A GPS Monitor Was No Protection for 13-year-old Licy Nipp

12 03 2009

She was beaten and stabbed to death by a homeless sex offender after she laughed at his failed attempt to rape her. He was a Level 3 sex offender – the category considered most likely to reoffend – and he was wearing a GPS monitor.

Alycia "Licy" Nipp

Alycia "Licy" Nipp

That device did not protect free-spirited 13-year-old Alycia “Licy” Nipp. Her body was found on February 22 in a field she was warned not to walk through in Vancouver, Oregon – 15 miles from Portland.

30-year-old Darrin Sanford may face the death penalty for what he did to Licy. He was convicted in 1998 after he offered to pay a group of 8 to 11 year-old children for oral sex and was given probation. He wore a passive GPS monitor (one that collects data on where he’s been and transmits it later) for the seven weeks since he was last let out of prison in January for one of his three parole violations.

All but six states make some use of GPS monitors for sex offenders. Although knowing where they are is good because it can help prevent convicted sex offenders from being near schools, experts say that the monitors provide a false sense of protection from the perpetrators.

The face of a child molester has changed from when my children were small. They were taught about “stranger danger.” Human Rights Watch reports that “In fact, the evidence shows that family members, friends or acquaintances are responsible for more than 90% of sexual abuse cases involving children.” HRW also says that first-time offenders are responsible for 87% of the cases of sexual abuse against children.

But these statistics did not protect Licy Nipp. Licy’s death is particularly difficult for her family, which has a history of experiencing sexual violence. Licy’s aunt Amber Hager had been raped twice as a teen and Licy’s grandmother had been raped as a child. They vowed to Licy that the cycle stopped with them and had coached Licy on how to be safe.

The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers says that sexual offending can not be cured and that treatment has produced limited results in some people.

This is what makes dealing with sex offenders so difficult. What do you do with people who have urges to sexually assault children, have served their time in prison or on probation, and are rated likely to reoffend, as Darrin Sanford was?

Can we with a good conscience let such people…especially considering that Darrin had violated his parole three times…roam the streets with only a GPS monitor that doesn’t even report his location in real time? Is this the best we can do to protect our children?

UPDATE 6/10/09: Darrin Eugene Sanford pleaded guilty yesterday to first-degree aggravated murder. He is expected to receive a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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They Had No Choice Then; They Deserve One Now

5 03 2009

If men could get pregnant from a rape, would they still prohibit abortions for rape victims? Two stories today bring home the inhumanity of men’s stands on pregnant rape victims.

Story #1 – A Brazilian 9-year-old was allegedly raped by her step-father (who is now in jail for this). Weighing only 80 pounds and 15 weeks pregnant, this little girl was pregnant with twins. Abortion is against the law in Brazil, but a judge can make an exception if the mother’s life is at risk. It was determined in this case that this child’s life was at risk. The abortion was carried out yesterday amidst protests from the Catholic Church.

Story #2 – According to an article by Human Rights Watch, officials in the Mexican state of Guanajuato are preventing rape victims from getting abortions even though the Mexican Supreme Court upheld a ruling that it is legal. The HRW article says this:

Guanajuato permits legal abortion only after rape. But over the past eight years, the state has denied every petition by a pregnant rape victim for abortion services. Over the same period, about 130 persons have been sentenced for seeking or providing illegal abortions. Hospital workers often report women suspected of having received abortions to the police, instead of focusing on the provision of safe and confidential medical care for women with post-abortion complications.

In Mexico City, women can have an abortion in their first trimester, no matter whether they were raped or not.

Feministing.com includes this unbelievable bit. Their comment about it is in bold type:

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Jerry W. Kilgore was quoted in 1997 as saying he opposes abortion, but “supports exceptions for rape and incest if the woman reports the crime to police within a week.” Cause really ladies, seven days is plenty of time to deal with your dad raping you.

In a different take on men’s appalling insensitivity to what it is like to be raped and impregnated by a rapist, I read a story about how a Japanese computer game was available on Amazon.com and eBay where players must rape women and force them to have an abortion. It was taken down off Amazon on 2/13/09.

Rape in itself is violent, intrusive, and forever changes and affects a woman or girl. I do not believe that abortion should be used as a form of birth control, but no woman or child should be forced to carry the child of a rapist. Lawmakers and churches who disregard not only the danger to a raped child’s life but also the emotional devastation of having to carry and give birth to a rapist’s child are not just or godly. And entrepreneurs profiting from glorifying rape and the men who buy this disgusting filth bear culpability in promoting a world where rape is seen as a means for men to take out their aggression and as entertainment.

Women who were raped had no choice in the matter and they did not choose to have a child by their attacker. They deserve a choice on whether to carry to carry and be a mother to a rapist’s child…especially when the unwlling mother-to-be is a child herself.

UPDATE: The Vatican has excommunicated the mother of the raped 9-year-old Brazilian girl who had the abortion and the doctors who performed the abortion. The step-father, who raped the girl, was not excommunicated. The regional archbishop said that even thought what he did was “… “a heinous crime … the abortion – the elimination of an innocent life – was more serious”. The girl said the step-father had been sexually abusing her since she was six years old. Police said the 23-year-old stepfather also allegedly sexually abused the girl’s physically handicapped 14-year-old sister. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.





Sierra Leone Females: Poor, Uneducated, Butchered

28 02 2009

Kidnapped by women, stripped naked, and paraded through the streets. This was the plight of four women journalists on February 7 in the city of Kenema in the African country of Sierra Leone. The reason? To punish them for reporting on female genital mutilation (FGM). The United Nations reports that 94% of women and girls in Sierra Leone ages 15 – 49 have experienced FGM, which is done to control their sexual urges, make them ready for marriage, and to make them an acceptable female member of society. Women cannot even hold office in Sierra Leone unless they have been cut.

Last year the Sierra Leone government said it would ban FGM, but it has done nothing about it. Patricia Kabbah, the late wife of previous President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, sponsored (paid for) the circumcisions of 15,000 girls in order to get votes for her husband. A decade ago, the woman who later became the Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Women’s Affairs in Sierra Leone threatened to “sew up the mouths” of those who preach against FGM.

It is hard to imagine that women such as the journalists’ kidnappers, the ex-president’s wife, and a minster of women’s affairs would all advocate the barbaric practice of cutting off the clitoris (and sometimes also the labia) of girls. The practice is often done with a crude knife, razor blade, or even a piece of broken glass and can cause severe bleeding and infection, injure girls for life, make them incontinent, make them infertile, cause complications during pregnancy and childbirth, and can even cause death.

Rugiatu Turay Fights FGM - Credit: The Independent

Rugiatu Turay Fights FGM - Credit: The Independent

One brave woman in Sierra Leone who is working to stop this practice is 26-year-old Rugiatu Turay. Ms. Turay is a victim of FGM herself. The Independent online reports this about what happened to Ms. Turay when she was 12 years old:

Ms Turay was mutilated at her aunt’s house where she was staying with her three sisters and her cousin. “We didn’t even know that we were going to be initiated,” she says. “They called me to get water and then outside they just grabbed me.”

She was blindfolded, stripped, and laid on the ground. Heavy women sat on her arms, her chest, her legs. Her mouth was stuffed with a rag. Her clitoris was cut off with a crude knife. Despite profuse bleeding she was forced to walk, was beaten and had hot pepper water poured into her eyes.

“My mother had always told me never to let anyone touch me there. I was scared and I tried to fight them off. Nobody talked to me but there was all this clapping, singing, shouting,” recalls Ms Turay. “When I tried to walk on the seventh day I could not walk. All they could say is ‘Today you have become a woman’.”

For the past six years, Ms. Turay has waged a war with the 20 people on her staff against FGM through her organization Amazonian Initiative Movement. She became an activist after a cousin bled to death from FGM. She works to persuade the soweis, the women who do the cutting, to lay down their knives and stop practicing FGM. So far she has convinced 700 to over 1200 soweis (the numbers vary according to different reports) in 111 villages to stop the cutting and participating in the traditional bondo ceremony. Ms. Turay has received numerous death threats, been attacked, and has had magic used against her. Because she is still alive, the local people think she has special powers and they now leave her alone.

Katrina Manson, the journalist who wrote The Independent article, asked President Koroma of Sierra Leone, elected in 2007, his thoughts on FGM and he said “Let people in civil society deal with this issue.” That means that brave people such as Ms. Turay must fight against the 3 million new African girls being mutilated each year, adding to the 92 million already circumcized.

It is shocking that girls as young as FIVE years old are trained to be circumsisers. 35-year-old Marion Kanu, interviewed by Ms. Manson, gave her reasons for practicing it: “I didn’t like it when it happened to me and I worry about the pain of the girl, but I do it because they pay me, and because we met our ancestors doing it.” The woman’s two children also are circumcisers. In this poor country it is a way to make a living. The village elders have an incentive to keep the practice going also; they receive the equivalent of $25 for every circumcision rite.

Sierra Leone ranked last in the UN’s Human Development Index in 2007 and 2008. Life expectancy there is the lowest of any country in the world: 42 years old. Only 25% of women are literate; 37% of the entire population is literate. The country has the highest rate in the world of mothers dying during childbirth: 1,800 women for every 100,000 live births “…largely due to lack of human resources and corruption in the healthcare sector” according to the UN. 25% of children die before the age of five. Annual income is about $240.

This is a country where people are uneducated, live in extreme poverty, and are steeped in traditions and in corruption …all making it extremely difficult to stamp out female genital mutilation. According to the World Health Organization, the best way to begin to do this is literacy, education, and alternative forms of income for the soweis.

International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation is sponsored by UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) each February 6. If you want to help, you might consider going to Unicef.org and making a donation.

Additional information can be found at the Female Genital Cutting Education and Networking Project.





Chris Brown: A Witness to Violence, A Perpetrator of Violence

11 02 2009

As a child, Chris Brown says that he witnessed his mother being beaten. Now he’s the one who did the beating.

REUTERS

Chris Brown and Rihanna Performing - Photo: REUTERS

Less than 24 hours before mega R&B 19-year-old star Chris Brown was to be one of the featured acts at the Grammys, he allegedly (and there doesn’t seem to be much alleged about it) punched his equally mega star girlfriend Rihanna (who was also to perform at the Grammys) in the face, bit her, and caused some horrible damage to her after an argument. Both cancelled their Grammy performances on the biggest night in music when they were both going to have the chance to shine with millions of people watching.

Here is strong example of how violence against children or in a children’s presence takes a toll on them. Yesterday I wrote a post about corporal punishment in schools and the affect that has on children. In 2006 the United Nations published a study on violence against children. In it, they state that:

Studies from many countries in all regions of the world suggest that up to 80 to 98 percent of children suffer physical punishment in their homes, with a third or more experiencing severe physical punishment resulting from the use of implements.

Think about it. 80 to 98% of children across the world are physically harmed in their homes. DISTURBING. The report discusses the affects of this violence:

Physical violence is often accompanied by psychological violence. Insults, name-calling, isolation, rejection, threats, emotional indifference, and belittling are all forms of violence that can be detrimental to a child’s psychological development and well-being— especially when it comes from a respected adult such as a parent. It is of critical importance that parents be encouraged to employ exclusively nonviolent methods of discipline.

In addition to the physical and emotional damage done to children from being abused themselves, the report states that 133 to 275 million children worldwide are estimated to witness domestic violence annually and this takes a toll:

The exposure of children to violence in their homes on a frequent basis, usually through fights between parents or between a mother and her partner can severely affect a child’s well-being, personal development, and social interaction in childhood and adulthood. Intimate partner violence also increases the risk of violence against children in the family….

This is what Chris Brown says he experienced for years as a child…watching his mother being beaten by his step-father. He said it made him scared, timid, and he wet the bed. A child never forgets having witnessed or experienced abuse. Speaking from experience, I can tell you that it stays in your mind, in your emotions, and in your body.

When will people…and especially parents…all over the world wake up and learn that you can not be violent toward a child and expect it to have no affect on the child? Violence begets violence and/or anger, withdrawal, sadness, depression, and much more. Why are so many people in the world so angry that we take it out on a child or hurt each other in a child’s presence? When will it stop?

UPDATE: Today Chris Brown was charged with two felonies in conjunction with this: that of assault and of making criminal threats. CNN has a report of the extent of the assault and it’s shockingly worse than anyone thought. I really like Chris Brown as an artist and he seemed like a decent guy. This is totally unacceptable. He really needs to get some serious help and serving jail time would send a loud message that it is not okay to assault someone…even if it is your girlfriend.





Kids in School: Getting an Education Plus a Beating

10 02 2009

Did you know that chewing gum in class could be enough to get a child beaten? I remember kids getting sent to the principal’s office to be spanked when I was in school in the 1960s and always felt sorry for them. Sometimes teachers would spank the child in the classroom in front of all the other children. I hated that. I saw that and experienced that at home and it still affects me.

Human Rights Watch put out a report in 2008 entitled “A Violent Education: Corporal Punishment of Children in US Public Schools.” I had no idea that this was still going on in schools and the more I read of this report, the more upset I got. Here are some things I pulled from the report:

  • 223,190 students nationwide were spanked in schools during the 2006-2007 school year at least once. Administrators admit the numbers are underreported and could be twice as many as reported.
    • 49,197 of those were in Texas – about 20%
    • In Mississippi during that period, 7.5% of students were paddled – the highest percent in the country.
  • 21 states permit corporal punishment in schools.
  • The Austin (where I live) school district does not permit corporal punishment.
  • 106 countries outlaw corporal punishment in schools; the U.S. is clearly out of touch.
  • Corporal punishment in schools has a disproportionate use against African-Americans, special education students, and boys.
Paddles Used on School Children

Paddles Used on School Children

For more information, check out The Center for Effective Discipline website. They have a long list of U.S. organizations that oppose corporal punishment in schools. There are also links to many articles and resources on the effects of corporal punishment, laws, what parents can do, and more.

So what is corporal punishment? Corporal punishment in schools usually involves a wooden paddle about 15 – 18 inches long being swung against the child’s buttocks 3 – 10 times; paddles are often even made by the students in woodworking shop. I’ve read that some paddles are as big as 27 inches and some have holes drilled in them to hurt children even more. For many teachers and principals who spank children in schools, the idea is clearly to inflict maximum damage.

Paddling can be done even for rather benign things like chewing gum, being late, sleeping in class, talking back to a teacher, violating the dress code, walking on the wrong side of the hall, not turning in homework, or going to the bathroom without permission. They even reported a 16-year-old 5-months pregnant girl being paddled for being tardy.
Principals who administer the paddling have done things like turn on the loudspeaker so every class could hear it being done and patrol the hallways with a paddle, ready to strike anywhere.

Hitting a child in the place he/she goes to get an education can have the following effects on the child:

Leads to environment of humiliation, violence, and degradation

Destroys trust between the student and the school

Often leads to real physical injury such as bleeding and deep bruising

Causes children to act out, become violent, become a bully, and even drop out of school

Human Rights Watch urged President Bush to ban corporal punishment in schools, but he never took any action. That doesn’t surprise me given President Bush’s authorization of torture.

President Obama is a compassionate, caring father and abhors torture and violence. Inflicting pain and injury to a child is a form of torture, is violent, and shouldn’t happen in homes or in schools. Children should be nurtured, not violated. Join me in calling on President Obama to outlaw corporal punishment in schools. Hitting a child is never the answer.

You can contact President Obama by going to http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact.

UPDATE 9/27/09: The Los Angeles Times reported on 9/24/09 that spanking lowers a child’s IQ, study findings that were presented in San Diego at the International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma. Regular spanking creates chronic stress, leads to post-traumatic stress, and is this is thought to lower the child’s IQ. The more spanking done to the child, the more he experiences post-traumatic stress. The lead author of the study, University of New Hampshire professor Murray Straus says:

It is … time for the United States to begin making the advantages of not spanking a public health and child welfare focus, and eventually enact federal no-spanking legislation.

UPDATE: Since I wrote this, many people have found this post because they entered words that indicated they like seeing spanked bare bottoms. I had included a small photo showing the effects of school spankings, but have deleted it. I did not write this post to titillate; quite the opposite. I hope it angers you and disgusts  you to the point of finding out if your school system allows paddling. If it does, I hope you will take action. I would never allow my children to be in a school that allowed spanking. I find it barbaric and to work against the kind of respectfulness and safety that is needed for children to be able to actually learn.

This post has gotten the attention of teachers who love to spank and many of them are reading my post. GOOD. Maybe your eyes will be opened to what you are advocating and doing.

What I said is now being called “unfair” on a forum where teachers debate the positive (and for a few, the negative) aspects of paddling. That is beyond hypocritical considering what these teachers are doing to children. It’s unfair to report the facts and how paddling children has NEGATIVE effects on the child? Do they expect us to say “Oh, that’s okay. Go ahead and beat our children, hurt them, and damage their self-esteem. No big deal.?????”

Why is it that beating or hitting an adult is called assault and is a felony offense and beating a child is called punishment and is okay? Our animals have more rights than children do. If we beat an animal the way we beat children in schools and at home, we would be arrested. I found this statement in an article on the www.nospank.org website:

In Texas, if somebody beats your dog with a wooden board for no reason, you’d sue and win. In addition to the civil action, the perpetrator would undoubtedly face criminal charges and be punished. But in Texas if somebody beats your child with a wooden board, and the perpetrator happens to be a schoolteacher, you’d better back off and keep your mouth shut. If you try to seek a remedy in the courts on behalf of your child, it is you, the parent, who will be punished. That’s the way it is in Texas. Family pets are cherished, but children… Well, they’re a different story.

Children have rights too. They are not just objects for adults to take out their aggression and frustration on.

Even on that forum, there are teachers who call corporal punishment in schools child abuse and talk of enormous paddles being used sadistically. I am not backing down on my stand. This is child abuse plain and simple and even on that forum, some teachers say many of those who practice paddling children do it because they enjoy it. Hitting children because you enjoy it? That is truly twisted.

A reader sent me additional information that adds to the shock of what is going on in schools. Some teachers are forced out of schools for not practicing paddling. A teacher was arrested for child pornography whose main interest was spanking. A little boy allegedly shot his father and the roommate because of his 1000th spanking at school. The reader also made the important point that there are children abused at home who may very well be the ones acting out in class, putting themselves at further risk of abuse from paddling teachers and school adminstrators. I even found a site that advises teenage children on how to approach your parents to ask them to spank you and how that will bring you closer together. The more I read on this topic, the more stunned I am.

I hope you’ll take the time to read the comments below. I went to the site mentioned by a reader. A photo from that site is pictured below. For those who think the damage done to a child from paddling is only temporary, I can speak from experience and tell you that the emotional damage done to a child from being beaten like this can last a lifetime.

High School Football Player Hit for Failing Grade while Those Who Watch Know They are Next

High School Football Player Hit for Failing Grade while Those Who Watch Know They are Next