Child Abuse By Proxy

by My Two Cents
(Location Unknown)

Over the past few months I have been noticing a trend whereby the main (primary) abuser involves others (secondary) in various forms of sexual, physical, emotional abuse. To my knowledge, I am the first person to label this type of abuse, "abuse by proxy."

Each of the below examples seems to have a main abuser who carried out the abuse, & was percieved by the general public to have this authority, & this general public went along with it. This is what I have come to call, "abuse by proxy." It can be either indirect, or direct. Indirect would be observing a nude child's erection while the parent got ready to spank. Direct would be a babysitter (for example) spanking a charge at the direction of the parent.

Some examples, all from the Child Abuse Effects website.

In a thread in here, I think "diaper discipline as sexual abuse" (?) there are a couple of stories from babysitters where they were asked by the parents to diaper punish their child, I think all of the stories I read referred to boys.

In Lee's case, the general public participated in his humiliation by viewing his abusive spankings, getting an eyeful of his private parts, seeing him dressed as a girl, & I seem to remember he mentioned people laughing at him as he stood on display during or after his spankings. They didn't directly touch him, but they abused him by watching this abuse take place - abuse by indirect proxy.

With regards to Mary4, her mother made her into a nude display object for the company that visited. The company that visited may not have directly touched Mary4, but I do believe that they participated in her abuse by viewing her in the nude, despite her (Mary4) objections. Mother also allowed strangers to hurt Mary4 while mother watched it. This is indirect abuse by proxy & then direct abuse by proxy.

Taylor's case has both direct abuse by proxy, & indirect abuse by proxy. Taylor's mom allowed Michelle to bath Taylor in the tub, exposing him to Michelle and Amber; Michelle allowed Amber to touch Taylor as well, both cases of direct abuse by proxy, & when Taylor complained, his mom told him it was Michelle's job to bath him - allowing the abuse, indirect abuse by proxy. Also, I assume that Amber was also made to be naked in front of Michelle & Taylor in the tub.

I have never seen this type of wording, "abuse by proxy" discussed anywhere. So I'd just like to put this out there and see what people think.

Be well.

My Two Cents.

Darlene Barriere: author. speaker. survivor. coachNote from Darlene: If I have not left a comment on your story, please understand that it is not personal; it's just that my hectic schedule no longer permits me to do so.

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Comments for Child Abuse By Proxy

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Sep 28, 2012
To My Two Cents:
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Very thought provoking, and technically accurate. The term proxy means "through a substitute", so in some of what you've pointed to above, the term would be applicable. I sees things a bit differently, though. The word proxy is used in legal matters, which is what I tend to connect it with. Of course, there is the mental illness Munchhausen Syndrome by Proxy, where a caregiver either makes the person in their care (usually a child under the age of 6) ill or feigns symptoms or an illness of the child so that the caregiver is showered with the sympathy and attention typically given to families of a sick child. In some cases, adults are victimized in this way. The reason I'm less likely to embrace the term proxy in such child abuse cases as you've mentioned is that to me it sounds sanitized. I prefer more forthright labels when I used them: enablers and instigators. A person who watches and does nothing so stop the abuse is an enabler. If it's too dangerous to step in directly or if fear is overwhelming, one can still contact the authorities. Personally, I would put myself in harms way any day of the week to stop a child from being harmed; I've done it before and would do it again in a heartbeat. Another example is a person who sanctions abuse and coerces someone else to abuse a child. I would call that person an instigator as well as an enabler. But that would not take away the accountability on the person doing the actual abuse. But no matter how we label such types of abuse, be it by proxy, enabling or instigating, it's important to understand that those who watch and do nothing, and those who abuse because they've been told either directly or indirectly that it's okay to abuse are types of abusers themselves. And that means they need to be held accountable. In Canada, we have a law that makes enabling child abuse punishable by substantial fine and/or jail time, depending on the circumstances. Such laws exist in other countries, but only for the extreme cases. Other countries around the world still don't seem to understand the concept. But people like us must continue to bring the information to the forefront and work toward change. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with my visitors and me, My Two Cents, and for your continued support to so many here on this site. I send you love, light and healing energy.

From Victim to Victory, a memoir
Darlene Barriere
author. speaker. survivor. coach
From Victim to Victory, a memoir

Oct 01, 2012
Comments deleted by Webmaster
by: Anonymous

From Darlene - Webmaster: To My Two Cents, and my other visitors to this thread, I've deleted 6 separate comments from this particular commenter who leaves posts that are judgmental and wholly inappropriate, and oftentimes incoherent. I cannot block her, but I'll continue to delete her comments before they go live on the site.

Feb 05, 2013
Labels make it easier
by: BMW Princess

Labels make it easier for society to tolerate child abuse. It is much easier to abuse children who are viewed as "bad" "wild" or "making up stories". Labeling [can also be] a form of emotional abuse.

Aug 30, 2013
by: Anonymous

In my research Abuse by Proxy is the closest that I can come to what I suffered at the hands of my mother. She would lie to my dad about what I had done during the day that required punishment. Punishment in our family meant the belt, this was a nightly ritual for both myself and my 3 brothers, but mainly me the only girl. I was usually singled out for the worst. I saw the smiles on her face as she saw the punishment being dealt. About 6th grade my father refused to further beat me because I refused to cry and the welts bled. That is when she devised other torture, in short Abuse by Proxy by a mother towards her children using her husband to inflict the pain does exist, I am alive to tell the tale, her favorite line was "wait until your father gets home" That told the story for us kids as we were never punished by our mother, only dad.

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