I am reposting this review of a documentary I watched in 2018. I’m not why I didn’t repost it years ago, but I discovered it this morning and think it could be of interest to some readers. Bear in mind that this was originally written on March 14, 2018 and is posted AS/IS. That means I will NOT be significantly editing it, and it is appearing just as it was when I posted it years ago.
Yesterday, after watching the most recent episode of Counting On, I decided to watch a documentary called Kidnapped for Christ. This film, which was released in 2014, was produced and directed by Kate S. Logan. The film was mostly shot during a seven week period in 2006, when Logan was in the Dominican Republic visiting Escuela Caribe, a school run by New Horizons Youth Ministries out of Marion, Indiana.
At the time she began shooting the film and interviewing staff and students there, Kate Logan was unaware of the school’s controversial nature. Logan was herself a student at an evangelical Christian university and did not intend to create an expose of Escuela Caribe. But then she got to know a seventeen year old named David whose parents had used a teen transport company to have him escorted from their home in the middle of the night. Although David was a model student with excellent grades, a talent for drama, and a promising future, he was gay. That was unacceptable to David’s parents.
Logan also interviewed two girls who were at the facility. Beth was sent to the school because of a “debilitating anxiety disorder”. Tai was sent there because of behavioral problems that were brought on by childhood abuse.
After she’d spent some time at the school, which by 2006 had been operating in the Dominican Republic for several decades, Logan started to realize that some of the methods employed there were abusive. For instance, participants who misbehaved were required to do push ups, squat thrusts, or run “Casitas”. Sometimes, they would be forced to do intense physical labor or get “swats”, basically a spanking with a wooden paddle. Logan also noticed that the participants were subjected to emotional abuse.
David sent a letter back with Kate Logan. He asked her to give it to one of his best friends, who would then share it with her parents. When Logan shared the letter with the friend, who happened to be attending the same university where Logan was a student, things started happened. A small cadre of David’s friends and adult supporters banded together to try to get him out of Escuela Caribe. Although David was about to turn 18, he was concerned that school officials would try to hold him there beyond his 18th birthday.
I decided to watch this movie after it was mentioned in the Duggar group I joined. I had not heard of Kidnapped for Christ before yesterday, but I have a lot of time on my hands and I’m fascinated by documentaries, especially about cults. “Teen help” programs are also a pet interest of mine. About fifteen years ago, I went through an intense research phase of these kinds of programs desperate parents employ to “help” their teens. Many of them, now mercifully shut down, were abusive in nature.
Escuela Caribe, which closed in 2012, did not sound like the worst of some of the programs I’ve researched. Yes, there was a lot of physical punishment and humiliation involved with their “approach”, but some of the programs run by the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASPS) and fundamentalist Christian schools such as Mountain Park Baptist Boarding Academy seemed much worse. One reason why they seemed worse is that there’s no way someone like Kate Logan could have had access to those schools. Escuela Caribe apparently initially welcomed Logan to talk to students and film them. That would not have happened at the other schools.
However, even though Escuela Caribe was evidently not among the “worst” of the teen help schools, it still did significant damage to a number of former participants. Some people who had been at the school ended up with symptoms of PTSD. And, of course, there’s also the disturbing idea that a school can “cure” someone of being homosexual. On the other hand, there are some former participants who feel that school saved their lives. One of the people Logan interviewed for this film left the program with a positive impression.
Kidnapped for Christ is very well produced and informative. It’s well worth watching if you have interesting in the topic of “teen help” boarding schools or even evangelical Christianity. Although I can understand that many parents are frustrated by teenagers who act out or get into trouble, I think that for the most part, these kinds of programs cause more problems then they solve. They’re also very expensive and usually run by people with no actual qualifications. At one point, Logan pointed out that the tuition for Escuela Caribe was more than what one would pay for a year at Harvard University.
Anyway… if you can watch this film, I think you should. Here’s a link to it on Amazon.com. If you click through and purchase through my site, I will get a small commission from Amazon.com.
I don’t usually follow Lori Alexander’s page at all, and I mostly only notice it when someone else posts something that is absolutely batshit nuts. That’s what happened yesterday, and that’s why I posted about her then. I might have moved on from her today, except I noticed yet more craziness that I need to unpack. So, here goes… today’s mishegoss from Lori, the so-called self-described Transformed Wife.
I hope y’all will forgive me for commenting on this. A few years ago, maybe I wouldn’t have bothered. However, I’ve been watching my homeland from afar, and I’ve noticed that there are a lot of emboldened right wing whackaloons out there. They’d love to see the country go back to what they thought was an idyllic time… Well, it was idyllic for white, conservative, male Christians. It was not so idyllic for anyone else.
Anyway, Lori posted this complaint last night, and now I’m sitting here reading the comments, shaking my damned head…
There were a lot of braindead comments agreeing with Lori’s post. I took notice when I saw one person trying to inject some good sense and reason into the commentary. I see she works as a reporter, and that is yet further proof that people should support journalists and journalism, in general. These are people whose business it is to report facts. Have a look.
As you see, Natalie is politely trying to clarify things, offering some context as to why people had such huge families back in the day, and why people married for life. She correctly points out how, in many cultures, women have been considered second class citizens for most of history. It’s only been very recently that women haven’t been considered the property of men. And while it’s plain to see that some women don’t mind being some man’s property, they have that notion based on how things are today. If they were living in a different era, when that was the way things were and they had no say at all, they might not be so enthusiastic.
What really annoys me about people like Lori Alexander is that they promote this patriarchal bullshit, failing to realize that it’s because of feminism that they even have the right to have opinions and share them with the masses. So Lori doesn’t think women should be allowed to be independent, have a career instead of being a housewife, vote in elections, speak in church, or do anything that isn’t Gilead approved in The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s a pretty slippery slope. That kind of thinking is what leads to girls and women being forced back into indentured servitude, abuse, and lifelong ignorance.
I notice that Lori reads and writes. Would she like to see that basic skill taken away from females? Because there are men out there who would be all for it. Knowledge, skills acquisition, and basic education are keys to POWER, and there are men out there who would LOVE to strip power away from those who have risen from the ranks of the oppressed.
Have a look at how women in Afghanistan live, where they can’t even go outside without a male escort, can’t show their bodies or faces, can’t read a book, or go to school. Read a slave narrative and learn about how slaves weren’t allowed to learn how to read… or how to swim. These were vital skills that were the keys to their freedom and self-determination, and right to live life on their own terms. I’m not just referring to whether or not they marry and have children. I’m referring to basic LIFE– and not being someone else’s slave!
Below is more from Lori’s page… same post, with a couple of men whining about how it’s not fair that women get to make “all the choices” regarding whether or not they have children. I wish to God men could get pregnant. They seem to think it’s just the most awesome thing, having another human being growing inside of them, dancing on their bladders, raising their blood pressure, and then squeezing out of a small hole, tearing the tender flesh and causing bleeding and pain, as well as permanent physical changes to the body.
I’m not saying the power to have children isn’t amazing, but there are significant drawbacks to having babies. For some women, pregnancy and childbirth are life threatening. For all women, it’s life changing, potentially unpleasant and uncomfortable, and challenging on many levels. But these men don’t seem to think women should be allowed to choose for themselves whether or not they want to risk their health or even their lives to have children. I’d also love to know… why would you want to be married to a woman who doesn’t want to be married to you?
I’ve been extraordinarily lucky. Every day, I thank God for Bill, who is a wonderful, evolved, educated, and adorable man who treats me like gold. I don’t know what I did to deserve Bill. All I can think is that maybe at some point in my past, I did something extremely good and got a karmic reward. When I consider what he went through when he was married to his ex wife, I realize that he could have turned out embittered and misogynistic, like most of the men posting on Lori’s page. But he’s not like that.
I credit Bill’s wonderful, liberated, evolved mom for raising her son not to be a colossal asshole who expects women to wait on him hand and foot and pop out his babies for decades. My husband’s mom taught him to enjoy art, music, literature, food, travel, and most of all, being friends with women. He loves me, and he cares deeply for me. He values my opinion. I’m not a piece of property to my husband. I am his partner. And we are very happy together. I can’t imagine being married to some of the men posting on Lori’s page, harping on being “godly” and living life according to the Bible, which is pretty much impossible to do, anyway. I mean, Christians do pick and choose which rules they’re going to follow, right? I don’t see too many of them giving up shrimp, for instance…
Sigh… once again, as much as I wanted to have children, I’m kind of glad it didn’t happen. The world is going to hell because of all the fundie Christians. 😉 And the vast majority of them are not even very good Christians… they just want money and power. What better way to maintain that than keeping smart and spirited women busy with pregnancy and child rearing, instead of letting them make choices for their own futures, right?
Well, I think I will end this post and finish my Czech tour travel series. If you have a moment, I’d really appreciate a couple of hits on my travel blog. I hate to ask, but it’s deader than a doornail over there right now. I might have to go to another nude spa just to get a little traffic, and God knows a lot of the men posting on Lori’s page don’t want to consider that nightmare. 😉
Today’s post is inspired by the most recent episode of Welcome to Plathville, which I watched yesterday afternoon. If you read yesterday’s post, you might know that I’ve been getting over a nasty cold. I got a late start yesterday because I had a touch of “medicine head” and was feeling kind of exhausted. Consequently, I did less writing yesterday than I might have ordinarily done. I only wrote one travel post, which is just as well, since not that many people read the travel blog anymore.
In the episode of Welcome to Plathville that inspired this post, the camera focused on Olivia Plath, wife to eldest Plath son, Ethan. I’ve found Olivia intriguing since I first started watching the show. Like Ethan, she was homeschooled as a child and raised in a very Christian household. Interestingly enough, many members of the Plath family seem to have evolved out of fundamentalist Christianity. They’re all kind of busting loose, drinking alcohol, getting tattoos, dressing more provocatively, and moving to new cities.
From the beginning of the show, Olivia has been influencing Ethan to try more worldly things, like drinking alcohol. When the show started, Olivia ran her own photography business. She’s obviously a very bright, intelligent, and attractive young woman. So I was very surprised yesterday when she was talking about how she’d like to go to college, but hesitates because she wonders if she’d be successful. She explains that she’s never learned in a group setting before. At one point, I even heard her say she thought maybe she was too “dumb” for college.
It’s clear to me that Olivia is certainly smart enough to succeed in college, if that’s what she’d like to do. I do understand that if a person has never been in a classroom setting, he or she might wonder how the experience will go. But I can speak from personal experience that plenty of people who probably don’t belong in college manage to go… and some of the manage to graduate. I have no doubt in my mind that Olivia could flourish in college. She probably has the money to go, too, since she’s been on Welcome to Plathville. I would hope she’s getting paid for what she does on the show. She doesn’t seem like the type of person that would blindly follow whatever the Plaths tell her to do. It’s not like being in the Duggar family.
When I listen to Olivia speak, I hear someone who is plainly bright and articulate. She might need to learn study skills and how to write papers. But I have no doubt that she could easily learn those skills and get through college. I think the experience would open up a whole new world for her on many levels… Of course, it might also doom her marriage, because I suspect that if she is exposed to other people and new ideas, she may decide that she doesn’t want to be married… or maybe she’d rather be with someone else. College might change her in profound ways. I still hope she’ll consider going, though.
Which brings me to the Duggars… I recently heard from Katie Joy that Derick and Jill Dillard were considering setting up college funds for their sons. Derick Dillard has a college degree and a law degree, and thanks to Derick’s job and Jill’s best selling book about the reality of being a Duggar on reality TV, they’ve been able to declare independence from Jim Bob Duggar. I hope Jill’s youngest siblings are paying attention.
Derick is a living example of why it’s a good thing to have the freedom to go to college, not just because of the actual courses, but because of connections to the real world. Jill and Derick clearly seem to value education beyond the dining room table, as they send their older children to public school. Likewise, Jeremy Vuolo, who married Jill’s younger sister, Jinger, also has a college degree and is working for an advanced degree. I won’t be surprised if Jinger and Jeremy send their daughters to an actual school, rather than trying to homeschool them. And I won’t be surprised if their daughters eventually go to college.
I hope that Jill and Jinger will consider going to college, too, if they’d like to do that. Jill has always struck me as someone who would be a really good midwife. I know she was getting some training in midwifery, but I think it would be great if she got trained as an actual midwife, as in attending a university and getting the appropriate training and licensure for that field. I don’t know what Jinger’s passions are, but she’s always shown herself to be more of a free spirit. She’s certainly bright enough to go to college. And, as smarmy as Jeremy seems to be, I also think he’d support her in that effort, if they had the financial resources for it.
College is oversold to a lot of people, and it can be an expensive “trap” for some. However, I think people who have been raised in oppressive environments can really benefit from the college experience. I hope they’ll at least consider taking a course or two, just to see if they like it and can succeed. My guess is that once they get a taste of learning in a freer environment, they won’t want to stop. It will change their lives, perhaps in a very profound way that may even make it more difficult for them in the beginning.
I’m all for women stepping into the light and taking control of their own destinies. Accessing a college education is a great way to do that. Olivia Plath quite clearly can flourish in college. Jill and Jinger probably could, too, if they set their minds to it. If they actually cared about my opinion, I would encourage each of them to consider stepping into higher education, as they step out of the “dark ages” of the fundie Christianity mindset chosen for them by their parents. It’s time more fundie Christian women became liberated from the life roles someone else has trained them since birth to accept.
I will also admit that as well as I think Olivia Plath could do in college, I would especially love to see some Duggar women go to an accredited university and kick some ass. I’d love it for them, and I’d also love to see Jim Bob Duggar’s reaction… which I’m pretty certain would be very bitter. I can’t lie. The idea of that is hilarious to me… this obviously narcissistic man already has a son in prison, but his daughters could end up taking the world by storm. Now that’s a reality show I’d love to tune into regularly!
Greetings from Brno, in the Czech Republic. We had quite a drive from quaint Cesky Krumlov to this eastern city about which I’ve been curious for some time. Our hotel, which is very highly rated in reviews, is located outside of the city center. It’s quite modern and comfortable, but surrounded by many apartment buildings. The hotel itself shares space with a gym/spa and an ophthalmologist’s office, but there is a Vinotek nearby. I look forward to seeing the city and doing some exploring over the next few days. We’ll be here until Sunday.
I just finished reading Rachel Louise Snyder’s book, Women We Buried, Women We Burned: A Memoir, which was published on May 23 of this year. I had not heard of Snyder before I downloaded her book. It was a suggested sell by Amazon, when I bought another book in August. I thought it looked like an interesting read, so I bought it without knowing much about it. And now that I’ve read it, I have to join in the chorus of overwhelmingly positive reviews Snyder has received for her incredible life story. I related to it on so many levels, and yet a lot of other details of her story left me completely shocked and amazed. More than once, I said “Wow” out loud. I am glad to be finished reading it, because I’ve been dying to write a review.
On to my thoughts…
Rachel Louise Snyder, the author of Women We Buried, Women We Burned, lost her mother to breast cancer when she was just eight years old. Her mother was just 30 years old when she was diagnosed with her illness, and she was dead just a few years later. Rachel and her brother, David, came home from school one day to find an ambulance parked at her house in Pittsburgh. It wasn’t unusual for Rachel to see an ambulance at the house, given how sick her mother had been for most of her young life. But usually, the ambulances had the lights going as they picked up her mom to take her to the hospital. This time, the lights weren’t on, and there was no sense of urgency. Rachel’s mother, Gail, had died.
Rachel’s dad, who was raised Christian, but had converted to Judaism to marry Gail, soon started dating again. Rachel and David also had some babysitters who took care of them when their father was working. Their father’s first girlfriends were pretty normal people who introduced Rachel to rock music and makeup. Unfortunately, no one came along early enough to help Rachel when it was time for her first training bra; that was left up to a hapless clerk at Kmart (dear God!).
After some time passed, Rachel’s dad met and married a fundamentalist Christian woman named Barb who lived in Illinois. The house in Pittsburgh was sold, and Gail’s furniture was brought to Illinois, where Barb arranged it in a rental house. Rachel was told that she must call Barb “Mom” and think of Barb’s son and daughter as her siblings. She was told she was now a Christian, and she and David were sent to Faith Center Christian Academy, a school run by their Aunt Janet and Uncle Jim. Kids in that school wore uniforms and learned silently, using Personal Accelerated Christian Education (PACE) booklets. Rachel struggled to learn this way, especially when it came to math and science.
When the Christian school closed after her eighth grade year, Rachel and David went to the local high school, where Rachel continued to struggle to succeed. Rachel’s dad became extremely rules focused, and he employed corporal punishment to get compliance from his children. He even used Rachel’s mother’s sorority paddle from college to deliver the punishments until one day, the paddle broke. Rachel became rebellious and apathetic about school. She used drugs and ran around with guys. One day, her father presented her and David, as well as Barb’s children, with suitcases. He told them to pack up and leave, even though Rachel and David were still minors.
Pretty soon, Rachel was trying to survive on minimum wage jobs. That was one thing Rachel had going for her… a very strong work ethic and the ability to learn quickly. She soon found herself in the company of a kind young man who told her she needed to go to college. That was when Rachel’s life began to turn around, and she went on an incredible journey that took her all the way around the world and to a professorship at American University (my husband’s, and my sister’s, alma mater… 😉 ). She teaches journalism and creative writing there.
Rachel’s story is long and a bit convoluted, but incredible…
There were so many times when I was reading this book that I was left shocked and amazed. I could relate to it on many levels. I didn’t have an upbringing as difficult as Rachel’s was. My mom is still alive, and neither of my parents were fundies. I was never kicked out of their house. I did okay in school, too. But we definitely had our problems. My issues were more with my dad than my mom. He always seemed to be ashamed of me, and he was a big fan of corporal punishment. Dad was also an alcoholic, and he took out a lot of his frustrations and problems on me. So, when Rachel wrote about how her dad treated her, I related.
I also related when Rachel found her way into the expat lifestyle. She found her way by starting with the Semester at Sea program through her college. It sparked a hunger to see and experience the world, which she did. She became a citizen of the world, even choosing to have her daughter in Thailand instead of the United States, the only country where her international health insurance policy would not work due to the high costs of medical care there!
But I think what was really profound for me was when it dawned on Rachel that she wasn’t responsible for the bad decisions her father and stepmother made when she was still a child! When Rachel became a mother, she realized that she didn’t want her daughter to be burdened by guilt the way she had been, asked to forget about her mother, adapt to a new religion in a new state, and finally, when she couldn’t conform, kicked out of the family home and mostly forced to fend for herself. To her credit, Rachel did maintain a distant relationship with her family. Barb’s older children and Rachel’s brother didn’t. There were two more sons with Barb and Rachel’s dad, and they also maintained relations, even though they all struggled through the legalistic approach their father took toward parenting.
Rachel’s father was also one to believe in right wing conspiracy theories, which made things much worse. Toward the end of Barb’s life, Rachel’s dad had lost a lot of money in get rich quick schemes, and his house went into foreclosure. When Barb got sick with cancer, he consulted quacks to help her. It’s a testament to Rachel’s decent– Christlike– demeanor that she found it in her heart to help them, in spite of everything.
I guess if I have to offer a criticism of this book, it’s that it’s pretty long, and Rachel’s story is incredible on many levels. I almost felt like it could have been two books. She went through several phases in her life that she explains in detail, and they take time, energy, and fortitude to read. I almost feel like some of it could have been edited out or slimmed down a bit. And yet, when I look at Rachel’s life as a whole, I’m amazed by it. I am similarly amazed by my own life, and how it’s turned out. In some ways, I feel a kindred spirit with Rachel, although she’s done better as a writer than I have. 😉
Anyway, if you have the inclination and the time to read Rachel Louise Snyder’s book, Women We Buried, Women We Burned, I would highly recommend it. It surprised me, in a good way, on so many levels. I’m impressed by her grit and gumption. She clawed her way into what could have been a very mediocre and troubled lifestyle. I applaud her for managing that, and for writing this book.
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Today’s featured photo is a screenshot of Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt on YouTube.
A good Thursday morning to you all… One more day before Mr. Bill comes home and tells me about his TDY days in Bavaria. I’ve been passing the time in the usual way, reading a book, watching a lot of YouTube videos, and scanning social media. One person who is all over the news this week, besides Donald Trump of course, is a Utah woman named Ruby Franke. Ruby Franke is yet another now disgraced former YouTube star.
A few years ago, I might have been all over 41 year old Ruby, who ran a now defunct channel called 8 Passengers. Ruby is a mother of six and an evidently devoted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Like a lot of church going folks, Ruby decided to turn her large family into YouTube (or reality TV) fame. She’s now in deep trouble, because although people had been trying to sound the alarm for years about her parenting methods, this week two of her children were discovered malnourished, with one asking neighbors for food and water. There was also evidence that at least one of the children had evidence of having been restrained with duct tape and rope. Ruby Franke, separated from her husband, Kevin, is now being charged with six felony counts of child abuse. Four of her six children have been removed from her custody.
I should mention that Ruby’s business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, has also been arrested on suspicion of aggravated child abuse. Hildebrandt also has a rather checkered past in Utah, according to some sources who are coming out now. She and Ruby started another YouTube channel called ConneXions, which is also now defunct. However, Jodi’s ConneXions Web site is still live at this writing. Hildebrandt was a mental health therapist in Utah, but had her license suspended in 2012 after violating client confidentiality by disclosing the client’s alleged “porn addiction” to LDS church leaders. If you know anything about Mormonism, you know that looking at pornography and engaging in masturbation is a big “no no”.
I’ve seen Ruby’s face all over the place this week. She’s an attractive woman, with a nice, wholesome image. She has a good figure, a pretty face, and dresses modestly. Her kids, from what I’ve seen, always look clean and are dressed well in the photos I’ve seen of them. And yet, her twelve year old son– the one who asked for help from neighbors– is malnourished. He was found with duct tape on his arms and legs. He was one of Ruby’s projects– she put him and his siblings out there on YouTube to rack up views and income as she dispensed some highly questionable parenting tips.
As I mentioned up post, I would have probably been all over this story a few years ago, before Bill and his younger daughter reconnected. It’s no secret that I’m no fan of Mormonism, or really most strict religions. But Mormonism happened to affect us more than the other religions did, so I specifically focused a lot on that faith. Of course, Mormons certainly don’t corner the market on abuse. But a lot of people in strict religions use God as a reason to be strict and abusive, especially toward those who have less power in those communities… that is, children, and often women.
These days, I’m somewhat less interested in upbraiding the Mormons. I still don’t like the belief system, but I find myself grateful that some people in the church were willing and able to help Bill’s daughter get away from her mother. On the other hand, Ex used Mormonism as a means of controlling her husbands and kids, and as a source of shame. I don’t respect the church for that, because the religion aided her in her parental alienation goals. She used its teachings as a means of separating her children from their fathers and other people in the family who threatened her.
I don’t know a whole lot about Ruby Franke yet, but I suspect the church had a lot to do with her bad decisions. Everything from that whitewashed, clean cut, “wholesome” image, to the decision to have six kids, to the decision to put them on YouTube as an example of people living clean, “godly” lifestyles… it can all be traced to man made religions that impress upon people that image is important, and can be monetized. People lap up their examples, which is evidenced by ratings, merchandise sales, advertising, and views. The money comes and fame grows, with everyone smiling and happy… until the truth comes out and people are exposed for being frauds.
Religion can also lead people to have some pretty warped ideas about life, too. Especially when a person already has a mental illness. I look at child murderer Lori Vallow Daybell for confirmation on that notion. Lori Vallow Daybell was recently convicted and sentenced to life in prison for murdering two of her three children and her husband’s first wife, Tammy Daybell. Like Franke, Lori Vallow Daybell is LDS, and had some really whacked out conspiracy theories about the “end times”. Her ideas were shaped, in part, by books written by her fifth husband, Chad Daybell, who wrote about the end times, and perhaps by significant mental health issues.
My post title singles out YouTube for this “monetizing kids” phenomenon, but I really should include reality TV as well. For years, we’ve watched people like Jon and Kate Gosselin, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, and Barry and Kim Plath put their large families on TV for fun and profit. All three of these families are very large, and two of them profess to be deeply religious. Of the three families who made it big on TLC, only Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar remain “happily” married, although they certainly have some serious problems going on now. Two of their daughters have written books against the IBLP belief system they were raised in, and we all know where Josh Duggar is right now. Barry and Kim Plath announced that they were divorcing last year, and Jon and Kate Gosselin famously split up years ago.
Life is expensive, especially in the United States. It’s hard for people to make ends meet in the traditional way. Just now, for instance, I’m reading a book about a woman who graduated from Juilliard and found herself unemployable. She turned to escort work to pay her bills, also dabbling in phone sex. Her book is interesting, so far. At times it’s even funny. I’m sure there were times when she didn’t laugh, she’d have to cry. Personally, I find her decision to turn to being an escort kind of sad. I will probably be finished with the book very soon and will elaborate more when I review it. I mainly find it sad, though, because she felt the need to resort to that work to get out of debt. I didn’t get the sense that she, at least initially, really wanted to be a sex worker because it was something she enjoyed doing. She simply wanted to keep the bill collectors at bay. But at least in doing that work, she was only exploiting herself– an independently functioning adult who can consent and realize the risks. Kids on YouTube videos are often not being given a choice in whether or not they want to perform on camera.
I have no doubt that having a lot of kids– especially when your image conscious religious beliefs encourage it– is challenging on many levels. First, there’s the prospect of having that many children and raising them properly. Then there’s the prospect of being able to financially support that many children. I think in the Duggars’ case, having more children was actually a source of income. They got paid whenever anyone got pregnant and gave birth on camera! And then there’s the prospect of being arrested for doing something “wrong”.
I don’t know how today’s parents manage, to be honest. I think of my own upbringing and realize that my parents probably would have been reported to CPS a bunch of times in today’s world. We expect children to be supervised 24/7 until they’re pretty mature, but we also expect parents to support their children. Child care costs a bundle– sometimes more than a job pays. So, if you have an attractive family, and some kind of compelling “hook”, why not go on YouTube or reality TV to make some money? I’m sure Ruby Franke is now discovering why that idea may not have been a good one… Her own videos are providing a lot of evidence against her.
Yesterday, I was watching a video about Ruby Franke and someone mentioned that her case reminded them of the Turpin Family in California. I’m not sure Ruby’s case is quite that severe, at this point. She doesn’t have as many kids, and from what I understand, they weren’t living in complete filth, with no access to the outside world whatsoever. Ruby Franke’s children were seen on video, at least, and her eldest child, 20 year old Shari, is in college. She had enough freedom to be able to repeatedly call CPS on her mother, although they did nothing about her reports until just now. The Turpin kids didn’t have that much freedom, even though some of them were well into adulthood when they were finally liberated. There are some similarities, though.
I’m sure someone will write a book about Ruby Franke and her family. And I’m sure I’ll probably read it, if I’m capable. Cases like hers are difficult, as in the United States, many people have this idea that parents should have a lot of freedom in how they raise their children. On the other hand, how child abuse cases are handled has a lot to do with the jurisdiction and local politics. Also, a lot depends on how well funded and staffed protection agencies are. In some areas, the standard for what is considered child abuse is set very high. All I know is that, at this point, it sounds like people tried to speak up about Ruby Franke, and no one took the alarms seriously… until her son was found malnourished and wearing duct tape. Malnourishment doesn’t just happen overnight, so it looks like the alleged abuse has been going on for some time now.
Anyway, I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for what happens in Ruby Franke’s case. Maybe I’ll write more about it, although one of the main reasons I’m just addressing it today is because so many people are already covering Ruby Franke. I was actually trying to avoid finding out about it, but YouTube is loaded with people talking about Ruby Franke, such that I keep seeing her face everywhere. So, I guess that’s a sign I should write about Ruby, too…
Well, I have to do the dreaded vacuum chore today, practice guitar, and walk Noyzi, so I guess I’ll end today’s post. I hope you have a good day… and that your weather is as perfect as Germany’s is right now. <3
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