Wednesday, April 16, 2008
1. Was it justified?
2. Where's the 16 year-old girl who alerted authorities about the alleged abuse?
3. And where will 416 children be sent to? will they be better off in the end?
For those of you who haven't been following this story out of Texas. Here's a QUICK recap. Texas Cops, clad in full body armor and automatic weapons raided an FLDS Compound in El Dorado, built by followers of the FLDS Prophet Warren Jeffs who is now in behind bars in Kingman, Arizona after being found guilty of arranging a marriage between an underage girl and her cousin among other charges. Back to the raid...authorities say a 16 year-old girl called them on a cell phone and told them she was being abused by her 50 year-old husband, whom she was forced to marry. The raid resulted in the removal of 416 children who (some of them) according to authorities were believed to have been physically or sexually abused or in danger of being victimized. 139 women (their mothers) went along with them, staying at a shelter in Texas. But after some of the FLDS women talked to the media, Texas officials forced most of the mothers (more than 100) to go back to the compound without their children. The children's fate will be decided in a courtroom. That process will take MONTHS.
Now that you've been updated. I've been listening to the women at the ranch talk about what happened to them. This is their story. Read along and let me know what you think.
Flds Mother: "Our children need us and they have been taken away from us."
COPS CLAD IN FULL BODY ARMOR...AND AUTOMATIC WEAPONS. THESE ARE NEW PHOTOS OF THE RAID AT THE YFZ RANCH IN EL DORADO, TEXAS. THEY WERE TAKEN BY FLDS MEMBERS, AND RELEASED TO THE MEDIA.
Flds Mother: "I was never served any papers, I have not seen my children."
416 CHILDREN REMAIN IN STATE CUSTODY AT A SHELTER...BUT MOST OF THEIR MOTHERS WERE FORCED TO GO BACK TO THE COMPOUND WITHOUT THEM.
Flds Mother: "I have continually petitioned the cps...we've even gone to the governor...and even invited the president to come see what is happening in Texas."
THESE FLDS WOMEN ARE PLEADING WITH AUTHORITIES.
Flds Mother: "We are a very private people."
TEXAS OFFICIALS SAY *THIS* IS A NORMAL PART OF A CHILD ABUSE INVESTIGATION...AND THE CHILDREN ARE DOING FINE.
Child Protective Services: "I can tell you that today, the children at the shelter are doing well. They're happy, they're smiling, they're playing, they're interacting with staff."
THEIR MOTHERS ARE NOT CONVINCED...AND BELIEVE THE 16 YEAR-OLD GIRL WHO ALERTED AUTHORITIES ABOUT THE ALLEGED ABUSE DOESN'T EVEN EXIST.
Flds Mother: "No one has ever seen her or know of her...that was a prank phone call."
BUT WHAT ABOUT ABUSE AT THE FLDS COMPOUND?
Flds Mother: "We are not a people of force...no force..."
Flds Mother: "We decry against that...we are a people who do not partake or participate in child abuse in any way."
Flds Mother: "we haven't done anything wrong."
THE WOMEN ALSO SAID THEIR YOUNG CHILDREN ARE *NOT* FORCED TO MARRY OLDER MEN...AND ARE *NOT* HAVING BABIES AS TEENS.
Flds Mother: "That is not correct, you are accusing and you have no fact."
AND WHEN ASKED ABOUT THEIR UNCONVENTIONAL LIFESTYLE AS POLYGAMISTS...
Flds Mother: "We all love it here and we all want to be here and if we don't want to be here, we don't have to be here."
Flds Mother: "When I was 12 years old I chose to come back to the ranch, not to this ranch but I chose to come back to live and it's my choice...I love it here, I would never choose to go back."
*These women are upset because their children were taken away from them. Any mother can understand that. Anyone can understand that. But watching the full interview this morning, I couldn't help but to feel for these women. Have they been brainwashed? Are the men at the compound feeding them lines? They said they choose their lifestyle, they are happy with their lifestyle and if they wanted to leave, they are free to do so. But anyone who has experience working with women of domestic violence and abuse know that these women could be suffering and may be too afraid to speak out about what could be really happening. We've heard from women like Carolyn Jessop talk about escaping a polygamist lifestyle and we've heard other women who lived through it talk about the horrors of polygamy.*
My questions: are we judging and categorizing them because of their lifestyle? Do you believe what they say or do you think they've been brainwashed?