August 2023 INSIGHTS PAGE-4

One mechanism enabling such behaviors to become entrenched stems from the lack of meaningful or effective oversight, which could detect instances where systematic abuse is occurring. No matter the motivation—financial gain, ego, or self-glorification—obfuscations are inevitably placed before the casual observer, often with the intent to disguise or hide the abuse.

Consider, for instance, who is going to investigate a group home operating under the charter of a Christian entity? Or, picture a scenario where an individual is too fearful for their life to report what they’ve witnessed.

Scrutinizing prevalent societal dynamics uncovers a troubling narrative, deeply ingrained in countless impoverished communities worldwide. Beneath the veneer of poverty, a malicious force frequently seizes control, exploiting community members through intricate mechanisms of fear, addiction, and violence. This oppressive force, metaphorically compared to a destructive monster, is perpetually sustained by society at large. Ironically, society unwittingly fuels its existence rather than striving to dismantle it.

This perpetuation often commences with stigmatization and labeling, casting marginalized individuals into confining and harmful roles. Through these actions, society inadvertently maintains a cycle of victimhood and manipulation, serving up fresh victims to this metaphorical beast. Regrettably, we often entrust the management of vulnerable individuals to inadequately trained figures occupying authority positions. These individuals, seeking status, are given titles and badges, bestowing them with the power to scrutinize and label individuals according to their discretion. This is often motivated by a desire to acquire larger budgets, symbolizing power and influence.

The problem isn’t isolated to managed care facilities; it pervades our society, evident in the operation of our rehabilitation service centers, law enforcement, local and state governments, prosecution and judicial systems. Even organizations guided by religious doctrines aren’t immune.

This relentless cycle typically transforms these individuals into societal pariahs—criminals, failures, outcasts. This phenomenon isn’t a reflection of these individuals’ inherent nature, but an outcome of their restrictive circumstances, manipulated by the metaphorical evil thriving amidst societal dysfunction. Recognition and acknowledgment of these dynamics could be the first step toward breaking this cycle, propelling us towards effective solutions for our communities. As we strive for societal growth, the well-being of these individuals should be our primary concern, challenging us to reassess our approach to societal exclusion and stigmatization.

The understanding of these dynamics could bring us closer to interrupting this cycle, providing effective solutions for the overall health of our communities. This understanding is critical because when it occurs in one community, it readily evolves and spreads into others through victimization, influence, or popular culture.

As we aim for societal growth, the well-being of these individuals should remain central to our efforts, prompting us to reconsider our approach to societal exclusion and stigmatization.

Addressing blame shifting involves fostering an environment where adults are held accountable for their actions, where they are equipped with the tools and training to understand and respond to children’s behavior in a constructive and compassionate way, and where children are empowered to express their experiences without fear of retaliation. At a societal level, it involves challenging and changing attitudes that contribute to blame shifting and ensuring that the systems and institutions in place to protect children are functioning effectively.

Addressing these issues require a multifaceted approach.

  • First, there is a need for enhanced professional development that includes training in trauma-informed care, stress management, and self-reflection. This education will equip counselors with the tools necessary to better understand the children in their care, manage their reactions, and create a more nurturing environment.
  • Second, organizational cultures need to shift towards shared responsibility. By fostering environments where counselors can openly discuss their challenges and frustrations, organizations can prevent the build-up of negative emotions that often fuel blame shifting.
  • Lastly, broader societal attitudes towards the vulnerable must change. By embracing a more empathetic understanding of behavior, society can play a role in shaping how professionals charged with the care of at-risk individuals interact, and by providing an oversight mechanism that has the potential to uncover and expose abusive behavior, to eliminate it before it has a chance to take further root.

The task ahead is complex but necessary. By striving towards these goals, we can create group homes that truly serve as safe havens for healing and growth, where children are understood, not blamed, and where counselors are supported, not overwhelmed. In such an environment, every challenge can be transformed into an opportunity for learning and growth.

Another alarming aspect of this blame-shifting dynamic is when it potentially conceals or justifies physical abuse. When the narrative is skewed to portray the child as an inherent problem or a “pathological liar,” it allows for a dangerous blind spot where maltreatment can be overlooked, ignored, or even intentionally hidden to cover up for these behaviors.

Regrettably, physical abuse can indeed be a reality in facilities charged with the care of at-risk individuals. When counselors, bearing the brunt of their responsibilities and unchecked emotional stress, resort to harmful methods of discipline, it can leave a lasting impact on a child’s mental and physical health and as this article points out, becomes a root of further societal disfunction or in unchecked situation, the very cause of societal breakdown. In such situations, portraying the child as an unreliable narrator serves not only to justify the counselor’s behavior but also as a form of psychological manipulation to maintain control and evade responsibility. Society has an obligation to protect the vulnerable and ensure that such behavior cannot take root.

In Conclusion

Wright say’s “It’s been thirty-eight years since I became a victim of these actions. I was reluctant to publish this article, as it has reignited certain fears or what a child may call nightmares, persisting into adulthood. Nevertheless, I opted to bring this issue into the open because this man continues to display a disturbing lack of remorse and empathy for his actions. I didn’t do this out of spite, but from a genuine concern for other children who may be at risk of far worse abuse, and are trapped without a voice to bring attention to their circumstances. Either Kevin has true remorse for his actions, or he’s become a master manipulator at hiding his behavior from other adults while continuing to engage his version of reality on the unsuspecting. That is Kevin’s responsibility to answer.

Astoundingly, even decades later, through my phone call conversation with him,  this asshole accused me of being a pathological liar, and even if that were true, which trust me, this guy couldn’t begin to comprehend any word over five letters, it wouldn’t clear him of his sins or responsibility for his actions, clearly illustrating why, in my opinion, he should not be around any vulnerable child. Kevin’s continued behavior leads me to conclude that he uses blame-shifting to cover his tracks and more than likely continues to perpetrate additional abusive behavior while covering it up by blaming vulnerable children in the role he maintains.

Michael continues, “That person has no understanding of who I am, who I’ve evolved into, and he has made a serious error by attempting to hide his actions behind a façade of supposed self-righteousness.” I am sure that he had the other residence at the home, well controlled to fit any narrative he saw fit, to use them to cover his tracks against a child who chose to speak out to adults outside of his sphere of influence. This experience compels me to question: just how many potential predators exist within this or other organizational-structured group homes? What number of vulnerable children are potentially at risk from individuals who might exhibit predatory behavior?”

Wright also stated: “This behavior could have been an unfortunate oversight, a one-off experience due to a lack of professional skills, or may indeed represent a more systemic issue. Regrettably, when scrutinizing the profiles of these ‘parental figures,’ I see individuals carrying substantial personal baggage into roles where there appears to be no rigorous assessment based on any recognized psychological code of conduct or standards of care. If ever there was a moment that demanded societal oversight, this is it.”

These organizations may conduct basic criminal background check, but the arrangement seems to be nothing more than provision for food and shelter, where these untrained house parents are allowed to bring along their deeply ingrained personal issues, and a free to unleash them onto children with whom they are charged with caring for.

Finally, Wright states: “From my experience, such conditions foster an environment that enables abusive behavior. This treatment engendered my lifelong mistrust of people, a distrust that is solely due to abuse cleverly concealed beneath the pretext of the perpetrator upholding religion-based teaching from the Bible.”

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