Question:

I came across your site on accident, and to be honest, I am absolutely appalled. I am currently a third year student, working towards my B.A. in Social Work, and I am astounded at your ignorance. I work with abused children everyday, and to see you condoning behavior that destroys a child makes me want to track down your information and send you to court. People have been sent to jail for much less.

Let me tell you the story of a girl. She was fifteen when she came to our center. She had no self esteem. Her father would often "use the rod" when it came to punishing her. She was covered in bruises the first time I saw her, but what hurt her the most was the bruises left on her soul. She was so convinced that authoritative figures only meant to hurt her that she did not speak when she came to counseling until the fourth month. Every hand raised to knock at a door, every sudden movement, she flinched and cowered.

Six months after she first came to us, two months after she had finally started to heal, her father was awarded custody of her, because her father's activities were justified by his religion. She committed suicide the night she learned the news. She was sixteen and she slit her wrists to avoid going back to a house where she was beaten in the name of her father's god.

This is the behavior you condone. This is the end you justify.

How can you live with yourself?


Answer:

It seems to me that it was your center and the courts who let the young woman down by not protecting her from an abusive father. But you blame his religion, which most likely taught strongly against his sort of behavior. And where was this young woman's mother? Or others of her family? Neither the government, or your center, charged the father with a crime as he should been. It was in your center that she committed suicide, even though there should have been staff alert to that very thing. And then you threaten an unrelated party with a suit! And you want to sound like an authority?

There is nothing on this web site that supports, encourages, or condones child abuse. I realize that you are just a young person, most likely without children, trying to preach against how children were raised for thousands of years in the mistaken notion that your ways are better than the prior hundred generations. It is the typical vanity of the young. It is sad that you refuse to distinguish punishment from abuse. Perhaps that is why you lost your court case.

Hopefully by the time you finish your education someone will explain to you that a government representative is not to intimidate people with frivolous lawsuits. Nor should you use personal names, which break your privacy requirements (they were removed from the posted version of your note). What leaves me wondering is why no one seems to know the law around your place:

"Conversely, parents who wish to persuade their teenagers over the age of 16 to return home will have an uphill battle. The courts have no general power to make any section 8 orders regarding children over 16. Such a restriction reflects the realistic view that it is normally pointless for courts to make residence orders contrary to the wishes of teenagers over 16. It is also unlikely that parents can force a 16-year-old to return home by involving the local authority. If the local authority considers him or her to be suffering significant harm, they can apply for a care order, but it is unlikely they would contemplate seeking such an order against the wishes of an 'elderly' teenager, unless exceptional circumstances existed. On the other hand, a child over the age of 16 who is opposed to returning home, might avoid doing so by persuading the local authority to provide him or her with accommodations, as the local authority is entitled to do, even against his or her parents' wishes. That child's parents would then have no right to remove him or her from such accommodations." [Children's Rights and the Developing Law by Jane Fortin, p. 97].

I hope you do better protecting children in your care in the future. But I would advise not blaming others for what you and those you represent failed to do.