Keepers did a recent post about reporting a case of abuse. I don't know what kind of abuse she reported but just reading her post triggered the memory of my own reporting of abuse.
Many years ago, I think around 35 or so, I lived in southern California in an apartment complex that housed low to middle income families. It was near a military base so there were also lots of new military families as they waited for base housing to become available.
Not long after the birth of my older son, a military family moved in next door. They had a toddler and seemed to be very nice. We hit it off well with them and soon began getting together to play cards.....pinochle, I think. Sometimes we even had meals together. We spent a lot of evenings with this family.
The only unusual thing I noticed right from the start about this family was the toddler, a little boy, just wouldn't eat. Whenever we sat down to a meal with them, the child would cry and toy with his food but he would not eat. He was probably tall for his age (about 18 months) but very, very thin.
Not long after they moved in I was asked to baby sit for this child. Despite being concerned that he wouldn't eat, I went ahead and said "Yes." To my surprise I had no problems getting the child to eat........as a matter of fact he ate whatever I put in front of him. I had no problems with it all which really seemed to surprise his mother....as it had surprised me.
A few weeks after this new friendship began I was awaken early in the morning by an awful sound. I heard the sobbing of a child followed by a heavy thud and a gasp. Then there would be a brief quiet followed by more sobbing. This was repeated over and over several minutes time.
I tried to push the sleep from my brain to digest what I was hearing. Slowly the horror began to sink in as I realized I was hearing the sounds of that toddler being banged against the wall.......over and over. The thump was him hitting the wall followed by the sound of the air being forced right out of his little body. When he could catch his breath the boy began sobbing again only to be banged into the wall again. By the time I figured it out, the noises had stopped.
Still I immediately dialed 911. The apartment next door was quiet so the police didn't rush to get there. It was actually several hours before they arrived to talk with me.
Throughout that day, I began putting the pieces together. I started thinking about the bruising I'd seen but not thought much of. About the child not eating for his mother.........the fear that must have been about.
I told them what I suspected.......because that's all it was to them, a suspicion. Even with everything I'd seen and heard they needed more proof. They told me this would start a case file but it was far from finishing it.
Then they went next door to question the mother....the father was at work. There were no visible bruises on the child so there was nothing they could do.
I remember my discomfort over this whole thing. What was going to happen next. I figured the child was safe for the short term..........she knew now that someone was watching someone close. What would she do to protect herself? What would she tell her husband? Would the military man come home in a rage pounding on my door? If so would he bring a gun? All kinds of fears ran through my head.
To be continued............