CHILD ABUSE CRISIS
CHILD ABUSE CRISIS
POLYGAMY’S IMPACT AROUND THE WORLD
Because there are many different Muslim cultures inside and outside of the USA with differing problems created by living in polygamy I have chosen to list the major problems that are common in all groups as well as also listing problems created in the FLDS group and other US groups practicing polygamy.
One of the biggest negatives for a boy or any child, is if the father has two or more wives and more than 10 children it is difficult to remember the child’s name and the father will usually say, “who is your mother?” There is not much of a relationship between the fathers and their children. It is really important for the boys to have a role model. This is true with the Muslims and the FLDS. Even the relationships with the mothers is strained and fleeting because of the number of children and additional wives in the home. There is also competition between the children for the attention from the father and mother. The wives also compete for attention from the husband.
For girls, if there is a divorce the children usually go with the father, which means they loose the relationship with the natural mother and usually end up being raised by a step mother who cares little for the child. The child, if a stepchild, could become a bride in waiting for the stepfather. In the FLDS community the children usually remain with the parent that stays in the community. If a woman leaves the community with a child every effort will be made to find the child and to return the child to the polygamous community.
The children receive little schooling and are used as laborers in the field and home usually without any pay. They are also given little time to socialize with each other and the boys and girls are usually kept apart in the FLDS community. In the FLDS community children are indoctrinated into the faith and are usually kept from learning anything about the evil outside world.
Polygamy’s impact on the FLDS critics and have been investigated for child abuse because their leader, Warren Jeffs, has been quoted as saying, “if a girl wants to play with a doll give her a baby and if a boy wants to ride a bicycle give him a shovel.” Girls as young as 12 have been forced to marry an older man, sometimes even a stepfather. Girls generally are not given a choice as to when they will marry or to whom.
Polygamy’s impact on Child labor and laws are broken continually by the FLDS and robbing the children of their childhood. The majority of the children being victimized are hidden from view and beyond the reach of law enforcement. Many off the children are denied basic health care, education, adequate nutrition, and protection and security. Children who work full time and do not attend schools are prevented from developing necessary cognitive skills. Young children who are forced to work for free instead of receiving an education will continue working like slaves for the rest of their lives, essentially brainwashed without opportunity to improve their lives. Not only is child labor problematic because it robs a child of their education, but working can impact a child’s social development because they spend more time working than engaging with peers in social play, learning how to interact properly.
Also in a disciplinary action, a man can be banned from the church and his wives and children can be reassigned to another man. At the present time the leader of the FLDS church is serving a life sentence in prison for marrying and giving in marriage, 12 year old girls.
If you would like to know more about the negative effects of polygamy on women and children, I would suggest looking at the article on the internet where much of the above information was gathered. ‘The Negative Impact of Polygamy on Women and Children in Mormon and Islamic Cultures.’ Natali Exposito. There is much more information on this subject in the article, particularly with the Muslim Culture. Click here
If you would like to know more about the FLDS, their beliefs, child abuse and the Practice of Polygamy in the USA, click here to read the authors award winning Pulitzer prize nominated book, ‘Power of Polygamy’, by Dr. Carole A. Western.
Outside the child abuse polygamy generates, other religious followers also harm children. In 2014 a woman in Indiana was charged with child abuse for beating her 7 year old son with a coat hanger and leaving over 30 bruises. She claimed she was only following her beliefs garnered from her evangelical teachings and that she was protected under Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. As justification for her behavior, court documents cited the Old Testament book of Proverbs claiming that a parent who spares the rod, spoils the child.
POLYGAMY CHILD BRIDES BOOKS
Child Brides On the Utah /Arizona border there are twin polygamous towns called Hillsdale and Colorado City, formerly known as Short Creek. The polygamous group is known as the FLDS Church and is run by Warren Jeffs who is accepted by the group as a Prophet and spokesman for the Lord. Warren is currently serving a life prison sentence for marrying and giving in marriage young girls. Warren was sentenced for marrying a 12 and a 14 year old girl. CHILD BRIDES
OTHER CHILD BRIDES AROUND THE WORLD
Polygamy Girls Impact Child brides who are underage and not legal brides or women. Child brides face huge challenges as a result of being married as children. Isolated, often with their freedom curtailed, polygamy girls
frequently feel disempowered and deprived of their fundamental rights to health, education and safety. Neither are they physically nor emotionally ready to become wives or mothers. Polygamy Girls who become Child brides are at a greater risk of experiencing dangerous complications in pregnancy and childbirth. They are at risk of contacting AIDS and suffering domestic violence. Polygamy Girls are often forced into marriage at ages 13-15 and sometimes earlier, with no choice of a husband and usually to an older man four times their age. With little access to education and economic opportunities, they and their families are more likely to live in poverty. Communities and nations also feel the impact of polygamous marriages and polygamy girls impact child brides.
The basic structue of polygamy is authoritarian and secretive. The men who practice it believe they have the authority to govern and control their wives and children. Polygamous groups are referred to as cults because they are usually a small or narrow circle of persons united by devotion or allegiance to some program or system of beliefs generally accepted as unothodox. There are certain elements of cults such as (1) doctrinal teachings and practices, which because of their emotional, physical or sexual nature would be judged as harmful (2) cooertion or force by leaders to ensure complience with rules of the society (3) secrecy to preserve isolation and prevent influence from the outside.
All contol belongs to a central figure usually referred to as ‘the prophet’. The cental figure in the marriage is the husband. The child is responible to his/her father and he in turn is responsible to the prophet. The prophet, through the father, controls when and to whom the polygamy girls will marry, the places where the child will work and for how long. Also, how much education the children receive and for what purpose. The children’s status is also determined by the prophet as well as the town and house they will live in. In a polygamous cult, the prophet can take a child’s father or mother away and reassign him or her to new parents if he chooses. He can also determine the rules of the society in which his followers live, and change them at will without any explanation.
For example, in the FLDS cult headquartered in Colorado City on the Utah Arizona border, at the present time men are not allowed to have sex with their wives. This is due to the fact that their leader Warren Jeffs is in prison due to marrying underage polygamy girls to himself and others. Becuse he is unable to have sex with any of his wives he has ordered others in his group cannot have sex with their spouses. He has set apart a group of men to have sex with the wives in the group when they are ovulating to ensure pregnancy. The men wear hoods so they cannot be recognized and the husband must watch the whole procedure. These men are known as seed bearers.
Also in order to make sure the men in the community have access to finding additional wives, young boys in the community are expelled from the community. This way there is little competition for men to marry young polygamy girls. The men look to the young polygamy girls because most of the older polygamy girls are already married due to polygamous practices. Polygamous men have to look to the young girls or find a wife in the outside world and convert her. Meanwhile, the boys with no experience in the outside world and little experience or education are dropped off in the desert to fend for themselves. They often turn to prostitution or drug dealing in order to support themselves.
Independant thinking and outside information are shunned. The followers should not think independantly or be exposed to outside information as that might lead them away from the true path as outlined by the prophet. The fathers in the group are to be respected but the mothers are only to be obeyed if they are in perfect harmony with the father and the prophet. A child should never seek information other than what is offered by the leader, and this is to be accepted implicitly. In fact children are not given information pertaining to the outside world. No free expression is allowed if it is different than what the leaders teach. Also relationships with others outside the cult are prohibited. There are no exceptions to this as children are not allowed to see any family members outside the cult. Most literature is prohibited and all other races and belief systems have no value, and therefore there is no need to learn about them.