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Archive for the ‘Mistake’ Category

As I began my vacation in the Canadian Rockies, thrilled that for 2 weeks I would be unreachable by phone, I received an email message from a friend that was utterly disturbing.  Suddenly being thousands of miles from home in a country where I had no phone to contact my friend was not quite as wonderful as it had been moments before I read the email.

My friend had to go away on business for a few days.  Her husband and teenaged daughter drove her to the airport.  That trip was perhaps the last “normal” moment she will have for a while.

I should interject that her teenaged daughter is one of the most beautiful girls I have ever seen in person, with long dark hair, piercing dark eyes and a figure “to die for” as the saying goes.  She has been approached to work as a model and I think she could make real money doing just that.

On the way home, after they dropped off my friend, her husband stopped and bought alcohol (the drinking kind not the rubbing kind) for his underaged daughter.  I suspect he had some himself.  He then proceeded to make sexual advances to his daughter!!  Yes, you read that right!!  His daughter was able to fight off the advances, so there was no physical damage;  however, the psychological trauma was devastating.

This incident is what led to my title.  I discussed the whole thing with my husband, since he is a man (big surprise there, I know), and he was as puzzled as I was.  How could a man do something like that to his own child?

Yes, the alcohol provided some fuel, to be sure.  But the alcohol did not put the idea into this man’s head.  What is it with men?

If you think about the sexual abuse of children (at any age), the offenders are most often men.  Women (sane ones, at least) do not damage children – especially their own.  Women protect their children.  In the culture of the Native Americans I work with, children (and women) are considered sacred.  They are the ones who carry life into the future.  I’m sure it has occurred, but I have never personally heard about or read about a mother who has sexually molested her child.  I have heard about many men who have done such things!

Again I ask, what is it with men?

Yes, I’ve read the clichés about men thinking with their penises rather than their brains.  I can see how teenaged boys can get carried away, when the strength of those urges are new and unfamiliar.  But a man who is old enough to have a 17 year old daughter is a man who is old enough to have learned how to control his sexual urges.  A man who is a father ought to be the protector of his family, not the one who damages his family!

My friend is a strong woman who is very protective of her children and her family.  She would often speak of how much she loved her husband and her children.  She is such a positive person and a role model for those around her.  Now she is trying to figure out how to explain these things to her teenaged children — and to herself.

I am so angry for her.  I’d like to slap this man upside the head and ask him  what on God’s good earth could have made him think this was okay to do, alcohol or not!  But I know I’d get the typical answers:  I didn’t know what I was doing; the alcohol made me do it; I just couldn’t control myself.

Baloney!

You all know what I’d really like to do to him – I don’t have to spell it out, I’m sure. . .

Maybe I should put the soapbox away for the time being, before I get carried away.  After all, I’m a woman – I know how to maintain self-control.

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Let me say this right up front, while I’m dusting off my soapbox . . .

I AM NOT A PRUDE!!

And while I’m at it, although I’m 58+ years old, I am not old – my mind has settled in at about 25 years old.  So I am not an “old fogey.”  If you’ve read any of my posts before, you know that I am eclectic in interests and liberal in my approach to social justice.

I have attended R-rated movies and comedy shows.  I’ve even seen an X-rated movie. I’ve seen some recent music videos.

I do, however, occasionally comment on the clothing that young children wear these days and how adult many parents are allowing/assisting their young children to look.  I was horrified that a mother would allegedly inject her grade school aged daughter with Botox.

But NOTHING prepared me for the opening number of the Billboard Awards Show last evening.  I hadn’t planned to watch it.  But the movie I wanted to watch was not on until 9 EDT, so I decided to check out the music awards.  I try to keep current.

The opening number, “S & M“,  featured Rhianna in a white patent leather leotard fashioned in dominatrix style.  By the end of the first phrasing, “I feel so good being bad,” we were being treated to a full, straight-on shot of Rhianna’s crotch as she sat on a bench and moaned her lyrics.  She slinked and slithered around the stage, dancing on a raised platform from which male arms were extended — reaching, of course, for her crotch no matter what position she was in.  She gyrated with a pole, as did Britney Spears, who joined her for the second half of the song.  Britney was clad in a similar black get-up.  Both women were sporting “hand-cuffs” and chains binding their wrists.

Ken Jeong, who was in a popular but tasteless movie recently, was the emcee for the night.  He was raunchy and not particularly amusing.  The song he “sang” with Nicki Minaj tauting the greatness of the show included lyrics such as “This show won’t suck!” and “This show won’t blow!”.  Jeong made suggestive tongue gestures toward Minaj and ended the scene by cupping and shaking his genitals.

The show contained many, many bleeps.  And it contained many words that would have been bleeped in the days of my youth (think of George Carlin’s routine about the 7 words you can’t say on television).  Some of them would not offend me personally today.

HOWEVER, I am ranting about things that don’t necessarily offend me personally because they were aired by ABC (yeah, not FOX) between 8 PM & 8:30 PM EDT on a LIVE show from Las Vegas.  That means it was even earlier in the remainder of the country.

So what??!  So kids — young kids — were watching this raunch.  I saw kids in the 8 to 10 year old range in the live audience in Vegas.  Imagine how many were watching on TV – either with parents who wanted to watch and didn’t think how their kids might be effected or alone in front of their TV, which may have been acting as a baby sitter.  Woe to the kids whose “babysitter” presents them with Rhianna’s crotch.  What lessons were they learning?

It was already my belief that this society brings “sexiness” into children’s lives far earlier than is healthy for them.  The low-cut, skimpy clothes available for little girls are ridiculous.  The raunchy gyrations that 5 year old “cheerleaders” and “dancers” are taught should be illegal.  If you and I made some of those motions on the street or bus, we’d be arrested for lewd and lascivious conduct in public.  But it’s okay to teach them to our young ones.

It astounds me that we allow our kids to wear sexy clothes and make sexy moves in kindergarten, but we refuse to allow them to show genuine loving actions like holding hands or hugging without risk of being accused of sexual harassment.  It’s ludicrous!

So what — I hear some of you saying that.  So what if kids act sexy too early in life.  What difference does that make?

Before I answer, let me ask you one more thing.  If you watched the show last night, how many of the men did you see prancing around in clothing that consisted of little more than fringe over underwear?  Even the ones who were sexy didn’t show everything they owned.  They left something to the imagination.  Boys are not treated the same way.  The are not dressed in skimpy outfits in grade school.  T-shirts and jeans or shorts.  Oh, not those short-shorts the girls wear.  Old fashioned shorts that cover their butts.  They are encouraged to do things, not focus on looking good.

This difference is not new.  Neither are the differences that girls and boys experience as the grow into men and women.

  • Who makes more money to do the same job?
  • Who suffers from more eating disorders from trying to look good?
  • Who suffers from more domestic violence?
  • Who experiences more sexual assaults?
  • Who is expected to contribute to the family income as well as raise the children and maintain the home.

These are just some of the more important inequities that women face.

Why do these inequities still exist after SO many years of trying to right them?!

I would suggest that showing raunchy, relatively explicit sexual moves by scantily clad young women that are idolized as celebrities by children in our society, as occurred in this show, is one of the causes of the difficulty  women still find in their lives as adults.

Do I think this is the only cause?  Of course not; I realize the world is not that simplistic.  However, we need to start thinking about it seriously.  There’s an old saying that children “learn what they live.”  Pretty scary if you think about what some children are obviously living.

Ranting on the soapbox is great for me.  It helps get the steam out of my head.  But just ranting or reading the rant is not going to change a things.  You need to tell the people responsible that you are not amused; that you are “mad as hell and not going to take it any more.”

You know I am nothing if not helpful!  So here are some links to help you express your feelings to the responsible parties.  . . . . . You’re welcome!

Billboard.com Editor, Jessica Letkemann, Jessica.Letkemann@billboard.com

ABC TV:  http://abc.go.com/site/contact-us

Federal Communications Commission commissioners:                      

Chairman Julius Genachowski: Julius.Genachowski@fcc.gov
Commissioner Michael J. Copps: Michael.Copps@fcc.gov
Commissioner Robert McDowell: Robert.McDowell@fcc.gov
Commissioner Mignon Clyburn: Mignon.Clyburn@fcc.gov        Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker: Meredith.Baker@fcc.gov
Go to it people!  I will!!

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I spoke to my friend on the Pine Ridge Reservation yesterday.  You know, the friend whose daughter got pregnant while in state custody.  I don’t recall when I have heard her so angry.

If you aren’t aware of the circumstances I’m referring to, the short version is:  Her daughter was placed in state custody at 15 years old for being a chronic runaway.  She is currently in placement in a “secure” home for girls in Mitchell, SD.  A few weeks ago, my friend got a call from a nurse at a hospital out there.  The nurse told her that her daughter had suffered a “spontaneous abortion”.  My friend assumed her daughter must have been at least 4 months pregnant since she had been in custody since July.  The nurse told her no, it was about 6 weeks and it had been confirmed by her blood work.

My friend realized that, if that were true, her daughter had gotten pregnant while in state custody.  So she notified Child Protective Services, the US Attorney (because the child is a Native American, the federal government has jurisdiction over major crimes) and the tribe.

Suddenly, things are changing.  The woman she had been working with at Child Protective Services is doing something else now and a new woman has been assigned to the case.  This new woman told my friend that the doctor now says “perhaps he made a mistake.”

SAY WHAT??

A mistake?  Blood work doesn’t lie – especially when the tech doing the test has no idea of the details of the case.  Pregnancy is clearly detected by blood test.  This isn’t a home pregnancy test.  This isn’t a case of someone claiming to be pregnant.  This is a blood test that was done because a child was having problems and taken to the doctor by the state.

The new woman at CPS then had the gall to ask my friend when she had last visited her daughter.  She was treating her as a “bad mother” – you know the tone people take when they are trying to make you feel small and humiliated.  Of course, my friend told her just 2 weeks ago and called her on her attitude.  (Be advised that bureaucrats do not take kindly to having their faults pointed out.  It creates even worse attitudes.)

My friend feels badly enough that her daughter has gotten herself into this place.  She has done everything short of putting the child in shackles to keep her home and prevent her from getting into trouble.  But now she has run up against the “blame the mother” attitude.  She will not take that from anyone.  I can see a storm brewing.

The bigger problems I see are many.

First, the state took a child away from both her family and her culture (albeit for good reasons).  Initially she was in Rapid City – “only” an hour away from family and they could visit her regularly.  It was definitely a hardship, since they have an unreliable vehicle and no money for gas.  Indeed, I gave them gas money several times.  They drove the hour each way for each short visit they were allowed.

Then the state found this “permanent” placement – and the child is now 4 hours away from home and family.  That means that, in order to visit her daughter, my friend has to travel 4 hours just to get there, spending a much larger sum of money to do it, then travel 4 hours to return home to the reservation.  With no job, having to somehow pay “child support” to the state anyway, having a car most people wouldn’t own that burns gas and oil like most of us drink water – with all those obstacles, my friend has still managed to visit her daughter periodically.

Second, I smell a rat when it comes to the “mistake” claim.  Of course the state and the facility don’t want anyone to hear about this.  A child became pregnant in state protective custody.  The medical facility called the child’s mother to advise her of the medical facts.  I know this is true because my friend had to ask what a “spontaneous abortion” was – it isn’t a term she would use.  She would use the term most laypersons use – miscarriage.

Suddenly the doctor recants?  Says there was a mistake?  Then why did the nurse tell my friend that the blood pregnancy test had been positive.  Suddenly the sympathetic case worker is removed and replaced by one with a negative attitude toward my friend? That’s a remarkable coincidence.  Suddenly no one knows anything and no one will give my friend any information about her daughter?  Yet they ask how often she visits in accusing tones?

The phrase that comes to mind is “cover up.”  It is less negative to say the doctor made a mistake (will the malpractice insurance carrier see it that way?) than to say that the state was negligent in the care of this young woman.  But that kind of thing doesn’t really happen, does it?

I might think that perhaps I was being a bit paranoid about the whole thing if we were relying solely on the word of the child.  But we are basing our views on the words of a medical professional.

I might think that perhaps I was being a bit paranoid if this were a young white girl from the suburbs.  But it is not.  It is a young Lakota girl from the reservation.  In South Dakota.

I have seen the prejudice and bias toward Indians in South Dakota first hand, with my own eyes.  I have seen looks and attitudes that I thought long gone.  I am not a young woman.  I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s.  I saw the attitudes of the South and the work for civil rights.  The South may be changing.  The country may have elected a president “of color” (I am trying to be as politically correct as I can here).  I have also seen and heard the attitudes of South Dakota in the past 5 years.

In 2005, a group told us the family of the child we sponsor could not know our address or phone number “for our protection.”  Otherwise, they might just show up on our doorstep, looking for handouts.  (I find that rather funny, since I live MANY miles away and know how difficult it can be for folks on the rez to even get to Rapid City, an hour or so away.)  We stayed with the family (who are now our friends) and left the group.  I now work with a different group which works to foster the friendship and personal connection.  We have shopped and dined out with our friends in places where we had done those same things without them as well.  We have seen the way they (and we, as their friends) were treated differently.

So is it a far stretch to think that someone in the system decided that the best way to cover up this blatant negligence was to say someone “made a mistake”?  Better a mistake than a law suit, right?  Everyone makes a mistake now and then.

I say there has been negligence either way.  Either a young woman was not protected in state custody or a mother has been stressed to her limits by a “mistake” made by the professionals charged with caring for her daughter.

Either way – a wrong has been done!

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