Saturday, December 5, 2009

How Do Child Porn Investigators Cope?

This article in The Washington Post might be difficult to read, but the point of it is two-fold: Encourage you that there are faithful and dedicated people who are engaged in stopping the trade in child porn, and to help you understand how, and why, investigators and prosecutors cope with the incredible psychological burdens involved in their work. Don't miss the video of FBI agent Melissa Morrow that goes along with the article.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

True: Catholic Priests Have Girlfriends

The headline for this post is based on a NYT article about an Illinois woman who had a long affair with her priest, a child with him, and, because of the young man's cancer expenses, is now breaking her confidentiality agreement with the Church.

The story is interesting in its own right, especially when the boy's mother, Pat Bond, talks about the her feelings about the affair and what attracted her to the priest in the first place, but WNL is including it on this blog because of the research on priests and their girlfriends that reporter Laurie Goodstein included as background for the piece. Here's an extended quote -


Ms. Bond, meanwhile, got help from a support group for women and priests involved in relationships. The group, Good Tidings, was founded by Cait Finnegan and her husband, a former Catholic priest, originally with the idea that they would help priests who had fallen in love to discern whether to leave the priesthood and marry, or remain in the priesthood and end the relationship.

A landmark study in 1990 by the scholar A. W. Richard Sipe, a former Benedictine, found that 20 percent of Catholic priests were involved in continuing sexual relationships with women, and an additional 8 percent to 10 percent had occasional heterosexual relationships.
“We were na├»ve,” Mrs. Finnegan said. “We quickly discovered that many of these priests were playboys. They weren’t looking for any discernment, they were simply staying and playing. It was the women who needed the support. Unfortunately, many women accept the kind of abuse from a priest that they would never accept if they were dating another man.”She said that in 25 years, Good Tidings had been contacted by nearly 2,000 women who said they were involved with priests, many who had signed child support and confidentiality agreements like Ms. Bond’s. There are similar support groups in at least seven countries.
“It’s not so much that people don’t know it happens, but they don’t know how much it happens,” Mrs. Finnegan said.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Child Abuse Pediatrics Now A Specialty

As familiar as we are, thanks to TV with its portrayal of crime scene investigations, forensic autopsies and the like, with the fact of child abuse, it may come as a surprise to learn that only now, in 2009, has a medical specialty dealing with abuse of children been created. This NYT article by pediatrician Perri Klass has the very human details about why this specialty is needed and the special sensitivity it requires.

Up to now, family pediatricians and hospital staff are the ones given the awful task of seeing injuries in children and trying to decide whether they are the result of childhood accidents or trauma of abuse. If they think the latter, as "mandated reporters", police or children's services bureaus must be notified.

But who do they look to to help make this discrimination? There are experts, but often the decision to let it go or come down like a hammer on parents is not based on much of anything besides intuition, a comment by a colleague or cop, or personal fears about getting in trouble for reporting something that might be ambiguous. This new certification is a step in creating a pool of experts to help first responders sort it all out.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

How to Help a Traumatized Child

Internationally recognized authority on children in crisis Dr. Bruce Perry explains in this article at Oprah.com what we can do to assist children and teens who experience trauma (about 1 in 4 children). Not just for parents, this step by step guide is also useful for teachers, caregivers, caseworkers, and other adults who may come in contact with a child who experiences a serious illness, illness in the family, neighborhood violence, or a natural disaster.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Bad Marriages Harder on the Woman

A new study reported in HealthDay observed that men were as likely as women to become depressed with marital strain, but only women showed a link between a stressful marriage and negativity, depression, and metabolic syndrome - a cluster of symptoms including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar which boost the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Domestic Abuse Has It's Own Injury Pattern

Domestic violence is believed to be vastly under-reported, and emergency and other physicians have long been urged to be on the alert for patients with unexplained injuries, or who show fear or shame. But the injuries themselves can tell the story. A new study in Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery found differences between injuries from car crashes, falls, or even assaults by strangers from those received from a domestic partner. Get the details from this LA Times article.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence Linked in LA Enforcement Efforts

The LA Times reports that people involved in dogfighting, cockfighting and other abuse are being targeted by teams from the LAPD and district attorney's office. The number of criminal cases filed has jumped, felony cases are being won, with jail time the penalty. The importance of this effort for women? In backing the measure, LAPD officials cited studies finding that animal abusers were often involved in other crimes, including child abuse and domestic violence.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Intermittent Fasting Pros and Cons

This excellent article in The LA Times explores the many benefits, and the few risks, of intermittent fasting - cutting back or eliminating eating on a regular basis for a meal, a day, whatever works for you. Apparently there are health benefits to the practice aside from losing weight, like slowing cognitive decline, lowering inflammatory marker levels, and making the body more sensitive to insulin. There's more, including an associated article with first-person accounts.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"Dying To Be Thin" - Watch It Online

Nova's excellent documentary on anorexia and bulimia is available for viewing online here. Skilfully made, it covers everything from cultural pressures to physical effects of eating disorders to treatment and recovery possibilities.