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March 19, 2008


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To be totally honest, I'm not sure if the incidence is rising or if people are just hearing about it and getting outraged more. I think abuse is nothing new, but it used to be kept hidden, and other people would look the other way becuase it was the parent's business. Sad that it exists at all, but I think sadder that it was ignored or maybe even accepted as parental prerogative for a long time.

Cases like that do make me wonder what the hell is wrong with people, what goes on in their minds, though. How they can do that and look at themselves in the mirror or wake up in the morning and carry forward is well beyond me. If only they'd take your suggestion...

Mama Nabi

Fuck. I can't stand the thought of there being more than even ZERO incident of child abuse... much less by his/her own parents. Seriously, as a bibliophile, I, too, have seen red as LN gleefully destroyed some of my favorite books... yet I look at her mere seconds later and think I should have been more gentle when I asked her to "Put the book down, slowly step away from the book" and then slammed her against the bookshelf to frisk her for more contraband.
I'll make that deal with you...


I recently read an old book titled "Death from Child Abuse... and no one heard." It's a first person narriative account of a little girl who was abused to death. (My hubby used to be a child psych student and he had in his stash). Totally reminded of it reading your post.

Anyway, I think abusers don't necessarily see the abusee as "innocent". Perhaps they blame their problems on the un-wanted kid? I think the human mind is capable of fooling itself to believe whatever it wants to believe to justify one's behavior. Of course, that does not make the behavior right and there should be, as MN puts it, ZERO incidents of child abuse... as well as zero incidents of rape, molestation, murder...

As for the deal, I think I'd rather agree to "getting help" rather than offing myself.



I'm 6 months pregnant so I'm a little hormonal these days but stories like that have me bawling for hours. I went to that linked site and now all I want to do is adopt all these poor kids. What is the world coming to?


I agree, parenting is hard. But these folks aren't at their wits end. They are pure evil. Hearing about someone abusing a child makes me want to throw up.


I've been working on child abuse cases for the last 7 years. Last year we had over 400 cases. I told myself I would do this work for 5 years but I'm still doing it. The thing that's helped me keep my sanity is to realize that the parents are victims themselves. Most of us adore our children and we would die in order to protect them. Those parents just don't have the capacity to do that because they can't even take care of themselves. Mental illness and substance abuse are most of the issues I see. Our system punishes the addicts rather than trying to really help them. Only a very small percentage of the parents recover from addiction which is quite telling about the treatment system being used.

Ignorance is bliss when it comes to this subject. I feel like I've lost an innocence that I will never get back.



I couldn't agree with you more. It is so sad and all I can hope is that these people burn in hell for eternity.

jennifer b.

I don't know whether it's because we hear more cases or actual abuse is on the rise. Either way, it's true that you can't even turn on the news without hearing some new horrible case of child abuse. Even more scary, it seems as if the cases are getting more horrible by the day. I have no pity for anyone who (for whatever reason) could ever abuse a child.


There's a hell of a lot of lab rats out there suffering needlessly for our benefit. I say save the rats and use these people for experimentation. It's good for the rats and if you want to find out what something is going to do to an actual human, why not use a real one?


Great post Metrodad. I am so saddened when I read and learn about child abuse. I too agree with you ...how can adults do unspeakable crimes to small, innocent children. They did not ask to be brought here in the world. Child abusers enrages me, and I would gladly put a bullet in them personally. [Sorry about the darkness of my post.] Parenting is the hardest job in the world. I'm glad when I hear some people / couples say they don't want children. I don't believe having children, raising them is for everyone.


Want to know something disturbing? You're right, it is increasing. Want to know why? Because in the past unwanted pregnancies were dealt with within the family and then people started getting abortions or adopting out kids they didn't want. Now there's some kind of movement that has trash keeping these babies - to be fair, in Australia you'll soon get $5000 a pop - abuse is out of control because these parents can't cope and are more and more likely to not have the family and social support they need.

It's not going to get better any time soon and unless CPS and other agencies get massive boosts in funding, workers and power you're going to keep hearing about these kids more and more.


I've seen cases of child abuse as a physician. I wouldn't describe the parents as "puzzled, confused, and frightened." More often: were abused/neglected themselves, no self-esteem/respect, multiple life stressors, substance abuse, cultural reasons, self-control issues, mental health issues. Sometimes just plain cruel. Nothing excuses child abuse. But there are some associated factors.

From your blog, you seem to be a well-adjusted, lovingly-raised, healthy, financially stable person with a kind disposition. I'm not surprised that the concept of child abuse is incomprehensible to you!


Speaking of child abuse -

mr. big dubya

I think I've already established that I'm a big baby when it comes down to stories regarding kids and any harm that comes to them - whether real or fiction. I can't handle them anymore and I find myself sickened more often than not. That's all I'm gonna say about that.

Finding Nemo: only 50 times? That's all it takes? Damn - I should be prepared for the next hundred years or so then. And don't get me started on the 101 viewings of 101 Dalmatians in a weekend.

deidre k.

I've spent the past 20 years as a social worker, primarily dealing with children who have been abused. After all these years, I will say that there is no consistent pattern in the types of people who abuse their kids; Race, education, mental illness, cultural issues, drug addiction---we see it all.

If there's one thing I can say to your readers, it's that if you see something, do something. Call CPS. Call the cops. Call someone! It's amazing how many silent witnesses there are to this horrible abuse.


Not milk. Infant formula. Milk washes out. Formula's got enough grease to ruin *anything*. (sorry if this seems flip but I just can't handle thinking about child abuse right now)

Rachel E.

Deal! Being in the social work field I try to be fair - to see all sides. But I gotta tell ya, after all of the psycho-anazlying bullshit is done, the bottom line is that we adults are responsible for our actions and our words and nothing that happened in our pasts, or even our current lives, will EVER make it okay or understandable to hurt a child - or anybody else for that matter.

I've had an unbelievable amount of crap happen to me in my life and none of that changes the fact that what I do with my hands and my words, and my life in general, is totally ON ME. It's mine to own and at the end of each day I want to lay my head on my pillow and know that I helped more people that I hurt that day. That I was master of my emotions and actions. That I knew that whatever came out of my mouth was something I could be proud of. That whatever I did with my hands and my heart and my mind was edifying and not destructive.

NO EXCUSES. It doesn't matter if someone is an addict or a victim of abuse themselves or has a chemical imbalance or whatever - none of the reasons will EVER make it okay or understandable. OR absolve them from their hurtful and abusive words and actions. The whining needs to stop and people need to own their lives. Each person has to deal with their crap and then get on with it - make their lives something worthwhile - not waste it hurting other people, namely their own children.


It's stories like these that make me sad that they are able to have children. I have been with my husband for 4 yrs and we still can not come out pregnant. And to hear that women can have babies left and right and then abuse or neglect them breaks my heart. There are thousands of couples that can't have children and to hear how a child has to suffer because their born un-wanted or at the wrong time in their parents lives. People should also promise to use a condom and birthcontrol.Save a baby save a life use protection.


Whenever I hear stories about bad parenting, I think of that Keanu Reeves quote from the movie "Parenthood."

"You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car - hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they'll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father."


What I can't understand is that abusive people are able to have kids while those that would love to have a child and would love the child more than words could ever express cannot. I'd give anything to be able to have a child of my own and it burns me up and seems so unfair that people who would treat a child so poorly have no trouble recreating in any way. While those of us that would love to cuddle a child of our own and love it unconditionally are left childless.

I know life is unfair. I'm living proof. :-)

JDG, I LOVE that quote from Parenthood and it is, sadly, all too true.


This kind of stories leave me speechless and in tears. I can't begin to understand how can someone do that to a child, much less their own.

That link someone posted, yuk... is that legal? I mean, they're selling those girls!!


Great post! I am so passionate about this topic. My husband and I just watched an MSNBC special in Vietnam where 5 year-old girls are being sold for sex. How sick is that? I so want to adopt just one of them and show them that their life means much more than that.



I always thought child abuse was crazy when I was younger, and now that I have children of my own, I cannot even FATHOM how someone can do that to their own child. What really kills me in that particular case is that BOTH her parents abused/tortured/killed her!!! Neither one thought, "hey, that's a bit over the line...I need to protect my child from my spouse". Truly distrubing and disgusting. Thanks for bringing this to light so more people check their own actions with their children and hopefully take action if they suspect that a neighbor is abusing/neglecting their child.

Rob O.

Totally agree! Even moreso since my wife & I recently adopted a child who had been abused (via neglect).

Someone's channeling some Dennis Miller...


I've been reading all the articles on that Mixzmary Brown case also. How is it possible that the father was NOT convicted of murder? He beat his own child and killed her. Is that not the definition of murder? Have we lost sight here because of all the emotional issues involved? Tragic.


On a brighter note, who do you like in the tourney? Too bad your Cal Bears didn't make it. Go Bruins!


jdg...that quote from Parenthood is one of my favorite all-time quotes from any film.

But it's true. I've often thought about it before. I had a terrible father. The only good thing about him was that he split when my sister and I were still young. He used to hit our mom and us. But I often think about how bad my life could have turned out if he had stayed in our lives.

There is a special place in Hell reserved for those who abuse children.


This is my second time reading this post. Today I thought I'd be strong enough to read some of the links. Nope. All I could do was look at Nixzmary's beautiful face. I hope if I ever see that kind of glassy smile and thinness, I speak up.


Holy sh*t. We just had the same thing down here in Dc but it was a woman and her daughters. She lived with their bodies for months and they were in such shape that the Medical Examiner couldn't even figure out how she killed them.

The city acknowledges "mistakes were made" in how they responded to pleas for help from teachers and others that had not seen the girls in months.

After having a baby, all I want to do is love and protect every little person I see.


It's baffling and heartbreaking to me to read about these cases, and I'd like to publicly thank my parents for teaching me the compassion and empathy that makes it too hard for me to check out those links today.


Xiobhan, I immediately thought of Banita Jacks, too.

MetroDad, you have a deal. It makes my heart break in half that at her death, Nixzmary weighed two pounds less than my Petunia (age 4 1/2) weighs right now.


It is even more upsetting to me that 12 men and women could hear the details of this child's life and death and not consider it murder. It is not just the abusers who have lost any sense of decency and integrity, it is all of us when you can call it manslaughter. This was a young child with no power or options and they systematically tortured and killed her. Why isn't there more of an outcry? Why aren't people up in arms? A governor has to resign because of infidelity and yet child murders get a break? Who are we as a people when we do not provide justice to the weakest of our citizens? I am ashamed.

jang man

carosgram put it more eloquently than I can but I agree. How can a jury hear stories like this and NOT convict the parents for murder? What does that say about us as a society?


Truly heartbreaking. Stories like this make me want to vote for skipping the fair trial and going straight to death penalty.. and I think people sentenced to death should be killed in the same manner they killed their victims.


as someone who is almost 7 months pregnant, and went through medical treatments for a year to get here - i absolutely cannot comprehend the people who have sympathy for the abusers. ok, so most of the time the abusers have been abused in the past, have low self-esteem, drug problems, mental problems, etc - this does NOT excuse the manner in which this little girl was abused!

Honestly, i dont understand why some people are allowed to have children at all when clearly they are not ready for the responsibility of being a parent! Maybe I'm harsh, but some people in this world need to be sterlized.


OMG! My son weighs 37 lbs and he's only 3 1/2. I can't believe a 7-year-old could weight that little due to starvation. How horrible that one's own parents could do that to her ON PURPOSE! I can't wait to run home tonight after work and hug my dear son extra tight.


I'm not sure if I'm going to get this right - but I believe there was something back in the day called "Hammurabi's Code" - whereby if you stole, they cut off your hands, if you raped someone, they cut off your appendage, etc.

I'm a firm believer that if you kill a child, you should be put to death by the same measure by which you killed that child. Nixmary's father should be tied to a radiator, deprived of food and beaten to death. I'm sure he'll enjoy it.

Papa Bradstein

Yeah, I can't even read those stories now that I'm a parent. When I see the headlines, I have to skip over them because just the headline makes me want to cry. And it makes me so angry at the same time at the parents. The whole situation is unfathomable to me, and yet it keeps repeating itself.

I do like your solution to the problem, however your test is lacking a few elements: have someone pee on your Persian carpet, poop on you, and then run away and laugh at you while you try to clean them and the mess up.

And, rather than simple sleep deprivation, you'd need to set your alarm to wake you at random intervals no longer than two hours to the sound of a wailing banshee. Every time you heard that, you'd have to get up and prepare a meal, wash a load of dishes, run a load of laundry, and coax a coked up squirrel back to sleep before you got to go back to bed yourself.


Add me to the list of people who can't even read or listen to stories like this since having a kid. It's been five years of parenting for me now and I still don't watch the local news because I can't take these kinds of stories. I feel angry and upset and sick for days afterwards.

Rachael E said it really well above: people may have had shit happen in their lives, but at the end of the day, they are adults who are responsible for their actions. No excuses.

Jeremy Neal

Man, I'm with you. Whenever I hear about child abuse, particularly by a dad, it makes me sick. What kind of dad (parent) thinks that this behavior is OK? Stuff like this makes you think that street justice may be a good solution, at times.

pnuts mama

md, my husband gets so pissed off every night when the newsanchors say "was beaten for stealing a cup of yogurt from the fridge"- he's like, "how in fuck does a kid 'steal' food from their own fridge?" i have to talk him down every time.

there is a part of me who has a great deal of compassion for every parent now that i am a parent- i know how gd frustrating it is to raise a child, and how sometimes you can consider doing something rash when you lose your temper with an admittedly innocent child. i'm not so naive that i can say "how on earth could you ever hurt your child?" anymore- my question now is "where was the help for this family that they obviously needed?" -especially when it was an obvious pattern of abuse that went on for years.

i'm lucky enough that i have a shitload of assets going for me that have always proven to be the stopgap before i've ever done something in the moment- but in most cases of child abuse the parents or step parents don't have even 1/2 of what i do. many of these people are in serious trouble with their own abuse issues, or mentally, financially, are completely overwhelmed by their situations and have few systems of social support. what about the mom out in nassau who drowned her three kids last month? all the folks in her town came on the news and badmouthed her and said what a bad mom she was, do you think any of these people cared enough for her or them to offer some help at the time? doubtful.

there is no excuse for child abuse, but there is also no excuse for our society taking the easy way out and looking the other way until *after* something happens and wringing our hands and saying "the horror! they should all be killed!" it breaks my heart and makes me re-double my efforts in the way i live my life as an active and responsible member of our society.


When will people in this country learn to take responsibility for their actions?

I don't care if you were abused as a child. I don't care if you struggle to make ends meet. I don't care if you suffer from substance abuse. In almost all of these cases, the abuser could tell the difference between RIGHT and WRONG!

You abuse your own kid, you deserve to go to jail. For a long time. Preferably forever.

leslie c.

Amen, MD. Amen!


"You've got to promise me that if you ever get to the point in your life where you are so puzzled, confused, and frightened that you feel that the only way out is to abuse or molest a little kid, well then, you have got to fucking kill yourself."

BRAVO, Metrodad, BRAVO.


These stories absolutely infuriate me! You're right, every single time you turn on the local news, you hear about a new case.

Here in Dallas, the latest incident involves a woman who threw her two young sons off a freeway overpass. Miraculously they didn't die. It's amazing to me that a mother could do that to her own kids.

The scary part is that this woman had already been investigated by CPS three times. She'd been in jail. And her kids were in a foster home before. How is this piece of sh*t still allowed to be a mother?


AMEN, Brother! I'll make that promise. There is NEVER any reason to abuse a child. If we are big enough to pull our pants down and do what it takes to procreate, we need to be big enough to pull them back up and either parent our children ourselves or admit we can't and make sure we get them to someone who can.
And Brother, I know ALL about the challenges of parenting...new baby with special needs.


There is no excuse nor is there a punishment harsh enough for the animals that abuse, starve or murder an innocent, helpless child. Our justice system is terribly flawed by allowing a conviction of anything less than murder. I find supreme satisfaction in knowing that even though these beasts may not suffer hell here on Earth, they will certainly burn in hell for eternity...

Litte Bird

I don't know how anyone could look at this and not call it murder. I mean for her to have survived as long as she did, her stepfather had to be (as much as this disgusts me) creative. He had to really think about it. And that makes me ill. No one EVER has the right to hit a child.


When I read horrible stories of abuse like this one, of course my first visceral reaction is for the poor child and his/her unimaginable suffering.

And then I ponder the abusers, and think, there but for the grace of god go I.

People who inflict the abuse are from all different backgrounds, with all different kinds of problems. Their mental illnesses led them to the point where their children were no longer human beings, but inanimate objects on which they vented their rage. Something made them lose their ability to empathize with their fellow humans, and opened the way for them to do the unthinkable.

I've never consciously inflicted harm on my children -- inadvertently, yes (I once forgot my infant son in a parking lot and drove away!), but never willfully. However, I am lucky in that despite the fact that mental illness does run in my family, and that I was raised in any environmnent with excessive and harmful physical discipline, my life circumstances have never pushed me to any brink, where I ever feared losing sight of my children's humanity -- or my own.

If can't say for sure that I would never get to that point in my life, "where you are so puzzled, confused, and frightened that you feel that the only way out is to abuse....a little kid," because I believe people who reach this point are seriously ill, and so far gone that they don't understand what they are doing. I have trouble imagining what it must be like to them.

Therefore, sorry, I can't promise to kill myself. (However, it sounds like plenty of people on this comment thread would be willing to do it for me!)

Paige Jennifer

I've never understood how you need to take a test to drive a car but there are no standards for being able to reproduce. Well, beyond being able to spread your legs. It's a sad state of affairs when innocent children fall victim to fucked up adults.

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