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What would you have done?

CyberKitten
May 23rd, 2007, 10:07 PM
Today at noon for some reason, a friend and I went to MacDonald's - I know, not the best place to eat but I just wanted some mcNuggets in a Happy Meal, lol - my junk food "feed" for the month. This is a place that is located in a good section of the city but every now and then there are people in there who act a bit strange. (Granted, this can happen anywhere.)

Today, I went to sit in a certain location and it was near two people who had two small children with them. Now I tend to notice how children look - how well they are dressed for the weather, if they are clean and if they have bruises, did someone take time do do their hair with cute little buttons and bows or other items if they are a boy? If there are any lumps, how the parents interact with them - I am not nosy, in fact my mom sometimes tells me I am not observant and I find she is too judgmental! For me, it ia an occupational hazard - I examine children all day so of course I notice little things, I think any parent would do the same, any teacher, social worker, child care worker, nurse- you get the picture. Any caring person with any common sense as far as that goes.

Igot up to go get another glass of milk (Alas, no free refills of the good stuff, just pop, sigh!). I had to pass their seating area - and the father (assume it was the father, could be mom;'s boyfriend, anyone really) was yelling loudly at the child (maybe 2 at the very most), poorly dressed on a cold windy day (no coat, stains that had not been wiped off and were clearly old), a bruise on her cheek that could have occurred when she fell but also an eye that was quite evidently recovering from having been bruised as well. He had grabbed her and was hurting her. The woman sat there saying nothing - which could mean she is complicit or could mean she is terrified of him. Hard to say.

I could not just walk by. Maybe I should have but I am by law required to report these things - even if they are not seen in an ER or in my office! As best as I could without yelling myself, I asked him to please , if "if this is your child, to stop hurting her.?" I was extremely polite and even said "I know yuo may not realize it but you are hurting her."

Of course, he then turned on me. "What the f was it my business what he did? The little brat deserved what she got, she was being a crybaby and if he wanted to dsicipline his child,m that was HIS business and not mine." I was getting ny Irish up so to speak more and more every time he opend his mouth and was holding a tray with an extra fry for my partner and the milk. He got up and asked me to get the f away from him and if I was that horrible terms we used to name intellectually disadvantaged children with. (So help me, I almost said "No but you might be" but I as the Chair of the Board of a disability rights group in the province, I would never use that word - and have a certain responsibility as we all do I think - in ensuring it's not used. But that was the least of my concerns.

he got up and started yelling at me, the little girl tried to get away from him and he was pulling at her even more. No one in the place intervened! He took and his hand and threw the tray out of my hands. Before I knew what had even transpired, he had hit me!! Not hard because I managed to get out of the way tho not completely. His wife uttered one word - his name - and that sounded like she was on drugs, (and here I mean it could be an anti depressant or something illegal but she was clearly not well oriented to time and place shall we say.)

I grabbed another table so I would not fall and took off to the front of the store to complain about him and he followed me, asserting he was not a trouble maker (Suuuuuuure!) - I guess he thought nice might cut it but I told him I was legally bound to report his treatment of his child and asked him his name. (like he'd even give it to me willingly, lol) The manager knew his first name and told me - I gather they are frequent visitors and he said someone else in the store knows the last name. So I called the police and talked to them on a cell phone - told them I was not concerned about me - I have a huge bruise on my back (which has metal rods and is "delicate" but he would not know that) but I am more concerned about his children. I know the child abuse people in the department and they said they'd send someone right away - turned out his name was on file. Fr some reason - he did not want to loose his money I guess- the family stayed, the police arrived, and I left to return to work - I could not hold up my appointments - too many sick children, sigh! Now I doubt much will happen but he was ordered to bring his children in for an examination at our ER and one of our best ER docs evaluated and found several old fractures in both children. This is something we see often enough but admittedly,even so, it never ceases to anger me! (and the day it does not bother me is the day I stop working with kids!)He was charged with child abuse and his wife also will probably face a more minor charge. As most people know, it is not up to an individual if we want to charge someone if one is assaulted, it is up to the Crown and while they have a good case here - lots of witnesses, bruises (mine I mean), etc. - they have enough on him without that charge and I told them I don't care if they charge him, I am concerned with the children primarily. (I've actually experienced much worse when dealing with rogue military guys in countries like Serbia with Drs. without Borders who want to kill you, not hit you so he is rather minor league). So I doubt they'll bother with the charge and that is fine with me. I do want the children cared for and I found out this evening from one of our social workers that a sister of the wife who is stable, single and has a good job (Both these two were not that stable, emotionally or otherwise) and is willing to care for them while the case if before the courts.

As I was leaving the ^%$# restaurant, the manager offered me a free meal for my next visit but to be honest, I doubt they ever will be a next visit. I asked her if he had done this before since people on staff seemed to know him and she had to admit that 'well, yes, it has." So I cannot understand that hile they dfid not have to intervene personally, could they not have picked up a blasted phone and called the authorities?

The last time I saw a mom hit a child at a grocery store, I vowed I would not stand idly by - which I had that time (My poor excuse being I was tired and what would I accomplish?) Granted, I have to wonder what will happen now - I know the system all too well and he may well get some suspended sentence with I hope some counseling on parenting and anger management - or maybe 8 months and the same. We as a society do not care for our children as well as we should and while we do care for them better (collectively speaking) than we do our pets, we are not a child friendly society!! Just look at where our money goes - we have to fight to obtain money for education and health care for children - and playgrounds - but it's "OK" to spend billions on ad campaigns, sending off our troops with bad equipment in a foreign war or laptops for teachers (instead of a breakfast program for hungry kids!) (My sil is a grade one teacher and was furious when she was given a new laptop when she has 20 plus children in her class, many of whom who come to school hungry in the morning. We put together a volunteer group and started a breakfast program there this year and so far it is going well. I am certainly not oppossed and in fact applaud the use of technology in the classroom but children learn best on full tummies!)

But now I am offtrack - this man is just one indication of what happens daily to small children who live in less than ideal circumstances! I usually see them in my office or an ER so this is not the usual for me. I found myself very upset tonight - when i had time to sit down and think about it. I can't help but wonder about what kind of life those children have had - and it reminds me that if a society is judged on how it treats its most vulnerable - our children and our pets- we need to realize we can do so much better! We believe we live in a great country and compared to many I have been in yes we do! but we could adopt some wonderful legislation and education programs that would hep families and children - and pets - even more!!!

Anyway - that was my lunch hour, How was yours? :frustrated:

Frenchy
May 23rd, 2007, 10:18 PM
So I cannot understand that hile they dfid not have to intervene personally, could they not have picked up a blasted phone and called the authorities?



I see this a lot , most people are wusses, they prefer to turn the other cheek, and they suck. I don't really like the world we live in right now, it's probably why I left the city to live in the country. Not that these things don't happen here . Thank you for standing up for that poor kid :sad:

SableCollie
May 23rd, 2007, 10:35 PM
I think it's wonderful that you stood up for that poor child, and I agree that many people act like they don't see what's going on, they don't want to be the ones to act! But I personally don't know how someone could just sit by and watch a child (or any person) being hurt, people could at least use their cell phone to call the authorities, but most people just think "Oh, that's a real shame" and go about their day without doing anything!!!:mad:

So a big :thumbs up to you!!!!!

TeriM
May 23rd, 2007, 11:07 PM
Good for you for sticking up for that child :thumbs up . More people need to be willing to "get involved" for the problem to ever have a hope of being fixed.

Maya
May 24th, 2007, 02:15 AM
This infuriates me. I never stand by and watch but most people do.:mad: You were very brave to put yourself in the line of fire like that you are certainly a hero in my eyes. I won't even get started on how this angers:mad: :frustrated: me or I won't be able to stop but thank you for noticing and doing something. I really hope things improve for those kids. You may very well have saved thier lives and set them on a better course.:grouphug:

marsupial mama
May 24th, 2007, 06:15 AM
Bravissima Cyberkitten!

It is scary to confront such people, but I agree, the staff could have at least made a phone call out of sight of them. I admire your courage in tackling it head-on. I hope the child will find a safe place too.

coppperbelle
May 24th, 2007, 07:17 AM
Good for you for standing up for that child. I work in a school and have for many,many years. I have contacted the authorities a few times about something that concerned me but have become a little gun shy. Both the police and Child protective services told the parents who called them and I was confronted by the parents. It won't stop me from calling again if necessary but you can be sure I am going to be positive about my accusations before I do.
When I am out in public I have seen a parent become a little aggressive with their child I find that just looking into their eyes brings them back to reality. Granted I haven't come across an idiot as you have.

joeysmama
May 24th, 2007, 07:24 AM
Good for you! When I was teaching I was involved in reporting a few cases where there was neglect and/or abuse. It isn't always easy to get the authorities involved.

I also reported a woman at a children's Vacation Bible School. She was watching the closing program and getting frustrated with the 6 month old in her lap. Several of us offered to take the baby for awhile and tried to talk to her. She was the babysitter and not emotionally equipped for the job. She smacked the baby on the bottom. Granted it wasn't enough to hurt the child through the diaper but the inappropriate act of smacking a 6 month old for being cranky and the rough way she handled her sent me tearing the their pastor's office for her name. I think she received a visit from DYFS that same day.

phoenix
May 24th, 2007, 08:29 AM
I would charge him for hitting you.

If not for you, for that poor woman or kid who likely will never do so.

hazelrunpack
May 24th, 2007, 08:37 AM
I would charge him for hitting you.

If not for you, for that poor woman or kid who likely will never do so.

I agree with phoenix. Sometimes the best way to get the authorities involved is to push the case from the third party. He is not just a danger to his family--he's proven he can be a danger to the public as well. And sad as it seems, a lot of people just don't get hot enough under the collar until the violence escalates to the point where the public might get hurt.

Good for you, CyberKitten, for taking a stand on behalf of that child! :grouphug:

Maxine
May 24th, 2007, 10:52 AM
Wow, CK!!! I'm sorry you had to go through that, but you handled it perfectly and i think you are a very brave person with a lot of integrity:grouphug: :goodvibes: I hope he get locked up, and the kids get a better childhood. This is so bad.

Max

Skryker
May 24th, 2007, 11:00 AM
:highfive: Kudos to you for speaking up! I would press charges, CK. If things go far enough, you might get the chance to explain to a judge why you approached him and so his abusive behaviour towards the kids would get a public airing.:shrug: Maybe worth a shot?

RolandsMom
May 24th, 2007, 04:40 PM
good job cyberkitten. well done for having the courage to stand up to a pig like that. you have surely saved those poor kids a lot of heartache. i hope that he gets what he deserves and never get those poor children back.
it does make me sad that its probably been going on for a while and that people who have seen it regularly did not have the courage that you did!
i hope that more people are like you, it will surely make the world a much safer place for children and women who are in an abusive situation.

joeysmama
May 24th, 2007, 08:25 PM
I agree that you should press charges and he should be charged with assault. I'm very sorry that you were hit but maybe it could be a blessing in disguise if it puts another mark on this guys record that would make it more difficult for him to have custody of these children ever again.

CyberKitten
May 24th, 2007, 09:36 PM
The thing about pressing charges is that he WILL will be and has been charged by the Crown - and while the police write up the incident and make recommendations, it is ultimately up to the Crown Prosecutor - working with the police- who decides whether there is enough evidence to bring a case to court. So, I meant that while I did not care (tho yeah, I know he should not be hitting me either), whether he was charged with assaulting me, I did want him absolutely to have to answer for his actions vis a vis the children who it turns out are his (God help them!).

They have been removed from the home and are with a relative - social services often does that if they can find a rational, stable person with family ties rather than enter them into the Child protective Services bureaucracy of foster care - most of which is good but inevitably some have problems themselves, (I have been in practice long enough to have seen a lot of bad things happening to good kids - just as any teacher or social worker or nurse would I am sure - and I guess, no I KNOW it bothers me that all these years since I started as a mere young intern, these incidents are still happening! And some of them are worse than this - to the kids I mean!)

So - knowing the legal system from my family end of it - and having testified as a so called "expert" in several cases - I know that the Prosecution will likely get the case heard much faster if they have to move to get him his day in court and hopefully seek some jail time for him. I cannot myself persobally press charges - in our judicial system, no one can - we can report incidents and the police investigate to see if there is a case and take what they have to the Crown Prosecutor. So if they tack on that charge of assaulting me, I won't oppose it - I just will not encourage it if it helps move the case along without that added charge. In a plea bargain, he'd probably lose that charge anyway - I just hope to God he does not plea bargain down to something that does NOT involve jail time!! His wife was not stopping him so in my view- even if she was afraid of him, she needs to get help but also face the consequences of her behaviour somehow tho I don;t think jail would help her - an addictions center might tho by the look of her! (But she may well be on a legally prescribed anti depressant or seratonin uptake med like zoloft th that does not usually make someone seem as out of it as she seemed. I do not not want to prejudge.)

So cross your fingers he does not plea bargain it down to no jail time and that the children do get to stay with the good relative!! At least with Protective Services involved, they will keep tabs on the family and now that they are in the system in our hospital, our own programs can also take note of them. The sister has already been given an appt for counseling for the children - and they need to see some specialists anyway given the old injuries they have.

Like some of you who replied, it is not the first time I have been confronted or threatened or even assaulted by a parent of an abused or neglected child who I reported but it's the first time it occurred in a restaurant, if McD qualifies as one of those, lol I have also experienced worse in other countries where there are even worse laws and women have fewer rights than we do here! While his assaulting me did make me toss and turn I have to admit, it is not the kind of thing that I talk about in coping with post traumatic stress from soldiers who shoot at you or bully us when we are trying to save people in such countries as Sudan and Serbia and others. This guy is not on that level so perhaps my perspective is different due to that other experience and I see him as a small time operator compared to these guys. Give him a gun tho and I could see him being just like them....

I just hope the kids will come out of this OK. At least they are not with him and his wife - who a social worker informed me today - (not sure she was supposed to since I am not their doctor but... well, she did and I certainly won't tell on her :) ) - and the sister has almost no ties with them and has been searching for ways to try to obtain custody of the kids without any luck. She prob did not know where to turn - and many people do try to do good and are daunted by the herculean task of navigating the maze that is our medical and judicial system if you do not work in it or have much contact with it.

I have many members of my family in law enforcement and justice and so it does not bother me to get involved. I can't say I know what will happen in any given case - since laws change and every case gets treated differently - but I have a good idea of what the process is. For several yrs, I chaired a board on Family Violence (I always wished we could change the name to something more positive like Creating Healthy Happy Families or something like that) - so I know many people in the system and it does not scare me to take on someone like that who in most cases will not know what he is getting into.

I have to admit when all is said and done that I was a little surprised that he actually did hit me. Perhaps he was on something too. Now I have heard that this McD had been held up not too long ago and they are looking at him for that as well. That would be excellent because we give stiffer penalties tpop those who hold up or break and enter than those who hurt their children - unless of course they kill them! And I do not like what that says about us either (Not us but our society!) But it would sure help those kids! (Since this aunt seems to really want to help and is willing to do anything asked of her thus far - from what I am told.) If I am to testify as a witness, I can have no contact with the family for obvious reasons. Ironically, the judge hearing the case is a friend so I hope that does not mean they will reassign her, sighhhhhhhhhh!!! (She is a wonderful advocate for children and as one of the few minority Judges in NS, an excellent person to deal with this guy!)

And as much as I am not a vengeful person, I hope that *(*&^ rues the day he ran into me, lol But most of all, I want what is best for the children!!!!! A good home where they are safe, happy, healthy and no-one is hurting them. They need to be eating good meals, playing with toys and having fun with their friends, not having to visit specialists for old injuries!!

Maya
May 24th, 2007, 10:48 PM
I guess you cant put it past someone who is hurting thier kids that badly to lash out at a complete stranger, still surprising in such a public place though. Once I told a man that what he was doing was child abuse and he told me to f-off quite rudely, with the level of anger I'm lucky he didn't take it further. I think that is my only concern when intervening because I'm pretty small and sickly myself.:p All the abuse from my childhood:sad: the reason I get so angry when I see it happening to other defensless children. If ever in that situation I will get to the closest phone and call 911. It is such a shame our society is for the most part still living in the dark ages with regard to this issue. It is unfortunate he won't likely pay specifically for what he did to you as well but at least something is happening legally. If it were up to me he'd be sitting in a cell right now. I really don't understand this whole look the other way mentality that is still going on. I notice it with a lot of other human rights issues too and it gets me so upset. Many child homicides don't even get investigated properly from what I understand either, not much justice. :frustrated:

Anyway you may want to look into talking to someone about this, even just a few sessions because it is traumatic having to deal with such a level of abuse and it can effect us more than we realize sometimes. Perhaps that is part of the problem with people not responding, they are too afraid?:shrug: But if they can just imagine how the child feels being stuck day after day with such abuse and neglect and how it will effect the rest of thier life into adulthood? These children often end up being the kids that can't function in school and then work becoming the "lazy welfare bums" "drug addicts" of society the disabled and broken people that never get a fair chance in life and are then further neglected by society.:sick:

Thank goodness for some of the good and responsible people out there trying to make a difference. Hopefully there will be more realizing how bad this problem is and taking action.:pray: :fingerscr

Dog Dancer
May 25th, 2007, 01:20 PM
CK, congratulations to you on stepping up to the plate. Let's hope that the dirt bag gets what he deserves (or more). Unfortunately our justice system does not offer enough deterent to stop most of this. He'll probably get a slap on the wrist and then get the poor kids back. I pray not. :thumbs up to you CK. I'm afraid there isn't a sign on here for what I'd say to that fella.

CyberKitten
May 25th, 2007, 03:38 PM
If it were up to me he'd be sitting in a cell right now.

I wish it were up to you or me, lol (If it were up to me, he'd be there too - but it is up to the police and he has at least been charged and was assigned a duty counsel - and thus I assume someone from legal aid will represent him when the case gets to court. The charges- even assault - are not enough to keep someone in a jail cell, it has to be pretty severe for that to happen. Like murder or sexual assault and even then, some *&^% (like you Dog Dancer, there are other words I'd like to call him and these sorts of people) get out on bail!!).

I guess I am not good at explaining the Justice system - I meant mainly that my priority is the children but I also do think he needs to pay for assaulting citizens who intervene to help because not doing so is a deterrent to others who would - not that this story is important enough to make the media (thankfully, not sure I want that publicity, tho I do want the issue to be talked about publicly!!). It's just my guess that his legal aid lawyer - if s/he is any good - will plea bargain this to something and the charge of assaulting me will be dropped for something else. Like if he pleads guilty and saves us all time and money, he could get a shorter sentence and only one or two charges.

Anyway - I won't belabour it. I hope you know what I mean. Personally, I would like for someone to do to him what he had done to his children - and assuming what the ER doc found was the case - and I have no doubt it is even tho I have not seen the radiological images et al - life has not been very good for these children. However, our society does not work that way - and that in the final analysis is prob a good thing because lowering ourselves to that level does no one any good. At least I hope he does not ever have custody of them again - but I worry he is the type to do something rash and even attack the relative. (Basing it on the fact he'd attack a stranger in a public location, there is clearly something not quite right there.)

:fingerscr for the children!!!! And thx for all your kind words. I don't consider it heroic - I think anyone who cares would have done the same thing. My friend who was with me says he looked like the type who could be dangerous - and I think she's right (More dangerous than what he did the other day - I have to admit it seems like a month ago, so much has happened since then in relation to the case.) Then again, anyone who hurts young children is dangerous in my book!

glasslass
May 25th, 2007, 11:20 PM
I hope they do charge him for hitting you. I would think the fact that he hurt a child, and also assaulted you, would show he was not a frustrated parent who got over-wrought and accidently injured his child, but a man with anger-management issues that endanger his family, as well as others. Surely, that should force the courts to address his behaviour more appropriately. And :thumbs up to you for doing the right thing! I'm glad you weren't injured more than you were. It's even more impressive to me that you stepped in, even though your health is "delicate", when able-bodied people didn't. Of course, you didn't expect to be actually attacked, but you were aware or you wouldn't have made your first request to him so nicely worded. You did it anyway and are to be commended. :queen:

angeldogs
May 26th, 2007, 02:31 AM
You did the right thing standing up for those kids:thumbs up .
hopefully they will charge him with hit you.you may have just saved there lives.

chico2
May 26th, 2007, 07:06 AM
CK,kudos to you for speaking up,I know I would have done the same.
IMO it is our obligation to look out for those who cannot help themselves,be it children or animals.
How many children have died because nobody wanted to get"involved"??:sad:
Unfortunately Childrens Aid after taking a child away because of abuse,more often than not return the child to the parents,only to later have to apologize for their mistake after the child is dead,it's happened so many times,as I am sure you know:sad:
Something is very rotten with our justice-system,whether the victim is a child or an animal:evil:

Schwinn
May 28th, 2007, 10:07 AM
I don't know what I would have done, to be honest. I think I'd have to actually be there to say for sure. I tend to err on the side of caution (is this really what it looks like? Is this as bad as it seems?). Also, you have the benefit of recognizing the signs.

Honestly, I'd probably be the guy who stood up between you and the coward after he pushed you, and feel a little ashamed I didn't do something sooner.

Either way, it sounds like your instincts were spot on here, and kudos to you for standing up for the poor girl:thumbs up . Oh, and regardless of whether you were hurt or not, or what he did or didn't know about your "condition" (for lack of a better term), I hope you do pursue action against him for yourself personally.