You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘children’s rights’ tag.

Child pornography generally means that there is child rape and torture going on; and yet we are not allocating sufficient resources to sort through all the evidence and prosecute the abusers. Shame on us!  Child Pornography Fight Gets New Weapons, The Times-Picayune, by Robert Travis Scott, November 15, 2009.

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Here is some information about “paddling”, in schools, the traditional practice of punishing children for “infractions” by smacking them publicly on bare buttocks with a wooden implement until there are bruises. Some traditional educators and parents are quite attached to this practice and fight to keep it alive. Old habits really die hard. Consider this perspective about the development of sexual deviancy: Sowing the Seeds of Sadomasochism, By Jordan Riak, November 9, 2009.

Paddling

Really. In modern day United States. Family courts are routinely supporting abusers in continuing to hurt innocent children. The system is broken to such a degree that the United States has a modern day Underground Railroad!

Is there a reason this has not been front page news?

Please take a look at this detailed, sad and informative article from 1989: Running for Their Lives, by Jane Sims Podesta, David Van Biema, and Paula Chin, People, Jan. 23, 1989.

It may be from 20 years ago, yet this has continued to go on in family courts throughout the United States to this day.

Here is an highly important and informative article published in the Spring 1998 issue of Court Review, Myth of False Allegations of Sexual Abuse in Divorce Cases, by Merrilyn McDonald, M.S.W. Here, Merrilyn McDonald sets forth the facts about the widely held “false allegations” belief. Somehow, the system appears to align with abusers and become their enabling mechanism. Many continue to battle these issues with the family court system every day. We should support and protect, not further punish, innocent victims of abuse.

Here is her summary:

False allegations of sexual abuse in divorce are a rare occurrence. False allegations of sexual abuse in general are rare. Unsubstantiated is not the same as false. Child sexual abuse is a common experience. Child sexual abuse is grossly underreported. There is a belief that allegations of sexual abuse in divorce are epidemic because a number of anecdotal reports of allegations of sexual abuse were repeatedly referenced by various authors without listing the limitations of such reports, creating an image of “hard science” that did not exist. Allegations of sexual abuse are more likely to occur in divorce situations and must be taken just as seriously as allegations that arise at any other time. Sexually abused children behave in a manner that is hard for most of us to understand. It is extremely hard for a child to disclose sexual abuse and any child who does so must be seen as extremely brave. Children recant because of pressure or a desire to get their family back. Mothers of sexually abused children experience many conflicts and difficulties in our present system.

This is a very common and very sad scenario in family courts across the country.

Consider the information in this article by Kathleen Russell, a woman working very hard to help ease the suffering of innocent children and prevent their regular placement with abusers. Thank goodness for the hard work of those selflessly toiling for justice on behalf of abused children.

Child abuse: when family courts get it wrong, The Christian Science Monitor, October 14, 2009.

A groundbreaking study out of the University of New Hampshire has found lower IQ’s in children who are spanked. The study also found a link between the amount of spanking and IQ levels. The more a child is spanked, the lower his or her IQ.  University of New Hampshire professor Murray Straus, who led the study, presents its results today, Friday, Sept. 25, 2009, at the 14th International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma, in San Diego, Calif.

See the full text of the Science Daily article here: Children Who Are Spanked Have Lower IQ’s, New Research Finds, September 25, 2009, Science Daily.

Sadly, these things happen every day and have throughout human history: 

The Emma Case, More than 80 Bruises on Girl, Houston Chronicle, Aug. 11, 2009.

Protective Services. The Houston Chronicle, Aug. 15, 2009.

Emma

Here is a story of child abuse out of Salem, Oregon.

Two parents have been arrested and accused of multiple counts of child abuse against their children, ages 15, 14, 13, 11, 10, and 9, including 6 counts of second-degree Assault, 6 counts of first-degree Criminal Mistreatment, 6 counts of Unlawful use of a Weapon and 6 counts of Coercion.

The children were taken into protective custody, as was the parents’ six-day-old infant, after the three older children called 911 to report abuse.  Sheriff’s deputies found significant evidence of abuse on the children.

Salem, Oregon, Parents Accused of Child Abuse, 7-22-09

What is most striking to me about this online newpaper article are the comments posted by readers of the article. Read them at this link: Two Adults Arrested in Salem on Multiple Counts of Child Abuse, Salem-News.com, July 22, 2009.

Apparently, nearly everyone who read the story was certain that the children were lying, that they were evil, and that they cruelly reported their parents just to avoid the spankings they deserve. Instead of sympathizing with the children or even hoping the parents could get some proper counseling, these multiple readers sympathized with the parents. Many of them cited bible verses indicating that children need to be disciplined with violence.

This is a very common classic method of childrearing. Children are to blame, children are to be hurt because they are to blame, and children need to keep quiet about it to protect the parents’ reputation.

Here are bible verses quoted by a reader commenting on an article on this situation in another online paper (Salem Parents are Accused of Child Abuse, OregonLive.com, July 22, 2009):

Proverbs 13:24 He who spares his rod hates his son,
But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.

Proverbs 19:18 Chasten your son while there is hope,
And do not set your heart on his destruction.

Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
The rod of correction will drive it far from him.

Proverbs 23:13 Do not withhold correction from a child,
For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.

Proverbs 23:14 You shall beat him with a rod,
And deliver his soul from hell.

Proverbs 29:15 The rod and rebuke give wisdom,
But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother

Despite all this, I am not singling out Christianity as the only religion that traditionally supports child abuse or mistreatment. In fact, I don’t know of a single culture that has been immune from child mistreatment through history.

Take a look at this list of countries where all corporal punishment against children, including in the home, is now legally prohibited:

Sweden (1979)
Finland (1983)
Norway (1987)
Austria (1989)
Cyprus (1994)
Denmark (1997)
Latvia (1998)
Croatia (1999)
Germany (2000)
Israel (2000)
Bulgaria (2000)
Iceland (2003)
Romania (2004)
Ukraine (2004)
Hungary (2005)
Greece (2006)
Spain (2007)
Venezuela (2007)
Uruguay (2007)
Portugal (2007)
New Zealand (2007)
Netherlands (2007)
Republic of Moldova (2008)
Costa Rica (2008)

In addition, in Italy in 1996 the Supreme Court in Rome declared all corporal punishment to be unlawful; this is not yet confirmed in legislation.

In Nepal in 2005, the Supreme Court declared null and void the legal defense in the Child Act allowing parents, guardians and teachers to administer a “minor beating”; the Child Act is yet to be amended to confirm this.

Do you notice a country that is noticeably absent from the list?

A number of countries, some motivated in part by the UN’s convention and resolution protecting the rights of children, have taken the important step of legally standing behind child protection. This is clearly a step forward in the advancement of civilization.

In fact, the UN Study on Violence Against Children set a goal of universal abolition of corporal punishment against children as 2009. As of March 2009, the count of countries with full abolition was 24. The prohibition is being added by further states at a fast rate.

Here is a statement made at a discussion of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child:

“As for corporal punishment, few countries have clear laws on this question. Certain States have tried to distinguish between the correction of children and excessive violence. In reality the dividing line between the two is artificial. It is very easy to pass from one stage to the other. It is also a question of principle. If it is not permissible to beat an adult, why should it be permissible to do so to a child? One of the contributions of the Convention is to call attention to the contradictions in our attitudes and cultures.”
Concluding statement to Committee on the Rights of the Child General Discussion on Children’s Rights in the Family, October 1994

In America, suggestions to legally prohibit hitting children are rarely well-received. A recent attempt at a limited watered-down ban on corporal punishment (only on children under 4) in California was angrily received as well as ridiculed by many and shot down. (See Spanking Still Legal in California, Feb. 24, 2007, by Eric Fleming.) Why are Americans so hell bent on protecting the rights of parents to hit children?

How about this:

“Consider the injustice of hitting children. We hit in order to inflict pain. The law does not permit us to inflict pain on anyone other than our children. Floggings of prisoners and in the armed services, the beating of wives and servants are part of an unwanted brutal past. Our laws prohibit us from inflicting pain on animals. Why our children?”.
Ian Hassall, New Zealand Commissioner for Children, 1993.