Thursday, May 26, 2011

Botox and Child Abuse

You have probably heard the story about the mother who injected her 8 year old daughter with Botox before beauty pageants to reduce the girls wrinkles when she smiled. The absurdity of the parent believing that an 8 year olds' skin needs wrinkle treatment has created a firestorm of controversy. For sure, this mothers' action are highly questionable. Aside from the medical risk, we were most concerned about the psychological messages this girl was receiving (no 8 year old needs a cosmetic procedure to be beautiful).

But I was more disturbed upon opening up a magazine and seeing a news brief that CPS workers had taken custody of the girl. Those who aren't equally horrified by this outcome need to pay close attention to the following information.

Far too many people have the impression that it is somehow a benign process to kidnap a child from their home and place them with strangers. I assure you it is not. (This belief is just as absurd as the idea that an 8 year old needs Botox.) CPS removal is an unspeakable trauma for the child. The fact that the kidnappers are wearing state issued name tags rather than ski masks doesn't make it any less terrifying for the child who finds herself suddenly uprooted from everything and everyone she has ever known. Even when parents are less than perfect, or even flat out abusive, this is a horrible experience for the child. It is usually met with screams of protest and someone physically overpowering the child to yank them away from their loved ones. Research on foster children is bleak: they show far more disturbance than those children who endure actual abuse of other types. Which makes a mockery of our ideas of children being "rescued."

This mothers actions were outrageous, fanatical, and potentially harmful; but what she did hardly warrants snatching this kid from her home; especially in light of the countless other options available.

As for this girl, a small injection to the forehead is nothing compared to the abuse she is suffering now. To those insensitive souls who were clamoring for this outcome to fulfill some sadistic sense of shadenfraude, congratulation: you've succeeded in bringing about unspeakable torment to a defenseless little girl. It makes the mother look like mother of the year in comparison.

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