Some of you may or may not heard about this story. A video has been circulating the Interwebs recently, depicting a 16-year-old girl being hit with a belt by her father and mother. It turns out that the father is Judge William Adams, a judge in Aransas County, Texas.
According to the description posted with the video, the 16-year-old girl, Hillary Adams, recorded her abuse in 2004. She was being punished for illegally downloading games and music from the Internet onto her home computer. Hillary has ataxic cerebral palsy, which makes her disabled. Also according to the video description, her mother was “severely manipulated” in participating in the abuse of the young girl.
Here’s the video. WARNING: THIS VIDEO DOES INCLUDE SOME PRETTY GRIM VIOLENCE, SO IF YOU’RE SENSITIVE TO THIS KIND OF THING, DO NOT WATCH IT.
Look, far be it for me to be unsympathetic toward child abuse, but this story raises a lot of questions.
1) She recorded the video herself. This means that she actually had the time to set up a camera in the corner of her room to capture her abuse. It also demonstrates a certain level of preparedness, like she knew he was going to beat her. So did she plan it this way?
2) How did neither of her parents notice the camera? From the framing, there was nothing to block the view, below or above. It’s also fairly close to the action and level enough to be seen. How did they not see it?
3) It sure doesn’t sound like the mother was “severely manipulated” in participating. In fact, it sounds like she’s agreeing most of the time with her husband.
4) This video was shot in 2004 — seven years ago. She was 16 at the time, meaning she’s been of legal age for five years already. If the abuse is as bad as it looks, it stands to reason that she would have left the house the minute she turned 18. So why did she wait seven years to upload the video to the Internet? She’s already (presumably) been out of this house for five years now. Was it simply to get revenge on her judge father? If she really wanted to ruin his reputation so badly, she could have gone to a child protection agency with the video the minute after she took that it, while she was still a minor. Then she could have escaped him two years earlier than she legally could have otherwise. But instead she decided to wait until she was 23 and upload the video to YouTube and ruin him on a grand public scale. Now the judge is receiving death threats on the daily, in addition to facing the threat of losing his job.
They say that there are three sides to every story, but every journalist worth his/her salt knows that there are far more. There are multiple facets to this story, more than represented in this video. And I have a million questions for all of those sides.
The content of the video looks genuine, and I sympathize with the girl for that, I really do. But like I said, her actions are questionable and I’m willing to bet the consequences that stem from the publication of this video will be more than she imagined.