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Forced homogenization - Denese Rodgers

I was listening to the morning news as I was drinking my morning cup of jet fuel.

The topic du jour was the polygamist family in Texas. Although the news media is careful to use phrases like "alleged abuse" and "charges of abuse," this family is being systematically vilified.

TV cameras dispassionately point out their clothing and living conditions in a manner that should be considered prejudicial - and it would, if we were discussing color (race) instead of a religious sect.

This family will turn up in some way as fodder for the late night comics, and they will be tracked and hounded by the press until their story no longer sells.

In the early 1980s, singer Glenn Frey with the Eagles penned the song, "Dirty Laundry," part of which went like this: "We got dirty little fingers in everybody's pie/ We love to cut you down to size/ We love dirty laundry/ We can do 'the innuendo'/ We can dance and sing/ When it's all said and done we haven't told you a thing/ We all know that crap is King/ Give us dirty laundry!"

I'm not endorsing or advocating for the polygamists, I'm just saddened by the raw gaping wounds that are being inflicted on this group.

Some 400 children, who were content in their homes last month, are now being sucked out of everything they've known into an uncertain future.

The agony on their mother's faces is palatable. Even if the allegations are proven, what happens to those wives who have never known any other way of life?

I know how much I value my family and my friends, I can't fathom having them ripped out of my world.

And what is really unfair is the selective perception that we are practicing in the condemnation of this family. For the last two years in Henry County, we have had over 2,000 reported cases of child abuse or neglect. Over 2,000 in Henry County, Georgia.

Children who pay the ultimate price, like deceased, 13-year-old Joella Reeves, make front page news. The rest suffer in anonymity as they socialize into violence - and the cycle continues.

We have an outstanding Child Abuse Protocol in our community, but isn't it awful that it is needed? Prevent Child Abuse Henry County will conduct its annual Pinwheels for Prevention on Friday, April 18, on the Square.

Pinwheels will be placed out to represent our 2,000 cases. Make sure you drive by. Tell your kids what those pinwheels mean and how they can help.

Kids learn early not to tell on each other. In the case of an abused child, telling may save his or her life.

Robin Jones is the Program Coordinator for Prevent Child Abuse Henry County. Her flagship program is called, "First Steps." It is an educational intervention where volunteers meet with new mommies to give them information and resources.

The goal is to give new moms the tools to be good moms - and to avert potential situations where abuse might occur.

With more than 2,000 cases of abuse (which is roughly equal to the number of live births each year at Henry Medical Center), I think Robin could use some more volunteers. Give her a call, at (770) 507-9900.

Denese Rodgers is executive director of Connecting Henry, a social-service, networking organization in Henry County.