Couple Faces Murder Charges – Buried Child Not Dog

The following story is a prime example of why we need to make enough noise to get children the help they need.  Telling ourselves “someone else took care of it,” “someone else reported, “or “there was an Investigation and the case was closed so there must not have been abuse,” are not good arguments or excuses for not reporting. 

The laws and lack of funding are such that children are left in the home and continued to be sexually, or otherwise abused.  The reason, we are not supplying the authorities with the information they need.  We do not know how the system works.  We do not know the facts.  This is a fact: It takes a mountain of information to help these children.  Therefore, we have to speak out, even if we only know one scary or questionable act about a child.  (Telling me, a friend, or someone else is not doing your job.)  In one case there are five people who know or have strong suspicions about sexual abuse of a child, and have for years.  Instead, these adults have chosen to either cover for the parent, protect themselves, their kids, or their careers.  The child has had cases opened and closed, but the authorities do not have enough evidence, other than the child’s own words to go into court and remove the child. 

In answer to your unspoken question, yes, the authorities have this information.  However, tht information came from a third party and not the actual person with the knowledge.  What they do not have is enough people calling in or filing online reports to take action.  In this instance of the five adults, two denied their knowledge, even though they had told others. (Three of which are educators, one works in the medical field and all are mandatory reporters.)  Of the three educators, one denied making statements about the child’s abuse and the other two educators modified the child’s behavior.  The authorities may have strong “reason to believe” the child is being harmed.  However, the authorities cannot force someone with knowledge to give them that information so they can help the child.  The best they can do is give “strong recommendations” telling the parent to keep the child away from certain people.  (By law, the authorities are not allowed to share that information with others, even close family members.) 

Here’s the bigger point, if I know five adults withholding information in one case, how many do you know?  Multiply that by a nation.  No wonder we have such a huge problem.  It takes a village, and our village is a bit dysfunctional.  We can change that, one person at a time.  These five adults could make a difference and choose not to, even when asked by the authorities.  I have to wonder how many people suspected abuse of the child in the following case and chose not to report?    JDP

http://www.wlwt.com/news/local-news/eastern-counties/ky-couple-facing-murder-charge-for-child-buried-in-highland-co/-/13603662/21364980/-/13aq8g1/-/index.html

How to Report:  https://www.childwelfare.gov/responding/how.cfm

 

Silence & Shame

     As John Cusack says in the 2001 film, Serendipity, “…the universe keeps revealing her to me.”  That statement can also describe my involvement in changing attitudes, invoking greater awareness of the facts, and encouraging societal action to prevent sexual crimes against children.  The epidemic proportions of these crimes, the legislative issues regarding leniency of penalties, and the continued choice by a large part of society to ignore, deny, and take an apathetic role kept revealing themselves to me.  I did not choose this path of advocacy, it chose me; it kept choosing me until made a choice to listen and take action.  So can you.  It would seem researcher and public speaker, Brene Brown had her path selected for her too.

     In her book Daring Greatly, Brene Brown says,  “I didn’t set out to be a wild-eyed shame evangelist or a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, but after spending the past decade studying the corrosive effect that shame has on how we live, love, parent, work, and lead, I’ve found myself practically screaming from the top of my lungs, ‘Yes, shame is tough to talk about.  But the conversation isn’t nearly as dangerous as what we’re creating with our silence!” (Brown 62)  She is right.  Silence is a problem.  Silence does not make the issue go away.  Silence empowers the predators.  Silence provides children to these predators.  Until we learn to listen, believe, and support victims or survivors the predators win, and so does Shame. 

     Brown further explains, “Shame thrives on secret keeping, and when it comes to secrets there’s some serious science behind the twelve-step program saying, ‘You’re only as sick as your secrets.’  In a pioneering study, psychologist and University of Texas professor James Pennebaker and his colleagues studied what happened when trauma survivors-specifically rape and incest survivors-kept their experiences secret.  The research team found that the act of not discussing a traumatic event or confiding it to another person could be more damaging than the actual event.  Conversely, when people shared their stories and experiences, their physical health improved, their doctor’s visits decreased, and they showed significant decreases in their stress hormones.  (Brown 82)

     If a minor reveals their abuse to you, if you suspect abuse, if you are uncertain of what to do, go online, or pick up the phone and call information to locate someone who does.  First, Please, Listen…Believe…Support…

JDP

Suggested terms to use in your search:

  • sexual crimes against children
  • free counseling services  (your city)
  • child abuse counseling services (your city)
  • child abuse hotline
  • child welfare
  • mandatory reporters
  • how to talk to my child about sexual abuse

Also, this blog has a book review section about abuse.  If you would like a particular book reviewed, please send the information through the comment section.

 Brown, Brene, PhD., LMSW  Daring Greatly 2012

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