Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Reporting Abuse

For the first time in my life, I called the hotline to report abuse. One of my students admitted to me that she was being beaten and verbally abused (and even SPIT ON - WTF??) in front of her two children. To top it too, she is 2 months pregnant with his baby. And she wouldn't leave because she "couldn't afford to live". Um...she just hooked up with him 4 months ago. Again...WTF???

So, I did what I had to do. I reported it. After all, she had told me everything. I had a legal responsibility.

And this morning I got a call that the student had left a message for me that she was beaten badly last night and finally fled to her mom's house. But what about those 2 kids who see it all? Who's taking care of them? Shame on her for moving in with a guy she'd just met with a 14 yr. old son and a 9 yr. old daughter.

Research on domestic violence tells us that abuse is 33 TIMES more likely in a situation where a mother and her children cohabitate with a man that is not the children's father. 33 TIMES more likely. Not 33%...33 TIMES.

Even though it should have been easy, it wasn't easy to make that report. It sucked. I now know why so few people are willing to intervene. It is hard to make yourself get involved. It is, however, a matter of life or death.


Yondalla said...

I'm glad you called them. It might be that nothing happens immediately, but every piece of information in a file adds up to intervention.

We have so few good options for women with young children in our society.

Cindy said...

Kuddos, Tam. It is a very hard call to make. Someone has to be willing to intervene on behalf of the children and sometimes the mothers in these situations either don't know how or simply won't. It's hard to imagine living with a man who does that to you and feeling like you have no other options. It's hard to imagine wanting to be loved so desperatly that you are willing to tolerate abusive behavior. You are very courageous.

Julie said...

Way to Go! You have do what is right- even when it is hard- :(

KrazyMom said...

You did the right thing. This is a matter close to my heart for many personal reasons. Many think it is so easy for someone abused to leave. But in reality leaving can often leave you fearing for your life! Their frame of mind is often 'a beating is better than death'. Getting help with that first step out of a bad situation is a huge milestone...and knowing they have a support system behind them is wonderful! After surviving an abusive marriage for nine years, I too was able to get out...and eventually worked as a support staff member in a domestic violence shelter. Don't give up on her if she goes back, many will and they still need your help! I know a girl that was killed by her boyfriend last year, he had been abusing her for years. She left several times but kept going back. Her self esteem was so low that she honestly thought she was nothing without him. Abusers are so good at breaking you down, you often don't even know who YOU are anymore. Thank you for standing up by making that call!

Gawdess said...

It ain't easy, none of it.
I used to work as a volunteer in a women's shelter and just like anything else there is a lot of history behind a relationship like that - and I was almost in one once, a long time ago.
Good on you for what needed to be done. I'm glad that she turned to you. That is a big step.

S. said...

You acted in the best interest for her and her children. She came to you for help and you stepped up. What the other comments say-is so true-even if she goes back right now, it is still one foot out the door. It may take a few times and God Willing they will be safe enough to survive it all-till they get out for good. Though I hope maybe this one time will be it and she will be rid of him....or better yet-she presses charges. often pattern occur if-she gets away from him-she will go to the next guy who does the same (I HOPE NOT! She may need some counseling to break the cycle-and some for her children maybe too!!)So sad how it gets in their minds of feeling worthless and hopeless-(which is what an abuser will do to them)they don't understand they have much better alternatives. Staying only teaches their children about violent behavior....and tolerating it. So 33% chance of it reoccurring through learned behavior---can't say I am surprised by that statistic---though it is so sad. You should be commended for trying to help them.

Overwhelmed! said...

I'm proud of you for having the courage to report the abuse. So many people are unwilling to intervene. They feel it's none of their business or are afraid of what's involved.

I pray the children (and the mom) get the help they need to have a safe place to live.

Keep us posted, okay?