

Here is a video message she put out a few years back:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2hF2ujCeFw

and here is a link to her website:

http://www.alice-miller.com/index_en.php

I attended the Child Abuse Symposium in Santa Clara County, California last Friday and heard a highly effective and important presentation by Dr. John Stirling, Director of the Center for Child Protection at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and Medical Director of Santa Clara County’s Children Shelter.

Dr. Stirling presented the findings of the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) study, a study that has been out for years, which shows a direct link between child mistreatment and adult health and well-being.

Here is a synopsis of the primary findings of the ACE  Study performed by Dr. Vincent Felitti. Fundamentally, the study found that childhood adversity has a direct correlation with adult disfunction and poor health.

Please read the synopsis of this important study:

http://xnet.kp.org/permanentejournal/winter02/goldtolead.html

Sexual abuse is so much more widespread than some people think. New evidence has been publicized that U.S. swim team coaches have molested and secretly taped teenage girls on the swim team for decades. 36 coaches are now banned from U.S. Swimming for life for sexual misconduct.

See the Huffington Post story:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/09/us-swimming-sex-scandal-r_n_531912.html

In this article in the Washington Post, triggered by the Pope’s recent apology, Sinead O’Connor eloquently writes about her personal experiences relating to child abuse and the Catholic Church, her views on recent events relating to the Catholic Church, as well her belief in God.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/25/AR2010032502363.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

51 year-old award winning MTV video director, Aswad Ayinde, has been charged with repeatedly raping and impregnating his daughters over decades and using extreme violence and threats to prevent them from telling the authorities.

Ayinde, who won an MTV award for directing The Fugees’ “Killing Me Softly,” fathered six kids with his daughters from the mid-1980s to 2002 – and delivered the babies himself, according to New Jersey prosecutors. Ayinde also had nine kids with his ex-wife, Beverly, and at least three more with two other women in Brooklyn.

Prosecutors said Ayinde kept the kids from informing the authorities by beating them with wooden boards or kicking them with steel-toed boots.

“I was afraid to ever accuse him of being demented or being a pedophile,” Beverly Ayinde, who married him in 1977, told the court. “I knew the word, but I wouldn’t dare use it because it would result in a beating.”

Ayinde also made a point of moving his family from town to town, even squatting in an abandoned funeral home in New Jersey. Later, he moved to Brooklyn and began passing himself off as an artist, brazenly boasting his now-grown daughters were his wives.

More:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2010/03/11/2010-03-11_pure_evil_nj_fantatic_aswad_ayinde_charged_with_raping_daughters_

In this sad and horrible case, a 10 year-old girl, Charlenni Ferreira, was killed by her father and step-mother in Philadelphia after years of horrific abuse. Known injuries included gashes on her hands, a fractured shoulder blade, bone deformities on her arm from past trauma, bruising down her legs, scratches over her face, a fractured hip which kept her from walking properly, a split lip, a “cauliflower ear”, cigarette burns, evidence of long-term sexual abuse, and lacerations to her scalp.

Despite at least two reports from school nurses from 2006 until 2009, Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services left the girl in her father and step-mother’s care for years until she died from an infection caused by untreated broken ribs, which filled her lungs with fluid and collapsed them. When she died, she also had a seven-inch gash to her head that was stuffed with gauze and covered by a hair weave.

Apparently, the department left the child in the father and step-mother’s care because it did not have conclusive evidence of child abuse.

In the following article, a review panel consisting of Philadelphia’s medical examiner, a prosecutor, doctors, social workers, and DHS officials exonerated Philadelphia’s handling of the matter.

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/home_region/20100219_Panel_exonerates_DHS_in_child-abuse_death.html

Official figures indicate that more than 200 “honor” killings take place each year in Turkey – almost half of all murders in Turkey.

In this story, a Turkish girl was buried alive by her family for taking to boys:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/05/turkish-girl-buried-alive_n_450019.html

Turkey

In a very sad saga, a woman named Katie Marie Tagle dated a man named Stephen Garcia and had a baby with him. Katie Marie has said that he abused her throughout their entire relationship.

She broke up with him, became involved with another man, and had to go to family court over custody and visitation of their infant son, Wyatt.

Stephen, enraged over Katie leaving him, began making multiple threats to take Katie’s life and the baby’s life and continued to be violent toward Katie, at one point proposing to her and then physically knocking her down during a child exchange.

Upon receiving these threats, Katie went to court to seek restraining orders, each of which the judges denied indicating that they believed Katie was lying to gain advantage in the pending custody proceedings.

The day after the third courtroom denial, Stephen sent Katie an e-mail containing a story called “Necessary Evil.”

The story describes in detail Katie’s and Stephen’s relationship, and in the end, the story has two endings. In “Happy Ending,” the female character returns to the man. In “Tragic Ending,” the character takes his son to a lake, puts him to sleep with Benadryl and the baby dies. “He will have a better life with you then (sic) we can give him here,” the man tells God before taking his own life.

Katie called 9-1-1 after reading the story, and the responding deputy immediately went to the courthouse and obtained an emergency restraining order for her.

However, in Victorville court Jan. 14, Judge Robert Lemkau would not uphold the restraining order and ordered Katie to immediately give Wyatt to Stephen, as it was the day his scheduled visitation was to begin.

The judge made it clear that he believed Katie was lying to gain an unfair advantage in custody proceedings. Then, instead of ensuring the child’s safety in the event the mother might be right, the judge decided to err on the side of endangering the child by ordering that the baby immediately be handed over unsupervised to the man who repeatedly threatened to take the child’s and the mother’s lives in writing.

Here is the incredible transcript to that hearing.

http://photos.vvdailypress.com/files/multimedia/soundslides/Court.pdf

This is nothing unusual. This goes on in courts all the time. In the presence of a custody dispute, judges routinely believe that anyone claiming abuse is doing so to gain unfair advantage in cutody proceedings, and routinely order the child then placed with the abuser, regularly going so far as to completely deny custody or visitation to the reporting parent.

What is unusual in this case is that within 10 days of that hearing, Stephen took Wyatt up into the mountains and killed the baby and himself, just as he had repeatedly warned.

Here is a detailed version of this story:

http://www.mountain-news.com/articles/2010/02/04/news/news1.txt

Murder-Suicide Note by CA Man Was Posted on Net

Senator Jake Knotts of South Carolina has recently proposed a bill giving teachers, principals, schools and school districts absolute civil and criminal protection from liability for any injury or harm resulting from their beating school children. No this did not happen in the Middle Ages. This is January 2010! Here is the language of this amazing bill:

  Proposed Bill – S. 1042 

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION 1. Article 1, Chapter 25, Title 59 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

“Section 59-25-60. (A) A teacher who disciplines a student on school district property by means of corporal punishment while acting within the scope of his employment is immune from all civil and criminal liability that may arise from the incident. The same immunity is extended to the principal, school, school administrators, school district, and school district administrators for which the teacher is employed.

(B) For purposes of this section:

(1) ‘Corporal punishment’ means physical punishment inflicted by an adult in authority within the guidelines established by the school district on a student enrolled in a public school of a school district of this State.

(2) ‘Principal’ means the administrative head of a public school of this State.

(3) ‘Teacher’ includes both a teacher as defined in Section 59-1-130 and a teacher aide as defined in Section 59-1-140.

(4) ‘School district’ means a legal entity as defined in Section 59-1-160.”

SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.    

There must some sort of support for this in South Carolina, but how can anyone believe that children should be beaten and that neither they, their parents,  nor their guardians should have any recourse to protect them. It seems that many people do.

Here are some interesting facts on this issue:

http://www.nospank.net/tjohnson.htm

A judge in Wisconsin has ordered a mother jailed because her daughter will not comply with a court order to live every other week with an abusive father. The mother was ordered jailed 30 days or until the daughter complies and taken into custody immediately after the last court hearing where she presented evidence that the daughter is “terrified of going; she has night terrors and severe anxiety.”

Can this really be permitted to occur, using our nation’s judiciary power? Shouldn’t we have oversight procedures to ensure children are safe, rather than permitting court power to be used in such gruesome ways? Why would anyone believe that forcing a child to spend time alone with a parent with a history of abuse is a good thing to do? So many unanswered questions. Obviously, a child’s safety should always take precedence over a parent’s “rights”.

Further, how shocking is it that a court would threaten a child with the jailing of her own mother. The sort of guilt and shame the girl must feel must be unbelievable.

Judge Jails Mother Over Daughter’s Refusal To Visit Father, Now Public Crowd Powered Media, November 13, 2009.

Well, the story get even more shocking. Here is the next installment. Really just too much to believe: http://refusesvisitpressrelease.blogspot.com/2009/11/father-refuses-visitation.html#comments

The fact that horrible things are taking place in family courts all over America is no secret. Judges and other court officials are enabling child abuse and destroying children’s bond with protective parents!

Public protest over this despicable situation is growing.

http://capitalnews9.com/capital-region-news-12-content/your_news/capital_region/492704/hundreds-attend-battered-mothers-custody-conference

But we need more widespread awareness.