Child Abuse Study Findings: Zero-percent chance?
A new study, fresh from the Williams Institute at UCLA, is making headlines these days.... 0% of Adolescents Raised by Lesbians Have Been Physically or Sexually Abused by Parent. According to an exhausting, extensive longitudinal study of a whopping 78 adolescents (39 girls and 39 boys) raised by lesbian mothers, none reported having ever been physically or sexually abused by a parent or other caregiver. This zero-percent report contrasts with the findings of another older study that states 26% American adolescents (235 girls and 199 boys) reported parent or caregiver physical abuse and 8.3% reported sexual abuse. On paper, the difference in abuse-rate is amazing, and in some ways, not at all surprising, especially if the children reporting felt as though growing-up their homes was fun, safe, loving environments. Enter the abused adoptee's perspective on life, home, and family-findings.
While it's true (to date) PPL does not have one abused adoptee case that features a 'lesbian mother' as the charged child abuser, it's also true the sexual orientation of abusive mothers, like foster/adoptive mommy Eunice Spry, Jessica Banks, and other single-mothers, goes without documented mention. Were any of those adoption agency approved abusive single-women lesbian? Reports do not state. Meanwhile, on the flip-side of the homosexual coin, PPL, does have two abuse-cases featuring agency-approved homosexual men. One case comes from the UK and the other hails from the USA. Once again, there could be more adopted children abused by gay father-figures and/or their partners, but that can't be confirmed just yet because a) not all abuse cases in adoptive homes go reported and b) the sexual orientation of abusive adoptive parent-figures and/or their partners in our collected abuse cases often goes unmentioned (not important?). At this point, it's important to point-out and note a key troubling influencing element that continues to exist in modern-day adoptive homes. It's often assumed once the adoption agency affiliated home-study is complete, and PAP's have been approved, all will be safe and good for the child put in that 'chosen' home. In foster-to-adopt cases, where social service visits are more of the main-stay, once an adoption is made final, all social worker visits end. In many cases, (as exampled in various investigated news reports), this is when the real trouble for the trusting placed child begins; once those approving agency visits stop and critical observations end, abuse tends to escalate, much to the terror of a child who may or may not have been abused before.
My point is simple: for the sake of all children in and out of family services, more child abuse/family study is needed, before and after birth/placement, and no group should be excused from long-term equal investigation.... especially adoptive parents, regardless of marital status or sexual orientation. From a home-study perspective, findings from a report focusing on voluntary confessions coming from 78 adolescents, all denying any form of abuse, should be read with scepticism and a raised eyebrow. [Imagine if 78 home-schooled teens said no abuse took place in their chosen homes.... what are the chances the confessions coming from the abused would be believed?]
Last but not least, when reading reports generated by any group, numbers in a studied-group matter. If the Williams study had 434 participants, (not 78), would the zero-results have been the same? As an adoptee, I understand some people need to prove one's worth and ability more than others... I also understand the lesbian community wants to be seen and treated as hetero equals in Adoptionland. The burden to prove decency is great for women wanting a child without an unwanted male-partner. Having positive studies reflecting exceptional parenting skills is required to quiet the many nay-sayers claiming homosexuality automatically equals pedophilia and child abuse. The problem is, a study with major flaws will not be respected by many religious / hetero-groups hell-bent on proving gays have no place adopting children. Of course, there's an irony to all this... I am often amused by the fact many holier-than-thou wives and husbands can be found discussing the adoption process and they will be quick to complain about the home-study because it's invasive, insulting, uncomfortable, and it violates a person's right to privacy. The way I see it, if we're going to do fair comparative abuse studies, for the sake of children, the number of participants in studied groups should be equal/balanced, with no special favors or allowances given to any being questioned. No two ways about it in Adoptionland, requirements needed to meet certain ideals or standards should be universal; if an equal right to adopt is going to exist for the GLBT community, more people need to accept no PAP should be favored or preferred because of race, religion, or marital status.
All in all, do I think the latest lesbian-parent study is a useful tool in the world of collected home-child studies? I believe in spite of its many flaws, it has its merits. I don't think the findings should be taken as the gospel truth and I don't think it should be seen as the final word in lesbian family abuse-studies. In fact, I believe it would be a huge mistake if members in the lesbian community use/promote this limited study (with 'zero percent findings') as 'documented proof' for all to read, suggesting lesbian couples make ideal 100% abuse-free adoptive parents. Instead, a bigger more open-minded perspective needs to be embraced and shared. Using baby-steps, I think the Williams study can and should be used as a useful starting discussion point...in all sorts of social circles.... encouraging more to discuss what elements create a safe loving home for all in the family to enjoy. What is needed to create an ideal (not perfect) family portrait for a child in want and need of a good parent? Truth be told, I think the answers coming from angry adoptees may surprise a lot of very traditional people.
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Another 2 father case
Here is another case, it wasn't tagged, but I am fixing that
Melody Aranda Velasquez
Here is a new case
Boy in foster care of Sharanda Hammock
Sharanda and her girlfriend Cecily are both charged
I see it somewhat differently
The irony, or more like big social lie I see is the same types linking sexual abuse with a sexual minority.
We never EVER see sexual abuse by heteros, particularly hetero men, linked with general heterosexuality. And yet, it's a truism that we can expect non-heteros to be subject to far more intrusive and usually voyeuristic gaze into those people's private lives. This is part of what homophobia and anti-gay discrimination is.
I've said a few times at PPL, the more same-sex adoption becomes legal and feasable, expect the annals of PPL to be littered with abuse tales by same sex couples. Didn't take long.
Length of Time
Always appreciating the perspective you offer, in the end, we often agree, especially when it comes to cases found on PPL:
Not long, at all.
The question is, how will media present such cases? Nowadays, abuse by APs gets minimized and in most cases, the adopted status of the victim is not even identified. [How many news-articles omit the fact that the victim of abuse was a ("much wanted") adopted child?] With GBLT adoptions on the rise, will the reporting about abuse in the adoptive home become more clear?
Well, one can hope.
Well, one can hope. Realistically, I think that we'll again see an uptick in that old "what about the children" canard, applied unfairly against gays, while the vast majority -- due in part to just sheer numbers, as gays are a numerical minority -- of abusive hetero households will once again get a free pass in the exact same behavior. While everyone points and gawks at the abusive lesbians or gay men or trans or other sexual minority, it's a distraction. And it's made worse by this need on the part of a certain sector of gays to proclaim to the world just how much we're "JUST LIKE" the straights.
Well, some days, that just isn't desirable. Maybe if the [inevitable, in my view] negative press that is bound to be held up as the gay parental norm does come about, it will be an entry point for some real education about Planet Adoption in general. I hope I hope I hope -- and hey Kerry, I did not have that hope until I read your post. So that is a good thing!
I hope we don't see an uptick....
I hope we see normal reporting.
I thought the article saying zero percent was ludicrous. There is NO population of people with zero abuse. That study may have found it in that small sample, but it did nothing but open the study up for ridicule.
I have no idea whether the incidence if child abuse is higher or lower among LGBT community (and subsets thereof) or heterosexual community.
I don't like to see people resting on their laurels though.... like saying "we in *this* group don't abuse our kids"... it is only those *other* people.
Every group every category or people has mentally ill, cruel, pedophiles, and other abusive people.
So to be clear, my posting of several LGBT abuse cases wasn't to say LGBT people shouldn't adopt/foster, it was to point out the sillyness of that study (any study) which reports we have 0% incidence of child abuse. I support LGBT people adopting/fostering as much as any other people.
I agree with everything you said, silent1. Wow. And this:
Omg, how true.
I didn't think that's why you posted it. Personally, you know the saying, lies, damn lies, and...
I hope for normal reporting, but there has never been normal reporting, not about adoption and certainly not about lgbt adoption. Even today's newfangled "it gets better" has become a canard in my view, because it hasn't gotten better for so many.
(And for a lot of us, it has gotten progressively worse the longer we stay on this earth.) So I have to be realistic in my hopes.
I've complained about this many a day at PPL but some of my lgbt compatriots really overdo it with the "we're just as good as" bit. Fact is, some of us are every bit as bad, awful, cruel, mentally ill, etc as., just as you say. Only difference is, our pathologies are presumed to be part of, a function of, our sexuality. Perceived sexuality, really. This is off the subject now, but might as well reiterate it: the opposite is also presumed to be true, even with all the evidence to the contrary, that heterosexuality is the superior kind of sexuality.
Imo, it's that kind of thinking that has people believing we "need" studies like this. But how right you are when you say that it lends no credibility to the conclusion. I wish more people would think this sort of thing through.
To me, this is the reality/conventional wisdom, still
Yeah things are getting better. But in many aspects, anything is an improvement.
This just in... http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/11/26/ukip-culture-spokesman-same-sex-ado...
Same Sex adoption, itself, is child abuse
I agree with you! child
I agree with you!