‘Father absent’ headlines

I suppose it’s more catchy to put ‘mother’ in the headline’ than ‘father,’ but  there’s at least two issues wrong with this:

(1) When both parents are responsible for child abuse, neglect, or murder – why aren’t both parents mentioned in the headline?

(2) As another advocated pointed out to me, when a mother murders a child, the headline says ‘mother.’ When a father is involved, the headline often says ‘man’ rather than ‘father’ – even when the man is the Dad.

Mother of twins found in toxic Fla. truck charged

MIAMI – The mother of a 10-year-old girl who was found dead in an exterminator’s truck in Florida was charged Saturday with murder, and faces numerous other abuse and neglect accusations.

Carmen Barahona was arrested in the death of Nubia Barahona, the Miami-Dade Police Department announced nearly three weeks after the girl was found in the pickup along Interstate 95 in West Palm Beach. She was wrapped in plastic and had been doused with a toxic chemical.

Her twin brother, Victor, was in the front seat, critically burned by a chemical, authorities said, and their father was lying on the ground nearby, unresponsive. Police said the father doused the boy with a chemical so toxic it sickened rescue workers.

The father, Jorge Barahona, also apparently put gasoline on himself in what he later told police was a futile suicide attempt by setting himself on fire.

Jorge Barahona has pleaded not guilty to attempted first-degree murder in the injury of Victor, who has been released from the hospital.

So…weren’t both parents charged? Why doesn’t the headline reflect this?

And, sadly, we find out this could have been prevented:

State child welfare officials have come under heavy criticism over missed opportunities to help the twins after an anonymous abuse allegation was called into a hotline Feb. 10 — four days before the children were found.

The caller said the twins’ feet and hands were bound with duct tape and they were kept in a bathtub as punishment. Child welfare officials also believe the girl was being starved.

The officials have described a disturbing picture of a Jorge and Carmen Barahona, who adopted the twins, an 11-year-old autistic boy and a 7-year-old girl from foster care. The couple has been the focus of at least three abuse allegations in the past several years, but nothing ever came of them.

Children as property?

Whew, this headline is straight out 0f the 1800s when children were considered property of their father:

Mom Who Took Dad’s 2 Kids to S. Korea Jailed in NJ

She gave birth to them. Furthermore, both Mom & Dad agreed to move to South Korea – she didn’t take them anywhere by herself. He then moved back to NJ voluntarily – to make more money, he alleges. She alleges HE sexually abused their child  – yet SHE is in jail. Another he said/she said situation where he is believed and she is not – without even investigating the charges.

Custody catastrophes

Great article on MomLogic:

Custody catastrophes

In this week’s custody catastrophe news, we have:

Baby’s father, charged with murder, upset by relocation plan

GARY — Distraught because his 19-month-old daughter might move with her mother to Texas, Cordell Richardson took the girl and, according to police, said “nobody was going to take his daughter away” before shooting and killing her.

Richardson, 22, is charged with murder in the death of the girl, Eboni Richardson. Police said he shot her in downtown Gary on Thursday just as he was expected to turn her over to her uncle. Then he shot himself in the head.

Don’t you love this last sentence?

“He loved that baby,” Johnson said.

Yes, that’s the sentence I would end with in writing about a father who kills his 19-month-old daughter.

California dad on trial over drowning son, 6 in bathtub

SANTA ANA – A father faces trial for murdering his 6-year-old son by drowning him in a bathtub after becoming angry that his wages would be garnished to support his son and ex-wife.

Gideon Walter Omondi, 38, of Fullerton, is charged with one felony count of murder and one felony count of attempted murder.

He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life if convicted.

Opening statements are scheduled to begin Thursday.

Omondi moved to the United States in 2002 from Kenya to attend the California State University in Fullerton.

In 2004, his wife and young son, Richie Omondi, also moved to California to join him.

The defendant, who was illegally working several jobs while on a student visa, is accused of wanting to send his wife and son back to Kenya claiming it was too expensive to support a family in Orange County.

When his wife refused, Omondi is accused of filing for divorce. After the divorce, Omondi and his ex-wife were granted joint custody. Omondi is accused of becoming angry that his wages would be garnished to support his ex-wife and son.

On Jan. 6, 2006, Omondi is accused of becoming angry following a family court hearing.

He is accused of driving with his son to a desolate stretch of highway near Bakersfield with the intention of murdering Richie and killing himself.

Omondi is accused of parking the car on the side of the road, dousing the trunk of his BMW sedan with gasoline, and closing himself and his son in the trunk with matches in his pocket with the intention of setting the trunk on fire.

A passing California Highway Patrol officer noticed the car and stopped to check on it, believing it had been abandoned. The officer observed shoes outside of the trunk of the car and opened the trunk, finding the defendant and his son inside.

Omondi is accused of claiming that the pair had been sleeping. The officer allowed the defendant to leave but documented the contact.

On Sept. 8, 2006, Omondi, who had custody of his son for the weekend, is accused of picking up 6-year-old Richie from day care.

At approximately 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 10, 2006, Omondi is accused of filling up his bathtub in his Fullerton apartment and intentionally drowning Richie. He is accused of then removing his son’s lifeless body and leaving him on the bed for two hours.

At approximately 9:30 p.m., Omondi is accused of driving to the Fullerton Police Department (FPD) to tell them about his son.

Officers from FPD went to Omondi’s home and found Richie dead in the bed, under the covers, with his head on the pillow. The pillow was still wet from the victim being placed there after being drowned.

So, one guy wants his wife to STAY and the other wants her to GO. Why is it that some of these men kill if they don’t get their way? What is a custodial parent’s rights in regard to where he or she chooses to live? And, WHY did this man continue to have custody after attemping a murder-suicide?!?

And, here’s another:

Assigned to check abuse, social worker impregnates client

A state social worker who investigated a report of child abuse for the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare later had sex with the child’s emotionally troubled mother and impregnated her. He then hid the woman’s pregnancy and the birth of their daughter from the bureau, even as the mother sought to retain custody of two other children, the Journal Sentinel has learned.

The 56-year-old social worker, Peter J. Nelsen, was allowed to resign from the bureau April 15, according to bureau records.

Within months of his resignation, the bureau removed the 1-year-old girl from her mother and placed her in Nelsen’s home. The other children – a 5-year-old girl and a 3-year-old boy – also had been removed.

Nelsen is now seeking sole custody of the 1-year-old.

“Everything that I love is gone,” said the 31-year-old mother, Theola Nealy.

And, Nelsen has the nerve to say:

“This was not a woman I was going to leave my child with,” he said. “This woman really isn’t all there.”

So, he fucked her and kept the baby. Who was it, a prime minister in Japan that called women baby machines? I suppose that’s what this woman was seen as by Nelsen and his accomplices.

The right context

Ask yourself this: who commits more child abuse, men or women? If you’re like most folks, you’ll say women. Perhaps it’s been the media that has influenced this perception. Take notice the next time you read an article on child abuse and how each gender can be treated differently. Here’s an article that puts child abuse into context – something that is not often done.

Men are more commonly the perpetrators in abuse cases, while women lead in cases of neglect. Statistics show the most typical abuser profile is the boyfriend of a single mom, 18 to 30 years old and unemployed. If the mother is facing financial difficulties herself, she may have the boyfriend move in to share living expenses — or to have free child care while she works.

The fact that these men have no biological bond with the children, and often no prior parenting experience, makes them ill-prepared to deal with crying jags, potty-training accidents and the battle of wills that can come with feeding very young children.

“If you look at the age curve for victims of shaken-baby syndrome, it often correlates with the crying curve of babies — the amount of time each day that babies spend crying,” said Dr. Mark Kesler, medical director of the state’s child protection team for Orange and Osceola counties. “People don’t understand that babies can cry a certain number of hours each day, and that’s normal.”

It doesn’t take much, Kesler notes, to seriously injure an infant by shaking. The difference in size and strength between adult and child coupled with a baby’s weak neck muscles and disproportionately large head can quickly lead to permanent brain damage or death.

The article, Brutal Child Abuse on the Rise, states that child abuse may increase as the economy worsens. 

It also provides resources at the end.

It’s a difficult topic, but it’s written with facts and resources. Well done!

Notice how this article, Lynn Child Abuse Rates Outpacing Most of US, provides some context, but discussion of solutions focuses on who? Single moms, of course. Research does find that single parenthood contributes to a small degree of social problems. However, 25 million single parents in a nation of 300 million are not the cause of society’s social ills, including child abuse. Father absence is actually just a small factor. It makes more sense to look at factors like poverty, drug laws, gang prevention and so on than to focus on single mothers.