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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

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Researchers at the School of Medicine and the Trinity Institute for Neuroscience at the Trinity College Dublin have shown that child abuse leads to negative structural brain changes including an increased susceptibility to depression:

http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2010/02/26/Child-abuse-can-cause-brain-changes/UPI-24541267212440/

Many people believe that if a child is too young to remember wrongs done to the child, that it doesn’t matter. A number of them harm innocent children and babies in misguided attempts to relieve their own pain.

However, many recent studies have led to significant new evidence showing that a child’s brain and body are damaged for life when that child is mistreated, even where the mistreatment happened when the child was too young to remember it.

Here is a brief article about a recent study showing that childhood abuse damages the DNA of the victim and leads to difficulties in stress regulation due to actual physiological damage in the body.

http://discovermagazine.com/2010/jan-feb/061

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

I hate to keep bringing you horror stories of child abuse, but perhaps it’s needed. We need resources allocated where they belong. I’m willing to bet this man was severely abused as a child.

Here is the story:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2010/02/08/2010-02-08_us_soldier_joshua_taber_waterboarded_his_daughter_4_because_she_couldnt_recite_a.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

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.

The benefits of breastfeeding cannot be overemphasized. Numerous studies show that breastfeeding not only improves immune function, reduces life-long disease, and increases IQ, it also helps prevent abuse and neglect due to the mothering hormones it releases. See UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative Statement On New Breastfeeding, January 7, 2010, and UQ Research Finds the Mum Bud Bond May Reduce Neglect, The University of Queensland Australia News, December 9, 2009.

It appears that the mother’s body was created with built-in mechanisms to support the her healthy and positive rearing of infants to create physically and emotionally healthy adults. Yet human beings routinely breach this bond and create circumstances of physical and/or emotional abuse and neglect.

“A child whose life is full of the threat and fear of punishment is locked into babyhood. There is no way for him to grow up, to learn to take responsibility for his life and acts. Most important of all, we should not assume that having to yield to the threat of our superior force is good for the child’s character. It is never good for anyone’s character.” – John Holt, Freedom and Beyond.