Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Patrick Stewart on Domestic Violence

Patrick Stewart, from Star Trek: The Next Generation, talks about growing up with domestic violence. Pretty powerful. Notice how he talks about the police, and other authorities, taking the side of the abuser and saying, "Perhaps she provoked the violence."

Domestic violence is closely related to child abuse. I've always maintained that if our government were to replace the war on drugs with a war against child abuse, and domestic violence, we might see a decrease in drug use. What do you think DRIVES people to drink and drugs in the first place? Generally, it's a coping mechanism for dealing with abuse within the home.

Thanks to Diann Diaz, an activist on this issue, for posting the video.

Diane's web page:

Monday, December 28, 2009

Searching for Angela Shelton

Searching for Angela Shelton paints a very disturbing picture of child abuse in America. It seems everyone in this country, from the family to the court system, is, in some way, guilty of enabling molesters.

The premise is novel. Angela Shelton, the actress, begins by calling everyone who happens to share her name. During her intro phone calls with all the Angela Sheltons, our Angela brings up the topic of sexual child molestation.

Wow! That's gotta be a real winner at parties!

"Hi, I'm (fill in your name), did you know a disturbingly high amount of people with our shared names have been sexually abused?"

It almost seems forced, were it not for the fact that every Angela Shelton interviewed has either been raped as an adult, sexually molested as a child, or both. The implication being: if this is the case with everyone who shares the same name as the director, what must the reality be for all the non Angela Sheltons of the world?

Of course, by the time we get to the part where Angela Shelton, the director and actress, reveals the details regarding her case, we suddenly forget the novelty of Searching for Angela Shelton.

We find ourselves focused on the sad, abominable reality that everyone one of us, to some extent, has experienced yet tries to ignore and deny.

Her father, according to the testimony of both Angela and her brother, left Angela's mother for the mother's best friend. Angela was given a choice as to which parent she wanted to live with. She chose the father because his new wife made great kool aid.

Hey, she's a kid! What else is she going to base a life altering decision on?

During this time with her father and stepmother, the dad gets a brilliant idea for 'sex education in the home'.

Well, I can tell you from personal experience at the fundamentalist school I went to, they totally opposed sex education in the school. I've always wondered how parents in denial, who refuse their children objective sex education, instruct them in private. If any of them are like Angela's father and step mother, we have a very serious problem with incest in the American home.

Like Angela's stepmother, some of these places, and families, make very good kool aid.

Her case did go to court. Her father never served jail time. In fact, the wonderful people at the courthouse were so disgusted by the case they tried to get Angela to drop it and move on.

What gives?

None of the perpetrators in this movie ever served jail time, which means that it's up to the victim to achieve closure on his, or her, terms. In Angela's case, that means visiting her mother, grandmother, stepbrother, and father for some answers.

Her mother, grandmother, and stepbrother, are very supportive of Angela.

The movie takes an interesting turn when the stepbrother, who happens to be gay, discusses the conflict he felt regarding his sexuality.

Was he born that way? Or, did the sexual abuse turned him onto it? Politically correct answers, and even scientifically correct answers, pale in the eyes of a gay teenager trying to come to terms when sexual abuse enters the picture.

All of this is extremely relevant in the stories regarding the various cases against my former church/school that is the basis of this blog. When I went to Jacksonville to host the public awareness meeting on the clergy abuse of children, the conversation came up about one male victim. This person did not pursue a legal case like another (non gay) male victim did.

This person happened to be gay, and I found myself engaged in conversations where the statement was made: "If he was gay, it's because (the predator pastor who molested) made him like that!"

I countered that line of reasoning.

I don't believe that sexual molestation turns a child gay, but I do believe there is the strong possibility that a child predator might sense the future sexual orientation of the child, take advantage of it, thereby sending the victim on an odyssey of sexual confusion during his later years as an adult.

Searching for Angela Shelton explores this issue in a way no other movie has. In fact, I don't believe there is a movie that's explored this subject! Not in this way. That makes Searching for Angela Shelton groundbreaking.

The climax occurs when she confronts her father. We've heard the testimonies of her stepbrother. Support from her mother and grandmother and aunt. Now, when Angela meets her father, we are introduced to his selective memory.

He blames it all on nudist camps.

Angela surprised me by saying she did not have a problem with nudist camps.

I'm with Angela on that one.

Why should we let sexual predators, and those who enable them, become our moral arbitrators?

Why should we allow predators to have an easy way to deny their actions? There are so many predators who want to blame their behavior on pornography, movies, music, drugs, alcohol, but they don't want to embrace the consequences of their own actions. Angela does not let her father get away with that kind of deniability. Nor should we give predators the gift of easy escapism that can only come from blaming others.

The message of Searching for Angela Shelton seems to be that finding closer outside of an apathetic legal system can only come from confronting your predator.

That is difficult! Kudos for Angela Shelton for doing this, much less doing it on camera. Most of us would have a difficulty doing that even if there weren't any cameras.

That is the challenge. Angela does point out that a victim must be ready for that kind of confrontation. You can't just force someone to confront the person who helped make their life hell. Yet, it is a necessary difficulty.

Searching for Angela Shelton is a great meditation on what it takes for a victim to become a survivor and then, ultimately, lead their way to triumph. It's not an easy road. There will be some 'bumps in the road', a phrase that stands in my mind thanks to the late, ever ironic, Jerry Falwell.

You might remember after Bob Gray, the former pastor of Trinity Baptist Church (Jacksonville, FL), and founder of Trinity Christian Academy, the school I graduated from, was arrested on multiple accounts of child molestation, Jerry visited the church and told them their court troubles would ultimately amount to a 'bump in the road'.

Victims will also have bumps in the road. They will be pretty agonizing bumps, too. There might be moments when they have acted out their behavior on others. That must also be confronted.

If you can do so, accept the bumps, and endure to the end, you will be 'saved'.

That seems to be the message of Searching for Angela Shelton.

This movie can be ordered at Searching for Angela Shelton.

You can also watch it for free by visiting:

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I wrote one of my new twitter friends, a Hollywood agent, venting my feeling that the subject of child sexual molestation, and more specifically, its effect on adult survivors, seems to be a skittish topic. Granted, the subject of child abuse is common. Usually it's the violent kind of abuse. Not sexual. Those that do cover it seem to have their victims committing mass murder, rapes, drug overdoses, and other sorts of crimes.

My criticism that there are millions of people who experienced abuse who have not done any of those things. Consequently, whenever someone of note admits to being abused as a child, and if it's connected with some crime they were recently caught at (i.e. Mark Foley, Ted Haggard, etc), most victims will not want to associate their names with those types. Or, those kind of movies.

That class of 'victims' appear like they're blaming the past for terrible deeds done in the present. If they hadn't got caught in the first place, they would have skipped happily along in denial. Those kind of stories turn child abuse into some kind of 'get out of jail' card for those who are already bound for jail.

The agent I contacted did not believe this to be the case.

Getting any movie made is difficult, she noted, but there have been movies about child abuse, which she sent me.

I had seen most of the movies, and they usually involved soap opera involving the rich and powerful, a victim rising up and killing her perpetrator, or worse. So, the lady I communicated with advised, "See Precious and Searching for Angela Shelton."

I saw Precious yesterday, on her advice, and I must say this movie has stuck with me.

In order to properly discuss this movie, I will have to expose a spoiler. However, this movie is so good, even revealing the spoiler won't spoil it. Like any good movie, or book, it doesn't just get its power from the mere plot. It gets its power through the dedicated performances, the subtle script, and the execution of the fantasy sequences that Precious uses to escape her predicament.

Precious (played by Gabourey Sidibe) is an obese 18 year old, attending a school in Harlem, with a very abusive mom waiting for her. Mary, her mother does not work. She encourages her daughter to go on welfare, then throws things at her when she falls an inch short of her advice. Precious has one child by an unknown father. She will give birth to another child by the time the movie ends.

Who is the father of the child? This unknown male source?

The climax of this movie has Mariah Carey, stripped of all her diva attire, playing Mrs. Weiss, a social worker, getting to the bottom of this dilemma.

Mrs. Weiss, upon figuring out the deceased father of Precious is responsible for the first child, and the mother's current boyfriend responsible for the second, asks, "When did the abuse start?"

The mother, played by Mo'Nique, reveals it began when Precious was an infant. The mother was, in fact, a witness. She would keep the infant by her side at all times. It was while having sex with her husband that Mary notices her husband fingering the infant.

Not even Precious knew that! How could she remember? That final scene is the most effective, tear jerking moment that the movies, en masse, have delivered all year. Probably the entire decade!

The baby of Precious is nearly wounded when Mary throws a television set at her. Precious is holding the baby when the set hits them both.

Precious, amazingly, ends with triumph. The truth now revealed. The victim now vindicated. Walking with her two children whom she just saved from her abusive mother into a new future. A new life.

What will the future bring? Who knows! Nobody goes to jail. Nobody gets the death penalty. Nobody goes to court. Yet, the exposure of the truth, the shear utterance of facts, provides Precious with her own sense of triumph.

My only quibble is the fact that it is set in an inner city. Yet, that is the reality of her situation.

Just like the story of Mackenzie Phillips abuse can be marginalized as a story that can only happen with fast living rock stars, people can marginalize Precious as just a story of a poor soul in the ghetto.

That is why we need more movies like this! Movies about survivors from different economic classes to show this problem is widespread.

I'm tempted to mention American Beauty, since that does center on the suburbs, and a minor is molested by the end of the movie. American Beauty, though, is not a movie about surviving abuse. Abuse just plays a role in the story which, ultimately, is about an adult male coming to terms with his life.

The abuse portrayed in Precious is happening everywhere. Not just in Harlem.

What makes the situation of Precious so unusual is the fact that. . .it doesn't seem to be unusual.

During the last three years of writing this blog, I have read about cases where infants have been abused. Given the context of this blog, it has been in either missionary schools (see 'All God's Children'), or in the house of the devoted (see 'Deliver Us From Evil').

Loyal readers of this blog might remember the case involving Dave Hyles, son of the late Jack Hyles (pastor of the 'World's Largest Baptist Church'), being investigated for battery upon an infant. The book Fundamental Seduction mentions 'Mrs. John R. Rice' (wives of fundamentalist preachers seem to lose their entire names, not just their last!) stopping Dave from shaking a child.

I do find it interesting that Precious is distributed by Lion's Gate.

Lion's Gate also is responsible for Deliver Us From Evil and Hard Candy.

Hard Candy is a movie about a pre-teenage friend of a victim who tracks down a pedophile, and, through intelligence and manipulation, stops him from committing his crime ever again! I won't reveal the spoiler of that movie. I don't recommend that victims of child abuse seek closure the way our heroine does in Hard Candy.

Lion's Gate might be the company we can rely on for decent movies about surviving abuse.

Okay, next movie to be reviewed: Searching for Angela Shelton.

In the meantime, check out these links:

Roger Ebert reviews Precious.

Precious (wiki)

The Lionsgate surviving abuse collection:

strangers shouldn't talk to little girls!



Monday, December 14, 2009

twitter me!

Okay, I'm finally joining the twitter revolution and learning some bells and whistles about blogger! Have now uploaded most of my videos pertaining to abuse to twitter. Will eventually add a video bar to this blog.

In the meantime, visit me@

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Roman Polanski film screened at Trinity Christian Academy by alleged felon!

I just watched Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist and am completely speechless. Here's a movie that shows children as little more than punching bags and cheap labor, by both 'the good guys' and 'the bad guys'. Everybody blames the children first. Most don't even recognize them as people. Exactly the kind of movie I think needs to be made about the present state of fundamentalist girls and boys homes!

This most sensitive movie about child labor and abuse was made by Roman Polanksi, currently under house arrest for raping a 13 year old girl.

It occurs to me that Roman Polanksi's Chinatown also has abuse at its center. Most great works of art and literature are centered around certain types of abuse. Chinatown culminates in the revelation of an incestuous relationship between a rich father, his daughter, and the daughter they fathered.

The incident with Roman Polanksi and the young girl occurred after Chinatown was released. After Chinatown, he gave us Tess, a movie about a woman making her way through the cruel world. Polanksi develops a reputation for making sensitive films about women.

After that we have an action movie with Harrison Ford, a dumb pirate movie, and a murder mystery, until Polanksi finally comes to his senses and gives us The Tenant. This movie concerns the victims of the Holocaust. After The Tenant, we have Oliver Twist, which is an adaptation of the Dicken's novel about unwanted children, orphans, and women of foul reputation who actually come from pedigreed backgrounds.

Are these choices related to guilt and introspection? Subconscious, of course. Things never confronted with the full force of an awake mind but, in the accepting environment of art, can be recycled into either redemption, a gradual cinematic confession, or both?

To take more cynical bent: were the post Chinatown themes Polanksi chose to work with a grand exercise in the politics of CYA? In case the criticism and controversy flared its ugly head, these movies could be offered as proof that he was indeed, at heart, a kind, sensitive man who would never harm a fly? Let alone a 13 year old girl on qualudes?

Some themes are just inescapable.

When I first learned about one of the accusations against Bob Gray back in 1992, I had just started a cable access show in Long Beach, CA. I don't do that anymore. When I look back at those interviews, the majority of them center on religion and abuse.

I was not an activist. I was not circulating petitions. I think learning about the charges against Gray definitely shifted the focus of my material.

Who are you going to talk to when you hear about something like that?

Who are you going to talk to if you EXPERIENCE something like that?

Here's a more disturbing question: who are you going to talk to if you INSTIGATED an act of abuse?


Whether you have been abuse, or have abused, or just a bystander: art is a poor man's therapist.

Okay, Polanksi's not poor, but the rest of us can make YouTubes, write books and articles, songs and poetry, paintings and photographs, that reflect the inner turmoil and conflict that cannot be expressed in the real world. You can try to express it, but you'll probably be told to 'get over it!'.

Art never tells you that.

Here's an article that I found on the World's Socialist web site.

I know, how appropriate!

I found the one site still praising Polanksi's work, and they're 'buncha socialists'!

The article, all biases aside, does give a concise view of Roman Polanksi films. It also talks about his 'sensitivity' to the issues which the writer uses as proof that we're just a buncha hooligans who won't stop 'all manner of pious and self-righteous bleatings'.

Whatever. . .

Here's an interesting piece of trivia:

I came away from Roman Polanksi's Oliver Twist thinking about the first time I saw Roman Polanski's Macbeth. It was at Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida. 1980. Roman Polanksi's Macbeth, by the way, was produced by Playboy.

Our English teacher screened it. There were a few topless scenes in the movie, which our teacher covered up with his hands over the projector lens.

My former English teacher would eventually face, according to according to, 'decades of sex harassment and abuse allegations'.

A teacher who would be allegedly charged with a felony? Teaching in a school founded by a pastor, who would eventually be arrested on felonious charges of child molestation? And we're watching a movie made by a film director, who, decades later, would also arrested for a similar felony?

My point?

No point, really.

Just trying to comprehend the grand irony of it all. . .


An Evaluation of Roman Polanksi as an artist. (Part One).
An Evaluation of Roman Polanski as an artist. (Part Two).

Oliver Twist:

Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist, a review by The Little Professor.

Excerpt from The Little Professor:

"Oliver spends the entire film being carried, pulled, pushed, and generally manhandled; for all that he's the film's subject, he spends most of the time being an object. "

Yeah, I think most victims and survivors feel the same way!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Darrell Gilyard admits to fathering child.

Darrell Gilyard, the pastor lionized by luminaries like the late Jerry Falwell, and Southern Baptist pastors like Jerry Vines, admitted he did father the child of a woman who accused him of raping and impregnating her during a 2004 counseling session.

Try to ignore some of the ignorant comments underneath the article. It seems every article dealing with Darrell Gilyard on the Florida Times Union web page has at least one, sometimes several, racist remarks. Strange, not even the Florida Times Union seems to object!

Article: Former pastor admits to fathering child.

John Phillips and LOLITA

Has anybody ever read LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov? I read it a few years ago before the Bob Gray scandal broke.

The main reason, of course, was to read the source material for the Stanley Kubrick movie. What changes were made as the novel was translated into film?

The most obvious change was the actress playing Lolita was not 12 years old. If you read the book, it would be very disturbing to see an actual 12 year old actress play this role. Instead, he got 14 year old Sue Lyon to play the role. I know, big change, right?

Kubrick also played down various aspects of the book which, if literally portrayed, would be the most expensive work of child pornography ever produced!

I don't believe Nabokov was a pedophile. Of course, I don't know that as a fact. No one does.

Nabokov does not seem to suffer from the stigma of Lewis Carroll.

Carroll was known for pedophilia, but let's not allow that to stop us from enjoying the new Walt Disney remake of his book, ALICE IN WONDERLAND! Just temporarily ignore the fact that Disney hired a convicted child molester, Victor Salva, to direct POWDER, and you can enjoy living in fantasyland all your life! Besides, without praising Disney films, how would ex-fundamentalists, especially those from Disney's arch-enemy, the Southern Baptist Convention, be able to prove they're cool?

Nabokov was not an activist. He was an artist, but I'm not finding any articles that indicates he had a problem with pedophilia. I now believe the mere fact that he was able to write about it should be offered as proof that he was not.

Those who might lean toward that pedophilia tend to want to cover it up. The last thing they want to do is openly broadcast it. If anything, his book demonstrated a network of child predators might exist, and he clue'd us in on their tactics.

When I read Mackenzie Phillip's book, I thought of LOLITA. In Phillip's book, John, her father, practically encourages his rock star friend, Mick Jagger, to engage in sex with young Mackenzie. He seems to have his personal network of enablers.

I've speculated openly on this blog whether or not such a network exists, or existed, amongst fundamentalist preachers who've engaged in this crime. In LOLITA, the rivalry between Humbert Humbert and Clare Quilty seems to imply the existence of a network.

The movie downplays the drugs that Humbert uses to have his way with Lolita. In the book, he drugs her. He takes her while she is passed out. The movie does not bring in drugs, consequently we're left with the view that this is a consensual relationship.

In Mackenzie's book, John Phillips drugs her and has his way with her while Mackenzie is passed out. Mackenzie gets hooked on drugs and, as an adult, goes to her father for more. He gives her the drugs, she passes out, and he has his way with her. At no time in Mackenzie's book do we read that she is EVER FULLY AWAKE during these encounters. She went to him FOR DRUGS NOT SEX. The sex only happened after she passed out.

This is what passes for 'consensual' whenever we hear critics of Mackenzie overuse that word. I guess they're hoping no one will actually read the book to find out that 'consensual' somehow includes being passed out on drugs while your father gropes and mauls you.

Barry Crimmins writes an excellent article about 'consensual' and the role drugs played in the abuse of Mackenzie Phillips. It's worth reading, especially if you've never read Mackenzie's book and, for whatever reason, continue to hold on to the word 'consensual' as an excuse to ignore her message.

Article: Child abuse. No laughing matter.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mackenzie Phillips and Darkness2Light and the problem of stereotyping professions

I just received a comment responding to this article, about Mackenzie Phillips.

The author of the comment, Meggs, also has a blog called Speaking Out which concerns surviving incest and abuse.

Meggs highlights two events that happened during the past year that deserve our attention.

The first concerns Mackenzie Phillips being given the Darkness2Light Voice of Courage award for speaking out about her experiences.

Meggs writes: Of course, no one in the media wants to focus on the work she is now doing to help prevent child abuse and incest. They all want to dwell on the drug use.

Isn't that the truth! It's all show biz, and trying to make it out like the John Phillips scandal is just an anomaly related to the world of rock stars, like others want to make clergy abuse simply an anomaly of a group's beliefs, standards and practices.

Hey, I keep saying you can't become a Jesuit priest through mail order! You have to go to universities, get credentialed, and the Catholic Church does have its standards churches must adhere to. They're not autonomous, and yet, they were the first religious group that introduced America to the fact that child abuse can happen anywhere.

Sure, Baptist churches, especially independents, might have low standards for their ministers, but, as the Catholic scandals demonstrate, even organizations with high standards and no autonomy can be guilty of turning a blind eye regarding pedophiles.

So, while everybody's patting themselves on the back, thankful they're not subjecting their kids to the abuse of rock stars, fundamentalist preachers, or Catholic priests, there always seems to be someone in any given family, or friends of any given family, who will take advantage of the ignorance that results from stereotyping Hollywood or religious figures.

This is everybody's problem. Hollywood and religious leaders just get stigmatized became they're in the public eye.

In addition to the honor given to Mackenzie by Darkness2Light, Meggs also pointed out an interesting project called 'Searching for Angela Shelton'. This documentary has Angela Shelton taking a trip across America to interview other women who also have the name, Angela Shelton.

It's an amusing premise that's brought into harsh reality when we realize all the Angela Sheltons in this movie have either been raped, or sexually molested, when they were children. Some were also raped when they were adults.

Hmmm, you know, if we treated the Angela Shelton cases like the media treats Mackenzie Phillips, or like other bloggers treat cases of clergy abuse, I can just imagine someone saying, "Well, stop naming your kid Angela Shelton!"

I know! I know! Bad taste. But I keep reading people saying things like, "If you're a pedophile, the best place for you is as a deacon in a Baptist church!" When it happened at a synagogue in New York, a lawmaker actually said, "If you're a pedophile, the best place for you is in a synagogue!" When Mackenzie's story broke, along with the Roman Polanksi arrest, bloggers at Huffington Post were also singing the same tune.

"Pedophilia is wrong, unless you're a famous artist or movie director."

If we're really serious about dealing with the topic of child abuse, some ideas and tactics are just going to have to be abandoned on the highway.

One of those ideas concerns stigmatizing various professions. Some people, in the depths of their subconscious, have the false idea that as long as they're not subjecting their children to:

a: Hollywood moguls
b: religious leaders
c: people in the arts
d: politicians (intern scandals)

. . .that their children are safe from predators.

Nothing could be further from the truth! Stereotyping professions creates a false sense of security. Sometimes the most dangerous place for a child is in his, or her, own home.

Here are some links and video clips related to Mackenzie Phillips and the Angela Shelton project:

From: Official blog of Darkness2Light.

Searching for Angela Shelton.

Adam Horowitz in the news.

Click on the icon to read the latest article about Adam Horowitz, the attorney for victims of Bob Gray, defending Lavetta Elk, and how understanding Native American culture proved crucial to winning that case.

In another case involving abuse, Horowitz criticizes the attorney's for asking abuse victims questions like, "You've had a couple of abortions. How did that make you feel?"


Epstein Attorneys Scolded for Asking Alleged Abuse Victims About Abortions, Sex Positions.