Hilary Adams: child abuse on film

This is a case I’m going to have a lot to say about as details unfold. In 2004, a sixteen year old girl named Hilary Adams suspected her father was going to beat her soon, as he often did. She’d been caught earlier in the day downloading music or games in a manner her father believed to be illegal. She turned her camera on, set it up on a dresser, disguised the red recording light with a scarf, and filmed seven and a half minutes of her father whipping her viciously with a belt and cursing at her.

This man is a family court judge in Aransas County, Texas, hearing cases that involve domestic abuse. Belt whipping is perfectly legal in Texas, but few people seem to believe this video represents what the state law had in mind. You can watch the video here in its entirety; be forewarned, it is every bit as disturbing as you would imagine.

Judge Adams says he “did nothing wrong.” He was punishing his child, and he lost his temper, and he apologized. But if he’d never done anything like this before, how come Hilary knew to set up the camera? Here are some highlights (with the time they occur) from this alleged punishment. You’ll notice Hilary’s mother also participated – I’ll get to analysis of that later.

The video

  • 1:45. The judge: “Lay down, or I’ll spank you on the fuckin’ face!”
  • 1:55. After nearly two minutes of beating her on the legs because she won’t turn over so he can beat her buttocks, the judge grabs Hilary by the jaw and shoves her down onto the bed on her back.
  • 2:22. The mother takes the belt from the judge and says she’ll continue the spanking. The judge grabs for the belt, panting, “Give it to me! Give it to me!” in a weirdly breathless tone (as if he’s really exerting himself, which he is not). She won’t give it up, and so he leaves the room to get another belt for himself. The mother does calmly administer one single lash on Hilary’s buttocks, Hilary having cooperated with her request to turn over and take the beating, and Hilary’s cries aren’t nearly as loud as with her father’s lashes. Now, that is probably what the state of Texas had in mind. I’m not saying it’s great parenting, but it’s very different from what the judge is doing.
  • 3:05. The judge bursts back into the room, followed by the mother, and shouts: “I never got my lick in on her!” He sounds almost cheerful. I guess he means a lick on the buttocks since he’s whipped her legs quite a few times. I suspect the mother told him she lashed Hilary’s buttocks, thinking that would placate him, but it only made him envious.
  • 3:12. The judge: “Get on your stomach, or I’m gonna start beating you again!” Again with the weird breathlessness. I hate to say it, but what it brings to mind is sexual excitement.
  • 3:30. The mother, to the judge: “That’s e-” The judge, to Hilary: “I have to beat you into submission!”
  • 3:40. He asks Hilary if she’s going to put more games on the computer, and she wail, “No!” The judge launches into a lengthy tirade on why he didn’t even want “a fuckin’ computer” in the house. The computer is for her schoolwork, by the way, and they mention this several times. The internet also serves as a link to the outside world for an abused child – I’ve actually heard more than a few stories from abused kids about not being allowed to have computers. Draw your own conclusions.
  • 4:18. The judge: “Is it fun to disobey your mom and dad?… You don’t fuckin’ deserve to be in this house.”
  • 4:52. “I’ll just keep beating you, and beating you.”
  • 5:17. The judge, in a low, dangerous tone: “If I hear so much as you raise your fuckin’ voice, one little bit to me, or your mother, or the wrong tone, or you do one little thing wrong, or you-” here, he’s back to a shout – “look at me fuckin’ wrong, I’m gonna take you in there and wear your fuckin’ ass out with this belt, you understand me?”
  • 5:44. The judge: “You caused this, by your dis-fuckin’-obedience.”

He calls this event a beating four times. To use the phrase trial lawyers just love: were you lying then, or are you lying now, Judge Adams, when you say this was merely a punishment?

This doesn’t sound look or sound like punishment. What I see on that video is a man enjoying himself or getting some kind of relief. He never expresses regret at having to do this. Nor do I see a man who’s lost his temper. He seems very angry, but not out of control at all.

Lack of legal consequences

Legally, there’s nothing to be done – there usually isn’t in these cases, because the statutes of limitations (I believe 5 years is the most any state offers) don’t allow young adults enough time to process the events, get safely away from their abusive parents, wait for their younger siblings to be safely away, and then make charges. But there has been a public outcry from all over the world (see first link above) demanding that this man be removed from the bench. I guess if only every abused child had video of the abuse, people would believe them even against VIPs like judges.

Dr. Drew’s reaction

If you couldn’t stand to watch the video of the beating, you might really enjoy this one, in which Dr. Drew gets very hot and bothered and tells a judge from Florida he doesn’t care what the law says, because in psychiatry, they spend all their time trying to put back together the pieces of adults like Hilary. It’s heartening to see anybody get that unequivocally pissed off about child abuse on national television.

We know for sure – categorically – that physical abuse, being struck by an object… for young people whose brains are developing, shatters the brain’s upper limit of its ability to regulate, and actually changes the way the brain grows.

This is the sort of thing that’s so important for people to understand. You hear all this pseudo-science about how genes hardwire our brains to certain behaviors and culture has nothing to do with it. One of the reasons it’s crap is that the brain is so plastic as it’s developing – things that happen to us up to early adulthood determine which genes will be expressed.

Hilary’s mother, Hallie

Let’s talk about Hilary’s mother. She and Hilary are now close because Hallie has apologized (non-stop, according to Hilary) and seems genuine in her remorse. She says she was “brainwashed” by her husband into going along with him, and that the judge has kept emotionally abusing her since the divorce. When she told him she was never speaking to him again, he said he would cut off her alimony and take their younger daughter away from her. Weren’t we just talking about that abuse pattern? Do these guys have a manual, or something?

If you’re wondering how a woman could get to the point of helping her husband beat their child, you need to understand this: when you’re living with someone who gets that violent anytime anyone stands up to him, you don’t stand up to him. You either become very passive, or you become his collaborator in hopes of mitigating the damage. That’s what we’re seeing here – a mitigating collaborator. The mother calmly agrees with every argument the judge makes, because arguing with him would only escalate his temper. She takes over the beating not because she enjoys it – that’s clear from her demeanor – but because she’s hoping it will lessen his anger and protect Hilary from his more painful lashes. Several times she says “That’s en…” and stops herself because that constitutes standing up to him. As hard as it is to stomach, this is clearly a woman doing the best she can under circumstances that are as FUBAR as any war situation.

Most importantly, the mother has shown remorse and is not arguing that what she did was okay. She accepts responsibility and has done what she can to make amends. Despite how extreme her deeds seem out of context, they are human errors. The judge, on the other hand, has no remorse and feels he is being wronged. Perhaps the best quote from Hilary’s father so far is: “I really don’t want to get into this right now because as you can see my life’s been made very difficult over this child.”

The judge

The judge tells his side of it through a statement from lawyers:

Just prior to the YouTube upload, a concerned father shared with his 23-year-old daughter that he was unwilling to continue to work hard and be her primary source of financial support, if she was going to simply ‘drop out,’ and strive to achieve no more in life than to work part time at a video game store. Hilary warned her father if he reduced her financial support, and took away her Mercedes automobile, which her father had provided, he would live to regret it.

To the ignorant, this may sound like a privileged child seeking revenge for the withdrawal of her privileges, though fortunately most people seem to recognize that what the judge did is completely wrong, regardless. But it’s not that simple. Money is one of the ways abusers control their victims – and they will control child victims well into adulthood, if the victims allow it. And the victims often do, because many lack confidence that they can make it without their abusers’ financial help – a view abusers promote every chance they get. Abuse victims also tend to struggle in school (nothing like trying to take a test when you’re distracted by the headgames of emotional abuse, let alone injuries that make it hard to sit at a desk) and in making friends (a skill which translates in adulthood to “networking”), which doesn’t set them up for career success. (And at the moment, let’s face it: young adults with degrees are working part-time at video game stores.) Abusers who play this game often eventually threaten to end all support in hopes of forcing their victim to comply with their wish to keep abusing her. Some victims give in. Others, like Hilary, instinctively leap at the chance to be free of the abuse once and for all.

Exploring the absolute heights of ableism, the judge’s statement also says:

It is regrettable that Hilary Adams, a bright and gifted person, would include in her post that she is or was a disabled or a special needs child. As multiple media appearances clearly demonstrate, Hilary Adams is articulate, possesses a superior IQ, and is capable of functioning as a productive adult in today’s complex society. No one should take the affliction of cerebral palsy lightly. Hilary’s parents did not. Hilary’s condition was monitored as a child and her medical needs met. However, neither should a perfectly capable adult try to use an affliction as a device for media sympathy. It should now be apparent to the world that “disabled” was mislabeled.

First of all, you’re never cured of ataxic cerebral palsy (though there are treatments that mitigate the complications, and I hope this means Hilary benefited from them). It’s worth mentioning that physical child abuse can cause cerebral palsy. And children with disabilities are more likely to be abused than children without. A disability need not be visually obvious to constitute a problem, and functionality is not the measure of ability. I believe Hilary’s intent in mentioning her disability was not to get sympathy, but to let the world know how absolutely pitiless this family court judge is toward even disabled children.

The judge’s psychiatric profile

Hilary has expressed that she wants her father to get help. Her mother has referred to “an addiction” as a “family secret” that explains his behavior. Addiction certainly does not explain his behavior. It can cause once considerate people to behave very selfishly in service of their addiction, but it certainly never forced anyone to administer a sustained beating to a child. And deriving joy from someone else’s pain – and I do believe that’s what we’re talking about – is known in psychiatry as sadism, and it’s a symptom that has no particular link to addiction.

Hilary’s response to her father’s remarks about how he did nothing wrong is very telling: “It’s a shining perfect example of his personality and he believes he can do no wrong … He will cover up rather than admit to what he did and try to come clean.”

That’s narcissism. It’s quite possible that multiple psychiatric diagnoses would apply to this man, but I’m convinced Narcissistic Personality Disorder is the primary problem, as usual. It’s all about him, and everyone should understand that, and no one should ever criticize him, for he is above us all. Sadly for Hilary, NPD is incurable. It is treatable to a limited degree, but only if the patient is motivated to want treatment, and because this society consistently lets NPDs profit from their selfishness, why on earth would they want to change? This society fails to give them the incentive.

To Hilary’s concerns about his mental health, the judge has also responded through his statement:

If this entire event was a plea for help and healing, the methodology is certainly unorthodox. Judge Adams, who among other reasons, still has a minor daughter to consider, chooses to involve the media as little as possible whilst personal family matters are sorted through. The public may ponder what consideration Hilary Adams gave her little sister before subjecting the entire family to worldwide microscopic scrutiny, and permanent consequences.

Hilary has said it was concern for her younger sister and mother that prompted her to wait this long. The mother is now free of the judge, and has primary custody of the younger daughter. But you see from this how abusers always make sure they have somebody as a hostage to keep you silent. It takes a lot of courage to speak out, but at some point you realize the only way the hurting will ever stop once and for all is if you speak out, even if speaking out hurts someone in the short term.

I don’t think any of this went through Hilary’s mind consciously, but I know this thinking firsthand. Dr. Drew thinks Hilary has had therapy, and this is part of her healing process. I don’t know about the therapy, but there’s nothing more healing than telling people what you’ve been through and having them believe you and care. The internet is giving abused kids that chance on a scale never before seen.

Whatever happens, this guy needs to be removed from the bench without ever a chance of judging a case again in any state, ever. His former cases should be pored over carefully for signs that he has consistently sided with likely abusers, or dismissed claims of abuse as mere “punishment.”

Another thing that kept Hilary silent was that people she and her mother had confided in didn’t believe them in the past. This is typical, especially when the alleged abuser is someone important, like a  judge, a doctor, a preacher, a cop, a military man, etc. To believe someone of lower social standing over someone with higher standing is an act of public defiance, and most people lack the courage to take that step. If you ever wondered why some people are so cynical about human beings, this is a good example.

Comments

  1. minuteye says

    Good post. Thank you for breaking it down into its components, the whole thing is just… very difficult to process.

  2. Red says

    Thank you for addressing this.

    I have to say; I’ve read some comments from people on this story and I am SHOCKED to see people claiming she is ‘spoiled’ and such. They say ‘well, he was wrong to beat her, but she set him up and provoked him!’

    No, sorry. That’s not how it works. If you’re a grown person, you DO NOT allow a teenager’s words to get to you and act on them. You’re an adult and therefore, you should KNOW better.

    Other types of comments I’ve seen; people who say ‘Well, I got beaten, etc (one person claims they got whipped so bad they had to sleep on their stomach) and I turned out fine. She’s being vindictive, etc.’ Yet, in the same breath, these same people who claim to have been beaten and ‘turned out fine’ claim to be parents and say they NEVER hit their kids like they were hit.

    Wait a sec… am I missing something here?

    If these posters who claim they were beaten in a similar way (or worse) really did ‘turn out fine’ as they claim, how is they don’t administer the same type of punishment on their children? Why do they insist the girl was ‘wrong’ for ‘setting her father up’, yet don’t whip their own children? A little cognitive dissonance at play here?

    Some of them would say they ‘deserved it’. Well, why don’t your kids? Why don’t they ‘deserve it’? Is it really that they don’t do the stuff you did that you insist was ‘so horrible and deserving of a beating’? Or is it something else?

    Something to ponder. But in my humble opinion, I don’t think those people are as ‘fine’ as they claim to be. I think, and it’s just a guess, there there are some serious unresolved issues there in regards to their feelings of self-worth. Some of these people insist they were ‘rotten kids’. But were they really?

  3. says

    Red,

    Teenagers are about as provoking as human beings can be. It’s a normal, healthy part of their brain development, and if you can’t handle it without turning violent, then you really just aren’t parenting material.

    I agree with your thoughts on the “I got beaten and I’m fine” set. A lot of them rationalize it by declaring they deserved it, or it was the parent’s addiction/mental health problems that caused it (which is just not how mental health issues work), or the parent didn’t know better (which is true of things like spanking, but not of sustained beatings), etc. I’ve also heard a few of them simply deny it, which mystifies me – there is no rationalization. It just somehow wasn’t abuse when it happened to them, and it’s not abuse when it happens to other people’s kids, but as you say, for some reason, they don’t beat their own kids.

    The human brain’s coping mechanisms lead us to some strange ideas. I am pleased to have seen a few commenters on other sites take on the “I was beaten and I’m fine” set with remarks like, “I don’t think you’re as okay as you think you are” or the fact that how the kids turn out does not justify the abuse. Loads of abused kids turn out fine, but loads of them turn out not at all fine. And what do we define as “fine” in this society? Able to hold down a job? Our standards of “fine” are not very high.

  4. Shaun says

    I’m glad you mention the cerebral palsy as that’s something not very well-analyzed in most media. I’d also like to point out that the internet also serves as outside contact for disabled people, who are routinely cut off from the outside world even under “normal” circumstances.

  5. Red says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    So agree with this.

    I mean really… I keep hearing things like that and I have to ask these people and everyone who makes such claims and excuses; does something being ‘worse’ than the other means we should tolerate it?

    No, it doesn’t. Either we tolerate abuse of this nature or we DON’T. There are no half-ways about it. Either this girl should have been hit or she shouldn’t have. She should NOT have been hit, no matter what the reason and certainly not in the manner she was. If someone else got it worse and makes that excuse for why this is okay, then that person is essentially giving that other person permission to treat their child like this because ‘what they dealt with was worse’.

    Abuse is abuse. Yes or no?

  6. Jaynie says

    We were talking about the way people who were beaten (often to the extent that even someone who believes in a little spanking would call it abuse) claim that they “turned out fine” in my psych class the other day. There is at least one theory that this claim is sometimes caused by dissociation and subsequent amnesia for the events, at least in some cases. (Dissociative identity disorder is what we used to call Multiple Personality Disorder, but there are other types of dissociative disorder as well). So these people may not be properly fine, but they’ve sort of locked away the bit that was abused in their mind, and sometimes really don’t have a memory for how horrific the abuse was, or if they do have a memory it’s numbed (possibly because it’s associated with an extreme emotional state that they aren’t likely to be in when remembering it). I’m not 100% I’ve got all the details right or explained that well (it’s early), but I just wanted to point out that it isn’t always as simple as willful denial.

  7. Sunatic says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    There was a conversation about child abuse on Feministe, if I recall right, and as one commenter pointed out, people who condone it by reasoning that they turned out “fine” obviously didn’t. They turned into people who are fine with child abuse. That’s not “fine” by my standards.

  8. says

    Shaun,

    That’s a great point!

    Jaynie,

    I didn’t mean to imply it was simply willful denial – I meant the state of denial in the psychiatric sense, as a defense mechanism for dealing with a reality the personality can’t take in without compromising its functionality. That’s nothing like, say, a politician’s willful denial that s/he did something naughty. I hadn’t thought of dissociation as the mechanism leading to the denial, but that makes a lot of sense. Many kids dissociate somewhat during the event itself, which might make the memory blessedly less vivid, but also allow for the weird perspective the adult child has on the abuse.

    People who say they were abused but are fine now are either (1) continuing the abuse cycle or (2) in denial because they never reached a point where they can cope with the reality. I have a lot of sympathy for #2, but we can’t let their remarks go unchallenged because it reinforces the abuse culture. And if they’re willing to state this fragile belief of theirs in public, maybe that means on some level they’re ready to hear the truth and start coping with it. (Sometimes that’s how the brain works – your unconscious mind puts you in a situation where you’ll have to face your fear or whatever, because it knows you’re ready.)

    Sunatic,

    That’s a good way of looking at it.

  9. Red says

    Jaynie,

    I agree with this very much. I’ve discovered that people, when they’ve suffered severe trauma, try to downplay it or claim ‘it’s not that bad’ because it’s too painful to deal with. On some level, they’re afraid to deal with it because they’re not emotionally ready to do so. At some point, they do and hopefully, when that time comes, they have the support they need to work through it.

  10. Pumpkin says

    “No one should take the affliction of cerebral palsy lightly.”

    That’s the bit where I spat my coffee at the screen. Or where I would have done that if I even drank coffee and happened to be drinking it at that time. Seriously?! A full grown man – and not a small one, either – repeatedly whipping a 16 year old girl with CEREBRAL PALSY with not an ounce of restraint?! By his own logic, that man needs to be taught a lesson. Preferably by someone twice his size, brandishing a weapon – by his own logic, yet again! And it’s totally OK for me to say such a thing, because such a beating wouldn’t amount to abuse! He said so himself!

    I am at least heartened to see that Anonymous has taken an interest in this case (search YouTube for DoxTheJudge). The vast majority of you are far more adult, rational and restrained than I, but I’m afraid I’m going to be indulging my id on this one. The thug deserves to be beaten to a pulp. He should consider himself lucky that he’s only being targetted by internet “hacktivists”.

  11. says

    Yeah, well, Anonymous and 4Chan have similarly targeted feminist bloggers in the past.

    http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2007/08/09/what-do-we-do-about-online-harassment/

    And here’s a post from a rather misogynistic selt-pitying whiner who thinks Anonymous is worse off than he is: http://www.inmalafide.com/blog/2011/03/09/how-society-rejected-men-and-created-4chan-and-anonymous/

    I’m restrained because I know where my free speech ends and a potential FBI file begins. :) I will tell you this: the judge has probably already had the shit beat out of him, and that’s what started him going off the rails. Now, that doesn’t relieve him of his adult responsibility. I don’t care HOW badly you were raised, once you reach adulthood, you can’t say you have no choice but to abuse people because you were abused. Mental illness does not force anyone to abuse kids. The problem is that society does NOT shun people like this judge often enough. These people want power and social status. If it became clear to them that abusing people would cause their power and status to be taken away, and their victims would be supported and even perhaps elevated into their place, then they would have an incentive to seek therapy and actually want it to work.

  12. Pumpkin says

    Yeah, I’m certainly not a big supporter of Anonymous. I’m well aware that the overwhelming majority of them will be self-interested straight, white males who are massively misogynistic and viciously bigoted in just about every way. Actually, I was honestly expecting them not to get involved in this, because your average Anon tends to hate “spoiled rich girls” (and women in general) who defy daddy. I just do enjoy the ensuing chaos when they set their sights on an enemy who actually deserves it. As opposed to people who happen to have epilepsy or are 11 year old girls.

    And I could barely stomach more than 10% of that pathetic, insipid “poor menz” article. That guy is a complete and utter tool, and seeing those packs of feral manchildren agreeing with him in the comments just made it even more depressing and disturbing.

    Also, if beatings are so good for discipline, why are they so prevalent in the childhoods of people who are now in prison for violent crimes? As you said, it tends to do nothing but bad. The American Psychological Association certainly can’t find any merits in it.

  13. says

    Pumpkin,

    Spanking doesn’t work, pure and simple. And when it seems to work, that’s only because the people involved don’t realize how short it fell.

    I’m a ludicrously self-disciplined, responsible adult. I was even a good girl as a teen. The word “anal” has been used. I was never spanked, so how did this miraculous thing happen? My mother’s parenting theory:

    (1) Say no with conviction. Most parents say it wishy-washy, and she’s so right about that, so the kids know they don’t mean it and think they haven’t really been told no. (We have a lot of problems with the word “no” in this society, I just realized.)

    (2) On an age appropriate basis, explain to the child WHY she must not do X. If you don’t explain your logic, how will she ever learn to evaluate her OWN options as an adult?

    Most people can’t think critically, and probably don’t have the slightest clue why their kids shouldn’t do X, it’s just they weren’t allowed to do X as kids themselves. So, basically, physical punishment is the last resort of people who can’t communicate. That’s why family therapy emphasizes communication so much. People can laugh at it all they want, but if you don’t know how to express why you want a child’s cooperation, nor how to sound like the child is going to cooperate and there’s no two ways about it, then a physical punishment may well be the only way to make the child behave – or avoid a really bad situation. But it’s temporary, or it makes the kid get sneakier, because all they’re learning is, “If I do X, Dad will spank me.” What happens when they’re grown up, and Dad isn’t there to spank them, and they have no clue what was wrong with doing X? They do X and learn the hard way. And sometimes, there are dire consequences that could’ve been avoided if we taught people how to think and talk.

    Otherwise, we’re just gorillas, aren’t we?

  14. Red says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    On Anonymous; they are a rather… unusual phenomenon. I can tell you, from experience, not all of them are like as Pumpkin described. Certainly not the ones I associate with. But yes, some of them are jerks and go too far with nasty pranks. Typically, those are the ‘newbs’ and wannabe’s. And yes, there are a lot of girls, too.

    They have done good, like helping bring down pedophiles and track down people who have abused animals. On top of that, is the fight against Scientology, which is, IMO, as misogynistic as you can get for a self-claimed ‘religious institution’. And Jen, in that second article you link, a poster called ‘Clarence’ explains Anon far more clearly than the overly simplistic blogger.

  15. says

    Red,

    It’s the same as I say to Christians – take responsibility for the people acting in your name! If they’re not doing what you want, get rid of them. Otherwise, I have to assume they ARE doing what you want.

    Anonymous never came out and condemned the attacks on feminist bloggers. They instead had their lawyer issue a statement saying DDOS attacks were legal because they’re like overloading a switchboard with calls about some big media hoopla.

    So, just as soon as they’d like to condemn taking down blogs like mine, I’ll be happy to re-evaluate them. Until then, I see them very much like I see Christians. Sure they’ve done some good, but they appoint themselves lord over all things and do an awful lot of harm, too.

  16. Red says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    :sigh: I’m going to explain this as simply as possible.

    When you speak of Anon, you speak of a collective of people from around the globe. You can’t just ‘get rid of’ the ones who act badly because for everyone who drops from the ‘collective’, there are a bunch of others who join in. Anyone, and I mean ANYONE, can be Anonymous.

    Anonymous is NOT an organization in the traditional sense and certainly not in the sense that Christians are. It’s a collective. It’s individuals acting under the name of Anon who do things like attack feminist bloggers and expose pedophiles.

    I think this video can explain it far better than I can.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuHF_br-DBs&feature=channel_video_title

  17. SunlessNick says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    Sunatic,

    In Britain, the same arguments also take place over corporal punishment in schools. Again, there are the people who say it should be brought back because they turned out fine, and the people who say it shouldn’t because they were harmed. But the best two points I’ve come across are:

    “I can’t think of a teacher for whom I had the slightest respect. Fear is not respect.”

    and:

    “If corporal punishment was an effective deterrent, then why was it always the same kids I saw getting it over and over?”

    (I have no idea what demographic either person is, as they appeared in a forum where they were identified only by initials).

  18. says

    Red,

    Despite your condescending tone, I allowed this one through so I can use it in an upcoming Activism 101 post. I know all that, Red. Stop assuming that anyone who doesn’t think like you do must just need to be educated. Allow me to explain this to you as simply as possible.

    Your argument is analogous to saying Anonymous is a group in the same way “gay men” are a group, and we shouldn’t hold all gay men accountable for the misdeeds of a few.

    But a loosely associated bunch of individuals cannot retain an attorney to make public statements for them, as Anonymous has done. The ACLU can’t simply represent “Gays” – they have to represent a gay organization or gay individual(s) to speak on behalf of their cause. Only a legal entity – person, persons or corporation – can retain a lawyer, so the idea that Anonymous isn’t functioning as an organization is contradicted by simple facts.

    People calling themselves Anonymous championed Assange and the blithe dismissal of rape charges against him. They have targeted feminists because they considered feminism a threat to their desired world order. No individuals from Anonymous has ever said, “Hey, those were rogue elements, don’t hold us all accountable”. The group is functioning as a legal group entity, so really, the only logical choice is to view the group as a group.

  19. Red says

    Jennifer Kesler,

    I am NOT trying to be condescending. I apologize for the sigh. It was over the top. I am not coherent when I’m half-awake.

    I’m just telling you what I know and have personally observed from being around the web and around Anonymous in particular. I spend a LOT of time around them and for the most part, they are pretty cool. It’s not that you’re completely wrong. But there are misconceptions about Anon that I feel need to be cleared up. People make a lot of assumptions about them and they are usually completely inaccurate or false. I was trying to clear up some of the assumptions, NOT condescend you.

    Please don’t take this the wrong way. It’s not that you are wrong. Yes, they act like jerks part of the time and the ones who did that to the feminist blogs were wrong to do so. I’m not trying to make you ‘believe’ or make you agree with me. I’m trying to explain that Anonymous is not as simple to define as some people think it is. That’s all.

    Please don’t be upset. I’m sorry I came off as condescending. I’ve just come across a lot of these conversations about Anon and so many people trying to explain it when it’s really not as simple as that. I was really, genuinely trying to explain it best I could.

    All I’m saying is that, Anonymous is responsible for a lot of things. Not all good. Not all bad. Because it’s neither. Anonymous can’t be put into a box. It defies the box.

    I’m not going to go into the issue regarding Assange; all I’ll say is that most Anon’s view him as a douchebag. Some of us believe he did it, others don’t (I don’t know WHAT to believe, personally). All that most of them care about is the circumstances surrounding his arrest and the fact the cases were settled a year previous. A lot of people view this as a symbolic action by governments against whistle blowers and thereby making people with crucial information in regards to unethical/illegal actions too afraid to come forward. Look at what happened when all those leaks came out.

    Look, you have an opinion about Anon. Fine. I’m just telling you what I’ve observed by being around them for the past few years since publicly challenging Scientology and their illegal practices. You’re not wrong to disagree. I’m not trying to derail, just the subject of Anon was brought up and it went from there.

  20. says

    Red,

    Again, letting your comment through as part of an object lesson. You are still insisting that either I view Anonymous your way, or I am wrong, or at least being simple-minded about it and contributing to the “misunderstandings” that only you are qualified to clear. You may not be trying to be condescending, but you sure are succeeding at it.

    Now, I’m going to remind you of one of our comment rules: this is not a fan site. It’s a site for critical analysis. If you are not prepared to see things you love dissected here, then this is not the site for you. Got it?

    That’s the end of discussion on Anonymous, folks. If you have points to make about Red’s statements or my responses, you can do so in the Activism 101 post: http://thehathorlegacy.com/activism-101-people-who-disagree-with-me-are-obviously-ignorant/

  21. Azzy says

    Casey: Jennifer Kesler,A part of their tag-line is “we are Anonymous, we are legion”…a legion does count as a group, right?

    The funnier part of that tagline is that, in the Biblical context, that quote referred to a legion of demons. Very apropos, considering how Anon is perceived.

    But getting back to the subject of this post:

    When people argue that things like this are “spanking” or “discipline”, I always try to point out that, if instead of a child, the person being beaten up was adult and unrelated to their attacker, this would be assault, no ifs or buts about it. But suddenly, if you’re underaged and/or related to your attacker, people hem and haw and talk about these counting as mitigating circumstances, when it should be just the opposite. The attack should be considered MORE despicable BECAUSE the victim is small and related by family bonds and dependent on their attacker.

    What if the judge had attacker an employee in such a manner, because he’d heard that this employee had downloaded games on his work computer? Would people be half as forgiving? Fuck no, because what he did was base and disgusting. When you completely ignore all relations between victim and attacker and their respective identities, what you get is person A brutally beating person B. And I don’t know about everybody else, but I consider that to be Wrong, no matter the circumstances around it.

  22. The Other Anne says

    Azzy,

    That’s a really good point, and one I hadn’t put together myself until now. I was lucky in that my parents really stopped spanking us very early on. I think they both realized how bad it was–and they’d only done it because that was how they were raised, and that’s how they thought kids were raised. But after I was probably 3, no more. My brother was kind of an awful kid–and still is, hah! (But we love him, somehow)–but my sister and I just kind of weren’t bad. I don’t remember even being grounded after I was like 12, because I knew when I’d done something wrong or why I shouldn’t do those things, so I either didn’t do them or was smart enough to not get caught.

  23. Azzy says

    The Other Anne,

    My brother and I were beaten by our grandfather with a leather belt for our transgressions until about our teens, and I think the reason this stopped was because by that age, we’d been so completely cowed, that the only mistakes we still made we ones that only required a smack over the head or something.

    And I realized only recently how morally devastating that was for me and my brother. We’ve grown up into individuals terrified of admitting our mistakes–worse yet, we’ve gotten this knee-jerk reflex of blaming each other for something, even if we know we’re responsible for whatever the problem is. Because we learned that as long as grampa didn’t know which one of us was responsible for something, we’d get a reprieve. When we were young, my brother and I fought viciously, all the time. Now that we’re grown, we get along great: we have the same interests, the same sense of humor, at times, we even finish sentences at the same time (the weirdest thing we’ve said at the same time has been “but penguins have a pretty good memory, actually”, which we both found hilarious). And I find it no coincidence that our relationship improved drastically after the beatings stopped. Maybe it is a coincidence, or maybe it was because we both matured, but I firmly believe that the fact that we weren’t being pitted against each other like that anymore was a huge factor.

    The beatings (and I refuse to use the word “spanking”, because 1. it’s a damn goofy word, and 2. in Romanian, there is no such distinction; there is no special word like it, reserved only for the concept of beating children) also made us extremely selfish and self-involved, and incapable of dealing with authority figures. It also made me incapable of judging the scope of my mistakes. I suffered some embarrassment lately when I made some small error that my boss picked up on, and I apparently looked so distraught, that everybody around me became alarmed and kept asking me if I’m alright. And I hate when people ask me if I’m alright, because the only attention I ever got as a child when I was upset were threats to stop crying and more beatings if those same threats made me cry harder. I cannot stress how counterproductive it is to threaten a child with physical violence to make her stop crying. What I remember happening most often was getting a smack just as I was about to calm down and starting to cry again. Because, of course, I was only crying because I was “spoiled”.

    The point is, both my brother and I will be messed up for life, just as I see my father and uncle being messed up. And you know what? A while ago, grampa said that he shouldn’t have beaten us as children, because now we’re too timid and afraid to do anything for ourselves. Sure, he muttered it under his breath, like he was embarrassed, but he admitted it, and that’s more than grandma ever admitted about the ways in which her emotional manipulations have ruined us.

  24. The Other Anne says

    Azzy,

    I’m sorry sorry you had to grow up like that! It sucks how much of who we are is determined by that relatively short part of our lives. :(

    I hope that the way parenting works changes enough that no one else will have to go through these things someday.

  25. says

    All this talk has got me thinking about belts and switches and spanking this way or that, and so on, and how people often derail onto which forms of corporal punishment are acceptable.

    Whenever I try to explain to someone why emotional abuse is a real problem, I cite people’s tales of being physically and sexually abused. There are always tons of descriptions of emotion in them, fear and shame being the biggies. I think the point of all abuse is to evoke those feelings, and other ugly ones, in order to control a child (which is not the same as teaching and disciplining a child). That’s why it so misses the point when the discussion goes to, “But can we use a belt these days, or not? What about a switch? What’s wrong with spanking?” Even if you bear no physical reminders of physical abuse, you remember how it felt and the “lessons” you learned, which are usually very wrong and unhelpful “lessons” as opposed to the ones kids actually need to learn.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.