|Reflecting on Abuse and Neglect
ACTIVITY ID: 23851
This is a fictionalized account of actual events on a U.S. military installation. The names, dates, locations, and service-specific terminology have been changed. To create the activities in this and subsequent lessons, we started with the facts of a real criminal investigation and lawsuit. What you will read here goes beyond the facts recorded in the criminal case by imagining details of individuals’ thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Learn more about the scenario that you read in Lesson One. This time, look for signs of abuse and neglect. Then answer the Reflection Questions. When you are finished, share your answers with your administrator, trainer or coach.
Kates Story: Part 2
In the child development center:
Diane, a preschool teacher at the child development center, called her manager for help. “Hey, Sandy, will you come look at some marks on Kate’s arms?” The two women knelt down while Kate pulled up her sleeves. There were dark scars up and down her arms. Some appeared fresher than others. Others were in various stages of healing. Some simply looked like dry skin. All were roughly the same size and shape.
Thomas works at the front desk at the child development center and overheard Kate’s stepmother talking to another parent about their children’s behavior in the lobby before pickup. Thomas hears, “It’s OK to whip a child. Just don’t leave any marks. They have to learn who is boss.” Other support staff have witnessed Gigi acting harshly toward Kate in the parking lot.
The center staff had only worked with Kate for a few months, but they were growing more concerned about her behavior and social development. She seemed to be regressing in some ways. She was having more toileting accidents, but she would try to hide the accidents from staff members. She would hide under tables or other furniture any time she had an accident. The team knew some children regressed on toilet training when a new baby was born in the family, but Kate’s behavior seemed extreme enough to worry them. Kate began having more frequent outbursts of crying and screaming.When the center staff tried having a conversation with Gigi and Alan about their concerns, the family did not respond as Diane had hoped. They were friendly with Diane, but she sensed that they were angry with Kate for causing trouble. The family seemed to avoid Diane after that conversation. They dropped Kate off and picked her up as quickly as possible with little time for conversation. They did not attend any family events or conferences at the child-development center.
In the community:
Neighbors often heard shouting and crying from the house. Tonight felt different. Kate’s neighbor, Tammy, paced her back porch. She had heard the crying begin about an hour ago. Over the past hour, Kate’s cries had turned to screams and sobs. “Something’s not right. I’ve got to do something.” She asked her husband to come outside and listen. They both agreed that something didn’t sound right. Together, they called the military police. When the police arrived, they found Kate naked in her bedroom with feces on the carpet. There were scratches and bruises of various shades on her face and body.
In the family:
Kate’s stepmother was on the phone with her cousin, Mia. Through the phone, Mia heard Kate’s stepmother swear and berate the child. “You stupid little ****,” she screamed. “I can’t believe you are still peeing you pants like a **** baby. I hope my baby’s not a dumb **** like you. You ruined my floor. You ruin everything. Alan, get the belt. She did it again.” Then she heard the sounds of Kate’s father stepping in. She could hear the child’s crying and screaming as she was whipped.