Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Texas’ gift to child abusers

    In a post to this blog back in May, during the height of the furor over the seizure of hundreds of children from the YFZ Ranch in Texas, I wrote that the biggest beneficiaries of the "service plans" Texas tried to impose on the families would be, in fact, child abusers. "In particular," I wrote at the time, "an especially odious sub-species - husbands/boyfriends who beat and terrorize both their wives/girlfriends, and their children. The language in these plans is one more weapon for these abusers to use against the women and children in their lives.

"I refer specifically to this language:

"'A parent is also responsible if they allow anyone, including their husband or wife, to abuse the child, or if they otherwise fail to act and it results in abuse or neglect of the child. Thus, not stopping someone from abusing your child is as bad as abusing the child yourself.'

"Now, imagine a woman who has been beaten repeatedly by her husband/boyfriend. Imagine that the husband/boyfriend also is beating their children. Any expert on domestic violence will tell you that the most dangerous time for such a woman is when she actually tries to escape. But now there is one more reason for her to stay. If she threatens to call the police and seek protection for herself and the children, the abuser can waive this document in her face and say: 'Go right ahead; call the cops. They'll just call CPS and take away the kids – 'cause you're just as responsible for their beatings as I am!'

"Similarly, a mother who has been planning a clandestine escape in the middle of the night, with her children, is bound to have second thoughts when she hears that CPS deems her equally responsible for the abuse of her child."

Now we have confirmation – from the Attorney General of the state with more polygamists than any other: Utah. According to the Associated Press:

[Attorney General Mark] Shurtleff said the Texas raid has made it more difficult for his office to get abused polygamist women to report crimes, and he's had to reassure polygamist communities that he isn't prosecuting their religion. … Ultimately, we have to convince them they have to fear their abuser more than they do us," he said. ….

So abusive men, especially those who also practice polygamy, owe a great big "thank you" to Texas Child Protective Services. Presumably those men's children won't be so grateful