I Have My Reasons

Did you know….April is National Child Abuse Awareness & Prevention Month.

I’ve been called a few nanes in my time.

Overprotective, paranoid and hovering to name a few.

I’m often not understood, even by people who know me well, when it comes to my sons. I check and double check on daycare centers. I call, make surprise visits and try to observe everything, including signs from the kids that something is not right. I don’t use babysitters except for grandparents and almost never have. But I’m ok with that.

Although I’d like to be more relaxed about things, I have my reasons.

When I was two or three years old, my babysitter packed me and her own four kids in the car for her sons dentist appointment. I was potty training at the time and for whatever reason, wet my pants in the waiting area of the dentists office. My babysitter left her kids in the lobby, took me in to the bathroom at the office and beat me black and blue. I’m not sure how long it went on, it seemed like a pretty long time to me. There was plenty of screaming (from her), crying (from me) and banging around (that was me being thrown against the walls of the stall and repeatedly slammed against the toilet).

I don’t remember much about what happened after that but I do remember the receptionist who was working at the office. She wouldn’t make eye contact with me, the babysitter or any of us once it was over. I don’t remember if there were other people waiting but I know we left the office without incident.

A young child had been beaten in a public restroom of an office building and no one said or did anything.

That afternoon, I guess my babysitter realized how badly I was hurt and told her sons to hide me in the bedroom when my dad came to pick me up so she could tell him I wanted to spend the night. It didn’t work, my dad didn’t go for it and I somehow got out of the room anyway, running to his side, ready to leave.

My grandmother lived next door at the time and my mother was there when we got home. I crawled in to my mothers lap and kept trying to lay my head down but each time, would flinch and sit back up. Chunks of hair had been pulled out from the beating and it was too painful to lay my head. Of course, immediately my mother knew something was wrong and started asking questions. I wouldn’t talk and just kept trying to lay down.

I had to be medically treated, my bruises were measured, my injuries documented and everything was reported to CPS and the police. Unfortunately, I guess the laws were a little different regarding child abuse in the 1970′s because my mother was told the only thing they could do would be remove me from the babysitters home and my parents had already done that.

Therapy followed, for me alone and as a family. We got through it. I healed and grew up. My grandmother became my main babysitter whenever needed. She was an extremely loving, sweet women, I have only good memories of being in her care.

But to this day, one thing haunts me. A young child had been beaten in a public restroom of an office building and no one said or did anything.

Times and laws have changed for the better but I often feel there is still an unspoken expectation that we should pass by blindly when we see certain things happening. We quickly look down or away. We don’t get involved, we don’t want to possibly offend anyone or even worse, take a chance on embarrassing ourselves.

But I think it is our business. No human being deserves to be bullied, put down, threatened, shoved, hit or abused in any way or form. Living in that kind of pain and fear is suffocating and debilitating.

We as adults are living examples for our children, families and even communities.
We need to take a stronger stand against child abuse to eradicate it and create a new standard of living where no one has to live in fear or worse, suffer or die at the hand of a family member or someone they know and trust.

Did you know….April is National Child Abuse Awareness & Prevention Month.

The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse. It is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with professional crisis counselors. The Hotline offers crisis intervention, information, literature, and referrals to thousands of emergency, social service, and support resources. All calls are anonymous and confidential.

To learn more about what child abuse is and how to help, you can go to www.childhelp.org/pages/hotline-home

61 thoughts on “I Have My Reasons

    • Thanks so much for reading Carinn! I’m glad there are more laws to protect children now but there’s so much we can do as a society as well.

  1. I care for a friend’s child during the week and I honestly am humbled by her trust in me, especially since I’ve never left my kid with any but the very close, very trusted few.

    I am sorry you had to endure that, but glad that you’re using the experience to raise awareness for others.

    • Yes, I feel like leaving your child with someone is the biggest act of trust so your friend thinks you are awesome! :) Hopefully raising awareness can be part of finding solutions to end abuse altogether. Thanks so much for reading Julie!

    • Thanks so much Alison! I hope people can come away from my story with new awareness, we can all advocate and be a voice for children in need. Thank you for stopping by!

  2. My heart literally clutched as I read this.
    I am so sorry this happened to you.
    That asshole sitter. That asshole receptionist who did nothing. Oh. My. God. I am so upset by this.
    You poor thing. And now you are an advocate. xo

    • Thanks so much Ado – this is why I am so in LOVE with the post you wrote – Other People’s Parenting. The world needs people who are willing to be nosy & get involved while teaching their kids why some of the crappy parenting, neglect and worse we may witness is not ok. You’re my hero with this one and I hope others follow in your footsteps! Thanks so much for reading.

  3. holy crap does this story disgust me. i have tears in my eyes and a knot in my stomach reading what happened to you. in a public place. !!!!!

    i’m so very sorry you have to be telling this story.

    • It is scary what happens in public sometimes but I hope this piece helps and gives people the bravery to step in or speak up if they ever witness anything. Thank you so much for reading Christina.

  4. I am so sorry you had to endure that kind of assault. Your voice is strong and I want you to know that your words are liberating. These words may give someone the empowerment he or she needs to overcome the fear of becoming involved. You should be proud. You are making a difference. Ellen

    • Oh my gosh, thank you so much Ellen, that means the world to me. If someone is brave enough to help a child or make a phone call that could save a life or at least, end the suffering for a child being hurt, that would be everything…I think it is possible. We can all make a difference.

  5. I will not pretend to know if you faced difficulties in creating this post, but I need to say that despite any obstacles, it turned out well. Powerful, honest, personal, yet universal.

    I am really sorry you went through this. Really.

    I understand your protectiveness with your children and admire your courage in speaking out in awareness, which ultimately is education, which ultimately is the most significant aspect in creating change.

    You are courageous and I am grateful and honored to know you.

    • Kim, thank you so much, you are so generous and kind! I really believe we can end child abuse but there has to be a new standard of living, of what we deem acceptable in how we treat each other just as human beings in out society. I think we are desensitized in a way to child abuse and even domestic violence. I hope I can be part of creating that change for the better and helping people be brave enough to stand up for a child (or anyone) being hurt. Thanks so much for reading and all the support!

  6. I do not understand how an adult could do such a thing to a little person; that woman should be in prison. Since she’s not, I hope she’s at least in the prison of her own hellish personality. Bless your heart for being brave enough to write this.

    • Thank you so much Louise. It still bothers me that my babysitter was never arrested but I remember, it bothered my mom a lot more. Now as a parent myself, I can completely understand her outrage about it. Thanks so much for reading!

  7. I am shocked and appalled by this story. I am so, so sorry that you had to endure this. You are an amazing person for using your painful experience to bring healing to others.

    • I wasn’t sure if I wanted to post this one because it’s such a sensitive subject and brutal story but I want to help protect other children and educate parents to really look for signs and make sure caregivers or anyone in their lives are safe and loving. I’ve been waiting for this month (Child Abuse Awareness) to force my hand :) Thank you so much for reading Julia!

  8. I just want to shoot back in time and do something for the little girl that was you. And I want to hug you now. So brave and important to share this story. It must’ve been difficult to relive the details.

    • Thank you so much Jennifer. It’s actually much harder to hear a story on the news or read something where I child has been hurt or killed from abuse, I immediately break down and it haunts me for days. My hope is that someday we never have to tell these stories or learn about these horrible events because we’ve evolved beyond this kind of violence and it just doesn’t happen anymore. Thanks so much for reading!

  9. oh, my heart. I am so sorry for you that this was your reality. Keep raising your voice, your life as an example. You speaking will raise awareness for other children. Let us all be in that office building, protecting the child you were.

    • Thank you Tara! If I can raise awareness and help inspire others as well to help end child abuse, that means everything. Thanks so much for reading!

  10. My own daughter was severely injured by her babysitter at 11 weeks old. She lives with a permanent brain injury because of it. I’m glad you are not only taking command of your own healing as an adult, but also giving a voice to those who need one.

    • I started to cry as soon as I read your comment, I am so sorry your daughter was hurt that way and at such a young age. Heartsick…thank you so much for reading. That just makes me want to do more and continue to speak out about the epidemic of abuse in our society. I will be holding you and your daughter in my thoughts.

  11. My heart breaks for the little girl you were and the way it altered your adult life. I am so ANGRY at the insane woman who did this to you and at the on-lookers that turned away from you…a child in desperate need of help. Thank you very much for sharing your story.

  12. First time at your site, but I’m glad I stopped by. I am a huge Childhelp advocate, as they have helped me and my family personally. And your story made me cry. Because I thought the same thing – how can a child be beaten so violently in public and no one says or does anything.

    I am so sorry for your experience, but I am glad your parents stopped it from happening again. That your family did something, even though the laws at the time said nothing more could be done.

    Your family was brave. You were brave. And you continue to show the world your bravery by speaking about your experience rather than pretend it didn’t happen and move on with your life having come to a comfortable place with it.

    Your action in hitting publish WILL help a child. Because now someone who may not have done anything will remember that they should.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    • Thank you Michelle, having so many read this and leave such awesome comments makes me feel much better about posting it.

  13. That is so awful and I’m very sorry it happened to you. Not only were you betrayed by the babysitter (who was in charge of keeping you safe) but also by everyone who heard it and did nothing.

    • Thank you so much Gia! It is hard to stand up and say something when no one else is doing anything, I hope my story changes that for people and helps them be brave with a strong voice.

  14. Oh how hard this post has hit me. Right in the gut. I stepped away from the world of social work and foster care because I could not stomach one more day of it. Not one more day of seeing a child with bruises cowering in fear, not one more day of seeing a baby with broken bones. Not one more day. It will haunt me for the rest of my life. I am so very sorry that you had to suffer through such a horrific and traumatic experience. I am over protective of my kids too. They’ve never had a babysitter that is not family and they likely never will. The trust just is not there. I’ve seen too much.

    • Thank you so much Delilah! I feel like, this is why some of the people around me don’t understand and even judge me for how protective I am. Because once you have lived this kind of fear and pain or witnessed first hand this kind of horror as you have, the possibility of something bad happening becomes the reality that something bad IS happening and does happen. I am sorry for all you had to witness and love that you have such a big heart to want to help these children though. Thank you so much for reading and leaving me a comment!

  15. I’m so sorry this happened to you, but so proud of you for being brave enough to tell your story. You’re right, we do turn a blind eye to abuses on children – that’s why they keep happening.

    • Thank you so much Bridget. It’s hard to get involved or to even know what to do. My hope is just to educate, bring awareness and empower others, especially us moms. We have every right to protect our children and help others in need.

  16. Great post and reminder to all of us that getting involved is worth embarrasing ourselves and can mean the world to someone who barely has a voice. Funny though, I think there is another post this week about being falsely accused of abuse by someone in a department/grocery store or somewhere. There’s a sometimes delicate balance we need to strike here. But your situation was quite obvious and it’s a shame no one stepped up. Glad you were able to get out of that situation right away though!

    • I agree Kim, we do have to educate ourselves on what abuse is and what the signs of abuse are. It’s easy to jump to conclusions and it’s easy to turn a blind eye. I think most moms have great instinct and can also tell the difference between an exhausted, overwhelmed mom and someone being truly, physically abusive, neglectful or even bullying a child. I hope my story helps empower people to learn more about abuse and then help to protect their children in child care situations or anywhere in life as well as being an advocate for any child in need. Thank you for the thoughtful comments and for reading my post!

  17. Speaking out in this way–and in any way–about what happened to you helps all of us. It doesn’t make what happened to you go away, but it helps that experience become the seed for something better, empowering, important. It’s hard to write and talk about things that make people uncomfortable – but sometimes people need to be poked out of their comfort zones and be made aware of what’s happening around them.

    • Thank you so much Deborah! I totally agree with you, although it is uncomfortable and a tough subject, we have to talk about it and I’m so grateful to everyone who has read this. My hope really is that it can save another child from this kind of pain.

  18. Thank you for this post! What a powerful message that I hope everyone should take to heart. I hope millions of people read this, and thank you for sharing your horrific experience so others might be made aware.

    • Thank you so much for reading Janice! I’m so happy and grateful to everyone who has read this so far. I hope it’s the start of a conversation that keeps growing about how we can keep educating ourselves and others to help children in need to end child abuse altogether. Thanks so much!

  19. Wow. Exceptional post. I am so sad that this happened to you. Sadly, I think too many people behave like the receptionist and don’t do the right thing in a difficult situation.

    • I think society has made people feel like they need to be like the receptionist about all kinds of issues; just keep your head down, don’t get involved, stay quiet and pretend like nothing is happening. But I also think it’s time for change, breaking away from that silence can save a life. Thanks so much for reading Christie!

  20. This is haunting and shocking. I can’t believe it, even for the 70′s. Thank you for giving child abuse a story and a voice with this piece.

  21. Thank you for sharing this with us. Let it be a reminder to never, ever turn our backs on someone who is hurting and being hurt. I’m so sorry this happened to you.
    I’m so inspired by your courage here. And I ache for that little girl who should have been protected. I’m so grateful you had good family members around you to look after you.

  22. I have always argued that everyone should be a mandated child abuse reporter. How anyone can know or even suspect that a child is being abused and then rationalize doing nothing is beyond my understanding.

    My heart broke for you. Thank you for sharing your story.

  23. Heartbreaking story. I found it particularly hard to read having kids that age myself. Thinking of them being put through something like that makes me want to reach back in time and protect the little you. There have been times (in playgrounds etc) when I have intervened with other kids who have been treating OTHER kids in a manner which I perceive goes beyond regular schoolyard stuff – something other parents respond well to it, sometimes definitely not well. But I think and hope we should all take that risk to stand up for vulnerable kids – in minor cases, like playground things (if we’re there); and in much more life-changing ones like your experience. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Thank you so much for reading Jade and I think it’s awesome you will get involved when you see something going on. I think for kids and adults alike, just seeing someone stand up and say “this is not ok, you can’t treat someone like that” communicates hope and sets such an awesome example. I feel like that’s what it’s going to take to stop abuse completely. We all have to stand up and say this is not going to be tolerated anymore.

  24. What a strong woman you have clearly turned out to be. I’m sorry you had to suffer that experience as a child and grateful that you are able to bring it forth to show how awful child abuse can be. Children need someone like you to share your story and spread the word.

  25. Oh I want to cry for the little girl you were who went through that. I too am disgusted that no one had the courage to say anything.

    Twice I saw Gavin DeBecker, who wrote ‘The Gift of Fear” on Oprah. I will never forget him saying that we humans are the only members of the animal kingdom who talk ourselves out of our natural instincts. Who rationalize and make excuses and are too worried about being polite and not offending.

    I am not a hugely outspoken person and can be quite shy at times, but I gauran-damn-tee you that if I heard a child obviously being beaten, I would stand up and say something.

    • Oh my gosh, I’ve never heard that before but I love it – so true! About how we ignore our own natural instincts, rationalize and make excuses and are too worried about being polite and not offending. I guess that is what we’ve been conditioned to do. It is hard to stand up, to speak up but through knowledge and awareness, I know things can change for the better. Thank you so much Jennifer!

  26. Oh my dear. I’ve been trying to come up with something “proper” to say. But then I realized that’s what you are also writing about. We should not struggle with what is proper – we should just DO sometimes.

    So I’ll tell you that I’m so grateful that your family had the ability and wherewithal to remove you from the babysitter (and that your father didn’t settle for “let her spend the night”). And I’m so glad that you are able to share this story. We need more action and less weighing of our personal consequences. That receptionist probably felt great guilt and anguish, but it wouldn’t have mattered had even worse outcomes occurred.

    Thank you.

    • Thank you so much for reading Kristin. I am SO thankful for how my parents handled the situation as well, it really could have gotten even worse. More action and awareness is what it’s all about. No one is perfect and it’s hard to know what to do but hopefully my story can be part of inspiring others to just be more aware and less afraid to help.

  27. This just makes me sick. I have never left my children with anyone other than their grandmothers for this exact reason. I have been picked on and made fun of and made to feel neurotic and overprotective by numerous friends and family because of it. People just don’t think it happens as often as it does.

    • I’ve been judged and criticized for being “overprotective” as well but I’ve decided to just accept and even embrace the criticism :) I believe we as mothers have every right to do anything we feel to keep our children safe and make sure they are well cared for, even when others may not understand. Thank you so much for reading Jennifer!

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  29. I’m so sorry for what you had to go through. I still cannot fathom why any human being thinks it’s ok to hurt a child like that. And I hate that people just stand there and do nothing. Thanks for putting this out there and I hope more people, including myself, will have the courage to stand up.

    • Thank you so much for reading, I really appreciate it. Sadly, I am still reading about abuse cases, much worse than mine, in the current news. But if we can keep raising awareness and helping others be brave about standing up for a child in need, I truly believe we can change things for the better. Thanks again!

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