I saw an article today on the CBC about the results of an inquiry into Manitoba’s child welfare system. This inquiry came about because of the death of Phoenix Sinclair at the hands of her own mother and step father. She was five. I find it even difficult to write these sentences about a child being violated by her parent let alone being able to comprehend how a person does such an action. I cried just reading about Phoenix’s life… and I’m not the five-year-old girl who had to live it.
I find myself completely at a loss as to how to deal with this reality because I simply do not understand how anyone can DO that. I cannot wrap my head around abusing children in any way. Addictions I get~ there is a chemical and physical reaction that can make you come back for more. Is it the same with abuse? When that child cries, does the parent get some kind of endorphin rush that makes them want to do such a thing? When my child cries I feel anxious and often get a tight uncomfortable knot in my stomach. And when I have accidentally been the cause of that I feel terrible and comfort her and apologize profusely. Basically she cries and I want to fix it immediately.
Even if these abusive parents feel differently in the moment and get a “rush” of some kind, how do they come down from that and live with themselves? How do you look at your battered and bruised child the next day and not want to fix yourself so it never happens again? Why would you not want to put your child in a safer home immediately if you cannot control your rage? This little girl was shot with a BB gun, and beaten. She was abused and left for dead on a basement floor alone. What kind of monsters does our society raise and allow to wreak havoc upon their own children?
This comes back to an issue I talked about in my last post: we mind our own business too often. Way too often. In my opinion, when it comes to the vulnerable populace, it is everyone’s business and everyone’s job to look and listen and REPORT! Who is vulnerable? Well anyone who has the lesser power in any situation but specifically in our society- children, elderly, animals, those with mental or physical disability. Some find it odd that I include animals but not only do I care deeply about animal welfare but it is also well-known that animal abuse is often the first step/sign that someone will go further and hurt fellow humans.
We also need to stop making so much effort to return children to their abusive parents. It’s sad but these parents rarely ever become truly good at parenting. Children’s welfare wants the kids out of the foster system and I understand that because it is also a flawed place to grow up but we keep trying to patch up these families to the detriment of the children. It would be amazing to put children back at home but the case workers do not have the time to do all of the necessary follow-up. These parents and kids need someone stopping in unannounced several times a week for a long time. They need to all be going to mandatory counseling/check-ups weekly for a long time. This needs to be an invasive process and instead we throw the lambs to the wolves and tell them everything is going to be okay now. The welfare agencies don’t have the time or the funding to truly fix many of these families.
All parents feel a bond with their child but the problem is that for some this bond is not one of love but of ownership. So often in situation where a parent is unfit to raise their child (for whatever reason) they will say something along the lines of “I don’t want someone else raising MY baby.” The statement is not that they love their child too much to be apart from them but that they OWN that child and don’t want someone else to HAVE it even if it’s what’s best for the child. Mine! Mine! MINE!
I’ve often wondered why when a parent clearly does not want a child other than to get mad at them and cause harm, why they don’t just drop it off at a hospital or some place safe. But it is this ownership that seems to be at the root of the issue. These are not people who are worried about getting in trouble, after all they are illegally brutalizing their child. Isn’t abandonment a choice that is much more loving than keeping a child you don’t want or cannot take care of? Of course you should give up your child in a legal way~ please don’t take what I’ve written to mean that I condone random child abandonment as the best way to get rid of a baby!
I’m just saying if you find yourself apologizing to your child/elderly parent/dog for that black eye or various bruises you should find them a safer space to live until you can ensure you are not going to harm them again. Rage isn’t love. Abuse isn’t love. Ownership isn’t love. And there is no room for any of these elements in a loving relationship.