Home > Causes, Child Abuse > The Rifqa Runaway Case

The Rifqa Runaway Case

Maybe through all the hubbub of the Yale murder this week you heard about the teenage girl named Rifqa.  Rifqa ran away from home.  She told the authorities her parents had threatened to kill her.  Child custody cases happen a lot, so why did this one get picked up by Newsweek?  Rifqa’s parents are Muslim; she converted to Christianity and says this is why they threatened her.

I am angry about this.  I am angry at the way the media is handling the story.  I am angry that representitives from both religions are using this to argue over religion.  I am angry that the court is even considering giving Rifqa back to her family.  In fact, that is what I am the most angry about, because this case should not be about religion.

We have a frightened, terrified child who gathered up the courage to run away from home and tell someone her parents were threatening her.  Most children fear their abusive parents far too much to ever do such a thing, and what is the court saying?  They’re saying there is no evidence.  Rifqa’s testimony is hearsay.  Her father seems genuinely upset.  He was just like any other concerned parent when she went missing.  The Newsweek writer keeps pointing out how nice he seems.

Newsflash!  Abusers don’t seem like abusers!  If they did, we wouldn’t have so many cases of adults raised in abusive homes who never escaped.  Ask any person who was abused as a child.  They will tell you mommy/daddy was a real angel around everyone else.  Only the child ever saw the monster inside.  Abusers can be the most upstanding citizen in your community.  They can be active participants in your local church/mosque/temple/whatever.  They can seem perfectly holy.  Why?  Because abusers are masters of deceit, whether they are deceiving themselves or others around them.  Some abusers actively work to deceive the community.  Others deceive themselves into thinking they never abused their child.  I know people whose parents who abused them claim to this day when confronted that it never happened.  The child is lying.  The child is crazy.

It is awful, terrible that in cases like this, in abuse cases, rape cases–cases where the victims are predominantly women and children–the victim is the one being put on trial.  It is assumed the victim is lying until proven otherwise.  This is wrong!  I am not saying in cases like this where there is no physical evidence that the parents should go to jail, but the child should be removed from the home and placed into protective custody!  That is the very least a terrified victim deserves.  The trust of the authorities that she actually is in danger and the guarantee of protection.

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  1. jillndom
    September 17, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    I am so glad you wrote about this!

    • September 18, 2009 at 12:17 pm

      I’m so glad you inspired me to! Our convos are always so thought-provoking.

  2. September 18, 2009 at 8:25 am

    Abusers are just messed up normal people. They’re not villains, they’re broken.

    • September 18, 2009 at 12:19 pm

      Fran–They are villains. We’re talking about people abusing innocent children. Children who are naturally inclined to trust and love their parents. This is evil, and I refuse to sympathize with anyone who would abuse a child. There is NOTHING normal about them. Villain is the dammed perfect word for them.

  3. September 29, 2009 at 9:47 am

    This case is much more complicated than what you have portrayed here. And it has little to nothing to do with abuse. Don’t get me wrong, abuse of any form is not something to be taken lightly, but this case isn’t a platform for denouncing abuse.

    • September 29, 2009 at 10:07 am

      Threatening to kill your child is THE DEFINITION of abuse. It’s people like you who let abuse be so rampant in our country.

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