One extreme to the other

In the news is the terrible business of the poor little boy who was effectively killed by his mother and her partner.  A ghastly dreadful tragedy and everyone is scurrying around, trying to apportion blame, as they should, for the signs that those in authority should have acted upon.

Yet to me it doesn’t seem so very long ago that in Cleveland there were two hospital paediatricians who came to the absurd conclusion that literally hundreds of children within a small geographical area were being sexually abused by their own fathers.  Social services acted like Nazi stormtroopers.  Within hours they swooped on families, summarily took children into care and put the fathers in jail without even any kind of enquiry at all.  This caused many many marriages to break up, in some cases suicide of the fathers so accused and an unprecedented inquiry into why so many fathers were apparently sexually abusing their own children, all within one relatively small community.

The answer?  The doctors were judging that marks around the children’s anuses denoted sexual abuse.  Shortly afterwards, when sanity returned to the situation, other medical experts attested that these ‘marks of sexual abuse’ were equally likely to be caused by constipation, and various other natural causes and were not indicative of sexual abuse at all.

So a few years ago there were a couple of doctors who favoured their own flawed judgement over common sense.  Yet those misguided doctors had the power to have children taken into care and arrest fathers without any substantial evidence at all, within hours.

And yet nowadays it seems that a child can be beaten, starved and abused for years and if people in authority notice they don’t seem to be able to do anything about it.  A child is obviously starving, yet social workers don’t take the child into care.  Recently a child (who subsequently died of neglect and abuse) had a broken back and the hospital doctor didn’t even pick up on it.

Where is the logic in these two ridiculous extremes?  What has happened?

Where is the reasonable, sensible middle course, where children and families are protected by the laws of common decency, fair mindedness and logic?

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8 thoughts on “One extreme to the other

  1. I suspect much of it is because thick social workers with their stupid sociology degrees are people who’ve just learned it all from a book, and if they can’t see the textbook symptoms, they don’t tick the boxes. If they DO see the textbook symptoms, they do tick the boxes. Thick twats who can’t think for themselves, like so many people who’ve sat in an exam room and learned how to tick the right boxes, too, so they get a piece of paper saying they can do something.

    I have personal knowledge of one family who had their 3 children taken away because of suspected violent abuse. The children were born with brittle bone disease, which is why they had so many injuries. The courts have now ruled that they can have the children back, 10 years later. Now, the children do not know them. Their adoptive parents have become their mothers and fathers. An unsolvable mess.

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  2. Thanks for sharing this Geoff. It’s a subject I feel strongly about as a mother of two.

    It’s commonplace to blame social workers and doctors but I think that society as a whole bears some of the responsibility too. When I was a teenager we had a family living next door and there is no doubt that the children were neglected. The mother and father were never at home, often staying out all night and leaving the children with a series of babysitters who were no more than children themselves. There were many other signs, but I won’t go into all the details here. The point is that all the adults in the area just accepted that they were ‘a bad lot’ and I was too young and naïve to do anything about it myself.

    There are so many people these days who ignore the signs because they don’t want to get involved. I have to say that if I came across a similar situation these days I would definitely report it.

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  3. Geoff, it breaks my heart to hear about tragic cases of children being neglected, abused and abducted.

    Society has broken down in so many areas and many young parents are like children themselves who want to continue their partying lifestyles and the children suffer. I’ve even heard about women getting pregnant only so that they can get more welfare money! The bizarre notion is simply mindboggling. And not only do some social workers not make the connection of children being mistreated, but there have been law enforcement cases, one in particular in which the police were at the kidnapper’s house and never noticed what was in the backyard.

    Jaycee Dugard was kept locked away in a backyard compound of sheds and tarps by a couple who abducted her. She was 11 when abducted and 29 when finally rescued and only because a police officer noticed Philip Garrido (the kidnapper) acting strangely toward the girls on the UC Berkeley campus. A background check revealed that Garrido was on parole, and was a registered sex offender previously convicted of rape and kidnapping.

    A woman described being “freaked out” by Garrido and seeing his backyard compound. She said, “He had little girls and women living in that backyard, and they all looked kind of the same. They never talked, and they kept to themselves.” (Poor Jaycee had given birth to two girls, her abductors daughter’s during her horrific ordeal.)

    The fact that various acquaintances thought Garrido was crazy and actually saw Dugard and her daughters reveals how willing we sometimes are to ignore the strange behavior of others, and how this willingness can sometimes allow criminals to operate with impunity for years.

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    1. Hello Rose, that’s terrible I hadn’t heard of that case. Then of course there’s the case of the man Castro, that’s in the news now. As you say it breaks your heart to think that such things can happen in a civilised world.

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      1. Hi Geoff,
        Yes, Castro is the latest evil predator to be convicted. He received a life sentence plus 1,000 years without parole. He had the audacity to claim that sex between him and the girls was consensual! Those poor women, two of whom were children when he abducted them will have to live with the nightmare of their imprisonment and what they endured for the rest of their lives. Those horrid memories might one day fade, but never go away. My heart goes out to them.

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