In a followup to this issue mentioned under Tigtog’s post “The FLDS polygamy and statutory rape farm”, Time Magazine has a piece on the FLDS “rescue” in Texas.
Caught in the middle is Texas judge Barbara Walther, who was asked to weigh requests from the parents to hold twice-daily prayer meetings with the children and to reunite nursing mothers with the 77 kids who are under age 2.
Prosecutors worried that the prayer meetings might be used to influence the children “in a way to impede the ongoing investigation,” but Walther’s suggestion that mainstream Mormons might serve as neutral monitors was turned down flat by the official church. Church spokesman Scott Trotter told the Salt Lake Tribune that the beliefs of the FLDS long ago diverged from orthodox Mormonism and, “in fact, many in these isolated communities view us with some hostility as part of the outside world they have rejected.”
For the nursing mothers, the judge offered a lesson in contemporary feminism: “Every day in this country there are thousands of mothers who, after six weeks’ maternity leave, must go back to work–and they deal with this issue.”
Judge WaltherTo journalist Dave Von Drehle:, feminists have been fighting for adequate, humane maternity leave for a long, long time. The USA has the worst maternity leave system in the world, and it’s nothing to be proud of. Feminists are not arguing for tiny minimums in maternity leave. Feminists battle against anti-woman, anti-mother practices in workplaces; they don’t endorse them. Early economically-forced separations are an result of capitalist bullying, not “contemporary feminism”. Read a damn book.
To Judge Walther: working four or six or eight hours a day five days a week before being reunited with your infant and being able to play and cuddle and breastfeed and sleep together in your own home for the other 16 hours is not the same as being dislocated from your family and then having your child snatched away as well. Being in childcare or in the care of friends and family for four or six or eight hours a day five days a week before being reunited with your mother to play and cuddle and breastfeed and sleep together in your own home is not the same as being plunged into a sea of complete strangers and then having your mother removed from you as well.
How many attachment issues is this system needlessly creating? Shouldn’t it be a cornerstone tenet of foster caring that family members be placed together where possible, and mother-young child pairs always? Why did they have to fight for this in court, and why is the age limit two?
Being under 18 does not make a mother any less a mother. Snatching wanted, loved children away from mothers isn’t going to magically reinstate their innocent girlhoods.
We need to stop punishing girls and women, and their children, for reporting abuse and rape. This is one part of a much larger pattern of abuse and re-victimisation by the systems that are supposed to protect us.
 I use “rescue” in quotes, not because I don’t think the situation was horrendous and required intervention. It’s because being forcibly separated from your mother or your child in foster care can’t feel like much of a rescue to the vulnerable, abused people concerned.