Wednesday, April 24, 2013
What Happens When Political Extremist and Religious Zealots Kidnap Children
It has taken a while for society to grasp the notion that when one parent illegally removes a child from the child's country of habitual residency, this is a cruel criminal act of kidnapping. And the abducted child is not simply with one of their parents, but instead, is a hostage held by an abductor who generally does not have the child's best interest in mind.
Tragically, and most alarming is the reality that children of abduction are being put into extrarordinarily dangerous situations.
Previously, I have shared the reality that felicide - child murder by a parent - along with suicide amongst child abduction victims is a real issue.
So where does the use of a child come into play amongst political exremeist, social revolutionaries, and religious zealots?
What I am about to share should not be classified as a rare occurance. They are not.
Let this image sit with you for a moment: a young girl is internationally kidnapped by one of her parents: a parent who possesses extreme religious beliefs that all things born from the West are evil, including his daughter. In that parent's religious zealot fever, he thinks that the only way to have penance is to do the unthinkable. Meanwhile, the young girl's mother, frantic at knowing the truth of the monster who took their child, along with knowledge of his intent, seeks any way to rescue a child now taken to a world where women have no rights, and foreign women have even less.
But here is an innocent child now delegated to becoming a sacrafice.
Welcome to the unforgiveable world of international parental child abduction.
Now imagine a young boy abducted to the nation, if you can call it that, in the midst of a bloody civil war in impoverished Africa. The child was taken by his mother, who left him behind, as a bargaining chip in the conflict between two of that nation's leading militant tribes. As bombs exploded and casualties rose, the child is taught to think that his left-behind parent not only did not love him and that he was an evil man; while the brainwashing ordeal unfolded, war's bloodshed continued to fall. And for the father who searched, he knew that returning back to the country his child was held hostage could lead to his immediate death, and further harm to his family that remained in his country of origin.
So here is another innocent child delegated to becoming a pawn in a nation's civil war.
Welcome to the brutal world of international parental child abduction.
A young child just learning how to ride a bicycle is snatched from a Norman Rockwellesque mid-
America town and taken to a nation of zealot fundementalist revolutionaries who preach intolerance for the West. The child is taught to hate the peaceful world he was taken from. Gone is the loving, peaceful, and gentle world he was born and raised in. In its place is a world filled with daily bombings and gunfights, violent protests that lead to deadly stampedes, and an unforgiveable God (the God the kidnapper teaches his child is not a loving God, nor does it represent the kind God taught in Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths). As this child lives an inprisoned life terrified by everything around him, his left behind parent knows that entering the world of the brutal abductor in order to find her child if caught means entering a world so brutal, that your imagination's notion of brutal punishment and torture, simply could not conjure the realities that would await her if caught.
Sadly, another defenseless child inprisoned into the worst of nightmares. Except it is his reality.
Welcome to the world where the God worshipped is a God filled with hatred.
And do not think that a child is not at risk of death. They are.
As you can see, the common denominator in the scenarios I presented above is that the child was used as a pawn to advance the abductor's own agenda.
This is something that occurs in every international parental child abduction case.
For the taken child, they are indeed brought into a harsh world that emotionally and spiritually resembles the lonely, wind swept barrier prison known as Alcatraz. Short-term and long-term trauma is real. So too are the challenges the majority of children face going forward.
One of the things that appears to not have been spoken about in the dialogue concerning international parental child abduction is the general view by the abducting parent that life in the country of the child's habiutal residency is one that they often dislike, or in some cases, despise.
In these types of situations, the abductor's (who is nearly always a foreign born national living in another country) resentment toward most things in the country they are residing in prior to the act of kidnapping grows significantly.
Eventually, some of these parents sermonize their view to the child: preaching - and brainwashing - their views to a child is a necessity for all abductors since they need to justify the act of kidnapping to the child under the guise of 'liberation'.
And extreme cases of 'liberators' does exist, creating a potentially greater danger to society than what anyone is talking about.
The question needs to be asked: What are the long-term social risks if a zealot abductor kidnaps a child born in the West, removes that child to a nation of political and religious extremism which the abductor is an active part of, and who evangelizes the messages of hatred and intolerance toward the child's country of previous habitual residency to the point that the child buys into the parent abductor's surmons as 'liberator' that is preached in order to justify the international abduction?
Well, we have a potentially serious problem on our hands.
Make no mistake, all forms of international parental child abduction are severe forms of child abuse. Under no circumstance should child abduction be tolerated. Fortunately, this notion is beginning to take hold by society due to the stewardship of the realities of abduction by concerned parents and advocates alike.
In fact, by raising awareness of international parental child abduction the cross-border kidnapping rate has declined in the United States by 15% per year for two years in a row, after nearly thirty years of steady growth.
So our voices are making a difference in the United States. And unquestionably, the United States Department of States' Office of Childrens Issues has to be given a great deal of credit in their outreach efforts attempting to increase the threat of abduction amongst targeted parents.
Nevertheless, our children remain at great risk. For example, imagine being a mother who living in the United States trying to prevent your daughters from being abducted to Saudi Arabia - a nation where women have essentially no rights. Or a father trying to find your child is Japan or South Korea - nations known to not return abducted children. The realities and hard-truths are disheartening: between the reported and unreported cases on international parental child abduction, it is estimated that only 10% of all kidnapped children ever come home.
In ending this article I would like to share this message: as the summer approaches, now is the time thatwarning signs of abduction are so important. Parents involved in multi-cultural relationships are particularly at risk of abduction. The last thing any parent wants to do is find themselves Chasing The Cyclone of abduction. The best defense against abduction is to educate yourself.
would-be abductors are planning their scheme to illegally snatch their child. Raising awareness of the risk factors and knowing the
One final note: as the Founding Director of the I CARE Foundation, I am pleased to share with you that the children I mentioned above in the examples I provided are all now at safely home. Since inception, the I CARE Foundation has assisted a large and growing number of children and their families at risk of abduction. Our work continues.
Click here to read more about The I CARE Foundation.
Click here to read more about Chasing The Cyclone.
Click here to visit the official website of Peter Thomas Senese.