Monday, October 13, 2008

Child Abuse

Can't Stop Thinking 'Bout It from Lisa Diederichs on Vimeo.


Nicole said...

that is so sad. it is terriable how some children are treated. since you dont know them or if you'll ever see them again or how to contact them or turn them in, I'd say pray.

prayer is powerful and you dont know how it will help the little boy out, we cant/wont see it but when all else fails, prayer always pulls through. Ill be praying for him and you.

Suzi said...

So, my comment won't be too helpful because I don't know what to do either. My reaction would have been the same as yours. I think we (society) see things, but don't think we should get involved - it's not our business, we don't know the family, etc. Unless it's something "really bad", the tendency is to just do nothing. But what constitutes "really bad"? Seeing physical marks? Witnessing an act of violence? How bad does the act have to be? Steve and I were talking about something similar to this after school today. I can tell you about it later. Maybe it's when we get passionate about something and we want to be advocates.... maybe that causes change. See? I don't know.

becky said...

Lisa I would pray for that child. But more importantly I would pray for that mother. Obviously no one knows but her what is going on in her to make her want to hurt her child, but the power of pray can heal all wounds.

Diane Davis said...

Hi Lisa,

Blog Stalker here from Jodie's blog (I'm friends with Mike's sister, Sarah). I read your blog often... I love your heart for social justice (I'm going to see Call + Response this week in Oakland), and your humor on your blog. Your dog is awesome and you seem like an amazing teacher. See, I'm not lying, I have been reading your blog. :)

So... I work for Child Protective Services in Oakland, CA. I am an Emergency Response Social Worker, which means I'm the first point of contact to investigate child abuse/neglect.

I deal with angry, defensive, and hostile parents all of the time. And do you know what I do? I align myself with them as much as possible. I try to understand that parenting in the best of situations is stressful, but add on poverty and a host of other circumstances, and sometimes it seems unbearable. And MOST of the time, people calm down and breathe easier when they get to be human and when they are not as defensive.

In the hundreds of cases I have investigated, I've only felt evil one time. In all the other cases, EVEN IN THE MOST HORRIFIC OF CIRCUMSTANCES, I really think parents love their kids. Is it enough? Is it what you or I would want for our own kids? Does it mean their kids stay with them instead of going to foster care? Nope. It's not, and many times kids end up in foster care.

So in that situation, I would approach the mom and ask if there is something I could do to help her. I would speak in a soft tone to calm her down. I would say something to the effect that parenting is hard and ask if you can take the kid to look at a pumpkin while she has a few minutes of much deserved alone time. There are a lot of little things you could say, but the point would be to open up lines of communication so you can hear her story. Who knows what her day was like. Who knows the last time she received kindness in her life.

I think change happens when we show grace to others. I don't think it happens through anger or shame. OF COURSE I understand your very human reaction, and I have it too. But I don't think reactionary responses are in the best interest of the kid or of the parent. I recognize that this is hard. There is nothing that angers me more than injustice.

Does that make sense?

I love the idea of a video question. This was awesome. Thanks for sharing your conflicted and kind heart. And thanks for letting me crash your blog :)


BTW... I had a similar experience of not knowing what to do last Sunday. I blogged about it here:


Diane Davis said...

goodness... that was a long response. sorry!

Jodie Howerton said...

First, I LOVE your heart. How did my family get so lucky to have you as a teacher? I honestly thank God for that every day.

I honestly think a confrontation would not have yielded anything productive right in the moment. I'm not sure what an immediate response that would help would look like.

I think I'll defer to the awesome social worker above me....

Anonymous said...

I have been in this situation on the street, and it happen right in front of me. It literally brought me to tears. I was with Jason and I wanted to follow the woman around with her son. She saw that I had witnessed the situation, and she didn't care. She actually said "What are you looking at?" At that point, since she was on the street I felt helpless, so I prayed and continued to pray, and when I think back on that situation I pray again. Otherwise if it happen to me today. I would take Diane's advice. God bless. Victoria