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'Sitting In' Index
Guest Dispatches - Articles and Essays

The Zero's 10th Anniversary Gallery: Essays in Celebration
Greg Bueno, Joel Dvoskin, Zak Mucha, and Rose Dawn Scott

  • Anyone connected to the child protection wars knows the name Jay Howell. If you want more information, his website has all the details: The Zero is proud to showcase Jay's two-part series entitled Prostitutes: Victims of Human Trafficking. See Part I here, and Part II here.

  • Title: Special Science on Screen presentation of The Stanford Prison Experiment at The Loft Cinema, featuring an introduction by Joel Dvoskin, Ph.D.

  • "I stumbled over questions as to why I liked my job; I understood it was not a 'normal' job and, even in the mental health field, was at the extreme end of the spectrum. As the supervisor of a social work program with 70 clients suffering from severe psychotic symptoms we were on-call 24/7. We had to keep people housed, on meds, and off the news. I had to convince severely psychotic people to hand over their knives, crack paraphernalia, and once even an extremely cheap samurai sword. ... I was proud when others admitted they would not want my job." Read all of Zak Mucha's latest essay, "The Trick is Not Minding That it Hurts: Childhood terror, psychosis, and self-definition," originally published in Spolia Magazine, issue 7, January 2014.

  • Too dangerous to be in Population, but they're fine for the street. That's a line from Andrew Vachss' The Weight (2010), and we were reminded of it when we received Dallas Akers' essay. Ms. Akers—who is incarcerated at the Washington Corrections Center for Women—submitted her essay into a Prison Writing Contest and won. "That gave me a definite feeling of pride," she told us. "The $250 that came with it ... well, that gave me a different feeling of accomplishment altogether."

  • "[Aurora, CO, shooter John] Holmes played with ideas of identity and perceptions of reality. Young men typically do this to counter the banality and futility of the encroaching adulthood. At this stage of life we fight to identify ourselves in a newly discovered hypocritical and corrupt world. This is where we get Americorp volunteers and neo-Nazis—from that hormone-fueled blast to identify and individuate ourselves from those we distrust." Click here to read the rest of Zak Mucha's guest dispatch, originally published July 24, 2012, on The Zero.

  • "MSNBC is reporting child abuse rates in the U.S. have dropped sharply. ... [A]buser-apologist group the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform wants to use the reduction as an excuse to gut investigation and prosecution of abusers." Click here to read the rest of Roland Murphy's guest dispatch, originally published February 5, 2010, on LiveJournal.

  • "Several years ago, CPS removed children from a home in Brazoria County. The father, a Mr. Gates, went on a crusade to punish CPS and filed a civil suit against CPS because he felt CPS abused its power. Gates lost in trial court, lost on appeal and lost again in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals three months ago. That's where the case went terribly wrong." Click here to find out what went terribly wrong, in a guest dispatch from Justice For Children founder Randy Burton, originally published December 8, 2008, by the Houston Chronicle.

  • Joel A. Dvoskin, Ph.D., ABPP, is one of America's leading forensic psychologists. The Zero is honored to have Dr. Dvoskin as a regular contributor. Click here to read one of more than ten dispatches from one of the most frequent contributors to the Zero, our pal, Joel Dvoskin.

  • Michael O'Sullivan, chairman and CEO of the Humane Society of Canada, is an internationally respected figure on the matter of dogfighting. While the Michael Vick case is old news, dogfighting is an ongoing issue. Mr. O'Sullivan was kind enough to allow The Zero to feature his writing on the matter. If you care about dogs, click here to read his call to action.

  • "[Leslie Simon is] a professor and Women's Studies chair at City College [of San Francisco] and Project SURVIVE is the peer education program she created to teach students to teach each other about preventing rape and domestic violence. Active since 1993, Project SURVIVE will visit 200 classrooms this year." Click here to read the entire article by musician, child counselor, and PROTECT member Trey Bundy.

  • "A 'people's' encyclopedia sounds like an egalitarian endeavor offering a degree of power to those of us without the access to influence culture and disseminate information." But the reality of Wikipedia is, in fact, ugly. Zak Mucha lays out the facts in "Expert Opinions," a guest dispatch that's an exclusive to The Zero. Click here to read the article.

  • "We understand broken buildings; we do not understand broken children." Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D., is an internationally recognized authority on traumatology, especially concerning children in crisis. In addition to heading the ChildTrauma Academy, Dr. Perry has consulted on such tragedies as the Columbine school shootings, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the Branch Davidian siege. Click here to read Dr. Bruce Perry's latest essay, "The Real Crisis of Katrina."

  • Identity theft it is an especially pernicious type of crime—it can cost victims tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours just to prove they themselves are not criminals. To learn more about it, how to avoid it, and how to address it if you become a victim, click here to read this primer on identity theft by Houston police officer D.H. Domagas.

  • The New York State Assembly is considering a bill that would require dog owners to carry liability insurance on all dogs over the age of 4 months—and, of course, that insurance would be higher for certain breeds, like pit bulls. Want to know more about it? Know what you can do about it? Read Joseph Steinfeld's Guest Dispatch on the matter.

  • Anyone who has worked in the Domestic Violence field knows of cases where a victim chose to remain with a batterer rather than abandon a beloved pet, because so many DV Shelters will not allow those fleeing a violent situation to bring their pets with them. Dr. Frank Ascione, the world's leading authority on the connections between animal abuse, child abuse, and domestic violence, has provided a real solution in his ground-breaking Safe Havens for Pets: Guidelines for Programs Sheltering Pets for Women Who Are Battered. The entire print run has been distributed, but you can still get it FREE, via a downloadable PDF, right here at The Zero

  • When Alice Vachss wrote about the Kobe Bryant case for the Washington Post, readers had questions—and Mrs. Vachss had answers. So the newspaper arranged an online chat. Read the transcript from that chat by clicking here.

  • "[O]ur society harbors some deep-seated rape myths—cultural misconceptions about sexual violence that interfere with our adequately addressing the prevalence of sexual assault. In recent years, most of these rape myths had gone underground, seemingly because it would have been unpopular to express them. But now, distressingly, the Kobe Bryant case has granted them all permission to resurface." Read Alice Vachss' entire article, "The Charge of Rape, the Force of Myth," as published Sunday, November 2, 2003 by The Washington Post.

  • "CPS has called [the death of 2-year-old Linda Gloria Padilla] a horrible, horrible mistake. This statement gives the wrong impression that such mistakes are isolated examples of poor judgment, and, thus, are unpredictable. In fact, they are symptomatic of system-wide problems at CPS—problems that have not been cured since a statewide investigation into CPS in 1988 at the request of Houston-based Justice for Children." Read Randy Burton's entire guest dispatch, as originally published by the Houston Chronicle, August 22, 2003.

  • Cameron Lefler was a police officer with the Kings County (Washington) Sheriff's Department, serving with distinction until September 11, 2001. Immediately after that fateful day, Cameron shifted from one frontline to another, re-enlisting with the United States Marine Corps. He is currently stationed stateside, awaiting overseas assignment. Cameron Lefler doesn't just write about our obligations as citizens; he lives those obligations. The Zero is privileged to provide a showcase for his concerns.

  • "It has long been recognized that child welfare agencies are rewarding but very difficult places to work—agency resources are usually inadequate, client numbers and needs are great, demands for speed and productivity are high, and salary/benefits are usually very low. But there is a new understanding of the challenges of child welfare work. We know that frequent and prolonged exposure to traumatized individuals, families, and communities inevitably creates secondary traumatic stress for the helper. This article discusses the common sources and signs of secondary traumatic stress in child welfare and how individuals and agencies can more successfully cope with these challenges." Read Dr. Roger Friedman's article, "The Importance of Helping the Helper," originally published in Trauma and Child Welfare, Winter 2002.

  • How do you manage pain when the patient can't say what hurts or how much it hurts—when the patient is a newborn baby? Suzanne D. Tietjen, RNC, BSN, CCRN, NNP, explains how the forward-thinking healthcare professionals at Children's Hospital of Illinois handle the problem, in "Consistent Pain Assessment in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit."

  • "It is no longer socially acceptable to openly condone sexual assault, so many distinguish between 'real' rape and what they insist are 'gray areas' such as 'date rape.' Those who make the distinction are, in effect, collaborators." Read Alice Vachss' entire article, "All Rape is 'Real' Rape," originally published as an Op-Ed piece in The New York Times, August 11, 1993.

  • "The NACC believes that state criminal statutes should not provide for lesser penalties for intra-familial child abuse (physical and sexual) than for extra-familial child abuse." The National Association of Counsel for Children was inspired by incest exception laws to amend its Policy Agenda by including the above provision, and advised in its policy discussion by Victor Vieth, Director of the National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse. Mr. Vieth discusses equal justice for child victims in this article.

  • "Whenever there is a child born into this world that isn't being attended to, we all pay a price. We have to understand the simple spiritual truth that we really are bound together. If we ignore someone else's suffering, then ultimately that suffering is going to come to our door." Rabbi Yehudah Fine speaks with Chris Mercogliano in an interview with the Journal for Living, published in No. 21, 2000.

  • A recent study in the journal Pediatrics reviewed the deaths of 119 sleeping infants; only 8.4 percent of these deaths involved infants who were sleeping properly (i.e. alone, on their backs with head and face uncovered, and on a firm mattress in a safe crib). Dr. Mark A. Brandenberg explains how to minimize the risk of infant death, excerpted from his book Child Safe: A Practical Guide for Preventing Childhood Injuries.

  • "Silence in families always produces secrets, and secrets are toxic timebombs that can affect generations. Traumas that are buried have an uncanny way of surfacing and detonating in succeeding generations." For the rest of the article, read Rabbi Yehudah Fine's "Ignorance is not bliss: Teens in crisis want answers."

  • Sometimes, the dissent in a child abuse case rings much more powerfully than the majority decision. Sometimes, that dissent "plants the flag" in new territory, and signals that a change is coming. Justice Sondra Miller of the New York State Appellate Division has just planted such a flag in an important case with national ramifications, one involving so-called "clergy malpractice" and child sexual abuse. Read her ringing dissent here.

  • "The connection between predators, drugs, violence, and sexual exploitation conspires to ensnare our lonely and frightened children, and the injury is compounded by the cruel insult of the community's subsequent rejection of them." Read the entirety of David Antrobus' article "The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children on the West Coast of Canada."

  • "We are taking in our first foster child. He is 14 and was abused in previous foster care. If we get him involved in bodybuilding, will it build up his self-esteem, or will it make him overly conscious of his body?" For the answer, read Dr. Daniel Gwartney's column from Ironman magazine.

  • "I am wary of 'experts' who assume a quasi-scientific mantel of moral neutrality, as if they can run between the ethical raindrops by calling everyone a 'client.' I guess when you live in such a little paperweight village, where the normal weather is amorality, it's frightening when someone who lives in the real world gives your domed enclosure a good snowy shake." Richard Hoffman, from his article "Coming to Terms." Read the rest of the article here.

  • Licensed For Life teaches kids the effects—legal, physical, and lethal—of drunk driving. Read all about it in Zak Mucha's article.

  • "I used to abuse children in the same room with their parents and they couldn't see it or didn't seem to know it was happening." Learn the predators' secrets—and learn how to shield against them—in "Grooming Children for Sexual Molestation," an article by Gregory M. Weber, Assistant Attorney General for the State of Wisconsin.

  • "I believe we have been misled by the language we use, by the way we talk about those who would harm our children. We talk of them as 'sick.' We use names that accept their denial and distortion. We become tangled in language that does not reflect reality, but hides it until, over and over, child after child, it is too late." Richard Hoffman, from his essay "The Hatred of Innocence."

  • Why must we pass a law which forbids parents to use corporal punishment on their children? Alice Miller answers the question in a single page, which can be printed out and distributed to all.

  • Brian Evenson, author of Father of Lies, reveals the inside of his Trojan Horse in the article, "When Religion Encourages Abuse: Writing Father of Lies."

  • Alice Miller has updated her manifesto, "Every Smack is a Humiliation." Read it, print it out, and pass it around to everyone you know.

  • To any soldier in the war against child abuse, Alice Miller is a legendary figure. To those who already know her work, this new lecture is pure gold. And to those who don't ... prepare to become a convert.

  • The sword is neutral—but the swordholder is not. Depending on who is holding the blade, it may be Satsujin no Ken (the sword which takes life) or Katsujin no Ken (the sword which gives life). Read how Ellis Amdur "held the sword" when he confronted a child who rapes children, in "Satsujin no Ken - Katsujin no Ken": The Sword that Takes Life, the Sword that Gives Life.

  • Suzanne Stutman, Professor of English American Studies & Women's Studies Penn State University, urges fellow abuse victims to "make the day bright." She urges them to march, protest,and legislate, so that "no [more] children be allowed to fall, no victims suffer in silence and shame." She urges that we take back the night.

  • "The Battle and the Backlash: The Child Sexual Abuse War"
    Chapter 3: Case Study: The Fresh Air Fund
    by David Hechler

  • "The Battle and the Backlash: The Child Sexual Abuse War"
    Chapter 11: Case Study: Angela "Doe"
    by David Hechler

  • "The Abuse of Animals and Domestic Violence: A National Survey of Shelters for Women Who Are Battered"
    by Frank R. Ascione, Ph.D, Claudia V. Weber, M.S., and David S. Wood, Utah State University, Logan, Utah

  • "Animal Welfare and Domestic Violence"
    by Frank R. Ascione, Ph.D, Claudia V. Weber, M.S., and David S. Wood, Utah State University, Logan, Utah

  • "Battered Women's Reports of Their Partners' and Their Children's Cruelty to Animals"
    by Frank R. Ascione, Ph.D, Utah State University, Logan, Utah


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