I Witnessed Child Abuse in a Wal-Mart Parking Lot

by Amanda
(Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA)

This is not my story, but that of a small boy that I personally witnessed and subsequently reported to the state police!

On the 15th day of November in 2007, I left work at approximately 6:45 pm. I decided to go to my local Wal-Mart. As I was walking in, I saw a young boy of no more than 3 or 4 years of age having a toddler meltdown as so many kids do. He was crying and sitting on the ground. This mother, if you could even call her that, yelled over from her car, "Get your mother-f@^*ing ass in the F@^*ing car, now!" I, appalled by this, stood around the corner and watched what was to unfold. She then proceeded to walk over to him and yanked him up by one arm and dragged him to the car, where she slammed him into his car-seat. As he began to cry more frantically, she repeatedly slammed him against the rear of the seat, which in turn made him cry harder. She then grabbed him by the shoulders and began shaking him vigorously. As you can imagine, he continued to cry in fear and with true distress in his voice. After buckling his belt, she then pulled back and slammed this baby across the face with such force that you could see him and the whole car-seat shift.

At this point, I lost all self control and emerged from the corner, yelling at her. I told her she was done, and that I had every intention of reporting her to the police. As she then frantically grabbed the rest of her items to place in the car, with more care than her own baby, I walked over to the car to get her licence plate number. Another onlooker, appalled at what we had both witnessed, gave me her information to give to the dispatcher on the other end of the phone line. The woman, now completely aware that more than one person had seen her despicable actions, put her car in reverse. Yes, she backed out of the lot so as to keep her licence plate hidden. Little did this poor excuse for a human being know that I had already taken the plate number down.

I only have to add one other point to this story...throughout this whole ordeal, another boy about 6 or 7 years of age sat quietly in the back seat, playing a hand-held game. This sadly shows how immune this other child was to his own mother's disgusting behaviors! How very grossly sad a life these children have. How sad that the one person who is supposed to comfort and protect them has such little self control. How sad that she has robbed them of the trust a mother should just know how to give.

I myself have 2 babies, one who is 3 years old and the other 19 months old. It is not always easy, but I could never hurt my child like that. I talk to them like little adults and explain why things sometimes can't be what they want them to be. I believe that they will be good-natured and well-rounded adults. When I feel myself getting short, I take a second to think about how to deal and push through the rough patches. Such is life.

I will pray for this baby and many others like him every night! God bless his little soul.

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Comments for I Witnessed Child Abuse in a Wal-Mart Parking Lot

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Nov 16, 2007
Good for you, Amanda, for doing the right thing!
by: Darlene Barriere - webmaster

All too often people don't want to get involved. In this case, an intervention was definitely necessary. Thank goodness that little boy had you to stop his mother, because if you hadn't, she could have inflicted serious injury on him; she may already have. If this mother can do what she did in a public place like a Wal-Mart parking lot, where there is every possibility of someone seeing, imagine what she does to her children when she's angry and behind closed doors!

And you were bang with your assessment regarding how unaffected the other little boy was, knowing his little brother was being slammed and bashed. He has obviously witnessed—if not been the victim of—his mother's unmanageable anger and hostility before. When children are blasé about such abusive behaviour, when they don't show abject fear at these clearly violent actions on the part of a parent, it is a huge red flag that abuse is ongoing in the home. Let's hope your report to the authorities triggers a proper response and protection for both these precious little boys.

Thank you for sharing your experience, Amanda.

To all my visitors: If you witness child abuse, don't be afraid to intervene if the parent or guardian is likely to harm a child. Clearly, what Amanda witnessed could have resulted in a serious brain injury, a broken neck, or even death if she hadn't found the intestinal fortitude to address the woman. The act of calling out to an out-of-control parent can shock them out of what they are doing. And please, report the abuse to the authorities. It's your moral and ethical duty. In some countries, it's your legal duty. Child abuse is unacceptable. Act when you see it.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Nov 16, 2007
oh my god!
by: Hannah Chapman

this is a horriable story and i cant believe someone would do that to there own child.
i live in england and choose to do some work on child abuse in my english lessons i found thsi story helpful as forms of abuse and how some children do get treated all i say is if that is the way that you are going to treat your children then dont bother having them!

Nov 27, 2007
Thank You
by: Lorena

Thank you for being a concerned mother and citizen. Children are severly abused and killed because no one takes the time to report the abuse. My daughter-in-law lost custody of her two youngest daughters to her ex-husband after charges that her oldest child (now six) disclosed that he had been sexually abused by the husband's father who just happens to be a minister. Her second child also disclosed the sexual abuse by the same person. The judge in all of the custody hearings disregarded the testimony of professionals and law enforcement of the abuse. The department of children services failed to protect the children by allowing the alledged person to violate a safety plan where there would be no contact. The girls are now allowed by the father to be around this person all the time and no one cares. The youngest child is now three and it is very probable that she has also been molested by the same person. The courts and DCS will not do anything to protect the children. The District Attorney has closed the case on the first child do to the lack of physical evidence. The disclosure by the second child was never given to law enforcement by the agencies where the report was given as required by law. It is very probable that no action is taken by the parties entrusted with the welfare of the children. Just keep up the good work and hopefully someone in your state will step up and protect the children.

Jul 27, 2008
I too, saw abuse at my supermarket
by: LG

***Comments moved to Commentary page***

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Jul 29, 2008
To LG:
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Your comments and question were too important to leave within this thread, LG. I have taken the liberty of moving what you wrote to a page that will provide more exposure to all my visitors. You will find those comments and your question, as well as my reply to them, at the following URL: How should I have dealt with witnessing child abuse?

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Feb 11, 2012
Defenders of Children and Elderly
by: Carol

Thank you for informing other concerned citizens about the child welfare concern. I witnessed excessive force used by a mother against her child yesterday inside a Walmart. The focus was not in the correct place. The focus was on me who was reporting the assault instead of on the physical welfare of the victim. Child welfare endangerment is not recognized in today's world much like it was not recognized in periods of history. The consequences are manifest in the crime and social decline in cities and towns. We are swimming against the tide. God has a plan. Let Him continue to speak through us if it be His will. Thanks.

Apr 06, 2014
child abuse
by: Anonymous

I just observed a man dragging a girl., probably. 6 years old, who was crying.he got to his car, shoved her in.I knew then, something wasn't right.as I was walking toward the entrance. Of Walmart.I heard hitting of an object.which appears to be the little girl. I turned around and copied down his license plate. he got out of the car and said is there a problem here I said no and went on into Walmart. asked if there was a security guard the Walmart employees said no. I explained the situation they said we can't call but you can.so I did. three cop cars came an i explained it to them so I don't know what happened after that. I went inside and there was a woman came up and she said you need to tend to your own business. I asked her was she the wife . that's when the manager came up. all the Walmart employees said I did the right thing.very upsetting.

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