I had an interesting conversation over the course of lunch with two colleagues. One of them is a legal professional, the other works in behavioral sciences. They are both married and have children. As I am so accustomed to do, I intentionally steered the conversation toward my thoughts on the growing anti-male bias that we seem to be experiencing.
Surprisingly, they both jumped at the concept and had profound comments. They had insightful thoughts about how anti-male bias ultimately evolves into anti-family bias. As wives, and mothers, they both insisted that at the pinnacle of their concerns was the growing controversy over child abuse, child neglect, sexual abuse and other forms of "child maltreatment." The luncheon encouraged me to do a little research.
In recent years, we've seen a geometric increase of media attention on the abuse and neglect of children. There are now even television shows devoted to tracking potential child molesters by encouraging them to visit a house set up with hidden video cameras so that we all can watch. The entire concept makes me question what type of psychological condition one must suffer from to actually want to "watch" a child molester in the act.
Indeed, ongoing concerns of many families seem to stem from what some call "the abuse excuse," or the idea that many children find that a "convenient" way to get out of trouble is to blame Mom or Dad for neglecting or abusing them. In "Beware the Child Protectors," William Norman Gregg wrote of the devastation of child protective agencies intruding into and breaking up an increasing number of innocent American family homes.
Increased cases, increased budgets?
In conjunction with the increased media attention on child abuse and neglect, child protection agencies have begun to change the definition of what actually constitutes abuse and neglect. While there may have been a time when the definitions involved physical or emotional harm, for a parent to simply raise his or her voice at a child can now be considered harmful abuse and demand a social services investigation. Even more, there are growing numbers of parents and homes under investigation not because abuse or neglect occurred, but because a child protective agency felt that a child was "in danger of being harmed." In other words, the child protection workers thought that a crime "might be" committed.
In knowing this, we should now be skeptical when politicians and social workers tell us that cases of child abuse and neglect are on the rise. The truth is, for the very fact that the definitions have changed, we can be sure that much of the so-called increase is due to exaggerated reporting. Perhaps some might suggest that changes in the definitions of "abuse" and "neglect" were implemented for the very purpose of raising the statistics in order to ju.jpgy an increase in the budgets of social services and child protection agencies.
Burn, witch, burn
There are an estimated 3 million "reports" of child abuse per year in the United States. Although, according to Health and Human Services, Aid for Children and Families statistics, and a number of other studies, of all reported cases of child abuse nationwide, an astounding 60 percent are deemed to be unfounded. In South Carolina alone, over the past several years there have been an average of about 18,000 cases of reported child abuse per year. Of those, some 12,000 are found to be either totally false or unsubstantiated. What is even more frightening is that while child protective agencies insist that the number of reported child abuse cases are increasing, they neglect to also acknowledge that the number of those cases which are "unfounded" is also increasing.
These statistics are eerily similar to those showing that about 50% of all adult women who allege rape eventually admit that their allegations are false.
From a psychological standpoint, such unfounded allegations typically emerge out of a need for an alibi, to seek revenge, or to gain sympathy or attention.
One high-profile example would be that of the 1991 Tailhook Scandal, where a female officer in the U.S. Navy made allegations of rape and groping against a group of male officers. The female officer later recanted her story admitting that she had lied because she didn't want her fiance' to know that she had participated in a sex orgy. This single Navy episode still stands as a high profile example of rape in the military even though the original accusations were false.
Hans Sebald, professor emeritus of sociology at Arizona State University, is among a growing number of professionals who are critical of the current trend of using child abuse cases to destroy American families. In his book, "Witch-children: From the Salem Witch-hunts to Modern Courtrooms," he compares the modern family fear of social services and accompanying media hype with the fear of witchcraft in the fifteenth to early eighteenth centuries. He contends that both scenarios spawned a culture in which children become encouraged to tell stories because a group of adults expect them to. As a result, in both scenarios, a grotesquely high number of innocent people are falsely accused.
Unfortunately, just as in the case of children in the past who were burned to death as witches, the non-abused child in the modern courtroom often ends up te.jpgying to something that ultimately hurts him -- or herself.
Social workers and foster care system
We should acknowledge that a number of psychologists and doctors claim that the lack of education levels among child protective service employees attributes to a frightening number of non-abused children being unnecessarily separated from their families. In addition, I would propose that further studies are likely to reveal that an overwhelming majority of child protective service employees are single mothers. If so, this may lend strong support to those who suggest that the issue truly is rooted in anti-male and anti-family bias.
During research for his book, "Horrors of the Non-Home," Timothy W. Maier found that the number of children being placed in the foster care system has increased dramatically in recent years (recall, of course, that the increase is due partially to the change in the definition of "abuse"). Unfortunately, child protective agencies ignore the fact that children in the foster care system are "ten times more likely" to be abused than other children. And of course we must consider the obvious physical and emotional toll it takes on non-abused children who are separated from their family for months at a time. The idea that Gestapo- and Taliban-like home investigations and forced family separations involve some 12,000 innocent South Carolina families each year makes my own blood boil.
With these sorts of statistics, perhaps we should begin to question the sincerity of those who claim to be "victim's advocates.
"Keith A. Pounds is a military veteran, having served as a combat medic in the United States Navy and with the Marine Corps. He holds a bachelor's degree in human resource management and is about to complete his master's in organizational psychology.
Original Article with comments-
TheTandD.com The abuse excuse: Social services or Salem witch hunts?