A rock and a hard place

November 14, 2011

Parenting, Shout-Outs, Unfortunate

This makes twice today that I read someone else’s post and was inspired to write my own.  Only this one wasn’t pleasantly wacky and funny.  This one hurts.  And that’s why I’m writing it.  I hope some of you share this, it’s important for these things to be spoken of.

First, go read Kate’s post at Perpetually Nesting.

Read it?  Ok, now you can read mine that originally started out as a comment.  In fact, I’ve left it in comment form – cut and pasted direct from the comment box.


Oh I so feel for you in that situation, and I obviously feel for the little boy who most certainly WAS being abused.  Even if she hadn’t been swearing, that mother was using horrible unacceptable tone and language to a child, let alone one that young.

I don’t blame you for not doing something, as much as it makes your heart ache.

I had to tell on my own parents when I was being abused, and the first time I told people at school, child protective services came, and couldn’t (or wouldn’t) find evidence, and left me there.  Let me tell you, parents who’ve been tattled on are not nice people.  Eventually I got out.

Three years ago I was in a hotel.  I was walking down the hall and heard a young child screaming, and an adult screaming, and my heart knew what it was (or at least thought it did).  The hotel room door was propped open and before I knew what I was doing I had stormed into that hotel room like an avenging angel and hollered for that parent to stop whatever they were doing.

They yelled right back.  I was crying, the father got right up in my face and was clearly angry but was so shocked by a stranger bursting into his room that he didn’t quite know what to do with me except to tell me to “mind my own f’ing business”.

I ran.  I fled.  I’m crying right now as I write this.  I felt, I FEEL, so powerless.

And the worst part is that I worry that those children in that hotel room were treated worse because I made their parents even angrier.  An abusive parent could easily blame the kids for my barging in.  That’s why I mentioned my experience with tattling on my parents, and then having to live with them afterward.  Abusive parents DO NOT LIKE being told they are abusive.

When I got back to my hotel room, and after my husband held me until I could be even close to sane again, I called the front desk and told them that I heard suspicious noises from that room, and that I was worried something bad was happening.

I couldn’t bear to think that those children might be hurt if I *didn’t* do something… or hurt even if I did.

And who knows, maybe I made a mistake.  Maybe there was no abuse.  I keep telling myself that maybe it wasn’t what it sounded like.  But my heart won’t believe that.  And I guess I’d rather be wrong and done something stupid than right and not done anything.

I don’t know what happened to those kids.  I can only hope and pray that I was wrong, or that what I did somehow actually led to something getting better.  But I’ll never know, and part of me will never forgive myself if those children were hurt further on my account.

Child abuse sucks.


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4 Comments on “A rock and a hard place”

  1. Sara Says:

    First of all, I read Kate’s post and I understand why Kate did what she did. She needed to get her kids away. She was protecting them, which, as a mom, is her priority.

    However, it’s not the same as what you did. I admire what you did very much. I wish more people would step forward.

    You may wonder if you made things worse after going in the room. I can’t answer that, but what I can say is you did something! Did you ever think that maybe no one has done what you did for that child — spoken up for him and dared to try to stop his parents? You may be the one this child remembers as the person who said, “What you’re doing is WRONG!”

    Keep this in mind, when you remember this story.


  2. Jim Lewis Says:

    That was courageous. Anger happens sometimes while parenting. Children learn that we’re human, as they should. But then, we apologize and love, right? You should hope you snapped him out of it, and that he felt shame.


    • Venus Says:

      Thanks Jim. I agree, avoiding anger as a parent is completely impossible. And we do need to model for our children the right ways to deal with anger when it comes. I do hope what I did had a positive impact.


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