In some recovered kids cases, the comments do tell all

Recently there were two recoveries in family abduction cases not on the For the Lost site, those of Anna and Hopi Gray, twins abducted by their mother from Arkansas, and Karen, Laura, and Leigh Matusiewicz, abducted by their father and grandmother from Delaware. In both articles I have provided links to, there are comments on them. In both cases, a commentator insinuates that the parent must have had a good reason for running off. But in the Matusiewicz article, those people are far outnumbered by the ones who say the dad is scum and should be punished for his crime. I agree with the majority of commentators there. Their father was actually telling people that the girls’ mother committed suicide, and was not working where they were found in Nicaragua. I’m grateful they were found before the girls could fully grasp the implications of a death by suicide – suicide by a parent is known to be detrimental to the child, and if years passed and their mother who “killed herself” suddenly reappeared alive the psychological effects would be devastating.

And in the Gray article? Well, you probably have already guessed that most people say she must have run off for a good reason. The kids were found living in a van, filthy, and couldn’t tell the police when they had last eaten. While those conditions are fairly bad, I sadly accept them as one of those things that are all too common in these cases. But several of the commentators say, essentially, “I know it looks bad, but she might have had a good reason to do so…” With the circumstances they were found in, one might think that it was obvious they were not being protected from anything. And it’s still assumed. Because the abductor has two X chromosomes.

Am I one of the few who finds this deeply disturbing? this!

3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Lavinia said,

    March 22, 2009 @ 10:52 am

    Most of the commentators do not understand the effects a parental abduction has on the child (they just consider that the child is safe because he or she is with a parent).
    Most abductors do not take the child because they want to protect the child (although they say they do so, because then they can receive sympathy of the general population), but they do it as an act of revenge against the left-behind parent or because they don’t agree with the custody order (of course, there are more reasons).
    Fortunately, your site brings attention to the negative effects of parental abduction.
    Keep up the good work!

  2. 2

    silverside said,

    May 17, 2009 @ 11:46 am

    Generally, we would all agree that killing is wrong. However, most of us also recognize that there are many nuances involved and exceptions. I certainly wouldn’t argue that you would be in the wrong for killing in self-defense or in the defense of your family. Likewise, with abductions. Some are horrible for all the reasons you say. Some may be on the least objectionable option given the circumstances. In cases where the mother and children are being abused and have been threatened with death should they leave, I cannot say that “abduction” is worse than the alternative. All the family annihilation cases that have been in the news the last few months–if the mother had “disappeared” with the kids before hand, would we say she was wrong? Of course, we don’t know how many tragedies may have been averted because someone left. But I do know of cases where protective parents tried to do joint custody/unsupervised visitation with an abuser, only to have the children murdered. How many of those parents, knowing what they know now, wish they had made a run for it?

  3. 3

    forthelost said,

    May 17, 2009 @ 12:04 pm

    You bring up several good points. For one, I personally believe that supervised vistiation is not used enough, and in cases where it is the supervisor is often a friend or family member of the parent being supervised. This clearly needs to be changed. However, I know that a left behind parent, the mother of missing Nadia Dabbagh, has stated before that even knowing what she knows now she still would not run off with her child. Also, running and hiding should not be a first option. There are shelters and the like that will assist if a parent wishes to leave an abuser.

    Of all the family abduction cases I have seen and dealt with, and there are quite a few, I can think of only two that I think were genuinely motivated by the need to protect the child and not for spite. And even with those cases one of them I think was not reacting to a real threat, just an honestly percieved one. The Gray twins are not one of those. And neither are the Matusiewicz girls.

Comment RSS · TrackBack URI

Say your words