About Me

My photo
I live in Kent with my husband, toddler Tilly (henceforth known as Monkey) and another baby due in November. We have two cats, Duncan and Lady Macbeth, and four chickens who kindly lay us eggs daily. We live in the picturesque seaside town of Broadstairs. I enjoy reading, knitting and cooking. I'm trying to be a bit 'greener' (not sure how successfully), and to be a gentle parent. Extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping don't freak me out, we use cloth nappies and try to follow some of the ideals of Attachment Parenting. If that sounds as if I know what I'm doing, I don't! I am also a psychotherapist with an interest in Focusing-oriented therapy, and I have a small private practice in the area.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Facebook Justice or Hysteria?

I've been invited (numerous times in the last few days) to join Facebook groups titled 'Justice for Baby P' and 'The people who did this should be locked up for life and I mean life' . I'm not sure how 'justice' can be achieved via Facebook, or even what idea of justice the 130,000 people who have joined this group envisage? The group itself contains mainly hysterical, ill-informed, vengeful poison, directed towards the people convicted of the neglect but also towards the agency staff involved in the case (social workers, doctors etc). The 'discussion topics' include calls for the reintroduction of the death penalty and requests for prison inmates to cause serious harm to the perpetrators of the crime. Let me first say that it was a horrific case of abuse and that I am as saddened and shocked as anyone that this can happen, but it does happen and I can't understand why this case in particular has generated so much vitriol and (what seems to me to be) voyeuristic interest. Thankfully there has been some intelligent comment, like this piece in The Times, which questions whether the public desire for the salacious details of this case is "violence-pornography"? Why do child-violence-abuse-memoirs like 'A Child Called It' become bestsellers? Do people 'get off' on reading this kind of thing? 
Another article worth reading is Anne Karpf' writing in The Guardian. She argues that the public focus on the failing of social care agencies and medical staff serves to obscure what we most need to face up to: the fact that mothers sometimes cause terrible harm to their children. We need to understand (she writes) what has gone wrong in these women's own childhoods to lead them to act in sadistic and cruel ways that are so far removed from our idealised view of 'motherhood'.
This post probably seems completely out of place in this blog of baby photos and knitting, but I just get so incensed by these Facebook requests and feel unable to respond in any way there, so I'm taking this opportunity to vent a bit. Might delete this post at a later date...


arwen_tiw said...

I'm totally with you honey. Perhaps sometimes our feelings of sadness and hopelessness are so overwhelming we find it easier to turn it to anger and cruelty? Whatever the cause, some of the commentary is so hateful. :(

And sometimes something so gets to you it doesn't matter where it "belongs" - what is a blog but your space to share your thoughts?

willow81 said...

I think that's true. It's easier to get angry than to acknowledge our hurt. And I guess a story like this one touches the parts in all of us that have experienced pain or cruelty of whatever kind. I think we also hate that which we most fear within us- in this case, our own aggressive and cruel impulses, even towards our children. Easier to hate 'them' than to face up to what is in 'us'.

ex_pat said...

Agree in the main and won't join the groups for the same reasons - but I am keeping quiet about it! There can't be any "justice" for baby P. It's awful that this could happen and I am furious with the social and medical services for failing that baby. I think the director of Haringey social services MUST step down if he or she has a shred of moral fibre. But I won't be following the salacious details in every news story to find out any more than I did with the little McCann girl missing from Portugal.

Joxy said...

What strikes me, is baby P is a beautiful blonde, blued eyed baby boy. I rather suspect much of the public response and media is down to the fact he was such a bonny lad.

I note the two black children killed by their mother last week haven't received little media attention.... and in fairness I could accept that is purely because there appears to have been an horrendous mistake made by the agencies involved in baby P's death, while the two children's deaths were unexpected - IYSWIM.

So right too - even the most loving parent can be pushed to hurting a child - I know when my little boy was newborn I came very close to snapping and rang the HV sobbing asking for help.. took 2 days for her to get back to me.. thankfully, I was able to recognise how close I was to snapping... how many are too scared to ask for help though, for fear of being demonised?