I am so saddened by the news this week. It seems like every time I listen to the news, I hear another horrifying story of abuse in one form or another.
Take the Austrian woman who has been locked in a basement for 28 years by her father, who conceived at least one child with his daughter. That is just plain sick and disturbing. No commentary is necessary.
Then there is all of the hoopla with Miley Cirus. This is a 15-year-old child who looks like she just took a roll in the hay, complete with a bare back, a sheet pulled over her breasts, tousled hair, and smeared lipstick. In what universe is this appropriate for a child who is not even old enough to drive yet!?!! And yet the photographer defends the photograph as “a simple, classic portrait.” You’ve gotta be kidding me. I have sat for many “simple, classic portraits.” None involved taking off my shirt and covering my breasts with a sheet.
How could anyone think that it is okay to make this child look like she just finished having sex?
And then I saw an article that asked if a New York columnist was the worst mother in the world? The article talks about how she allows her NINE-YEAR-OLD CHILD to ride on the subway unsupervised!! Does this make her the worst mother in the world? Not even close. I know of too many mothers who raped their children, killed them, or “sold” their children as prostitutes for money or drugs. Those woman certainly earn the title more than this columnist.
Nevertheless, with all that I have experienced firsthand and learned about from numerous other people, a person is, at best, naïve to believe that a nine-year-old child is safe out in public, whether that be on a subway or anywhere else. Pimps troll for children to add to their stables (and they are not only looking for female prostitutes). Pedophiles look for these kinds of opportunities as well.
What is this child going to do if a pedophile tries to take him? The pedophile can simply act like he is a father with a misbehaving child. Who is going to stop him?
And then there are the pedophiles who notice the routines and befriend the child. After they gain the child’s trust, they harm him.
I understand that this columnist believes in “free range” parenting and argues that nine-year-old children had more independence in the “good old days.” Unfortunately, the “good old days” was an illusion. There were no “good old days” for me as numerous people raped me as a child when given the opportunity. People just didn’t talk about it back then.
On behalf of children who are being “free range parented” everywhere, let me shout it from the rooftops: YOUR CHILD IS NOT SAFE!! ONE IN THREE GIRLS, AND ONE IN SIX BOYS, ARE SEXUALLY ABUSED BY AGE 18!! THEY ONLY HAVE YOU TO PROTECT THEM!!
I need to avoid the newspapers. I am already jaded enough.
Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt