No, ‘Poverty’ Doesn’t Cause Savagery…

savages cause savagery:

When I arrived to provide medical care, the four-year-old girl was unconscious. She had multiple bruises, skull fractures, a brain contusion, vaginal and anal tears, venereal disease, and was hemorrhaging from places a little girl should not. The perpetrator? Her stepfather.I actually sighed with relief when I learned she later died of her abusive injuries in the hospital; at least she was spared the anguish of surviving such brutality.

So thinks Seema Jilani, a pediatric specialist based in Texas. One who seems rather blasé about whether her patients live or die.

A new BBC documentary has investigated why the US, one of the most prosperous nations on earth, has the worst child abuse record in the industrialised world. America’s child maltreatment death rate is triple Canada’s and 11 times that of Italy.

And to what does Seema attribute this? Well, surprisingly, Republicans:

What differentiates us from other countries? The single best predictor of child abuse is poverty.

Errr, no. Because correlation does not prove causation, does it? And I’m sure no-one would argue that there was no poverty in Italy or Canada…

Children raised in families with annual incomes of less than $15,000 are 22 times more likely to be abused.

Or, to put it another way, dysfunctional families are often not the type who can secure well-paid jobs.

Since the economic downturn, there has been a 30% increase in child maltreatment. The recession is, quite literally, a slap in the face of American children.

Do we need to ask how Seema acquired those figures for ‘child maltreatment’? And what the definition of ‘child maltreatment’ actually is?

I’m pretty sure it’s not just limited to the horrific story retold in the first para…

Social programs are also suffering funding cuts at the hands of Republicans, who persistently paint citizens in need of social programs as manipulative pariahs on the populace.

Well, Seema, it seems that going by your stats, they are vicious child-abusing brutes who take out their frustrations on helpless children.

Isn’t that even worse?

In order to perpetuate the façade of “traditional family values”, Child Protective Services in states with strong Republican leanings prefer to keep the faux family together, even in cases of flagrant abuse, instead of taking custody and removing children from their cruel environment. Nearly half of all Texan children killed by abuse belonged to families investigated by CPS, but the service’s myopic political masters would rather leave a child in the hands of a sadistic, torturous family than have a child raised by a gay couple in a safe and nurturing home.

Where did that come from? And is that the only choice? Are there no heterosexual couples who want to adopt?

And you might be surprised to know, Seema, that our version of CPS is also surprisingly reluctant to rescue abused children from underclass scum, and yet they aren’t full of Republicans or Christians.

How do you account for that, eh?

Currently, hospitals receiving federal funds must provide emergency healthcare, including abortions, which can sometimes be life saving for the mother. The deceptively named Protect Life Act – which does anything but – would permit hospitals receiving federal funds to refuse to perform an emergency abortion, even if a woman’s life was at stake. A vicious attack on the most basic right to life, HR 358 ambushes poor pregnant women into a bleak decision: either deliver an unwanted baby and raise the child in an unstable home, or have an unsafe abortion that could jeopardise your life.

Because there’s no alternative to getting pregnant? Contraception or just the simple act of keeping your legs closed is unheard of in the US?

The GOP’s shrill moral indignation will force low-income mothers to have children who are born into poverty, rendering them at risk for abuse.

Again I ask the question: contraception is unheard of in the States? Priced out of the reach of ‘the poor’?

Republicans can cry “scary socialism” all they want. If that is what it takes to prevent blindness in a shaken baby, or anal tears in a seven-year-old resulting from knife sodomy, bring it on.

And I suppose if I say ‘Well, actually, no thanks’, that paints me as someone who is not just opposed to the dead-end doctrine of socialism, but also in favour of child abuse?

Ultimately, the blame of abuse always lies with the perpetrators who commit these heinous acts.

Well, hurrah! But I feel a ‘but…’ coming on:

But while those to the right of the aisle use melodramatic rhetoric to demonise social programs, studies have shown that preventive measures and therapeutic rehabilitation can, indeed, diminish the cycle of violence.

The narrative of healthcare reform and social programs must stop reflecting the agenda of morally bankrupt politicians whose eyes only fix on the next election. Propagandised myths need to be replaced with an empathic truth that reflects the needs of catastrophically shattered children who are struggling to survive and begging for our compassion.

Oh, they can have our compassion. And they’ve got it.

But what I won’t – can’t – give is more of our money to families who are effectively blackmailing the decent population with the threat of harm to their own children.

And Seema is barking up the wrong tree if she thinks the US will covert to socialism simply to ensure that the underclass can be freed of any tiny sliver of personal responsibility they still possess.