It had never, in my most repulsive nightmares, occurred to me that my dad might have molested my brother. I believed their unfixable, codependent-isn’t-even-a-big-enough-word relationship was about addiction and guilt and mental illness and hubris and narcissism. No other explanation was needed. When I read Steve’s name on that list while standing in my study with the Russians at my feet, everything froze: the air, my blood, my breath, my brain. I felt it was true. I believed it was true. And I wasn’t even remotely ready for it to be true.-The Terrible Things I Learned About My Dad: On Abuse and the People We Love
"Re-homing" is the largely unregulated practice by which parents of adopted children in the U.S. hand over those children to new families, with little or no government oversight. While some states started cracking down last year, the issue has gained new attention with the story of Arkansas Representative Justin Harris and his wife. They adopted a pair of girls, 3 and 6, who proved more troublesome than they seemed. Harris and his wife gave the girls to a worker in the religious school he owned, who subsequently raped the 6-year-old. The girls' previous foster family has now raised questions about Harris' story. [Previously, a 2013 Reuters investigation: The Child Exchange - Inside America's underground market for adopted children] [more inside]
In the wake of accusations that Lena Dunham sexually abused her sister (who denies the allegations) The Daily Beast looks at Dunham as an icon of feminism and whether that role means she receives less criticism. [more inside]
[Trigger warning] 10 Things No One Ever Told You About Life After Sexual Abuse by Dr Nina Burrowes (Buzzfeed). Illustrations by Nina Burrowes, Katie Green, and Jade Sarson.
"The Justice Department estimates that more than 209,400 people are sexually abused in US detention every year… A great deal has been learned about this over the past few years. The [Prison Rape Elimination Act] legislation, which charged the [Bureau of Justice Statistics] with undertaking annual statistical analyses of the problem that have proved indispensable, also created a body called the Review Panel on Prison Rape.… A commission charged with issuing recommendations didn’t do so until six years after the bill’s passage; then Attorney General Eric Holder missed by nearly two years the statutory deadline for promulgating them. But the standards that Holder’s Department of Justice finally did issue are very strong."
Report finds Penn State president, Paterno concealed facts about Sandusky sex abuse: "Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and other university leaders 'repeatedly concealed critical facts' relating to assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky’s child sex abuse from authorities, according to Louis Freeh, the former FBI director who conducted an investigation [PDF] for the university in the Sandusky scandal." [more inside]
In July 2007, NPR published a two part series (direct links: 1, 2) about a four year old uninvestigated rape case at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Sparked in part by a 2006 report (pdf) from Amnesty International that included a startling statistic: "One in three Native American women will be raped in her lifetime," NPR's investigation led to the reopening of the case and Congressional hearings. In February 2011, Harper's published an update of sorts: Tiny Little Laws: A Plague of Sexual Violence in Indian Country (Via)
When the Penn State scandal came out last year, I kept getting tangled in the questions everyone else was getting tangled in: How does an institutional culture arise to condone, or at least ignore, something that, individually, every member knows is wrong? An alumnus of Horace Mann School writes a shocking expose (NYT) of a culture of sexual abuse at the elite prep school, some at the hands of teachers who were allowed to remain for years after accusations were first made.
I was a member of a fraternity that asked pledges, in order to become a brother, to: swim in a kiddie pool of vomit, urine, fecal matter, semen and rotten food products; eat omelets made of vomit; chug cups of vinegar, which in one case caused a pledge to vomit blood; drink beer poured down fellow pledges' ass cracks... among other abuses.A sobering look into the world of Dartmouth College's fraternities. Single page view.
The Link Between Adult Obesity and Childhood Trauma (Time magazine article) Felitti wondered if there was something similar barring weight loss in other patients — or causing obesity itself. In the late '80s, he began a systematic study of 286 obese people, and discovered that 50% had been sexually abused as children. That rate is more than 50% higher than the rate normally reported by women, and more than triple the average rate in men....
The Beardslee, Shellrude and Darr families left North America for West Africa during the 1950s. They followed what they believed to be “God’s Calling” – to spread Christianity throughout the world. Their children however - starting at the age of 6 – were required to attend the boarding school in Mamou, Guinea, run by the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Cut off from their families for 9 months out of the year and without any reliable means of communication, the children quietly suffered emotional, spiritual, physical and/or sexual abuse at the hands of the all-missionary staff. All God’s Children tells the personal story of the first boarding school for children of missionaries to be investigated for abuse at the hands of the parents’ missionary colleagues. The survivors and parents share their journey of seeking justice, redemption and healing. [more inside]
Tennis player and coach Bob Hewitt is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame who has held all the men's doubles and mixed doubles Grand Slam titles. Hewitt, who was born in Australia but became a South African citizen by marriage, also captained the 1974 South African Davis Cup champion team. The Boston Globe reports that Hewitt's lengthy coaching career in the US and South Africa has long been accompanied by allegations that Hewitt sexually abused his female students, mostly adolescents but one as young as 10. Hewitt denies the charges.
Three months from today, Gaile [Part I] Owens [Part 2] will be dead in Tennessee after 25 years on death row. The mother of two boys went to the rough side of Nashville to find a hitman to kill her abusive and cheating husband. Due to a series of events, the jury never heard of or believed the abuse. She pleaded guilty in exchange for a life sentence, but will die on September 28. [more inside]
Priests and missionaries sexually abusing nuns. I'm thinking it's long past time the Catholic church re-thought the whole "celibacy" thing.