Monday, January 30, 2012

Sandusky To Skype With long as they're related?????

I thought that I would have been able to move on from this topic for a while...But Sandusky is the a child advocate's gift that keeps on giving! So here's the latest...Former Penn State University football coach Jerry Sandusky, who is under house arrest on charges of child sexual abuse, has asked a Pennsylvania court to allow supervised visits with his grandchildren which are now prohibited. Just breathe g.... Ok, here I go.

Sandusky faces 52 criminal charges that he molested 10 boys over a 15 year period and has been confined to his house under the terms of his release on bail in December that barred contact with anyone under age 18. He has maintained his innocence. (Can you hear me rolling my eyes?) In a motion filed Friday, his attorney asked the Centre County Court to modify the terms of Sandusky's release to permit supervised contact with his 11 grandchildren.

"The Defendant's minor grandchildren have expressed their sadness to their parents about not being able to visit or talk with the Defendant since November 5, 2011," his attorney wrote. If his grandchildren were, indeed, allowed to visit him, they would be accompanied by at least one parent, according to the motion.

Sandusky is asking the court to allow him the ability to communicate with his grandchildren by mail, email, telephone, or by Skyping. Despite the fact that he cannot do so with ANY OTHER CHILD DUE TO THE ALLEGATIONS THAT HE RAPED BOYS OVER THE COURSE OF 15 hem. Crazy you say? Of course the court would immediately throw this out. Well you might be surprised to hear that Sandusky has a chance. There have actually been countless cases where convicted pedophiles have been granted permission to have visitation with their children.

I am outraged! Here's why.... Just because visitation is supervised should be considered inconsequential because here is, in part, how pedophilia is defined:

Pedophilia is also a psychosexual disorder in which the fantasy or the actual act of engaging in sexual activity with prepubertal children is the preferred or exclusive means of achieving sexual excitement and gratification. It may be directed toward children of the same sex or children of the other sex. Some pedophiles are attracted to both boys and girls. Some are attracted only to children, while others are attracted to adults as well as to children.

Pedophiles are often aroused by the fantasy of sex acts with minors. Thus, by definition, there is cause and justification for more stringent protection for children. Can adult supervise a potential or convicted pedophile's thoughts???? Of course not! So who is to say that Sandusky would not be allegedly experiencing sexual excitement from Skyping, phoning, emailing, or snail mailing any one of his precious grandchildren? Lineage should not supersede or sway the law as it pertains to protecting children from those who prey upon them. If Sandusky is not allowed to communicate with my children...he should not be allowed to communicate with his grandchildren because they, too, need protection. (allegedly;)

An open and honest blog about what matters most...children and families!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Why Joe Pa Should Be No Different From the Average Joe: A Parenting Pundit's Thoughts On Paterno

I awoke this morning to confirmed reports that Joe Paterno, famed and disgraced Penn State coach, had passed away from complications of cancer. He was the coach who won more games than anyone in major college football, but was fired amid a child sex abuse scandal that scarred his reputation for winning with integrity. The man known as "Joe Pa" won 409 games and took the Nittany Lions to 37 bowl games and two national championships. More than 250 of the players he coached went on to the NFL. Hmmm...All of these accolades would have sounded far more impressive to me prior to November 2011. (I blogged previously about my feelings here.)

First and foremost, I do want to say that I feel for Paterno's family. Losing a loved one is painful whether expected or unexpected. However, I would not be the parenting pundit and child advocate that I say that I am if I did not share my thoughts. Sooo....

I have to publicly admit that the Christian g struggles with my honest feelings about Paterno's passing. I would never...ever...EVER rejoice in anyone's death or pain. I believe that there is a God who ultimately is the final judge and jury for all that happens on earth. However, aside from sadness...I felt numb when I read the reports of Paterno's death. I wish that I was the all forgiving kind of Christian. But, I am troubled by Paterno's lack of action in this situation.

He admitted that he was taken aback by accusations that a former assistant (Sandusky) had raped a boy in the school showers in 2002. "I didn't know exactly how to handle it, and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was," he told The Washington Post in an extensive two-day interview at his home in State College, Pa. "So I backed away and turned it over to some other people. People I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn't work out that way." Nope, indeed, it did not.

Here's the thing, millions of people do exactly what Joe Pa did in the famed Penn State scandal...not enough to protect children when they know that they are being molested or abused in some way. The difference here is that Paterno's situation made international news. So, in my opinion.... the Average Joe is no different from Joe Pa. I am no harder on Paterno than I have ever been on others. I don't care if you slither out of the alley, or you are a celebrity with billions in the bank! When it comes to abuse against children, we cannot be swayed by money, prestige, championship rings, hit records, or clout. Wrong is wrong. While I understand that that Paterno has done marvelous things for college athletics over the course of his career, it is my belief that he was also negligent in not doing more for the alleged victims.

Perhaps there is something to be learned of this tragic story. My insight: No one wants to hear that something so heinous is/ has happened to a child. However, you cannot pass the buck and think that the next person will better handle the situation. We as individuals must imperatively make sure that we take personal responsibility to stop the abuse and alert the police. Every time....

An open and honest blog about what matters most...Children and families!!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lo Siento...I'm A Pedophile

Have you spoken to your kids about predators and the tricks and tactics they use? If not, today is the day for you to do so because these pedophiles are banking on the fact that you won't. The best way to guide your discussion is to know how these sickos operate. Today's sicko is Ryan Brunn...the murderer and rapist of 7-yr-old Jorelys Rivera.

Here is how the mind of a pedophile works:

Published in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution 1/17/12

Brunn said he came across a roller skate while cleaning and knew it was Jorelys’ because he had seen her skating. He took a picture of the skate and waited for her to come back to her apartment building so he could show it to her and ask whose it was.

“I told her to come with me and I’ll get it for her,” said Brunn. “And she did.”

Brunn said he had identified a vacant unit where he thought he could take the girl for “sexual purposes,” Brunn told the judge. Brunn said he had been looking at child pornography on his roommate’s computer, but he “never had an idea of killing a child in my life.”

Brunn, of Dahlonega, had moved to the complex in November, where he lived for free in exchange for groundskeeping. Brunn was still on duty at around 4:30 p.m. that Friday when he lured Jorelys into the vacant unit. His workday was scheduled to end at 5 p.m.

Brunn said he made Jorelys partially undress and at one point get into a bathtub, but he insisted he did not touch her.

“She asked if after she’s done, would she go home?” Brunn said. “That’s the only think she asked.”
Brunn said he told her “yes.” But Jorelys didn’t get to go home.

Brunn said he instead cut the girl’s throat, then repeatedly struck her with the skate until she lost consciousness. He said he wrapped her body in a sheet or blanket and used a golf cart to take it to the complex’s trash compactor.

“I guess I got scared in there and I didn’t want her to go home and tell on me,” he said.
Brunn said he spent the weekend hanging out with his roommate and another female friend, going to Wal-Mart, playing monopoly, smoking pot and meth, and watching football on television.

That Sunday, two days after Jorelys disappeared, as the feverish search for her was underway, Brunn said he wrote a note on a small McDonald’s receipt and taped it to the compactor.
“She’s in the trash can,” it said.

How Brunn lured Jorelys away is fairly characteristic of a pedophile. Moreover, the fact that he knew that the rollerskates belonged to her means that he had targeted Jorelys. Child predators typically try to entice a child to come with them by promising candy, toys, puppies....etc. So when you talk to your kids, make sure to role play the various things that these tricky adults will say to them. AND practice why THEY SHOULD NOT GO WITH THEM.

My heart breaks for Jorelys' parents. What happened to their beautiful daughter is unimaginable...wrong....disturbing....infuriating. No parent should have to endure such pain! This tragic story serves as a reminder that these disgusting pedophiles are systematic in how they plot to harm our babies. We have to be equally tactical!

Ryan Brunn plead guilty to charges of murder, child molestation, enticing a child for indecent purposes, false imprisonment, abandonment of a dead body, making a false statement, sexual exploitation of children and two counts each of aggravated battery, aggravated assault and cruelty to children in the first degree. What's more is that investigators believe Brunn has molested other children in Virginia and Lumpkin County, based on interviews with family and former neighbors conducted after his arrest.

Today, Brunn was sentenced to life without parole for murdering Jorelys. During the sentencing, Brunn stated “I would like to apologize for everything I’ve done." Then he turned to the Jorelys' family and said “Lo siento” -- “I’m sorry” in Spanish. He might have faced a death sentence had the case gone to trial.

So Pundits...was justice served?

An open and honest blog about what matters most...children and families!!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

The "Unintriguing" Missing of 2011

Recently, ABC news published an article online that upset me so much that I needed to walk away from the computer for several hours in order to collect my thoughts. During my 6-hour hiatus I was able to regain my calm, and even began to feel more positive about the post. Don’t get me wrong, I am very much disappointed by the journalists’ article, but it helped to fuel my inner passion. Let me explain…..

The article was titled “Eleven Most Intriguing Missing Persons Cases of 2011.” In it, the writers listed various missing people, and provided a short blurb on each of them. Here is the list:

1. Lisa Irwin
2. Ayla Reynolds
3. Robyn Gardner
4. Lauren Spierer
5. Holly Bobo
6. Michelle Parker
7. Sky Metalwala
8. Aaliyah Lunsford
9. Jhessye Shockley
10. Dawna Natzke
11. Amy Ahonen

First and foremost, I must say that I feel it to be entirely insensitive for a reputable news source to publish something like this. How is it possible to rate or discern between which missing person case is most intriguing? Then, how is it humanly possible to whittle the list down to eleven??? What an odd number! There are currently hundreds of thousands of cases of missing people. Ask any of their family members and they will tell you that their loved one’s story is equally as compelling as Lisa Irwin’s or Holly Bobo’s.

Aside from the obvious insensitivity, I have several other concerns with the list. For example, there are noticeably no males mentioned. I find it hard to believe that this was a casual oversight. Instead, perhaps this means that the media as a whole tends to find males less intriguing when they go missing? Perhaps this is why we don’t often see the round-the-clock coverage for them as we do for girls and women.

Secondly, the list lacks the diversity reflective of the true face of missing people in our great nation. Yes, Jhessye Shockley was included (though they misspelled her name), but what about cases like Phylicia Barnes, Mitrice Richardson, Tyler Thomas or Bianca Jones? Their storylines run parallel to many of the ones included in “the list.” Yet none of these cases were found to be intriguing? The truth is that most African American children and adults do not receive national coverage when they go missing. However, these are the cases in the Black community that received the most media attention in this past year. So, it is implied that if these cases were not “intriguing” enough to make the “list,” then none of the other children of color have a chance! Sigh….

However, I don’t solely blame the writers or the network for this article. This is a far bigger issue. In fact, it’s a societal and systemic issue. Former CNN News Anchor, TJ Holmes, asked me during an interview “Is the media to blame?” My answer was and is still “no.” We as individuals are also to blame for being complacent and accepting of the status quo. More specifically, people of color are at fault for not collectively doing everything in our power to make certain that the media is equally intrigued by our adorable brown babies as much as they are by the adorable Caucasian babies. After all, news stations will only report what they believe the public wants to see.

So, while the article rubbed me the wrong way….I ultimately thank the writers for my New Year’s reminder that it is unfair how the missing are reported. The bias is obvious. That is why there is a need for an organization like Peas In Their Pods, which helps to spread awareness about missing children of color. Most people do not realize that they are reported missing at such an epidemic rate. However, we remain steadfast that our collective efforts will ultimately help to make a significant social impact.

An open and honest blog about what matters most....children and families!!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

From Legos to Boob Jobs

I awoke this morning to a news headline that was so incredibly asinine that I had to read it multiple times to make sure I had it right (I've been on vacation for over two weeks and my mind has gotten a little soft. Anyhoo...) It read: 'Human Barbie' Sarah Burge Gives 7-Year-Old Daughter Breast Implant Voucher.

The accompanying article described how she gave her daughter a $10,000 gift certificate to use after her sixteenth birthday because this is when breast augmentation surgery is legal. She claimed that her baby girl "begged" her for a "boob job." Reportedly, her daughter was so excited about the gift that she exclaimed, "I can't wait to be like Mummy with big boobs. They're pretty." Sigh......

Ok....It would be too easy for me to go in knee deep about the psychological impact this gift has on her daughter's self-esteem. WAAAAAAYYY too easy. Instead, I'll leave you to connect the dots. My mind, instead, went a different direction. I needed to find out who this so called Human Barbie is. So I did a bit of searching, and now everything makes sense to me. Let me share her story.

These are her own words:

I was involved in an incident of domestic violence so severe that I was left with a broken cheekbone, jaw, eye socket and teeth. I was rushed to hospital to be patched up but when I eventually saw myself in a mirror I collapsed in shock.

My face was completely disfigured, I looked like a monster. I lived like that for six years and they were the worst six years of my life.

I visited the best plastic surgeons I could find and offered them a business proposition. If they could make me look the way I wanted to look then I would refer all my clients to them. They agreed and I haven’t paid a penny for my surgery since.

When I lost my face I didn’t feel good on the inside. I was miserable. As for being an addict I’m the first one to admit it’s true. I’m addicted to looking good. What’s wrong with that?

In addition to Sarah's self-disclosure, I also learned that as a teen, she fell prey to a "charming" man who groomed her as a teenage prostitute. She eventually became a "lap dancer," and ultimately a Playboy Bunny. It was then that her roller coaster ride of a life took horrible turn when a married Arabian with whom she was having an affair beat her so horrifically that she nearly died.

As with many women who are disfigured as a result of domestic violence, Sarah sought the help of plastic surgeons to fix her physical wounds. However, at least for her, her emotional wounds which seemingly stem from childhood could not be "fixed" with the mere use of a scalpel. Only psychotherapy could achieve this.

There are many sad elements to this story. But the one that troubles me most is the fact that the cycle has been recreated. Now, her daughter has been brainwashed into believing that a prefabricated body is better than the one created by God.

Although extreme, I bet that there are elements of Sarah's story that are being recreated in our own homes. For example, how many of us are unknowingly passing on our own insecurities to our children? Probably most of us. Not sure if you are? Well because I love you, I created a cheat-sheet to help determine if you might be passing on some poor traits to your cutie pies.

Here they are:

  1. Your 7-yr-old says they need "boobs implants"

  2. Your 7-yr-old says they need lipo

  3. You your 7-yr-old take turns practicing on the pole (displayed in the family room)

Happy Parenting;)

An open and honest blog about what matters most...children and families!!!