Taking the “public shaming as discipline” trend to an all-time low are Minnesota mom Stephanie Broten and her boyfriend Darnell Landrum, who have been brought up on charges of malicious punishment of a child for shaving the head of a 12-year-old girl, and then forcing her to run sprints in public, wearing only a tank top and diaper.
The girl told police this was the third time she had been forced to do “diaper duty” as a punishment for bad grades.
Ms. Broten, 38, told police “she did not see what the problem was and that she was simply disciplining her child by embarrassing her,” an officer said in the complaint. The alleged incident took place on Monday in Fridley, a suburb of Minneapolis.
Reports vary on how many witnesses there were, but court documents allege that about 30 to 50 neighbors had gathered to watch the girl run back and forth on a local outdoor basketball court, the complaint said. One of her classmates called out to her, but Broten told him to leave her alone.
Someone asked, “if there were 30 to 50 onlookers (one report puts the number at as many as 100), including teenagers and adults, why the hell didn’t somebody step in?”
Why? I’ll tell you why.
Because a teenage girl (OK, 12) was outside in public for a prolonged period of time wearing nothing but a diaper as punishment. And MOST of those people, including as reported schoolmates of hers, very likely thought it hilarious and no doubt were probably taking cell phone pics of her shame.
Otherwise, as you wondered, why wasn’t EVERYONE calling 9-1-1.
It’s too bad the media didn’t interview all those people and ask them your question on camera. They should all be ashamed of themselves, but I doubt very much that they are.
Trust me. It’s mortifying enough for a girl to be seen wearing nothing but a diaper by just relatives at that age (it was at 13-years old for me). But to be out in the middle of the street? Yikes!
After hearing what happened to a 12-year old girl in Fridley, MN, I sure have no right to complain that I was diapered a number of times by my first-grade teacher. I had at least wet myself repeatedly in class, thereby providing a reasonable rationale for being diapered by her.
But this poor girl did nothing wrong. She was sent out to pick up trash throughout her neighborhood as a punishment by her mom and her loser boyfriend – wearing just a diaper.
Even more sadly than that fact is that among the 100 or more people who stood by watching (and probably laughing at her), only two of them acted like a human being, showing compassion. One young boy took pictures of the girl and then called police, showing the pics to them (thus evidence of the abuse). And one young woman got a baby blanket and did her best to help cover the exposed girl.
The mom was sentence to serve at least 90 days in jail before being eligible for parole. When they release her, they should send her out wearing nothing but a diaper and make her pick up trash like that for a year. (And it should go without saying the girl should be put in foster care.)
I originally published this on my blog at the Experience Project, December 4, 2012.
A few months ago, in March 2012, two 15-year old girls were forcibly stripped completely naked by their teachers Preeti Sharma and Reshma Simaiyain front of more than 40 male classmates.
They had been accused of cheating and the teachers claimed there were going to look for notes hidden on their person. When the girls refused to strip voluntarily, they were forcibly stripped completely naked on the spot. Their classmates laughed, hooted and snickered at them as the girls stood there nude. No scraps of paper were found and after being thoroughly humiliated, the girls had to still endure another three hours with their giggling, teasing classmates before being dismissed.
This is by no means an isolated incident. I’m totally appalled at how accepted the humiliation of school girls seems to be throughout India. Child abuse and abuse of authority happens everywhere – and we here in the United States aren’t immune from it. But in most western democracies the populace is outraged by it.
Last year at school in Orissa, a 8th grade girl was stripped naked in front of 25 classmates because her teacher falsely accused her of stealing money. The girl later committed suicide because of the trauma she suffered.
A teacher at a school in Faridabad paraded a school girl around topless in front of all her schoolmates because her parents forgot to pay a fee.
A schoolgirl in Vijayawada was forced to expose her breasts to all her classmates for not speaking English.
A few years ago, a school girl in New Delhi school was stripped naked by her teacher, ordered to stand on her desk totally exposed and her classmates were urged to make fun of her. Why? Because she didn’t complete all her homework.
In first grade twenty years ago, I suffered a number of embarrassing moments. I had peed myself several times in class and as a result my teacher put me in diapers during recess or lunch period. This went on every day for over two weeks and then occasionally after that. On some occasions students, including several boys, returning to the classroom early saw me partially or fully undressed and then diapered. They were not told to leave the room and therefore got a good look at everything. And I do mean everything.
OK. So, it wasn’t the end of the world and I got over it, learning to live with the teasing.
But years later, as an older student, if I had to take off all of my clothes in front of my classmates each occasional time I did poorly on a test, homework paper or in-class assignment, I might as well simply have gone to school completely naked each day every year after that. There would have been no point in trying to maintain any modesty.
That’s how I later felt in high school when nude pics of me and two close girlfriends were circulated. Those two 15-year old girls probably feel that way now. After all, forty boys saw them standing there totally naked and exposed. They feel ashamed. They feel humiliated. They feel mortified every time they are around those who witnessed or even heard of their degrading treatment. They are now “branded” and they can’t make the boys un-see what they’ve seen. But at least here in the U.S. what happened to my friends and I was considered unacceptable.
Unfortunately, those two teenage girls in India probably aren’t going to have a whole lot of community support. I pray that they have the courage to deal with it.
When are Indians as a whole going to demand an end to the humiliating, degrading strippings of school girls? There are hundreds of millions of decent people in India. When are they going to use their collective power and stop the rampant abuse of children and severely punish the abusers?
I originally published this on my blog at the Experience Project, June 17, 2012.
As I sit over a friend’s house, enjoying the warm weather, the pool and great food, I wanted to take a few minutes just to say ”thank you” to all those serving in our military and those veterans at home who may not be so fortunate as I, who might be sitting home alone remembering their buddies who didn’t come home as they did.
Their sacrifices have not been in vain – even though there is no amount of gratitude that could ever repay to them what they have given: their lives for my freedom.
To their families and loved ones, rest assured that their sacrifice is not remembered only by you but by everyone who cherishes and loves freedom.
I originally published this on my blog at the Experience Project, May 30, 2011.