Okay, this is one of the few serious columns I write every year, but the subject has been weighing on my heart for a while.
An abused child. If this has been happening from the day he was born, he probably doesn’t know any other way of life. He expects to go to school every day with bumps and bruises; however, they are probably hidden under clothing. Abusers can be very clever that way. Don’t hit them where teachers or friends can see.
The child never tells anyone because he’s been threatened. These threats are also just a way of life to him. After all, these are his parents or another significant party in his life. This is normal, right?
It usually takes a trip to the emergency room and then the doctor or nurse must be observant enough to call the authorities. Teachers and counselors at schools are doing their best to recognize the signs but, more often than not, the child will vehemently deny he is being beaten. He almost always says he fell or that he’s very clumsy.
Excuse my language, but it takes real guts for these people to call child welfare or the police. Nightmare stories have come out about DFACS employees, but I know in my heart they’re not all like that. These people went into this line of work because they wanted to make a difference and discovered the overload was sometimes too hard to handle.
It has to be heartbreaking to visit a home where they know a young life is in danger, only to discover nothing can be done because the law will not permit it, in one way, shape or form. The general public is usually critical of those taking children from the home. “Look at that! Tearing the family apart! Who does that social worker think she is!”
I’ll tell you who she thinks she is. She has probably received several calls about beatings at that particular home. She is extremely concerned about the child in question. She really doesn’t care what people think of her at that moment. She is just doing her job, a necessary job. A very difficult job with no thanks from the general public.
I feel the same way about abused animals. People who don’t like dogs or cats or whatever type of pet they are thinking about getting should never have one. Do you honestly believe that this animal will come into your home and immediately know what to do and not to do? Sorry, guys, there are some pretty smart dogs out there, but before they got so smart, somebody spent a lot of time training them.
The sad thing about that is they can’t tell you what’s happening to them. Usually, it takes a beating that sends them to the vet before anyone suspects.
Guess what I’m trying to say is, do your part. Just keep your eyes and ears open. Don’t intervene yourself as that might be too dangerous. Call the authorities and let them sort it out. Who knows, you might be saving a life.