And now, I read about a similar thing happening to someone else.
For quite some time, I've been following Michael Schofield over at Jani's Journey. On his blog, he writes about his daughter Jani, who suffers from severe mental illness.
I was absolutely floored when I read his post from yesterday where he wrote the following:
Since our story became public over two years ago, DCFS has received two claims about us…. from people who have never met any of us. There only knowledge of us comes from what they have seen on TV and/or what they have read on my blog.
Nonetheless, DCFS is obligated under law to investigate any claim, regardless of whether the claimant actually has met the family or children.
In this case, as soon as we heard the claim, we knew exactly who it was. We know because the language of the claim came directly from a conversation with one of our regular critics on Facebook, a woman by the name of Jen B (I will refrain from using her full name because then I would be no better than her). Jen B is the same person who uses the handle “WarriorMom” on the Amazon discussion page about my book, who has posted somewhere in the vicinity of 400 posts accusing me of abusing Jani, doing everything from taking my blog posts out of context to outright lies.
He went on to say more:
DCFS is concerned because Jen WarriorMom is not your average critic. She is a full on internet stalker. She invaded my private Facebook page under a false identity (causing me to shut it down). But what really scares the shit out me is this woman is hell bent on destroying my family. That’s not hyperbole. She wants Jani and Bodhi removed from our care and placed in foster care. She even has a website set up to this effect, arranging a network to “follow” Jani and Bodhi once they are removed from our care (apparently forgetting that privacy laws would prevent her from doing so). This woman is so convinced that I am evil that she wants my kids taken away from me.
This woman hates me more than my ex-girlfriends.
What Michael describes in his post is eerily similar to what happened to us during the summer of 2010. We learned that a private online community had been created for the express purpose of discussing us, our family, and any details people could scrape off the Internet about us. The group elected a single representative to make contact with our local child welfare authorities for the express purpose of making a report.
Interestingly enough, not a single person from that community had ever met us. They decided, based on what I'd written in my blog, that we were emotionally, physically and sexually abusing our child.
The solution to the problem suggested by our social worker is the same as what has been suggested to Michael Schofield. We were told to stop writing about our family and our child on the Internet. Of course the abuse allegations were ruled to be unfounded, as we weren't abusing our kid, but the whole experience was pretty scary. I went on hiatus for several months, and came back with this blog, though I share a lot less than what I did on my original.
Now I should probably point out that I don't personally know Michael Schofield. I have never met the man, nor do I have any kind of online relationship with him. I just find it rather creepy that someone I don't know has had nearly the same experience that we did.
It disgusts me to realize that there are people out there in the world who think it is their job to make false reports to DCFS against people they don't even know.
What a sick, sick world we live in.