Today’s Star Tribune reporting on the civil rights lawsuit for abused children (by reporter Chris Serres) validates my belief that child rape and other crimes against children are the most ignored and cruelest reality in our community. We hate the conversation so we avoid it and children suffer continued awful traumas because of us.
I know far too many children that have suffered these crimes repeatedly over many years. All this because we don’t talk about child abuse unless the child dies and makes the news. Our overwhelmed and misunderstood child protection system is simply unable to provide change or justice until we have this talk.
When I became a volunteer CASA guardian ad Litem, the rapes and beatings my caseload children suffered became a mind numbing reality and a big part of my life. All but one of the 50 children in my caseload were over the top awful cases of rape, violence or severe neglect (babies starved or burned up in hot water, a prostituted 7 year old, molested 2 year old).
Not much has changed in the way abused children find help since I became a CASA guardian ad litem in 1996. People are surprised to know that I don’t have stories that end well. That’s a sore point with me.
Once you understand the impact of trauma on a child and that our system for protecting and treating them is grossly inadequate, it’s more than wrong to expect a 4 year old to have the internal ability discover a path to mental health and coping skills necessary for succeeding in school or leading a normal life.
it’s rare that ending well is part of my invisible children / child protection stories.
It saddens me greatly that after 2 years and 48 police calls to the home, this community did not remove the prostitute mother’s two young girls until the 7 year old tried to kill the 4 year old in the presence of a police officer in a desperate cry for help. She had been prostituted.
50 of my stories appear on this site that are not so different than this 7 year old’s traumatic repeated rapes. When I asked the juvenile officer handling the case how it could be that these young girls were left in the home (where gunfire, drugs and prostitution were common complaints by the neighbors) she told me that their department was overwhelmed with these kinds of cases and they did not remove children unless their lives were in “imminent danger”.
6 year old Kendrea Johnson hung herself in that neighborhood a few years later.
This lawsuit might bring the right kind of attention to save children suffering the violence and trauma they live with every day.
Yay Lawyers and the Star Tribune.
Want to help?
A) Donate to children in foster care (for things they won’t have access to as a state ward)
C) Support Safe Passage For Children MN & speak for children to your legislators