When my then husband came home I told him what had happened and what I had done. He seemed supportive of my reporting the incident but not really concerned about what might come next. Basically he had a wait and see attitude. (Funny now that I think about it, this husband of mine was a batterer and a child abuser too only I hadn't figured that out yet!) I decided to follow his lead and just wait.
Imagine my surprise when the knock on the door did come and the neighbor next door asked if we wanted to play cards. That's right, we played pinochle that night with the woman I had reported for abusing her child across from me playing as my partner. Right in my own living room with the very child playing on the floor. If you don't think that was awkward. I didn't have a clue what to think.......I really sucked at cards that night I can tell you. All I could think of what the sound of that toddler hitting the wall with his little head.
I finally figured out she had probably not told her husband anything about the visit from the police. That's why he wasn't upset. I passed that information along to the police and it was added to their notes.
Just a couple of weeks later base housing became available and those people moved. After that one report I didn't see or hear anything else that would be helpful to the police and they had no case. Once they moved I didn't hear another word about them until two years later.
Then it was the military police who were knocking on my door. We too had moved from those apartments. They had tracked me down. They were wanting information about that police report I had made and anything else I might know.
When I inquired about their late involvement in this situation, they informed me the woman had killed that little boy while living in base housing. She was, of course, being prosecuted for the murder. They were gathering evidence to build their case.
The only history of any previous abuse turned out to be my report despite the fact the child's lifeless body offered up proof of extensive abuse. Besides being extremely malnourished, he also had lots and lots of old fractures and signs of what they called significant bruising in all stages of healing over his entire body.
I remember the chill that ran through my body and up over the back of my head as I heard those words. Who knows maybe those words are part of what helped me get away from that abusive husband of mine. Even today just writing this the chills run down my spine. I see that child's face, I hear his cry.
Not long after the military police came to see me, the father of the boy came to visit as well. He asked me about that day. He thanked me for trying to help his little boy. The man had no clue..........he was devastated......and even worse, he was fighting for another child.
The woman was pregnant. Even though she was going to serve time for killing this boy, according to California law she still had rights to the new baby. Because the man was military, he wasn't allowed to have custody either under California law.
I did sworn statements for him. Last I heard he had to leave the military to get custody of the second child, a daughter. In the meantime they had managed to give temporary custody to the man's mother. But that didn't even happen until after the woman was caught abusing that child too. Because he now had a clue what the signs of her MO were, he was able to see the signs during visitations. Then he was able to save the child before she was murdered.........but not before lots of broken bones.
This incident was long before any useful therapy for me. Don't ask me how I managed to get up the courage to report the incident in the first place, let alone not blaming myself for not saving that child........but I actually did ok.
Even though I was sick about things, I somehow managed to know it wasn't within my power to save either child. But even today I feel a great sadness that it had to end this way...........and I am thankful that the second child was saved.
I believe laws have changed a lot since those days. Even so they are still not protecting children. Everytime I hear an incidence on the news about the death of a child, this incident comes flooding back to me.
In these difficult economic times the number of children being killed by their parents is rising. I don't know if anyone is actually doing a study on this fact, but it's true. We hardly get through a month here in Washington state and there's another story of a child murdered by a parent, a step-parent or a boyfriend/girlfriend of a parent. Are similiar things happening in your area?