5/02/2008

The Eyes of a Child

I was sent to Jackson, MS back in either ’85 or ’86 to help with a job my employer was having difficulty finishing up. We had a project manager who was apparently in over his head. So, I was sent out to rescue him. But, this blog entry isn’t about him. It’s about something that I witnessed one day while I was in Jackson.

I had just gotten off work one day and decided to stop by a supermarket to pick up a few things to take back to my motel. I was tired, worn out from dealing with this project manager (one of those people who felt he was always right, but managed to always be wrong). I had been shopping at the supermarket when I heard a scream. I turned to my right and saw a woman slap a little girl…twice. I was stunned, as were the other 5 or 6 shoppers nearby. My first reaction was to go slap that woman myself. This woman kept poking her finger in the child’s face, scolding her for whatever horrific act a 4 year old (just a guess) could have done. All of us stood there not saying a word. I was waiting for one of the other shoppers to get the manger to this woman. No one moved or said a word, including yours truly. As this woman continued to berate this child, the child looked right at me. It was a haunted look…a look of desperation. A plea for help. But, I did nothing but stand there in stunned silence, as did the other shoppers.

Apparently, a stock boy did see what happened and alerted the manager. It seems the police were there in less than three minutes. There was the typical “I’m innocent, I was just correcting my child” BS from this woman. I don’t know if she was arrested. She was not placed in handcuffs. I did give a statement to what I saw and said I would gladly come back to Jackson as a witness for the district attorney’s office if needed (I was never contacted). The woman was escorted to a police cruiser and was taken off. I would assume the woman who took the child was from child protective services. But, this is all beside the point I want to make. It was that child’s eyes pleading that haunted me for years. What haunted me even more is my not doing anything. Like the other shoppers, I stood in stunned silence.

Tonight, as I pumped $3.56/gallon gas in my Honda Civic, I saw a woman yelling at her, once again, three or four year old daughter. And this little girl looked right at me…and it reminded me of my cowardice over twenty years ago. She didn’t strike her daughter. But, it’s possible this was an abused child for all I know. I saw that same haunted look in this little girl. I felt so incredibly helpless. I wanted to go to that child and rescue her from this screaming woman. But, surely as the fact gas will rise to $4.00/gallon, she would have had me arrested.

I couldn’t do anything about tonight. I could have done something over twenty years ago. But, was frozen into inaction for “not wanting to get involved”. That is inexcusable, especially when a child is involved. But, tonight, at least, I can do this. I am linking the child abuse center. You can donate to the cause of abused children. I have already done so. I encourage everyone reading this blog to donate something. I did so, possibly, out of guilt of what transpired back in the mid-eighties. But, most importantly, this is the right thing to do.

6 comments:

Great post. Thanks for the information

Thanks David...hope you have a great weekend.

Great post David
I think its so wonderful you went the extra step to put the link on there for donations. That's a start.
You never know what one tiny action you take can transform in to.
We all have been in that position and it never leaves our mind, does it?

Thanks Julie. I hate being caught in those kind of situations. I know if I don't act, I'll regret it for years afterward. thanks for your comment.

Reading you post just reminded me that there are tons of parents in India who beat their kids really bad. For not being first in their class, for doing something that the parent didn't approve off, for falling in love. I have seen/heard of father's dragging their daughters into a room and beating them up with shoes, belts etc. Its a cruel world. I'm glad that its reduced quite a bit but its still out there.

roshan, it is a sad situation when a child is so severely punished for not living up to the parent's expectations. Especially in the situation you described in your comment. In some case, I don't think the parent(s) are thinking how their behavior will effect their child. At least, that is what I would like to believe. Thanks for your comment.

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