Daily Archives: April 19, 2013

Child Abuse Awareness Month: Sexual Abuse

This is a topic nobody wants to hear about.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four girls report being sexually abused before age 18, and one in six boys.  Now, these statistics only include cases that are reported, and were gleaned from retrospective studies that the CDC conducted.  Other sources predict that one out of every two girls will experience some sort of sexual abuse by the time they reach 18, and those forms of abuse can include:

  • Inappropriate touching
  • Fondling, i.e., inappropriate stimulation of sex organs
  • Forced non-intercourse sex acts such as fellatio or cunnilingus
  • Intercourse, vaginal or anal
  • Forced or coerced posing for pornographic photographs or videos

Most sexual abuse is committed by someone known to the child, usually male, although there are female abusers out there too.  The abuse usually starts with some kind of grooming, to establish rapport and trust with the child: buying toys, taking the child to the movies or amusement parks, giving the child sweets, etc., until the child regards the abuser as a trusted “friend.”   The grooming process may take place over months or even years.

Once this has been accomplished, the abuser ofter begins by having the child watch pornography with him, or look at pornographic materials, especially of children engaged in various sex acts.  The child begins to see these things as somewhat normative.  Somewhere along this line the abuser begins to touch the child, often telling the child that this is how love is expressed.  The child may be frightened, but the abuser comforts them and tells them it’s all right because they love each other, don’t they?

The child cooperates because they feel that they will hurt the abuser’s feelings if they don’t.  Sometimes this works all the way until penetration is attempted, at which point the child is in pain and becomes afraid.  At this point the abuser often switches to using threats that he will tell the police and the child will be taken to jail, or he will tell the child’s parents and they will be very angry; or if the child is very attached to the abuser he may tell the child that if he tells, the abuser will be taken away and the child will never see him again.

This pattern of abuse may continue for years until adolescence, when the girl or boy finally realizes what has happened to them and they shun the abuser.  It’s very rare for kids to disclose at this point.  It’s much more common for them to become depressed, self-harm, attempt suicide, get into drugs, run away, or enter prostitution.

In my former position as Child Sexual Abuse Expert Witness for the Prosecutor’s Office of Monroe County, NY, and then for the State of Ohio, I most often encountered children 18 months to four years old who had been discovered to have physical evidence of abuse by either their parents or a pediatrician on routine exam.  We used various methods to obtain disclosures of who the perpetrator was: play therapy using dolls to act out the scenes and methods of abuse, sitting on the floor with crayons and paper, all sorts of things.  Everything was videotaped to use as evidence at trial, even though many judges refused to use that evidence at trial because it was from a minor.  Go figure.

My youngest patient was five months old, and had been vaginally raped by an adult in his 40′s.  My worst-ever case was a nine month old boy who had been anally raped and then beaten to death by his mother’s boyfriend (and pimp) when he was left alone with the baby while she went to the convenience store down the street.  That perpetrator was tried by grand jury, not a regular jury trial, and was sentenced to 7-to-15 years with possibility of parole at 3.5 years.  This was in a state where rape-murder was a capital crime (Ohio). I was never called as a witness, even though I was the receiving physician in the emergency room when the lifeless baby was brought in.  That trial, which I watched on closed circuit television as they let the bastard off, was the end of my position;  I couldn’t stand it any more.  I quit then and there.



Fun Friday: With The Westboro Baptist Church

I never thought I’d ever post a video of members of the Westboro Baptist Church because it’s funny, but here it is. It just took the right person to interview them.

What My Hobbies Don’t Make Me (A List of Sorts About Stereotypes)

  1. Just because I’ve been a video gamer my entire life, it doesn’t mean I’m some sort of murderer unable to integrate into society.
  2. Just because I’m a crocheter and a knitter, it doesn’t make me a grandmother. I’ve been doing one since childhood, and figured out the other as an adult.
  3. Just because I enjoy baking, it doesn’t mean that I’m some anti-feminist stuck in the 50s. I simply derive enjoyment from turning out tasty things by my own two hands.
  4. Just because I am an avid reader, it doesn’t mean that I have no grip on reality. Liking the stories in books is no different than liking the arcs of whatever is on television these days. It’s just a matter of preference.

I make this list both to share the hobbies I enjoy, and to make the point that most of us with mental illnesses make — just because I have bipolar (insert your flavour of disorder here), it doesn’t mean I’m some off-the-hook psychopath lying in wait to kill someone. I’m just another person doing their best to get through this maze of life, and having to do it with a little more weight on their shoulders.

And like other people, I like doing things; while you don’t have to like them personally, I’d say to put the shoe on the other foot — how would you feel if someone assumed you were like x or y because you liked certain things? How would you like people deciding that you had to be a certain way because you were ‘normal’? Yeah, the shoe never fits comfortably on the other foot, but it does us good as people to reflect and remember the Golden Rule — to do unto others as you would have done unto you, and to always try to remember that some are struggling, and to love them to better love yourself.

And as I’m going far afield and starting to be a bit with the proselytizing (whups), I’ll wrap it back around to the first point — that while stereotypes exist, that doesn’t tell the truth of a person. And that it’s something to keep in mind, especially when society tries to pressure us into thinking that a person has to be ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ for looking like they fit into a stereotype. I’m sure we all have stories about how stereotyping has been detrimental, and I’d love to hear about it from others, to see what it’s like from a completely different pair of shoes.

Beyond that, happy Friday, and I hope that everyone will have a faboo weekend.


The post What My Hobbies Don’t Make Me (A List of Sorts About Stereotypes) appeared first on The Scarlet B.

A new spoke in the mood cycle?

I’ve wakened in a decent mood two days in a row. Toss in the increased dose of Cymbalta and its temporary rush to my brain chemicals…Hmm, interesting. I didn’t even set my alarm this morning, figuring I was in no rush to do anything. I woke up at 6 am. And it was starting to get light out. Which usually indicates the seasonal affect has finally run its course and I am beginning the spring/summer cycle of my disorder.

I have already played cliff to climbing kittens. Played fetch with my cat Bella for a half hour. She is a cat who thinks she is part dog, because she will keep bringing me back a wadded up wrapper or piece of candy for hours if I keep throwing it. I think it makes her super cool. Funny thing is, she has no tail and one of the neighborhood kids asked about my white dog. Ha ha ha, I guess they’ve never seen a cat with no tail.

The kids…I sent them home Wednesday night. Just said no company and closed the door. I was polite but firm.

Last night, the girl was in the drive as we pulled in and I just said okay, fine. Let the kids play. Then her brother came over and I had two kids vying for my attention, talking to me at the same time, and I had kittens scaling me and my head was swimming. It was too much stimulation. I swear those kids are attention starved or something. They don’t seem neglected outwardly, but usually when kids hover around the adult rather than the kid they supposedly came to play with…It indicates they crave adult attention. I could be wrong. But when you let your 7 year old wander all day and night I gotta wonder if you are just a progressive parent who trusts your kid and is naive enough to think bad things don’t happen to you or if you just want them out of your hair.

I have given some thought to what the shrink said about a lot of my depression being personality. I know my personality presents a slew of “wow, could I be more psychologically fucked up” issues…But aside from being socially awkward and fearing what seems to be an Orwellian 1984 future…Most of my issues really do relate to the never ending mood swings and anxieties. She spends ten minutes with me via satellite. I live in this mind. I don’t think she can be trusted to dictate such things. Even my counselor recognizes how hard it is to maintain a life of never ending shifts in mood and mental states. But I guess that’s why doctors push meds and leave the rest to therapists. They have no clue what they are doing.

My moods the last two days haven’t been great or horrible. I did have an episode the other day of being too anxiety ridden to make some customer calls. I just…couldn’t make myself do it at the time. After some time passed, I ripped off the band aid and did it. I don’t know why the anxiety makes such appearances then vanishes. And I know logically I won’t die from a panic attack. I keep trying to self bully and tell myself to nut up and just do it instead of being a wussy…But my psyche is pretty weak compared to the ass kickings the mental stuff gives me.

Wow, the Cymbalta rushes are something else. It won’t last but I swear I took a hit of speed or something. Having never done actual speed, I can only imagine this is what it’s like. I guess I could liken it to the caffeine or ephedrine pills the gas stations used to sell. I did a lot of that stuff when I worked 12 hour shifts. It feels good for awhile, until it just dissipates. By the time I get out and deal with people the happy rush will have ended and I will probably level out of dip low.

Sometimes I just want to set the mood cycle on fire. In my mind, I can picture this bicycle that represents the mood cycles and I can just envision myself dousing it in gasoline and seting it afire. It would feel good. It would be awesome. It…is a figment of my imagination. But a ghoul can dream.

In a final note of “what the fuck”…Why is it when I get my home scrubbed and smelling good and sparkling…No one ever visits? If I have let things for a couple of days and the place looks cruddy…THEN people show up. Like when I am low and my hygiene and appearance take a dive. THEN a guy will hit on me. The days I spend an hour primping and scrubbing myself clean and look sharp…NOTHING. What is that about, anyway?

Irrelevant to this blog’s theme, but still. WTF, dude?