Wednesday, October 31, 2012

An Open Letter to Taffi Dollar, the Mother of an (allegedly) abused teenaged daughter


Date:    June 12, 2012
To:        Taffi Dollar
From:    Deborrah Cooper
Re:        Creflo Dollar's Arrest for Child Abuse 

Though we have never met Mrs. Dollar, we have two very important things in common… we are both black women, and we are both mothers of daughters.  I believe that makes us and millions of other black women more alike than dissimilar, and it is on the basis of those similarities that I am writing to you. Creflo Dollar wife Taffi Dollar child abuse Lauren Dollar
In front of me lies a copy of a Fayette County Sheriff’s Office report. The report recounts the events which took place at your home on Friday, June 8th 2012 between your 50-year-old husband Creflo and your 15-year-old daughter Lauren. The reporting officer was quite thorough. It seems Officer Everett took extra care to be so, probably due to the celebrity status of the accused perpetrator. 
I’m sure none of this is easy for you, Lauren or Alexandria, and it’s probably very confusing for the rest of the children as well. I’m positive even your extended family is filled with shock, dismay and fear of possible changes coming due to this accusation. Those are all things to think about at some point, but my primary focus right now is on Alexandria and Lauren. As a Mom, it is very easy for me to see them both as my own children, which is why I have to ask you some hard questions. 
Let’s just get to the point: What are you doing, Taffi? Why are you protecting Creflo and allowing your daughters to be condemned by the world as belligerent, wild, liars, troublemakers and tools of Satan? Why are you not speaking up to counter those claiming your daughters are out to destroy their father by calling the cops? How can you stand idly by and allow Creflo’s violent temper and controlling behavior to terrorize your children? 
Yes, I know of your husband’s world fame and mass fortune. I understand that this happened in your home and that you might consider this a private matter; however, the fact that your husband is a world-famous public and religious figure removes any possibility of privacy. Reality is that Creflo and your entire family are considered public figures, which makes you unable to escape public scrutiny. What happened in your house that evening is the business of every African American, every Christian that follows Creflo, and every person curious about what steps the law will take in this matter. 
Sitting Creflo’s fame aside, let’s look at this matter as if his name were really Michael Smith, and he was any other father in a physical altercation with his 15-year-old daughter 
  1. It’s completely normal for a 15-year-old girl to want to go to a party, be with her friends, and to begin exploring the opposite sex. It is also normal for a father to tell his daughter that since her grades are not up to par she cannot attend fun events (like a party) until next report card. It is totally normal for a father to ground his daughter until grades show marked improvement. However, let’s look at the calendar. This is mid-June, when schools around the country are out for summer vacation. Kids Lauren’s age are having graduation parties and year-end "whoo hoo we’re out of school" bashes. Since students won’t be returning to school for months, there is really no need to worry about grades until school resumes in the late summer. If the child’s grades show her to be worriedly behind, why not secure tutoring over the summer to make sure her grades are up to par by fall? Not attending one party is not going to make her grades improve by September. Why not drive her to the party and pick her up two hours later on the dot. She would be grateful that she was allowed to attend and make a "brief showing," but she wouldn’t be there as long as she wanted. Parenting is not always focusing on punishing but showing your child that there are repercussions for their behavior.

  2. Repercussions and punishment do not include putting a female in a chokehold or body slamming her to the floor. According to the Deputy’s report, your husband followed your daughter into the kitchen after she chose to deescalate their ‘argument’ by removing herself from his presence. Yet, he trailed after her looking for trouble. He’d already won – she wasn’t going to the party. Crying tears of disappointment, frustration, perhaps even anger at herself for not doing better in school, Lauren was away from your husband. She was in a space where she could commiserate with her sister. What else is there for Creflo to say to the child when he’d already won the battle? So why ask her why she was crying when he already knew? It seemed he was just being a bully, looking for a fight with someone smaller and weaker. He came into the kitchen to taunt your daughter and to vent his rage.

  3. Charging across the room to put his hands on your daughter’s throat, bending her over a table, punching her, then beating her with his shoe? This is a young lady with a woman’s body – breasts, buttocks and hips. Why would her own father assault her in such a way? Why would he bend her over a table and throw her on the floor, placing himself in positions of sexual dominance while he beats her? Don’t you think such a reaction is over the top, distastefully aggressive and more similar to a jealous and possessive boyfriend than a father?

  4. Why did you not come to investigate what was going on when you certainly heard all the commotion? I’m wondering why you didn’t intervene long before Alexandria had to fetch you. You told the police that you didn't SEE anything, but long before you physically entered the room, you certainly HEARD something. However, you conveniently neglected to volunteer that information to the responding Deputy. Even after coming into the room to see your daughter lying on the floor in the aftermath of a violent attack, your reaction was shockingly serene. That tells me that you are conditioned to such acts, and that violence in your home is normalized for you. That is why you didn’t bother coming to see what was amiss. That is why neither you nor Alexandria called 9-1-1. However Lauren, tired of being treated like a dog, had enough and sought help outside the clan. I applaud her bravery and sense of self-preservation. 
About Domestic Violence and Abuse of Black Children 
Domestic violence and child abuse (emotional, verbal, physical and sexual) are not uncommon occurrences in the black community; it’s just not talked about. At all. 
It’s interesting how many women think that only ghetto thugs and low lives beat on women. The batterer is often the man no one suspects because he is a pillar of the community - well respected, and successful. Men and women alike believe such a man is too educated, wealthy, and too on the ball to hit women. It is not uncommon for the wives of judges, attorneys, doctors, ministers and pastors, professors and even police officers to be terrorized by their husbands with threats of or actual violence on a regular basis.
Sexual abuse of young black girls is also common and normalized in the black community. According to a survey of more than 300 women conducted by Black Women’s Blueprint, sixty percent of Black girls have experienced sexual abuse before the age of 18. Department of Justice figures estimate that for every white female that reports being raped, at least 5 white women do not report theirs.
For black women the figures are even more depressing, with a 1:15 ratio (this means that for every one black woman that reports a rape to law enforcement, 15 others stay silent). Most often the female victims feel that no one will believe them, or that they will be blamed for being assaulted, so they don't report the crime. Black women also get guilt tripped into silence by their family and community, deterred from reporting a sexual assault lest she be accused of “sending another black man to jail when we already have enough black men locked up.”
For these reasons it's common for black women to turn their backs on victims of child molestation or physical violence, refusing to acknowledge that the girls in their family are being abused. By refusing to acknowledge abuse, black women effectively eliminate all reasons to do something about it. Instead, black women protect abusers and accuse the victim of "wanting it," being in the wrong place, wearing the wrong clothing, asking for it, teasing the guy, being "fast," or of not being Christian enough. There are dozens of tools used by black women to make young black girls feel responsible for being victimized by an older, powerful adult black male. Should the crime be discovered and an arrest made, it is not unusual for black women to protect the rapist or molester, covering up for him with lies and demanding that the female victim go along with their story. 
Black Women Contribute to Sexual Assaults of Teens 
What does this teach men? It teaches black men that they have power and are immune to prosecution… that they don’t have to be accountable or responsible to women and girls. Just blame the female and the other women will fall in line and blame her too, letting you off the hook. Very often the black woman will eliminate a sexually abused child from her life, even her own daughter, to keep the man around. Such codependent protective behavior by black women keeps a large number of violent men and sexual abusers circulating unchecked in the black community. 
This is especially common when the man involved is a man of means and influence, like a pastor. Religious black women worship their pastors; in their eyes their pastor can do no wrong. So when a young black girl is victimized by a popular and well-loved black spiritual leader, even if he is her own father, black women care nothing about her. Black women instead rally around to support and protect the BLACK MALE, leaving the child to be revictimized by the same or other perpetrators because they know she has no protector.
I’m saddened to see that you apparently operate under the same belief system. You have fallen silent, refusing to come forward to validate your daughters and provide them with your support and motherly protection. What is it that you are so afraid of Taffi? 
Growing up and living in an environment of abuse teaches children that violence between men and women is normal, acceptable behavior. Violence against a female child perpetrated by her father is especially horrific. Daddy is a little girl’s first love, the standard by which she measures all relationships with men as an adult. If the relationship with her father is twisted, inappropriately sexual, or violent, a girl will be doomed to experience unhealthy relationships with men throughout her life. 
Your daughter revealed on the 9-1-1 call that this incident of choking and hitting wasn’t the first time Creflo had done such a thing to her. The fact that millions of black women grew up in environments filled with violence, physical and sexual abuse is evident all over the web in posts about this case. Typical responses by females: 
“If she needs a pop back to reality, then give it to her!”
“Beat her butt good and make it worth your while to go to jail!”
“My grandmother raised me and what this kid got for what she did would have been like a ‘time out’ for me!”
“I would whoop her ass for calling the cops on me!”
“Creflo you cannot leave any marks, that is what the officers told me. So slightly hurt and superficial injuries means you did good!”

Black women’s willing acceptance of vile behavior by black men towards children and women is frightening. There is a deep seated sickness and an apparent need for emotional and physical pain in black women that I don’t understand. Black women romanticize violence against them, which means they won’t have a problem doing the same when violence is levied against their offspring. Your family’s situation has brought the sickness to the surface. All change begins at home, and that is where you must start Taffi. 
In spite of the fact that Creflo set himself up as a spiritual leader and someone to emulate, your husband beat your daughter down like any street pimp does a ho that has been holding out on him. After experiencing and/or witnessing repeated violence, it would be impossible for you or anyone in your family to be angry at a boyfriend or husband that pounded on Lauren or Alexandria. Though Creflo is the abuser, your silence makes you a willing participant in the violence against the girls… you are what the police call “an accessory.” You modeled tolerance and acceptance of this attack by covering up for and defending Creflo Dollar, an alleged man of God. 

Food for Thought:
If a man of God would do such things to his own babies, what might he do to someone else’s when their parents weren’t looking? Parents of daughters about Lauren’s age that are around your husband really need to think about that. Don’t be surprised if Lauren’s call to the police gives other young ladies in your congregation the courage to step forward and share information that has previously been a well kept secret. Brace yourself, because the spiritual tide is turning and it is not turning in Creflo’s favor.

With all this said what I want to ask you Taffi is to please see that your daughters get needed psychotherapy. I understand the importance of a woman in your position presenting the face of a good Christian family, a family that is together and perfect. I understand that as the wife of a world famous pastor you are used to living a very high level lifestyle, and that a divorce or certain revelations would cause you shame and embarrassment. 
But worrying about those are things means you are thinking with your pride, and that greed, not love is your motivator. You must not worry about what it will ‘look like’ to other people, but instead about your daughter’s mental and emotional health. 
You must not worry about Creflo; he got himself into this mess, he can worry about how to get himself out. 
You must not worry about your marriage, but instead what you can do to help your child. 
It is not the time to worry about how to save face Taffi, but instead about how to save your daughter.

Best,
Deborrah Cooper
Relationship Expert and Author of
The Black Church: Where Women Pray and Men PreyLog onto www.womenpraymenprey.com or
www.survivingdating.com


With proper attribution, permission is granted to copy this letter in its entirety and repost it on your website or blog. Please create a clickable hotlink back to this site (www.womenpraymenprey.com) or the dating site Surviving Dating (www.survivingdating.com). Thank you for sharing this vital message with your readers.