Everyday thousands of children are being sexually abused. You can stop the abuse of at least one child by simply praying. You can possibly stop the abuse of thousands of children by forwarding the link in First Time Visitor? by email, Twitter or Facebook to every Christian you know. Save a child or lots of children!!!! Do Something, please!

3:15 PM prayer in brief:
Pray for God to stop 1 child from being molested today.
Pray for God to stop 1 child molestation happening now.
Pray for God to rescue 1 child from sexual slavery.
Pray for God to save 1 girl from genital circumcision.
Pray for God to stop 1 girl from becoming a child-bride.
If you have the faith pray for 100 children rather than one.
Give Thanks. There is more to this prayer here

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Feral Children - A Gut-wrenching Pictorial Essay

While these incredible stories don't deal directly with child sex abuse, they do deal with child abuse and the incredible lack of concern some parents and other people have for the welfare of children. These are true stories! The photos were carefully reconstructed from information Ms Fullerton-Batten was able to extract from the individuals involved or others who knew their stories.

Oxana Malaya, Ukraine, 1991

Beautiful and disturbing at the same time, the images in Julia Fullerton-Batten’s latest project have a dreamlike, fairy-tale quality. Yet the lives they portray are real. “There are two different scenarios – one where the child ended up in the forest, and another where the child was actually at home, so neglected and abused that they found more comfort from animals than humans,” the photographer tells BBC Culture. This image recreates the case of Ukrainian girl Oxana Malaya. According to Fullerton-Batten, “Oxana was found living with dogs in a kennel in 1991. She was eight years old and had lived with the dogs for six years. Her parents were alcoholics and one night, they had left her outside. Looking for warmth, the three-year-old crawled into the farm kennel and curled up with the mongrel dogs, an act that probably saved her life. She ran on all fours, panted with her tongue out, bared her teeth and barked. Because of her lack of human interaction, she only knew the words ‘yes’ and ‘no’.” Oxana now lives in a clinic in Odessa, working with the hospital’s farm animals. 
(All photos credit: Julia Fullerton-Batten)

John Ssebunya, Uganda, 1991

The photographer was advised by Mary-Ann Ochota, a British anthropologist and presenter of the TV series Feral Children. “She had been to Ukraine, Uganda and Fiji and met three of the surviving children,” says Fullerton-Batten. “It was helpful in directing me in how they position their hands, how they walk, how they survived – I wanted to make this look as real and as believable as possible.” This image deals with the case of John Ssebunya. “John ran away from home in 1988 when he was three years old after seeing his father murder his mother,” says Fullerton-Batten. “He fled into the jungle where he lived with monkeys. He was captured in 1991, now about six years old, and placed in an orphanage… He had calluses on his knees from walking like a monkey.” John has learned to speak, and was a member of the Pearl of Africa children’s choir. While many of the stories of feral children are as much myth as reality, Ochota believes Ssebunya’s account. “This wasn’t part of the standard feral-child hoax yarn,” she wrote in The Independent in 2012. “We were investigating a real case.”

Ivan Mishukov, Russia, 1998

Despite the harrowing accounts in her series, Fullerton-Batten’s images tell a story of survival. “All human beings need human contact, but for these children their whole life becomes focused on a survival instinct,” she says, asking “if those living in the companionship of wild animals were perhaps better off than those whose young lives were spent with no companionship at all.” Ivan ran away from his family at the age of four, feeding scraps of food to a pack of wild dogs and eventually becoming a kind of pack leader. He lived on the streets for two years, before he was taken to a children’s home. In his book Savage Girls And Wild Boys: A History Of Feral Children, Michael Newton wrote that “The relationship worked perfectly, far better than anything Ivan had known among his fellow humans. He begged for food, and shared it with his pack. In return, he slept with them in the long winter nights of deep darkness, when the temperatures plummeted.” Fullerton-Batten believes the ‘feral child’ can reveal much that is hidden within seemingly civilised societies – a city can be as inhospitable as a forest. “Ivan ran away so it was a choice he made, not to be at home – but his home must have been so bad that he would rather be on the streets with a pack of dogs,” she says. “I was trying not to be exploitative. Three of the cases inspired charities – I wanted to raise awareness about what is still going on.”

 Marina Chapman, Colombia, 1959

The photographer was inspired to start her project after reading The Girl With No Name, a book about the Colombian woman Marina Chapman. “Marina was kidnapped in 1954 at five years of age from a remote South American village and left by her kidnappers in the jungle,” says Fullerton-Batten. “She lived with a family of capuchin monkeys for five years before she was discovered by hunters. She ate berries, roots and bananas dropped by the monkeys; slept in holes in trees and walked on all fours, like the monkeys. It was not as though the monkeys were giving her food – she had to learn to survive, she had the ability and common sense – she copied their behaviour and they became used to her, pulling lice out of her hair and treating her like a monkey.” Chapman now lives in Yorkshire, with a husband and two daughters. “Because it was such an unusual story, a lot of people didn’t believe her – they X-rayed her body and looked at her bones to see if she was really malnourished, and concluded that it could have happened.” Fullerton-Batten contacted her: “She was very happy for me to use her name and do this shoot.”
See the rest of Marina's story here

 Madina, Russia, 2013

“These strange, feral children are often a source of shame and secrecy within a family or community,” writes Mary-Ann Ochota on her website. “These aren't Jungle Book stories, they're often harrowing cases of neglect and abuse. And it's all too likely because of a tragic combination of addiction, domestic violence and poverty. These are kids who fell through the cracks, who were forgotten, or ignored, or hidden.” According to Fullerton-Batten, “Madina lived with dogs from birth until she was three years old, sharing their food, playing with them, and sleeping with them when it was cold in winter. When social workers found her in 2013, she was naked, walking on all fours and growling like a dog. Madina’s father had left soon after her birth. Her mother, 23 years old, took to alcohol. She was frequently too drunk to look after for her child and… would sit at the table to eat while her daughter gnawed bones on the floor with the dogs.” Madina was taken into care and doctors found her to be mentally and physically healthy despite what she had been through. 

Shamdeo, India, 1972

“This is not like Tarzan,” says Fullerton-Batten. “The children had to fight the animals for their own food – they had to learn to survive. When I read their stories, I was shocked and horrified.” There are 15 cases in her Feral Children project, staged photographs telling the stories of people isolated from human contact, often from a very young age. This one shows Shamdeo, a boy who was found in a forest in India in 1972 – he was estimated to be four years old. “He was playing with wolf cubs. His skin was very dark, and he had sharpened teeth, long hooked fingernails, matted hair and calluses on his palms, elbows and knees. He was fond of chicken-hunting, would eat earth and had a craving for blood. He bonded with dogs.” He never spoke, but learnt some sign language, and died in 1985

Sujit Kumar, Fiji, 1978

“Sujit was eight years old when he was found in the middle of a road clucking and flapping his arms and behaving like a chicken,” says Fullerton-Batten. “He pecked at his food, crouched on a chair as if roosting, and would make rapid clicking noises with his tongue. His parents locked him in a chicken coop. His mother committed suicide and his father was murdered. His grandfather took responsibility for him but still kept him confined in the chicken coop.” For the children, the transition after being found could be as difficult as the years spent in isolation. “When they were discovered, it was such a shock – they had learnt animal behaviour, their fingers were claw-like and they couldn’t even hold a spoon. Suddenly all these humans were trying to get them to sit properly and talk.” Kumar is now cared for by Elizabeth Clayton, who rescued him from an old people’s home and set up a charity housing children in need.