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Case Studies

Abuse begets abuse. Several well known examples from recent history are used here to illustrate the dire consequences of sexual and/or physical abuse (especially of children).

Charles Manson
Manson’s crimes need no explanation as they are common knowledge. What is less well known are the circumstances of his childhood and upbringing.

Manson was born to a 16 year old mother (a prostitute). His biological father deserted her before Charles was born. So little did his alcoholic mother think of him that at one point she traded him for a jug of beer. An uncle located him several days later and took him home. He was neglected and maltreated as a child. On one occasion when he was five, as punishment for crying he was forced to wear a girls dress to school.

At age 13 he was sent to a boarding school run by Roman Catholic priests where he was regularly beaten. After escaping from there several times he was finally sent to the Indiana Boy’s School. It was there that he was sexually abused by staff and older boys over a three year period.

After his time at the Boy’s School he basically lived a life of crime. By age 20 he was in jail on a number of robbery offences. Whilst inside he raped a young boy while holding a knife to his throat. The rest is history.

Rose West
Rose West was born to a paranoid schizophrenic father and a mother suffering from depression. She was sexually abused by her father from a young age. She was still being sexually abused by him even after she married Fred West.

She was responsible, alongside her husband, for the torture and murder of nine young women and for the murder of her eight year old daughter.

Clyde Barrow (Bonnie & Clyde)
Clyde Barrow’s family was extremely poor and at one stage could not even afford a tent to live in (living instead under a wagon). Clyde, and his bothers, engaged in petty crime and he was eventually imprisoned on a charge of auto theft.

What is not so well known is that Clyde was raped by other inmates whilst in prison. In the 18 months that he was in there he changed from being a petty thief to a dangerous criminal with a burning hatred for authority. One of his fellow inmates commented that Clyde changed from a ‘schoolboy to a rattlesnake’.

Clyde, and Bonnie Parker, were responsible for the deaths of nine police officers and four civilians. Such are the effects of violent sexual abuse.

Aileen Wuornos
Aileen Wuornos was responsible for the murder of seven men. She was executed in October 2002.

Her mother was just 16 when Wuornos was born (and only 14 when her brother Keith was born). Her father, who Wuornos never met, was a schizophrenic who was imprisoned for raping a 7 year old girl. After being abandoned by her mother Wuornos was sent to live with her alcoholic grandparents. Her grandfather repeatedly sexually abused and beat her. She began engaging in sexual activity at school at the age of 11 and was also having sex with her brother. She became pregnant at age 14 after being raped by a family friend.

Her life from then on spiralled into petty crime, suicide attempts (6 attempts in eight years), alcohol/drug abuse, increasing acts of violence and finally murder.

Adolph Hitler
With a reputation as the most hated man in history Hitler was directly responsible for the deaths of over 6 million Jews, almost 15 million military personnel and over 32 million civilians.

Hitler’s father was a brutal disciplinarian with an outspoken hatred of the Jews. As a child Hitler was regularly beaten by his father and it is believed that his hatred of the Jews was a set of beliefs passed on from father to son by the fathers incessant rantings. Hitler’s mother was described by psychologist Alice Miller as being almost incapable of forming a relationship with him.

Emotionally abandoned, physically and psychologically abused Hitler then went on to learn the craft of killing during his time as a soldier in the trenches of WW1. It was this mix of childhood abuse, battlefield experiences and his seething hatred of the Jews that led to the unspeakable horror of the concentration camps and the wholesale slaughter that was WW2.