This morning on my way to work I caught the 702 news and the headline was about a South African boy who has reportedly died in a UK hospital after a fire at his home, apparently started by his mother's ex-boyfriend. http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/SA-boy-dies-in-UK-after-human-fireball-20110922.
This got me thinking about one of the children at the Lighthouse Baby Shelter, who had been removed from his mother's care because her boyfriend was physically abusing him. Low and behold baby number two arrived and the magistrate removed the infant immediately too, believing she would be at risk. The magistrate had told the mother (a young mom) numerous times that if she left the boyfriend she could have both her children back. But for reasons only she knew, she refused.
As much as I can't judge or pass comment, it is difficult for me to comprehend how a mom stands by and allows her partner to hurt, humiliate and sometimes kill, her own child or children. To try understand it a little better I googled to find out if abuse by a step parent is a common occurrence. It is. In fact it's so common, it has a name. It's called the CINDERELLA EFFECT and is a term used by psychologists to describe the high incidence of stepchildren being mistreated, abused, neglected and in some cases, murdered. According to studies, stepparents are about one hundred times more likely to fatally abuse their children than 'genetic' parents. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1134/is_n8_v106/ai_20147994/
You don't have to look very hard to find horrific cases of abuse of children by step parents. There's the case of 7-year-old Nixzmary Brown who was beaten to death by her stepfather. There's the 17 month old boy who had cooking oil, heated in a frying pan, poured on his genitals and beaten to the point of sustaining spinal injuries and the toddler who died from a beating from her mother's boyfriend. She had physical evidence of bite marks, raw, open wounds on her head – along with missing chunks of hair and bruises. There are many more stories, some too horrendous to even get through http://www.imperfectparent.com/topics/2007/11/21/one-of-the-most-horrendous-child-abuse-stories-ever/ highlighting the abuse and neglect far too many children experience.
It would seem that there are some that know no boundaries when it comes to the pain, torture and cruelty inflicted on those around them. What's even more shocking is how the victims are often voiceless because of how young they are. Recently with the change in the weather patterns, the tsunamis and earthquakes I jokingly mentioned to a friend that the end of the world is upon us. "No", she said "We are nowhere near ready to see God." And sadly I have to agree...