My post today is about an experience I had last year, and was sparked by reading this article of an experiment that ABC News did. I get emotional when I talk about this, because I feel so strongly about the subject, which is Neglect and Child Abuse. I am very passionate about how wrong both are, and I am absolutely a person who WILL do something if I see or hear either.
Now, I don't want people to get the wrong picture. I believe a parent can discipline his/her own child however they deem fit, even it means a little spank on the bum. But if I see someone dragging a child through the grocery isle by her hair, you'd better believe I will either call the police, or stop the parent and tell him/her how wrong that is.
No questions. No hesitations.
If someone can do that in a grocery store, what do you think is happening behind closed doors?
My real story may not be as painful as the one I just mentioned (which did happen, but I wasn't the one who witnessed it), but it's just as important.
Early fall of last year, my mother and I pulled up to a Subway to grab some lunch. My mother ran in, while I waited in the car with my sleeping son. After about two minutes, I noticed that the van we parked next to had two little girls sitting in it, alone. The oldest girl couldn't have been older than five, and the other girl, still in her car seat, looked to be about one, or one-and-a-half.
It really bothered me that these two girls had been left alone. I looked around, but saw no one. I looked at the van again, and noticed that the doors were not locked, and there was a woman's purse sitting up on the dash board, taunting any thief to come and take it. It was the perfect setup for an easy kidnapping!
What did I do?
I picked up my phone and called the police. About 8 minutes had passed before I called. I wish I had done so earlier, but I hesitated...that won't happen next time. The operator asked me to get the license plate number of the van, and I did. She assured me that an officer was on his way, and had me relay any information that I could so that he would be prepared when he got there.
During this conversation, the younger girl began to vomit. Not spit up, vomit. The girl began to cough after almost choking on it, and the older sister grabbed a burp cloth and wiped her sister's face.
I watched a young child cough, vomit, and cry for the next six minutes with no one to comfort her.
I watched an older sister roll down a window with a scared face, looking for her mother.
I watched a mother walk out of Subway, get in her van, and drive away without once acknowledging her children.
The officer pulled up about twenty seconds later. He assured me that they had the woman's address, in the next city over, and that the next city's police force would handle the case. He took my statement, and that was the end.
Thank goodness there wasn't record-breaking heat that day. Thank goodness the girls were not kidnapped. Thank goodness I didn't witness a child choking to death.
The truth of the matter is that children are left alone in cars every day. Even if nothing happens, that doesn't make it acceptable. It's called neglect, it's considered child abuse, and it IS a punishable crime! I know there are times when we think it's okay to leave children alone in a car because we will just be gone for "three or four minutes." But it only takes thirty seconds to for a child to be taken from a car! And only 1 minute if the car doors are locked!
Don't chance it! And don't stand for it, if you witness something like this!