Sunday, 8 August 2010

We treat children like objects

Newspapers are all out for sensational stories.

A mother, driven to distraction, wanting to keep her children safe and seeing the only way is to kill them for instance (the Riggi family). It makes a strange sort of sense for, if you're dead, as far as we know, you can't be hurt any more.

Here we have it from the mother's own lips: "Yesterday, it emerged she had previously told friends her children would ‘always come first."

They were her joy. She could see the unfolding of them, like precious, amazing flowers like the miracles they were. And they were under threat.


I can surmise only, of course. I think they died because their father proposed to send them to school. A prison. A place where they couldn't and wouldn't unfold. A place where their spirits would wither and shrink.


Perhaps he saw them as a way to punish her - someone he'd loved, someone he'd wanted to live with forever, made vows to, had babies with. When love turns to hatred the casualties are worse than your own pain sometimes. Often, the casualties are the happiness of the children.


Because we see children as objects. We talk about them as if they are not there. We decide to do things with them that they cannot change or object to.

Our society treats children like objects. It demands that we stick them into school. Even babies have to be schooled at nursery. Even children who are ill have to be tutored in hospital.

All for their own good of course.

Mrs. Riggi knew this, I suspect. She knew that her babies were become pawns in the fight between herself and her husband. She knew that he would hurt her through them, as so many men choose to do when they are animated by lust for revenge and emotional pain themselves. She knew that their lives would be hurt through the rending and clawing that she and her husband were going through.

So she took them away from all of it. She kept them safe.

It's not what other people would seek to do, but it is a solution. They will never be damaged by the hell that adults would plunge them into. They will never see the day when their parents are so scoured and embittered by each other's human reactions that the children find themselves unable to trust a living soul.

You can push people too far. You can degrade, humiliate, impoverish, ridicule, isolate, annihiliate, void, damage, hurt, claw, extinguish, break and crucify a human being one step too far.

And I think that is what happened to Mrs. Riggi.


  1. I agree, Danae. You have given us some insight into the way people think when they are under terrible, unbearable stress. When the people they love most in the world are threatened with harm.

  2. Danae, you have written something deeply true here. Long ago I don't think I could even have felt sympathy for a mother who wanted to kill, was tempted to kill or actually killed her own children; but I have met more than one mother in that situation and although they tended to have serious mental health problems their illness was not the driving force behind their wish to kill their children and themselves- it was to save their children from something worse.

    I do wonder about the fathers in both this and poor Khyra Ishaq's case. Khyra's father runs off with his mistress and actually orchastrates the situation where an ex Reaside patient in put in charge of his vulnerable children and their vulnerable mother. This poor step-father was way out of his depth because he was so mentally unwell himself. But dad was off in Spain with the other woman!
    Then this powerful Riggi bloke with his posh job and status is prepared to force his children into school right in the middle of a nasty divorce. What kind of person does that?

    I am baffled and rather sickened by the Scottish Labour MP who has spoken out against HE.
    Children are not objects to be used as weapons in a divorce, to have their lives stolen from them and their deaths misused by slimy politicians.
    When will we learn!