This is a truly terrible story, with a horrifying video--I couldn't even watch it to the end.

What is stomach-turning is that this father, a judge--a family law judge who presides over child abuse cases--an elected official of standing in his Texas community, clearly could not stop punishing his 16-year old daughter, and the violence of his anger is stunning. He seems aroused to more violence by his daughter's pain. Even her mother participates--not unusual. This video brings home an important point: child abuse is not just a problem of poverty or drugs. This is abuse in what used to be called "a good home."

The most awful part is the daughter's tears, screams and cries--all of which, of course, go unheeded. Hillary did, however, record raw footage of the abuse, and that is the healthiest thing she could have done. Some newspapers are calling it "revenge," and internet vigilantism. That is completely missing the point. By showing this footage, this child is fighting for herself, her well-being, her sense of what is morally right--fighting to regain the sense that she should never have suffered such treatment. As she says, she came to think of abuse as, at some level, normal. And perhaps this video will keep one perverted man from inflicting such cruelty on another child. As she says, her father needs help.

One of the worse things about child abuse is its secretive nature--it happens behind the closed doors of a home, and abusers are generally wily about not damaging children in ways that "show". The abused child often colludes with the abusing adult as well, out of a distorted sense of loyalty, out of fear, out of shame--as though she "deserved" the abuse, and it is her fault. Unless something shocking is revealed about Hillary, I think what she has done in recording this scene and sharing it is very brave.

This judge should be removed from office at once. Arrested, and brought to trial. He shows no remorse, telling reporters that he already apologized, and that it wasn't so bad as it seemed on the video. I'm waiting to read reports of his decisions in the child abuse cases he judged.

Children are helpless victims against parental rage. Child abuse can lead to lifelong psychological torment, and suicide. Our children need their community to come to their aid. Child abuse must not be condoned.

Call 1-800-4-A-CHILD if you or anyone you know--friend or family--is being abused. 

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