Brasilmagic\’s Weblog

Venting to the World

Child Molestation: the hidden horror

More and more people are speaking up about being molested as children. Celebrities like Ashley Judd, Oprah Winfrey, singer Sinead O’Connor, actress Mackenzie Phillips, Senator Scott Brown, actor Rob Lowe, DWTS dancer Cheryl Burke and many others have spoken about it in their memoirs. Last year, a Princeton grad student, Bill Zeller, left a very shocking suicide letter (read letter here: t describing the horror he lived with all his life after being repeatedly raped since age 3.

Many Catholic priests have been accused and confirmed of having molested minors. More and more stories are coming out of the woodwork. Child molestation is the dark secret that for decades and probably centuries was always very well hidden, since it was always perpetrated by an adult to an innocent child, who was often threatened if they dared tell anyone. These cowards use their power and strength to scare the child, who they know have little chance of reacting. These people are often frustrated people who in real life do not have much power over anything. It is not so much about sex as it is about power. Imagine the suffering millions of children have gone though and have carried with them through their lives. Most children don’t tell anyone afraid of the consequences and the fact that no one will believe them.

The more people speak about it and warn their children to tell them if it ever happens to them, the less these sick people will get away with such a terrible violation. The effects of being molested affect people in different ways, and the degree of molestation can vary from a caress that is inappropriate, to exhibitionism and to full rape. Whatever the degree of sexual abuse is, it is never forgotten and can negatively influence one’s life. Few children get any psychological help.

Parents should always be careful with whom they leave their children. Many parents, especially those with low incomes, have little alternative than to leave their kids with relatives, sometimes male relatives. These relatives are publicly “nice” people who would never be seen as child molesters, but who are sometimes able of such a horrible act. Even though I don’t want to vilify the male sex only, (there are many women who also molest children) there are many more cases of male caregivers who do it. Fathers, stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers, neighbors, friends of the family, clergy. There are too many stories in the world to ignore this terrible violation. I have personally heard from many people who have been molested as children by people who their parents trusted, if not by their own father. The more we expose this, the more we talk about it and the more we alert our children about it and make them feel safe to tell us, the less chances these monsters will get away with it.


June 29, 2011 Posted by | Family, Psychology | 1 Comment

The Marriage Checklist

Some of the stories of divorce we see are caused not by infidelity, domestic abuse/violence or addiction, but by two people having major disagreements about important life issues. It seems that when people are in love, the romance overshadows reasoning. Some couples are afraid of examining red flags and keep the denial going until they are married. Few couples take courses on marriage or visit a counselor to understand how differences in personality, worldview, interests, philosophy, political leanings, religion and goals can affect their marriage. They just plow ahead, happy to have someone in their lives and entranced with the possibility of having a nice wedding or dreams of children and a white picket fenced house.
Now enter reality. How about a checklist with questions that every couple should ask themselves before marriage, covering all potential problems? I tried to compile what these questions would be in a list. You’re welcome to suggest some more.

1) Do you want children, and how many?
2) Do you want to raise the children with religion (and which one) or without?
3) Do you want to merge finances or not?
4) How do you want to invest the family money? Do you believe in savings?
5) What kind of home do you prefer, an isolated house in the ‘burbs, an apartment in the city, a townhome, close to work or something in the countryside?
6) How much housework do you want to do? Do you have favorite tasks? Are we going to pay for an hourly cleaning person?
7) What is your idea of vacation, lying by the beach sipping cocktails or visiting new cities, museums, monuments, historical sites or shopping? How many vacations do you intend to take and how long? Do you want to visit other countries or do you prefer vacations nearby?
8) What kind of interaction and with what frequency are we going to have with the extended family? Do your parents/siblings/cousins come for long visits? How are we going to divide the holidays between the two families (or even different sets of parents in case of divorced parents)?
9) In terms of sex, what is a good frequency for you? What is off limits in terms of sex? Is pornography ok for you?
10) How do you like to spend the evenings and weekends? How many hobbies do you wish to have?
11) How important for you is it to have time with your friends alone? How often do you think you need to see them?
12) Would you move to a new city/state/country if there was a better opportunity? Would you give up your job to follow me? What areas/cities/regions you would absolutely refuse to live at?
13) Do you ever intend to change your work schedule to include working at night or weekends?
14) What kind of food do you want to eat? Healthy, unhealthy, fast food, vegetarian? Do you like to cook? Do you want to cook every day? How often should we eat out?
15) Do you intend to send a lot of money in clothes, shoes and cosmetics? Do you buy cheaper stuff or do you have to buy high quality items?
16) Do you consider ever having plastic surgery and what kind?
17) How often do you want to exercise? What kind of sports and physical activities do you want to do?
18) How many hours do you wish to watch TV every day? How much sports/reality TV, movies, and news do you watch?
19) How do you see yourself spending your evenings? Watching TV, reading, in the computer, in bars, with friends, working, at the gym, taking night classes, studying, etc?
20) Are there places or activities you would not be comfortable with me going to?
21) Would it be ok if I went on vacations without you?
22) Who’s going to be responsible for paying the house bills?
23) Are we going to share family cars or each has their own car? How are we going to pay for them?
24) How much are we going to pay for our kids’ college?
25) Do you like to have more or less contact when apart (emails, phone calls)?
26) Are you tidy or messy with your personal things? Are you a hoarder? Is your closet and drawers organized?
27) How about personal hygiene, do you take a shower every day? Do you brush your teeth daily?
28) How often do you want to go out for dinner, dancing, parties, etc?
29) When and where do you plan to retire?
30) Are you going to let your hair grow grey or are you going to dye it when you get older?
31) What would you do if you gained weight over the years?
32) Are you going to breastfeed our children or use the bottle?
33) Are you going to take time off from work when the children are little? For how long? Are we going to hire a nanny or use childcare? Who is going to take care of them when they are sick?
34) Are we going to talk about our personal problems with other family members or close friends? Are we going to have therapy in case our marriage is not going well?
35) How do you like to celebrate the holidays? Are holidays, birthdays and anniversaries important to you?

June 28, 2011 Posted by | Relationships | Leave a comment

The Recession is “killing” the Baby boomers

This recession may last longer than we all thought, according to analysts everywhere. Some say economic recovery may take decades. What does that mean to the late bloomers, those folks anywhere between 40-60? It means that we will be the Lost Generation. The generation on which this dark period may have the most negative impact of all.

Life used to be a progressive route to financial stability. You went to school, you found your first job, you bought your first house, you saved money for the future, and you got better paid jobs or career promotions in every phase of your professional life. In your 20’s you went to College and took your first professional steps, in your 30’s and 40’s you worked hard and raised your children, in your 50’s you started reaping the benefits of those decades of hard work. And in your late 60’s, you could retire comfortably enough and your home was paid for. Sometimes you even had a vacation home as well. That was the American dream.

For those who are middle aged now, this dream came to a sudden halt. The house you thought you would have a lot of equity in and that perhaps would even be paid for in your 60’s, is now lost to the bank. The job you had for years or decades is suddenly gone. Finding another job that pays the same is almost impossible. Few people want to hire you because of your age. The small to medium sized business you worked so hard to build is struggling, and bankruptcy looms ahead. Your parents are too old and fragile to help you financially, and your children still need your help with College and other necessities. Banks don’t want to loan you money. Health insurance costs get higher with age. There’s no one to help.
In the good times, a couple would downsize only when they became too old to take care of a bigger home or when they retired to Florida. Now, couples in their 40’s and 50’s are being forced to downsize, not because they want to, but because they no longer can afford their mortgages. What used to be the family home, a comfortable house where you’re grown children could come and bring their spouses and grandchildren, is becoming a small apartment or townhome in a lesser neighborhood. Your pension plans are compromised, your 401k may be used to survive when one or both partners lose their jobs. Small businesses are closing everywhere. Jobs lost in the private sector, manufacturing, and finance world.

The younger generations are having a hard time to make their entry in the job market, but they are young enough to be able to wait for recovery. Middle aged folks however, have little neither time nor job opportunities that can lead them to a more stable life. Unless the United States comes up with innovative technologies that can generate more jobs, this generation will be the new one called the “Lost Generation”.

June 28, 2011 Posted by | Economy, Society, Workplace | Leave a comment