8/11/2006

who will protect the children

I have a dilemma. I've learned over the years when to keep my mouth shut and when to speak up. It's something I've learned the hard way and trust me those lessons were not always pleasant. But now, I'm really at a loss so I need your help.

The people that live next door to me are...well there isn't any other way to put this, they are white trash. I hate labeling people but I'm not sure how else to describe them. I live in an up and coming gentrified neighborhood but there are still a few houses that remain where the people owned the property for 20+ years. I don't judge people, normally, but I've found it increasingly hard not to pass judgment on these people. In the house there is a grandpa, two grandsons, a mother, a boyfriend of the week, and the house owner who lives upstairs and only comes out when he feels like smashing his car into his fence because he's completely hammered. Oh I almost forgot the most important person, there is a 3 year old girl named Savannah. I'm always friendly to them and I say hello to Savannah every day. Most days she's found outside in the backyard with her grandpa because her father happens to be one of the grandsons and is all of 19. Her mother doesn't live there and comes around once in a blue moon. The sons, one of which who is the father, are quite frankly - trouble. I see them chugging beers, smoking pot, cussing up a storm - all in front of the kid. I've often had to ask them to refrain from the nasty language while my daughter plays in my backyard and they've politely obliged. Honestly I feel really sorry for Savannah. She's such a beautiful little girl and so clearly neglected. I've watched her fall down and hurt her knees, begging for her daddy to kiss it better, only to have him push her away and tell her to get lost. I say nothing because it's not my business right? But now, it's different. Last night I was out watering my flowers and I hear Savannah crying. She's throwing a usual 3 year old fit because she wants something of her dad's and he won't give it to her. Normally a parent would ignore these tantrums but instead her dad puts his hands around her neck (not tightly) and shakes her and tells her if she doesn't stop crying he'll strangle her. He pushes her away, he yells at her that he's going to beat her bloody if she doesn't shut the F*ck up. He grabs her arm and tells her he'll break it if she doesn't leave him alone - and she never stops crying. He yells over to his mother, his grandfather, to take the kids before he beats her - they return blank stares as if they've seen it all before. No one tells him to stop, no one picks the child up and comforts her, no one does anything except look on. Finally her dad takes her in the house and locks her in a room, I hear the door slam, I hear her screaming to let her out (their windows were open), and he returns to the outside to sit quietly on the back step and finish his cigarette. The blood is boiling inside me, my heart is racing, I want to run over and scoop that child up and keep her from harm - but can I? I finally go in the house because I cannot stand to look at them any longer. I cannot stand there and keep my mouth shut, I'm not that strong.

So all night I tossed and turned because I do not know what to do. Do I stay out of it? Do I continue to watch these people neglect and abuse this child or do I call DCFS? What if I say nothing and Savannah really is hurt? What if his threats really do come true? What if they already have? There is no doubt in my mind that she is neglected. There is no doubt in my mind that the type of threats he throws at her are verbal abuse. There is no doubt in my mind that he is absolutely not fit to raise a child. But can I interfere?

Who will protect our children? I can protect mine but do I have a right or obligation to protect yours?

help.

13 Comments:

  1. Tab said...
    Net,there are so many children who suffer because no one made that call.
    Just call a local agency , don't give your name if you don't have to.Talk to someone about your concern for this little girl.It may make a difference,it may not,but at least you will know you picked up the phone.
    As for having to watch this,I cannot imagine,I too would want to go scoop her out of harms way.This is why you should give a public service agency a call for advice too.Hang in there,
    I can hear your concern.
    keda said...
    make the call babe.
    Networkchic said...
    I made the call. God my hands were shaking when I dialed. My voice was shaking as I told what I saw. But when I hung up, I felt like I'd done the right thing. Yes I'm scared they will know it's me but how selfish would be I be if I cared more about them being mad at me then about possibly saving a child? I have to be just as accountable for my actions as they do theirs.
    Tab said...
    Good for you Net.
    I know that fear.
    I have had to make calls myself.
    I was once advised that in the event I am confronted and blamed for making the call, that I would probably one of many the person in question was accusing.If you need to, deny it,for your safety if you feel threatened.
    At the end of the day,this is about the little girl.YOU do not have to be dragged in to it,but that call could help her and her family.Peace to you.
    I could hear how hard that was for you.Now let it go if you can.
    All the best my friend ~
    Southern Sweetheart said...
    Glad to see you made the call. You did the right thing. Children are helpless individuals without the help and guidance of a loving, caring adult. In this case, you are the person she needed to be that caring adult. So what if they get mad at you? Which is worse? Them being mad at you or YOU being upset with YOU because something happens to Savannah & you knew you should have done something and didn't? The obvious answer, and right answer, the latter.
    CeeCi said...
    As hard as that call was to make you absolutely did the right thing. In the long run, they're probably far more afraid of you than you are of them, because you have right on your side. Please let us know what happens with Savannah.

    **Hugs**
    Caterpillar said...
    Oh my gosh, this story is just heartbreaking. It gets my blood boiling just reading it and how this ass could possibly treat his child that way. I'm so happy that you made the call and I also can just imagine and almost feel your nervousness when you did. This is such a sad story because what are the options for this little girl? Maybe her mother's family would be better but they haven't ever tried to step in. And the courts favor keeping the child with family. She has the whole world in front of her right now but living in that house and with that abuse at her age where she is a little learning sponge is quickly taking so many options away.

    I'm sorry, I'm venting my worries and frustration. I'm so happy you called - maybe it will be a wakeup call for someone in that house. I pray for little Savannah.

    I hope you have a good weekend though!
    lash505 said...
    Good call to make. The children need voices to and its people like you that make that happen.
    WDKY said...
    God almighty... what a complete bastard. I'm glad you called, and hopefully someone will now keep an eye on her. Although I'd be ready to make the call again, babe, because you may just have to.

    Hope you're having a nice weekend, and don't worry - you did the right thing x
    kimmyk said...
    I'm glad you made the call NWC. Someone has to protect her when her own family wont. Now let's hope they do a check in on them and follow ups.

    Does she ever come over to play with your daughter? If so, then maybe ask her some questions. Just to verify.
    NML said...
    Wow what an awful thing to witness and poor Savanah. I'm so pleased that you made the call. We cannot be passive about the protection of our children.
    Christine said...
    I'm glad you made the call NWC
    No one made the call for us kids at my house growing up-- who knows the difference it may have made...
    Good for you being scared and making the call anyway--
    Violet said...
    Definitely, absolutely call. And I've read that you did and that they gave out your address. I would call back and demand an explanation for why they gave out your address and request that it be redacted from their files.

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