Marking an anniversary: reporting my bullies to Social Services
My entire website needs revising yet again because of a recent WordPress theme change. It screwed up my quotes, so I have to go through every single post and page fixing them. Again. (I spent ALL LAST YEAR fixing formatting, and thought I was finished. ARGH!)
While revising this post just now, on the first time I pondered reporting my abuser Tracy to CPS, I realized something:
As of several days ago, March 1, it has now been exactly four years since I did finally report her and Richard to CPS.
My, how time flies as you age. I could swear these people only just moved into my house a couple of years ago, but now even that is 7 and a half years ago.
Anyway, I remember how frightened I was. I remember I was scared even to let my husband know I did it, so I left off the return address of my letter, just in case it got returned for some reason.
I didn’t want him put in the position of having to lie for me if my abusers came around and gave him the shakedown. (Richard is 6’5 and 400 pounds, and used to be a Mafia thug. Tracy is also very large, bigger than me, and scary when she gets into a rage.)
I was scared that Tracy and Richard would find out I did it, and do something horrible to retaliate. (See above. Also, the fear of Tracy making a false report to CPS.)
I was so afraid that I didn’t even tell CPS who I was, though I did give them an e-mail address in case they had further questions. I did not want to give them a phone number and have them call while my husband was home.
It was all done in secret, except for an e-mail I sent to an old college friend. This friend has worked in this field for years, and lives right here in Wisconsin, so she could give me expert, experienced advice.
The e-mail described all the abuse I witnessed and that Richard told me about. I later adapted it, first into an e-mail, then into a letter, sent to CPS.
She replied, “They both sound very abusive.” “Your concerns are very valid.” She urged me to PLEASE report them to CPS.
I sent the e-mail to CPS over the weekend before March 1, but heard nothing back. So I sent the letter as follow-up. (It was far too long and detailed for a phone call, which would require somebody typing or scribbling down everything and me trusting they get it accurate.)
I typed it late at night, printed it, addressed it, stamped it.
Then with shaking hands, I put it in my mailbox the following day, after my husband left and before the mailman came.
Then later, I found it gone.
It was done.
That same day, Tracy responded to the Facebook post of a mutual friend, “lol.” This made me think she had no clue, that the e-mail or letter was not received, or was ignored.
Three months later, I checked via e-mail to make sure CPS received the letter. Yes, they did. Now I told them my name, so they wouldn’t dismiss the report as fake because it was anonymous.
A month after that, I checked the state’s free public website to see if any charges were filed.
I found more information the following September through a search of the local newspaper’s website. On the exact same day I mailed the letter, Richard was formally charged with choking his step-daughter in 2010.
This was unrelated to my letter, but the results of an investigation into my letter probably helped bolster the state’s case, because it showed a pattern of abuse.
My report certainly must have been given more weight with CPS because of the court case.
I realized that CPS probably already knew at least some of what I wrote, from working with the police to investigate the choking incident. Locally, CPS and the police work together on such things.
I also realized that Tracy wrote “lol” on the exact same day her husband was formally charged with child abuse.
Which blows my mind. If I were in her place, I certainly wouldn’t be laughing at stuff on Facebook the very same day my husband was charged. Was it a joke to her?
Four years later, I am glad I did it.
Obviously my instincts were correct: Richard and Tracy ARE child abusers. The court case proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt.
I have never reported anyone before or since for child abuse.
The one time I did, I was proven correct because one of them was convicted of choking his child.
Because of this proof, I have the support of friends, family and even the web Forum where we all used to hang out. This gave me added credibility, especially for Forum users who have never met me in person. They all rallied around me in mutual disgust of child abuse. My priest believed me because I had proof.
My husband often wonders if this child will run away and show up on our doorstep one of these days: On one hand is a deadbeat dad, and on the other is an abusive mother and a stepfather who nearly killed her.
I fought my fear and did what was right.
And I would do it again if I had to.