Tag Archives: rape

In Sheep’s Clothing: Using Religion to Camouflage Pain

Occasionally, a newspaper report comes out that is so horrifying, so disruptive of inner peace, that it demands re-posting. The front-page New York Times report today on the sexual enslavement of women and girls by the group calling themselves ISIS is one such journalistic event.

Here is the link. Please read it all, even if you have to take breaks in between paragraphs.

Note that the men in this so-called holy group are equal opportunity torturers (yes, rape is torture). As this 2014 Wall Street Journal report shows, they rape and mutilate (FGM is mutilation) at will.

It is the creation of rape and enslavement as a business supposedly underpinned by God that is detailed in the Times report. A few quotes for those who haven’t the stomach to read the whole article:

–“In the moments before he raped the 12-year-old girl, the Islamic State fighter took the time to explain that what he was about to do was not a sin. Because the preteen girl practiced a religion other than Islam, the Quran not only gave him the right to rape her — it condoned and encouraged it, he insisted.

“He bound her hands and gagged her. Then he knelt beside the bed and prostrated himself in prayer before getting on top of her.

“When it was over, he knelt to pray again, bookending the rape with acts of religious devotion.

“’I kept telling him it hurts — please stop,’” said the girl, whose body is so small an adult could circle her waist with two hands. “’He told me that according to Islam he is allowed to rape an unbeliever. He said that by raping me, he is drawing closer to God,’” she said in an interview alongside her family in a refugee camp here, to which she escaped after 11 months of captivity.

–“ A growing body of internal policy memos and theological discussions has established guidelines for slavery, including a lengthy how-to manual issued by the Islamic State Research and Fatwa Department just last month. Repeatedly, the ISIS leadership has emphasized a narrow and selective reading of the Quran and other religious rulings to not only justify violence, but also to elevate and celebrate each sexual assault as spiritually beneficial, even virtuous.”

–“[The girls and women] would be held in confinement, some for days, some for months. Then, inevitably, they were loaded into the same fleet of buses again before being sent in smaller groups to Syria or to other locations inside Iraq, where they were bought and sold for sex.

“It was 100 percent preplanned,” said Khider Domle, a Yazidi community activist who maintains a detailed database of the victims. “I spoke by telephone to the first family who arrived at the Directory of Youth in Mosul, and the hall was already prepared for them. They had mattresses, plates and utensils, food and water for hundreds of people.”

— “In a pamphlet published online in December, the Research and Fatwa Department of the Islamic State detailed best practices, including explaining that slaves belong to the estate of the fighter who bought them and therefore can be willed to another man and disposed of just like any other property after his death.

“Recent escapees describe an intricate bureaucracy surrounding their captivity, with their status as a slave registered in a contract. When their owner would sell them to another buyer, a new contract would be drafted, like transferring a property deed.”

— [From the verified account of a woman also kidnapped and raped]: “’He destroyed her body. She was badly infected. The fighter kept coming and asking me, ‘Why does she smell so bad?’ And I said, she has an infection on the inside, you need to take care of her,’” the woman said.

“Unmoved, he ignored the girl’s agony, continuing the ritual of praying before and after raping the child.

“I said to him, ‘She’s just a little girl,’” the older woman recalled. “And he answered: ‘No. She’s not a little girl. She’s a slave. And she knows exactly how to have sex. And having sex with her pleases God.’”

Regardless of our own political affiliation, regardless of our own gender, our own history or religion, surely we can see what these men are. They’re Nazis, dressed up in robes. They use religion as Hitler and Goebbels used political division and the power to destroy. They’re wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing, bleating how they’re doing the will of God, purifying the race, blah blah blah, whatever is the slogan du jour.

It’s not enough to tear off the sheepskins they hide under.

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Pro-Rape T-Shirt? Clearly, The Wearer Has Never Been Raped

Clearly delusional. And inexperienced as a potential victim.

All sorts of kudos to the people who outed the nasty perv above on social media. No name yet – a matter of hours, presumably – but a cascade of comments on the cruelty shown by the wearer of the t-shirt have erupted on social media.

Designed after similar others (another famous shirt bears the slogan “Eat Sleep Juventus Repeat” – Juventus is a professional football club/soccer team based in Turin, Italy) in what I hope is a one-off, self-created shirt, the tee took ignorance and spiteful brutality and put them on display at the well-attended Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in desert California.

It seems hardly necessary to add that – well, taking a wild guess, I’m betting the designer/wearer of this obnoxious shirt has never been raped himself.

Nor should he be. Though others might applaud the educational value of becoming the victim instead of the perp, rape should not be used as a punishment for sex crimes. An eye for an eye has never been more wrong.

Is wearing the shirt a sex crime? As an incitement to sexual assault, sure. There’s also willful negligence and perhaps a sort of group libel.

Just to demonstrate how tough it can be for survivors of sexual assault to take the initiative and report what happened to them, take a look at this English video. Filmed in the Tube, it shows the varying sex assaults common on public transportation (one reason for “women only” train carriages in India and other nations). The filmmaker falls down only in showing the same two people repeatedly. Woman of color, well-dressed white man. The producers should have shown other combinations, since white men are not the only scuzzy Tube-riders.

Then there’s this delightful fellow, an architect who while raping a woman he had met on a blind date, told her that “girls say ‘no’ but they don’t mean it”. Poor women, saying words without realizing their true significance. How kind of him to tell us what we mean. That no means yes, the sky is yellow, and other falsehoods.

When it comes to self-control, then, some men (T-shirt guy, dude on the Tube, deluded architect) are permanently out to lunch. Yet current research indicates that self-control is one of the most essential traits parents can teach their children. Without it, they are at the mercy of emotions. Also, as they age, of error-ridden thoughts like “rape is minor” or “I’m entitled to touch another person without permission” or “people who try to stop me don’t really mean it”.

In all the above offenses there is a distinct lack of good cognitive thought. Of sufficient judgment. Of self-restraint.

Let’s hope the t-shirt wearer is soon found, named and shamed. He cannot learn any younger.

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Can Sexual Violence Be Blamed on Genes?

I’m not sure if this is good news except from a scientist’s perspective. Recently, genetic studies in Sweden demonstrated that the propensity to rape is up to five times higher if a man’s brother or father has been convicted of rape.

Because Sweden keeps meticulous records, researchers were able to determine – by comparing half-brothers of different mothers, who generally do not reside together – that up to 40% of the propensity to rape is due to genetic factors. The majority (60%) of the propensity to rape is thus cultural, including a sense of overweening entitlement.

From the article in The Independent: “Scientists said the findings should not be used to excuse sex offending, to restrict the freedom of the male relatives of sex offenders, or to suggest that there are genes for rape or paedophilia. However, they believe the results could lead to better prevention strategies for the sons or brothers of known sex offenders.”

“. . . although sex crime convictions are relatively few overall, our study shows that the family risk increase is substantial. Preventive treatment for families at risk could possibly reduce the number of future victims,” Professor Niklas Langstrom said.

Brave words.

Meanwhile, not only does at least 60% of the propensity to rape derive from cultural factors, we already know what some of those factors are. In a United Nations survey of men in ten Asian countries (not including India), men commonly gave three excuses for why they forced sex on someone who did not want it: boredom, a craving for “excitement” and a sense that they were entitled to force their way into someone else’s body.

Boredom, a search for titillation, entitlement. An unholy trinity, indeed. Add to that the wish to control and humiliate. Though the survey respondents declined to describe themselves that way. Presumably the words cut too close to the bone.

That is where the real work lies, in changing abhorrent cultural attitudes found around the world. There is no difference between a rapist in rural China and one in the US military stationed in New York – except that one wears a uniform and speaks English. Their societies must challenge their views on sexual violence against women, children and men.

There is clearly a role for law enforcement and the courts, as well. The millions of American rape kits languishing on the shelves of police forces nationwide have to be examined. In all countries, law enforcement has to gear up to enforce, well, the laws against rape and sexual violence.

Here’s what can happen when the person in charge declines to take charge: a $3.5 million dollar settlement of a lawsuit. The Arizona sheriff failed to adequately investigate the rape of a 13-year-old. The rapist then struck again, attacking the same child. Now the county must pay up.

It’s a lot less expensive to do the job right the first time. Less painful, less traumatic.

Meanwhile, I look forward to new methods of preventing rape. First, by addressing cultural attitudes. Next, by focusing on genetic profiles, so that boys at risk of becoming rapists are redirected and taught to channel their energies elsewhere.

Finally, we need to learn how to heal the human brain. Genetic markers identified, fine. But those markers do not just sit there in the genome. They affect the brain. In order to neutralize the genes’ influence, we must be able to counter them. Interventions help. Healing the brain – fifty years from now, people will marvel at our current inability to do so – is the only sure way to stop rapists.

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Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Jihadi Brides

Female recruits for the so-called Islamic State

One might think that running away from caring families — from a society where a teenager’s main burdens are reaching school on time and studying for exams — in order to join a desert army of thugs, would be a no-brainer. Of course you’d stay. Duh.

Unfortunately, a number of European teens disagree. They have slipped through the departures net (the UK does not check passports upon departure, just on entrance), often using siblings’ documentation, with enough money – three girls traveling together had stolen and sold their mothers’ jewelry to finance their flight tickets – to make it to Turkey. Once on the ground, they are met by people they’ve been in contact with through their mobile phones. Supplied and paid for by parents, naturally.

Those new friends “guide” them to Syria to join the caliphate. The same way as, in Greek mythology, Charon the ferryman guided the souls of the newly dead across the River Styx.

The IS propaganda machine has cranked up – aided by the estimated $2 billion it acquires every year, much of it by selling people into slavery.

Here is an example of presenting IS as utopia. Five-star lifestyles, children who brandish automatic weapons, so cute! Note that the abaya– and niqab-wearing people are assumed to be female. In reality, they could be small men. No one would know.

The adolescent Western recruits see mobile screens filled with “IS rules!” and “Join the jihad!” weapon-bearing men. And with photos of buff young jihadis, often from a different ethnicity than theirs. Whom, they are assured, will make devoted husbands or colleagues.

Excitement, religious fervor, escape from hovering parents – what could go wrong?

Well, this, for a start. It’s the story of how British schoolgirls are married to IS jihadis – for a week. Then they are sold to another to be “married” for another week. And so on. It’s basically rape for seven days by one man, then a week of rape by another, and another, etcetera. It’s an abuse of the Muslim practice of temporary marriage, Nikah mut’ah – the Quran allows temporary marriage, but the “bride” is supposed to be off-limits afterwards (an abstinence called iddah) so that if she is pregnant, paternity can be determined.

Clearly, if girls are being passed around, the so-called caliphate warriors are breaking their own religious laws. In addition to inflicting pain and terror and pregnancy – itself risky as hell for teens – on adolescents who, two weeks ago, were watching TV with their families. The status of sexual slave was, after all, not what they signed up for. But assuming you can enter jihadi territory and emerge unscathed is like pretending a beer drinker wearing a yellow star in 1944 could stroll into a bar full of storm-troopers and befriend them.

Predators don’t work that way. No matter what they call themselves.

In response to the flow of schoolchildren leaving home, the UK government has removed the passports of girls who have demonstrated interest in traveling to Syria. As this article explains, the passports of some of the parents were taken, as well, when they failed to cooperate with those trying to protect their daughters from a fate worse than death.

Yet it’s not just adolescents, their brains still under construction, acting delusional. Nine British citizens of Sudanese descent – four women and five men studying at a medical school in Khartoum – have vanished on their mercy trip to treat wounded people in Syria. Why enter that country? Hordes of needy Syrians populate the refugee camps of Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Presumably, these doctors-in-training wanted to aid the jihad.

In Syria, the male medical workers will be co-opted either as IS medics (often forced to collect blood from sick civilians to fill the veins of wounded jihadis) or as soldiers just as likely to commit murder as the next man. The female med students will be raped and handed round, with or without “marriage”, since as women they are not allowed to treat wounded men – and the needs of sick civilian women and children are low on the IS list.

When some of your best and brightest buy into the 1930s-style claptrap peddled by IS, and when your minors sneak off with dreams of victory and loving marriages – only to be horribly deceived and entrapped – you must take measures to reinstitute sanity. For too long, multiculturalism has waved its own flag, and British police and government agencies have kowtowed for fear of looking racist (note that race and cultural identity are two very different things). Which provides an enormous loophole for people looking to deceive and abuse the vulnerable.

The UK is stirring. A recent op-ed piece by a Muslim woman called veil-wearing “regressive”. Theresa May, the UK home secretary, has declared an end to “tolerating the promotion of sickening and violent ideologies for Islamists and other fanatics” and has called for the “proud promotion of British values” to be at the core of the drive against extremism and terrorism. She also will ban radical preachers and organizations from speaking at schools, which have been fertile places to initiate jihadist recruitment that continues online.

Back in the 1930s, the saying goes, there were two kinds of non-Aryan people in Germany: optimists and pessimists. The pessimists took what they could and moved as far away as possible. The optimists stayed and were killed.

No one was stopping Hitler. No one countered Nazi lies. If Twitter had existed, maybe he would have been undermined earlier.

IS is the new Reich. The time is now to save children from being caught in its devouring jaws.

Mothers, put your children’s passports in storage. At a bank, at a neighbor’s – better still, the home of a non-Muslim neighbor. Start monitoring their mobile use (or simply take the mobile away – yes, they’ll scream, but better their scream at your heavy-handedness than your shrieks of sorrow knowing they are forever lost). Who are they talking to? Who is advertising to them? Do the same thing with their computer use. Find out what their friends are doing and saying. Ask their schools to keep a watchful eye. Put your jewelry in safe storage. Don’t keep large amounts of cash in the house. You may think it’s hidden, but a determined adolescent will find it.

Most importantly, talk to your children. Explain bait-and-switch. Tell them how predators lie and cheat and steal. Explore the similarities between World War II Nazis and the current Islamic State. Educate them, for their own sakes. Just because terrorists call themselves Muslim doesn’t mean they are. They’re wolves draping themselves in the skins of “we’re just like you only more holy”.

Mammas, keep your kids from joining up with the thugs. They will thank you later. They will be alive to thank you.

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Stop Assuming They Think Like Adults

A recent fight within the UK and between that nation and Turkey – a country that seeks admittance to the EU, even though only the small portion of it actually belongs in Europe; the majority is in Asia – has to do with teenage girls from Muslim families. Three of them left the UK the other day. The eldest had stolen her older sister’s passport. The UK does not keep track of who leaves the country. Although the rules state that minors may leave only when accompanied by a parent, the girls (one aged 16, the other two 15) were able to fly to Turkey all by themselves.

Why were they going? To cross Turkey into Syria, there to become the latest in a series of adolescent girls scammed and persuaded to become “jihadi brides”.

It appears now that they have entered Syria, despite their parents’ pleas and the Foreign Service tracking. Turkey, blamed for facilitating both female and male Isis devotees’ border crossing, has in turn become rather stroppy itself, complaining that the UK lost three days in informing Turkish officials of the girls’ intention.

Even the girls’ school has had to defend itself from finger-pointing, noting that it does not permit extremist doctrines and strives to teach its students to accept others. The three girls, it says, were not radicalized on its grounds.

That’s probably true. There are too many places online to read radical Islamist philosophy – who needs a brick-and-mortar school?

The parents, rather than accepting responsibility for teaching their daughters that what Muslim men want is more important than the desires of Muslim women, wants the UK to keep track of exits as well as entries. Not a bad idea.

The girls’ aim is to marry terrorists and murderers. Not the actions of sane, healthy women. And even Isis points out that jihadi brides must prepare to be jihadi widows – which means they will in turn be traded off, potentially sold into sexual enslavement, and almost certainly will die (of beatings, suicide, complications of pregnancy and childbirth) in Syria, probably within five years. The parents will never see their daughters again.

There may be good reasons for keeping them from the UK, as escapees from Isis have been indoctrinated in terrorism. Even when their primary role has been support and childbearing, creating more children to be molded into mini-terrorists.

But now comes the argument in The Guardian that the UK should let its adolescents leave because, well, look, they’ve made their decisions. Let them lie in it. Don’t stop them, even if they’re under 18 years old and legally minors to be protected. We’re better off without them. They want to support brutal and murderous regimes? Fine. They’re old enough to know better.

Except they’re not.

What that Guardian writer fails to understand is that although adolescents may look mature, inside they’re still growing. They certainly aren’t mature when it comes to childbearing, which is hugely more risky for teenagers than for women over 20. Even sex is risky, since their bodies have not finished developing. An immature vagina should not be entered by anyone’s engorged penis, including that of a jihadi “husband”.

And we have evidence that inside these girls’ brains, there is a whole lot of re-assembly going on. Dr. Jay Giedd of the US National Institutes of Health, among others, is engaged in longitudinal research on brain development. What he has found through fMRI examination of healthy people is that teenagers’ brains are entirely different from those of adults. The area really should be cordoned off with “Caution: Undergoing Construction” tape. Teens literally cannot think the way grown-ups do, and it’s wrong to blame them when they don’t.

As Giedd has said, “It’s sort of unfair to expect them to have adult levels of organizational skills or decision-making before their brains are finished being built.” Meaning, just because a brain has acquired adult size in terms of its weight does not mean it’s ready for full and complete use. That’s like saying a house that’s just been put under roof — meaning the slates or shingles are attached – is ready to be moved into. Wait a minute. What about walls? Plumbing? Electrical wiring, floor finishes, paint, all the other things we expect of a house? Not there! Well, it’s not freakin’ done, then, is it. Back to work!

No one in their right mind leaves to support Isis. We don’t see long lines of mature women ready to give up their freedom and families, do we? These girls are just the latest in a series from different Western countries who have been groomed and seduced online, who wish to exchange a fairly restrictive family existence for an entirely restrictive and ultimately painful and fatal one, while imagining they are more holy for doing what terrorists bid them do.

Prime Minister David Cameron has urged that more attention be paid to online radicalization by people promoting the “poisonous ideology” of terrorism, and Europol is enhancing cooperation among agencies to connect the dots between extremist recruiters and those who finance their activities.

Families need to make their children’s passports unobtainable. In a deposit box or held by a non-Muslim friend or colleague. In addition, they must have serious chats with their children in order to teach them of the risks of extremism. Also, the UK ought to be keeping track of the people who leave its shores, especially where they look young.

Because kids and adolescents do not, cannot, think like adults.

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You Don’t Know Jack About Isis

Their flag flying over . . . where?

Whatever it’s called – Isis, Isil, Islamic State – the men running this campaign of brutality are, according to them, reestablishing a caliphate that went out of business hundreds of years ago. They allege they follow the rules of Islam. Thus any apostates they capture deserve only the worst: beheading, burning alive, torture, sale as sexual slaves, forced “marriages” and resale to the highest bidder – sexual torture, in other words.

We’ve seen the reports. Hopefully have not watched the videos, since the mind cannot blank those images.

Just in case you’ve actually believed the spin, remember that every single week we find out more about the atrocities these men commit.

And how some non-Muslim people in the West are aiding them with money.

The Isis men started out making money through ransom paid for captives. They moved on to oil – smuggled and sold. And drugs. A great deal of heroin from Afghanistan is funneled through Isis coffers. Every heroin addict is financing brutality against innocent people.

Now it’s selling on the loot they retrieve from the Christian and Muslim buildings they tear down. The teardowns are carefully orchestrated. A man who knows antiquities and their value first organizes the removal of valuable artifacts. Only then is the building demolished. The treasures are sorted, catalogued, and offered for sale through intermediaries. Often, their buyers are wealthy collectors in Europe and the Americas. People who persuade themselves they’re saving irreplaceable artifacts are in fact helping Isis torture progress through the Middle East and now in North Africa. In Libya, they close in on Europe with plans to invade across the Mediterranean.

Crete is only 200 sea miles away. If Isis were to reach the northernmost part of Tunisia, Sicily is a hop of less than 100 miles.

The European buyers of looted artifacts are essentially financing threats to other Europeans.

The sale of antiquities is “clean”. A distinct contrast to the blood and pain that accompanies another new method of getting money: harvesting organs from captured, living people.

According to the Express, “Some 10,000 black market operations involving human organs take place each year across the globe – more than one an hour. Desperate patients will pay gangs more than $200,000 (nearly £128,000) for a kidney, WHO concluded.” This is especially true in nations like China where organ donation is uncommon.

The victims are not donors. They do not give consent. They are simply drugged, pushed into surgery, and slashed. Some do not survive. They are not meant to survive.

Unlike the novel and film Never Let Me Go – where children are brought up in a dystopian future as intended shells for their genetically matched organs, taken one by one – Isis demands money now. Now, now, now. Doctors who refuse to commit these crimes are themselves murdered.

This is brutality with no religious stamp.

Captured Isis fighters have indicated they were drugged with cocaine and hallucinogenics in order to fling themselves into battle without a care. That may be true.

What is also true is that after battle, the men of Isis stoke themselves up to brutalize women and children. This is the fate worse than death, being abused by a “husband” or captor high on liquor and Viagra. Who sees a frightened girl (as young as eight years old, according to escaped women) as someone to attack over and over. The brutality of their assaults has been viewed by doctors. Wounds, torn tissues, fistulas (which can be repaired only through surgery – denied under Isis, of course), unbearable pain.

This is Islamic behavior? No.

When an Isis man tires of his “bride”, he simply sells her on to another man. While girls and women cower, fearing the next man will be even more brutal. Suicides among captured girls and women are common. In killing themselves, they avoid beatings, torture, rape and sexual trafficking. The selling of sexual slaves is not just among Isis men, but also to local businessmen.

The girls who left European families to join jihad, like these, find they are not given the glorified role they assumed. They are quickly forced to marry, often become pregnant (with all the attendant risks for teenagers), and are cast aside. Even their Facebook accounts are hijacked. They disappear and may by now be dead. Or the punching bag for another man.

Meanwhile, very few escape Isis. Those who are caught are murdered. The traumatized few who make it to safety bear witness. We know very little about the brutal men who drive stolen trucks through Muslim-majority countries. That they resemble Nazis and the SS is patently true. Nazis with mobile phones and internet.

Imagine Hermann Goering or Reinhard Heydrich with modern technology. Gestapo men would have gotten their orders as they ran. The Holocaust machinery would have been assembled much more quickly. Millions would have died in a shorter time. Meanwhile, they would have been financed through sales of resources, smuggled drugs, snatched organs, stolen artifacts. (The Nazis did get money through many of those means, but in a slower time.)

In Isis, that’s what confronts the world.

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Conflict-Free Divorce Is Just As Damaging To Children As Conflictual Divorce? Really? And Is It More Damaging Than Living In A Home With Both Parents But Filled With Conflict, Rape, Abuse . . .?

A child’s brain

 

A recent article suggests that what used to be called “European divorces” – where the parents act civilized and put their children’s needs first and foremost – is just as damaging to kids as conflict-driven divorce.

 

Ha. Ha. Ha.

 

When my eldest daughter was a college first-year, early on in the fall semester she and her hallmates engaged in a meet-up moment in the dorm, trading histories in a circle with coffee. Many of them had divorced parents. Lots of those parents had handled the circumstances badly, despite their educations (high) and wealth (ditto). The girls spilled tales of nastiness, verbal abuse, can’t-be-in-the-same-auditorium-together and vengeful holidays.

 

When my daughter’s turn came, she hesitated, then told of her parents: how they not only attended her sports events but actually sat together; how holidays were conflict-free; how they worked hard to make sure the children whose lives they had disturbed experienced as little pain as possible.

 

Wow, said her listeners. We would give anything if our parents would act like that.

 

In my work as a mediator, I’ve seen too many divorcing parents who are at each other’s throats, with – as we examine the effect – surprise that their children are hurt by their immaturity. Sometimes one ends up murdering the other – and/or the children, too.

 

I’ve also seen collaborative parents whose older children actually tell them how pleased they are to be living with less furor than their peers.

 

Case closed.

 

Yet there’s another aspect of this: Even if conflict-free divorce were hard on children, would it be harder or more dangerous than life for children where both parents stay married to each other, but where the family home is rife with conflict, abuse, assault and rape?

 

That cannot be. Because living in those homes is terrible for kids. Sir Patrick Stewart, now age 74, still recoils from memories of his father’s physical rages against his mother, beatings that local police did nothing to help, for which local ambulance staff even blamed the victim.

 

Because Ray Rice is in the news, let’s think for a moment of his little daughter’s experience of life. So far, her parents have been in conflict. There’s been verbal abuse. There’s also been horrifying physical violence perpetrated by her father. Since it was clear from Rice’s behavior on that dreadful video that it was not the first time he had punched the mother of his child, chances are that their toddler, Rayven, has already witnessed violence.

 

Every act of violence, every word of conflict, acts on children’s minds just like a drug does. Agitation and fear wash through them, setting up a cascade of neurochemicals that have the power to change circuitry. It alters their brains.

 

If the abuse is directed at them – physical abuse like that suffered by Adrian Peterson’s little four-year-old son, whom the football player (6-foot-1 and 217 pounds) assaulted with a whip-like branch; rape and sexual assault; the daily slaps common in some cultures – children’s brains receive an even greater neurochemical flood. Now the brain itself is under attack. The changes in it may never recede. It may be primed to run, to attack, to freeze, rather than rationally approach life. It is no longer a healthy brain. It is the damaged brain of a survivor. Just as a scar tells of a wound to the skin, a child’s behavior can reveal what she endured at the hands of people bigger than she.

 

So, is conflict-free divorce worse than that?

 

I don’t think so.

 

 

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