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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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105 Responses

  1. Jadey
    Jadey November 2, 2011 at 12:37 pm |

    The physical abuse is horrible, and so is the way he talks to her. My dad never hit me, but he yelled at me and belittled and intimidated me like that. All it teaches is how to abuse power when you have it. That’s not parenting – it’s authoritarian mindgames.

    Good on Hillary for being able to take these steps.

  2. Richard
    Richard November 2, 2011 at 12:44 pm |

    Apparently the father has spoken and claimed that the abuse ‘wasn’t as bad as it looked’ on the video. I’d say it was probably worse, the abuse this girl went through was likely much much greater and over a longer period of time than this 7 minute video can show.

  3. EG
    EG November 2, 2011 at 12:48 pm |

    Richard: the father has spoken and claimed that the abuse ‘wasn’t as bad as it looked’

    That may be the most feeble “defense” I’ve ever heard. The fact that it’s the best he can muster up speaks volumes.

  4. Andrew
    Andrew November 2, 2011 at 1:00 pm |

    Reading the countless internet commenters defend this really makes me depressed.

    The most cliched ones:
    “Maybe he went too far but he still had the right idea.”
    “If this was a boy getting beaten no one would have a problem with it.”

    …and that old love-able chestnut: “I got whupped too and I turned out alright.”

  5. EG
    EG November 2, 2011 at 1:08 pm |

    Andrew: “I got whupped too and I turned out alright.”

    Almost always spoken by someone who very clearly didn’t.

    Andrew: “Maybe he went too far but he still had the right idea.”

    This one I don’t even understand. What…is supposed to be the “right idea,” here? Emotionally abusing your daughter? Beating her with a belt? Hitting someone who can’t hit back? Or is it just a general anti-internet idea?

  6. Andrew
    Andrew November 2, 2011 at 1:13 pm |

    Most of Western Europe has banned all corporal punishment by parents, schools and prisons. They also happen to enjoy more stable societies and lower rates of violent crime and drug abuse. Has it ever occurred to people that maybe violence begets more violence?

    There is literally no rational defense for hitting kids being considered a normal form of discipline. I can understand the desperation some parents feel. I also understand the stress lower-income and minority households might feel to keep their kids out of trouble. That said, we should be working together as a society to both ostracize corporal punishment and make it so parents don’t feel it is necessary. Parents should not have to feel a need to hit their kids to keep them out of prison.

    This case is just obviously wrong. Here we have a disabled teenage girl being beaten repeatedly for… downloading copyrighted works on the intertubes. That doesn’t even’t hurt anyone and can be easily stopped by cutting off internet access. People talking about the need for disciplining “kids these days” are usually authoritarians who want to control every aspect of kids’ lives. It also goes hand-in-hand with fundie beliefs about women being submissive and kids being property.

  7. Jess
    Jess November 2, 2011 at 1:16 pm |

    Jill, thank you so much for drawing some attention to the high rates of abuse among the disabled population. Too often, the developmentally disabled are invisible in our society and their voices and concerns go unheard. That young lady is incredibly strong to have advocated for herself in such a powerful way!

  8. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. November 2, 2011 at 1:22 pm |

    Cue the “this is an isolated incident and not reflective of US societal norms regarding the treatment of children”.

  9. Ellie
    Ellie November 2, 2011 at 1:25 pm |

    What a piece of shit. It wasn’t that bad? How could it not be that bad? What, could he have hit her harder? Should we admire his restraint? I watched maybe the first minute of the actual beating, and I am just shaking with fury towards this man.

    This is so powerful that the daughter has this video, and is choosing, finally, to share it. I don’t know if I could, in her place.

  10. Erin W
    Erin W November 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm |

    This man belongs in prison.

  11. Mike Crichton
    Mike Crichton November 2, 2011 at 1:41 pm |

    There’s no “allegedly” about it, the asshole admitted it was him, then claimed it “wasn’t that bad”.

  12. jillian
    jillian November 2, 2011 at 1:44 pm |

    I hope justice comes down like a fucking truck-load of bricks on this asshole.

  13. becky
    becky November 2, 2011 at 1:47 pm |

    what a brave woman! and i sincerely hope this abusive excuse for a father has to face up to some consequences for his horrid behaviour.

  14. Bacopa
    Bacopa November 2, 2011 at 1:48 pm |

    the hordes of the internet should make this person’s life a living hell forever. Lets get him put on the no-fly list. May he be tracked wherever he goes and find no peace or shelter ever. Make him live in fear every time a car drives past his house. hack his cellphone and call again and again every time he changes his number. If the state will not put him in prison, we can.

    It would be pretty awesome if he went to a regular prison. I’m sure abusive judges don’t fare too well there.

  15. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig November 2, 2011 at 1:53 pm |

    I hope Hillary gets justice, but.. she’s living in Texas, and I’m assuming her dad is white. If she gets some justice it will be a miracle.

  16. Seth Eag
    Seth Eag November 2, 2011 at 2:11 pm |

    I hope not to sound culturally insensitive, but I just don’t get Texas sometimes.

  17. Andie
    Andie November 2, 2011 at 2:24 pm |

    I’m sure there are plenty of people in Texas who aren’t abusive assbags.

  18. Tom Foolery
    Tom Foolery November 2, 2011 at 2:41 pm |

    I hope Hillary gets justice, but.. she’s living in Texas, and I’m assuming her dad is white. If she gets some justice it will be a miracle.

    There was some talk in the comments section of some of the Texas newspapers this has been published on to the effect that this behavior might not even be illegal in Texas, based on exceptions for disciplining children. If true, it’s completely disgusting.

  19. je
    je November 2, 2011 at 2:42 pm |

    @Seth It has nothing to do with Texas… I grew up in VA and although I was never beaten (though I was forced to eat liquid soap once) I was talked to like the father talked to his daughter in moments of my father’s rage. Maybe it’s just a Southern thing? /sarcasm/

  20. Seth Eag
    Seth Eag November 2, 2011 at 2:55 pm |

    Sorry, I wasn’t suggesting that abuse is a Texas ‘thang or that the northeast is immune from it, but watching the video—which unfortunately I did—I got this strange feeling that I was watching something from either a different era or a different country. I’ve never heard the words “submission” or “obedience” used in earnest, have read of but have never seen a belt used in such a way, and didn’t expect that there was a land where a t-shirt wearing, daughter beating, foul-mouthed asshole would be considered a judge of anything.

  21. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig November 2, 2011 at 2:59 pm |

    Je: I think it’s a Fundamentalist thing, really. Certain states are more overrun with fundamentalist than others, the South just stands out because there’s a concentrated, voting population, so those states are more or less theocracies. There’s a strong mindset in fundamentalist communities that children aren’t people, they’re soldiers.

  22. Kim
    Kim November 2, 2011 at 4:43 pm |

    This is a classic case of verbal and physical abuse. It is obvious from his actions and language, he was on a control trip. This was not about discipline or about the internet. Mom chimed in to help, so he wouldn’t turn on her. This is a man that has no self control and enjoyed making his daughter submissive, that is why he came back for round two. This man should be removed from the bench. I wonder how many episodes of rage this girl faced before she finally went public? 6 years is a long time to hang on to a video…I’d say his apology fell on deaf ears and she waited till the right time to turn it back on him. I hope the man sleeps well, with one eye open I’m sure.

  23. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve November 2, 2011 at 4:53 pm |

    First minute was fine, shot of an empty bed. By 1.08 I had to turn the sound down (the first shriek of pain) and had to quit watching at 1.30 even if it rendered me unable to give a knowledgable opinion of the entire video. Makes me truly appreciate the massive guilt trips my parents used to lay on as punishment. If he truly wanted to teach her a lesson about following the law, call the police on her. This is purely sadism at it’s most banal.

  24. Jess
    Jess November 2, 2011 at 5:29 pm |

    I grew up in New England and was abused similarly to the girl in the video. Verbal abuse, physical abuse with belts and even fists. So, no, not a Southern or Fundamentalist Christian thing. Sorry to burst your bubble but stuff like this is probably happening next door to you.

  25. anonymouse
    anonymouse November 2, 2011 at 6:19 pm |

    In internet speak hillary truly p0wn3d her dad. I wish the majority of us who have been
    abused could get a measure of the justice that she got even if it is just ruining her abusers
    name.

  26. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl November 2, 2011 at 6:25 pm |

    Close to the bone, this one. :(

  27. z
    z November 2, 2011 at 6:30 pm |

    Interesting that this AP copy of the article (see http://www.smh.com.au/world/judge-who-handles-child-abuse-cases-under-the-spotlight-after-video-of-him-beating-his-daughter-goes-viral-20111103-1mwgy.html for example) completely erases the fact that the child has cerebral palsy…

  28. Athenia
    Athenia November 2, 2011 at 6:56 pm |

    Since this video was taken 7 years ago, does she have any legal recourse or has it been too long?

    I’m assuming he’s up for re-election or something?

  29. benvolio
    benvolio November 2, 2011 at 7:04 pm |

    Yes, he’s up for reelection. MSN reports that he knew she had the video, and was confident nobody would pay it any mind if she uploaded it. And now the local law enforcement’s lines are being blown up like whoa.

    The woman in the video is her mom, who was (unsurprisingly) a victim of abuse too, who has since left the judge and made amends to Hillary (the vic).

  30. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan November 2, 2011 at 7:26 pm |

    Btw, “allegedly” nothing, he admits it was him.

  31. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig November 2, 2011 at 7:34 pm |

    Seth Eag: Sorry, I wasn’t suggesting that abuse is a Texas ‘thang or that the northeast is immune from it, but watching the video—which unfortunately I did—I got this strange feeling that I was watching something from either a different era or a different country. I’ve never heard the words “submission” or “obedience” used in earnest, have read of but have never seen a belt used in such a way, and didn’t expect that there was a land where a t-shirt wearing, daughter beating, foul-mouthed asshole would be considered a judge of anything.

    Welcome to fundamentalist land, where the ’60s never happened. Also, if I recall correctly, Texas makes judges campaign, so the most qualified person doesn’t always gets the seat. And cronyism is pretty rampant in Texas, so qualifications rapidly become irrelevant.

  32. Lindsay
    Lindsay November 2, 2011 at 7:49 pm |

    Oh, that poor young woman.

    (Did not watch the video, will not watch the video. Do not wish to be crying and shaking all night.)

    There was a case recently in Philadelphia where a group of developmentally disabled adults were being confined, starved and otherwise grossly abused by their caregivers, who were also stealing their Social Security money; that case is being prosecuted as a hate crime.

    Were I a lawyer, and working on this case, I might try to prosecute this … violence as a hate crime, too.

  33. karak
    karak November 2, 2011 at 8:44 pm |

    I can’t tell which is worse, her screaming or the sound that fucking belt is making. I hope there’s some justice for her in all this, and I hope someone larger than he beats the everloving fuck out of him every day for the rest of his life, especially when he’s scared and alone and helpless and fucking vulnerable.

  34. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive November 2, 2011 at 8:55 pm |

    Ditto to everyone who’s expressed frustration at the things the general Internet commentariat is saying. Another one I found all too often at other links:

    “Parenting is haaaard, and if you don’t discipline your kids they’ll wind up in jail! All the problems with kids today are because parents don’t beat them enough!!”

    Okay, where the fuck to start?!

    1) I don’t give a flying fuck if parenting is hard. Putting up with the bureaucrat at the DMV is hard, but I don’t get to take a belt to one!

    2) Actually, study after study has shown that kids who are spanked do WORSE than those who are not! Especially with regards to beating their own children! But there are lots of other anger management and socialization issues as well.

    3) You people who are convinced all the spoiled people you know are not getting spanked have no idea if they are–especially because **inconsistent** administration of discipline can seriously fuck up someone’s value system. Also, kids sometimes get spoiled between beatings as an abuse-apology-abuse cycle.

    4) Just because someone doesn’t beat their children adequately for your taste DOES NOT mean they get away with everything. SOME parents let their kids get away with everything. SOME parents let their kids get away with lots of stuff AND beat them arbitrarily. COMPETENT parents TEACH their kids good values (by which I mean ethics, kindness, generosity, honesty, etc, not some patriarchal religious bullshit) with words, empathy, occasional sternness and loss of privileges only when necessary. It is barbaric to believe the only way to teach kids right and wrong is to use physical violence.

    5) “Kids these days” are no different than kids any time in the past. In fact, they are generally having less sex and teen pregnancy than in the ’50s, violent crime rates are generally DOWN, and they’re staying in school longer. When you look back to the past, please don’t just watch an episode of “Leave It To Beaver” and think you’ve done a valid sociological study. Kids acted up, raped people, stole shit, and went to jail then, too (or maybe they didn’t if they were well-connected enough!). All the beatings of generations past led to some VERY violent and/or scarred people, not to the patriarchal utopia you imagine.

    Deep breath.

    Okay. I think I’m done ranting for now.

    Nope, I was wrong:

    BLLEEEEAAAARRRGGGHHHGHGAAAAAAAUUUUUUGHGGGGHHH!!!!

    There now. Much better.

  35. Secret Identity for This One
    Secret Identity for This One November 2, 2011 at 8:57 pm |

    I’ve never heard the words “submission” or “obedience” used in earnest, have read of but have never seen a belt used in such a way, and didn’t expect that there was a land where a t-shirt wearing, daughter beating, foul-mouthed asshole would be considered a judge of anything.

    Aaaah, I wish your experience were the rule rather than the exception. I’m glad you never had to suffer this kind of abuse. It gives me some hope.

    But it happens all the time – and it’s not just “Fundies,” it’s not just “Texas,” it’s not just “Southerners.” My college-educated, well-off parents hit and belittled and spanked and belt-smacked us all. They stopped when I was 14, and my mother noticed that she had bruises on her hand from smacking me around all afternoon. Something inside her woke up that day.

    Unfortunately, it was well past too late for me, and I’ve been dealing with the legacy ever since.

  36. Secret Identity for This One
    Secret Identity for This One November 2, 2011 at 8:58 pm |

    PS I can’t even watch one second of the video.

    I’m 51 years old.

  37. Bridget
    Bridget November 2, 2011 at 9:05 pm |

    That video was one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen.

    I hope against hope that the response to the video will show this man that what he did was unacceptable. His brave daughter is right – he needs help.

  38. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive November 2, 2011 at 9:16 pm |

    Also, here’s a totally brilliant takedown of ALL of both patents’ behavior in the video. Major trigger warning for rape, domestic violence, emotional abuse and more, but it is powerful, clear-headed and stellar in its analysis:

    http://ninanerdface.wordpress.com/2011/11/02/dear-judge-william-adams-and-all-abusive-parents-for-that-matter/

  39. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve November 2, 2011 at 10:43 pm |

    This is exactly what is flawed about a ‘conservative’ worldview, i.e. one which looks to preserve things exactly as they have been traditionally. The idea that your parents raised you in the only way possible of raising children is so dangerous. This guy obviously saw no difference between whipping her with a leather belt and say, grounding her for a month.He just doles out the punishment because that’s the way its always been done in his family. Makes me nauseous.

  40. Avida Quesada
    Avida Quesada November 2, 2011 at 11:10 pm |

    This one of the best uses of technology.

    Very brave of the Girl.

    Love,

    Avida

  41. scallywag
    scallywag November 2, 2011 at 11:13 pm |

    The horror and irony of the situation can hardly be lost on one hand here we have an individual who has the trusted role as family law judge and on the other here we are seeing him brazenly beating his daughter without remorse or within a barometer of reason. It is as if he is unleashing all the torment of his office on his daughter, the effect of which is horrendous considering her disability. In the end one can only wonder what type of punishments this man has administered in his capacity as a judge and whether we should allow such an individual who has an extreme affinity to personal family discipline should be allowed to decide the fate of other individual’s family grievances?

    “Beat you to submission?” So much for good discipline… from someone who should know better.

    http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2011/11/family-law-judge-caught-on-tape-beating-his-16-year-disabled-daughter-for-playing-computer-games

  42. Sandress
    Sandress November 3, 2011 at 12:44 am |

    Wow. I think everyone here gets how horrific that shit is, so I don’t really need to go into it. But here’s something I haven’t seen anyone comment on yet. Hillary, the daughter, apparently has ataxic cerebral palsy. Which, if it has anything to do with ataxia (and I believe it does) is going to impact her capacity for intentional, voluntary movements. Involuntary stuff, like cringing away from an abusive father, that’ll happen automatically, no problems there. But voluntary actions, like say, following the orders of a threatening asshole who will beat the shit out of you if you don’t obey quickly enough, those may be much harder or even physically impossible for her. A cruel little irony, the more he demands that she assume a position to take this “spanking”, the less able she may be to do so, giving him “justification” for even more abuse. So, a new level of reprehensible bullshit to add on top of the old one.

  43. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen November 3, 2011 at 12:49 am |

    I just saw my childhood reenacted before my eyes. The fact that this judge felt justified in assaulting a girl with a developmental disability only raises my contempt for this patriarchal creep.

  44. Biggy
    Biggy November 3, 2011 at 1:15 am |

    Richard:
    Apparently the father has spoken and claimed that the abuse ‘wasn’t as bad as it looked’ on the video. I’d say it was probably worse,the abuse this girl went through was likely much much greater and over a longer period of time than this 7 minute video can show.

    Echo Zen:
    I just saw my childhood reenacted before my eyes. The fact that this judge felt justified in assaulting a girl with a developmental disability only raises my contempt for this patriarchal creep.

    Getting the “belt” is a time honored tradition for disciplining young men but as soon as a walking vagina gets the same treatment in an “equal” world ignorant feminsits rail about the patriarchy! Are “girls” too good for punishment ? Why ? Because they have a vagina ?? Because they cry ??

    If you at least had the decency to be honest, you would call this what it is – child abuse! Spare us your patriarchy speil! If the Judge had a son, he would have used a 2×4!

  45. Li
    Li November 3, 2011 at 1:27 am |

    Echo Zen, cerebral palsy is a physical (specifically motor) disability, not a developmental one. Which doesn’t alter the seriousness of the crime, but it’s an important distinction.

  46. Li
    Li November 3, 2011 at 1:31 am |

    Hmm, actually, I take that back. Apparently I’ve just been using an incorrect definition of developmental disability (ie. disability affecting development rather than disability during development).

  47. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive November 3, 2011 at 1:34 am |

    Aaaaaaaaaand another thing:

    Can we also discuss all the people who say, “yeah, that’s over the line–this is the correct way to beat your kids: [endorsing anything from bare-bottom spanking to belt lashings]” or it’s slightly toned down cousin, “I’m all for spanking, but…”

    Holy fucking fuck!!!

    And the “But ZOMG she was downloading video games!!! That’s like totes against the law! She could go on to a life of crime!” First, totally normative teenage behavior. Many parents simply do not give a fuck and their kids download a bit and then lead happy productive lives. But, if a responsible parent felt strongly, why not have a reasoned discussion of copyright law, risks of legal action that have been slammed on kids for illegal downloads, empathy-fostering for the livelihoods of the game developers, and some appropriate restriction of money and/or computer time?? Really, if the worst thing your 16-year-old is doing is downloading video games, the kid’s fine.

  48. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive November 3, 2011 at 1:44 am |

    Also, on further thought I seriously doubt the framing of, “she stealthily captured the whole thing on video.” I kinda think the video camera was randomly on for something else and she got this by accident (Of course I would totally support her deliberately getting evidence of this with the express purpose of holding him accountable). Mainly because at the beginning, when she’s out of the room, she seems totally incredulous that a beating is going to happen (I mean for this particular issue, it seems par for the course for this house in general), and in between her fate being announced and the beating she has no opportunity to turn on the camera. I’ll bet she saw the video had been recorded the next day or something and didn’t know what to do with it, especially since she waited so long to release it. Also I have a sickening feeling that if she had wanted to record him intentionally, she would have **hours** of this stuff.

  49. John
    John November 3, 2011 at 5:19 am |

    Leftside Positive

    Can we also discuss all the people who say, “yeah, that’s over the line–this is the correct way to beat your kids:

    That reminds me of a child protection case I prosecuted in London, England a few years ago. In court, the father denied he had beaten his young sons in the way they had alleged to Social Services, so I invited him in cross-examination to show us how he had done it. He actually fell for it – I couldn’t believe my eyes when he took his leather belt off and wrapped it round his fist and proceeded to demonstrate!

  50. John
    John November 3, 2011 at 5:19 am |

    Whoops, got the block quote wrong there – sorry. The second para. is mine.

  51. Norma
    Norma November 3, 2011 at 5:42 am |

    @Politicalguineapig, Fat Steve, and others saying these actions are tied to the geographical location of the abuser/abused, or the political mindset of the abuser:

    Of course it’s useful to point out when a community’s legal or social norms support abusive behavior, and arguably fundamentalist religious communities and Texas law both do that. (America’s resistance to ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child–which prohibits corporal punishment, among other things–is strongly related to religious conservatives’ concerns about the rights of parents, for example.)

    But it sucks if the takeaway of this video is “Southerners/religious conservatives are backwards.” This shit happens *all over* the US. The study Jill refers to took place in New Jersey. Abusers are in every population and culture, and people with disabilities worldwide are more likely to experience that abuse. How do we stop it everywhere?

  52. Rob in CT
    Rob in CT November 3, 2011 at 8:26 am |

    I’ve never heard the words “submission” or “obedience” used in earnest, have read of but have never seen a belt used in such a way, and didn’t expect that there was a land where a t-shirt wearing, daughter beating, foul-mouthed asshole would be considered a judge of anything.

    This.

    I’m not watching the video. Just the description of it turns my stomach. I’m not under the impression that this sort of thing only happens in “backward” places. It might be more frequent, or it might simply be more openly accepted. I dunno.

    I was fortunate to have parents whose form of discipline was “we’re disappointed in you.” And who didn’t get off on manipulation or dominance. Very, very fortunate.

    That gets passed on. I know, from experience, that one can discipline (and protect) effectively w/o violence. Maybe it’s “harder” but I don’t think so. I think it’s just the way not taken for a lot of people. They were hit, so hitting is part of the toolkit. I wasn’t, so I know there’s no need for it.

  53. Athenia
    Athenia November 3, 2011 at 8:44 am |

    They showed a bit of the video on The Today Show—the mother yells at her 16 year old daughter “Take it like a grown woman!”

    Like, omg. No, she doesn’t have to take it like a grown woman because grown women shouldn’t be beaten with belts! No surprised that the mother was abused as well.

  54. William
    William November 3, 2011 at 8:50 am |

    I can’t tell which is worse, her screaming or the sound that fucking belt is making. I hope there’s some justice for her in all this, and I hope someone larger than he beats the everloving fuck out of him every day for the rest of his life, especially when he’s scared and alone and helpless and fucking vulnerable.

    That would likely be called his childhood. This shit is learned behavior. Not an excuse by any stretch, but its worth remembering that he is not an individual monster. He exists in the context of a culture and society which teaches, promotes, and deploys these kinds of abuse for very specific purposes. He is continuing those values which he has learned and identified with. Thats why he beats his daughter into submission, thats why he sought out a judgeship, thats why he isn’t really that apologetic. He thinks he’s on the side of the angels because he’s on the side of all the things that were once larger than him and hurt him. They had all the power, now he does.

  55. littlepitcher
    littlepitcher November 3, 2011 at 9:03 am |

    Lived this one, but with a heroin-addicted stepmother who believed that my huge vascular birthmark was an excuse for sadism. The webcam effectively ensures that neither denial, extorted recantation of abuse charges, nor organized social harassment by the abuser family will be effective in her case. Hillary should be viewed as a modern hero who proved that one woman and one computer can create real change. Abused children will now have computer privileges removed, but should always keep the cell phone cams fully charged and ready.

  56. 27 Random Scribbles
    27 Random Scribbles November 3, 2011 at 9:50 am |

    Please, whatever we do, lets not fall for the idea that this is something that only happens in “fundamentalists”. My parents were your average conservative Christians…and were well-educated and upper-middle class. Well known and liked in the community. I started crying as soon as the video started showing the “spanking”, because, minus the cursing and threats to hit in the face, this was me as a child (ages 5-14 maybe).

    However, I can’t call my parents abusers. I would if it were someone else’s parents, but I can’t do it. I said for so long that I was beaten and was ok with it…it’s necessary, etc. But I don’t say that anymore. Spanking is wrong. And I’m not ok. It’s very confusing to acknowledge that the “spankings” I got as a child would be considered abuse. I can see why people hide behind the “it’s ok because it happened to me and I’m ok…or my parents are good people”, etc…because I preferred to hide behind it too. It makes it so you don’t have to admit that your parents aren’t as good as you thought…and considering I’m an adoptee it makes it even more confusing.

    Oddly enough I just posted a blog post about my childhood “abuse” and how I can’t come to terms with it (I can’t even write abuse without quotations…it’s that hard). It seems odd that this would pop up online right after I wrote it, and the reason I have to remind people that it’s not just the “fringe” fundamentalists is that I keep getting people on this post trying to bring me back to God by telling me that my parents were just not the “right” kind of Christians and that they were fundamentalist and there are “good” churches out there for me and all my problems will go away if I return to God. Fuck this. My parents were as mainstream, “normal” Christian as you can get. It’s not just the fringe. http://27randomscribbles.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/what-is-abuse/

  57. Book Girl
    Book Girl November 3, 2011 at 10:06 am |

    This is difficult for me because I have about the same level of cerebral palsy as Hillary, and was subjected to many years of abuse from my family, it wasn’t beating, but a great deal of emotional abuse and neglect, and physical and medical neglect, as well as standing by while I was physically attacked by more than one of my school peers. It was a profoundly damaging experience, as any abuse is, and there are particular issues around disability, societal attitudes and parenting that are relevant here and work to perpetuate this kind of violence.

    People like this man and my parents are all about control, and the thing with any disability, particularly CP, is the person with the disability cannot control their body or mind where is affected by the disability – this enrages the abusive parent. So I got yelled at for falling over, scuffing my feet, and swinging my arms and body too much – all things that I couldn’t control. I made the mistake of watching a small part of this video, and there is quite enough horror and violence without this detail, but the bit where he is yelling at her to turn over, it’s very likely that it was a physical impossibility for her, with CP, if you are in extreme pain or distress your body just locks up, you cannot move at all. She could have been desperately wanting to do what he ordered, but she just couldn’t make her body move.

    Society has a lot of misconceptions about disability and parenting, one of the main ones is that the parents of kids with disabilities are saints for bringing them up, beyond critism or questioning, so if people think you are a saint, you can get away with murder – literally. Abusive parents of PWD are happy to buy into this and encourage it. And often their kids are not believed, because of this. Add in the usual “pillar of the society” mythos and you have sheer hell. The fact that we are regarded as Other, sub-human, extra-human makes it easier for many people to justify what they do to us. This man’s religious, political, or geographic particulars may have added a certain `flavour’ to his brutality, but essentially he is not much different from my working-class, non-religious, rural NZ born parents.

    Apologies for length, spelling errors or jumping all around in this comment – I’m sure people can understand why.

  58. Skateaway
    Skateaway November 3, 2011 at 10:40 am |

    I’d like to co-sign with those who are reminding people that abuse happens among all populations. The worst abuser I have ever known–that I am aware of–is a liberal. He is a professional artist and academic. He eschews religion. He took his daughters to pro-choice rallies as children. And he has abused those same daughters physically, emotionally, and sexually well into adulthood.

    Please, please remember that abusers do not fit a particular mold. Part of what keeps abuse invisible is the idea that it happens to those people, whoever they are.

  59. Danielle
    Danielle November 3, 2011 at 10:41 am |

    I won’t watch the video as I know I can’t deal with it. The descriptions sound only too much like my own childhood. My father repeated the physical, mental, and emotional abuse that he received from his parents (largely, I believe, his mother,) and he added some more, including keeping me socially isolated, more easily accomplished as we lived in a rural part of Pennsylvania and he operated a dairy farm (homeschooling was threatened – and it was a threat in my situation, because it would have meant eliminating the only non-family social contact I had.) In the past year I’ve really begun to recover and I have forgiven my abuser for my own sake – I need to reclaim that part of my life and move on.

    A mistake I see often is to view this as an isolated incident – something that happened once in that woman’s life. In those environments, incidents like this usually happen regularly; as frequently as multiple times per day. I can say for myself that there are few incidents I can really recall from my own memory, and then only because they were particularly severe, because of the frequency.

  60. Ashleigh
    Ashleigh November 3, 2011 at 10:50 am |

    it’s amazing to me that everyone is picking up on the violent punishment against children vibe here but no one seems to be pointing out the psychological mindset behind these acts. the things that the father and mother say to the daughter -“Take it like a grown woman;” “Beat you into submission”- echo things that rapists say to their victims. To dismiss this, especially to do so with the excuse that the video is 7 years old, is to assume that the psychology has changed. I’m not saying that the father is a rapist or condones that. What I’m pointing out is that the mainstream psychology that he is tapping into and utilizing when abusing his daughter in the guise of punishment strongly mimics that of sexual violence against women done by men. The mainstream psychology is one that distinguishes between the horrible acts and partially recognizes the violent psychological motivations as being disparate, by evidence of this video and our attitudes towards it. i’d like to point out (and if other are with me, excellent) that these two go hand in hand. Rapists and the like don’t just watch up one morning and commit those acts out of nowhere. They are groomed and polished by mainstream culture and unfortunately, a component of our culture’s psychology is to allow and promote ideas that violence in some forms against women are “okay,” such as punishing your 16-year-old child with a belt. The father may vehemently agree that rape is absolutely terrible and sexual violence against women is the same, but where his and our culture’s blindness lies is in recognizing and reversing the psychology that says emotional abuse like this is part of disciplining your child. I say absolutely not, wake up, and see the demons for what they really are.

  61. Ashleigh
    Ashleigh November 3, 2011 at 10:52 am |

    Skateaway:
    I’d like to co-sign with those who are reminding people that abuse happens among all populations. The worst abuser I have ever known–that I am aware of–is a liberal. He is a professional artist and academic. He eschews religion. He took his daughters to pro-choice rallies as children. And he has abused those same daughters physically, emotionally, and sexually well into adulthood.

    Please, please remember that abusers do not fit a particular mold. Part of what keeps abuse invisible is the idea that it happens to those people, whoever they are.

    You are soooo right.

  62. Book Girl
    Book Girl November 3, 2011 at 11:29 am |

    Ashleigh, you are absolutely spot on, and I did see that very clearly in this incident, but had hit the wall in my ability to put it into words. Thank you for doing so. This is what makes women with disabilities particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse, not only because of any physical and emotional abuse that we are subjected to, but because of medical and physical interventions we have to endure. There are writings on this by wwd, describing how rape and sexual assault was so similar to the way doctors etc, invade their space and hurt them through physio and operations, that the sexual assault was seen as just another way other people had control of and hurt their bodies. We are told that the rape is for our own benefit, because what other form of sexual contact would we get, being so ugly and defective, the rapist is doing us a favour.

    The daughter and wife have elsewhere expressed hope that counselling and other strategies will make him realise what he did, and not to do it again, and I would LOVE to think that real repentance and change would happen with this man, for their sakes – but IMO, it is very unlikely. People like that don’t want to change, they just want to get away with their brutality.

  63. Book Girl
    Book Girl November 3, 2011 at 11:40 am |

    Yikes – sort of veered off the point Ashleigh made, but it’s still part of the whole thing about the psychological treatment of women, and minority women, feed into rapist mindsets.

  64. Jody
    Jody November 3, 2011 at 12:31 pm |

    For those of you with no firsthand experience with this sort of thing I would like to point out a few things. The young woman filmed this because she new what was coming. She knew what was coming because this was a frequent event in her life. This had probably been going on since she was a baby or a small child. With parents like this it becomes a lifesyle. Take a moment and put that in perspective. A lifestyle. This occurence was triggered over a video game but remember, when this becomes a lifestyle any event can become a trigger and the child spends their entire life in fear of provoking such an event. In a household with numerous siblings this is compounded as they tend to be less well of and there are more triggers. Try to imagine what life would be like to live with parents like these and four brothers at the end of a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. No telephone, no one to call. Children in a family like this often are unable to perform well in school. Report card day can be a nightmare. Dressing for P.E. exposes the bruises to your classmates and instead of compassion it compels them to laugh and mock you. Children in families like this are often poor performers in sports so they have little value to the team. The coach singles you out for more. The school principal knows that your father is a man of god, the preacher in the baptist church down the road, no one to turn to. An uncle who visits occasionally soon learns that the emotional needs of the children can be manipulated to fulfill his latent perversions and his visits become more frequent. No one to turn to, no one to care. What kind of children will this bring to the world? Child Abuse must end.

  65. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig November 3, 2011 at 2:27 pm |

    Norma and Skateaway: I am aware that abuse happens in all geographical areas and among all classes and varieties of community. My point was that in some communities violence against children is encouraged, and this guarantees that abusers will face no legal or social consequences. And the fundamentalist/conservative Christian communities are especially fertile ground for abuse of all sorts. Google ‘To Train up a Child,’ or the ‘Pearls’ to see what I mean.
    Is there abuse in liberal communities? Yes, but there’s much more help available. And people won’t shrug and say, ‘oh, that’s normal,’ or ‘it’s your fault, you should be more obedient.’

  66. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl November 3, 2011 at 3:36 pm |

    It bothers me that there is some suggestion that the mother is in a different category from the father because she claims she was also abused. The dynamics that I saw, and recognized from my own first-hand experiences, is that the mother was pulling the strings here. So much so that the father was able to contain his rage long enough to go get another belt once the mother “took over”. He also tries to reach for the belt that the mother has taken away from him, but she simply says “no” which he obeys immediately. That was a rehearsed choreography if I’ve ever seen one. One in which the father was playing a role based on the mother’s decision making. The mother is the one controlling this situation. The mother also explicitly states in the beginning that she has already beaten the daughter and now it is the father’s turn to do so. Maybe the mother has been abused; or maybe she is like my mother, the primary abuser who was clever enough to not do the hitting because she knows her husband’s trigger points and can sic him on the child. From my experience, this mother wasn’t beating her child in the recorded clip because she feared a beating herself — she specifically aimed a brutal physical attack against her daughter through the use of her husband’s rage. Remember that the mother has already beaten the child (which is why she knew to record when her father came home). The mother is also the one that brings the episode to an end with her bizarre “now **I** will leave the room” statement and with her subsequent return to the room to force the daughter to sleep on the couch in the family room.

    What the father did is reprehensible and I know the mother “has made amends”, but it is a mistake to disregard how carefully the mother manipulates this entire beating. I know from my experiences that I could not see how deeply my mother was embedded in my father’s attacks on me — it took me decades, and only then because she has been completely unable to purge herself of her abusive tendencies, especially after my father’s death.

  67. Joe DeMarco
    Joe DeMarco November 3, 2011 at 3:50 pm |

    This Jackass is a Judge ??, What kind of Justice do you think he would hands out in Court ? He belongs in a Mental Insitution,he is a SICK Puppy, his wife is not far behind. I grew up in a home with a very tough father because he was illiterate, this Jackass must have some education (?) I would like to meet him in a Dark alley and then ask him how he treats his daughter, after which I would take him apart, literally, break an arm or leg, slowly. one thing to note: there are probably many more Bastards like this Jackass around.
    Joe DeMarco

  68. Kate
    Kate November 3, 2011 at 3:51 pm |

    Andrew:
    “If this was a boy getting beaten no one would have a problem with it.”

    This one makes me depressed. I was never physically abused by my father (emotionally and verbally, but never physically), but he DID hit my younger brother, all the way into adolescence. We had a hell of a time finding my brother the help he needed, precisely because there was this prevailing attitude of “He’s a boy, he should be able to fight back for himself.” Gender prejudices are fucked up, no matter which gender they’re against.

  69. Norma
    Norma November 3, 2011 at 6:15 pm |

    Politicalguineapig: Is there abuse in liberal communities? Yes, but there’s much more help available.

    Sadly I don’t think there’s evidence that this is true at all.

  70. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve November 3, 2011 at 6:40 pm |

    Politicalguineapig: Norma and Skateaway: I am aware that abuse happens in all geographical areas and among all classes and varieties of community. My point was that in some communities violence against children is encouraged, and this guarantees that abusers will face no legal or social consequences. And the fundamentalist/conservative Christian communities are especially fertile ground for abuse of all sorts. Google ‘To Train up a Child,’ or the ‘Pearls’ to see what I mean.
    Is there abuse in liberal communities? Yes, but there’s much more help available. And people won’t shrug and say, ‘oh, that’s normal,’ or ‘it’s your fault, you should be more obedient.’

    Liberal/fundamentalist/conservative/etc/etc are not ‘communities’. They are ways of thinking.

  71. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. November 3, 2011 at 6:53 pm |

    Fat Steve: Liberal/fundamentalist/conservative/etc/etcarenot‘communities’.Theyarewaysofthinking.

    They can be both.

  72. Jackie
    Jackie November 3, 2011 at 8:16 pm |

    Bacopa:
    the hordes of the internet should make this person’s life a living hell forever. Lets get him put on the no-fly list. May he be tracked wherever he goes and find no peace or shelter ever. Make him live in fear every time a car drives past his house. hack his cellphone and call again and again every time he changes his number. If the state will not put him in prison, we can.

    It would be pretty awesome if he went to a regular prison. I’m sure abusive judges don’t fare too well there.

    Your idea is awesome!

  73. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve November 3, 2011 at 8:52 pm |

    Kristen J.: They can be both.

    Explain…?

    P.S. If you just select the text you want to quote, it doesn’t do that weird no space thingy.

  74. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig November 3, 2011 at 9:05 pm |

    FatSteve: All right, I’ll try to explain. They’re both communities and a way of thinking, because like-minded people tend to flock together. Most conservative people tend to be tied together by their geographical location, their churches, and their pet causes. Liberals usually form friendships with other liberals who are in their area or by meeting people who work for various causes. The end result: a lot of people in the same area who share the same political view. Thus, a community.

  75. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. November 3, 2011 at 9:23 pm |

    There are fundamentalist communities. When all of the authority figures in a community share a way of thinking then it becomes institutional not just philosophical.

  76. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve November 3, 2011 at 10:00 pm |

    Those are excellent explanations, and I totally see what you mean, but…I don’t know, it just seems like labeling these things ‘communities’ just gives people an excuse to generalize about them.

  77. Mike Crichton
    Mike Crichton November 3, 2011 at 10:40 pm |

    Bacopa : Out of the 5,880 people in the US named William Adams, you’re so absolutely certain that the hordes of the internet will make the RIGHT one’s life a living hell because….? Why, exactly? Entertaining as lynch mob justice can be, I really don’t think it’s worth the near certainty that innocent bystanders will be collateral damage, just so that this asshole gets punished.

  78. Lasciel
    Lasciel November 3, 2011 at 11:13 pm |

    Mike Crichton: Bacopa : Out of the 5,880 people in the US named William Adams, you’re so absolutely certain that the hordes of the internet will make the RIGHT one’s life a living hell because….? Why, exactly? Entertaining as lynch mob justice can be, I really don’t think it’s worth the near certainty that innocent bystanders will be collateral damage, just so that this asshole gets punished.

    Ugh yes. This guy is a disgusting but that doesn’t make advocating stalking or abusing him okay. It just endorses the idea that what people like this have done is okay, so long as it’s done to the ‘right’ people that ‘deserve it’. I hope I’m not the only one who found Bacopa’s stalkeriffic advice disturbing.

  79. EG
    EG November 3, 2011 at 11:25 pm |

    Lasciel: It just endorses the idea that what people like this have done is okay, so long as it’s done to the ‘right’ people that ‘deserve it’. I hope I’m not the only one who found Bacopa’s stalkeriffic advice disturbing.

    I’m OK with it. There are things that I don’t think should ever be done to anybody under any circumstances. Rape. Torture.

    But constant, low-grade harassment, such as continually hacking his cell phone and publicizing his misdeeds and getting him searched at airports? Really not on the same level as rape, torture, or beating the shit out of your daughter. I’m on board with making his life lousy for as long as we all have the misfortune to have him among the living.

    I mean, let’s not be hypocrites, here. If Bacopa had said “Let’s make sure he rots in jail,” would you be wagging your finger? But honestly, do you think a judge, somebody who sends people to jail, would have a good time of it in prison? Why is it OK to hope that he goes somewhere where he gets the shit kicked out of him regularly and doesn’t have privacy when he pisses acceptable, but saying hey, if that doesn’t happen, let’s harass him for the rest of his life isn’t?

    Mike Crichton, however, has a good point. Mobs are stupid. Really, really stupid. As he says, the risk of collateral damage is just too high for me to feel OK about the Hordes of the Internet bringing their wrath to bear on anybody unfortunate enough to be named “William Adams.” If, however, an unidentified miscreant were to put a bullet in this particular William Adams’s head, I would not be heartbroken if the police did not feel like expending every possible effort in bringing that person to justice. I would worry, however, about the knock-on effects on his daughter. She’s been through enough.

  80. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. November 3, 2011 at 11:45 pm |

    Fat Steve: Those are excellent explanations, and I totally see what you mean, but…I don’t know, it just seems like labeling these things ‘communities’ just gives people an excuse to generalize about them.

    Well, I spent a part of my childhood in one of these “communities” so I feel qualified to generalize.

  81. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve November 3, 2011 at 11:47 pm |

    Bacopa: the hordes of the internet should make this person’s life a living hell forever. Lets get him put on the no-fly list. May he be tracked wherever he goes and find no peace or shelter ever. Make him live in fear every time a car drives past his house. hack his cellphone and call again and again every time he changes his number. If the state will not put him in prison, we can.

    It would be pretty awesome if he went to a regular prison. I’m sure abusive judges don’t fare too well there.

    Yes, I’m sure that Jill blogged about this video in order to encourage ‘Anonymous’ style vigilante justice. SMH.

  82. maja
    maja November 4, 2011 at 1:25 am |

    What horrible parents. I don’t see how anyone could see that video and not call it child abuse, by both of them.

    I worked as a carer for people on the geriatric floor of a hospital and some of them were extremely rude sometimes, and some would even try to hit me but it never crossed my mind to hit them or be mean to them. Just because caring for someone can be hard, doesn’t make it okay to abuse them, mentally or physically. It’s really sad that some people think that.

  83. Raja
    Raja November 4, 2011 at 1:35 am |

    I won’t watch the video but from reading the article it is very clear that her father is an extremely messed up person and doesn’t just need help he needs to be put in a fucking cell and not released into society for a very long time.

  84. Raja
    Raja November 4, 2011 at 1:36 am |

    Oh yeah some anonymous’ style vigilante justice isn’t nesscarily a bad thing once in awhile espicially when there is no legal recourse. The ways I could think of to fuck this man up bad….

  85. Norma
    Norma November 4, 2011 at 8:36 am |

    EG: Why is it OK to hope that he goes somewhere where he gets the shit kicked out of him regularly and doesn’t have privacy when he pisses acceptable, but saying hey, if that doesn’t happen, let’s harass him for the rest of his life isn’t?

    I don’t think hoping that he gets assaulted in prison (which Bacopa implied) is acceptable, either. You can’t be opposed to physical and sexual abuse if you’re happy to see it happen to prisoners you think deserve it, unless you’re ready to argue that abuse/corporal punishment is sometimes ethical. (EG, I’m not saying this is your position, but it seems to be Bacopa’s.)

    Facing our high rates of violent crime, it seems to be the consolation of many Americans, including liberals, that the convicted will get raped or regularly assaulted in prison. I don’t understand how this thinking works– pragmatically, we know retribution doesn’t reduce crime. And ethically, how do think only some abuse is fine to ignore, or even encourage?

    Hoping that an abuser gets fucked up in prison is, for me, too close to the thinking of fundamentalists who endorse corporal punishment. They also believe that extra-legal abuse/corporal punishment is sometimes ethical.

  86. EG
    EG November 4, 2011 at 9:36 am |

    I agree that hoping someone gets sexually assaulted, in prison or anywhere else, is a pretty heinous thing to do.

    I don’t agree that nobody deserves to be beaten up.

    Norma: Hoping that an abuser gets fucked up in prison is, for me, too close to the thinking of fundamentalists who endorse corporal punishment. They also believe that extra-legal abuse/corporal punishment is sometimes ethical.

    They may also believe in the necessity of buckling seatbelts while riding in a car. The mere fact that they hold a general opinion that is fairly common does not, in my mind, mean that the general concept is tainted.

    I can think of all kinds of situations in which extra-legal corporal punishment seems quite ethical (by definition “abuse” cannot be ethical). Pacifism is not a requirement of left-wing thought.

    Leaving that difference of opinion aside, the fact is, whether or not we want prisoners to by physically and sexually abused, they are. Often. So why is it OK to hope somebody goes to jail, but not OK to want to subject him to constant, low-grade harassment? If we take what you’re saying to its logical conclusion, surely we should all be campaigning for the immediate release of all prisoners until prison conditions are improved. I’m absolutely in favor of improving prison conditions, by the way, because they are wretched. But I’m not in favor of releasing violent criminals until such time as they are.

  87. Sandy
    Sandy November 4, 2011 at 10:14 am |

    So, looks like nothing much is going to happen to this piece of shit despite “substantial evidence.” Statute of limitations blah blah failcakes. Reading the msnbc.com article made my chest feel tight, put a lump in my throat and a sick feeling in my stomach. If the worst that happens to this douchenozzle is that he’s off Child-Protection-related cases for two weeks and (eventually??) has a hard time with re-election… I don’t even know. I got nothing. Why is the statute of limitations on child abuse so goddamn short?

  88. EG
    EG November 4, 2011 at 10:18 am |

    Wait, really? What if it were considered assault and battery instead of child abuse? That is to say, would the statute of limitations be longer if he had attacked a stranger on the street instead of his own child?

  89. Sandy
    Sandy November 4, 2011 at 10:33 am |

    I don’t know what the statute of limitations is on assault and battery, but possibly? There was some mention of discussing possible federal charges with federal prosecutors but the police chief in the case said it was unlikely it would happen. From the sound of it, the guy’s job is investigating him atm and that’s about it.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45162497/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/#.TrQEiHJ-OA8

  90. Sandy
    Sandy November 4, 2011 at 10:39 am |

    Eh, did a little Googling, looks like the statute of limitations on assault and battery in Texas is only two years.

  91. Lasciel
    Lasciel November 4, 2011 at 11:10 am |

    EG: Leaving that difference of opinion aside, the fact is, whether or not we want prisoners to by physically and sexually abused, they are. Often. So why is it OK to hope somebody goes to jail, but not OK to want to subject him to constant, low-grade harassment?

    And that’s why I don’t (wish for people to go to jail) simply for vengeance purposes. The only reason anyone can justify putting someone in the conditions that exist in U.S prisons is that the risk is too high of them hurting or killing someone again. (and even then, I think there are a lot of alternative options we could explore, but that are highly unlikely to happen due to the lack of giving a shit about the prison system that most people have. I have seen people complain that we feed prisoners.)

    Stalking him, hacking his cellphone, and making him get searched at airports, may make YOU feel better, and him feel worse, and “get revenge” for what he did to his daughter, but it won’t make the people around him, that live inside his house behind closed doors, any safer from being abused. So what does it accomplish? Nothing.

  92. Norma
    Norma November 4, 2011 at 11:16 am |

    EG: I can think of all kinds of situations in which extra-legal corporal punishment seems quite ethical (by definition “abuse” cannot be ethical). Pacifism is not a requirement of left-wing thought.

    I agree about pacifism but not that corporal punishment can be ethical (extra-legally, and probably generally, I think). I’m curious about the situations in which you’d find extra-legal corporal punishment ethical, and who would get to decide that, and under what code of ethics. I’d also be curious about your view on the death penalty.

    EG:

    Leaving that difference of opinion aside, the fact is, whether or not we want prisoners to by physically and sexually abused, they are. Often. So why is it OK to hope somebody goes to jail, but not OK to want to subject him to constant, low-grade harassment?

    I think that the same impulse motivates Americans’ support for making a suspect/ex-convict’s life a living hell, on one hand, and our tolerance for sexual and physical abuse in prisons. More than almost any country in the world, we love to see people get punished when we think they’ve done something wrong–even if the punishment isn’t allowed. I just don’t buy that there are completely different attitudes motivating tolerance for prison abuse, harassing suspects, and beating up kids for being “bad.”

    And yeah, that attitude help makes prison a really shitty and unhelpful place to send people, so there’s a lot that’s unsatisfying about seeing someone go to retribution-focused prisons. But at the moment there aren’t other options. Obviously I’m not arguing that this abuser should not go to jail.

  93. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive November 4, 2011 at 1:01 pm |

    I’ve been struggling with my desire to make Judge William Adams suffer as much as is humanly possible, while maintaining my unwavering commitment to nonviolence and personal autonomy. Difficult.

    BUT, now I’ve got it!! The best way to torture a conservative authoritarian fuckwit like that, AND it’s completely ethical!!!

    Behold:

    Dear Hillary Adams, I sincerely hope that you are enjoying, or you begin to enjoy on a timeframe that is consistent with your desires, a totally awesome sex life. Empowered, safe, immensely pleasurable, guilt-free, and defined however you want. Want to have that one special someone? Go for it! Screw the entire patronage of your local dive bar? Whatever makes you happy! Oral, toys, missionary, all of the above–whatever tickles your fancy (or anything else you want tickled!). As long as everyone involved is a consenting adult, please spend the rest of your life blissed out on as many orgasms as you can possibly desire. Not only is it your fundamental human right, but nothing would be more acutely unbearable to your patriarchal controlling shithead of a father.

    The best revenge is living well!

  94. EG
    EG November 4, 2011 at 7:31 pm |

    Lasciel: Stalking him, hacking his cellphone, and making him get searched at airports, may make YOU feel better, and him feel worse, and “get revenge” for what he did to his daughter, but it won’t make the people around him, that live inside his house behind closed doors, any safer from being abused. So what does it accomplish? Nothing.

    Well, as you say, there’s the making me feel better, him feel worse, and getting revenge part. That’s…pretty much what it accomplishes. That’s why I wish it. That’s what a revenge wish is all about. And since wanting it doesn’t hurt anybody at all, and even putting the low-grade harassment into effect would hurt only the asshole in question…what’s the harm?

    Norma: I’m curious about the situations in which you’d find extra-legal corporal punishment ethical, and who would get to decide that, and under what code of ethics. I’d also be curious about your view on the death penalty.

    OK. Here’re some situations. When somebody beats the shit out of his daughter, and the legal system washes its hands of the matter because of the statute of limitations, I’d find extra-legal corporal punishment ethical. Should the asshole who raped a friend of my family’s be found and identified, and for some reason legal recourse is cut off, I’d find extra-legal corporal punishment acceptable. In the 1990s a research institute in Baltimore tested different methods of clean-up of lead dust on black children for years without either telling their parents about the study or alerting the parents when the lead levels rose, or providing any care to the kids, or even telling the parents when they had identified lead dust hotspots in the institute-cleaned apartments. For some reason, the institute is being sued, but none of the researchers is being brought up on criminal charges. If one of the parents or relatives of the affected children were track down each and every one of them and shoot them through the head, I’d raise money for a defense fund.

    As to who decides and according to what code of ethics? Since you asked me in what situations I’d find it acceptable, I thought it would be obvious that we’re dealing with my decisions and my code of ethics.

    Capital punishment: I’m opposed to it because I don’t think the state can be trusted with that kind of power. This is a country in which legal and judicial authorities have played along with racism for hundreds of years, and in which not one of the motherfuckers responsible for the current economic meltdown has been brought up on charges, but people distributing free food in public parks have been. Obviously, I don’t trust this particular state with that power, and in general I can’t think of a state that would be trustworthy. I also think that an ideal government would be run on higher principles than my desire for revenge. That doesn’t mean I don’t have that desire, or that I think that the desire for revenge is inherently unethical. It just means that I don’t think it’s a good principle on which to run a government

    Norma: I think that the same impulse motivates Americans’ support for making a suspect/ex-convict’s life a living hell, on one hand, and our tolerance for sexual and physical abuse in prisons. More than almost any country in the world, we love to see people get punished when we think they’ve done something wrong–even if the punishment isn’t allowed. I just don’t buy that there are completely different attitudes motivating tolerance for prison abuse, harassing suspects, and beating up kids for being “bad.”

    Well, there’s our disagreement. I haven’t found that people in other countries with less tolerance for the death penalty and/or better prison conditions have lower rates of revenge fantasies. And I also believe strongly in the importance of degree. There is a signficant difference in degree between hoping that somebody’s cellphone is constantly hacked, they’re constantly being searched at airports, and they live in constant fear of being harangued in public, and hoping that they get raped. And degree matters.

    LeftSidePositive: The best revenge is living well!

    I dunno, I’ve always heard this, but it has not been my experience.

  95. Safiya Outlines
    Safiya Outlines November 4, 2011 at 8:20 pm |

    I can’t watch the video. I was never hit with an implement but it’s too close to home for me anyway. She is so brave for this and I wish her every happiness.

    Book girl – I think you make a very good point about the parents of PWD and abuse. I feel that so much gets overlooked and that abuse in institutional settings is almost certainly still a huge problem.

    It is never ok hit a child, it is especially dangerous to hit a child because physical violence so easily escalates. I also loathe the rubbish excuse about it being ok if it’s “done in a controlled manner”. Calmly hurting someone smaller and weaker then you is digusting and wrong.

    Atttitudes can be changed but this needs to be done from the top down. Here is a great report looking over the 30 years since corporal punishment was banned in Sweden: http://www.sweden.gov.se/content/1/c6/13/23/37/f1e848f8.pdf

  96. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve November 4, 2011 at 8:52 pm |

    Safiya Outlines: Atttitudes can be changed but this needs to be done from the top down. Here is a great report looking over the 30 years since corporal punishment was banned in Sweden: http://www.sweden.gov.se/content/1/c6/13/23/37/f1e848f8.pdf

    Thanks for this link. The report is, as you say, ‘great,’ as it makes both the statistical and the moral argument and argues both points equally well.

  97. MMead
    MMead November 5, 2011 at 1:09 am |

    Although illegal in several countries, in the U.S. we often hear from those who fight to uphold this practice for those under the age of 18 (even to the blaming of the social maladies of the day on a supposed “lack” of it), but we rarely, if ever, find advocates for the return of corporal punishment to the general adult community, college campuses, inmate population, or military. Why is that?

    Ask ten unyielding proponents of child/adolescent/teenage-only “spanking” about the “right” way to do it, and what would be abusive, indecent, or obscene, and you will get ten different answers.

    These proponents should consider making their own video-recording of the “right way” to do it.

    Visit Unlimited Justice/Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education to add your voice.

  98. karak
    karak November 5, 2011 at 2:50 am |

    I’m curious about the situations in which you’d find extra-legal corporal punishment ethical, and who would get to decide that, and under what code of ethics

    Not the person you were speaking to, but I too believe it’s perfectly acceptable to take personal revenge. The state should be about rehabilitation and public safety. I get to be about vengeance and my personal emotions.

    For example, I know a woman with a young daughter. She found out her partner (husband or boyfriend, can’t remember which) was molesting her daughter, and she took a baseball bat to his head. Perfectly fair. If our state had a LAW that baseballs bats should be applied to child molestor’s heads, I’d fiercely disagree.

    I’m not going to cite examples, but I’ve gotten into fistfights and slapped people more than once for saying things or doing things I found objectionable, and I don’t feel bad and I’d do it again (in fact, in several cases, I’d hit them harder). But if I was taken to jail for assault, well, that’s also perfectly fair, because that’s the law and the law is meant to prevent vigilante justice.

  99. chip
    chip November 5, 2011 at 5:18 am |

    He’s a good candidate for a forhead piercing hope he gets one over this.

  100. LeftSidePositive
    LeftSidePositive November 5, 2011 at 8:42 pm |

    I should clarify–I don’t for a moment mean that “living well” should be instead of appropriate legal repercussions, and I think this case shows very clearly that our current statutes of limitations at least in many states are woefully inadequate to address the real-life difficulties in how long it takes many victims to be safe from their abusers and emotionally able to file a complaint. I say, at least 10 years (with the clock starting at the 18th birthday), and the possible prison sentence for the abuser needs to be at least 15 years for doing what he did on that video, ESPECIALLY because this sort of thing can be hard to prove in most cases so we as a society REALLY need to make an example of those for whom we have such slam-dunk evidence.

    I have no legal training, but does she have any avenues in civil court?

    My comment on living well was more from the “poetic justice” standpoint, and is most apt considering how fucked-up her father’s values are. I seriously think he could not STAND the idea of her being a fulfilled, happy person with any agency, much less sexual agency!!

  101. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig November 6, 2011 at 12:26 am |

    Do we have to go through this every time someone commits a violent crime?

    I wish we didn’t, but damn do stereotypes die hard. The Judge is simply a product of his community and family. He doesn’t see anything wrong with it, and neither do his neighbors, parents or the law of the state. The fact that *we* (on this blog and elsewhere) see something wrong with it, means nothing, because we are outsiders and everything we say is wrong. Fundamentalists.. sigh.

  102. Safiya Outlines
    Safiya Outlines November 6, 2011 at 10:31 am |

    Politicalguineapig – It’s a bit ironic that you talk about stereotypes then say “Fundamentalists… sigh”

    It is not just fundamentalists who hit their kids. It is not just right wingers who hit their kids.

    People from all walks of life hit their children, support the hitting of children and may well end up beating their children. People in the comments section of this very blog have said they hit their children and plenty of others (usually in the straw babies in restaurants types of threads) have supported, in fact even encouraged the hitting of children. You can read the words “I got a whupping/spanking/smacked and it never did me any harm” right across the world wide web.

    No one is outside of this.

    Violence against children, just like domestic violence, is everywhere, no one has a monopoly on it.

    Fat Steve – Glad you found it useful. There are articles and movements that speak against such tactics and it’s good to have this to wave at them. Also, in the face of “what shall we do?” whenever something like this happens, it makes it straightforward to say, do what Sweden did and ban the corporal punishment of children.

  103. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig November 6, 2011 at 1:14 pm |

    Safiya: I am not saying that no one outside of fundamentalist communities is hitting their kids. I am saying that in fundamentalist communities child abuse is *encouraged.*

  104. Sadism and Religion Go Hand in Hand – The Culture of Religious Child Abuse « The Age of Blasphemy

    [...] to put it into context so people realize that behavior like this is not isolated or unusual, sadly. Jill has addressed how common it is for people with disabilities, who are often especially dependent on caregivers, to suffer abuse like this. Hillary has stated [...]

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