Nyssa's Hobbit Hole

Category: child abuse (page 1 of 16)

Article on slapping kids upside the head

I came across a Nigerian article on the subject of slapping kids upside the head in punishment, based on research done by Nigerian researchers.  Now, I get the impression that the writer and researchers don’t yet realize that other forms of physical punishment such as an “all-out whipping with a belt or paddle” are just as abusive and damaging as smacking a kid on the head.  So be warned.  But I’m glad to see awareness being raised in other parts of the world about damages that smacking does to the brain.  Some quotes:

Although, such an act may not make the child lose consciousness, medical experts warn that repeated blows to the head may lead to worrying consequences, including increased susceptibility to concussion, long-term cognitive decline and chronic traumatic encephalopathy – a degenerative disease associated with people who have suffered multiple head injuries.

 

Paradoxically, little blows to the head can add up to big risks, even a continuous habit of hitting a child on the head. A growing body of evidence suggests that repetitive head trauma may increase the risk of a variety of progressive brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and the muscle-wasting condition, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, otherwise known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

–From abdussalam’s Knocking a Child on the Head Can Affect Memory, Thinking Abilities

 

 

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Reblog: Subtle Signs of a Killer: Non-fatal strangulations point to future homicides

The following article, written by Brian Bennett, is very informative about strangulation and research done in recent years.  Some quotes:

An idea was promulgated for decades that there must be external signs of injury such as marks on the neck and/or petechial hemorrhage in the eyes when strangulation occurred. It was believed that without those injuries the assault could not be proven and likely did not occur. This idea is far from the truth.

 

It can take as little as five pounds of pressure for six to ten seconds to render a person unconscious. … Signs and symptoms known to be associated with strangulation now include a raspy or hoarse voice, difficulty breathing, vision changes, fluid in the lungs, vomiting and involuntary loss of bladder/bowel control.

 

If a person loses consciousness because the brain has been starved of oxygen then there is permanent brain damage.

 

In reality, the act of strangulation itself is a lethal act regardless of an offender’s intent. It tells us that the offender has a propensity to use lethal violence and I would argue also demonstrates a mindset that lethal violence is justifiable against anyone. If an offender is willing to harm their intimate partner, child, vulnerable adult or anyone using strangulation, then they can kill anyone….

A study of 300 “choking” cases by the Family Justice Center Alliance in San Diego and Institute on Strangulation Prevention showed that a woman who is strangled even once is 750 percent more likely to be strangled again and 800 percent more likely to be killed later.

 

Research is showing that many of the domestic mass shooters in the U.S. also had a history of domestic violence and strangulation prior to their mass killings.

This worries me because my ex-friend Richard strangled his own step-daughter, who was only 9, until she passed out.  He, by the way, was some 400 pounds at the time, according to court records.  She reported it herself, which must have taken amazing courage–and there must have been physical evidence.  Since so many incidents don’t have physical evidence, and this was the following day (IIRC), Richard must really have pressed hard.

The information in this article makes me worry that 1) he could do it again, 2) he could murder somebody, 3) she had permanent brain damage from this, and 4) his step-daughter could end up with some guy who chokes her again.

Especially since he used to do stuff for the Mafia and once told me his plans to kill an apartment manager.

Especially since, in an e-mail to me, Richard and/or Tracy jeered at me for “not having all the facts” in this case.  Um…Exactly what “facts” make it okay that you strangled your daughter?  Even if they become so-called pillars of the community, I know what kind of people they really are: the kind who would minimize strangling a child and threaten and make fun of and stalk the person who discovered the truth.

But back to the article.  Lots more good information is in the article here.  I encourage you to read it if you’re with an abusive spouse/parent/caregiver/etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Repost from 2011: I learn that my narcissist ex-friend choked his daughter

In July 2011, I learned that my ex-friend Richard, a narcissist, had been charged with Child Abuse with High Probability of Great Harm and Second-Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety.  I did not, however, know any details: which child, what did he do, and was it even the same Richard?  It was his name and birthdate, yet the address was different.  

On September 12, 2011, I found out the truth.  I was waiting anxiously for the police department to release its investigation into the Cruckson case that day.  James Cruckson had raped his ex-girlfriend, and while holed up in his house, shot and killed a police officer–then himself. 

Because the ex-girlfriend was reportedly physically abusive to him and her child, this case was highly controversial in the community, as people argued over whether or not she was really raped, did she try to set him up, etc. 

I followed a conversation in the comments of a local blog, and was especially interested because this was supposedly a woman abusing a man. 

I had become an advocate raising awareness, on Facebook and my website, of women abusing men, because of Tracy abusing Richard, and Chris’ wife abusing him as well.  So it was a big deal when the reports were released to the public.

While watching the website for the Fond du Lac newspaper, waiting for the reports to be released, I happened to come across a feature I did not previously know about: weekly court cases, presented with mug shots and a short description. 

I had been watching the print version’s court cases for years, but lately they’d been missing.  So that’s where they put them! 

I began poking around, scanning through the archives, looking for information on what Richard did.  And there it was, in the March 4, 2011 court cases! 

No more doubt that it was the same Richard, because the address was different–That was him in that mug shot!  And with such an angry look!  I yelled at the picture for what he had done to that girl.

The old court cases were purged from the Net in 2013, but I still have the printouts. 

As I had been doing ever since the “friendship” ended, I went to my real friends for support, expressing my shock and anger at what he had done to his own daughter. 

(My friends are far away, but we are connected by e-mail and Facebook; I also reconnected with some old friends here in town who had drifted off.) 

Their comfort and support helped me realize that my reaction matched the situation, that this was an evil deed. 

This was important, because my own Stockholm Syndrome still affected me a year after the end of the friendship, still made it hard to tell myself that Richard was not the kind, gentle, loving soul I always thought he was. 

I posted the following on my website two days later:

Now I know what happened, something so terrible that Todd is so disgusted that he has dropped Richard even from Facebook, and regrets ever having let Richard into his life, let him influence him, etc. etc.

[Added 3/17/14: I don’t know if Todd told Richard why he dropped him from Facebook.  But I do know that he said that Richard is a “f**king scumbag” and that Richard–who at the time had an icon of a saint for his Facebook profile picture–is a hypocrite

Todd also said that if Richard kept coming to my church, then Richard and my husband needed to have a little talk about Richard not going there anymore. 

Todd has also seen some of the nasty e-mails Richard and Tracy sent to us, and knows about the abuse.]

The details are on the local newspaper’s website, in its weekly listing of court cases and mug shots, from the week of 3/4/11:

On September 21, 2010, the oldest child, who was 9 at the time, was being a typical child, not listening to Richard or cleaning up, when he strangled her until she passed out, and she awoke on a couch.

(He often complained that the kids did not listen to him and clean up.)

She told the police the following day, he admitted to the police that he did this and why, and said that he apologized to her when she woke up.

He was summoned to court and officially charged on March 1, 2011, the same day I posted my letter to CPS, and released on bond.  His court date is very soon.

Now I’m told that when this same daughter was very small, he got so angry with her once that he beat her mercilessly.  This poor girl has been through so much crap in her young life, and now this?  Kudos to her for telling the police instead of pretending everything was okay.

This incident tells me that Richard is not worth my grief, that I should not regret losing his friendship, that his and Tracy’s opinions on anything and everything–including me–are suspect, questionable, and not to be taken seriously or sleep lost over it.

He and Tracy are just big, violent bullies who want to push other people around and intimidate them until they get their own way, and punish them–verbally or sometimes physically–for having their own minds and feelings about things.

I thought for so long that he was so awesome and cool; turns out he’s just a big bully.  He had told me a couple of times that he had abused the children in the past, but that he wasn’t doing that anymore.  

But this incident was in 2010, not 2006 or 2005 or 2004 or whenever he might have done the previous abuse.  This shows that he is not reformed, after all.

Especially because of his size (6’5 and 400 lb.) and strength, this shows that he is not safe for anyone to be around, whether small child, woman, man, anybody.

He deserves to sit in jail for a long time, and he just might.  It puts his comments that he wanted to “strangle” me for something once, into a whole new, disturbing light–because it may have been literal.

This LIAR told me that Tracy was the abuser, when he himself was also abusing the kids.  This also means that when he told me Tracy was abusing him, while I could see that she was truly abusing both him and the kids, he was probably abusing her as well!

This, at last, is the “ah-ha” moment I needed to put this issue to rest in my mind, all the self-reflection, wondering if something they said may have been correct, wondering if I should’ve done something different.

It shows me that I was correct to think they are abusive and manipulative bullies, vindicates my letter to CPS, vindicates me.

It shows me that they have absolutely no business lecturing anyone about right and proper behavior, or boundaries, because they don’t respect the boundaries of others and behave very poorly, selfishly and boorishly.

It tells me that Richard manipulated me into thinking that Tracy was the problem, and that he had learned to control himself through religion, when he himself still has violent tendencies.

It tells me that Tracy’s opinions of me and my behavior, and her justifications of herself, are just so much dung to be thrown into the sewer.

It tells me that when Richard blamed me for anything, or lectured me for anything, or told me it was stalkerish to save all my letters, or told me I shouldn’t get upset about him not calling when he said he would or responding to my e-mails, or told me that even little kids know that giving a compliment is your cue to start a conversation–that his lectures also needed to be thrown into the sewer.

It tells me that yes, Tracy is indeed a malignant narcissist and/or narcissistic borderline personality disordered person who only seeks her own twisted ends and doesn’t care about the rights or opinions of others, that I was probably right to suspect that she twisted anything I did or said when reporting to Richard about it, so that he believed her and thought badly of me.

(Once he told me she said I had manipulated Jeff into doing something, when that wasn’t true at all!)

[2014 note: I added “narcissistic” to “borderline” after discovering that there are different kinds of BPD.  I want to distinguish between those who do and do not wish to cause harm.]

It tells me that yes, Richard is indeed a narcissist who twists his way into your heart (whether you’re male or female), manipulates you into doing what he wants you to do and then lets you take the heat

(such as when he began manipulating me into thinking it was perfectly right and proper for him to give me long hugs or put his head on my shoulder when Jeff and Tracy weren’t around and then let Tracy blame me when she found out, when he knew full well what Tracy’s temper was like while I had never even met her before),

then sucks you dry and tosses you aside when your narcissistic supply becomes old or inconvenient.

It tells me that I’m done grieving over the loss of his friendship, done wishing things were different, because there is no way on this earth that I’m going to be friends with child abusers.

[Addendum written 2014:] On September 12, 2011, at 8:13pm, 6 hours after posting a link to the Cruckson case report, I posted to Facebook in a fury I could no longer contain for social niceties,

The one I thought was my awesome, best friend–I was SO fooled. Whatever he and his wife may have thought, the true reason we “broke up” with them was that they’re both violent bullies–verbally and physically.

I witnessed and was told of domestic & child abuse. The LIAR, he told me SHE was the abuser.

But the local newspaper says that HE *choked* his eldest till she passed out. CHOKED her. Confessed to it. And will probably go to jail for it. I NEVER want to see those creeps again!

Todd replied,

What the F**K? They did sh*t so bad it’s in the newspaper? That’s disgusting. And to think I was friends with them once, too. Do you have the link to the article?

He was especially disgusted after seeing the mug shot and court records for himself, since they were freely available online.  One friend said to let CPS protect the kids and not dwell on it.  I responded,

It’s hard not to when for about 5 years I thought he was so cool…when we had seemed like such close friends…when he told me the awful things his wife was doing and that he had to be around to protect the kids from her….

Now to find out that HE is also capable of awful things.

Then I think back and remember: some details of his violent past, being arrested dozens of times for I know not what, how he almost assaulted his landlady until his wife talked him out of it, how he threatened physical violence against my husband for sticking up for me when my “friend” and I were having problems, how he used to be a thug of some kind (I didn’t get many details) when his friends were doing shady activities back in college [that’s the Mafia thing], that he told me if his wife ever cheated he’d take a baseball bat to the guy (just like the Apostle), that if she ever hit him in the face while punching him he would fight back as if she were a man….

Keep in mind that he’s very big and powerful…..I shudder to think what it was like for the eldest girl, only 9 years old at the time, getting choked by him.

It makes me wonder why my husband and I both witnessed the family all together back in June, three months after the charges were filed. I can only hope CPS is working closely with them and getting them to make changes, for him to be allowed to be so close to them.

Another friend wrote,

Oh Nyssa.  That is so very sad. I can’t even imagine why that child is still with parents like that. I agree with you and hope CPS is working closely with them. Also, I’m sure that must be difficult news to find out about your exfriend. Prayers!

The first friend wrote,

Ok, that is too much to forget about. Maybe you should write about your experiences with them to start yourself on the path of recovery? Please know that your true friends would never manipulate you like that and we support you whatever your decisions.

If you saw them in a public place in June, maybe CPS was nearby. But then again, maybe not. This seems like the type of couple that can play a part to manipulate a judge.

I wrote,

Yes, I’ve been writing down my experiences….It seems that the more I remember, the angrier I get….

I saw plenty that the wife was doing–screaming, cussing, smacking around, belittling the children. I heard her yelling at my “friend” and screaming and cussing at others….

She made all sorts of nasty comments to me and deliberately in my hearing and kept getting angry at me. I didn’t get too close to her because of that, but of course, she acted like *I* was the one with the problem, that I was making excuses of shyness etc. for not talking with her much, and tried to force me to befriend her to “prove” that I wasn’t out to “move in on” her husband. (We were just friends!)

And he just kept enabling her. Who needs that kind of drama?

After she became especially nasty one day after an e-mail which she read into all sorts of things that weren’t there, and posted on FB that she’s having a GREAT day because she finally was allowed to scream at me, Jeff and I dropped them like hot potatoes.

But I thought that my “friend,” at least, was a gentle person trying to tamp down his violent past and be pious…. Then I began to write and remember….

My husband told me how, on the day we ended the “friendship,” this guy tried to get into his face and tower over him (he’s very tall) and scream at him, and Jeff yelled at him, “You SIT DOWN! Don’t intimidate me like that!”

And they both went on about how 99% of people would react even more severely than his wife did, etc. etc…..

For so long I’ve been mourning the loss of the friendship and wishing things were different and wondering if maybe, someday, it can be restored. Constantly going over my own part in things and wondering if I should have done some things differently.

But now that I have proof–from our local newspaper and the state’s public court case website–that my “friend” has done something horrible–NO WAY. All the self-reflection can now STOP. All the grief can stop. There’s nothing here that I want back.

My friend wrote,

And there is nothing you did that was wrong. You’ve turned the other cheek to them so often you’ll be spinning for the better part of a year. Keep on writing and maybe go to the batting cages to release the anger.

I wrote,

And yes, I have reported them to CPS–ironically, posting my letter to them the same day he was charged with child abuse. So they know what I know. I’ve done all I can.

At the time, I thought the report would lead to services offered to the family, such as parenting classes and anger management and the like, and CPS would work with them to improve their lives.

When a guy shot a cop and himself after a domestic abuse situation with his ex-girlfriend here in town, I thought, “I hope that my letter to CPS means that my ex-friends won’t turn out like this!”

I had no clue that the same day I sent the letter, one of them was being charged with intentional child abuse causing injury (high probability of great harm) and 2nd-degree recklessly endangering safety, both felonies which could lead to many years in state prison.

At the time, I was very low spiritually, wondering how God could have led these people into my life and then ripped them out again in such horrible circumstances.

Now I see His leading, helping me find the spiritual answers I was seeking 6 years ago, but also putting me in position to witness things that needed to be brought to the attention of authorities.

I was there to try to influence them if possible and save them from themselves, I think, because I did try, but they scoffed at my opinions.

Then God yanked me out of the situation just in time–only two and a half months before this horrible thing happened.

And kudos to that little girl for having the courage to tell the police what happened.

Another friend wrote,

God works mysteriously, and thank God that girl had such courage. I’ve been in situations as a teacher where I knew abuse was occurring, but the child had been so well trained to lie and protect the parent.

Nyssa, you are a beautiful soul. It is so Christ-like to see the good in such a person. I remember the pain you suffered when the friendship ended, but in hindsight: what a blessing!

I’ve made some really sorry choices sometimes in friendships too, so please don’t beat yourself up about it. Lesson learned. Blessings and prayers!

I wrote,

Thanks! It’s painful to think of someone I trusted and thought was a good person, doing something like this….

But I’m told that when this girl was very small, he beat her mercilessly once. What kind of person does such a thing to a little girl??? And now he’s proven that he’s not reformed, after all.

The only good place for him is in jail, sad to say.

And of course, when it became clear that Tracy was still with Richard, some of us wondered WHY?  HOW can you stay with the man who nearly killed your daughter?  One person said she had seemed too smart for that.  We were all quite puzzled by the whole thing.

 

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On the Katrina Kennedy-Flores Video

Yes, screaming IS abuse. 

It’s not the cuss words themselves that make it abuse–especially for a toddler who probably doesn’t know the difference between a cuss word and a “regular” word–but the anger behind it.  The kid recognizes the anger.  And yes, physical abuse followed, but the screaming alone was verbal and emotional abuse.  You can hear the terror in that poor kid’s voice.  He’s just a baby!

A few links with good information on this case:

Child abuse video posted on Facebook: Katrina Kennedy-Flores arrested, child in protective custody

Mother arrested for child abuse; bystander cited for recording, not intervening

Mother, 27, arrested after sickening video of her punching and threatening to KILL her two-year-old son for losing her phone charger was posted online

The links also discuss the bystander who filmed the abuse, Sue.  People are saying nasty things about her and making death threats, but the story is that she can barely walk or move, and made the video to prove her allegations.  That she had spoken to the mother before, and was frustrated at no results from CPS in the past.  She said she and her son, also in the video, were frightened for their own lives.

I also got the impression, while watching, that they were trying to find the charger to try to pacify the mother and stop the tirade.  I’m not quite sure what someone who can barely move is supposed to do.  As for her son, I see comments that he’s mentally disabled; I don’t know what that means in his case.

She has been charged for not intervening, so she’ll get her day in court to have a jury decide if she was able to intervene or not.  Let them do it, not Facebook lynch mobs.  I know for myself how you can be terrified by a wild woman, and afraid to do anything but watch in disbelief and horror as she smacks a kid around.

In any case, she says herself that she didn’t do enough.  But she made the video to get evidence so something would finally be done about the abuse.  And something has finally been done.  Let’s not make it even harder for people to get the courage to report abuse.  It’s already scary enough; I was terrified when I reported Tracy.

I detest the Youtube etc. comments on Sue’s weight, even saying her weight is probably her disability.  Excuse me, but do you know anything at all about her medical history?  Maybe her weight came from her disability, not the other way around.  Maybe she has a tumor or glandular problem.  Maybe her legs are paralyzed or arthritic.  You don’t know, so don’t presume to know, and don’t fat-shame her over it.

I’ve seen comments on this video–as you typically do every time one of these videos comes out–that screaming is not abuse.  But I was glad to see responses that yes, it is, screaming is very harmful to a young child, and people should learn about child development before making statements like that.

I’ve written about the abuses I witnessed from Tracy here; this not only traumatized me, but drove me to post here and on Facebook so adamantly against child abuse.  It’s my way to work out the trauma.

I’ve heard her scream at her children in decibels like in the video.  And yes, I was frightened of her, too.  The abusive episodes didn’t last long enough for me to do anything about it, probably tempered because of my presence.  But her husband told me about more intense episodes, especially when she lived with her parents and away from his influence.

I reported Tracy for it, but I have no idea if Social Services did anything about it, or just dropped the ball as often happens in these cases–including the Kennedy-Flores case before this video was made.

Keep in mind cell phones didn’t have videotaping abilities back then, so I couldn’t have made a record; I can only hope Tracy’s children had the courage to speak up and substantiate what I reported.  But children can often be too terrified to do so.

This is what made me want nothing to do with Tracy.  And while sometimes her husband would tell me she was abusive toward their children, sometimes he defended her and even said screaming is not abuse.

So it encourages me greatly to see people step up and say, No, this IS abuse, and it causes serious harm to children even without bruises or broken bones.  It gives me hope that one day, child abuse of all kinds will diminish.

It also encourages me greatly to see that something was done in this case, and the mother is up on charges.

Though many appear to share my frustration that other crimes often seem to get tougher charges and sentences than ones for child abuse, such as Tracy’s husband–also an abuser–only getting probation for choking his kid.

This is another reason why I post about these things: because the system so badly failed in prosecuting Tracy’s husband, giving him a misdemeanor and probation, when he originally was charged with felonies and should’ve gotten prison time.

So obviously, while our country has made many good changes, it still has a long way to go to stamp out child abuse.  The laws need more teeth–and not for people who simply let their kids walk to the park alone, but for people who emotionally, verbally and physically abuse their kids.

Hopefully Kennedy-Flores won’t simply walk with a plea deal for probation as well.

Update 5/21/16: From this page:

The home owner claims she uploaded the video to the internet because police were not acting fast enough to take the child away after her son allegedly handed the footage into police.

Sue’s sister said she and her family are receiving death threats from Flores-Kennedy.

Sue has been charged for not intervening but claims she couldn’t because she is disabled and was scared for her teenage son’s welfare who was in the house at the time, ABC 7 News reports.

Women like this child’s mother frighten not just small children, but adults as well.  Keep that in mind, and how scared the child was just by screams, before she even touched him.  The above link also includes a video of an interview with Sue.

Woman Who Called Police

 

According to the study, researchers analyzed 75 studies that involve more than 160,000 children in a span of 50 years.

They found spanking a child leads to bad behaviors, not better manners.

Researchers said spanked kids are more likely to be aggressive and antisocial. They said their findings are incredibly consistent, and show no correlation between spanking and positive outcomes.

“Our analysis focuses on what most Americans would recognize as spanking and not on potentially abusive behaviors,” said Elizabeth Gershoff, an associate professor of human development and family sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. “We found that spanking was associated with unintended detrimental outcomes and was not associated with more immediate or long-term compliance, which are parents’ intended outcomes when they discipline their children.”

Spanking and physical abuse results had the same detrimental child outcomes in the same direction and nearly the same strength.

“We as a society think of spanking and physical abuse as distinct behaviors,” Gershoff said. “Yet our research shows that spanking is linked with the same negative child outcomes as abuse, just to a slightly lesser degree.” —Study: Spanking leads to bad behaviors, not better manners

 

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One simple reason why screaming at children is not effective

I can still remember well what I thought as a child.  My parents didn’t scream at me, but they did yell, and I can remember how I felt when they did.  And that very easily translates to how a child would respond to screaming.

It was quite simple: The more they yelled, the less I complied.

I’d already be trying to hurry up and get ready, but with NVLD, executive functioning and time management are huge challenges.  I rushed around and tried and tried, but still ran late.  My parents would yell.

Did their yelling make me hurry up?  Heck, no: I moved SLOWER out of resentment.  After all, I was already doing my best to be on time, but treated like I was being deliberately slow.  So might as well be slow, if you’re going to be treated that way anyway.

If my husband comes to me respectfully with a problem, we can resolve it peacefully.  But if he yells at me instead?  Heck, no!  All yelling does is make me resentful.  It does NOT make me comply.

When Richard and Tracy criticized and punished me for being quiet and shy, I did not turn into the life of the party.  When they decided to use yelling, cussing and screaming to get me to comply, I slammed the door on their friendship.

When people yell at me or criticize me for being quiet and shy, I become EVEN QUIETER and more reserved.  I noted this way back in 1998.

This is how I respond to not being treated with respect.

And you can be sure children are responding the same way.  THIS is why yelling/screaming is counterproductive.

 

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