reporting abuse

I start doubting Tracy was ever truly a Christian–so it’s okay to separate myself from her fellowship

Some will say, “If your abuser is or is not a Christian, what difference is that to you?  Don’t judge another person’s eternal destiny!  What’s in his heart is between him and God!”

But whether or not our abuser is really a Christian, affects us, because the answer determines how we act.  There are all sorts of Bible verses instructing us how to act during disagreements with fellow Christians, because the unity of the Body is vital.

But when abusers refuse to admit they have abused, and continue to torment the victim, it is impossible to follow St. Paul’s instructions.  This causes guilt in the victim, who feels far more anger than forgiveness.

It also affects whether or not the abuser should be treated by the Church as a believer, or put out of fellowship because of unrepentance and danger to others (especially the victim).  Do you want the victim’s salvation and healing to be threatened by being forced to face their abuser every Sunday at church?

Victims also commonly ask how a Christian, saved and regenerated, can abuse others–then not only refuse to repent, but take Communion along with the abused!  Communion is not to be taken lightly, as the Bible warns, lest harm come to the person taking it “in an unworthy manner”:

27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.

28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.

30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment.

32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.–1 Cor 11:27-32, NIV*

From What does it mean to take communion in an unworthy manner? by Matt Slick:

It seems most probable that Paul is telling people to examine their motives, make sure there is no dissension with other believers, to take the supper solemnly, and that they were to rightly understand that it represents the sacrifice of Christ.

This is why I wrote the e-mail to Richard back in July 2010, which Tracy did not let him see by forcing him to block my e-mails.

From Jeff Crippen’s former post on the Cry Out for Justice blog,  Repentance and Abuse: Real Repentance Bears Fruit:

And this, once again, is why we insist that a person who is dominated and characterized by a mentality of power and control, of entitlement to what is essentially worship, who without conscience can enforce his power and control over others through the use of wicked means, is not and cannot be a Christian.

You can be sure that where there is no fruit of repentance, there is no repentance.  And where there is no repentance, there is no salvation.

The fruit borne by real repentance and faith always evidences itself in increasing holiness of life and in obedience to Jesus Christ as evidence of having been cleansed by His blood.

We have heard of pastors who tell abuse victims that they must regard their abuser as being a Christian, even though the abuser shows no repentance and his life is characterized by habitual evil.

Being baptized or having said a prayer to accept Christ or being a church member does not make anyone a Christian.

…Oh yes, many unregenerate people appear quite moral. Think of the Pharisees for instance in Jesus’ day. But they never practice their morality out of a motive to glorify God.

They do it only for self and for the gain that it will get them from the world, which they love. Some even choose the facade of religion — of Christianity — and yet it remains only that, a facade.

In reality, the unregenerate heart is hostile toward God and cannot obey His Law, no matter how pious he may seem outwardly. The Christian, in contrast, is grieved over his sin because it is disobedience to the Lord whom he loves and is in opposition to the law of God which has been written upon his heart.

Thus, the Christian will always repent when he sin. The unregenerate never will. Like Esau, he may weep and wail and seem to show intense remorse, yet is it all motivated by a love for self. Esau only grieved because he gave away something he did not value at all, but was sorry that it cost him being first.

[Written between February and probably May 2011:]

It’s a struggle sometimes just getting up and going to church because of its connection with Richard, especially when twice he’s shown that he’ll still take his family there despite our estrangement, and that he won’t tell his wife to make peace with me for the sake of unity and peace in the body of Christ.  

When I see Tracy take the Eucharist but make no move to come to me to make peace, I feel so sick, like her hypocrisy makes me want to run to the bathroom and throw up.

I know at least some of her abuses, not just of me but of her husband and family, because I lived behind closed doors with her for a time, yet she goes to the Eucharist while making no attempt to change things. 

There is also 1 Corinthians chapters 5 and 6, which speak of judging not outside but inside the church, putting away from our fellowship those who claim to be Christians but behave in reprehensible manners, such as swindlers, thieves, and various other things–including revilers:

Reviler – Verbal abuse (also called reviling) is a form of abusive behavior involving the use of language. It is a form of profanity that can occur with or without the use of expletives.

While oral communication is the most common form of verbal abuse, it includes abusive words in written form. –an earlier version of

From Rev. Renee:

To many of us, the words “Christian” and “abuser” don’t seem to belong together. They are, or should be, a contradiction in terms.

And yet how many of us have heard of a minister’s children who were raised with cruelty and abuse? How many of us know of an upstanding, church-going man- or woman- of- God, who turns out to be a criminal or a child molester?

Who can forget the huge scandal in the Roman Catholic church, when so many of their so-called “men of God” priests were exposed as pedophiles, child molesters who were using their position in the church as a source of obtaining new victims?

Calling oneself “Christian” does not make one exempt from abusive behavior. And calling oneself “Christian” does not make one a REAL Christian, either!






If you were abused by a person who called him/herself a Christian and said that they knew Jesus — I assure you that this was the Greatest Deception and lie that they ever told.

At best they might have heard about Jesus, I doubt that they ever personally met Jesus in the SuperNatural, because when you truly meet Jesus you are Transformed by His Holy Love and when you follow Jesus you turn away from evil, and the closer you walk with Jesus, then evil is no where to be found, so when Jesus is in you and you are in Jesus you can do no evil.

And Abuse is the Manifestation of Evil. So the Counterfeit Christian lied about being an Authentic or True Christian. Just because a Person calls him/herself something doesn’t automatically make it so, look at the fruit of the Behavior they are producing to reveal their True Nature. –Soaring Dove, The Journey Out of Nothingness

On false Christian narcissists, and whether or not we should judge them as false Christians and separate from them, also see:

From Narcissists Suck: No Contact: Because Their Evil is Contagious
From Narcissists Suck: “From Such Turn Away”
Can a narcissist or sociopath be a Christian?

“Let it be understood that those who are not found living as He taught are not Christian- even though they profess with the lips the teaching of Christ.”  – St. Justin Martyr ( c.160 )

I get greatly annoyed by Christian groups who accuse each other of being false Christians because of doctrine or practices.  But the Bible does indeed warn us to discern false Christians by how they act, evil behaviors which any Christian group can agree on, whether conservative or liberal.

We are not told to let the poison of narcissists, abusers, users, deceptive ministers, thieves, con men, and the like infect us just because they’re “Christians” and we’re supposed to “love and accept and not judge fellow Christians.”  Quite the contrary: We’re told to toss them out of our fellowship!

Christ was able to hang out with sinners because he’s God and could influence them without them influencing him.  But God knows very well how fallible we are, how easily influenced by the bad behaviors of our friends.

From the Orthodox Study Bible note for 1 Kings 19:10: “The children of Israel forsook the Lord because an angry and wrathful temper took hold of them, for God cannot be known in that kind of disposition.  He can only be known in and through the virtues, such as gentleness.”


[Added 4/26/14:] From a Cry for Justice:

In summary, the pastor’s duty to the abuser is secondary to his duty to the victim.  Regarding the abuser, the pastor must 1) Be able to avoid being deceived by the abuser’s ploys, and 2) exclude the abuser from the congregation in order to protect the victim and the flock.  All of these actions will be costly. —Part 3


Prevention is better than cure.  This applies to abuse within the church as well as to our physical health.  It is better for us to create an environment in our churches that is alien and hostile to evil.

A place where righteousness and truth reign to a degree that evil just has to leave because it is exposed.  The question is, why aren’t our churches such places?

And apparently it is not exaggerating to say that they are not because victims of abuse come with the same stories over and over about how their abuser was able to hide, was able to gain allies, was able to be enabled within a local church.  What has gone wrong? —Part 5


In the church, unrepentant sin is to be pronounced from the rooftops, in the hearing of the entire church.  It is to be exposed and dealt with openly, so that those who profess Christ’s name yet cause that Name to be blasphemed by unbelievers are expelled from the body of Christ, and Christ’s Name thereby is once more honored.

If a pastor is going to deal biblically and righteously with an abuser who is a member of his church, that pastor must resolve to do so in openness and in truth.

There can be no cover up, no minimization of the evil, no political maneuvering designed to save face or cover anyone’s tail end.

The evil must be exposed for all to see, and the unrepentant evil one delivered over to the realm of darkness, outside the church, in the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. —Part 7


The large majority of the readers of this blog do not need to be told that a false gospel, gutted of a call to genuine faith and repentance, is the abuser’s great ally.

This “gospel,” which the Apostle Paul says is no gospel at all (Galatians 1), only produces nominal Christians, meaning that they are Christian in name only.

Survivor after survivor will tell their stories of how their abuser hides in the pews, playing the role of “Christian” and enjoying the affirmation of his fellow church members.

Where a false gospel is preached, false Christians are produced, and an environment that is ripe for the practice of evil is cultivated.  Sadly, we must admit that such a false gospel is widely preached in our churches today, as it has been for decades now. —Part 9


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

*Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version.  Copyright @1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society.  Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.


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


E-Mails to Friends About the Incident, written in first two months

I wrote to my friend Mike, in whom I had been confiding,

Things are at an end now with my friend and me.  Mistakes were made and the wife said all sorts of angry things that showed how she REALLY feels about me.  I don’t understand how somebody can be so venomous.

It also makes me wish that, knowing as he probably did how she felt, instead of making me endure the agony of constantly trying to be friendly with her when I was afraid of her temper, the years of tears over finding out she’s upset over something I thought was resolved or okay–I really wish he had just ended the friendship a few years ago.

He and Jeff had hoped to try to get things smoothed over, and told me to lie low for a few days.  But she came out with such nastiness [the second e-mail she sent Jeff] that told me no, it’s time to go.

And now I feel so lonely and heartbroken, wishing I had a friend here in Fond du Lac who could take my friend’s place.  Preferably a woman.  😛

I wrote to my mother,

I don’t know if [my brother or niece] has mentioned anything, since I vented about it a bit on Facebook.  But things are at an end between Richard’s family and mine.  I’ve told you before about the troubles I had with Tracy.  They just got to a boiling point and became intolerable.

Just when I’d think everything was fine, I’d discover that she was still mad at me.  She’s been snipping and snapping at me for months just for little things I wrote on Facebook, or for taking a bag of sunscreen and bugspray with me when we sat outside on Memorial Day.

I wrote an e-mail that she misunderstood and now I realize that it was easy to misunderstand (even Jeff misunderstood it), but Richard should’ve been able to explain it to her.  If she had only asked, I could’ve explained it to her.

But no, she just went on a rampage and said it was time for us all to sit down and have a “conference” while she, essentially, yelled and screamed at me.  She said the friendship wasn’t over, we just needed to have this conference while she said things she’d wanted to say for a long time.

So Jeff and I both said, NO.  There will be no conference. This friendship is OVER.

Something about my personality must rub her the wrong way, because she says she has all these terrible grievances against me–things which are far worse than the fact that she swore at me–but I always tried to be nice to her.

I gave her things like lilies or tomatoes, said she looked pretty, invited her to come over some time to watch a movie, paid her electric bill once, joked with her, laughed about husbands with her, watched her kids, told Jeff when she needed a ride because their car broke down yet again, etc.

But apparently I was just horrible to her somehow.  I just don’t get it at all.  Neither does Jeff, who has nearly always been there whenever I was with her.

Neither does anybody he vents about it to.  They’re like, “Nyssa?  Why would anybody have a problem with Nyssa?  She’s not offensive!”  [One person was shocked that anybody would cuss at me like that.]

She blew up at me via e-mail and told me not to go “crying to Jeff,” told Jeff about it, he tried to calm her down and make apologies and stuff (since I was advised to lie low), she got even worse.  In the end, Jeff and I looked at each other and decided simultaneously, we can’t do this anymore.

We’re both heartbroken, me because I lost my best friend (Richard) after all the effort I’ve put into this friendship, Jeff because he thought our friendship was worth far more than to just let us walk away.

What did Tracy say when Jeff went over to tell them it was over and get some books I lent Richard?  “Give him the books so we can get back to our movie.”  ?!?!?!?!

We’re not the first friends she’s driven off.  We’re not even the second.  We wonder how long it’ll be before Richard realizes that she’s driving his friends away left and right.  They’ve only been married for several years and this has happened.

We’re going to miss the girls.  Our son probably will, too.  He’s always loved playing with them and making them little presents.

I’m heartbroken that Richard would let her get like this with me, that he keeps letting her drive off his friends. 

I thought our friendship meant more to him than that.  He once said I was the most awesome person he knew. 

But he just let his wife turn into a shrew and drive me away.  While he enabled it and listened to her and just would not listen to me.

Because of friend loyalty I didn’t want to breathe a word of this to anyone besides Jeff, before.  But they are FILTHY housekeepers.

Every time I went over there, I had to clean the bathroom floor and toilet seat and part of the toilet before I could even go to the bathroom!

[Jeff saw the filth, too, and made sure to never sit down when he used their toilet.]

And there was no wastebasket in there [to throw away the filthy paper after I cleaned the toilet seat, so I had to flush it].

And when her mother (who’s worse than her, I hear) [that refers to the BPD] comes over to visit and starts cleaning the filth, they get furious with her.

And the way Tracy treats those kids and Richard is just terrible.  I won’t be calling social services because that would just be vindictive.  But I am glad to not be dealing with THAT anymore….

Imagine what it was like for me trying to keep the mess at bay while they were here, while they just let their clothes pile up on the floor despite the clothes basket I bought.

It took me at least a week to clean up the house after they left.  And a cockroach came along with them.  Fortunately, the cockroach has long since disappeared.

Her family is so screwed up that I wonder if there’s something wrong with [Tracy] mentally. 

[Her mother had mental problems, and I did not yet know about narcissist and borderline personality disorders, which would both explain Tracy’s behavior.]

Based on what she wrote on her Facebook page right before I deleted and blocked her from my friends list, she’s probably feeling absolutely wonderful and telling her family how she finally said things that “needed to be said.” 

Yeah, whatever, lady.  And now you’re alone without the friends who would do anything for your family and once moved heaven and earth to [get money we didn’t have, to do a thing, that prevented catastrophe in her family].

I’m without a best friend in Fond du Lac now, and that’s lonely.  But we’re trying to reconnect with some people so we won’t be lonely for long.

Catherine’s husband has crazy work schedules, which is the only reason we don’t see them much, since it’s hard to accommodate them with a young child who needs an 8:30 bedtime.  We’re trying to see them again.

And my friend Mike still e-mails me and chats with me on Facebook.  Clarissa and Astrid sometimes do as well.  Sharon doesn’t have Internet, so she rarely shows up, but we were supposed to be getting together this summer.  I thought Richard was my bestest friend ever (besides Jeff, of course), but I guess these are far better.

Jeff is very supportive–well, heck, we’re going through this together….

Richard would tell me that screaming at kids is necessary, but his kids don’t even do housework when they’re told.  Our son needs only a list of chores written on a little slate each morning, and off he goes to do them.

So our household is nice and peaceful, and we’re leaning on each other through this.

I talked with Mike on Facebook chat around July 4, 2010.  I told him how Tracy would smack Richard around

and that Richard said if she ever hit his face, he’d say she’s no longer a woman, and hit back. 

Mike said things like, “Why would you want to be friends with them?  These people are TOXIC!” 

I told him how Tracy abused the kids, so he–a pastor and, at one time, a worker in a domestic violence shelter–urged me to report them. 

I said, “I don’t want to be vindictive.” 

He replied, “Don’t let friendship be more important than those children!”

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


Early 2010: I speak up about Tracy’s child abuse–and ponder reporting her to authorities

Very late December 2009 or very early January 2010 is when I saw Tracy smack the 3-year-old upside the head, which could’ve easily sent her flying into the TV, which was a short distance in front of the child.

Keep in mind this child was very small for her age, and toddlers are already small, their heads not fully formed, their brains still vulnerable. 

Even if the child does not fall on something or get a visible injury, smacking a child like that can give a kind of whiplash to the delicate brain as it whacks against the wall of the skull.

Shaking or hitting a child’s head or face is always dangerous. Young children cannot control the movement of their head as well as adults can.

Shaken baby syndrome (shaken baby–impact syndrome) is brain damage caused when a baby is shaken, slammed, or thrown against an object. –“Physical Abuse: Common Injuries in Children,” HealthLink BC

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

But Tracy popped her child in the back of the head right in front of me one evening, so hard that the child’s tongue flew out.


I sat in shock and disbelief.  I wonder if it showed on my face, if Tracy saw it–and if this is what renewed her campaign against me.

But she only has herself to blame.  Not me, and certainly not that poor child.  Sure the child was being naughty, but abuse is never the answer, never the fault of the child.

I think I wondered if I should call the police.  But when you’re a guest in someone’s home, and that someone already frightens you….

Afterwards, I spoke to Jeff at home about it, and discovered he didn’t see it happen even though he was in the room.  I went through a moral crisis over the next week or two.

I posted about it briefly on an Orthodox forum late on January 6, 2010, hoping somebody would help me with good advice.

Though I soon took it down again (in the wee hours of January 7) after a guy scolded me twice over: first, for “gossiping” if it wasn’t that hard, and second, for not calling the police if it was so hard a slap.

But another poster got upset with that guy, couldn’t believe he wrote what he did, and understood my predicament.  He understood this wasn’t about “gossip” but about badly needing advice about abusive friends.

He urged me to report Tracy to Social Services, even gave me a link to state CPS phone numbers and said I could do it anonymously.

But I hoped that somehow I could convince her this was wrong, without calling the police or CPS.

Those few weeks were so hard that I finally told Jeff the various abuses I had seen and that Richard had told me about, so he’d know where I was coming from.

He already knew some of them, because I told him at other times.  But now I showed him the e-mail and notes from March 22, 2009, the contents of which I never showed him before, keeping Richard’s confidence.  He finally realized just how bad things were in Richard’s house.

I asked Jeff, “How much more of this can I take?”  Because being friends with Tracy, and not calling CPS or the police about what I saw and what I knew, was working like acid on my conscience.

Jeff and I discussed whether we should report her to Social Services, but set it aside for the time.  I forget why; maybe we thought we could still influence them to stop the abuse.

Later in the year, after we ended the friendship, we set it aside again, in fear that Richard would take vengeance like he almost did with the apartment manager, whom he plotted to kill.  (I also didn’t tell Jeff the full details about that plot until July 2010.)

Shortly after the smacking incident, one of their friends, Chris, stopped over for a bit as we played D&D at Richard and Tracy’s house.

His own wife did some of the very same things Tracy did, but he apparently had no clue Tracy did them:

  1. Chris’ wife fought tooth and nail to keep him from seeing Richard, just as Tracy used to fight tooth and nail in early 2008 to keep Richard from coming over for ten minutes just to pick up stuff they left behind at our house.  (So you see it’s not just fearing affairs that gets people to act jealously).
  2. Chris’ wife went into rages and hit him.

Chris complained about latest developments: She left him again.  He saw her smack his son (from a previous marriage) on the back of the head, and he was very upset about that.  Chris said that smacking anywhere but on the butt or hand is abuse.

Tracy said, “Well, I smack [the 3-year-old] on the back of the head all the time!”

He looked startled, and she laughed and said, “I’m just kidding!”

To which my mind screamed, “You are not kidding!  I saw you!”

Then Richard joked about smacking kids on the back of the head, said the way he grew up it was normal.  He talked like they did this all the time and there was nothing wrong with it.

I cried vehemently, “No, no, no, no!”

To hear Richard joke about smacking kids and apparently condone it, disgusted me. 

But at least I finally had the chance to speak up about Tracy’s actions–and without broaching the subject myself.  Not only that, but Chris supported my views.

It was so Providential that I wrote back to the guy on the Orthodox forum.  I said that God seemed to have answered my prayer, and arranged circumstances so I could say something to Richard and Tracy.

We both rejoiced.  I hoped that everything was settled and I would not have to call CPS.

I made my feelings known another time as well: On February 8, 2010, Chris posted on his Facebook wall,

And some say that ‘waterboarding’ isn’t torture!
Daily Mail: U.S. Soldier waterboarded his own daughter, 4, because she couldn’t recite alphabet

I replied at 8:12pm,

Anyone who thinks the US should use torture of any kind, should read “Proved Innocent” (the story of Gerry Conlon). 😛

I wrote at 8:29pm,

And all for not knowing the alphabet. It’s like the parents who made their little girl eat half a bar of Irish Spring and ignored her near-fatal allergic reaction, just for saying a bad word. 😛

Screaming, belittling, hitting anything other than the butt (or maybe a quick hand slap), torture–all are child abuse and inexcusable.  😛

Richard’s reply is no longer available for me to quote exactly because he blocked me months later.  But I recall him writing, “Screaming is abuse?  Seriously?”

I replied the next day at 4:53pm,

There’s a big difference between yelling and screaming. I’m not talking about yelling at a kid who’s about to touch a hot stove or run into a street or who isn’t listening.

I’m talking about screaming, screeching, sounding like a demon….

There was no reply.

Um, screaming is not abuse?  Seriously?

It was absolutely appalling.  I used to think Richard was kind and gentle, with a big heart, like his friends kept saying about him.  But I was beginning to see an entirely different person, the wolf underneath the sheep’s clothing.

This post (and a refusal to get into his extremist politics) is probably why, a very short time afterwards, both Tracy and Richard 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 furious 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.

They didn’t scream, didn’t use a belt, didn’t smack me or slap me on the head.  Of course I did naughty things from time to time, as all children do, and got yelled at, but I turned out fine without being abused by my parents.

If Richard told me the above stories of abuse, and Tracy did the above abuse right in front of me, so brazenly, as if bragging, as if to show no fear that I would report them–what else went on when I wasn’t looking, what was I never told?

What the heck were they thinking?  Why did they think they could do this without me ever reporting them to the authorities?

Why did they repeatedly do these things, yet Richard treated me like I didn’t know what I was talking about when I said this was child abuse and Tracy was abusing Richard?

Why did Richard tell me the things Tracy did, how she’d be mean to him over the phone for example, and why did Tracy demonstrate to me that the stories were true, yet they expected me to befriend Tracy?

Why did they think I’d want anything to do with a child abuser and husband beater?  Why did they think I’d ever want to open up to her?

8 Reasons People Don’t “Get” Emotional Abuse
Unnecessary Force is Emotional Abuse [no longer available on Web]

When I told these things to two friends who were in some way involved in Social Services in my state, both said Tracy and Richard sounded very abusive and I must report them for the sake of the children.  This was in July 2010 and February 2011.  I finally did in March 2011; the story is here.

What did they do when I wasn’t around?  What did Richard not tell me about?  I was to discover the answer in 2011.

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