(This article was written by Darlene Ouimet. She supplies some links at the end of her article and wants the reader to know that they can be considered graphic. She has an open and honest voice and I encourage you to check out her site JDP): http://emergingfrombroken.com/about-us/
When Society Defends Abuse and Abusers instead of the Abused Child
Many of you have heard about the 5 year old little girl Alexa Linboom who was disciplined for drinking her step mothers grape soda without permission and as a punishment her father and step-mother forced her to drink 2.4 litres of water and several cans of grape soda which caused her to die. “Both parents were charged with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and two counts of aggravated child neglect.” (court date for this trial is Scheduled for October 2014)
Here is a summary paragraph, but if you are interested in the whole story follow the highlighted sentences and links at the end of the post. “The Vaughns disciplined Alexa by forcing her to drink about 2.4 liters of fluid, including several 12-ounce cans of grape soda, in a span of one to two hours, according to an autopsy report prepared by the Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University. She was bruised throughout her body and had cuts on her face, the report states.”
In an effort to show what children and adult survivors of child abuse are up against with the way society views child abuse, I am writing about the commenters who STUCK UP for the parents in this situation, saying that the punishment (charged with murder) they received for their actions which ultimately caused this little girl’s DEATH, was too harsh.
The autopsy report and even the charges state that there were signs of ongoing abuse and neglect but some people commenting still defend the abusive parents.
It has been my experience that sticking up for abusive parents is about parental entitlement; if anything threatens the ‘rights’ of the parents, some people will freak out and defend parents; even parents who caused the death of their child. Adults posted on this article that their parents disciplined them in a similar way and they ‘turned out fine’. Some defended the parents saying that it wasn’t ‘that much liquid’ and they go down the rabbit trail leading nowhere defending that this little girl ‘should have been able to drink that much liquid’… As though the specialists who performed the autopsy must have made a mistake, but the bottom line is that there are people who are completely willing to ignore the DEATH of this child that directly resulted from the punishment she was given because validating that the child DIED as a result of the punishment, threatens the ‘rights’ of parents. There can be no other reason for their defensiveness.
I am using this example because it is extreme enough to get my point across. A child is dead and instead of reading the entire article and realizing that a horrific crime had in fact been committed, some people wrote in defence of the abusive parents who KILLED that child.
In order to support their claims that these parents should not be convicted, several people posted that “the death was an accident.” So does that mean that the punishment wasn’t fitting because the parents didn’t know it might kill her? Does that mean that the evidence of ongoing physical abuse and neglect should not be brought up as evidence against the parents? And in reference to the actual event ~ If my husband throws me down the stairs, should he be excused because he didn’t realize that action would break my legs? And if I went into a coma and died, should he be let off because he didn’t intend to kill me, he just wanted to ‘teach me a lesson’? Does that make the death an accident?
If a woman is threatening her child by hanging her over the side of a bridge by one leg and the mother loses her grip which results in the child falling to her death, does that excuse the fact that she dropped her child off a bridge. Can we really call that an accident?
Here is a visual for you; Imagine that I am sitting at a table with friends and I reach over and grab my friends glass of soda pop without asking, and I drink it. What would the other people say or do if she started forcing me to drink liquid until I passed out? Imagine me sitting in a restaurant, choking and sputtering while my friend forces me to keep drinking as punishment for taking her soda. And then if it went to court, and my abuser was convicted of wrongful death, and it was posted in the news, how many people do you think would DEFEND the person who forced me to drink until I died?
Why does so much of society view the way that an adult treats a child any differently?
I watched a video of an abusive father whose daughter set up her webcam to capture her father beating her with a belt. The video is over 7 years old, and it if you watch it I will warn you it is very graphic and really hard to watch. Again, it is the comments from some of the commenters that got to me the most. Even though this video went viral, and there was a public outcry against the abusive father who also happened to be a Judge in the State of Texas, people were defending him. People called the daughter all kinds of names and made all kinds of judgments indicating that these parents were within their rights and that the daughter deserved whatever treatment they dished out AND some commenters posted their opinions about the daughter as though they ‘knew’ all about her and why she deserved the beating. The video showed an abusive father, beating his daughter with a belt and swearing at her saying things like “bend over or I’ll spank your f-ing face” for almost 7 minutes straight (well he leaves the room once and comes back and starts over) and people didn’t take that recorded evidence at face value, but instead justified the fathers behavior with all kinds of judgments such as ‘she was so ungrateful and spoiled and posted all types of reasons as proof of WHY the daughter DESERVED the beating and verbal abuse.
What gets me is that the commenters who post in favor of the parents’ rights to beat their children so often refer to the children as though they are NOT actually “people” with basic human rights. This is also where we find the root of the problem; so many people view children as NOT quite people yet and some commenters will even refer to themselves as children who ‘deserved’ to be hit in this way justifying that it didn’t “hurt them”. I find myself wondering if those same people beat their own children or plan to and therefore must agree that what their parents did to them was ‘not abuse.’
But there is a true truth;
When an adult hits another adult it is called assault. And assault is illegal. If an adult hits me, I am going to charge that adult with assault. If forcing a child to drink fluid until she passes out, goes into a comma and dies isn’t murder, than what the heck is it? It can’t be called an accident. Why would people give exceptions to parents? Why would the death be excused as an accident? Why is beating a child ever viewed differently than beating and assaulting and adult?
I chose this topic for my content today because I want to expose the way people think and how we have been brainwashed to think in dysfunctional families which causes us to question the definition of “abuse” and “assault”. If people would defend parents who forced a child to drink grape soda and fluids until she passed out, how much more would people defend parents who verbally abused their children? How much more would society defend parents who used a belt, hair brush, shoe or other object to discipline their children? And how much more would people defend neglect and disregard children who have grown up with the emotional pain of being treated in these ways? Just because those treatments are widely accepted and even supported doesn’t make them ‘right’ treatments. People defending parents’ rights do not make those abusive treatments correct or even legal! It isn’t LOVE to treat children this way. Parents do not have those kinds of ‘rights’.
Parents are NOT above the law when it comes to their children and although many parents act as though and believe that they are entitled to do, say, behave however they wish towards their child, that doesn’t mean that they ARE entitled.
Here is the KEY message I am trying to communicate: The next time you tell yourself something must be wrong with you because you have been discounted, rejected, abused, devalued, ignored, dismissed and broken and everyone has convinced you that the problem is ‘you’ remember that just because “everybody” says “it’s you”, doesn’t mean they are right. And just because people agree with certain practices in dysfunctional families, doesn’t mean those practices are right either.
It was when I stopped fighting to prove that I was right and just believed that I was right, that the healing really began. It was when I saw the truth through the grid of love that I realized that love doesn’t harm. It was when I stopped trying to get the abusive people in my life and the people who supported them and their practices to HEAR me, and listened to myself instead, that my world began to look brighter.
Please share your thoughts about this with me. I look forward to hearing your views! Exposing the Truth; one snapshot at a time-Darlene Ouimet (A link to Darlene Ouimet’s site is listed at the top of this story and in the “Links” below.)
My [Darlene Ouimet] Article on the guy who shot his daughter’s laptop: “Facebook Parenting for the Troubled Teen”
Links to the News Stories and Videos: Grape Soda Story
Judge Adams story of abusive father: VIDEO (is graphic)