I was quite disturbed after I learned of the abhorrent abuse this child had suffered before any mental health diagnosis was ever given to her.
On the Father's Blog (http://www.januaryfirst.org/www.januaryfirst.org/Blog/Blog.html), he openly admits (and in my opinion touts those reading) that both himself and his wife physically and emotionally assaulted and starved Jani their daughter in a blatant attempt to "BREAK HER".
The fact that this abuse took place is not in debate here. The fathers own words are a confirmed admission of guilt. I covered that yesterday in my post. I again ask you to read that post, the father's blog, and the LA Times article which has now been circulated nation wide by various newspapers and major media companies. Link- http://www.latimes.com/features/health/la-he schizophrenia29-2009jun29,0,4834892.story
I called and wrote LA Times Reporter Shari Roan the following email and followed that up with a phone call asking about a follow up article including these discovered abuse findings by the parents before any diagnosis was ever made or considered.
The following is the e-mail I sent:
Dear Shari Roan:
This story has caught the attention of many advocating for children. I came upon the parents of "Jani" web site and found some concerning "if not shocking" admissions by the father.
Now I have to wonder if this is in fact a child schizophrenic, or very smart child reacting to abuse before any diagnosis was made?
The following e-mail is from LA Times reporter Shari Roan in direct response to my inquiry:
Thank your taking the time to write. I certainly understand your concerns and thank you for caring. Too many children are horribly abused, and nothing is sadder than that.
I would like to share a few things with you,however. First, the Schofields are unusual people in that they are brutally honest about themselves, their lives, their flaws. That is disconcerting, but it is also noble on their part to be honest.
Second, the stress this family has been under for years is hard to understand if you've never had to walk in their shoes. They are exhausted, broke, heartsick and baffled. Both parents also admit they are in need of psychological counseling themselves due to depression and fatigue. It is awful that they have hit Jani, and they would be the first to admit that. So many people told them they were bad parents and needed to discipline her more severely. They tried that -- and it didn't work. They have also hit due to sheer exhaustion and loss of self-control. I know they have many regrets. But I also know they love their child and have tried desperately to help her.
Finally, having followed the family and Jani for five months and spoken to her doctors and therapists, I am certain this is not the case of a normal child who has been abused. This child has a horrible mental illness that has destroyed her and her parents.
My Commentary on the LA Times e-mail and reporting.
From what I gather Shari Roan gives the parents a free pass on abusing their child because they were under some tough circumstances? If that were the case and law, I would say most child abuse would have to be excused then.
What truly disturbs me here is that you appear to have known about this abuse and excluded these pertinent facts from your LA Times article; and to take it one step further you did not not report known abuse to LA County Child Protective Services Authorities.
The fact that you excuse abuse based on diagnosis that could be considered extremely suspect in light of these extreme abuse allegations is a journalistic stain upon the news profession.
Maybe they have a hidden agenda at the LA Times? You have virtually made "Jani" a poster child for NAMI type organizations, The New Child Focused Psychiatry Modality, and play right into the hands of the Pharmaceutical Industry's marketing campaigns for more dangerous and life threatening drugs being distributed to unsuspecting parents and children .
How we as a free society and press can ignore pertinent facts such as a father that was investigated for sexual abuse, admittedly beat his wife, abused his dog, and abused his child; while being currently under investigation by Child Protective Services is beyond my understanding.
I can only rationally conclude in the best case scenario; the LA Times desperately wanted a powerful fluff piece that would touch the hearts of readers; without all that nasty facts and truth information getting in the way?
I would expect and even demand better reporting with less bias from a free press. I'm sure many readers on the Web may also agree.
Just An After Thought: I will give this little tad bit of advice to the LA Times and like Media outlets:
If your going to do a story about "schizophrenics"; Just go visit any homeless shelter, state mental institution, big city back ally way, or prison. There are more than enough heart breaking stories and moving pools of tears to be shed in the countless lives discarded and imprisoned by a deemed "throw away" segment of our population. This is a condition and reality that really doesn't need the "hold up the Suffering Child" approach to be riveting reading or important information to share.
Blogs Reporting Truth and Asking Questioning :
NAMI-Pathos-Different Thoughts blog, where I found the link to Jani's father's blog
Monday, 6 July 2009-Jani: "schizophrenic", or a victim of child abuse?!-Different Thoughts blog
July 07, 2009-Father Of Girl With Schizophrenia Admits Hitting, Starving Girl-Furious Seasons mental health news blog, authored by award-winning investigative journalist, Philip Dawdy
Schizophrenia in children: January Schofield-Liz Spikol, The Trouble with Spikol blog-Liz Spikol is executive editor of Philadelphia Weekly. She writes the award-winning column The Trouble With Spikol, which began as a chronicle of her struggle with mental illness.