The website that lists many child abuse hotlines is:

Just click on the state you live in and you can get a phone number.


Signs of Child Abuse and Neglect

The Joyful Heart Foundation was started by Mariska Hargitay, the star of Law and Order, Special Victims Unit.  On their website they list the 10 most common signs of child abuse so people can recognize an abused child and report it to officials. Learning these signs and discussing them with those close to you is the first step in breaking the pattern of violence that hurts us all.

1. Unexplained injuries – Visible signs of physical abuse may include unexplained burns or bruises in the shape of objects. You may also hear unconvincing explanations of a child’s injuries.

2. Changes in behavior – Abuse can lead to  many changes in a child’s behavior. Abused children often appear scared, anxious, depressed, withdrawn or more aggressive.

3. Returning to earlier behaviors -Abused children may display behaviors shown at earlier ages, such as thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, fear of the dark or strangers. For some children, even loss of acquired language or memory problems may be an issue.

4. Fear of going home – Abused children may express apprehensions or anxiety about leaving school or going places with the person who is abusing them.

5. Changes in eating – The stress, fear and anxiety caused by abuse can lead to changes in a child’s eating behaviors, which may result in weight gain or loss.

6. Changes in sleeping – Abused children may have frequent nightmares or have difficulty falling asleep, and as a result may appear tired or fatigued.

7. Changes in school performance and attendance – Abused children may have difficulty concentrating in school or have excessive absences, sometimes due to adults trying to hide the children’s injuries from authorities.

8. Lack or personal care or hygiene – Abused and neglected children may appears uncared for. They may present as consistently dirty and have severe body odor, or they may lack sufficient clothing for the weather.

9. Risk-taking behaviors – Young people who are being abused may engage in high-risk activities, such as using drugs or alcohol or carrying a weapon.

10. Inappropriate sexual behaviors – Children who have been sexually abused may exhibit overly sexualized behavior or use explicit sexual language.

If you notice a child with some of the above behaviors it is probably best not to immediately confront the parents or caretakers of the child. If they are the abusers, you will only cause them to go further undercover and they will deny any abuse is going on. The child will probably deny it too, because they are deathly afraid of their abuser.

If you notice a child with some of the above behaviors contact an abuse hotline or the school or the police. I will give you the website  with the phone numbers of the abuse hotlines in my next post. Reporting child abuse can put you at risk for abusive behavior yourself so please be tactful and discreet.

Do you suspect child abuse?

I’ve been in that situation before. You see a mother or father abusing their child and you can’t do anything about it. I was a sales clerk for Belk’s Department Store in Florida. The store was in “close-out” mode so all the merchandise and clerks were in the front of the store and there was only one check out counter. So when I saw a mother abusing her child there wasn’t even a phone available. She brought the boy into the store at night to find out if we had pants that would fit him. It was fairly cold out and the boy had no shoes. The two had a bad energy. The mother was pulling the boy and the boy was trying to get away from her.

“Mommy, my feet hurt,” the boy was whining.

“We came in to buy pants,” was her answer. When I told her there were no children’s clothes left she jerked her little boy’s arm very hard and he winced.

“You’re hurting him,” I said, trying to somehow help the boy. I could see the car outside in front of the store and there was a man sitting in the car waiting.

“I didn’t come in here to get advice on raising my kid. Do you have any pants or not?” She was very nasty.

“No, we don’t.”

I wanted to follow them out of the store and get a license number, but what about my job? What if someone stole merchandise while I was outside? And what would the mother do if I followed her? I’m sure she was capable of beating me up if I crossed her. There wasn’t even a phone in my area so I could call the police, and cell phones weren’t invented yet. At that point I wished there was someone to help me so I could get a license number.

Exposing “Sybil Exposed”

            Journalist Debbie Nathan’s book Sybil Exposed is Ms. Nathan’s effort to prove that Sybil, the best seller and TV movie from the 70’s, was not true.  Ms. Nathan discovered transcripts and plentiful records of Sybil’s therapy sessions collected by the author of Sybil, Flora Rheta Schreiber. These were found in 2008 at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.

Many older readers remember Sybil, the book and the movie, which recount the struggles of a young woman whose mind, divided by childhood sexual abuse, broke into seventeen personalities. We now know that Sybil’s real name was Shirley Mason and her parents were Mattie and Walter Mason, who lived in Dodge Center, Minnesota.

Ms. Nathan has certainly done mountains of research, which is to her credit. However, it seems to me that she begins with a bias against multiple personality disorder, which never really disappears from her writing.

The main premise of Debbie Nathan’s book is that Shirley’s psychiatrist, Dr. Cornelia Wilbur, forced Shirley to remember events that were not true. Ms. Nathan claims that because Dr. Wilbur used overdoses of drugs on Shirley, the girl came up with “false memories.” Ms. Nathan adds that many of Dr. Wilbur’s techniques were questionable, including a deep bonding and close friendship between the doctor and Shirley, which is forbidden by the oath taken to become a psychiatrist and broke the boundaries between patient and doctor.

Ms. Nathan claims that Shirley Mason made up her personalities and her abuse, which seems to be a very callous judgement about a woman who lived most of her life in psychiatric treatment. Since very few people even knew about multiple personality disorder, how could Shirley know how to pretend she had it? At one point in her therapy with Dr. Wilbur, Shirley wrote the doctor a letter saying she had made up all the personalities, so I can see how Ms. Nathan came to her conclusion. But why would Dr. Wilbur continue treatment with these personalities? Ms. Nathan claims it was for the fame and the money.

Ms. Nathan goes on to say that Shirley was diagnosed with pernicious anemia when she was about ten years old, and that the disease was probably the cause of Shirley’s craziness. Ms. Nathan writes,

“Soon Shirley would not know the difference between the bad feelings in her mind and the malfunctions in her body. All would combine, into a performance that eventually would become one of the most dramatic productions in world, with help from Dr. Cornelia Wilbur and her ‘pure science.’” Sybil Exposed, p.220.

Ms. Nathan also includes several pictures of Shirley and notes she wrote calling her mother “good mother, bad mother,” because Mattie was kind to daughter on some occasions and tortured  her on others (Mattie Mason was once diagnosed as a schizophrenic). One picture shows Shirley as a young girl. She is grossly underweight, her right eye looks black and blue and her smile looks like it’s pasted on. In a picture drawn by Shirley, she writes that her mother thought she was “too fat,” and she wasn’t permitted to have lunch. Isn’t that evidence that Mattie was overtly cruel to her daughter?

Since I have Multiple Personality Disorder myself, of course I don’t agree with Debbie Nathan. I felt hurt by this book, which seems to claim that all multiples are just imagining their abuse, that it never happened and that they are making up their alternate personalities. Unfortunately there is no one to ask about the truthfulness of either Sybil or Sybil Exposed. All three women are now dead.

For those who really want to know the truth about Sybil. Dr. Patrick Suraci interviewed Shirley Mason before she died and wrote a book entitled Sybil in her own words: The Untold Story of Shirley Mason, Her Multiple Personalities and Paintings, Nov. 2011. I am planning to read that book soon and I will report on it.

I wonder if Debbie Nathan set out to prove that Sybil was normal, but proved instead that her psychiatrist was crazy. Claiming that multiple personality is a hoax takes away some hope for the children who are being sexually abused now. Are they just imagining it? Are they play-acting to get attention? Are they just making it up to vent their hatred for their parents? Or, are they simply victims of pernicious anemia?

Here’s another link about Multiple Personality

The Blog-O-Meter

The Blog-O-Meter was recently developed by Dr.  Seribe Rul Cortext of Weir Leary Labs in Berkeley. You can measure your blog progress with this unique chart. What’s your Blog-O-Meter reading?

How many wrongs make a right?

Has anyone else been bothered all summer by phone calls from political figures or parties? I made a mistake about a year ago and answered a questionnaire from a political organization and they must have given my address and phone number to all the other politicians. I have been getting two to four unwanted phone calls a day, plus more questionnaires and letters begging for money.

I have filled out so many questionnaires that I’ve lost my ability to tell right from wrong. This must be what happens to politicians. It’s not that they purposely make wrong decisions, it’s just that they have been in the political arena for so long, and filled out so many questionnaires, that they can’t tell right from wrong.

What is wrong with that picture? Do two wrongs make a right? Do two rights make a politician? Are we wrong to think that certain rights are right? Are we right to believe that certain wrongs are really quite wrong?

As far as the questionnaires go, I have decided to save them for the cold weather and use them as kindling in my fireplace. I think they will do more good there than returned to the senders, which causes more work for the mailmen and the underpaid secretaries. They could also be shredded and used for packing gifts or items to be returned to gift catalogs.

Are the Democrats right or are the Republicans right? Perhaps I should send out a questionnaire asking my friends and neighbors what they think about filling out questionnaires.

My feelings are summed up in one word:  BALDERDASH!

Other Multiples

If you know someone with multiple personalities, please tell them about my blog. I would like to connect with them