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Friday, November 21, 2008

An update on the Jean saga

Felix posted this in comments, but I thought it was so buried that no one would see it so I'm bringing it to the forefront. I missed a lot of the Jean drama when I was on vacation. I knew that some of the posters over at Dawkins had been very upset with her for emotionally abusing her child, and rightfully so, but that's where I stopped following the story, especially since I live in the US and there really wasn't squat I could do about it.

If you follow this link (you have to sign in and go to some of the last comments in the thread), you can read about a message she supposedly sent to a friend on Facebook that said the following:

"Have bad news the NSPCC have tracked me down. They have found me and knocked on my door today. I am abusing Nakai emotionally. They could take her away."

Now, I have no idea if this is true or not, folks. Internet rumors are a dime a dozen, but if it is true then bravo to all of those who put the work into getting this little girl some help.

And MFT shows up to troll this post with some 'Oh she did nothing wrong' bullshit in 3....2...1..

31 comments:

  1. I'm suspicious of this. She hasn't said anything about it on her own blog (at least as far as I could tell in the short time I was able to stomach reading it.)

    But I do want to point out that after saying such vile, demeaning things about a four-year-old, Jean calls her own blog "The Virtuous Woman."

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  2. Jean is as virtuous as what I just flushed after my morning poo.

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  3. I've just typed stuff (not relevant) into Atheist Nexus and I typoed Ratractors as "Ratreacters"

    I kind of like it.

    Every time I feel bad for jean for the weight of the comments on her blog, I re-read the original post and I remember how piss-poor it is to have a little girl deperate to please mummy being raised in a household that tries to supress self esteem.

    I have thought that perhaps self-esteem was being conflated with pride, but no, reading the post and many of the fundie comments it is self-esteem they don't like. They want their children to feel worthless and sinful and to believe that there is no life, no hope, no future, no good thing outside of Jesus.
    Now, at age 4, how can a child reason or deduce. A child hasn't yet learned about how things are.

    We have evolved as a species to believe what our parents tell us. That is how we survive. Our parents say "Don't put your fingers in the socket" "Don't play with the toaster" "Don't run across the road" and they are right, and kids that listen survive. But kids can't tell "Don't put the kitten in the microwave" from "Jesus died to save you".

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  4. Perhaps this whole 'Jean' ordeal will bring child abuse to the forefront again, at least to the people here and involved with it.

    And, I'm in no way implying that people here DON'T think of it.

    Child abuse is one of the most cruel, heinous crimes imaginable. There is no excuse for it.

    Some statistics I've followed are:

    - At least four children die EACH DAY as a result of child abuse, and three out of four of these victims are under 4 yrs of age.

    - A report of child abuse is made EVERY 10 SECONDS

    Those are just two. I'd post more but there is a lot of available information on the 'google-net' that you can readily find.

    There's no reason to ever abuse someone as innocent as a child.

    As a father, I was glad to see the outrage at this type of offence on this board. Thanks all.

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  5. Stew, yep. If you tell 'em they are no better than shit from birth, they grow up believing it and eventually acting as if it were true. And that path doesn't always lead to the blessed fairy Jebus. More often than not it leads to drug abuse, promiscuity, and whatever other means they can find to plug that hole inside themselves and try to find the love they never got.


    Also, some people are missing the point and turning this into strictly a religion issue. It's not. I wouldn't care if she was telling her she was a horrible child that could do no right and she were atheist. Her actions are abusive, no matter what she is using to justify them. In this case it just happens to be religion.

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  6. LAOF,

    I'm glad to see that you do not condone the actions of this woman.

    I lived through a LOT of abuse myself as a child and it is never far from my mind. When I see people mistreating kids, if I can do something about it, I will.

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  7. Also, some people are missing the point and turning this into strictly a religion issue. It's not. I wouldn't care if she was telling her she was a horrible child that could do no right and she were atheist. Her actions are abusive, no matter what she is using to justify them. In this case it just happens to be religion.

    Preach it Sister! Oh wait, uhm I do agree with what was said here.

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  8. LOAF,

    Thanks for your comments and the data.

    I wish child abuse would be seriously addressed as a national political issue, rather than just sending overwork, underpaid, under-trained social workers to fight a never-ending battle.

    Does anybody know of interesting new approaches being used to prevent the problem?

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  9. Thanks NM. As Rocky said, I agree with what you said.
    No snarky comments on this subject.

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  10. Geoff said:

    "Does anybody know of interesting new approaches being used to prevent the problem?"

    Consider becoming a foster parent. This gives child services a place to put those children who are victims. And hopefully that place is a lot better than the place they left.

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  11. I couldn't do the foster parent thing.

    Colour me selfish, but I don't know if I could cope with the heartbreak and emotional investment.

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  12. I always wanted to comment on this topic but didn't really know what to say.
    But I'm glad if the girl gets help, even if they don't go as far as taking her away from her mother.

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  13. There's a difference between telling a child "you need Jesus, because he's the only way to Heaven" and "You're a wretched, evil little girl."

    That woman may not be evil, but she definitely needs some guidance. And her children will probably be learning the self-serving bias from their shrink rather than from natural experiences.

    Sad, sad tales.

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  14. Hey Geoff -

    I know you were just having some fun (on the other post).

    As for things like Stew's comment:

    "Colour me selfish, but I don't know if I could cope with the heartbreak and emotional investment."

    Don't worry, I wouldn't consider you selfish. I wouldn't recomemnd foster parent-ship to anyone who didn't feel prepared.

    But I can tell you that the rewards outweigh all negatives.

    Tillia -

    My opinion is - don't be afraid to express your opinion on something as important as this.

    Sorry to be a 'post-hog' on this topic but it's one that's important to me.

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  15. That should be 'recommend' and 'foster parent-hood'

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  18. laof,
    well, I just can't be objective on that topic. I grew up in an even weirder situation than Jean's kids and I still know very little about what's normal and what's already child abuse.
    And I can't do a ranking. I think beating your kids is child abuse, I think telling them that they can't be 'good' no matter how hard they try is child abuse, but what's worse?

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  19. Tilia wrote I think beating your kids is child abuse, I think telling them that they can't be 'good' no matter how hard they try is child abuse, but what's worse?

    That's a really good question.

    I think "worse" should be changed to "will affect the child more negatively". If so, then the real answer lies with the child his or her self.

    Some kids react completely differently to the same negative stimuli (sorry for using that term to refer to abuse). I have a friend who was beaten as a child, but grew up into a really sane and loving person. I have another friend who was (as far as I can tell) criticized perhaps a little more sharply than he should have been, but he grew up bitter and angry, unable to form a stable relationship.

    In other words, it's really hard to tell just how much a parent's action is hurting the child until you really understand the child *and* the dynamic between him/her and the parent.

    I myself tended to be *really* hyper sensitive to criticism; the after-affects remain with me to this day. Nonetheless, I didn't necessarily turn into a pile of mush, or someone who overcompensates by spending too much time nurturing the people around me; I'm sort of even-keel.

    And heck, while I'm at it, modern & cultural standards come into play as well. Jean's teaching her 4 year old that she's bad by nature might have been acceptable in a different time or country. That doesn't necessarily mean "standards are relative". But if kids grow up in a community that values teaching You're bad, m'kay? - then those kids will probably find some way to cope that doesn't involve resulting in low self-esteem.

    ---

    In short, abuse is remarkably subjective. I do agree that Jean's intentions may have been good but her actions were close to reprehensible. Still, I try to keep in mind that my personal standards and the way I was brought up may account (in part) for that value judgement.

    Ultimately, the society (by way of the governing/legislative body) must also set standards. That's where Jean's troubles seem to lie...

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  20. @tilia
    [I think telling them that they can't be 'good' no matter how hard they try is child abuse]
    Where did Jean say this?
    I also explicitly remember Jean saying that she would praise her daughter if she was more good than usual.

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  21. WEM -

    Good post/analogy. Although it's kinda hard to have society set standards when the standards would be so subjective.

    I would say that my experiences growing up were similar to what you describe...

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  22. tilia -

    You said that your 'situation' growing up was 'weirder'. Do you mean from a religion/ous standpoint, or were there other factors? Only if you're willing to share.

    Thank you.

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  23. laof,
    combine religion with psychosis (I still can't always see the difference...)
    It's just a story. There are many people out there and probably also hanging around here that have gone through more

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  24. Whateverman said...
    "Some kids react completely differently to the same negative stimuli (sorry for using that term to refer to abuse). I have a friend who was beaten as a child, but grew up into a really sane and loving person. I have another friend who was (as far as I can tell) criticized perhaps a little more sharply than he should have been, but he grew up bitter and angry, unable to form a stable relationship."

    Physical abuse is lot less harmful than emotional abuse. In fact, there were a lot of children that were emotionally abused that don't even realize they were emotionally abused. I count myself among those.

    I didn't even realize how abusive my family was growing up until I went to see a therapist. :/

    Most kids know that when you beat them, it's wrong and the parents shouldn't do that. But when you shame a child or constantly tease them, the child internalizes those feelings of shame and carries them through life.

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  25. Awww...MFT finally showed up. You must not have had your trolling shoes on today since it took you more than 3 minutes to get here.

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  26. Tilia -

    Sometimes it does help to talk about it, even though you think it's 'just a story' and that there are others with the same or worse experiences.

    I can't make you do anything you don't want to do, but if it still bothers you then perhaps find someone you trust that you can share this with.

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  27. laof,
    don't worry. I do. Maybe someday I even feel like writing about it here or somewhere else, but not today and not on a post dedicated to Jean.

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  28. My #2 daughter works in human development and she has told me something that might sum this up a bit.

    She said that many times an physically abusive father who is forced into professional help will tell the psycologist, "I got spanked when I was a kid and I turned out OK."

    So even people that were physically abused might not realize how destructive it was to them. Think where they might have been had it not happened.

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  29. geoff,
    I'm suspicious of this. She hasn't said anything about it on her own blog (at least as far as I could tell in the short time I was able to stomach reading it.)

    If it's true that the NSPCC people told her not to write about it online, then of course she wouldn't do it if she thought it could make things worse for her.

    I sincerely hope this can be resolved without the daughter or other children being taken away, and that counseling and therapy can do something for them.

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  30. I'm suspicious too. Very.
    The NSPCC is the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and is a registered charity.
    There is no way their employees would (officially) visit a mother accused of child abuse via the internet - they have no powers whatever to do this.
    Social services may act on a tip-off - especially in the wake of a recent high-profile torture case on a baby in the UK where they (social services) were deemed culpable for not spotting the signs of abuse (the baby died).
    The NSPCC do fabulous work, but the idea that they visited Jean officially is nonsense.

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