A Discouraged Mother Trying to Report Child Abuse

by Name Undisclosed
(Location Undisclosed)

My son just went through a very traumatic experience while on his weekend visit with his father. He had an accident in his underwear (of poop) and his father got very angry and took his underwear off of him and put them in his mouth and told him to eat it.


My ex husband and I share custody of our two children ages 9 and 7. When they came home, my son was hesitant to talk to the police. He was scared of his dad getting angry at him. I finally was able to convince him that it's not his fault and that it needed to be reported. So after my son talked with the policeman, the officer went directly to my ex husband's house. Of course he denied putting them in his mouth.

My boys were scheduled to go to their dad's again for two days before the next weekend with me, and I did not want to make them go there. My son asked, "Why can't I just stay with you." I explained to him that I am going to do everything in my power to protect him, but it all has to be done through the law.

The morning of the day they were to go with their dad, I went to our county courthouse to try and get a protection order. They said they could do nothing for me, so I went to the DHS and they had me call the Child Abuse Hotline. After I reported what had happened they said they would get back with me. Extremely disappointed in the system, the next stop I made was at my lawyer's office. He could do nothing for me either, except start a custody modification which could take up to two weeks to just get a court date.

I guess I am just very upset with the system and that they allow this to go on. As a mother I feel so helpless that I can't even protect my children from the damage their father has done to them!

A Video Reading by Darlene BarriereNote from Darlene: The volume of contributor submissions has now made it impossible for me to comment personally (especially in great detail) on each and every contribution. If I haven't left you a comment or one that is in-depth, please do not take my lack of a personal response as a slight, or as a statement that your story is somehow unworthy of my time. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, could be further from the truth. If there was a way for me to respond to all of you at length, I would.

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Child Abuse Nightmare That Continues

by Anonymous
(Location Unknown)

Moved from comment thread: 
I was returned to my grandmother at age 9 and the nightmare began. She was an alcoholic and her sister was too. Her man&mdas;Grandpa—was a drug addict and rapist. So was my real dad. Her children were schizophrenic and the younger two were addicts and shoplifters. One was a rapist son.

I endured many rapes and beatings and was made to shoplift, babysit and prostitute at a young age. The other children became gang members when we grew up, and though I was the oldest, I was always the one hurt or punished.

For 20+ years I have been through family abuse and no one will help me, not my police, mayor, CPS, or Vera House in Syracuse. The family consisted of addicts, alcoholics, gang members. Me and the kids have learned not to talk, and even mine. No one listens and no one helps so no one cares. I have lost my children, my home, my children's father, my self respect, and even my friends. I have lost myself in all this time. 20+ years is a long time to wait for someone to help you. I know that one day I will lose more than just the one son I have already buried. I will lose it all, me. Don't tell me about help. It doesn't exist in Syracuse, New York 2009.

A Video Reading by Darlene BarriereNote from Darlene: The volume of contributor submissions has now made it impossible for me to comment personally (especially in great detail) on each and every contribution. If I haven't left you a comment or one that is in-depth, please do not take my lack of a personal response as a slight, or as a statement that your story is somehow unworthy of my time. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, could be further from the truth. If there was a way for me to respond to all of you at length, I would.

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Social Services Are Not Always to be Trusted

by Sophia
(Portsmouth, UK)

I must say that I am disgraced at the way in which child abuse cases are treated here within the UK.

I, for the last couple of years, have watched two people (aged 10 and 11) I care about dearly being abused physically and emotionally by their mother and father. Being 16, I found the courage to tell someone of the abuse these boys have endured, which included Social Services.
I was outraged by the response.

The first time I told, nothing was done, not even a visit to the boys' house. The second time, when someone finally came round, the parents denied everything, and they were believed. According to Social Services, these boys are not in immediate danger, which I must add is not true. Yes, I admit the boys denied the abuse also, but since they're so young, I can understand why.

I have not even spoken about the abuse I have endured for most of my life, and now I definitely know not to. Social services are there to protect children and help them when they are in danger, but it is now apparent they don't always do that.

I understand that not everyone will agree with me on this, however, from this experience and from what I have been told by others, not all child abuse cases will be treated. I am now scared for the safety of these boys. As I see it, they will not receive help until they are seriously injured.

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Court Sanctioned Child Abuse

by Susan
(Perth, Western Australia)

I've just spent the past half hour reading through stories, etc., and I didn't notice any mention of the Family Court. I'm in Australia and from what I've read, you have the same problem in the USA...and that is "Court Sanctioned Child Abuse."

If a child tells of abuse, the mother's first instinct is to report it to the appropriate agency (Child Protection Services). What a joke!! And to go into court over custody puts the protective parent behind the eight ball, because the belief is this: If a mother alleges abuse, whether it be sexual, psychological or physical, she's automatically seen by lawyers and the judge as being a vindictive, lying and manipulative witch. I hope things aren't as bad for you guys.

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Child Abuse: System is Failing My Children

by Anonymous
(Massachusetts, USA)

I am the Massachusetts mother of four beautiful children, twin girls age 14, a daughter age 12 and a son age 11. I separated from the children's father almost three years ago due to his behavioral issues and escalating abusive behavior to myself and my children. I thought this would eliminate the abuse and protect us all from the cycle of abuse.

Little did I know that we were beginning on a journey that would cost tens of thousands of dollars and engross us in a system which abused us all even more.

I just finished the custody piece of our divorce and won sole legal and physical custody, the father (and I use that term loosely) has 10 51a and 51b reports filed against him with the Department of Children and Families. Yet each time he hurts a child and I go into court to seek supervised visitation, the Judge denies the request with no discussion or findings. My twelve-year-old was recently diagnosed with Battered Women's Syndrome and one of my 14-year-olds has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have a no-abuse protection order from the local district court and a restraining order against this man, yet he continues to violate whenever he wants to. Now he is using psychological abuse to threaten and intimidate myself and the children by telling them he is going to violate the order, and if I report him, he will lose his job and we will lose the house.

I have exhausted my retirement to fight for the children and now I am paying for all of the therapy they require (he is court-ordered and was found in contempt and still hasn't paid his share). The hardest part is the fact that he belongs to a father's rights group and puts one face forward while he acts like a monster to the children. Last week he punched my twelve-year-old and left a bruise. Why doesn't the system work and why won't the Judge listen.

The collateral damage control after each visit is exhausting, and my other two children have been experiencing headaches and stomach aches whenever they need to see him. I am starting to think I need to find a group that will supply the children with their own attorney so that they can fight for their rights. They deserve to have a voice and to be heard. How can a parent stop the cycle of abuse if the system allows it to continue?

A Video Reading by Darlene BarriereNote from Darlene: The volume of contributor submissions has now made it impossible for me to comment personally (especially in great detail) on each and every contribution. If I haven't left you a comment or one that is in-depth, please do not take my lack of a personal response as a slight, or as a statement that your story is somehow unworthy of my time. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, could be further from the truth. If there was a way for me to respond to all of you at length, I would.

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Backlogged System

by Stephanie Braski
(Brantwood, WI)

It angers me to no end that child abuse charges have taken so long... My children and I reported the abuse in mid May and no charges have been brought up yet. I understand the backlog, as I worked with the criminal system for quite a while. I am now in a position to return my daughter to an abuser through family court. I have held off as long as I could, hoping that criminal charges would evolve soon. This has been a sad couple of days. I am afraid to talk to my daughter about it, as she will break down and cry again with the thought of returning to her father's home. I have to comply with the court orders in family court or risk the decision that I am withholding her without a reason and lose placement altogether. Right now I am feeling cornered.

My son was physically abused and "mind games played" for him speaking out. I am sure that my daughter will endure psychological games (guilt trip put upon her, subtle threats, etc.) as I know this abuser. I lived with him for 10 years.

There is such a damn conflict between family court and the criminal system. So many outdated myths continue to thrive, such as, the ex-wife being vindictive and pulling out the "abuse card" if all else fails. I am not that type of person and it pisses me off that me and the kids are not believed that the kids' dad is an abuser. Does anyone out there dispute that an abuser is a person who exerts control through hitting, choking, belittling, "mind games" and threats of harm to the victim as well as the mother? What is wrong with this system?

OK-I have vented a bit. I am just angered that according to family law, I have to return my child to an abuser when I know darn well that hitting, choking, belittling is abuse. A dear little angel has had to witness this treatment of her brother for years. Yet I cannot prevent my daughter from suffering emotional abuse-the knowledge of witnessing what has happened to her brother for years.

So how can I stop this???

I am a proactive type of person and the legal system seems to be reactive. Once the damage is done then the system will take action. Does anyone have any ideas how to counter this?????

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Child Abuse: Mother Arrested for Neglect Without Harm, But Harm is Evident

by Stephanie
(Plant City, Florida, USA)

14 months old and he weighed between 13 and 14 pounds: 
He couldn't roll over, sit up or do anything. A 14-month-old should be able to do these things. His mother, after 8 months, has just been arrested for neglect without harm for the 6th time. This neglect without harm has caused this precious little man that will be 2 in just 1 month to have the mentality of a 10-month-old.

You may ask who I am. I am a mom of three children and I have taken on the responsibility of Little Man, his 3 brothers (8, 6 and 4 and their sister, who is almost 3). Plus my youngest son, Chase, who is almost 7...There are allegations of sexual abuse to my precious 3-year-old soon to be stepdaughter. The 8-year-old just shared with his dad (my husband) and the case worker that he and his 3 brothers witnessed his mom, one of her lovers and his sister having her genitalia massaged (in my words: a twisted threesome.) When the oldest asked her to stop he said that she said, "Shut up and watch." The 6-year-old said he covered his eyes.

This woman has been arrested 6 times for child neglect without harm... HELLO!!! All this has been reported and still no detective...I'm sorry, I've never been involved with DCF, and I only have DCF in my life now because I've taken on this responsibility. But how are you arrested that many times and NOT questioned about those kinds of allegations. It's been weeks now. The case worker is on it. Maybe!

My 8-year-old son is the leader of the pack. He constantly asks when we are going to eat. I believe that's his way of reminding us so he or his siblings don't have to go without food. He's strong. The 6-year-old is being supervised constantly around his sister because he's been caught trying to touch her the same way the oldest described to his father and the case worker. The 4-year-old knows way too much about sex. He tells the girls he wants to have sex with them, and this beautiful little girl needs sexual gratification. Her dad doesn't like to change her with legs gaped open...it seems she anticipates being violated. I told him he needs to change her because she needs to realize everyone is not going to violate her. (Yes, she should be potty trained, but it's not happening for her yet.)

We relocated to Florida from N.C. because we were told that we couldn't take them back to N.C because their lovely mother stood up and said she didn't have a way to travel to N.C. I gave up my home, a good job and moved here because these kids were in desperate need of me and my love and their dad who loves them very much. We asked her to let us have them, but always to no avail.

Darlene's comments to this Child Abuse Commentary "Child Abuse: Mother Arrested for Neglect Without Harm, But Harm is Evident" can be found at Comments below this submission. Depending on system activity, there are sometimes delays in comments going live on my site; but rest assured, they do eventually appear. So if you don't yet see them, I hope you will return later to read what I, and possibly others, have written. I thank you for your patience and understanding.

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The Real DFS

by Anna Jarbeck
(Cape May, New Jersey, USA)

Never stop hoping

Never stop hoping

My 2-year-old cousin, Cheyenne, visited her father every Thursday and Tuesday from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. We (meaning my family and I) had no problem with her father because he didn't seem mean. However, we were wrong.

One evening, Cheyenne came home and told us that her dad and his wife were hurting her "down there" in the private area. Cheyenne's mother, Char, was frightened and called DFS (Department of Family Services). They basically did not do anything to help the situation. During this, Cheyenne says to the DFS workers numerous times that her father was hurting her. A few months pass, and Cheyenne was still being sexually and physically abused.

Next, DFS and two cops come to her house and claim that Char has taken Cheyenne to the hospital too many times with no conclusive evidence to charge her father with sexual or physical abuse. Cheyenne and brother (who was under the age of 1) were placed into a foster home for five days. Then, she is placed in my aunt's custody for about a month, sharing visitation between both parents. The court then gives full custody of Cheyenne to her father. After that the judge says that our family can only visit Cheyenne on Fridays, from 2-4 PM.

Two months later, Char goes back to court and finds out that no one can visit Cheyenne, except for Char. Since when is the word of a child silenced when it comes to child abuse?

Darlene's comments to this Child Abuse Commentary "The Real DFS" are at the link below.

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My ex has tried to kill my daughter; the system does nothing

by Paul Bukovinsky
(Avella, Pennsylvania, USA)

I have a 1 ┬Ż-year-old baby girl. When my ex was pregnant with her, she told me she wanted to kill my daughter. I thought nothing of it at that time, but later on she tried to drug my daughter with meds she was on (my ex was on) and my daughter almost died. After that, my daughter started to show up at my house with bruises all over her body. My lawyer did nothing and told me to do nothing. So I got a new lawyer, hoping he does something. But the funny thing is, the judge told me that I have a mental illness because I was in an accident when I was 12; which I was, but it wasn't that bad. Every time I tried to show him the medical records that show my ex tried to kill my daughter, he just told me to sit down and shut up. He doesn't care about children, and that she might be dead by now. He even took away my rights because of my ex's lies.

I am going to make sure he is put behind bars for life. If anyone out there reads this and can help, that would be great.

Darlene's comments to this Child Abuse Commentary "My ex has tried to kill my daughter; the system does nothing" are at the link below.

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My Grandson is Being Abused

by Confused
(New York, USA)

I've had custody of my grandson since birth. His mother was careless. She dropped him on his head, left him in the bath tub, left him unattended on the bed, under-dressed him when going outside, and she has actual walked out of the house and left him, not telling me she was leaving. She hangs out on weekends drinking, and comes home to breast feed him. One time when the baby woke up for feeding, she refused to get up to feed him. Instead, she mishandled him, hit his face on my headboard, and knocked his front tooth up in the gums. Now she has had 2 other children who she had custody of. I did the supervision visitation in my home, and every time she came, I sat there and watched her drop, mistreat, not watch, go to sleep, and ignore the other children that she had with her. I called CPS many times, but they didn't find anything. She is mentally retarded. Mentally, she is not capable of taking care of those children.

My grandson now goes to see her. He has told me that she is very mean to him, that she ignores him and treats him bad. She tells him not to tell me what is going on or what they are doing to him. She teaches him to lie. She constantly gives him candy to hype him up. She has done so many things. Every time he comes home, he eventually tells me what is going on. I don't like it. If she doesn't have custody of her first child, they should not have allowed her to keep the other two that she has. They already know how she is. She is also in a very abusive relationship. She has told me that she cannot watch two children at a time, only one. Now what does that tell you?

I have pictures of her beating my grandson. I sent them to the court house. Next thing I know, CPS comes to my house and I show them the pictures with her beating him with a belt with no clothes on. Is that child abuse or what? They said that they can't tell if she is hitting him or not. The picture clearly shows her with the belt and swinging it to hit him. What more do they need?

It has been five years and she still hasn't gotten herself together. I want to keep him. She deserves to get her rights taken away from her. It's been going on for too long. I want to move out of state. Will this ever end?

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WJO - My Now Deceased Son

by Kayla Ortley
(Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA)

When I was five years old I was put in a foster home, and was beaten with everything you could think of. I was there from the age five to the age twelve. I swore I would never let it happen to my kids, only I was wrong. My son, known as WJO, was put into foster care with my family. He was abused by two of my family members. At the age four, he was killed by my cousin's husband.

I think that kids that are abused, or have been through this, should be able to talk about it. But how can you get a four-year-old girl that was in foster care to talk to a professional? My daughter was in foster care with her brother, only they were separated, and she was being abused also. She often gets angry. Sometimes she says what people have done to her. And when she does, I feel bad because if I didn't lose her, she wouldn't have gone through this and I would have my son now. And now, as I get older and realize what I've been through, I know why she gets angry, because I still get angry also.

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Abusers Get No Sentence, Victims Get Life Sentence

by Marlyn
(Kilmarnock, UK)

32 years later and 7 years of abuse, and now I am left unsatisfied. My abuser died before being taken to court. I didn't have that satisfaction of a guilty verdict, and I feel cheated. I am left with the dirty feeling, which is still affecting my life and, may I say, is destroying my relationship. I have an understanding partner, but I can't define between being 7 years old and 39. I feel dirty. In fact, I think you can smell the badness.

An abuser gets a sentence if you're lucky, but I've got a life sentence of torment, even though I was the victim.

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