Woman’s Obituary Highlights Child Abuse

by Michele Arnold on January 25, 2015 · 5 comments

in child abuse

Scathing-obituary-goes-viral-describes-abusive-violent-motherI read the obituary of Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick with interest.

She tortured people by her cruelty.

This abusive mother did not get a free pass to the afterlife. Two of her eight children let the world know how they were all “abrasively exposed to her evil and violent life” in her obituary.

“Mom” ran a prostitution ring, or “escort service” as the woeful women who turn tricks and the desperate men who pay for them prefer to call it.

“Everyone she met, adult or child, was tortured by her cruelty and exposure to violence, criminal activity, vulgarity and hatred of the gentle or kind human spirit,” the obituary said. “Our greatest wish now is to stimulate a national movement that mandates a purposeful and dedicated war against child abuse in the United States of America.”

It’s unfortunate that eight children had to suffer for so long, but I applaud the desire of the two who wrote her obituary to use their mother’s death as a call to shine a light on child abuse. (Learn more about what you can do to prevent child abuse.)

Perhaps that discussion will include the following valuable tidbit: Family planning is an excellent strategy for men and women who don’t want to be parents to remain childless.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Maggie Mungania May 29, 2017 at 6:28 am

Children are the greatest gift to a mother!parents who who abuse their children should be helped and not condemned,thanks for sharing.

Debi February 9, 2015 at 4:39 pm

What a sad and tragic story. Thank you for bringing attention to it.

I do agree with John that the choice of having children or not may not have much to do with the problem. In fact, I would go so far as to say that some people have children for the express opportunity to abuse them (as seen in my career of law enforcement)! There have been cults in this country that have “bred” children for the express purpose of abuse and to use them to lure other children from playgrounds. The world is a terrible place for many… The problem of child abuse has existed since the dawn of time, but it is reported more often now than it has ever been. Finding solutions and rescuing the children is a complicated process of immense proportions.

Again, bravo for bringing this story to the fore. If we could make a dent in the abuse and neglect of children, we would certainly make a dent in the number of adults suffering from mental illnesses caused by trauma and attachment issues.

Nicki February 8, 2015 at 1:31 pm

Using this tragic story and movement against child abuse as a spring board for a secondary agenda with polarizing effects is counter productive and ineffective. Shame on you for pushing your humanistic, liberal ideals at the expense of hurting children.
From one child advocate that WOULD have shared this blog with thousands had you not poisoned the kool-aid.

Larissa Lindsay February 5, 2015 at 8:07 am

I think mentioning family planning was vitally important. We want children who are wanted, healthy, loved, and cared for – which often means planned. We don’t know that they wouldn’t have been born into another family.
Family planning/family size is not about poverty, it is about the ability to love and care for your children, and trying to do so while mentally ill and abusing your children is not a healthy path. While it is true that those living in or near poverty are going to have many other stresses contributing to their life struggles, having children when you don’t want them is a contributing factor. But this can be an issue with a weathly family with two children.
We will only see this continue as family planning cuts and the debate about whether insurance should cover contraception restricts access.
Lack of family planning is not the “reason” for the abuse, but can clearly be a contributing factor, across all spectras of the income scale. Abuse does not limit itself to the poor (hand surgeon Michael Brown is a great example).
Child abuse has many contributing factors, none of which are acceptable. But until we have a national debate about a whole host of stigmas in our country, we aren’t going to fast-track any of them.

John January 29, 2015 at 5:27 pm

Michele, thank you for calling my attention to this. What a remarkable thing to have done, writing this obituary. It’s troubling to read, but in some ways, I feel proud of her children for writing it.

One comment: I feel like your last sentence misses the mark, and let me try to say why. The problem of child abuse is not the children, it’s the abusers. I feel like your reference to family planning implicitly tell victims of abuse that “it would be better had you never been born,” and I’m not sure that’s all that different from a kind of indirect victim-blaming.

I think a direct and honest conversation about the evil of child abuse should include ideas like “this is bad, let’s help abusers stop abusing,” and “let’s rescue children from abuse and into homes where they are well loved.” The family planning angle sounds a bit too much like those who want to help poor people, not by lessening their poverty, but by lessening the number of people! At best, it’s an indirect solution, and at worst, a morally misguided one.

Thank you for your work helping the mentally ill and those of us who care about them.

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