The story seems like America's answer to the infamous Josef Fritzl case, in which an Austrian man imprisoned his daughter and fathered six children by her. America's answer to the Fritzl story is even more bizarre. Aswad Ayinde, 51, is accused of raping five of his daughters repeatedly over a five year period and impregnating three of them. A total of six children survived this series of crimes, which spanned a period of about 20 years and ended in 2002. The judge in the case has recently ruled that his ex wife can testify against her ex husband, despite laws restricting spousal testimony.
Isolation and brutality made the crimes possible. Ayinde rationalised his actions by saying that he and his family had been chosen to survive an apocolypse and that he was creating a "pure bloodline" from which the world would be populated. He is being held on 1 million dollars bail.
In a bizarre twist to the case, it turns out that Asawad Ayinde had a prior reputation not as a violent pervert but as a producer of music videos. His video "Killing Me Softly" by the Fugees ,
was featured on MTV, as reported on the Huffington Post blog.
There are plenty of questions for child welfare authorities in New Jersey, where the crimes took place. The Daily News reports as follows.
"His arrest prompted a probe by the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services to determine how the suspect allegedly turned his daughters into sex slaves without their knowing.
Some of the crimes allegedly occurred while the family was under scrutiny by the agency - and after the dad admitted to a 2000 attempt to snatch his children from a hospital while the state had temporary custody.
Prosecutors said Ayinde kept the kids from blabbing by beating them with wooden boards or kicking them with steel-toed boots.
"I was afraid to ever accuse him of being demented or being a pedophile," Beverly Ayinde, who married him in 1977, told the court. "I knew the word, but I wouldn't dare use it because it would result in a beating."
For the sake of future investigations, it needs to be asked what could be done to prevent future lost opportunities.What warning signs were there? And how could New Jersey child welfare authorities have broken the spell of intimidation that kept the mother of the abused children and the children themselves silent. Did the celebrity status of Aswad Ayinde play a role in more lenient treatment by state authorities?
How do you reach children who are in such a sealed environment? A child who goes to school with other children can compare experiences and realise that something is amiss in his or her home life. But what of a child who is in an isolated environment. Perhaps the key is the mother in this case, whose identity, like that of her children is being withheld from the public due to the nature of the crimes. Unlike her children, Aswad Ayinde's ex wife knew of life in homes other than the one in which she spent her married life. How do you reach such a person. We have 1 800 COP SHOT in New York City. Maybe therecould be a national rescue number with a toll free exchange and a number that spells out NO ABUSE.
How long after the divorce did the abuse continue? What could the wife have done after presumably she was out from under Ayinde's spell.
It is very difficult to use the term "alleged" in this criminal case. Six children are living and breathing testimony that terrible crimes were committed. Their DNA will say whatever they can not. Aswad Ayinde will likely spend the rest of his life around people who will not be as easy to intimidate as his family.
Forensic psychologists are going to have a multitude of questions about how abused women and children can be empowered to walk out of such situations as existed in the prison that Ayinde called a home. Perhaps the public discussion might bring other yet undiscovered cases to light.
The Ayinde family will need years of counseling to overcome the daily horror of their lives in their home. Perhaps in helping themselves, they might uncover emotional truths that could help others break free of domestic imprisonment. And perhaps the knowledge that they have helped others might provide them with healing and consolation. Sphere: Related Content