Stepfamily Issues

Personal stories about stepfamilies, childhood and general family issues.

August 05, 2007

step-parent abuse

Mallory, 24, comes from a broken home and had the misfortune to experience a lecherous stepfather (her mom's new husband) and a jealous stepmother (her dad's new wife) but, unlike the two babies recently in the news who died from traumatic experiences, she had the good fortune to be old enough to tell someone about the abuse when she found herself in a position where a step-parent was harming her.

"I was eight years old when my parents split up and married new partners," explains Mallory, "and if it weren't for my teachers at school who encouraged us to talk about our families I probably would have had a much harder time."

"Whenever I read about a step-child being harmed by a step-parent I become very angry," sighs Mallory. "I know traumatic abuse happens in intact families, too, but the thought of an outsider harming someone else's child is just abominable."

"And when the child is just a baby, unable to speak and seek help, it is just so abominable I want to scream -- how could anybody do such a thing and why didn't the real mother or father, or neighbors or extended family stop it?"

"Two evil step-parents were in the news recently and I hope they rot in hell for torturing their little step-children to death," says Mallory. "The first case was in England and the second in New Zealand."

"In the first case, Sumairia Parveen started a relationship with her cousin after walking out on her husband with a child of her own, and saw her cousin's 17-month-old baby son, Tahla Ikram, as a threat."

"This wicked stepmother showered love on her own daughter, but subjected the baby boy to agonizing trauma and torture in which the boy's father was an accomplice, once beating his son with a plastic cricket bat on her orders."

"The baby had multiple fractures and bruises, his limbs were twisted and pulled, he was burnt with a cigarette and his leg was sliced open exposing tendons and veins."

"The baby had once been put into temporary care after police found him home alone," says Mallory, "but amazingly nobody recognised his mounting injuries as systematic abuse. Each time he was taken to hospital he saw a different doctor and the stepmother lied about how he received his injuries."

"That is exactly what my step-parents did when authorities questioned them about abusing me," says Mallory. "Even my real parents refused to believe that their new partners were abusing me. They lied and lied and when it came down to believing an adult, or believing me, the adult won all the time -- but my teachers believed me and persisted in speaking to my parents about the way I was being treated by their partners and eventually the abuse stopped, but it was still very traumatic for me to continue seeing them."

"Sumairia Parveen and her cousin Abid Ikram are now in prison but not for murder," sighs Mallory. "Both got off with 'causing or allowing the child's death' and isn't this a disgusting perversion of justice? Probably, with good behavior, they'll be home free within a year and dancing on the grave of little Tahla Ikram -- and, to add insult to injury, the stepmother gave birth to another child in prison who, because of consanguinity, is likely to grow up an even worse monster. Aren't there laws about this sort of thing?"

"The other case was in Rotorua, New Zealand," says Mallory. "The life support system on three-year-old Nia Maria Glassie was finally turned off after she had been in a traumatic coma since July 22."

"In the months before she died Nia's 17-year-old stepfather (and his friends) allegedly hung her on a rotary clothes line and spun it until she flew off, put her in an ice-cold bath and then in a hot clothes dryer, used her for wrestling practice and left her screaming on the roof of a house."

"The case has yet to go to trial," says Mallory, "and there wasn't much said about her mother -- and where she was when the abuse happened -- but Nia's father lives overseas so the little girl obviously came from a broken family."

"While these cases are in the news there will be public outrage and wagging fingers," says Mallory, "but within weeks the shocking abuse and death of these little babies will be forgotten and behind closed doors step-parent abuse -- and real parent abuse -- will continue unabated on other babies."

"Doctors and hospitals are too busy to notice systematic abuse -- or don't want to get involved or just don't care," says Mallory. "It is only when a child gets to school that something gets done to help the child -- providing the poor little thing lives long enough to start school."

"Right now I'm in a relationship with a man from a loving family -- so I know that good families do exist," says Mallory, "but when I read stories like this and check the rising divorce statistics I feel very scared about getting married and having kids."

"My own childhood experience of a broken home -- and step-parent abuse -- is a huge risk factor and very difficult to overcome," says Mallory. "And it's not just divorce I worry about. My husband could die and my children and I might end up in a step-family situation that way."

"There's no way I would be an abusive stepmother to any child of a second husband, but you just can't say that about the other person, can you?"

"I coudn't risk something traumatic happening to any child of mine," says Mallory, "so the best thing I can do is not have children, right?"

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