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Woman locked teenage daughter at home for 10 years

Davey

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Woman locked teenage daughter at home for 10 years

FUKUOKA -- A woman under arrest for inflicting bodily injury on her daughter locked the teenage girl in their home here for more than 10 years until late October, preventing the victim from attending school, it was learned Tuesday.

The municipal board of education and the school the girl was enrolled in were aware that she had been absent from school, and officials and teachers occasionally visited her home in a bid to persuade her to attend school. However, they failed to take any particular action to fundamentally solve the problem.

The girl's 40-year-old mother hit her on the afternoon of Oct. 28 for watching television without permission, leaving her with bodily injuries. The girl, now 18, escaped from her home in Hakata-ku, and was living at parks until she was rescued by police on Nov. 1. The girl suffered wounds that took 10 days to heal and is now hospitalized for a medical check-up.

Her mother is under arrest for inflicting bodily injury.

When the girl was 9 years old, the Fukuoka Municipal Board of Education instructed the elementary school she was enrolled in to persuade the girl to attend school.

Her homeroom teacher and the principal of the school began to regularly visit her home when she was a sixth-grader. Each time, however, her mother told them that she was staying at a relative's home and prevented them from meeting her.

The school and the board did not know anything about the girl's health condition and her daily life.

When teachers at the school asked the girl's brother and sister about her, they refused to reply, officials said.

In September 2001, officials from the board, the school and the municipal child guidance center consulted over how to respond to the situation. They then chose to continue to visit her home without notifying police on the grounds that they would be charged with trespassing if they forcibly entered her home. Through these visits they were able to contact her mother.

The board of education is poised to take action to integrate the girl into society.

"Because she never left home, I don't think the neighbors even knew she existed. We'll consult with the child guidance center to determine measures to respond to the problem, such as choosing a home for her," Hiroki Tokunaga, head of the board's school affairs division, said. (Mainichi)

Crazy to lock your child 10 years☝
 

misa.j

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That's crazy.

Some people should not even consider having a child.
I can't imagine how traumatized the girl must be.
 

Tokis-Phoenix

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Geez, it must be really hard for her getting back into normal society as she's been living in a warped bubble for the last decade of her life- but better that than living with her mum. Then again her mum must be really wrong in the head herself to do that to her own child, probably needs some serious conselling herself :unsure: .
 

MajideSaiaku

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Thats just not cricket, i hope they throw the book at her mother.
 

MeAndroo

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What's really screwed up is how the brother and sister said and did nothing. I can't imagine leaving my sister locked in the house for 10 years, even if it were my mother doing the locking.
 

Kinsao

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☝ ☝ ☝
I hope her siblings also get some counselling - they must've been under a helluva lot of pressure/fear from the mom not to say anything.
 

kirei_na_me

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How the hell could they brush off a child who hadn't been to school in ten years? I mean, really. If someone would've tried that around here, the child would've been in Social Services' custody after missing school ten days, much less ten years. What a botched up system.
 

Elizabeth

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It is unbelievably screwed up for school officials to be more afraid of the police and getting arrested for trespassing than the childrens' welfare. I can only imagine how much of this at a lower level goes on every day....
 

lastmagi

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Elizabeth said:
It is unbelievably screwed up for school officials to be more afraid of the police and getting arrested for trespassing than the childrens' welfare. I can only imagine how much of this at a lower level goes on every day....

I agree.

Personally, I found that articles like these rarely talk about past pathological problems. This may have been touched upon before, and escaped my attention (sorry), but do pathological problems not get the attention they need in Japan? It'd be interesting to research how such people are treated in Japan. Or is it a matter of little media interest until the problem turns into some sensational news item such as this? Or is it something else entirely?
 

Mars Man

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Yes, most sad indeed. I read an article about in the Yomiuri Daily this morning. I have seen things like this from time to time, and tend to think that the later of your concerns there, lastmagi, would be truer than many would want to accept. Surely some things are done; in fact I do an article on hand about those who work in the social services to handle similar cases, but it seems that it is a very 'undercurrent' of social problems, thus getting virtually no attention by the press.
 
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Davey

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We are not Finished yet.

Case of girl locked in home for over a decade raises social questionsFUKUOKA -- An 18-year-old girl who was locked in her home for over 11 years without attending elementary school or junior high school attended a day-care center when she was an infant, but was pulled out because she had trouble fitting in, it has been learned.

The girl's mother, who was arrested on suspicion of inflicting injuries on her daughter, apparently decided to educate the girl herself after she left the center.

The mother reportedly said she decided to educate the girl at home because she was embarrassed about her slow development (brought on by a disability).

If abuse is suspected at a home, child consultation centers are legally entitled to enter the home and take the child into custody, but no such searches were taken with the 18-year-old girl.

The Fukushima Municipal Board of Education and a child consultation center in the city talked about how to deal with the girl in September 2001, and considered searching the home, but they were unable to confirm that any abuse had taken place and were consequently unable to conduct a search.

Accordingly, the center left the issue of the girl aside until she had reached the age when she would have graduated from junior high school.

"There were fears that if we searched the home and there was no abuse, we would be sued," a center official said.

The local bodies' stance raised questions.

"Were the local government, school and social workers really cooperating?" a Fukuoka Prefectural Police official asked.

The 18-year-old girl has an older brother and sister, but they have already left home, and the girl had been living alone with her parents. The family had hardly any contact with those around them, and residents living in the same apartment block said they never imagined the girl existed.

Social workers visited the girl's home when she was about the age of a third- or fourth-year elementary school student, but her mother reportedly told them, "I'm doing things properly and there aren't any problems." Because of this, they were apparently unable to take any action.

Kenjiro Itami, head of a group in Fukuoka supporting parents of autistic children, said society could have contributed to the problem.

"The mother may have been shy and withdrawn," he said. "If society were to become a place where people could say 'a disorder is an individual characteristic,' then this sort of tragedy may not have occurred." (Mainichi)
 

Elizabeth

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Thanks for the update. It's already come to more than I've seen in the Japanese, even Fukuoka, press. From the one NHK article, evidentally there is no basis in law to book the mother for child abuse since she had been giving the girl food and textbooks. Instead she'll face charges of failing to cooperate with officials. So the social issues go to culture and law and I suppose it is easier to talk about the recent spate of child abductions and killings than something as bizarre as this.
 

Kinsao

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But the human being needs more than food and textbooks! ☝ We need social life and other humans to interact with (OK so some people can choose to retract themself from that, but that should be an own choice made at an age after growth and development as a person). If the mother physically cares for the girl, with food and drink, clothes, education, good living conditions etc., that's not 'abuse' in the way it's normally meant. But to cut off from other people and keep contained in the home... it is depriving of something fundamental to her mental development and therefore a way of abuse or maybe instead 'neglect'.

It sounds like the mother has mental problems herself (it must be, I think, for her to do this thing), so it is not a case for demonizing her but everyone involved needs help.
 

Glenn

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As horrible as that is, she had it better than Genie. She had all sorts of problems due to her isolation, such as lack of language and a strange walk from being tied into a chair.

Still, it's quite disturbing that there could be more than one of these cases in human history, much last the past half-century or so. Stories like this make me think of what Keanu Reeves's character said in "Parenthood": (paraphrase) "you know, you need a liscence to drive, a liscence to sell liquor, hell, you even need a liscence to fish. But they'll let any old bastard be a parent."
 

Tokis-Phoenix

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In respect to the Genie case she was very lucky, but i wonder what will happen to her now and how exactly will people go about trying to integrate her back into society or wether she will just become another special case of interest for psychologists and scientists to study and experiment on? And how do you go about "punishing" the mother for her deeds or taking any course of action? I think this is a grey area in society...
 

Glenn

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Genie is around 50 years old now and as far as I know she lives in southern California, perhaps with her mother. When she was found she was brought to a hospital where scientists monitored and studied her progress and tried to teach her a language, but after about a year her mother took her away from there. From what I've seen and read of her story she wasn't just another case for the scientists, though. They really did seem to have her best interest in mind.
 
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