Child Rape in South Africa

A 4-year old girl was reported missing, in Brakpan near Johannesburg, last month.

The entire community was out looking for her, and due to admirable police work, she was eventually found in her own home, under the bed – dead.

The little girl had been raped and murdered, by her own 20-something year old uncle. This is not an allegation – the rapist took the police to where he had hidden the body. That’s an admission of guilt, I think.

The community of Brakpan was devastated. Wreaths and soft toys were laid outside the house where she lived, candles were lit and prayers were prayed, (If you want to appear to be doing something useful, start praying)

The girl’s parents’ lives were threatened because they allegedly did not take proper care of her. (Because violence in response to violence is an appropriate reaction?)

At the funeral, which was in a christian church and attended by hundreds of angry, upset neighbours and friends, a reporter from the local TV station interviewed the little girl’s 6-year old sister.

The interviewer asked her how she felt, and the little girl replied she was “happy” because her baby sister “is in heaven.”

The parents reported that they are “not ready to forgive the rapist yet.”

 

Okay, I don’t know about you, but this whole thing makes me sick to the stomach.

WHY would you feel some obligation to FORGIVE the bastard who had raped your child, caused her terrible suffering and pain, and then murdered her? Even if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, what he did is UNFORGIVEABLE!! He deserves to rot in jail for the rest of his life. He should be removed from society, locked away for good.

I think it’s despicable that the rape and murder of a child is glossed over, and it’s all okay because she is now “in heaven.” No, she’s not, she’s dead. A sweet young life has been snuffed out in the most horrible way. It’s not okay to take comfort in the belief that she is in a  better place. Face facts – she is dead, you will never see her again. All your hopes and dreams for your daughter have died with her.

BE ANGRY!!!! Do something to prevent more little children suffering the same fate!! Forgiveness and “heaven” are not the correct response to this tragedy!!!

The rapist’s trial has been postponed for the police to do further investigations. And in the meantime, more babies and children suffer the same fate every day. We don’t always have the same outcry about it, but it’s happening. Only 5% of rape cases result in a successful conviction, so this rapist could conceivably get away with his crime…

South Africa has one of the highest incidences of HIV/AIDS in the world (well over 5 million infections, over 300 000 deaths annually), and there is a supposed “cure” available: sex with a virgin. South Africa also has the highest incidence of child rape in the world.

Connect the dots…

How do we stop this madness?

  • Educate people. especially children, about the real causes and treatments for HIV/AIDS and other venereal diseases
  • Promote safe sex, provide free condoms
  • Reduce police inefficiency and corruption, so that more rape cases are successfully prosecuted
  • Much harsher punishment for anyone found guilty of rape, especially where it results in the death of a child. This is one instance where I think the death penalty would be appropriate – and I don’t say that lightly…
  • Political leadership – preferably get rid of our president who has been on trial for rape himself, and got away with it
  • Better Child Welfare services
  • Citizens should report suspected cases of child abuse – about 90% of child abuse goes unreported in South Africa.

That last point is critical in my opinion. If you know, or suspect, that a child is being abused, report it to the authorities. Get Child Welfare involved. They will get the police involved if it’s warranted.

But don’t just sit back and pretend it’s not happening, and when that child is raped and murdered, don’t comfort yourself with the myth that at least she is now “in heaven,” and you should “forgive” the rapist.

That kind of thinking has only contributed to the terrible situation we find ourselves in now…

Faith versus Medical Science

The husband of a colleague of mine has been very ill, and was admitted to a hospital yesterday for tests. I understand he has seen various doctors already, including a neurologist, but there has been no definite diagnosis as yet.

It sounds as though he might have had a stroke, or be suffering from epilepsy, or possibly a tumour – I’m not a doctor, so I can’t speculate. He was admitted to quite a good hospital, they ran some tests, and have decided to transfer him to a better hospital in Pretoria, for further tests. His doctors are obviously taking his plight seriously, and are investigating every angle. I truly hope they can find out what is wrong, and treat him successfully – for the sake of his wife and children.

I asked my colleague today how she was handling the stress, and during our conversation she got quite emotional… who wouldn’t be emotional in her situation? I tried to reassure her, telling her she should be grateful for the doctors, nurses and hospitals, for the sophisticated medical equipment and treatments available – they will do everything in their power to diagnose and treat him.

(If he’d been born in the Middle Ages, he might have been subject to all sorts of horrendous “treatments,” any one of which might have killed him! Blood-letting was particularly popular….. Fortunately, medical science has evolved since then!)

Sometimes an illness is too far advanced to be treated successfully, and sometimes there is no known cure…. Holding back her tears, my colleague said “All I can do is have faith in God to help us.”

That got me thinking: why would anyone think that God can make a difference in this situation? If God cared, wouldn’t he have prevented her husband getting sick in the first place? If he was powerless to prevent the illness, couldn’t he have used his omnipotent superpowers to guide the doctors to make a quick diagnosis, instead of putting this family through this torture?

Of course, the True Believer will respond that this man’s illness, and the pain and anguish of his wife and children are all part of some “Divine Plan.”

I can’t imagine what Plan would consist of such cruelty – clearly this god is a bit of a sadist – but assuming that is correct and there is a Plan of some sort – what point would there be in praying to him for help? He clearly has his mind made up already!


Here’s an interesting thought experiment: take 100 religious people and 100 non-believers. Inject them all with a bacterium which is normally fatal. Isolate each group on a separate island, with food and shelter, and give the atheists the antibiotic known to be effective against the bacterial infection.

Don’t give the religious group any antibiotics – instead send out a worldwide news release, asking people of the same religious persuasion to pray for the religious group to be healed by their god. Naturally, there will be a massive response and the heavens will positively ring with the desperate prayers of the faithful.

Come back to each island in 3 months time, and count the survivors.

Any guess as to which group will have the greatest number still living?

Most people would admit that the group of non-believers would have the most survivors, because the gods don’t really answer prayers. (Ask any religious person you know if they would volunteer to be in the religious group, and I can guarantee they will come up with a really good excuse to not participate!)

My colleague would be better off putting her confidence in the doctors and hospitals who are actually DOING something to help her husband. These people and institutions are REAL  i.e. they can be shown to actually exist

You don’t have to have “FAITH” in them. You can hate and distrust them if you want to. They will still do their very best, apply their knowledge and experience, use their diagnostic tools, and try to help regardless of how you feel about them. They don’t need you to worship them. They WANT to cure your illness, and all they ask is to be reimbursed for their time and skill.

If you need to be convinced of the terrible HARM that can come from relying on faith that a god, any god, will heal you – read this! You can pick up any newspaper on almost any day and find similar stories. Faith is not an effective medical treatment!

I’m not referring exclusively to the christian version of faith healing here – most religions claim that their god has the power to heal, and works through humans, animals or even inanimate objects. (Even bits of rock are supposed to be able to heal – see my article on the Atlantean Power Crystals.)

I feel deep compassion for people who are deceived by faith healing. It’s not their fault – they have been brought up to believe it. They have probably never heard an alternate view – and even when they do, they tend to reject such views outright because they have invested too much in their religion already. It’s a hard habit to break, apparently.

Here is a video by Derren Brown, which explains how faith healers deceive people into believing they have special powers.  Here is James Randi’s expose of Peter Popoff who received radio transmissions through a wireless earpiece during his healing crusades, feeding him information about the audience who had filled out prayer cards before the performances….. Fortunately, this charlatan is no longer in the faith healing business!

Trickery and fraud by faith healers has been exposed many, many times – read James Randi’s excellent book “Faith Healers” for more infamous examples. If so many faith healers are using these tricks, how do you know if any one faith healer really does have Special Powers?

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence!

So far the evidence is stacked high and wide against faith healing.

Supernatural claims are outside of the realm of scientific study, but some scientists have tried to measure the effects of prayer and found them to be largely absent or negative. I found some interesting articles, mostly reaching similar conclusions:

“Meta-studies of the broader literature have been performed showing evidence only for no effect or a potentially small effect. For instance, a 2006 meta analysis on 14 studies concluded that there is “no discernable effect” while a 2007 systemic review of intercessory prayer reported inconclusive results, noting that 7 of 17 studies had “small, but significant, effect sizes” but the review noted that the three most methodologically rigorous studies failed to produce significant findings.” from Wikipedia

Prayer is often credited with rather unmiraculous benefits, such as recovery from heart surgery which would most likely have happened anyway, especially if the patient is in intensive care, receiving medication and expert nursing 24/7.

I think the real “miracle” is the dedication of the nurses, the intelligence of the doctors and the persistence of the researchers. We are living in an age of amazing advances in medical science – why does anybody bother with the Sky Fairy and his Associates?

SQUID, chakras and other assorted electromagnetic Woo

I am surprised at how many people I meet believe that the human body is surrounded by a large internally generated electro-magnetic field. They use this field as an explanation for New Age woo such as Auras, Chakras, Ghosts, Reiki, Chi, and so on.

Let’s examine the idea.

First off, I have done quite an extensive search and I can find nothing I would call a CREDIBLE source that even mentions such a field, in the way the Woo Brigade describe it.

I did find credible information that confirms that tiny electrical currents in the brain travel from neuron to neuron, and when they reach a muscle, trigger chemical reactions that make the muscle fibres contract or relax. This is what makes your heart beat, allows you to move about, and is generally accepted to be pretty essential for life.

As for magnetic fields – every cell in your body has ion channels that allow ions to pass through their surface, which results in a tiny voltage and creates a tiny magnetic field. This magnetic field is very, very weak. Much weaker than any magnetic field in your environment.

Non-credible sources, such as this one,  claim that “biomagnetic fields” (pulsing magnetic fields emitted by all tissues and organs of the body) surrounding the body have been measured by a Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID), and that these fields can be used to diagnose and treat illness.

A SQUID is a highly sensitive scientific instrument, and is used in medicine to measure very weak magnetic fields, such as the neural activity of the brain and heart. The diagnosis part of the claim is at least partially correct – what about the “treatment” part?

Apparently, the magnetic fields around the body provide a more accurate picture of its physiology and pathology than conventional medical instruments do. And, huge pulsating biomagnetic fields emanating from the hands of therapeutic touch “healers” can “jump-start” the soft and hard tissues – such as bones, skin, nerves, capillaries and ligaments –  at specific “frequencies.”

Don’t bother looking for scientific evidence of these wild and fanciful claim anywhere – but you can obtain a list of the articles detailing the “research” from the publishers – Nature’s Own Research Association.

Norah? No, just NORA, don’t panic!

Acupuncture treatment relies on it, and Chakras are also supposed to be a manifestation of this electromagnetic field. Here is an ACTUAL series of exercises, sent to me by a Chakra “healing expert” (At first, they wanted me to pay to get this nonsense, but as I haven’t responded yet, they have dropped their price to zero – because they’re “feeling generous”. No, they think if they rope me in I’ll buy something else of theirs down the line. I won’t.)

“THE CHAKRA ENERGY PATCHING EXERCISE

When there is a leak, you have to patch it. Many people are energy-depleted because they are not able to hold enough life force energy or “chi.” (I thought it was more likely low levels of glucose in the blood?) In this energy condition, you are flushing energy down and away from you, much like a toilet flushes water down. In order to maintain good energy health, you want energy spiraling (sic) up into your base chakra. Here’s one way you can do it in 4 easy steps:

  1. Close your eyes and imagine you can see the energy leaking out of your tailbone (coccyx)
  2. Imagine a patch large enough to cover the skin
  3. Place the patch over the leak
  4. Imagine you go beneath the energy and reverse the flow to spiral it up into your body through your tailbone 

THE CROWN CHAKRA EXERCISE

Why is this important? Life force energy is also fed to us through our crown chakra. (By whom? And how?) The crown chakra is located on the top of your head. We maintain a higher life force energy when our crown chakra is open and active. (What does that mean, exactly?) When the crown chakra is closed or weak, we feel a lack of vitality and direction in our lives. As a result we look to others rather than our own spiritual compass for guidance. Here’s a simple, but very effective way to open up your crown chakra to receive energy in abundance:

  1. Place the fingertips of each of your hands on the top of your forehead when your hairline starts. Your fingertips should be touching.
  2. Now pull your fingertips away from each other as though you were opening up your crown
  3. Move your fingers 2 inches above the starting point and repeat the same movement
  4. Do this over the entire crown of your head until you reach the nape of your neck
  5. Take three deep breaths to anchor in this opening (what????)

THE PERSONAL POWER CHAKRA EXERCISE

Disruption of the flow of your life force energy occurs when a chakra is frozen or weak. It is common for individuals to have a frozen or weak third chakra. The third chakra represents your will power, confidence and sense of self. This results in a lack of confidence and will to move forward enthusiastically with towards (sic) your goals. The third chakra energy wheel is located 2 inches above the navel in the solar plexus area. These simple steps will help you activate your third chakra effectively:

  1. Rub your palms together swiftly creating static electricity (actually just warmth, from friction)
  2. Place the palm of your right hand on your solar plexus, rotating your palm in a clockwise direction while repeating: “I am powerful, I am the will of creating (sic) what I want.”
  3. Repeat these steps 2 or 3 more times”
If I want to learn more about how to heal myself using ONLY my imagination, she has an entire training course, available on an easy 90-day payment plan… Of course!
As a lady I love and respect very much likes to say : “Once again, it all comes down to money!”

If you managed to read through all the chakra exercises without falling off your chair laughing, or falling asleep, you would have noticed a couple of things:

  1. there is an assumption that you have an energy field which leaks out of various parts of your body
  2. this assumed energy field can be manipulated, and “put back” so to speak
  3. this manipulation is achieved through your imagination and rubbing your hands on various parts of your body
  4. chakra healing can’t heal bad grammar and spelling

Unfortunately, wishful thinking won’t make this fairy tale come true!

Nobody have EVER seen or discovered a chakra energy wheel. Take a human body, cut open the areas these energy wheels are supposed to reside in – you won’t find anything more exciting than bones, muscles, blood and nerves. Wave your metal scalpel over the area of the supposed chakra – do you feel any little electromagnetic tug? I thought not.

Chakra energy healing, like reiki and other therapeutic touch therapies, is nothing more than faith healing – you have to believe in it to get the benefit of the placebo effect. As long as there’s nothing really wrong with you, the placebo effect may even work. (Headaches, stress, backache, just getting old – all respond well to placebos)

However, if you have a serious illness, you should consult a doctor. You don’t have to have faith in your doctor or his medicine for it to work. That’s because real scientists, doing real research for many centuries, have by trial and replication and peer review, developed treatments for medical conditions that work, whether you believe they will or not. Human organs don’t decide for themselves whether to respond to surgery or not. Bacteria and viruses don’t decide for themselves whether to respond to antibiotics and antivirals.

Surgery, or medication, is infinitely more likely to help your heart condition than waving your hands over your chest and believing your energy field will sort out your cardiac problems!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In fact, I will put money on it – when you’re lying on the floor, writhing in agony, shooting pains in your chest, numbness in your left arm – there is NO WAY you’re going to say “Bring me my chakra / faith healer” !

You’re going to reach for the nitroglycerine tablets and oxygen mask, and beg to be taken to the nearest hospital. In an ambulance. By a paramedic. And when you get there, you’re going to ask for a cardiologist, not a  “therapeutic touch healer” to wave their hands over you and manipulate your electromagnetic field,  or a priest to pray for the miraculous restoration of a healthy heart!

 
When it really counts, and your life is on the line, do you really think there’s an “alternative therapy” that can do better than conventional scientific medicine?
If you hold that belief, I once again refer you to What’s the Harm. Look up your favourite “alternative” treatment. Read the true stories of what reliance on that treatment has done to people.
Do you STILL believe your “therapy” is better than scientific medicine?