Here's what some of the major players in the campaign against abuse have to say.
A direct quote from an article dated 12-22-02 stated, "'This problem goes beyond the church and what the churches are able to do…It's a mission for the whole community to embrace.'" This isn’t just one church we’re talking about—this is a coalition that has grown to hundreds strong!
On 12-22-02 The Chief of Police in San Bernardino said, "…It's not just a police role. It's a parenting role. It's a community role. It's a society role…"
In another article on 1-16-03 a Reverend had little to say, “Evil prevails because good men do nothing…"
Eliminating abuse is beyond the combined abilities of the social workers, the police, and the clergy. They are all very clear: it will take all of society to deal with abuse.
We're not getting the job done, and so the numbers of victims continues to grow.
Come and read an innovative approach that just might be able to get the attention of society, reverse the trend of growing abuse, and get the job done.
You see from my example that you won't have to take my word for it. I have over 40 quotes from learned experts, from reputable sources.
After 27 years experience working for the California Department of Mental Health, as a Licensed Psychiatric Technician, I have learned more about abuse than most people. I'd like to share some of what I've learned with you.
Many of the things I've learned about abuse should be obvious to us all. For instance, the majority of the patients that I worked with at Patton State Hospital had childhood abuse in their history. The bulk of inmates in jails and prisons have been abused as well. Worse still, experts say that what we've seen is just the tip of the iceberg.
Another of the points brought out in newspapers is that abuse is expensive. We all pay taxes and share in the expense of our prisons, mental hospitals, and other institutions that work with the dysfunctional members of our society. Few know how expensive abuse really is.
I will show you, good reader, that abuse is one of mankind's greatest enemies. It has cost the human race not just in our lifetimes, but since the dawn of history.
Despite numerous articles over the years, the truth about child abuse is that it is so horrible that it boggles the mind. You see, few really understand the depths of agony that abused children suffer. It is hard to comprehend a pain so terrible it turns a person into a monster programmed to hurt others until the end of their miserable lives.
On the other hand, despite all of our efforts, the numbers of abused are growing at an alarming rate.
We aren't doing enough to combat horribly negative influence on our society.
Our professionals have provided excellent strategies for dealing with the growing cycle of abuse. There are some very comprehensive programs out there that statistics, hard numbers, prove are effective. There is hope yet.
I intend to prove these points, link by link.
We detect only a small percentage of the victims of child abuse.
Despite all we know of child abuse, the experts say we've seen just the tip of the iceberg.
The abuse we speak of is far more rampant than most people suspect, and what statistics indicate. The majority of abused children say nothing about the horror they endure. No one knows, so nothing gets done.
Here is a direct quote from a newspaper back in December 2, 1998, "As many as one in five boys is sexually abused, according to an analysis that tries to put the best number yet on a crime that often goes unreported…it concluded that sexual abuse of boys is underreported and undertreated…"
Also, back in March second, 2003, there was an article titled, "18,000 child abuse inquiries in '02". The article stated, "It is the rare case that results in…action. Almost 91 percent of similar allegations of abuse investigated by the department last year were unsubstantiated…" On the same date in the same paper, there was the following article, "Three notorious cases that slipped through the cracks" In that article we learned, "Social workers visited the Redlands home of 15-year-old Zachary Moore just months before he stabbed his 14-year-old brother to death in 1996…Zachary, who was profiled last year in a newspaper series, said his parents cleaned the house and put on an act for the social worker. Zachary said he lied to protect what he considered family business…"
Whenever a child is abused, their abusers quickly intimidate them into their silence. They often threaten the child's life. The victims are so terrified that they live in a state of abject fear. There are psychiatric terms that describe this fear. Professionals have learned of a process termed "The Stockholm Syndrome".
In 1973, four Swedes held in a bank vault for six days during a robbery became attached to their captors, a phenomenon dubbed the Stockholm Syndrome. The captives begin to identify with their captors. Victims kept on defending the robbers even after their captivity was over. Just recently there was a case where a young girl named Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her bedroom. The kidnapper took her up to some local hills just behind her home. There, searchers came looking for her. She heard her uncle's voice, but was too intimidated to call out for help.
Long-term captivity builds even stronger attachments. Driven by terror, abused children endeavor to both please and protect their abuser. Alone, without hope, they would never tell on their abuser.
Articles about abuse, and the manifestations of abuse are in my local newspapers almost every day. Recently, there was an excellent series titled, "Teens Who Kill". But it wasn’t the first such series to address the abuse issue, nor will it be the last. Back in August the second of 1998, there was another excellent series titled, "Focus on Kids, Silent Crisis". From a great article titled, "Growing Plight, Growing Concerns", I quote an experienced professional from the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Crimes Against Children unit, "We're catching more of these cases, but I think it's just the tip of the iceberg…"
Although the majority of child abuse is committed by someone the child considers a close friend, or family, there are many abusers who become counselors, therapists, day-care workers, and aimless drifters like Brian Mitchell, who abducted Elizabeth Smart. As we can see from the recent articles about the Catholic Church, even priests are suspect.
On 1-12-03 I read a really excellent article with the title, "Church abuse survey reveals some patterns" in my local paper. A quote from that article is as follows, "The sexual abuse crisis that engulfed the Roman Catholic Church in the last 12 months has now spread to nearly every American diocese and involves more than 1,200 priests…4,268 people…have claimed publicly or in lawsuits to have been abused by priests, though experts say there are surely many more who have remained silent…"
Pedophiles often devote years of their lives worming themselves into such institutions. Every vocation where there is an opportunity to hurt children has some of these 'individuals'. We've all read about abuse in hospitals, in schools, and in orphanages.
In America we pay hundreds of millions of dollars a day for Abuse and Neglect—which is crippling to our society.
Another of the things brought out recently is that abuse is expensive.
Back in August second of 1998, there was an excellent article that I'd like to quote, "Emotional costs are harder to measure, although experts know that children who have been abused are more likely to commit crimes, abuse their own children, have psychological problems, abuse alcohol and drugs, and be unemployed…'I have adult clients who are still dealing with the abuse that occurred early in their lives,' said an associate professor of psychology at California State University, San Bernardino, and a licensed therapist. A licensed therapist in Colton said, '…If it goes untreated, it definitely impacts the rest of their lives. We see a lot of repercussions in our society…'"
Abuse isn't a problem that just goes away, and a lifetime of therapy costs plenty.
On 12-22-02 there were several articles in my local newspaper that related to this subject. The second article was actually was a really good interview conducted by the newspaper’s editorial board. The subject of the interview was the chief of police. In one part of the interview he said, "…The history of youth violence is that if you don't deal with it on the upswing, it becomes a much bigger problem…they tend to stay within the criminal justice system…for two or three decades…we're dealing with them for a long period of time..." If anyone would know, it would be the chief of police.
On 11-15-2000 there was an article that had a quote from Attorney General Bill Lockyer. We learned, (It cost, back then) "'…$50,000.00 a year to lock up (a prisoner)…compared to a few hundred a year for early intervention programs…'" The county sheriff said, "'There would be "huge savings" if the county could reduce the inmate population…by just 5 percent…'"
Inmates in jails and prisons have rough childhoods in common. Knowledgeable and experienced, the sheriff knew they, too, had been abused as children.
When you do not have the abuse, you do not have the explosive need to vent that abuse. You can reduce personnel on your police force; you don't have as many prisons, mental hospitals, and all the rest of the infrastructure we need to deal with the current dysfunctional members of our society.
Each abused child is a battle, and we’re losing too many. Instead of striding purposefully towards our destiny, the human race drags a broken and useless leg and must support a terrible wound. A direct quote from an article on 4-3-2001 said, “…child abuse and neglect drains the United States of an estimated $258 million each day, or $94 billion a year, said Prevent Child Abuse America…”
Abuse has cost the human race since the dawn of history.
Abuse is nothing new to the human race. As a matter of fact, some abuse travels generation to generation, apparently for a long time.
A great article with the title, "Church abuse survey reveals some patterns" appeared in the local paper on January 12, 2003. A direct quote from that article said: "…This has been going on for decades, probably centuries…It's just that all of a sudden, they got caught…"
In an article on 12-22-02, the Chief of Police said, "…If somebody is in an abusive family, if there's domestic violence, that child is prone to domestic violence. We know that if there's a family where there's abuse of a child, that person will tend to go on to abuse a child. There's a cycle there…"
One wonders, just how long has this "cycling" been going on?
I have another good article from August 2 1998 where a learned Professor, who taught a course on child abuse and domestic violence at Cal State, San Bernardino, said, "…parents who were abused as children tend to become abusers themselves…"
Father to son, mother to daughter, abuse travels generation to generation; its origins are lost, somewhere in the long ago past. Perhaps as far back as the dawn of history.
Continuing from the previous article, the Director of the County Department of Children's Services, said, "'…When the economy is good, there is much less stress on families…When they don't have to worry about where the next dollar is coming from, there's money to go to the movies, to relieve the pressures of parenting…' Poverty and substance abuse are the greatest predictors of abuse, experts said."
Whenever poverty grows, the numbers of abused children rise.
From the website http://www.yesican.org/statisticsCA.html , we learned the third National Incidence Study (NIS-3) done in 1993 came up with the following statistics: "…Poverty is significantly related to incidence rates in nearly every category of maltreatment. Compared to children whose families earned $30,000 or more, children in families with annual incomes below $15,000 were: More than 22 times more likely to experience maltreatment…More than 44 times more likely to be neglected…Over 22 times more likely to be seriously injured…60 times more likely to die from maltreatment…"
The children of poor parents often grow up to be poor parents themselves. Generation to generation, hand in hand, poverty and abuse often perpetuate themselves.
A special note: the treaty of Versailles, after World War One, required the German people to pay reparations for the damage done in World War One. This forced crippling poverty upon the entire nation. One wonders what part poverty, and the subsequent abuse, played in the creation of Nazi Germany and World War II.
The Pain of Abuse destroys the human spirit, and makes monsters of men
Few really understand the depths of pain that abused children suffer.
Because of the abuse they will suffer, there are many children who are destined to live a life of incarceration behind the walls of a prison, or a mental institution.
There is something about these people that most of us do not realize-these are a tortured people. It is hard for us, the "unabused", to comprehend the depths of their suffering.
A direct quote from an article back in August of 1988 is as follows, "Children are victims in some of the most heinous crimes that make their way through San Bernardino County's criminal courts."
The more vicious the abuse, the more warped the victim becomes.
Babies aren't born serial killers. Imagine the work it takes to ruin a person's life and wreck them forever. The human spirit does not die easily. It takes a lot of effort to destroy who a person would have been, and instead create a monster. The abuser must torment and hurt that child almost every day to keep them intimidated. Think of what the child must go through-the sick anticipation.
Imagine a hurt so bad that it can never heal. Imagine dragging through life with a terrible wound that, at times, drives you mad. I worked for the California Department of Mental Health, at Patton State Hospital, for a long time. I have seen how it is for them-these cripples who were beaten into submission. They will spend their miserable lives as liabilities to society-a life ruined forever because of the torment they suffered as children. Obviously, they could hurt a lot of innocent people along the way.
The covert abuser-who often isn't caught-is another matter. Their whole lives are a lie. You probably know one or two. They must be ever vigilant and can never rest. Because of their early traumatic childhood abuse, their programming, they must hurt those they are closest to. This is how abuse perpetuates itself. The pain these people manifest is but a fraction of the pain they endure. They weren't born criminals. They are helpless against their early traumatic childhood experiences.
Imagine how angry and frustrated you are on your worst day. Now imagine the things you might say or do, that you would later regret. Now, multiply the pain by tens, hundreds, or thousands. Now you know the pain suffered by a person who was terribly abused. They are, beyond all shadow of doubt, the most miserable people in the world.
If you knew the horrible things that have been done to abused children, you'd know that the torture in Nazi concentration camps would be comparable to what some of these children go through.
Of significant interest: following is ample documentation that proves Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Saddam Hussein were all victims of abusive childhoods. One wonders what part their early "programming" played in their decisions as world leaders? What really motivated their behaviors?
From the website http://abelard.org/hitler/hitler/htm
"…As with isolated peasant societies around the world, the area was heavily inbred, with its share of genetic problems (6). Hitler's mother had a hunchbacked sister and a first cousin was likewise affected. Adolf's sister Paula has been described as mentally defective, but that may be a little harsh(7)." #15
"…It is likely that Alois (Adolf Hitler's father) was violent to the mother and child, especially after his regular sessions down the local tavern, to the extent that Alois once feared that he had killed the boy…" #16
"…Hitler is known to have delighted in shooting rats from his pre-teens(2). He is recorded as thrashing a dog in order to impress a girl friend in 1926…" #17
From the website http://remember.org/guide/Facts.root.hitler.html
"…While there is anecdotal evidence that Adolf's father regularly beat him during his childhood…" #18
From the website http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/riseofhitler/boyhood/htm
The oldest boy, Alois Jr., 13, bore the brunt of his father's discontent, including harsh words and occasional beatings. A year later, at age 14, young Alois had enough of this treatment and ran away from home, never to see his father again. This put young Adolf, age 7, next in line for the same treatment. #19
From the website: http://www.auschwitz.dk/Paula/htm
"…Their father, Alois, was a hard, conscientious Customs Official, punctilious to a fault with a difficult temper that flared with no apparent provocation. Paula (Adolf Hitler's younger sister) later recalled how Adolf bore the brunt of the father's discipline: 'Adolf challenged my father to extreme harshness and got his sound thrashing every day. He was a scrubby little rogue, and all attempts of his father to thrash him for his rudeness and to cause him…" #20
From the website: http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Stalin
"…Born in Gori, Georgia to illiterate peasant parents (who had been serfs at birth), his harsh spirit has been blamed by some on severe beatings by his father, inspiring vengeful feelings towards anyone in a position to wield power over him…" #21
From the website: http://www.chagala.com/russia/stalin_outline.htm
"…His father (Joseph Stalin) was an illiterate drunk who brutishly beat both young Joseph and his mother. During a particularly bad beating episode endured by his mother, Joseph threw a knife at his father's head and barely missed…"
"…It is said that years after being beaten by his father, that Joseph developed a strange fascination with the idea of pain and showed no compassion or love for animals or other humans…" #22
From the website: http://search.britannica.com
"…The drunken father savagely beat his son…" #23
From the website: http://www.washingtonpost.com
"…N. Kipshidze remembered stories she told him: 'One day when his father was drunk he picked him up and threw him violently to the floor. There was blood in the boy's urine for days afterwards.' The big fistfights with no holds barred-that was what little Soso (the young child, Stalin) saw from the day he was born…"
"…Thus was he described by 112-year-old Hana Moshiashvili, a Georgian Jewish woman, once a friend of Keke, who emigrated to Israel in 1972. 'His mother was head of the family now, and the fist which had subdued his father was now applied to the upbringing of their son. She beat him unmercifully for disobedience." #24
From the website: http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/02060/p01s04-woiq.html
"…Those secrets may rest in Hussein's brass-knuckled - and sometimes white-knuckled - history. Born dirt-poor and unwanted in a Tikrit backwater village, Hussein was able to violently claw his way out of an abused childhood to the top of the ruling Baath Party…" #25
From the website: http://www.megastories.com/iraq/family/saddam.html
"…Like many others later infected with lust for power, Saddam was abused and excluded at home…" #26
From the website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2480591.stm
"…As is often the case in psychological diagnosis, Dr. Post thinks that the seeds of Saddam's present character and choice of actions lie in his traumatic childhood, as he explained to the BBC…"
"…His father died during his infancy and his mother handed the boy over to her brother Khayrallah for care until she again married - this time to a man who reputedly abused Saddam."
"This mix of abandonment and abuse took its toll and created in Saddam what Dr. Post says is referred to in psychological terms as 'his wounded self'…"
"…This cultivation of grandiose fantasy turned him into a 'a malignant narcissist,' Dr. Post says…" #27
From the website: http://www.iraqfoundation.org/news/2003/ajan/27_saddam.html
"Like other dictators who wrote bloody chapters in 20th-century history, Mr. Hussein was primed for violence by early childhood. Born into the murderous clan culture of a village that lived off piracy on the Tigris River, he was harshly beaten by a brutal stepfather…" #28
From the website: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/nightline/World/saddam_profiler_030225.html
"…Post…'One cannot imagine a worse entrance into this life than Saddam had,' he said…"
"…Citing an account given by the family's neighbors, Post said she became 'gravely depressed' and repeatedly tried to commit suicide and to abort the pregnancy. When Saddam was born, she did not even want to look at him, Post said…"
"…According to Post, Saddam's new stepfather was psychologically and physically abusive to him…" #29
Like hot metal on a blacksmith's anvil, Hitler, Stalin, and Hussein were hammered and beaten into the monsters who killed millions—and had mercy towards none.
The numbers of abused are growing at an alarming rate.
They did a great article back in August 2, 1998. One of the most striking comments made in that article was as follows: "Perhaps the saddest fact about child abuse in San Bernardino County is that it shows no sign of abating. The number of cases involving kids killed or in pain continues to grow, almost by the day."
Comparing statistics from a credible article in 8-2-88 with another such article in 2003, we will get a perspective of abuse that covers 14 years. In the first article we learned that, "Reports of child abuse nationally rose 41 percent between 1988 and 1997, according to the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse." That's a big jump!
The article from 1-22-03 quoted statistics from the Children's Network of San Bernardino County's annual report. The report said, "The number of kids booked into Juvenile Hall increased 67 percent from 1997 to 2001." If we combine the statistics from 1988 to 1997 with the statistics from 1997 to 2001 we're looking at an increase of 108 percent. These are huge numbers!
This is worse than an atomic reaction. Instead of one making two, and two four-as in an atomic reaction-you have one making far more than two, who in turn make even more.
Some time in the not-too-distant future there will be more of those who've suffered child abuse than of 'normal' non-abused people. You've seen the statistics-it's just a matter of time.
The hard truth: in the fight against child abuse, we're losing terribly.
Experts say we must do more against child abuse.
We need to do a lot more against this powerful enemy of us all.
We must do something about the growing cycle of abuse.
I read an interesting article dated 3-6-2003. In that article I learned we have 162,000 inmates in our jails. Back in 1980, there were only 23, 511 in prison in California. When the numbers of abused people grow so that they constitute a substantial percentage of the population, then counter-revolution is possible—perhaps similar to the revolution they had back when in Nazi Germany.
We must help those being abused or the pain will someday reach your own family, if it hasn't already. Now is the time to give us a shoulder and help us help these children.
A quote from a sad article back on 12-22-02, "This problem goes beyond the church and what the churches are able to do,” said a leader of a coalition of churches—where a choir member was slain on the very steps of his church. “It's a mission for the whole community to embrace."
Continuing from 12-22-02, the Chief of Police in San Bernardino said, "…It's not just a police role. It's a parenting role. It's a community role. It's a society role…"
On 1-16-2003, a Reverend had little to say about the subject except, “Evil prevails because good men do nothing…"
In 12-8-2002 a prominent social worker with Children's Network, San Bernardino County, said, "The earlier we start, the better the chances we have to prevent violence…be involved…" An experienced hand with decades of service in the field, this social worker knows his stuff.
There is hope out there.
We have excellent psychologists with sophisticated tests that can help us to identify the endangered, at-risk child. We as a people have the ability to detect abuse-and stop it.
Back in August of 1998, the Director of the County Department of Children's Services said, "…Everything I read says home visits are the most effective program…" In the same series of articles, the Spokeswoman for the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse, which conducts studies of child abuse prevention programs, said, “…home visitations can play a vital role in breaking the cycle of abuse."
Back in 11-15-2000, State Attorney General Bill Lockyer said, "’…Children who have seen violence at a young age tend to become physically and emotionally scarred and are often unable to lead productive lives…’ The solution, he said, is to offer prevention programs to parents who have had trouble with the law and whose children have a high risk of becoming criminals themselves…Through early intervention, the number of children who are abused or neglected can be significantly reduced, he said." #
An informed, educated man, Mr. Lockyear knows if you lower the numbers of abused children, you save your society that much more grief and money.
In the article quoted above, The San Bernardino County Sheriff said, "…It would pay for itself to invest in a program like that if it turned a few people around..."
In 12-22-02, I read what I thought was the best article of the year. The title of the article says it all, "Investing in kids ticket to reducing violent crime". The chief of the Chino Police said, "…In the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program, low-income children, randomly selected as 3 and 4-year olds, participate in a quality preschool program. These children were only one-fifth as likely to be "chronic offenders" by age 27, compared to those who received no special preschool services…The study sends a clear message that investment in quality child-care programs not only helps low-income working families, but it also creates a safer community…Quality after-school programs are also scientifically proven to prevent crime. A study of after-school programs established through the California Juvenile Crime Prevention Demonstration Project in 12 high-risk California communities found that, among program participants, vandalism and stealing dropped two-thirds, while violent acts, carrying a concealed weapon, arrests and police detentions were all cut in half…These programs save money over time through reduced crime, reduced remedial education and reduced welfare dependency…I'd much rather pay to provide kids with quality programs now than pay the higher cost of putting them in jail years down the road. In doing so, we'll not only reduce crime and save money, but we'll spare families the agony that crime and violence leave in their wake."
We have studied, worked, and seen what works against abuse. We can do it, if we apply ourselves.
People are organizing. On 12-22-02 I read an article where I learned a coalition of black leaders had banded together to, “…turn the community around and fight gangs' influence…The Inland Empire Concerned African-American Churches, a group of more than 60 churches…is working with civic, law enforcement and business leaders to develop strategies to make a difference in kids' lives…" This group of churches has grown into the hundreds.
If people work together, they can accomplish a lot.
The abused children of today will become the ruthless adult criminals of tomorrow. These adults are 'programmed' by traumatic childhood experiences to hurt others, and in so doing perpetuate their own wretched kind. We must break the vicious cycle. We can do it, if we determine that we will, no matter what!
Update October 2005
What YOU can do.
In September 2005, there have been several excellent newspaper articles that indicated we were starting a universal screening program, in the High Desert of Southern California that would identify children with behavioral disorders before age 5. This is being done to head off severe mental-health problems among at-risk school children.
Screening is the answer. Using the modern tools of medicine and psychiatry, we can
identify tomorrow’s serial killer, rapist, and arsonist in-the-making. If we help them by stopping the abuse, and guarantee their basic human rights as American citizens, we can change their very destiny.
Abuse suffered by people as children causes them to be dysfunctional, which in turn causes them to be unable to hold a job, which perpetuates poverty. Poverty has been proven to be one of the biggest factors in the perpetuation of abuse. It is a vicious cycle.
It is hard to be responsible and hold a job when you’ve been subjected to what these people have experienced. The abuse they suffered as children is comparable to that suffered by those who’ve been incarcerated in concentration camps.
Victims of abuse clog our prisons and mental hospitals, they murder our sons and daughters, they steal what we’ve worked long and hard for. They must steal, because they cannot make a living being responsible. It is impossible to be responsible when you’re mentally crippled, and that is what child abuse does.
Whenever you see homeless street people, gang members, prostitutes, and other mentally ill people, what you are seeing is people made into what they are by child abuse. With the implementation of Proposition 63, and screening at-risk children, that can all end.
Big things are happening in the great state of California—things that, if successful, could have an impact on our entire nation—which is a world leader. What is being attempted here has never been done before.
Know that you have taken the initiative in our war against this thing that cripples our children and makes monsters of men. As they say, all is fair in love and war. Hedge your bets in this struggle.
When the Mental Health Services Act passed, we got the active participation of the voting public. We need to keep true to our promises to those voters by keeping them informed of our efforts against child abuse. To do that, we need a Public Relations campaign to keep the active participation of a sympathetic, informed public.
I read an article in April of 2004 about two girls riding a parasail at the beach. The wind suddenly gusted, and broke their rope. “…It took as many as 100 people a half-hour… (to save them). ‘It was awesome seeing the whole beach react. Everybody didn’t even think, they just ran down, grabbed the rope, and started hauling those girls down.’” The moral of the story: most people are good at heart, and willing to help. Those people at the beach saw that there was an immediate danger, and knew their help could make a difference. They got immediate, visible reinforcement for their actions to save those girls. Everyone went back feeling good for what they’d done.
Show those who voted in the Mental Health Services Act that their vote was not in vain. Do everything you can to maintain the support of the voters who helped in this endeavor. We could start by publishing anonymous letters from children who were being abused, thanking the voting public for saving them. That would make the voters see that the danger of abuse was very real for these children, and that their vote for Proposition 63 helped make a difference.
Another part of the PR campaign could be letters and interviews from patients in mental health facilities, and prisoners in our jails and prisons. From my experience working with the mentally ill for 30 years, I know most would speak of the abuse that befell them if they thought that it might help some innocent child in the future.
Preventing the abuse of children is not only the humane thing to do. If done properly, it can be lucrative.
In April of 2001, I read an article where Prevent Child Abuse America estimated abuse and neglect costs our great nation 258 million daily, or 94 billion a year.
In March of 2003, The Rand Corporation estimated we’d save 15 times the investment, if we focused on treatment rather than building more prisons. If we stop the scourge of abuse from destroying our at-risk youth, instead of maladjusted career criminals who are costly liabilities to us all, these people would be happy, well-adjusted, tax-paying citizens. We need to fight for the money that we will save and reinvest it in the campaign against abuse.
In opening this new front against this enemy of us all, we need to approach people of power and influence in our great state. If they see that we represent our community, maybe they will give us enough time to hear what we have to say. If they see how important our endeavor is, maybe we would get their support. We need to approach Hollywood Celebrities and see if anyone there understands how important this is. Important people in high places would see not only that terrible suffering would be alleviated, but that great amounts of money could be saved. To guarantee those children the rights we all enjoy is only American.
There are other important people on our community. They may not be rich and famous, but if they saw the value of our efforts, they too would be willing to lend us their support. Maybe they would only be willing to vote in initiatives we need to get this thing done. But they might see the greatness of this thing we would do, and want to be a part of it. There are many out there who would believe in saving children from child abuse.
The reason I urge such a strong public relations campaign is this: we cannot fail in this endeavor.
I have another article from a newspaper from August of 1998 that says, “Reports of child abuse nationally rose 41 percent between 1988 and 1997…” A different article from January 2003 said, “The number of kids…(who were abused) increased 67 percent from 1997 to 2001.” If we combine the statistics above, we’re looking at an increase of 108 percent! That’s in only 14 years.
I’ve read quotes where the chief of police said that the problem was beyond the police. A leader of a coalition of churches—hundreds strong—said the problem was beyond them too. A prominent social worker, with decades of service in the field, recently said that nothing else has worked.
Children aren’t born monsters—they’re made into monsters.
With the screening program, we will seek out the child who will someday end up in prison, or in a mental institution, and stop the terrible abuse they are suffering.
I know you would help the children if you could, good reader. Now you can. You only have to lift a finger and contact your local newspaper and express your interest. Let them know you'd like to read more about these children who are being screened. Don't let yourself be guilty of indifference. Lend a finger and call, write, or email.
Point of View in the Sun Telegram
Child Abuse can Harm Victims From Cradle to the Grave Child
The children portrayed in The Sun's series, "Teens Who Kill," by Chris T. Nguyen and Felisa Cardona (Dec. 8-14, 2002), all suffered child abuse.
Few understand how really horrible child abuse is. Babies aren't born serial killers.
These victims of abuse drag through life with a wound that will not heal.
With more than a quarter century of experience working with the mentally ill at Patton State Hospital, I can vouch for what I say. The devastation caused by child abuse is an important factor in the mental illness of patients.
Imagine the things on a bad day, you might say or do, that you later would regret. Now, multiply that pain by tens, hundreds or thousands.
That's how they feel, day by day.
The numbers of abused children are growing at an alarming rate.
According to The Sun's series, "Reports of child abuse rose nationally rose 41 percent between 1988 and 1997," and "The number of kids booked increased 67 percent from 1997 to 2001."
To quote The Sun, "Perhaps the saddest fact about child abuse is that it shows no sign of abating. It continues to grow, almost by the day."
We're losing the fight against child abuse, and it's expensive.
"There would be 'huge savings,' if the county could reduce the inmate population by just 5 percent." Most of the inmates in jails and prisons have been abused. "The history of youth violence is that 'they tend to stay within the criminal justice system' for two or three decades."
Abuse victims "are more likely to commit crimes, abuse their won children, have psychological problems, abuse alcohol and drugs and be unemployed." I have adult clients who still are dealing with the abuse that occurred early in their lives.
Instead of striding purposefully toward our destiny, the human race drags a broken and useless leg and must support a terrible wound.
The problem is beyond the clergy, police and professionals. They want us to be involved.
In response to The Sun's series, one professional said, "This problem goes beyond the church and what the churches are able to do. It's a mission for the whole community to embrace."
Another commented, "It's not just a police role. It's a society role."
As the saying goes, "Evil prevails, because good men do nothing."
This is where the social workers, the police and the clergy have reached a dead end. To get beyond this barrier requires public relations. In-depth, comprehensive stories about abuse need to be kept in the news.
All quotations above are from The Sun's series, "Teens Who Kill."
Response from US Representative Jerry Lewis
Congress of the United States
House of Representatives
Washington DC 20515-0541
February 11, 2004
Mr. Stephen R. Park
1626 James Ct
Redlands, California 92374
Dear Mr. Park:
Thank you for contacting me to share your thoughts on the San Bernardino Sun’s series “Lost Among Us.” It is good to hear from you.
The Positive feedback has been overwhelming. Your support in this endeavor to change the way our nation treats the mentally ill is very meaningful. I have begun to share this series with my colleagues, and I am pleased by the response. I appreciate that you included a copy of your guest opinion piece, and I will include it in the group of articles I am circulating. I will be certain to keep you informed of our progress as Congress begins a dialogue on the best way to assist those suffering from mental illness and those individuals’ families.
Again, thanks for your input. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future on this or any other issue of concern to you.
Member of Congress
Printed in The Voice of the People
The Sun Telegram
399 N. D St.
San Bernardino, Ca. 92401
Effects of Abuse
I want to commend Madison Lawrence for being a responsible person who took the time to thank the Firefighters, Search and Rescue, CHP, SCE, Forestry Service, Red Cross, and sheriff’s deputies. (“Third-grader’s thanks,” Dec.10)
I can understand how you were afraid of the fire, and how it made you mad and sad. You said, “How could a person purposely set a dangerous wildfire?”
Normal people don’t set fires. The people who set these fires are not well in the mind. Statistics indicate they were almost certainly abused as children. Because no one helped them when they were little, it made them into monsters who start fires—fires that burn thousands of acres of wilderness, kill defenseless, wild animals, burn hundreds of homes, and kill people.
Maybe there are children in your class who are alone, afraid, and being abused. If you see a child alone, be their friend. If you find out they are being abused, report it to your parents, your teacher, your church, or any responsible adult. Maybe you can make a difference in their lives and they will have help in this terrible time of their lives.
Because of the fires these sick people set, we were all made victims of their childhood abuse.
Double-click to edit text, or drag to move.
Darkness and Despair
Working for the California Department of Mental Health
The Good Boy
Published by The Evening Street Press
In over a quarter of a century working for the California Department of Mental Health, I’ve worked with every designation of Developmentally Disabled patients. I’ve also worked with LPS--or Mentally Ill patients, and Penal Code patients--commonly called the Criminally Insane.
This story happened with Medium Functioning Developmentally Disabled patients.
I’d just come to work. On entering the office filled with employees, the quiet was striking. The first person I saw was Mr. Marks, our Unit Supervisor. My shift supervisor, Joe, usually greeted me with a smile. Not today. I was worried. I hoped that no one had gotten hurt.
Mr. Marks glanced around the office and said, “It’s time for shift change, people.” He shuffled some papers. “I had a visit from one of the administrators up on mahogany row today, and it wasn’t a pleasant one.”
That got everyone’s attention. A reprimand from one of the upper level superintendents could end Mr. Marks career, if it ended up in his personnel file.
“It seems someone went up to the school and…”
“I know what this is all about.” Vivian interrupted abruptly. “It was me.”
Mr. Marks tilted his head down and looked over his glasses at Vivian. “Yeah, and you read one of the teachers the riot act.”
Vivian was a good looking woman who had aged well. Even in her middle sixties, she was nice looking. Eyes glittering like hard diamonds, she snorted in derision. “After I picked at him, I got Jimmy to talk. It was Ted who told him that he was retarded.” She looked defiant. “That dumb ass could have been a little more…considerate.”
Mr. Marks sighed deeply. “I have a note from Ted. He said that he was following protocol and presenting reality…”
“Reality my ass!” Vivian snapped. “Ted didn’t have to say that. If he isn’t careful he just might say the wrong thing some day and end up hurt.”
Mr. Marks said, “He grumbled to his supervisor, who bypassed our program office and complained to the administration building. This could cost me.”
Vivian glanced down, took a breath, and said, “I’m sorry, Robert. You know I’m past retirement age.” She brushed back her short wavy hair and added, “I don’t know why I keep hanging around this place, but if you want me to go…”
“No, no, I don’t want that.” Mr. Marks said. “Just, please, don’t go storming up the hill like an angry whirlwind--dressing down their teachers.”
“All right, all right.” Vivian said. “I’ll stay away from Mr. Ted. But could you please let them know over at the school what a careless word could mean to a young boy like Jimmy?”
Mr. Marks looked closely at Vivian. “From what I’ve heard, Ted has been told.” He looked around the room. “I think he’s heard from just about everybody. I’m hoping he’s learned his lesson.”
Shift change went smoothly from there on. Mr. Marks went through the roll call board, patient by patient. The only patient with a problem was Rory. Rory had been kept at home until his aged mother couldn’t take care of him anymore. He wasn’t a violent patient, but he would sometimes curse the older employees.
“Oh, by the way, Joe,” Mr. Marks said. “we’re getting a new patient this afternoon from Ward B. I hear he’s a pistol, so be careful.”
Though he wasn’t tall, Joe was a big man. Face impassive, he nodded once and said, “What have you heard about him?”
Mr. Marks said, “Autistic, the family’s youngest child, raised at home.”
Joe nodded. “By a loving family.”
Mr. Marks continued, “Yeah, by his parents. He started getting a little wild at home when things didn’t go his way. After several visits by the police, and a few trips to Ward B, they think he might be better off here. Let’s hope his first stay with us works out for them.”
“Yeah.” Joe added. “And they can visit him any time they want.” With that, shift change ended.
Later, I accompanied Vivian into one of our dorms. It was linen day, and we were making beds. I saw that Vivian was angry. I was grateful that she kept it to herself. We’d worked our way through half of the beds when Rory came into plop down on his newly made bed.
“Vivian, you’re a bitch.” Rory said. Head bobbing in a strange way, he stared intently at her. Vivian was experienced and didn’t let patients get to her.
“Oh my God.” Vivian said. She looked at Rory with an injured look on her face.
Rory smiled a wicked, satisfied grin. “I hate you, Vivian.”
“Oh, God no.” Vivian said. Mollified, Rory wouldn’t take it to the next level. We finished the rest of the beds without incident. Rory sat on his bed, smiling a satisfied smile.
Later, Joe found Vivian and I in the clothing room. Even though Bobby Joe would destroy the clothing room later, we still folded and sorted everything. Joe asked me to help him admit the new patient.
We were met at the double doors to the unit by administration staff. They were big men, and I could see why. The new patient was stout, and muscled. He glowered back and forth between the administration staff, and Joe and I.
The administration employees handed Joe a stack of paperwork, including the patient’s chart, and left us.
Joe looked at the chart, then over at the patient. “Your name is Michael, huh?”
“Ye, yes,” the patient said. He had a peculiar way of nodding his head when he a hard time getting a word out.
“Well, come with us to take a shower.”
“But I al,” nod, “already took a shower.” They gave new patients a shower at admissions.
“We have to check you to make sure no one beat you up.”
“No one bea,” nod, “beat me up.” Michael said with a smile.
Joe stepped close to Michael. “We have to check, so come along. You don’t have to take a shower. We’ll give you a change of clothes.”
“O,” nod, “Okay.”
While changing clothes, I looked over at Joe and said, “He doesn’t have a mark, scar, or tattoo.” Joe jotted down a note. I continued, “There must be some sort of mistake, Joe. Our unit is for bad boys. Look how good Michael is. If he’s a good boy, we’ll have to send him home.”
A light came on in Michael’s eyes and he took a pose, hands hanging down in front of him like a puppy sitting up on his haunches. “I’m a good boy.”
So began Michael’s struggle to control his anger. Time after time, he’d ask to go home to, “Be, be with daddy.” When told no, he’d struggle to be a good boy and hold back his anger. When we’d have dinner, he’d ask if we were going to have pie for dessert. When he was told not tonight, he’d get angry again and stumble away, trying to be a good boy. Then he started a new tactic.
When denied what he wanted, Michael would run into the bathroom and scream. After staff rushed to see if he was hurt, Michael would smile politely and say no. Days turned into weeks, then months. Michael did his best to control his anger. Screaming in the bathroom became more commonplace, which upset the other patients. We had to take him to the unlocked timeout room, where we watched him through a small window in the door.
I tried another tactic when Michael’s anger got beyond his control. “I want to teach you a new thing that might help you, Michael. Say what I say, okay?”
Eyes glowering in anger, breathing heavily with pent up emotion, Michael breathed out, “Okay.”
“Can, can’t always…”
“I want.” When I said those last two words, Michael screamed and dashed away. He ran the length of the hallway, almost a hundred yards, then turned around and sprinted back. With Ricky Lou in the hallway, I was worried that he might run him over. But Michael went around him like a linebacker. Joe came out to stand beside me.
“Man, he’s fast!” Joe said.
“Agile too,” I added.
After several laps, and he began to slow down, we stepped in his way and stop him. I said, “I thought you were a good boy!”
Chest heaving with exertion and anger, Michael said, “Shut up or I’ll hit you with fist, you bitch!”
Displaying shock on my face, I spun to Joe and exclaimed, “Oh my God. Did you hear that Joe? He called me a bitch! A bitch!” Joe nodded like a good straight-man. Michael glowered at me with satisfaction.
From then on, whenever he got angry, Michael would run. When he was really mad, he’d use the ‘B’ word.