Friday, May 15, 2009

The Hell That Was Steven Green's Childhood

by Pa Rock
Social Worker

Last Saturday in a post entitled The Worst Person in the World I discussed the awful crimes committed by Private Steven Green and some of his fellow soldiers while they were stationed in Iraq in 2006. Green led his buddies in a late evening raid on an Iraqi home with the sole goal of raping the teenage girl who lived there. He began the evening by murdering her little sister and their parents, then he and one of the others raped their selected victim, and they rounded out the night by killing the pretty fourteen-year-old and burning her body. In that article I made the following educated guess / prediction:

Though it has not been reported in the press, be assured that Steven Green was seriously abused as a child, physically without doubt - and probably sexually as well. Children aren't born bad - ever. They are often taught to behave badly by those who are entrusted with their care. A brutalized child learns to cower in weakness or to lash out against anything that gets in his way. A child who is repeatedly raped learns to fear sex, or use it to survive, or to use it as a weapon. Every child, and each of us, is a product of our life experiences.

Well, sadly I was right.

Green was found guilty of rape and murder last week in Federal Court in Paducah, Kentucky. This week the sentencing phase of his trial began. That is the part where others are allowed to put in their two-cents worth on what should be the fate of the evil Mr. Green. The defense was busy calling witnesses who could conceivably help convince the Court not to sentence their client to death.

Yesterday witnesses were called who testified to the circumstances of Steven Green's youth. He was described as being the middle child in a very dysfunctional family. His mother hadn't wanted him and often disparaged him in public. Father left when Steven was four, and at age 9 he was diagnosed ADD and placed on medications. The social worker who interviewed family members for the Court said that she doubted the mother, a barmaid who had little interest in parenting, administered his medications properly. The parenting was primarily left to the older brother who often beat Steven to the point of injury - one time causing his head to swell "like a pumpkin."

Steven Green was physically abused as a child. He was beaten by an older brother, and who knows what he suffered at the hands of mother's visiting male friends as well as an eventual step-father. But I also predicted that he had been sexually abused. That may not come out, but I hope that it does because the sexual abuse is an important component into the animal that this child eventually became. The reason the sexual abuse may not surface is that Steven, while currently locked in a cage and facing the likelihood of execution, is still a macho creature, and it is very difficult for someone struggling so hard to be a real man to come to terms with the reality of rape - not the rape of some nameless Iraqi girl, but the rape of himself. "Real" men don't let things like that happen to them, regardless of their age, and if it does happen to them the results, without good treatment, can stretch across a lifetime. One result can be the objectification of women, and another can be a penchant for violence and cruelty. Sound familiar?

Steven Green could have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of any man who was a part of his mother's life - a boyfriend or a trusted relative. It is even possible that his abuser was a woman. And then there's the older brother. Incest among brothers happens far more often that is commonly thought, especially when there is a power differential and one is literally in control of the other. A guy who routinely beats his little brother to the point of injury probably wouldn't hesitate to screw him.

There are more facets to Steven Green's sad tale than we have yet been given. Frankenstein's monster wasn't born evil - he was made that way by the hands of man.

I'm not seeking mercy for Steven. The nature of his crimes make it unlikely that he could ever be rehabilitated. But maybe, from afar at least, we can have a small bit of compassion for this child that was shaped into an adult by awful circumstances - because there, but for the grace of God, go each of us.

No comments: