May 10, 2011

They date, they abuse, they text, they kill: Messages a new silent weapon

The article found here (copied below):   states in the title that textual harassment is something new, but it isn't really.  If you read the article it cites cases going back a few years.  It is new only in the sense that before text messaging it was not possible.  Parents, please check on your teens texting!!  Teens, please know that if you are being harassed by someone you can find places to get help...your parents, teachers, friends even, and many places on line.  Love Is Respect is one of the best places to turn to.  There are others in the sites listed in the Dating Abuse Page here on this blog. 

Please read the article in full, yeah yeah I know it's long, but pay attention to the one thing they all had in one else knew.  The nature of texting allows this to be completely private and well hidden.  Do something about it now...before it's too late.  Don't think it can't be you or your kids, because it can!  I know many parents that feel that checking their kids phones is an invasion of privacy; well so is death at the hands of an abusive partner.  You can start by monitoring just the number of texts per day, week, month, etc....if you see a spike talk to your teen, ask what is going on.  Then, only if you feel the need to do so, do you have to actually read the messages.

By Donna St. George
Washington Post

WASHINGTON — The text messages to the 22-year-old Virginia woman arrived day and night, sometimes 20 or 30 at once. Her ex-boyfriend wanted her back. He would not be refused. He texted or called 758 times.

In New York, a 17-year-old trying to break up with her boyfriend got fewer messages, but they were menacing. "You don't need nobody else but me," read one. Another threatened to kill her.

It is all part of what is increasingly called "textual harassment," a growing aspect of dating violence at a time when cell phones and unlimited texting plans are ubiquitous among the young. It can be insidious, because messages pop up at the sender's will: Where r u? Who r u with? Why didnt u answer me?

"It's gotten astonishingly worse in the last two years," said Jill Murray, who has written several books on dating violence and speaks on the topic nationally. Especially for those who have grown up in digital times, "it's part and parcel of every abusive dating relationship now."

The harassed often feel compelled to answer the messages, whether they are one-word insults or 3 a.m. demands. Texts arrive in class, at the dinner table, in movie theaters — 100 or more a day, for some.

Harassment is "just easier now, and it's even more persistent and constant, with no letting up," said Claire Kaplan, director of sexual and domestic violence services at the University of Virginia, which became the focus of national attention in May with the killing of lacrosse player Yeardley Love, 22.

Police have charged Love's ex-boyfriend, George Huguely, 22, with first-degree murder and allege he removed her computer from the crime scene as he fled. Huguely had sent Love angry e-mails, according to police, who have not released details.

Kacey Kirkland, a victim services specialist with the police department in Fairfax County, Va., has seen textual harassment in almost every form: threats, rumors, lies, late-night questions.

Love s former boyfriend allegedly called or texted her 758 times, insisting they get back together. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Love’s former boyfriend allegedly called or texted her 758 times, insisting they get back together. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)


"The advances in technology are assisting the perpetrators in harassing and stalking and threatening their victims," Kirkland said.

In the case involving the 22-year-old who received 758 messages from her ex-boyfriend, the harassment led to stalking charges and a protective order, Kirkland said.

Harassment by text is one facet of abusive relationships, which often involve contact in person, by phone, by e-mail and through Facebook or other social networking sites.

"What technology offers is irrefutable evidence of the abuse," said Cindy Southworth, founder of the Safety Net Project on technology at the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

Siobhan Shev Russell was killed by her boyfriend 10 weeks after high school graduation. Her mother later found scores of text messages from the boy. (THE WASHINGTON POST)

Siobhan Shev Russell was killed by her boyfriend 10 weeks after high school graduation. Her mother later found scores of text messages from the boy. (THE WASHINGTON POST)

Lynne Russell said the privacy of text messaging helped obscure the danger facing her daughter, Siobhan "Shev" Russell. The 19-year-old from Oak Hill, Va., was killed by her boyfriend in April 2009, 10 weeks after delivering a graduation speech at Mountain View Alternative High School.

Later, Russell and her husband found scores of texts, some disturbing, from the boy, now 18.

"I don't think she recognized the warning signs, and we didn't see the signs until it was too late," said Russell, who plans a dating-violence awareness campaign for the fall.

A federal survey released this month showed one in 10 high school students nationally reported being hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend during the previous year. Such surveys do not show rising violence, but the texting culture has changed the experience.

Kristin Mitchell, 21, got a text message from her boyfriend asking why Kristin had gone to her goddamned class rather than spend time with him, among others. She was killed three weeks after her graduation from college.

One woman in her 20s was so closely tracked that her partner insisted she text him photos — each with a clock displaying the time — to prove her whereabouts, said Hannah Sassoon, head of the domestic violence response team in Montgomery County, Md.

In the past several years, about a dozen states have passed or are considering laws to bring dating violence education into schools.

The legislative push comes partly from parents such as Gary Cuccia, a Pennsylvania father whose daughter, Demi Brae, was killed a day after her 16th birthday in 2007. Cuccia said Demi had broken up with her teen-age boyfriend.

Cuccia would later learn that the ex-boyfriend had texted Demi again and again, saying such things as, "You know you can't live without me." After Demi finally agreed to see him, the boy came to her home when she was alone and stabbed her 16 times.

Her father said the largely private nature of texting is an important factor.

"When I was growing up, we had one phone in the whole house, and if you were fighting with your girlfriend, everybody knew about it," Cuccia said.

Last year, Maryland passed a bill to encourage — not require — school districts to teach the topic. It was less than what Bill and Michele Mitchell, who lost their daughter, Kristin, to dating violence in 2005, wanted. But it was a start, and the couple, from Ellicott City, Md., say they will continue to push.

Kristin, 21, graduated from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia three weeks before her death. Just hours before she was killed, she had texted her boyfriend, "you are being ridiculous why cant I do something with my friends."

Bill Mitchell later learned the boyfriend had sent texts such as the one asking why Kristin had gone to her "goddamned class" rather than spend time with him. Mitchell said he hopes more young people will begin to see warning signs where his family did not.

"Text messaging, in the wrong hands, has to be about the worst thing that's come along when we're talking about dating violence and controlling personalities," Mitchell said.

A recent survey by the Associated Press and MTV shows that nearly one in four respondents ages 14 to 24 reported that partners check in multiple times a day to see where they are or who they are with, and more than one in 10 said partners demanded passwords.

One challenge is that many youths do not view excessive texting as a problem. "If you're getting 50 messages an hour and you want 50 messages an hour, that's not a problem," said Marjorie Gilberg, executive director of Break the Cycle, which works to end dating violence. "But if you're getting 50 messages an hour and you don't even want one, that's very different."

Such topics are addressed through a teen help line called Love Is Respect and several national awareness campaigns, including MTV's effort on digital abuse, A Thin Line, a joint effort on digital dating abuse called That's Not Cool and the initiative Love is Not Abuse.

Murray, the author, said her cases have included a 16-year-old whose ex-boyfriend paid four friends to help him text when he was asleep or at work: "It was like psychological torture."

Murray urges parents to check on how many messages their children get, at what hour and from whom. "Parents don't know this is going on whatsoever," she said.

May 9, 2011

The Leadership Council - 8 Myths About Child Sexual Abuse

The following is from The Leadership Council.  If you have not checked their site out, we think you should.  They have a lot of helpful information that is well put together, and they are a good organization that we feel actually help people rather than just say they do.

Few people are aware of the true state of the science on child abuse. Instead, most people's beliefs have been shaped by common misconceptions and popular myths about this hidden crime. Societal acceptance of these myths assists sex offenders by silencing victims and encouraging public denial about the true nature of sexual assaults against children. The Leadership Council prepared this analysis because we believe that society as a whole benefits when the public has access to accurate information regarding child abuse and other forms of interpersonal violence.

Myth 1:  Normal-appearing, well educated, middle-class people don't molest children.

One of the public's most dangerous assumptions is the belief that a person who both appears and acts normal could not be a child molester. Sex offenders are well aware of our propensity for making assumptions about private behavior from one's public presentation. In fact, as recent reports of abuse by priests have shown, child molesters rely on our misassumptions to deliberately and carefully set and gain access to child victims.

According to Dr. Anna Salter, Ph.D., a foremost expert in sex offenders, "a double life is prevalent among all types of sex offenders . . . . The front that offenders typically offer to the outside world is usually a 'good person,' someone who the community believes has a good character and would never do such a thing" (Salter, 2003, p. 34).

In her years of work with sex offenders, Dr. Salter has found they commonly employ a variety of tactics which allow them to gain access to children while concealing their activities. For instance, many seek responsible positions that place them in close proximity with children. They also tend to adopt a pattern of socially responsible and caring behavior in public. Many have practiced and perfected their ability to charm, to be likeable and to radiate a facade of sincerity and truthfulness. This causes parents and others to drop their guard, allowing the sex offender easy and recurring access to children.

In fact, Dr. Salter has found that the life a child molester leads in public may be exemplary, almost surreal in its righteousness. In her book, Dr. Salter presents the following description written by a child molester who had used his position as a church choir director to gain access to boys.

I want to describe a child molester I know very well.  This man was raised by devout Christian parents.  As a child he rarely missed church.   Even after he became an adult he was faithful as a church member.  He was a straight A student in high school and college.  He has been married and has a child of his own.  He coached Little League baseball.  He was a Choir Director at his church.   He never used any illegal drugs.  He never had a drink of alcohol.   He was considered a clean-cut, All-American boy.  Everyone seemed to like him.  He was a volunteer in numerous civic community functions.  He had a well-paying career job.  He was considered "well-to-do" in society.   But from the age of 13-years-old he sexually molested little boys.   He never victimized a stranger.  All of his victims were friends.  . . I know this child molester very well because he is me!!!!

Soon after writing this, the author of this confession was released on parole.  Upon release, he quickly infiltrated a church where he molested children until he was again caught and returned to prison" (Salter, 2003, pp. 36-37).

  • Salter, A. C. (2003). Predators: Pedophiles, rapists and other sex offenders: Who they are, how they operate, and how we can protect ourselves and our children . New York: Basic Books.

Myth 2:  People are too quick to believe an abuser is guilty, even if there is no supporting evidence.

In truth, people are too quick to believe that the accused is innocent, even if there is plenty of supporting evidence. According to Dr. Salter, " Normal , healthy people distort reality to create a kinder, gentler world than actually exists" (p. 177). She notes that in order to find meaning and justice in everyday life, most people assign victims too much blame for their assaults and offenders too little. In truth, it is hard for most people to imagine how any person could sexually abuse a child. Because they can't imagine a "normal" person doing such a heinous act, they assume that child molesters must be monsters.  If the accused does not fit this stereotype (in other words if he appears to be a normal person), then many people will disbelieve the allegation, believing the accused to be incapable of such act.

  • Salter, A. C. (2003). Predators: Pedophiles, rapists and other sex offenders: Who they are, how they operate, and how we can protect ourselves and our children. New York : Basic Books.

Myth 3:  Child molesters molest indiscriminately. 

Not everyone who comes in contact with a child molester will be abused. Although this finding may seem obvious, some interpret the fact that an abuser didn't molest a particular child in their care to mean that those children who do allege abuse must be lying. In truth, sex offenders tend to carefully pick and set up their victims Thus while sex offenders may feel driven to molest children, they rarely do so indiscriminately or a plan.

Research with sex offenders confirms that they tend to carefully select and "groom" their victims (Conte, Wolf, & Smith, 1989). For instance, Elliott, Browne and Kilcoyne (1995) interviewed with 91 child molesters, the all-male sample reported that they most often chose children who had family problems, were alone, lacked confidence, and were indiscriminate in their trust of others -- especially when the child was also perceived to be pretty, "provocatively" dressed, young, or small.

Rather than being a sudden, initially traumatic occurrence, most sex abuse involves a gradual "grooming" process in which the perpetrator skillfully manipulates the child into participating (Berliner & Conte, 1995). To ensure the child's continuing compliance, sex offenders report using bribes, threats and force (Elliott et al.,1995).

Below, a young pedophile describes the careful planning that went into finding his next victim.

When a person like myself wants to obtain access to a child, you don't just go up and get the child and sexually molest the child. There's a process of obtaining the child's friendship and, in my case, also obtaining the family's friendship and their trust.  When you get their trust, that's when the child becomes vulnerable and you can molest the child. (Salter, 2003, p. 42)

  • Berliner, L., & Conte, J. R. (1995). The effects of disclosure and intervention on sexually abused children. Child Abuse & Neglect , 19 , 371-84.
  • Conte, J. R., Wolf, S., & Smith, T. (1989). What sexual offenders tell us about prevention strategies. Child Abuse & Neglect, 13, 293-301.
  • Elliott, M., Browne, K., & Kilcoyne, J. (1995). Child sexual abuse prevention: What offenders tell us. Child Abuse & Neglect. 19 , 579-94.
  • Salter, A. C. (2003). Predators: Pedophiles, rapists and other sex offenders . New York : Basic Books.

Myth 4:  Children who are being abused would immediately tell their parents.

The fact victims often fail to disclose their abuse in a timely fashion is frequently used as evidence that an alleged victim's story should be doubted. Research, however, shows that children who have been sexually assaulted often have considerable difficulty in revealing or discussing their abuse.

Estimates suggest that only 3% of all cases of child sexual abuse (Finkelhor & Dziuba-Leatherman, 1994; Timnick, 1985) and only 12% of rapes involving children are ever reported to police (Hanson et al., 1999). A nationally representative survey of over 3,000 women revealed that of those raped during childhood, 47% did not disclose to anyone for over 5 years post-rape. In fact, 28% of the victims reported that they had never told anyone about their childhood rape prior to the research interview. Moreover, the women who never told often suffered the most serious abuse. For instance, younger age at the time of rape, a family relationship with the perpetrator, and experiencing a series of rapes were all associated with delayed disclosure (Smith et al., 2000).

Sex offenders typically seek to make the victim feel as though he or she caused the offender to act inappropriately, and convince the child that they are the guilty party. As a result, children often have great difficulty sorting out who is responsible for the abuse and frequently blame themselves for what happened. In the end, fears of retribution and abandonment, and feelings of complicity, embarrassment, guilt, and shame all conspire to silence children and inhibit their disclosures of abuse (Pipe & Goodman, 1991; Sauzier, 1989).

Boys seem to have a particularly difficult time dealing with sexual abuse and are even less likely to report it than girls. A review of 5 community-based studies revealed that rates of non-disclosure ranged from 42% to 85% in abused men ( Lyons , 2002). Research with abused males has found that the more severe the abuse, the more likely the boy is to blame himself and the less likely he will disclose the abuse (Hunter et al., 1992). In addition to self-blame, reluctance of boys to disclose abuse may be traced to the social stigma attached to victimization, along with fears that they will be disbelieved or labeled homosexual (Watkins & Bentovim, 1992).

  • Finkelhor, D., & Dziuba-Leatherman, J. (1994). Children as Victims of Violence: A National Survey. Pediatrics, 94 (4, :413-420.
  • Hanson, R. F., Resnick H. S., Saunders, B. E., Kilpatrick, D. G., & Best, C. (1999). Factors related to the reporting of childhood rape. Child Abuse & Neglect, 23, 559-69.
  • Hunter, J. A., Goodwin, D. W., & Wilson, R. J. (1992). Attributions of blame in child sexual abuse victims: An analysis of age and gender influences. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 1, 75-89.
  • Kilpatrick, D. G., Edmunds, C. N., & Seymour, A. (1992). Rape in America: A report to the nation . Arlington VA: National Victim Center .
  • Lyon, T.D. (2002). Scientific Support for Expert Testimony on Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation. In J.R. Conte (Ed.), Critical issues in child sexual abuse (pp. 107-138). Newbury Park, CA: Sage. (on-line: )
  • Pipe, M. E., & Goodman, G. S. (1991). Elements of secrecy: Implications for children's testimony. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 9, 33-41.
  • Sauzier, M. (1989). Disclosure of child sexual abuse: For better or for worse. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 12, 455-69.
  • Smith, D. W., Letourneau, E. J., Saunders, B. E., Kilpatrick, D. G., Resnick, H. S., & Best, C. L. (2000). Delay in disclosure of childhood rape: Results from a national survey. Child Abuse & Neglect, 24, 273-87.
  • Watkins, B. & Bentovim, A. (1992).  The sexual abuse of male children and adolescents: A review of current research. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 33, 197-248.

Myth 5:  Children who are being abused will show physical evidence of abuse.

A lack of physical evidence of sexual assault is often cited as support that an alleged perpetrator must be innocent. However, research shows that abnormal genital findings are rare even in cases where the abuse has been proven. Some acts, like fondling and oral sex, leave no physical traces. Even injuries from penetration heal very quickly in young children and thus abnormal genital findings are not common, especially if the child is examined more than 48 hours after the abuse. In fact, even with proven penetration in up to 95% of cases, genital examinations will be essentially normal.

In one study, case files and colposcopic photographs of 236 children with perpetrator conviction for sexual abuse, were reviewed. The investigators found that genital findings in the abused girls were normal in 28%, nonspecific in 49%, suspicious in 9%, and abnormal in 14% of cases (Adams, Harper, Knudson, & Revilla, 1994).

An even lower rate of abnormal findings was found in a large scale study of the 2384 children referred for medical evaluation of sexual abuse. The investigators found that only 4% of the children had abnormal examinations at the time of evaluation. Even with a history of severe abuse such as vaginal or anal penetration, the rate of abnormal medical findings was only 5.5% (Heger, Ticson, Velasquez, & Bernier, 2002).

This low rate of abnormal findings was confirmed in a case review of children with proven sexual abuse consisting of 36 pregnant adolescent girls who presented for sexual abuse evaluations. Historical information and photograph documentation were reviewed to determine the presence or absence of genital findings that indicate penetrating trauma. Only 2 of the 36 (5.5%) pregnant girls showed definitive evidence of penetration (Kellogg, Menard, & Santos , 2004).

  • Adams, J. A., Harper, K., Knudson, S., & Revilla, J. (1994). Examination findings in legally confirmed child sexual abuse: It's normal to be normal. Pediatrics, 94 (3), 310-7.
  • Heger, A., Ticson, L., Velasquez, O., & Bernier, R. (2002). Children referred for possible sexual abuse: medical findings in 2384 children. Child Abuse & Neglect, 26, 645-59.
  • Kellogg, N. D., Menard, S. W., & Santos , A. (2004).  Genital anatomy in pregnant adolescents: " Normal " does not mean "nothing happened". Pediatrics, 113 (1 Pt 1), 67-9.

Myth 6:  Hundreds of innocent men and women have been falsely accused and sent to prison for molesting children.

Over and over again, the media has raised the question whether America is in the midst of a hysterical overreaction to the perceived threat from pedophiles. Actual research, however, shows that, as a whole, our society continues to under-react and under-estimate the scope of the problem.

Prior to the 1980s, child sexual abuse was largely ignored, both by the law and by society as a whole. In the 1980s, when the scope of the problem began to be acknowledged, the police began to arrest adults accused of child abuse. A backlash quickly formed and police and prosecutors were soon accused of conducting "witchhunts." Although some early cases were handled badly -- mainly because the police had little experience in dealing with very young child witnesses -- there is little evidence to back the assertion that there was widespread targeting of innocent people.

In fact, research has consistently shown that few abusers are ever identified or incarcerated. Estimates suggest that only 3% of all cases of child sexual abuse (Finkelhor & Dziuba-Leatherman, 1994; Timnick, 1985) and only 12% of rapes involving children are ever reported to police (Hanson et al., 1999).

Further research reveals that of the few cases reported to authorities, relatively few accused offenders are ever investigated or charged. For instance, the first National Incidence Study (Finkelhor, 1983) found that criminal action was taken in only 24% of substantiated cases of child sexual abuse -- a finding replicated by Sauzier (1989). After reviewing numerous studies, Bolen (2001) noted that in the end, offenders may be convicted in only 1-2% of cases of suspected abuse known to professionals. And even then, most convicted child molesters spend less than one year in jail.

Based on the high prevalence of sexual crimes against children on our society, it strains credulity to assume that the small number of cases that are actually prosecuted constitute a "witchhunt", or that somehow mostly innocent people are targeted for prosecution. In fact, statistics suggest quite the opposite: child abusers are rarely identified or prosecuted.

  • Bolen. R. M. (2001).  Child sexual abuse: Its scope and our failure . New York: Kluwer Academic.
  • Ceci, S. J., & Bruck, M. (1993). The suggestibility of the child witness: A historical review and synthesis. Psychological Bulletin, 113, 403-39.
  • Finkelhor, D. (1983). Removing the child - prosecuting the offender in cases of child sexual abuse: Evidence from the national reporting system for child abuse and neglect. Child Abuse & Neglect, 7, 195-205.
  • Finkelhor, D., & Dziuba-Leatherman, J. (1994). Children as victims of violence: A national survey. Pediatrics, 94, 413-20.
  • Hanson, R. F., Resnick H. S., Saunders, B. E., Kilpatrick, D. G., & Best, C. (1999). Factors related to the reporting of childhood rape. Child Abuse & Neglect, 23, 559-69.
  • Kilpatrick, D. G., Edmunds, C. N., & Seymour, A. (1992). Rape in America: A report to the nation. Arlington VA : National Victim Center.
  • Sauzier, M. (1989). Disclosure of child sexual abuse: For better or for worse. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 12, 455-69.
  • Timnick, L. (August 15, 1985). The Times poll: Twenty-two percent in survey were child abuse victims. Los Angeles Times, p. 1.

Myth 7:  If asked about abuse, children tend to exaggerate and are prone to making false accusations.

Contrary to the popular misconception that children are prone to exaggerate sexual abuse, research shows that children often minimize and deny, rather than embellish what has happened to them.

In one study, researchers examined 28 cases in which prepubescent children had tested positive for a sexually transmitted disease by forensically accepted procedures. To be included in the study, the children had to have presented for a physical problem with no prior disclosure or suspicion of sexual abuse and were required to have adequate expressive language capabilities. Each of the 28 children was interviewed by a social worker trained in abuse disclosure techniques and use of anatomically correct dolls. Only 12 of the 28 (43%) of the abused children interviewed gave any verbal confirmation of sexual contact (Lawson, & Chaffin, 1992).

Another study involved a perpetrator who pled guilty after videotapes documenting his abuse of ten children were found by authorities. Because of these detailed video recordings, researchers knew exactly what had happened to these children. They were thus able to compare what the children told investigators when they were interviewed to the videotapes. Despite this abundance of hard physical evidence, the researchers found a significant tendency among the children to deny or minimize their experiences. Some children simply did not want to disclose their experiences, some had difficulties remembering them, and one child lacked adequate concepts to understand and describe them. Even when interviews included leading questions, none of the children embellished their accounts or accused the perpetrator of acts that he hadn't actually committed (Sjoberg & Lindblad, 2002).

Some people believe that recantations are a sure sign that a child lied about the abuse. However, a recent study found that pressure from family members play a significant role in recantations. Mallory et al. (2007) examined the prevalence and predictors of recantation among 2- to 17-year-old child sexual abuse victims. Case files (n = 257) were randomly selected from all substantiated cases resulting in a dependency court filing in a large urban county between 1999 and 2000. Recantation (i.e., denial of abuse postdisclosure) was scored across formal and informal interviews. Cases were also coded for characteristics of the child, family, and abuse. The researchers found a 23.1% recantation rate. The study looked for but did not find evidence that these recantations resulted from potential inclusion of cases involving false allegations. Instead, multivariate analyses supported a filial dependency model of recantation, whereby abuse victims who were more vulnerable to familial adult influences (i.e., younger children, those abused by a parent figure and who lacked support from the nonoffending caregiver) were more likely to recant.

  • Lawson, L., & Chaffin, M. (1992). False negatives in sexual abuse disclosure interviews. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 7, 532-42.
  • Malloy, L.C. , Lyon, T.D. , & Quas, J.A. (2007). Filial dependency and recantation of child sexual abuse allegations. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 46, 162-70.
  • Sjoberg, R. L., & Lindblad, F. (2002). Limited disclosure of sexual abuse in children whose experiences were documented by videotape. American Journal of Psychiatry, 159, 312-4

Myth 8:  By using repeated interviews, therapists or police can easily implant false memories and cause false accusations among children of any age.

Although research has consistently shown that children rarely confabulate about having been abused and false allegations have been found to be rare (Everson & Boat, 1989; Jones & McGraw, 1987; Oates, et al., 2000), the potential for false allegations continues to be an area of great concern in sex abuse cases.

Whenever prominent adults are accused of abuse, we frequently hear allegations improper questioning and suggestions that the child may have invented molestation stories to please probing authority figures. We also hear concerns that inappropriate, suggestive therapies by overzealous clinicians may have shaped or implanted the allegations.

Recent research suggests that these concerns have been greatly exaggerated ( Lyons , 2001). There is now a substantial body of laboratory research which finds that children are quite reluctant to discuss embarrassing events (Lyon, 1999; 2002). Overall, laboratory research using suggestive questioning has consistently shown that negative events, especially events involving a child's genitals, are relatively difficult to implant in children's statements. In fact, research shows that children are more likely to fail to report negative experiences that actually did happen to them, than falsely remember ones that did not.

Saywitz, Goodman, Nicholas, and Moan (1991) studied the memory of 72 five and seven-year-old girls for a standardized medical checkup. Half of the children received a vaginal and anal examination as part of the checkup; while the other half of the children received a scoliosis examination of their back instead. The children's memories were later solicited through free recall, anatomically detailed doll demonstration, and direct and misleading questions. The vast majority of vaginal and anal touch went unreported in free recall and doll demonstration, and was only disclosed when children were asked direct, doll-aided questions. The children who received a scoliosis exam never falsely reported genital touch in free recall or doll demonstration; and false reports were rare in response to direct questions.

It is also important to point out that many abused children exhibit post-traumatic and behavioral symptoms. To date no laboratory or clinical research supports the notion that children can falsely remember elaborate details of sexual abuse perpetrated by a trusted teacher, corroborate each other's stories in independent interviews, and develop post-traumatic symptoms -- based solely on police interviews or suggestive therapy.

  • Ceci, S. J., & Bruck, M. (1993). The suggestibility of the child witness: A historical review and synthesis. Psychological Bulletin, 113 , 403-39.
  • Everson, M.D., & Boat, B. W. (1989). False allegations of sexual abuse by children and adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 28 : 230-5.
  • Jones, D. P. H., & McGraw, J. M. (1987). Reliable and fictitious accounts of sexual abuse to children. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2, 27-45.
  • Lawson, L., & Chaffin, M. (1992). False negatives in sexual abuse disclosure interviews. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 7 , 532-42.
  • Lyon, T.D. (1999). The new wave of suggestibility research: A critique. Cornell Law Review, 84 , 1004-1087.
  • Lyon, T.D. (2001). Let's not exaggerate the suggestibility of children. Court Review, 28 (3), 12-14. (on-line: )
  • Lyon, T.D. (2002). Scientific Support for Expert Testimony on Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation. In J.R. Conte (Ed.), Critical issues in child sexual abuse (pp. 107-138). Newbury Park , CA : Sage. (on-line: )
  • Oates, R. K., Jones, D. P., Denson, D., Sirotnak, A., Gary, N., & Krugman, R. D. (2000). Erroneous concerns about child sexual abuse. Child Abuse & Neglect, 24 , 149-57.
  • Pezdek, K., & C. Roe. (1997). The suggestibility of children's memory for being touched: Planting, erasing, and changing memories. Law and Human Behavior, 21, 95-106.
  • Saywitz, K. J., Goodman, G. S., Nicholas, E., & Moan, S. F. (1991). Children's memories of a physical examination involving genital touch: Implications for reports of child sexual abuse. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 59 , 682-91.
  • Sjoberg, R. L., & Lindblad, F. (2002). Limited disclosure of sexual abuse in children whose experiences were documented by videotape. American Journal of Psychiatry, 159 , 312-4.

The Leadership Council - 8 Myths About Child Sexual Abuse

May 1, 2011

Royal couple William and Kate take stand against bullying with nonprofit

This really touched me, and I think it's such a wonderful thing to do! I can imagine the financial relief reaching these organizations!

So many don't understand how much bullying truly does affect children, and even adults! My son unfortunately has been a bully magnet, and the main reason that he is now home schooled. He got to the point where he wanted to commit suicide, and held the bullying all in without telling us it was going on. We approached the principal of the last school he was in about the bullying, the principle wanted to take my son to the classroom to point out those that were bullying him then take them aside and have a discussion with them. Needless to say, I withdrew him from the school that day.

Lately there has been information being circulated that bullying is in fact connected to child abuse and domestic violence, something I have been saying for years! Those that are abused or bullied today are tomorrows victims and abusers. The time is now to step up and change the perspectives of our children and get them the help they need before they are dysfunctional adults!

Bullying has life long lasting affects on a victims psych, many spending years working on healing from the experiences. If we turn a blind eye to someone getting bullied today, if we tell them to just ignore it, doesn't that set them up to believing that being treated badly is ok and sets them up to being a victim of Domestic Violence as an adult? Being bullied IS part of the cycle of Domestic Violence, it's the beginning along with child abuse!

Do something about it now, step in and stop the bullying! Bullying is NOT child's play!

Published: Friday, April 29, 2011, 8:42 AM
Updated: Friday, April 29, 2011, 8:55 AM

With the whole world buzzing about today's nuptials of Prince William and his bride, Kate Middleton, there is in air of giddiness around many corners of there world. There is, however, a more serious component: The gifts. What exactly do you get the couple that has literally everything?

Rather than registering at the typical stores, William and Kate have instead decided to create a network of 26 charities that guests and fans can donate to in their honor. "The Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton Charitable Gift Fund" was established in order to direct those gifts to the correct charities in the categories of support for services personnel and their families, conservation for future generations, changing lives through arts and sport, help and care at home, and finally children fulfilling their potential.

The category of children fulfilling their potential includes a nonprofit organization titled,BeatBullying. Middleton was reportedly a victim of bullying as a child and holds this organization close to her heart. According to their website, “Beatbullying is the UK's leading bullying prevention charity, creating a world where bullying, violence and harassment are unacceptable.” BeatBullying has worked with over 1.6 million of the youth in the UK in various school and community programs.

In an interview with Bay Windows, BeatBullying CEO Emma-Jane Cross said, “We hope this partnership will help Beatbullying’s message resonate worldwide -- that we all need to protect our children and young people who are often the most vulnerable in society. Our research shows that one in three children have been bullied -- this is unacceptable, but together we can stop this."

With the increase in student suicide following homophobic and cyberbullying, it speaks volumes that the royal couple is putting forth this effort to help a worthwhile cause. BeatBullying offers specific programs including those targeted at preventing LGBT students from being bullied as well as CyberMentors, an effort to prevent cyberbullying. Middleton may be years past her days when she was a bullying victim, but it is evident that it affected her enough to drive her to make a change for the greater good.

What does the Bible say about Domestic Violence?

Scripture References Related to Abuse

Brian Tubbs

Mar 2, 2010

Did husbands beat their wives in the Bible? Domestic violence is not new. Domestic abuse was as real in Bible times as today. What does the Bible say about abuse?

Victims of domestic violence should know that the Bible contains clear, unmistakable declarations against any form of physical or verbal abuse. Those who seek to justify abuse by turning to the pages of the Bible are guilty not only of harming others, but also of distorting God's Word to suit their nefarious and deplorable actions.

Scripture References Related to Abuse

While some husbands undoubtedly beat their wives in Bible times as some husbands do today, it's generally believed that this was never God's plan or design for the home. On the contrary, the Bible repeatedly calls on people to show kindness, generosity, and love to one another, and specifically condemns the abuse of wives and children. Here are a few Scripture references related to abuse and the proper treatment that husbands, in particular, should extend to a wife:

  • "So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church." ~Ephesians 5:28-29, NKJV
  • "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice." ~Ephesians 4:31, NKJV
  • "Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them." ~Colossians 3:19, NIV
  • "In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat her with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God's gift of new life. If you don't treat her as you should, your prayers will not be heard." ~I Peter 3:7, NIV
  • "The mouth of the righteous is a well of life, but violence covers the mouth of the wicked." ~Proverbs 10:11, NKJV
  • "So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God." ~James 1:19-20, NKJV

The Bible also exhorts fathers not to provoke their children to wrath (Ephesians 6:4) and to see children as a blessing and "heritage" from the Lord (Psalm 127:3).

In several passages, the Bible also promises God's attention to the poor, needy, and oppressed (Psalm 22:24; Psalm 140:12; Psalm 103:6) and exhorts God's followers to support and help those suffering affliction (Isaiah 1:17; Hebrews 13:3).

What Should Victims of Abuse Do?

In the face of abuse, Christians believe that victims should seek help from God and from those capable of extending support and assistance. Some find prayer beneficial – prayers for wisdom, grace, and protection should be offered fervently and consistently. But don't stop at prayer.

When a spouse is faced with abuse, Christians believe that she (or he) should follow the general advice Paul gives in his letter to the church at Rome. In that epistle, Paul writes: "If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men" (Romans 12:18, NKJV).

Being a general principle, it is applicable to all situations, including the home. There comes a point when it's simply not possible to live at peace. When that point comes, the biblical principle of protecting oneself and others kicks in (Psalm 82:4; Proverbs 24:11; Nehemiah 4:12-14). As for how to implement that principle, victims of abuse should consult with the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) for advice on their particular situation.

Biblical Homes – No Abuse or Violence

Christians believe that God never sides with an abusive husband or father (or abusive wife or mother, for that matter). According to modern Christian beliefs, abuse is completely inconsistent with God's standard for the home. What does a biblical home look like?

Christian ideology holds that God's standard for a biblical home begins with marriage. According to God's design, marriage involves leaving the father and mother and joining together with one's spouse (Genesis 2:24). That marriage is to be a lifelong commitment, based on two people coming together in love and in the sight of God (Matthew 19:6; Mark 10:9).

Studies, in fact, have shown that marriage is statistically safer for women and children, when it comes to domestic violence. Of course, it's vital that spouses enter into a marriage relationship for the right reasons and with a healthy assessment of each other. A wife, for example, has the right to demand that her husband will love her unconditionally, treat her kindly and with respect, and value both her and any children that come into the marriage. This is indeed what the marital vows are all about and it's one reason why premarital counseling is important.

In the Christian school of thought, a truly biblical home, one where both spouses strive to act according to God's standard for marriage, there is unconditional love, mutual submission, sexual intimacy, kindness, mercy, and a lifelong commitment (Matthew 19:4-9; I Corinthians 7:2-5; I Corinthians 13; Ephesians 5; Colossians 3:18-21).

In such a marriage, the husband does not set himself up as a dictator, but rather as a servant, modeling Jesus Christ and commits to loving his wife as Jesus loved and gave himself for the church. In such a context, abuse and violence are clearly egregious sins. Not only does an abusive husband do great harm to the one he is to love and cherish, but he has plainly deviated from God's standard.

While many professing Christians tragically engage in verbal or physical abuse, Christians believe that this has never been God's design and that domestic violence has no place in a truly biblical home.

Read more at Suite101: What Does The Bible Say About Domestic Violence?: Scripture References Related to Abuse |

Domestic Violence is Not a Private Matter

By Chosun Ilbo columnist Oh Tae-jin

Apr. 21, 2011 13:02 KST

A team of doctors in Japan's Ehime Prefecture investigated the lives and deaths of 3,000 elderly people there over a seven-year period and found that the death rate among women living with their husbands was twice as high as among those who lived alone. In contrast, the death rate among men who lived alone was 50 percent higher than the rate for men who lived with their wives.

The German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, "When a wife has a good husband it is easily seen in her face." A U.S. study shows that emotionally abusive words spoken by a husband have a harmful effect on the health of the wife. The way husband and wife talk can cause heart ailments, just like smoking or cholesterol, and warm words spoken by a husband lower the risk of his wife getting heart disease, the study said.

In "The Canterbury Tales," Geoffrey Chaucer describes a man's position as a "serf" during courtship and a "lord" after marriage. It seems that men are the same regardless of nationality when it comes to how they treat their wives.

There is an old Korean saying that even the best son cannot replace a bad husband. There are limits to a woman's patience. Women secrete lower amounts of the female hormone estrogen as they grow older. Their patience and femininity decrease along with the estrogen levels, making them more aggressive. They become less able to accept and understand domineering husbands.

The U.S. Justice Department studied 330 cases of murder involving married couples and found that in 44 percent of them the court ruled that the killing was instigated by the actions of the men. In other words, the courts found that the women killed their husbands in an attempt to defend themselves against domestic violence. Only 10 percent of the cases involved husbands murdering their wives. The average sentences were 16 years for men and six years for women. In the U.S., one woman falls victim to domestic violence every six hours.

In Korea too there are tragedies where women murder their husbands because they are unable to endure beatings any longer. Earlier this week, an 78-year-old woman committed suicide after killing her husband. She wrote a note to her son saying, "I'm sorry. I did not want things to turn out this way." Although the exact circumstances surrounding the murder have yet to be verified, she appears to have suffered years of abuse. Perhaps our society has treated this problem as a private matter for too long.

Domestic violence part of slaying suspect’s past

It's just sickening that it takes the loss of a beautiful soul to end a man's reign of Domestic Violence...

George Ruibal

By Pierrette J. Shields

Publish Date: 4/28/2011

LONGMONT — A Longmont man indicted last week on suspicion of killing his live-in girlfriend in December 2007 has a criminal history including domestic violence and drunken driving convictions.

George Ruibal, 56, is due to appear in Boulder District Court this morning for filing of charges. He was arrested last week after a Boulder County grand jury indicted him on suspicion of the second-degree murder of 45-year-old Dana Pechin in the couple’s apartment on the 300 block of 15th Avenue. He is being held on a $500,000 bond.

Ruibal reported Pechin’s death to police on Dec. 10, 2007. He said he got a ride home from a co-worker and that they found her on the couch dead under a blanket. Her body was so battered that police initially suspected she had been in an accident of some sort, but Ruibal told police she had been “jumped” when she went to a grocery store.

The Boulder County Coroner ruled Pechin’s death a homicide about a month after Ruibal made the report. Her cause of death was a closed head injury related to manual strangulation.

Investigators reported at the time that Ruibal’s story did not check out and added later that an injury to Ruibal’s face made them suspect there had been a fight. Ruibal’s DNA was found under Pechin’s fingernails.

However, investigators also found on Pechin’s neck DNA that hasn’t been identified.

Prosecutors declined to press charges until Longmont police finished their investigation, but presented the case to the Boulder County grand jury after the state’s cold case task force and an independent review of the investigation concluded that the case was ready.

The five-page indictment alludes to Ruibal’s previous legal tangles involving domestic violence.

“One former girlfriend of Mr. Ruibal told investigators that George Ruibal was violent with her during their relationship,” the indictment reads. “She expressed continuing fear of George Ruibal. She reported that George Ruibal strangled her during the relationship.”

The indictment also notes that his ex-wife reported that he strangled her, and that Pechin told friends she worried Ruibal would kill her.

In 2002, Ruibal was arrested at a Fort Collins hotel after police investigated an altercation between Ruibal and his fiance. The woman’s 10-year-old daughter told police they were on the way for pizza when Ruibal and her mother began to argue in the car. Ruibal got angry and pulled the car’s emergency brake, the girl told police.

They returned to the hotel and the argument continued, police reported. Ruibal pushed the woman and pinned her to the bed, telling her “I am not leaving here, I love you,” according to reports.

The woman reported Ruibal hit her in the chest, according to police reports. The girl told police she was in the parking lot of the hotel as Ruibal was leaving, and he drove his truck at her, so she ran back to the room.

Ruibal was convicted in Larimer County of misdemeanor harassment, including striking, kicking or shoving the victim during a domestic violence-related dispute, records show.

According to court records, the Weld County Sheriff’s Office arrested Ruibal in 2003 on suspicion of third-degree assault in a domestic violence case. According to sheriff’s reports, Ruibal and his girlfriend at the time, who was five months pregnant with his child, got into an argument at their Evans home.

She reported he pushed her and she fell onto her stomach. She later told deputies she tried to calm him down so she could call her mother, and that he accompanied her to a video store to do so. The argument continued in public, and she said he pulled on her arm while she used the other one to hold on to a stop sign while she called to passers-by for help, none of whom assisted, and he eventually forced her into his truck.

She said she tricked him into believing police were on the way and she walked to a friend’s house for help, according to reports. Deputies took photos of injuries to the woman’s head, shoulder, face and wrist.

Ruibal told deputies he did not hit her at any time. He was convicted and sentenced to 360 days in jail.

In February 2004, he was arrested in Dacono on suspicion of domestic-violence harassment and criminal mischief, but the charges were dismissed in that case.

In June of that year, according to court records, the woman listed as the victim in the 2003 assault won a permanent restraining order against Ruibal, citing the domestic abuse.

After Pechin’s death, Ruibal spent time in the Weld County Jail for driving under the influence.

Ruibal was arrested Friday at a construction site in Boulder, and the Boulder County Jail lists his home address just blocks from the Longmont Police Department.

Public defenders assigned to Ruibal’s case this week filed a number of motions in the case, including a request that a judge review the case for probable cause and limit pretrial publicity.

Community hero takes her life back

Oh how I love Twitter! This morning I woke up and wasn't sure if I wanted to get to work or do a bit of playing around, deciding to get to work was the best decision, for this morning I got a twitter from a beautiful survivor who has shared her story not only with me, but with many others and has blessed many others with her strength! What a wonderful beginning for the day!

The short story shared of course brought tears to my eyes, as so many individual stories do, and her strength shines through. It's always wonderful to hear from Sister Survivors, there's so many of us out there, there's no reason for any one to feel alone!

Please, read her story below, follow the link and leave her a message and show your support!

Submitted by tthomas

Tuesday, March 1st, 7:19 am

CLEVELAND - A woman who has experienced years of abuse has found a way to help others. Laura Cowan works full time at Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority and volunteers at the Domestic Violence Center.

She's an advocate and domestic violence survivor. She was terrorized by her polygamist husband while living in California. A complete stranger freed her from years of domestic violence.

During the abuse, Cowan kept a letter with her chronicling the abuse. While inside a post office, she was able to pass the letter to a postal clerk. The clerk took the letter and mailed it for her. Two days later the sheriff's department came and arrested her husband and freed her, her children and the other family members who had suffered abuse.

Cowan is now back in her hometown of Cleveland, giving back. She didn't let her past bring her down. She went to school and received an associate's degree in Applied Business Management in Information Technology. She now works for the Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority teaching and training those living in their facilities on computers and new technology.

This survivor is a member of the Living Truth Center in East Cleveland.

Cowan was nominated and won the People's Choice for the 2010 American Red Cross Heroes Award. She was also selected as one of the Plain Dealer's community heroes and will be recognized March 14.