Articles from 2010

Gone With the Wind, Part 2

[Part 1]

Around p. 860:

Scarlett is against the Ku Klux Klan, but not because of the racism.  If I recall correctly, it’s because it keeps bringing the Yankee soldiers down on the townspeople, disturbing their lives and putting them at risk of arrest.  We soon discover that even Ashley is part of it, sweet, nonviolent Ashley.

Last week I watched a documentary on the rise of the KKK; though GWTW portrays it as protecting the women and townspeople from violent blacks, the documentary showed that even in the early days, the KKK was violent and murderous.

In her household, Scarlett is the only one who doesn’t know that even her husband Frank and Ashley are in the KKK–showing us an implied approval even by Melanie.  When Scarlett finds out, she screams,

“The Klan!  Ashley isn’t in the Klan!  Frank can’t be!  Oh, he promised me!”

Her in-law India yells at her,

Of course, Mr. Kennedy is in the Klan and Ashley, too, and all the men we know.  They are men, aren’t they?  And white men and Southerners.  You should have been proud of him instead of making him sneak out as though it were something shameful.

And indeed, this Klan avenged Scarlett’s near-rape with murder.

It’s hard to tell what exactly the author felt about the KKK, from this episode.  Scarlett and Rhett both oppose the Klan, but are also both portrayed as picking and choosing morals based on what suits them.

Rhett opposed the Klan as “foolishness,” but he himself killed a black man for insulting a white woman (the reason he ended up in the Yankee jail earlier).

Later on in the book we find that Rhett and Ashley worked to get the local KKK band disbanded, Rhett for practical and Ashley for moral reasons.  Still, Rhett speaks of “Klan outrage stories” as being slander manufactured by the Yankee governor to keep himself in power.

Even sweet Melanie, a true lady and Christian who refuses to believe anything bad about anyone (especially Scarlett)–

–hates Yankees, plans to teach her child and grandchildren to hate Yankees, and hates the thought of sending her child to school with black children.

Et tu, Melanie?

Even the rogue Huckleberry Finn decided he’d rather go to Hell for helping Jim escape slavery, than do what the locals proclaimed to be moral, and turn him in.  And Mark Twain was a Southerner who had actually lived through slavery and the Civil War.  Here is a Southerner who was against slavery and racism.  Is it so much to ask that Melanie be the same?

Melanie has always loved and supported Scarlett, and now has fiercely stood up to the townswomen for wanting to shun her, to the surprise of everyone.  She’s completely blind to Scarlett’s real feelings for her, and Scarlett’s desire to steal Ashley away from her; instead, she is staunchly on her side, no matter what.  She tells the town the heroic things Scarlett did for her and her family during the war.

You could say that Scarlett is a kind of idol for her: She will do anything for her.

Now Scarlett has snapped at her, said she doesn’t care if she visits or not, broken her heart.  What a way to repay Melanie for all she’s done!

Yet Melanie keeps standing by her.  I know how Melanie feels.  It’s tough to learn that your idol has clay feet, and I learned this quite recently about my own idol.

P. 940: Scarlett has been discovered with Ashley–but it was just a hug.  There were two times when, if they had been discovered, a scandal would be justified: One of them was an especially lusty kiss.

But no, the scandal started over a mere hug, an affectionate hug which Scarlett realized was between friends, not lovers.  And she’s fine with being friends with Ashley.

She’s also realized that she’s fallen in love with Rhett.  Unfortunately, she’s so full of pride, so afraid of being scorned, that she won’t tell Rhett how she really feels.  If only she would tell him, any trouble between them could probably be resolved.

The book is nearly done, their child Bonnie is dead, and Scarlett’s relationship with Rhett keeps deteriorating because she’s far too full of pride to show how she feels.

She’s lonely and has no old friends to comfort her because she’s alienated them all.

You want to feel sorry for her, but she brought it on herself by being mean to everyone, an old-time “mean girl.”  This is the price paid by people who decide to not care about others’ feelings, but only about their own selfish interests.

Rhett, on the other hand, has sympathetic friends everywhere because–for Bonnie’s sake–he decided to stop offending Atlanta’s Old Society.  Yet he just wants to be left alone.

But Scarlett still has Melanie.  And, finally, she’s beginning to appreciate her.

…Except that soon, Melanie is dying.

And finally it hits Scarlett and she says to Ashley as they grieve for Melanie: “Why couldn’t you see that she was worth a million of me?”

And Scarlett scolds him for not realizing sooner that he loved Melanie, not her, for stringing her along all those years, and says, “You should have seen so clearly that you loved her all the time and only wanted me like–like Rhett wants that Watling woman!”

She realizes that if he had done so long ago, she would’ve been broken-hearted, but only for a time, and then she would’ve moved on.

And now I have finished Gone With the Wind.  The ending shows real repentance from Scarlett, and I hope that she will turn herself around in days to come, become a decent human being.

She’s realized what makes a decent person, and that her selfish, mean, spiteful actions and fierce tongue have made her lonely when she most needed friends.   She’s let go of Ashley at last, realizing that what she mistook for love was just obsessive, physical infatuation.

But Rhett is gone with the…er, you know what.  She thinks she’ll get him back.

Yeah, well, people often think that right after a breakup.  Usually doesn’t happen.  It can, but usually not.  She’s abused him far too much for him to want to come back.

In any case, her best hope of ever getting him back is to let him go, since whenever he tried to go away and forget her before, he always came back.

Yes, I have read “Scarlett,” the sequel, which came out around the time I read GWTW the first time, in 1993.  It was entertaining, but since Margaret Mitchell didn’t write it, it isn’t really “canon.”  So all we can do is speculate.

Watching the movie version of GWTW….Funny how, in the movie, Rhett is far more open about being in love with Scarlett.  In the book, he guards himself because he’s seen how Scarlett abuses the ones who love her.  He tells her he WANTS her more than he’s ever wanted any other woman, not that he LOVES her more than any other woman.

And his lack of forthrightness is also what led Scarlett to hide her feelings when she finally realized she loved him, because she feared he’d laugh at her.

It’s funny how they sanitized the movie of Gone With the Wind.  So many things are changed or missing.  The slave language is changed, Rhett never asks Scarlett to be his mistress, she doesn’t offer herself as his mistress so he’ll give her the money for Tara’s taxes….

Even the kiss between Ashley and Scarlett in the field is sanitized.  You don’t get the feel that he was about to throw her down on the ground and take her right there.

Mammy gets a far more prominent role, as well: She was important in the book, but not with all these awesome lines.  And of course the most offensive of the racial struggles are missing, though the black characters are annoyingly portrayed as silly, childlike creatures.  😛

[Review written over several months and completed June 30, 2010]

I see Tracy hanging out of the window of their minivan, like a crazy woman

Tracy did not accept responsibility for her anger and abuse, but put it on others.

She accused others of being “childish” and needing to “grow up,” but was the pot calling the kettle black.

She wouldn’t respect others, not even clergy if they said something she didn’t like, but demanded respect from others, kept complaining loudly about how they weren’t respecting her–but how was it respectful for her to scream at adults and children who annoyed her?

And oh, how she criticized me for finally standing up for myself by cutting her loose!  How offended she acted when we broke off the friendship with them because of her, as if we were the ones being childish and throwing tantrums!

I thought she would be happy to have me out of her life, that I was doing her a favor and showing her respect.  But apparently it just made her angrier.

For some reason, she wanted Jeff and me to stay friends with her.  I really haven’t a clue why.  Why on earth did Tracy get so angry at me for ending the friendship?  I thought it was what she’d always wanted.

Was it the loss of Jeff as a partner in D&D?  Was it the loss of the support and free babysitting (at the drop of a hat) we’d given them? free taxi service? free meals?

(We were never reimbursed for the extra expenses incurred while they lived with us, or for the broken couch.  Jeff’s parents told him he should have ended things long before this, that they sounded like moochers, that as soon as Tracy started complaining about the food, we should’ve politely shown them the door.  One of my friends said they sounded like manipulators who were using us.  My pastor friend said that when thinking about what Tracy said about me, I should consider the source and disregard it.)

Was it because she didn’t get her way?  Because normally a jealous person is very happy to see the subject of her jealousy end a friendship with her husband.  This is the most baffling part.

There is another possibility I can think of: She had already cost Richard several friends.  He had often said how much he liked us, that I was a very dear friend to him, that I did so much for his family, that Jeff was fun to play D&D with, etc.  Maybe Tracy wanted to deflect responsibility and Richard’s anger onto somebody else for the loss of two more friends.

We heard through a third party that they miss Jeff at D&D, but Jeff wondered if they missed me.  He told me he won’t play with them until they stop holding grudges against me, his wife.

In order to not be a hypocrite, doing the same thing I found wrong in Tracy, I have told him he can be friends with them, play D&D with them, if he wants to, that I will not put restrictions on who his friends can be.  But he’s disgusted with both of them and doesn’t want to.

The trouble is that the city where we live is too small to avoid each other entirely.  Not only do they come to my church occasionally (oddly enough, more often now than they did when we were still friends), but I sometimes see their vehicles on the street.

Tracy drives her company cars, and their other vehicle has bumper stickers on it, so if I can see the back of the vehicle, or see who’s driving the company car, I know who it is.

Once, either October 5, 2010 or December 7, 2010, I set off walking past my house to fetch my son from elementary school, when who should I see driving past me on the street?

It was a residential zone and between a middle school and college, so the speed limit was 25.  I was near the middle school and its football field, where there were no trees or cars in between me and the street.

It was a long stretch with no obstructions before or behind it to block my view of them.

They passed just a few yards away from me, so I had time and opportunity to make a positive identification.

Since we’re in the same school system, they were probably out for the same reason, but a different elementary school, so they were going the opposite direction, facing me.

Tracy was hanging half her body out the window of their van–head facing me, shoulders turned so they were above and below, arms and hands dangling in the air.

She was hanging out the window by the entire upper part of the torso, possibly down to about her waist (which struck me as extremely odd and dangerous behavior)–while Richard gave her an upset or angry or scared look.

It was hard to define the look in only a few seconds while they drove past, but I figured he was upset with her for hanging out the window.

I thought Tracy, at least, must have seen me, since she was hanging out the window with me just a few feet away from her passenger-side window, and she was facing me.  So you see she was close enough to identify.

If she tried to say anything to me, I didn’t hear over my Discman.  I turned and saw her from the back as they passed, and most likely looked for the license plate and bumper stickers at this time.

There was no explanation for why on earth she’d be hanging half out the window, just yet more bizarre behavior from this woman.

I thought it was a psychotic episode.

Maybe they’d been arguing.

Maybe she threatened to jump out, which from what I’ve read, is common among people with borderline personality disorder, both the threatening and the doing.

Maybe she saw me from a distance and wanted to yell at me.

In any case, this incident proved to me that I was not crazy, that Tracy had something going on with her psychologically or mentally, that her problems with me came from inside herself.  I saw it as a gift from God.

Another time, Jeff and I were driving down one of the major streets of the city, while I looked out the passenger window, and who should I see unloading a big van at the local political headquarters, but Richard.

I saw out of the corner of my eye (trying not to look directly at him) as he saw us and stared after us.  He’s such a big guy that he’s easy to spot.

I have no respect anymore for either Richard or Tracy after all this.

It’s been a struggle just keeping in the same denomination as they are, especially when they have demonstrated that they will still come to my church on occasion–meaning I can never consider them to be completely out of my life unless they relocate.  

I came close to giving up on church because it reminded me too much of Richard, but I had too much strength in my beliefs to throw them away.  

I sometimes feel that the only way I can truly go on in Orthodoxy is if they either apologize for their crimes, or leave me alone to disconnect the Orthodox Church from Richard.

I still care about him and miss our friendship, remember the good times, and miss telling him all about the happenings at church or the latest news about local churches of various denominations.  But I can’t deal anymore with the crap that came along with it.

I don’t miss Tracy one bit, and don’t care to ever see her again.  Jeff doesn’t miss her, either, and doesn’t want to say anything to her when he sees her.

They are welcome to apologize at any time, though whether or not a friendship would be reinstated, after so much time and childishness on their part–would take a lot of reflection first.  Who knows what could bring on Tracy’s venom next time?  Abusers go in cycles:

If we reinstate a friendship, like a year before (after 2009 discussions) there will probably be a honeymoon period for a while.  But then she’ll start building up her anger yet again, and something else will set her off a year later.  You know, just like what had already happened.

So what’s the point?  Who knows; maybe at some point in the future, things will somehow come to a point where a friendship is possible again.  But I’m not holding my breath.

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

4. More details about Tracy’s abuse of her husband and children 

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

Sequel to this Story: Fighting the Darkness: Journey from Despair to Healing


Child Abuse

I’ve noticed quite a bit of hits from keywords referring to abuse.  This is, unfortunately, a common problem, and people need to find help.

There are also many hits from keywords referring to narcissistic or borderline personality disorders, disorders which often lead to abusive behaviors.

So I will make a series of posts from my webpage on abuse, which gathers together links I have found most helpful.  I have them arranged by category. 

The first part is on the general topic of abuse.  The last section of the webpage, my own personal abuse stories, has already been posted here.

From my page Abuse in all its forms: My Thoughts, Quotes and Links to help:

Child Abuse 

Yelling and Swearing at Children is Emotional Child Abuse

Not only shouting: Different types of emotional child abuse

Study: Yelling at kids comparable to physical punishment

Women as Verbal Abusers

Bully Moms

Moms on the Verge

Coping Steps for Verbally Abusive Parents

Dr. Phil episode which enraged Russia:

video on abuse and jealousy by an abuser to one’s spouse, family

You’ll often find people saying that kids today don’t behave because they’re not whacked or yelled at.  But this isn’t true, because I’ve seen a household where kids were constantly yelled at and whacked, and yet the kids still kept acting up in various ways all the time.

Don’t you see they’re imitating the parents?  That’s not being the adult and taking control, that’s acting like a child and losing control to punish the children. They pick up on that.

I remember being a child vividly: Kids want to behave for kind and gentle people, and want to misbehave for mean people.  They want boundaries, but they also want to be able to tell a difference between a kid and an adult.

You tell them don’t hit, but then beat them for not behaving.  You tell them to quiet down, but yell and scream at them.  You tell them to behave, but yell and scream at each other.  How is smacking them around going to get them to act like adults?

Reasons why some people don’t understand Emotional Abuse

What is Emotional Abuse?

I saw all these people changing their Facebook profile pics because of child abuse, which is fine.  But what I want to see is lives changed.

My parents did not abuse me, but child abuse makes me very angry just the same.  I get furious whenever I think of how somebody I used to know would treat her husband and children, things she would do right in front of me as if daring me to object:

She smacked a three-year-old in the back of the head so hard her tongue flew out.  One moment I see two children dancing, the next moment I see her going ballistic on them for no reason I can tell, screaming and slapping and spanking.

I heard her belittle her oldest child more than once.  Once she came and picked up the children after I babysat, and even though she hadn’t seen them for hours and it was just a few minutes later, I could hear her screaming at them in the car while I went back to the house.  Not yelling, screaming.  How could she have gotten so angry so fast?

Then there were the stories I heard of what she did in the privacy of their home: screaming, cussing, spanking too hard, hitting her husband.

And when she discovered my reaction was not to bow to her superior parenting skills, or support the way she treated her husband, I became her next target.  She focused her ire on me supposedly “going after” her husband, which was a red herring–and allowed her to completely ignore the true reason, and her own responsibility, for my not wanting to be around her.

She is gone out of my life.

It makes me so mad to think of these things.  I want these things to STOP.  I want to see parents treating their children with compassion and gentleness because they are, after all, just children.  I want to see spouses treating each other with love and respect, not like possessions or slaves.

So in remembrance of child abuse, I’m writing this rather than changing my profile pic.

Because I saw that woman–very tall, probably about 200 pounds–smacking a tiny three-year-old girl–small for her age–on the back of her head, and because I was shocked and appalled to find people on the Internet saying that it’s not abuse to do that, in the following research I specifically looked for information on the effects of smacking small children on the back of the head, or anywhere else on the head for that matter, such as the face.

(You have to be careful in research like this because “smack” means “spank” in many countries, and I’m not concerned about light, quick spanks to the well-padded butt.)

I’m less concerned about the effects on older children or teenagers (though I don’t condone that, either) because their heads are more developed and teenagers are practically fully-grown.

But smacking small children is especially risky because of their lack of physical development, small size, and the risk of sending them into a table, TV or other piece of furniture.  Toddlers have been killed this way.

These same people also thought that it would be wrong to even notice and praise one of their children for doing a chore, as if it would somehow spoil her (then wondered why they couldn’t get their kids to do chores).

I’d hear the mother belittle and humiliate her children.  I heard her threaten to spank one child (only 3 years old at the time and only just potty trained) if she wet her pants again.

To hear that woman’s husband joke about smacking kids and apparently condone it, disgusted me, and more than once I made my feelings known.

(Heck, once the husband told me several disturbing things: that his father had abused him–and he deserved it–that he was a terrible kid and that turned him around; that he had once locked the children in a closet to get them to listen to their mother and would probably have to do it again; and he downplayed the verbal abuse I witnessed his wife doing to him.)

This is probably why, a very short time afterwards, they both started bullying me on Facebook and the friendship soon ended.

My mother and father never smacked me anywhere on my head.  When an older brother smacked me one day, my mother became very angry with him and said to never do that.

My parents raised me in the days when you could still use a paddle, which I don’t condone nowadays, but I don’t remember them ever doing anything that was abusive, at least according to the standards of the 70s and early 80s.

Of course I did naughty things from time to time, as all children do, but I turned out fine without being abused by my parents.

Help prevent shaken baby syndrome

  • Never shake a baby. Also, do not slap or hit a child of any age on the face or head. A child’s brain is very delicate. Shaking, slapping, or hitting a child can cause serious harm, even though it may not leave any obvious sign of injury. Healthwise staff, Shaken Baby Syndrome: Home Treatment


–Head injury can result in severe brain damage, including brain stem compression and herniation, blindness, deafness, mental retardation, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, skull fracture, paralysis, and coma or death.

–Injury to the hypothalamus and pituitary glands in the brain can result in growth impairment and inadequate sexual development.

–Less severe but repeated blows to the head can also result in equally serious brain damage. This type of injury may be detectable only with a CT scan, and, in the absence of obvious signs of external trauma, may go unnoticed.

–Blows or slaps to the side of the head over the ear can injure the inner ear mechanism and cause partial or complete hearing loss. — [ note: document has been altered since this page was published ] Effects of Abuse and Neglect on Infants and Toddlers

In the course of figuring out what to consider legal physical punishment in Canada, who can do it and what they can do, the Ontario Superior Court noted in 1999 that

The Court recognized the “growing body of evidence that even mild forms of corporal punishment do no good and may cause harm”. The Court’s decision noted that experts from both sides agreed that:

(1) “hitting a child under two is wrong and harmful … has no value and can destroy a child’s sense of security and self-esteem,”

(2) physical punishment of teenagers “is not helpful and potentially harmful,”

(3) “corporal punishment using objects such as belts, rulers, etc. is potentially harmful both physically and emotionally and should not be tolerated,”

(4) “physical punishment should never involve a slap or blow to the head,”

(5) “corporal punishment which causes injury is child abuse”.

It was noted in the decision that not a single expert witness advocated or recommended physical punishment as a form of discipline.

Later, the Supreme Court of Canada

“narrowed the definition of who may use physical punishment, on what ages, body parts and capacities of children, with what force, and in what circumstances.

(1) Only parents may use reasonable physical punishment. Teachers may use reasonable force only to “remove a child from a classroom or to secure compliance with instructions, but not merely as corporal punishment”.

(2) Only children older than two and not yet teenagers may be physically punished.

(3) The use of force on children “incapable of learning from [it] because of disability or some other contextual factor” is not protected.

(4) Only “minor corrective force of a transitory and trifling nature” may be used.

(5) “Discipline by the use of objects or blows or slaps to the head is unreasonable”. 

(6) “Degrading, inhuman or harmful conduct is not protected”.

(7) The physical punishment must be “corrective, which rules out conduct stemming from the caregiver’s frustration, loss of temper or abusive personality”.

(8) “The gravity of the precipitating event is not relevant”.

(9) The question of what is “reasonable under the circumstances” requires an “objective” test and “must be considered in context and in light of all the circumstances of the case.” —Joint Statement on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth

also see Spare Us the “Spare the Rod”

“Child abuse is rarely premeditated. It occurs when caregivers lose control–often while trying to stop behavior (such as crying) or when punishing perceived transgressions (such as toileting accidents).

Caregivers cause injuries by shaking, throwing, hitting, slapping, gagging, strangling and smothering children.

Children with physical, cognitive, emotional and developmental disabilities, and those with physical health problems, are more vulnerable to maltreatment.

Inflicted head injuries occur predominantly in children younger than 3 years. Although inflicted head injuries are less common than accidental head injuries, they’re more likely to cause morbidity and mortality.

Survivors of inflicted head injuries commonly experience behavioral, cognitive and motor disabilities, as well as visual impairments and seizures.

……….”Brain and other injuries occur when applied forces strain brain and other tissues beyond their structural tolerance. Primary mechanisms of injury include forces developed when the head accelerates about the neck (angular acceleration) and from impact (translational forces).

Rotational acceleration results from any action that moves the head from side to side or front to back. Impact plus rotation increases the applied force substantially. Primary injuries are typically focal or diffuse. Significant forces are required to cause severe inflicted injuries.

Secondary mechanisms involve the brain’s reaction to primary injuries. They include hypoperfusion of brain tissue (from hypotension/shock) and hypoxia.” —Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, “Inflicted Head Injuries in Infants and Children: An Important Cause of Developmental Disabilities” by Elizabeth Gilles, M.D.

“Physical abuse includes beating, shaking, scalding, and biting. Given that corporal punishment is widely accepted in the United States, what is the threshold for considering spanking or hitting as being abusive?

One approach is to consider any injury beyond immediate redness of the skin as abuse. Any punishment that leaves a bruise or imprint beyond the initial redness should be considered excessive and abusive.

If parents spank a child, then the spanking should be limited to the buttocks, should occur over clothing, and should never involve the head and neck.

When parents use objects other than a hand, the potential for serious harm increases. Acts of serious violence (eg, throwing a rock at a child, slapping an infant’s face) should also be seen as abusive even if no injury ensues; significant risk of harm exists.”…………

“Of all inflicted injuries, those to the central nervous system (CNS) result in the most significant morbidity and mortality.[43]

Injuries resulting from direct impact, asphyxia, or shaking (shaken baby syndrome) are referred to as abusive head trauma (AHT).

Direct trauma may be the result of punching, slapping, or the child’s head being struck against a hard surface.

Many instances of AHT appear to result from a combination of shaking and direct trauma.

Subdural hematomas, retinal hemorrhages (especially when extensive and involving multiple layers), and diffuse axonal injury, although not exclusively the result of AHT, are critically important markers and should always raise the question of AHT.”

……”Blunt trauma to the ear may produce subperichondrial hematoma and intracranial injury resulting from rotational acceleration of the head.

A slap to the face or choking may leave a hand imprint. A slap to the face not only can cause injuries; it also has a strong associated psychological component.

Long-term dental neglect may result in multiple dental caries, eating difficulties, chronic pain, and periodontal infection.” —Pediatric Care Online: Child Physical Abuse and Neglect

Excessive physical discipline is harmful and dangerous to children. Small children can be killed by relatively minor acts of physical violence (for example, shaking, dropping, or throwing the child against hard surfaces).

Any severe beating with an object, forceful shaking, submersion in hot water, intentional burning, and other forms of intentional infliction of pain are inappropriate and criminal behaviors. —Physical Abuse, Child Neglect, and Emotional Neglect

Interesting how we’re not supposed to slap our spouse or elderly patient on the face or head, which is abuse, but some people think it’s okay to do to children.

“Injury to the head and neck is common. Slap marks on cheeks and neck extending to the scalp and linear marks of hands or fingers are seen. A slap would cause parallel linear bruises on the cheeks.”  —Managing Child Abuse: A Handbook for Medical Officers (WHO)

“Physical abuse – The use of unreasonable force against a child. What is considered reasonable will depend on the age of the child, the severity of the actions and its lack of healthy corrective purpose regarding the child’s behaviour.

This might include, for example, hitting, slapping, shaking, choking, kicking or burning a child. It also includes any conduct by a caregiver that might put the child’s life, health or well-being at risk.” –page 4, Child Abuse: Recognize It, Report It, Prevent It!

Smacking a child at the back or head is never allowed. This is dangerous and puts the child in a very vulnerable position, in which is can’t defend itself in any way.

It is never meant as a normal punishment, but always a sign of bad behavior of the parent. And I think you can qualify this as child abuse. Even if it’s not meant that way it’s still abuse.

If it happens once you can apologize to your child, but if it happens more you should get help immediately. And if it happens all the time the child should get help immediately.  —To smack or not smack a child

Examples of Physical Abuse include:

Beating with a belt, shoe, or other object; Biting a child; Breaking a child’s arm, leg, or other bones; Burning a child with matches or cigarettes; Hitting a child; Kicking a child; Not letting a child eat, drink, or use the bathroom; Pulling a child’s hair out; Punching a child; Scalding a child with water that is too hot; Shaking, shoving, or slapping a child.  —Child Abuse: An Overview

#56 Recognizing Physical Abuse
* If you cause injury to your child, you are breaking the law
o Never use any object to hit a child (boards, belts, sticks, or switches)
o Never hit or slap a child’s face or head
o NEVER hit or shake a baby
+ Babies can be blinded, brain damaged, or killed by shaking  —Child Abuse Awareness from Fairfax County Police – Presentation Transcript


Physical abuse can cause direct damage to a baby’s or child’s developing brain. For instance, we now have extensive evidence of the damage that shaking a baby can cause.

According to the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome (2009), shaking can destroy brain tissue and tear blood vessels. In the short-term, shaking can lead to seizures, loss of consciousness, or even death.

In the long-term, shaking can damage the fragile brain so that a child develops a range of sensory impairments, as well as cognitive, learning, and behavioral disabilities. —Understanding the Effects of Maltreatment on Brain Development


Shaken baby syndrome (also called intentional head injury or abusive head trauma) is brain damage that occurs when a baby is shaken, slammed, or thrown against an object. It is a form of child abuse that occurs when the baby’s caregiver loses control.

Shaking a baby or striking a baby’s head is always dangerous. Babies’ heads are large in relation to their bodies, and their neck muscles are not well developed.

If a baby is forcefully shaken, slammed, or thrown, his or her head will jerk back and forth uncontrollably. The child’s skull can hit the brain with force. When the inside of the skull forcefully strikes the brain, it can cause:

  • Bruising, swelling, or tearing of the brain tissue. Brain injury and bleeding can cause increased pressure in the brain, which can lead to serious, permanent brain damage.
  • Damage to the blood vessels at the back of the eye, which may cause bleeding inside the eye (retinal hemorrhage), vision problems, or blindness.
  • Death. — Healthwise Staff, Shaken Baby Syndrome (Intentional Head Injury), reviewed by John Pope, MD – Pediatrics & Chuck Norlin, MD – Pediatrics


A man on his deathbed has admitted that he was responsible for the death of his toddler nearly 40 years ago.

Columbus Police officials say 18-month-old Bradley Cuturia died at the Medical Center in July of 1971 but it was never reported to police. The child had been abused before unbeknownst to police and had been treated several times before at Martin Army Hospital on Fort Benning.

….In the early part of 2009, the child’s mother, Cheryl Cuturia, contacted the Columbus Police Department saying she was concerned her child had been killed by his father, Thomas Cuturia. Hillhouse says the couple had moved to Wisconsin after their son’s death and have been separated “for quite some years.”

…Hillhouse tells WTVM the baby was struck at least once in the head, maybe more, and died from his injuries two days after he was admitted to the Medical Center. Police say originally, it was reported that Bradley fell down one step. –Lindsey Connell, Dying father admits to killing toddler son


Half a year ago, a father and his girlfriend were charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect on 3-year-old John Taylor Baxley….The toddler died in August, but prosecutors waited for medical reports before charging Justin Garwacki, 26, and Kara O’Connell, 21, with the death….

Garwacki said he hit his son with a “cupped” hand on the head, face, stomach, legs and genital area, a detective wrote in an affidavit. He also poured water over the boy’s head in the bathtub to teach him how to hold his breath, and when John didn’t do it properly, Garwacki told investigators he struck the boy on the head. The boy fell and hit his head on the tub.

The couple filled a sock with uncooked rice and heated it in the microwave, the affidavit says. They put it on the bruise, but that burned the boy’s forehead. The gaping wound went untreated.

O’Connell admitted to detectives she hit the boy hard enough to cause bruising and picked him up off the floor by his throat, the affidavit says. She said she did it because he didn’t listen to her, and that she knew hitting the boy was “excessive and wrong.” –Alexandra Zayas, Citrus Park couple indicted in death of 3-year-old boy


The aunt of a murdered 3-year-old says the little girl’s death could have been avoided.  Petra Jimenez’s 3-year old niece, Melody Velasquez, was killed by a massive blow to the head in January. The girl’s two adoptive fathers have been arrested and charged in her murder. —3-year-old killed by massive blow to the head


And of course the parents who scream and and hit their child in public. I’m not talking about spanking, because spanking is a controlled swat or two on the bottom, and should not be done out of anger.

But I’m talking about the parents who grab their kid in a fit of anger and just start smacking the crap out of them while yelling and screaming.

I’m not a violent person, but gosh, I’d love to punch those parents in the face. How low do you have to be to take your anger out on and bully a small child? —What’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen a parent do?


A man was arrested today on charges he fatally beat his 2-year-old stepson, who had almost 30 injuries to his head, face and upper back, police said.

Investigators believe Deondray Ashe was beaten twice with a belt Sunday evening. They say an adult witness was present when the boy, who had special medical needs, was beaten. —Stepdad beat 2-year-old to death with belt, police say


The Lakeland boy, known to his family as Dooley, was born about three months premature. A variety of medical problems kept him in a hospital and a health-care facility for most of his young life.

Potty training at home was proving to be tough. Sometimes he would play with the roll of toilet paper and touch the water in the bowl.

His mother and stepfather told Lakeland police detectives that the price he paid for such behavior was sitting for hours on the toilet and enduring beatings with a belt, according to recently released transcripts and investigative reports. —Transcripts graphically depict death of toddler


The boyfriend of a woman charged in the death of her 16-month-old son now is accused of the same crime. A Dorchester County grand jury on Thursday issued a direct indictment charging John D. Weaver II, 20, of Summerville with homicide by child abuse in Rowan Bracci’s death.

The same charge already had been filed against the child’s mother, 19-year-old Amber Lynn Bracci.

Autopsy findings released by County Coroner Chris Nisbet confirmed that the boy died of a closed-head injury at the hands of another person or persons.

He had bruising of the scalp, hemorrhaging and brain swelling, Nisbet said.

Deputies arrested Bracci on Jan. 14.

In the arrest warrant, she is said to have told deputies she had hit her son in the head within days before he was rushed to a hospital. The warrant also said she admitted smoking marijuana two times between the time she noticed her son was having medical problems and the time she got him help. —2 indicted in toddler’s death


A Whitehall toddler dies from brain damage consistent with abusive head trauma, and detectives are taking the case to the Grand Jury for a murder indictment.

Jose Trevino, 39, of 4186 Doney St. was arrested and charged with felonious assault after a 3-year-old girl’s death last Friday.

Acasia Chavis, 3, suffered significant brain damage that was consistent with abusive head trauma while in Trevino’s care, according to Whitehall police. –Donna Willis, Abusive head trauma kills Whitehall toddler, police say


My friend recently struck her 3 year old on the side of the head by his ear after he bit her 1.5 year old while we were driving out of town. It was a pretty hard hit, but open handed, and he did cry.

I was shocked, and I told her that many people would report her for child abuse. She told me what she does with her own children is none of my business, and when I insisted, she pulled over to the side of the road and kicked me out, leaving me stranded in a strange city and waiting 2 hours for someone to show up to get me.

What would your reaction have been? Do you think that’s child abuse? Would you as a parent have reacted the same way to my remark?

Her 3 year old is definitely wrong to bit the 1.5 year old. But there is other ways and more effective ways to punish the 3 year old. She could have cause the 3 year old brain concussion or burst the ear drum.  —Is slapping a 3-year-old in the head child abuse?

Is slapping a child hard in the face abuse?

Is slapping child abuse?

UK forum thread on the horrors and dangers of someone smacking a 3-year-old on the head

You may find yourself in the position of having to choose whether or not to report a friend, or the spouse of a friend, or a family member for domestic abuse.  It may feel like a betrayal of that person, especially if your report is about things your friend told you in confidence.

But some secrets should be kept, and some secrets should be told.  Your friend’s life, or the lives of their children, could very well depend on your decision.  In fact, the betrayal could very well be you not making that report.

Don’t listen to the rumors that make CPS sound like some socialist corrupt government trying to tell you how to raise your children and steal your children away to line their pockets etc.

CPS is there to protect the innocents in our society, to give them a chance for a good life instead of either death or a lifetime of anger, hurt, pain, and carrying on the abuse to another generation.

Think of how things are in countries where CPS does not exist, where abuse of children and women is condoned and protected by society.

#62 Reporting Child Abuse
* Excuses given for not reporting suspected abuse, or not believing when disclosed
o CPS will remove the kids
o “I can’t prove anything.”
o “I’ve known _______ for years; he would never do such a thing.”

#66 Reporting Child Abuse
* Reasons to report suspected abuse
o Protect the child, not the abuser!
o Children are rarely abused only once
o A report makes it possible for a family to get help —Child Abuse Awareness from Fairfax County Police – Presentation Transcript

Here is an example of someone (Ruby Klokow of Sheboygan, WI) who terrorized her family for years before finally, more than 50 years later, justice was (nearly) done.  I do wonder why no one spoke up before.  Were they still afraid of her until she got to be elderly?

CPS brochure


Friends in Need: Interventions for Domestic Violence

How can I help a friend or family member who is being abused?

How to Help Victims of Domestic Violence

For Domestic Violence Survivors and their Family, Friends and Co-workers

Care and Protection Cases

Child Welfare Information Gateway

Child Abuse and Neglect: Recognizing and Preventing Child Abuse

What we can do about child abuse

How to Report Child Abuse on a Friend or Family Member

Even if you just suspect that someone is abusing or neglecting a child, report it. If you are afraid to report the suspected abuse or neglect because you might be wrong, do it any way.

If you are wrong, you can always apologize. If you are right, you may have saved the life of a child and you have definitely changed the life of a child for the better.

As a child, I always wished someone would ask about if I was being sexually abused. I couldn’t voluntarily ask someone for help. I was too afraid. This is true for many children.

If you suspect a child is being abused, ask. Please ask. Not all children will tell you the truth, but some will. They, like me, are just waiting for someone to care enough to ask.  –Patricia Singleton, Be a Voice for Children–Speak Out About Child Abuse

Also see Don’t smack your kids: Research into teenage football concussions, Examples of Child Abuse, Hitting Kids Upside the Head is ABUSE, …Because slapping kids on the head is ABUSE!  STOP THE VIOLENCE! and Slapping Kids Upside the Head Causes Traumatic Brain Injury.

The Topic of Abuse (General)

Abuse Specifically Against Husbands/Boyfriends 

Borderline Personality Disorder 


Child Abuse

Domestic Abuse (anyone who lives together or is in a romantic relationship, including roommates or family members)

Emotional Abuse


Getting into the Psyche of the Abuser

If You’ve Been Reported to CPS 


Personal Stories

Physical Abuse


Stopping Abuse/ Helping Abused Friend, Family Member, Co-worker, Child 

Toxic Friendships/Relationships

Understanding the Abused

Verbal Abuse


Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, Part 1

Summary here.

[This was originally a series of Facebook posts, written over several months as I re-read the book.]

Now I’m reading Gone With the Wind for the second time since 1993.

In reading the description of Scarlett–doesn’t like conversation about anything but herself, wants men to love only her and nobody else–I think, Oh my gosh, it’s Jackie Burkhardt from That 70s Show. No wonder I can’t stand Scarlett! 

The first line of Gone With the Wind reads, “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm….”  But I can’t think of any other face but Vivien Leigh’s, which is beautiful and certainly does not have Scarlett’s thick eyebrows.

About 200 pages into re-reading Gone With the Wind: Rhett was right when he said Scarlett is no lady: Let’s see, she marries a decent boy out of spite and doesn’t care that he’s dead, she dances publicly as if spitting on his grave, she blackmails her own father into not telling her mother about this, and now she’s reading Ashley and Melanie’s letters….

….So, while reading one of Ashley’s letters to Melanie, Scarlett gets bored at his philosophical ramblings and discussions of books, and wonders why he doesn’t write a proper love letter.  She recalls how Ashley was always boring her with talking like that.

So….she thinks she should marry Ashley, WHY?  I think Ashley might be attracted to her, maybe even very attracted to her, same as most of the young men around her.

But Melanie is his other half and he knows it; he loves her in a way he never could love empty-headed Scarlett.  Melanie understands him, while Scarlett only cares for dresses and beaus.  😛  Even if she got Ashley to profess his undying love for her, she’d probably be miserable if she couldn’t keep her beaus as well.

I’ve always admired Melanie, and I love that everyone around her in the book admires her as well, including Rhett.  He leers at every woman except her, respects her.

I’ve always wanted to be like her, but couldn’t quite measure up.  Now I find out how she can be so sweet with no trace of dislike for anyone: She was so sheltered that she couldn’t imagine anyone actually being evil.

For those of us who have endured teasing or abuse or some other thing from an early age, it’s probably impossible to be quite like her, no matter how much we may try.  She is truly the heroine of the novel, though being so sheltered can make you too easily misled, and I wouldn’t recommend it.

Scarlett, on the other hand, thanks to Rhett pulling her on the dance floor while in mourning, and calling her out on her hypocrisy, has decided to flaunt the rules.  I like her better now than when she was the 16-year-old belle of the barbecue.

That doesn’t mean I like her, just that I like that she’s letting her true colors show more often instead of pretending to be the perfect Southern lady.  I’ve been burned by people pretending to be one way, but really being another.  I’d rather see what they’re really like before they pull me in to liking them.

That, and I think the rules she lived under were far too strict anyway.  Who wants to be a dour old matron at 17?  (By the way, for myself I was referring to being teased from an early age, not child abuse.)

On p. 428, after the burning of Atlanta and the fall of Tara.  The “I’ll never be hungry again” scene is far less melodramatic in the book than in the movie, with its fist to the sky and dramatic music.

On the one hand, we see admirable strength as she takes on the hard work necessary to feed everyone and rebuild the ruined plantation with nothing but a few vegetable gardens, a cow and a calf.

But on the other, she’s turned into a terrible bully.  Everyone fears her tongue, from the few slaves to her own father–and, of course, her little boy, Wade.  They go to Melanie for comfort, Melanie who has only just survived risky childbirth and is fighting her own battles.

Meanwhile, in the Little House books you find a family who is kind to each other even in the worst of situations, such as during the long, hard winter when they run out of food and fuel, but without sacrificing resolve or hard work.  It’s good and right that Scarlett wants her family to survive, but she’s sacrificing her soul.

I’m around p. 500.  While I love most of the book–the writing, the historical detail–the racism is really getting on my nerves.  >:(

I would love to get the impression that when the author talks about the “negroes” being generally lazy, like children, not as good as whites, that she’s just giving Scarlett’s point of view, showing how horrid she is.  Unfortunately, I get the strong impression that she agrees with Scarlett.

Not only that, but Yankee characters are seen as bad simply because they’re Yankees.  Same for “white trash.”  Who are the villains?  The Yankee former overseers, who are now sticking it to the ruined plantation owners.

Today, I read two things that disturbed me further.  One is that Emmie Slattery appears to be condemned as “white trash” simply because of the kind of family she was born into.  Sure she’s had a few kids out of wedlock, but is that enough to treat her like she’s not worthy to live?  And she’s married the father now.

Two, the evil Yankee former overseer Jonas (now married to Emmie) not only wants to buy Tara, but he (horror of horrors) loves to say how “negroes” are equal to whites, put his arm around their shoulders, etc.  Not only that, if he bought Tara, he’d probably dine negroes right there at Tara!  What an insult to Tara! [GROAN]

Around p. 780:

There are racist bits all through the middle part of this book.  It’s like watching Birth of a Nation all over again to read complaints about letting former slaves vote, the “horror” at the thought of them going into politics or being governor or even *gasp* marrying whites, the “loyal” former slaves who want someone to give them orders again because they don’t like their freedom.

For the last one, I can imagine something like this may have happened with people who were raised in slavery and not taught even basic learning or how to take care of themselves.  The Israelites made similar complaints when Moses brought them out of Egypt, that he had taken them away from the provisions of their masters and into the desert to starve.

Of course, the botched Reconstruction is also largely to blame, especially if this book is as well-researched as is claimed.  The former Confederates were screwed over in all sorts of ways, inspiring discontent, while it sounds like the former slaves were just thrust into the world without the skills they needed to make good lives for themselves.

They should’ve been educated in reading, math and trades, especially considering the widespread poverty right after Sherman went through and destroyed everything.  There should not have been a black illiteracy rate of more than 70% as late as 1880.  But of course, the government was in charge of Reconstruction, so what can we expect?  😛

It’s quite something watching Scarlett lose her soul in the pursuit of money.  Stealing her sister’s beau so she can control his store and buy a mill, seems mild in comparison to what she does as time goes on.

Remember the “I’ll never be hungry again” scene, which seems in the movie like a testament to surviving despite great odds?  It’s actually the beginning of her descent, as the book shows far more clearly, because it’s her excuse to turn into a controlling tyrant.

Even infatuated, deluded Ashley is beginning to see her true colors, and no longer looks at her with love, because she manipulated Melanie to force him to take over one of her mills instead of going North to start again (and flee the temptation of adultery).

The free blacks hired for her two mills keep failing to show up for work, so she leases a convict team, and puts over them a bully who asks for free reign in how he treats them.  Then she acts all surprised to find them starving, living in squalor, and beaten-down.

She’s just about to let the manager of the mill quit, and good riddance, but–no, she needs him so she can have a successful mill and make lots of money to never be hungry again.  So after dressing him down, she decides to look the other way.

[To be continued.]

Hope of Future Healing and Moving On from the Abuse

I’ve been reading through an article on the long-term effects of bullying, and the most recent comments posted by readers sharing their own stories.  I noticed a common theme of bullying victims becoming very quiet and having trouble trusting, making friends, and the like.  These things sound very familiar.

Some of them have moved on from childhood abuse and some are posting about recent abuse which they are still struggling with.

But disturbing is that some still hold anger, rage and bitterness decades–even 50 years–after the bullying occurred.  It has turned them into shells of themselves, and they still wish evil things to happen to the bullies.

I, too, can recall at least one time when I bullied somebody–not that I meant to, but the words came out cruel and made me into a bully–and times when I said things that came out totally wrong.

In some cases it was a friend who stayed a friend, and the mistakes have long since been forgotten.

But the time I bullied a person, I remember what I said, what I really meant but how it came out instead, and how she reacted, and I often wish I could find her and apologize.  But I don’t even remember her name.

I’ve also discovered that some of my own bullies from school, people who meant to pick on me, and did it over and over, have since–whether at reunions or on Facebook–found me and befriended me, sometimes even apologizing for what happened back then.  They are truly nice people now, from what I can tell online.

So while I haven’t forgotten that I was bullied, and at times it still bothers me, I have forgiven at least most of the bullies, many of whom are now nameless and faceless in my memory.

I realize that even if we have forgotten each other, they probably have matured and regret what they did or said all those years ago.

(The same applies to most of the bullies in my College Memoirs, by the way.  People still act stupid in college.)

I really wish the commenters on that bullying article would do the same.  At this point, they are the ones still suffering from their anger and resentment, not the long-ago bullies.

I have a healthy marriage and a child, and held down the jobs I needed before becoming a stay-at-home mother.  The first job I lost because of large-scale downsizing.  The second, I held for four years before resigning because of my coming baby.

But the commenters who won’t let go, they’re still stuck, often not having healthy relationships or even jobs.

Knowing that I have been able to move on since other cases of bullying and abuse, tells me that I can eventually move on from this latest Tracy/Richard episode as well, even though it has been very traumatizing in its depths of betrayal, gaslighting and bullying.

For it is not an enemy [Tracy] who reproaches me, 
Then I could bear it; 
Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, 
Then I could hide myself from him. 
But it is you, a man my equal, 
My companion and my familiar friend [Richard]; 
We who had sweet fellowship together 
Walked in the house of God in the throng.  
Psalm 55:12-14, NASB

A song from Klank, a Christian band that is raw and real and doesn’t bother with happy Christian conventions in songwriting or music, such as the pat-answer/ ending of how Jesus will help me through:

You don’t know what it is to be me 
I was lied to and flat out deceived 
Said you cared, but was never there 
You left me to drown in my despair 
You gave me your word that you’d 
Always be my true friend 
Now that you’re gone, I can go on with 
My life again 
I cared for you and called you my friend 
Shared my life with you and let you in 
Then you dissed me 
Started spreading lies 
Even to my face you still deny 
You gave me your word that you’d 
Always be my true friend 
Now that you’re gone, I can go on with 
My life again 
I still feel it 
Inside, false pride 
Outside, you lied 
You don’t know what it is to be me 
I was lied to and flat out deceived 
One more time 
Twist the knife in my back 
I don’t need no friends like that 
You gave me your word that you’d 
Always be my true friend 
Now that you’re gone I can go on with 
My life again  
–Klank, Deceived 

Story of another spiritual mentor who caused great grief (showing that I’m not the only one this has ever happened to)

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

4. More details about Tracy’s abuse of her husband and children 

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

Sequel to this Story: Fighting the Darkness: Journey from Despair to Healing