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The Story of Rebekah

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    This paper is going to look at the Story of Rebekah and her twins, a mail order bride who believed that getting married to a westerner would be her escape from poverty. As the social worker that is working with this client, certain things that I would look for in this particular case would be the biological, social and psychological milestones developed in children by the age of one. I would also look into law that was created for mail order brides established after World War Two, which was predominantly used for soldiers that fought overseas and wanted to bring their foreign spouse to the States. Personally, I do not agree with the mail order bride law that can now be seen as human trafficking and exploitation of women.

    The Story of Rebekah begins with an ad that was posted for a mail order bride, meaning men could now search through ads or the internet to look for brides or partners. The man that Rebekah got involved with was a 58 year-old that had a history of domestic violence. He had three previous marriages and had previously spent a year in jail for a domestic violence case between him and his last wife; he was also an alcoholic but told Rebekah that he was a changed man. Dealing with poverty in her home country Rebekah saw this as an opportunity to escape but she was not in the ideal situation. Per the immigration marriage law, the couple had 90 days to get married once Rebekah was brought over to the states.

    A month after she arrived they got married, and a year later they got pregnant with twins and the physical, emotional and verbal abuse began. Being an immigrant Rebekah did not speak English therefore, she could not obtain a job and with no family around her she relied completely on her abusive husband. Although she was constantly locked in the house she was able to escape the home one day with her twins. While reading the case of Rebekah there were quite a few concerns that I had, the first being that a 58-year-old man was choosing a woman to be his wife out of a magazine, he was an alcoholic with three failed previous marriages and who also had a record of domestic violence.

    According to the Raising Children Network “the first five years of a child’s life are critical for development” (RCN 2018). Biologically, at this stage in their lives children’s brains are developing and creating the connection between the things that they see, hear, touch, and taste. During a traumatic event the brain goes into a “state of fear-related activation” (Perry, B& Marcellus, J), causing it to make changes in emotional, behavioral and cognitive functioning. This can cause the child to develop anxiety, behavioral impulsivity and it can furthermore increase the chances of the child emerging mood problems, and attentional issues that can later cause distress in their lives according to Dr. Bruce Perry. At the age of one twins should be able to crawl very well and possibly are walking, they are very explorative and reach around their environment (Zastrow, Ashman 2019). I would look for specific characteristics like are the children able to move their heads, do they have stranger anxiety and do they recognize faces. Socially one year olds are gaining communication and language skills, movement and physical developments and emotional developments.

    According to Rhonda Walter Md, children of this age should be able to say one or two words and wave goodbye. Children this age tend to enjoy laughing and seeking attention, and they begin to parallel play (Healthwise, 2018). Toddlers growing up in an environment where their mother is constantly getting abused can cause the children to experience high levels of distress, causing them to be unsettling and more difficult to soothe (Health& Human Services). During the first year of life, according to Erikson’s oral stage of psychosocial development, an infant can go through the predicament of “Trust vs Mistrust”. McLeod, a psychologist at the University of Manchester, speaks about how during this particular stage in a child’s life they are developing their sense of trust, so being in an environment where “the care has been harsh or inconsistent, unpredictable and unreliable, then the infant will develop a sense of mistrust and low self-confidence” (McLeod 2018).

    As a social worker, looking over Rebekah’s case one of the essential things would be to check on the physical, emotional and psychological status of the twins as well as hers. For Rebekah being married was the only thing that was keeping her from getting deported back to her home country. She depended completely on her husband because she spoke poor English and could not get a job, he threatened her both physically and emotionally. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline leaving is a very difficult decision for the victim because the main thing about abuse is having power and control. Sarah Buel who has worked with abused women for over 30 years’ states that without the proper resources or even access to another location, to the victim it may seem impossible to leave the relationship (Buel, 2013). In an article featured in Psychology today, “emotional abuse is more psychologically harmful than the physical abuse” (Lahlah 2013). Emotional abuse tends to happen more constantly compared to physical abuse and it also tends to be more personal. Being locked in the house and having the constant threat of being deported could be seen as forms of emotional abuse that Rebekah endured.

    Some concerns that would be raised are how the twins developed and reacted in a hostile environment. In an article written by the Human Health Services, trauma has a serious effect on toddlers; it can disrupt important aspects of child development (Health Human Services). These disruptions can cause a child to develop anxiety; they can be affected by loud noises and foster separation anxiety.

    The Mail Order Bride law also known as the War Brides Act of 1945 was established was typically used for soldiers returning from Europe to bring back their foreign spouses and be able to surpass the U.S. immigration law (Carney 2015). This act allowed the number of immigrants that were allowed in the country to change drastically, “The official number of foreign-born war brides was listed at 115,00 in 1945” (Carney 2015). I believe that in today’s society those agencies are used more towards exploiting poor women. Shalie Holway wrote about how there is a higher chance of domestic violence in mail-order-bride marriages, also known as marriage immigration. Mail-order-brides can also be another form of human trafficking, which is the “exploitation of a person through force, fraud or coercion for labor or commercial sex against their will (Human Trafficking)”. Women that advertise themselves believe that getting a western husband is an easy way to get out of poverty in the country that they are from, but even with the use of agencies it is a high chance that the women would be put into harsh situations.

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    The Story of Rebekah. (2022, Mar 10). Retrieved from

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