- Posted July 19, 2014 by
By a Lake, Minnesota
Child Abuse in Public
It's been a long time since I cried this hard. Make-up streaming down my face and tears clouding my contacts, praying between the cries.
After work, I went into a local store for groceries. While there, I witnessed a dad physically and verbally abuse his son. My heart dropped toward my stomach and I froze.
At first I could only hear the guy yelling in this booming voice, "Sit the f*** down" and "Shut the f*** up", plus other words that I couldn't make out. There were other women around me and we all looked up in shock - worrying and wondering where this child was and is he ok...
As I scrambled down an aisle, I managed to catch a glimpse of the man smack his child in the leg pretty hard and continue yelling. I asked one woman, "Should I call 9-1-1? She thought I should.
So, I stood in Walmart and called the police. I gave a description of the man, the woman, and the two children. The older child - maybe around 3 years old - was sitting in the front of the shopping cart, dirt on his face and clothes, shoes on the wrong feet, and bruises all over his legs.
The man was pretty average in build, but was obviously on some form of drugs. He would vacillate between yelling and mumbling, while also itching and twitching. The woman (mom, maybe?) had small beady eyes that seemed to catch me looking at her every time I didn't mean to. They were both throwing munchies in the cart and spent a lot of time looking at yogurt and hotdogs. Weird...
I had to keep an eye on them in the store so the police would know who to look for once they arrived. They both caught on that I was watching them (as were two other women). The man started yelling, "I better be good now, they got us on camera!".
The police then let me know that they indeed had him on camera and were watching him closely. I told them to look at that little boys bruised legs... hoping that would give them just cause to go and beat the sh**, I mean, stuff outta that guy. But, no - the cop just said they would watch him but were unable to do anything unless they see an actual crime take place.
YOU HAVE GOT TO BE FREAKIN' KIDDING?!
I rarely swear, but am in the mood to let it loose tonight. The anger and rage I feel toward that man is palpable to anyone within a 5-mile radius.
So, I tried to let go of watching this family, but they kept popping up wherever I was. Since they had caught onto me following them earlier, I saw them talking to an employee and pointing at me. Me! They were reporting at ME. Seriously?!
I got into the check-out line and go figure, it happened to be next to theirs - ugh. The guy was talking loudly and not making much sense. The children were quiet and the wife was tweeking.
I didn't want to leave those children, but had to drag myself away. What could else could I do? I was already a little scared of them - especially in their state of mind.
So, I go outside, load my groceries into the trunk and start the car. Out they come. Wondering cluelessly down the main aisle, looking around for where they had parked their car. Once they found their row, they walked really slowly toward the vehicle. Meanwhile, I was ducking down, trying to hide my face from them.
I drove off and out of the parking lot. No one was behind me, so I went as slow as I could. I watched them stumble to their car, desperately hoping that I would see the police bolting out the doors after them. Nothing. I saw nothing. Nothing but those two boys being swept away by parents who used them as punching bags.
I sped up and looked away, steering my car onto the freeway. The tears started flowing - hard. I couldn't stop them. In between my sobs, I prayed for those boys. Prayed that God would give them some kind of supernatural protection from those monsters.
I'm a recovering alcoholic. I understand addiction. However, as much as I was a drunk, I never raised a hand to my child while in a drunken state. I didn't scream and swear at them. Sure, I had my own awful things, like being a non-existent parent... but seeing the helplessness of these boys just broke my heart.
I kick myself for not getting their license plate, because I could have called Child Protective Services or something. But, I have to leave them behind knowing that I was helpless at doing more for them... as much as I wanted to whisk them away to my home where they could play with my boys on the trampoline and collect frogs by the dozen in the yard.
I didn't even know the proper protocol in this situation. My heart is heavy. My eyes blurry and my stomach upset. But, that's NOTHING in comparison to what these little punkin's have to endure on a daily basis.
What would you have done? What could I have done differently? I tried what I could... but, it still feels sadly fruitless in the end. The children are still with those abusive druggies, while I sit on my couch in the dark, fighting back more tears.
***Above imagery is a stock photo