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A child's story

Posted on 2010.07.07 at 04:49
I followed a link on facebook to a video about child abuse. It was one girl's story. I tried to let it go with the tears, but I can't. So I searched. I found two songs, Concrete Angel and Alyssa Lies. While the imagery in Concrete Angel is more uplifting, it wasn't as powerful to me as Alyssa Lies. I think everyone should have to watch those videos.

In reading about child abuse cases, Baby P, Baby Brianna, Baby Kelsey...the statistics are unfathomable. How, HOW can a parent abuse their child like this? How did people's hearts turn so dark?

Were these parents' born that way? Are they the serial killers and rapists that just weren't "smart" enough to slip through the cracks? Are there signs we have missed as they grew up?

WHY? Why is it with every case people know the abuse, suspect the abuse, document the abuse...but do NOTHING!? How could you as a social worker, teacher, or doctor turn the other way? How could you as a HUMAN BEING turn your back?

Aren't we all charged with the sanctity of human life? Do people no longer think about people outside themselves and what could happen to them? Is it the fear? Is it the inconvenience of talking to police and investigators multiple times? Do we as society value LIFE so little?

People may say I'm getting on my high horse...what does she do; I'll tell you what I've DONE. I've called social services because a former student (7th grader) of mine came to visit and I saw razor blades up her arm. The counselors at her school said they had looked into it and would handle it. I called back and went to have a meeting but they said they didn't have time. So I went to social services--because no one else would!! For fuck's sake, she had new and old woulds up her arms and always wore long sleeves. And you know, that was five years ago. She came back to visit me at the end of school last year. She's looking at college and going to get a scholarship on her viola.

Another student, this time one of my fourth graders. He was already on the social services list. He signed up for strings. I'll never forget the day he came in and kept hiding under desks. I asked his teacher and she explained he was abused and was not back home after being shifted around but they think the uncle is getting out of prison. This NINE YEAR OLD boy comes in one day, as I'm documenting his behavior, and is oddly calm. His teacher and I have both called about him, but social services said the matter was finished. I turn around and he had taken the wire from a spiral bound notebook in the room and was twisting it around his neck. I told him to give me the wire. He said why and started to tighten it. I said give it to me, (name). Just give me the wire, you won't be in trouble. He gave it to me. I told the principal and she said to write a letter. She said since I was the one it happened to and if I wrote a letter, social services would be forced to investigate. So I did. The social worker came up saying he seemed fine. My comments, "He is NOT fine. He had a wire around his throat! Whether it was attention or real doesn't matter. He NEEDS help." All I know is he was move around again and I never saw him. I pray that he is with people who love him and is alive and well.

WHY WHY WHY?? Why did the social worker think he was okay? If he isn't around the boy enough why not LISTEN to what those who were had to say? WHY? So many times it ends in death and for those who survive the scars can be horrible--especially if NO ONE acts. Has humanity lost that much of itself? Have we become so selfish we can't FEEL the suffering of others?

Someone once told me, "You can't save them all and if you try you're going to burn out." Well maybe I am a bit burnt out, but dammit, I did what I knew was right and I'll keep doing it as long as I am able. My family would say, why you? Why not? If not me, who else? If we keep expecting someone else to act, the abuse and suffering continues. THAT I can't sit by and knowingly watch. Can you?

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