Today’s entry will put the “blues” in the blog title. Just so you know.
I’m listening to “Mother” by Tori Amos, and focusing on the fear in the song, even though it’s not all about fear. And now I’m trying hard not to cry.
The article, in case you didn’t click, is about the polygamous sect in West Texas that was raided. The mothers begged the courts not to take their kids away, but the judge said sorry, they were being abused. So the kids are being taken to foster care and such.
I think it was absolutely the right decision. But today, for the first time, maybe, I got to thinking about what victims these moms are. The kids are, of course. In some cases, the kids are mothers, hell. That’s one big reason the place got raided. But the mothers have been brainwashed and raised in this shit. Maybe their only solace was raising their kids, because I doubt they found a hell of a lot in their husbands. Or maybe they didn’t see it like that; maybe it was just the Lord’s Will that this happen to them. It was their duty; all the men said so. But I think that sometimes, at least some of them had to have this niggling sensation that something about this wasn’t quite right. Maybe the thought of their daughters having to live their life scared them and they weren’t sure why.
And now their kids are taken away from them, for abuse, yet not the conventional abuse of hitting someone, although there was probably that. But these women are told the lifestyle they’ve been raised in is abusive and they are unfit mothers. And the first is true, but I’m not sure about the second. I mean, obviously it has to be, on some level, because these women are FLDS and they’re in a crazy crazy subculture that is bad all-around. But they were trying to do their job. They know no other life besides that of wife and mother. And I bet their shithead husbands often berated them for not being a good wife in some way or another. And now the state is telling them they can’t keep their children.
Two things: One, the idea that this was all possibly started by a fake caller baffles me. Any lawyers here that can attest to the state’s claim that they acted in good faith, and, even if the initial call was bogus, the case is solid because they’ve found evidence of abuse since then? Honestly, I hope the case stays together, no matter how it got started. There’s clearly bad nasty shit going on. I want to castrate every single one of those men who did this shit to these girls and children and women.
Secondly, how will the kids ever have a normal life? Or anything close to normal? By normal, I mean live comfortably outside the sect as much as possible. They’ve been brainwashed like crazy. I’m sure some of them will return when they hit 18, much like one of Carolyn Jessop’s daughter’s did (I really want to read her book, by the way). But some of them, especailly the younger ones, may grow up and realize that it’s not normal or right and that’s not God that’s telling these men to take teenage girls to a temple bed and rape them. It’s, for lack of a better word, evil. It’s using God as an excuse to make women your sex slaves.
It comforts me a bit that of 47 or so women who had their kids taken away, only seven went back to the ranch. 40 went to another “safe place.” I hope that’s a good sign. Even if they just think they’re more likely to get their kids back if they stay away from the compound, I’ll take it and hope that the farther they get from that place, the more they realize just what a hell it was. And it was supposed to be bringing them closer to God.
I’ve covered a child abuse trial or two. You can tell the people appointed to look after and care for the child really care about them, and want them to be safe and happy. I can’t imagine what the caseworkers in this are going through mentally, seeing all this ahppen. How do you separate them from their moms when their moms are also victims, albeit ones that happen to be of age? How do you reconcile what you’re doing now with the idea that a good portion of these kids will go back to the FLDS as soon as they can?
Maybe you hope that the mothers will come around and get their kids back in a few years, once they’ve been out of the cult long enough. That may not be a very realistic scenario. And yes, the foster system is strained, and this won’t help.
But I think if I was a DHS worker or something, I’d think that the only thing worse than what’s happening now would have been not doing anything. At least this way, the kids and women might have a chance, however small. If law enforcement hadn’t gone in, the kids would have had none. You had to try. It would have been simpler, on one level, to look the other way. But instead the state of Texas, for all its faults, is trying. I’ll mock my home state a lot. But I will give them an A for effort, at least in this case.
Also, if you really want to cry, Tori, singing the aforementioned song, is below.
(Also, on a happier musical note, I go see Tegan and Sara next Friday in Tulsa. My cousin’s coming along. I’m still in shock that I’m actually going to a concert. I’ve never been to one, ever).