Marking another anniversary: abuse reports; my story of reporting child abuse; also, take courage when you witness child abuse

I forgot to note this one on the day of the anniversary: March 1.  That tells me that the emotional impact is beginning to lessen.

But it was two years ago, as of March 1, that I mailed my letter to Social Services, reporting everything I had witnessed and which Richard had told me of the abuse in their home.  It was nerve-wracking, and not done until I had gone through a full year of soul-searching, reflecting and research.

The year started in late winter 2010, when I witnessed Tracy smacking her tiny toddler hard on the back of the head.  I was so shocked and appalled that I could hardly believe my eyes–and that she could do it right in front of me.

For many days after, I was in turmoil, wondering how I could justify remaining friends with her after she did that, wondering if I was morally obligated to call CPS, if it was morally bankrupt of me to not call the police right when it happened, or at least stand up for that little girl and say to never EVER do that to her again.

I’ve done some research into slapping small children like that: You can cause brain damage, and children have been seriously hurt or even died when smacked like that, as they banged into furniture.

A short time after, another friend of theirs, Chris, complained that his abusive wife was smacking his son on the back of the head; they said they do this to their kids all the time, and even justified it!  I could see in Chris’ eyes that he was shocked by this.  I, also, tried to be a voice of reason, saying this is not right.

I hoped that would do the trick, and satisfy my conscience.  But there were so many other things going on that not only did I fear for the children’s emotional, psychological and physical well-being, but I also feared that the domestic violence in that household would lead to something horrible.

However, I was still not sure it was my place to say anything to CPS, because they were my friends.

When they proved themselves to not be my friends, I did not want to be vindictive, as I told a friend who used to work in a domestic violence shelter.  But he told me not to let friendship stand in the way of doing what’s right.

Still, it took a lot more research, many more months, viewing The Boondock Saints for a second time, and a series of e-mails with another friend (who works in group homes for kids in the system), to finally get the courage to write that letter and send it.

My friend wrote that Richard and Tracy both sounded very abusive, that she grew up in such an environment and her sisters still suffered the effects of it, so she begged me to make the report.

I wrote the letter to the best of my memory, including what I witnessed and what I had heard from Richard/Tracy themselves.

I trembled as I readied the letter and put it in the mailbox.

I was frightened that they would figure out who sent it, and do something awful to me in retaliation, even though I wrote in the letter, “I don’t believe they mean to harm their children (or each other), and they do love them very much, but they seem to desperately need help.”

But it was freeing.  At long last, my conscience was clear, knowing that I had done what was right for those children.

And it was also validated when I discovered, months later, that on the very same day, March 1, Richard was officially charged with child abuse, for an event/report which had absolutely nothing to do with mine.

This film opens with mass in a Boston Catholic church, where Irish American fraternal twin brothers Connor McManus (Sean Patrick Flanery) and Murphy McManus (Norman Reedus) pray while a sermon is read, mentioning Kitty Genovese, a real-life crime victim brutally murdered while her neighbors watched without intervening.

As the priest begins his homily, the brothers approach the altar and kiss the feet of a crucifix. They depart as the priest reminds the congregation that they should fear not just evil but also the “indifference of good men”.

The brothers conclude that the priest finally understands, Connor stating, “I do believe the Monsignor’s finally got the point…” and Murphy replying, “Aye”. —Wikipedia article on The Boondock Saints

So take courage when you witness child abuse.  You could save a child’s life.

You will note that the incident which led to Richard’s charges, happened long before I made my report.  What if he had killed her, which he could have easily done?

But her angel kept that from happening.  And I became a material angel to her and the other children.

I noted with some surprise that I missed the date when it came.  I certainly remembered it last year, the one-year anniversary.  This tells me that some of the trauma is beginning to fade.

But I still get jumpy when around other parents and children.  I hope to not witness more abuse.  I keep a sharp eye out when deciding which new acquaintances should become closer, if I’ve seen them get too harsh with their children.  I don’t want to go through this again.

Also see: Marking an anniversary: reporting my bullies to Social Services (2015)

 

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High caseloads, regulations dog state child abuse investigators

We need CPS to be able to do their jobs keeping our children safe, but high caseloads are a common problem:

High caseloads, regulations dog state child abuse investigators

Social workers and their supervisors insist they haven’t allowed harm to any child as a result of the ever-increasing demands, but child protection advocates warn that growing workloads will eventually stress the safety net, increasing the chances for mistakes that could ultimately put kids at risk.

….Social workers are frustrated by the increased scrutiny and complain of “unfunded mandates” they say force them to spend more time writing detailed reports for the state than doing actual field work.

They said workloads are the worst they’ve known in years because the volume and complexity of cases has increased at the same time the state boosted the regulatory burden.

…Today, social workers must follow a 72-page booklet of standards when investigating child abuse or neglect.

…About one in every 270 children in Wisconsin is the victim of abuse or neglect each year, according to state data.

During 2010 and 2011, more than 180 children were killed or seriously hurt by a guardian, according to published reports detailing cases in which the victims were beaten, shot or starved.

 

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Never Be Bullied Into Silence. Speak Up About Abuse!

NeverBeBulliedIntoSilence

(This image is all over the Net, so I don’t know where it came from.)

Here’s how one court dealt with a narcissistic ex-husband suing his ex over her blog and book:

The Commission refused to hear the motion and threw it out while making it very clear that he does not want to hear about the book or blog ever again. He said that I have the right to write about anything that I choose. —One Mom’s Battle

When dealing with a high-conflict person, DOCUMENT EVERYTHING.  Keep e-mails, make records, and toss none of it.

You may need it later, not just to prove your claims of abuse, but because abusers will try to gaslight you into thinking you’re crazy and it didn’t happen the way you said.

It also protects you from going back into an abusive situation, because our memories often will begin fading, until we start thinking it wasn’t as bad as all that.  It happens to me on occasion, then I go through my accounts again and remember, to steel myself.

I recall feeling a crisis, going back and forth for a few weeks about whether or not I should call CPS about my abuser Tracy smacking her child in the back of the head, right after I saw her do it–and whether I should’ve called the police right when it happened, and yelled at her to stop.

I agonized over it, felt I was betraying the child if I didn’t, felt I was betraying Tracy if I did.

I showed my husband the e-mail I had received in March 2009 which was proof of her abuse, told him what all I’d witnessed, discussed it with him.  I said, “How much more of this [watching Tracy abuse her kids and Richard] can I take?”

The crisis only stopped when mutual friend Chris unwittingly brought up the subject and I had the chance to say that was abuse.  Then Chris posted something on Facebook that gave me a chance to say what’s abusive.  This is in my accounts, which also describe the other things I witnessed Tracy doing.

But I couldn’t help feeling a huge crisis at being friends with an abuser and not reporting her.  It worked like acid on my conscience.  I’d breathe a sigh of relief whenever I’d get through a whole visit without witnessing her even verbally abusing the kids or snapping at Richard.

In February 2011, after seeing The Boondock Saints for a second time and hearing the theme of evil winning because good men do nothing, I decided it was time to be an angel to those children, before something terrible happened–and tell somebody about the violence between Richard and Tracy, before somebody got killed.

I had no idea, since it was not yet published online, that Richard had already strangled one of his children until she passed out.

I sent an e-mail to a friend in social work in the state, describing everything I witnessed and knew.  I wanted to make sure it all qualified as reportable abuse.  She begged me to report them, saying that she grew up in a house like that and it caused lasting damage, that Richard and Tracy both sounded very abusive, and that I should do it to help my friend, Richard.

My pastor friend had also begged me, back in 2010, to report them, because he used to work in a domestic violence shelter.

Coincidentally, I mailed my report–a 3-page letter–the same day that Richard was officially charged.  Right there is proof that I did the right thing, that my instincts were correct.  My conscience is now clear.

I also have various e-mails and drafts of e-mails written in December 2007 and very early 2008, which describe things I witnessed, and specifically refer to Tracy’s behavior to Richard and the children as abuse, and her treatment of me as bullying and abuse.

They also prove that I was having just as much trouble in the late winter/early spring 2008 dealing with how she had treated me and others, as I’m having now, that I was just as angry with her then as now, even while we were still all friends, that this is not just a reaction to how she treated me in 2010, or brought on by researching abuse in 2010-12.

No, I am in the exact same frame as mind now as then, about what she was doing.  The abuse in that family began long before they came to my house.

I also have a disturbing and shocking e-mail received in 2009 which proves it, and notes written on it by me which describe feeling gaslit until I got this e-mail, also giving more frightening information given to me over the phone the following day.

The list, the e-mails, and the letter in my previous post–written to Richard but never sent because it felt too dangerous because of Tracy’s restrictions on his communication with me–all confirm my web accounts and blogs to be my actual impressions at the time of what was going on.

They all confirm that I remember things as they happened.  They all confirm that I felt abused, and felt I was witnessing abuse, that this was not at all something that later crept in to my head to make me feel justified in ending the friendship.

No, we ended the friendship in 2010 precisely because of the abuse; this was not some story invented later.  They confirm that my claims of abuse came from a combination of observation and the victim’s own words.

They all confirm and back up the story that I have told as being factual to the best of my knowledge. That no, the issue was not, as Tracy claimed, me “snubbing” her or needing to “grow up” and accept her venom as my due, stop feeling hurt over it.

Another issue was that Richard was in exactly the same place with Chris’ wife, as I was with Tracy, and I even told him so, yet he never seemed to make the connection and show me compassion because of it.

No, the real issue was the way she abused me and others and got Richard to go along with it.  She made it very clear that we could only come back to them once I stopped “feeling hurt” over her abuse.

She made it very clear that she would accept nothing less than me submitting to all her abuse and venom as my due.

Which is never, ever going to happen, and proved to me without a shadow of a doubt that she is evil, that I do not want to be friends with her ever again.

My husband would get very angry if I did submit to her, and says that she has to get down on her knees and apologize to me for what she’s done to me.

No, I did not deserve her abuse, I will not accept it, and I’m not the one who needs to “grow up.”  That’s a very peculiar definition of “growing up”: accepting another’s abuse.  No, that’s not “growing up,” that’s “being a doormat.”

Only an abuser would require you to accept abuse without complaint.  “Growing up” means controlling yourself and getting the facts, not raging at and abusing your friends like a toddler throwing a tantrum.

A normal, healthy person would apologize for blowing up at you, and agree to a civil conversation, with give-and-take.

Whenever I start doubting my memories and impressions, I need only remember that e-mail–and re-read all my documentation.  And then I see that all her opinions of me are sewer sludge–and worth just as much.

This sounds so familiar, especially the coddling of the BS of the abuser:

Consistent with narcissism and other cluster B personality disorders is the need for constant drama from which the N personality derives attention.

For my mother, this was manifested in her constant need to be at war with someone. For years it was her sister, then various friends, my father, several coworkers, and eventually, her children.

She was in constant need of worship, consolation, pity, or some other form of manipulated obligation from those close to her.

For everyone else, appearances were everything. On the surface, she worked diligently to keep up with the façade that we were the “perfect family”.

At home, she flew into regular fits of rage which cycled into stoic depression. Her emotional pendulum swung between spitting rage and icy indifference with few stops in between. Everyone was always “out to get her.”

For my father, the cluster B’s were manifested through his enabling of my mother’s unhealthy bouts of behavior. While I do not believe he actually suffers from one of these disorders, he was extremely afraid of my mother’s reactions and reinforced her maladaptive traits as a result.

He would rage at us kids if he felt the threat of one of her tantrums looming. He became intolerant of noncompliance and the voicing of opinions that did not cater to my mother’s disorder.

He buried himself in work and checked out when it became evident that an avalanche of torrent was coming and showed up in the aftermath to make sure we didn’t rock the boat any further.

He too took on the role of authoritarian abuser in support of my mother, but at the same time cowered to her alpha personality. —One Mom’s Battle

In high school, I did not tell my teachers about the boys who sexually harassed me.  I did not tell my parents, even though I began to get an ulcer.

In college, I told no one how my fiancé Phil was treating me, though people did notice some of it and hated him for it.  I will be silent no longer, will not even be bullied into silence by my blog stalkers.

I stood up for the truth and for what’s right.  I was an angel for those children.  I’m standing up for abuse victims everywhere.  Every day I get stronger as I continue to tell my story.

My story of narcissistic abuse is here.

It’s been a long time coming
And the tables’ turned around

I’m not running, it’s a little different now
–Sick Puppies, “You’re Going Down”

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Center provides safe place to interview abused children

Children who tell about their abuse are very courageous, especially with the control abusers try to keep over their victims.  For links to websites about child abuse, see my page here.  This article is about a center in Madison used to interview children:

It’s a long walk for youngsters who have been physically or sexually abused to get to the small room at the end of the hallway at Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center where a forensic interviewer will ask them to tell what happened.

The 50 adult paces are easily doubled or tripled by the feet of a child as young as 3 being led to the room with pale blue and white walls and two facing gray chairs — one draped with a deep blue blanket printed with orange and white suns, moons and planets.

It’s here that youngsters sit down with an impartial interviewer to describe who did what to them, while detectives, prosecutors, child protection workers and other professionals gathered in a monitoring room next door watch on closed-circuit television and feed questions through an earpiece worn by the interviewer.

It was where, in February, an emaciated 15-year-old girl began telling how she was allegedly starved, tortured and confined to the basement of her family’s Southeast Side home…….

 

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