The top news story of the year? It depends on who you listen to…….. To the police officer it might be the 10-car crash on the interstate, he was called on to respond. To a surgeon it may be an impossible operation he successfully performed. To a football player it might be a spectacular play he made. To five year old Helen and her two little brothers, it is the day her daddy hit her mommy and the police came and took them away from their home.
A few years ago, Linda was a VAP with the Mesa Police Department. One evening she was called to the Center Against Family Violence, to care for three little children that had just seen their mother beaten by their father. They were even more traumatized as Linda took from their home in the middle of the night to the Center. Little Helen was the “Big Sister” to her two younger brothers. When Linda arrived, Helen, in the unfamiliar surroundings, with strangers coming and going, was doing her best to reassure her siblings and not lose control of her emotions. They were all partially clothed, but didn’t notice because of their traumatic experience. I would add, and probably not for the first time.
Linda’s first effort was to take their minds off the horrible act they had just experienced. She began talking to them and telling them stories, found clothing for them and some snacks. Soon they were starting to relax. Little Helen was glad to let Linda be the grown up, while still being protective of her little brothers.
As the time passed and red tape was rolling off the reel, the trust factor grew. Three hours later, when finally the CPS van arrived to take them away, another big disappointment came for Little Helen and her brothers. As they started to leave, Linda said her goodbyes. Little Helen looked up with disappointment filled eyes and said, “Aren’t you going with us?” If you know my wife you know it tore at her heart. But, what of Little Helen’s little heart? Another tragedy in the lives of the blameless victims of domestic violence. When we are given the opportunity to take a stand, how many of us will remember Little Helen and her brothers? I will and so will Linda.
It causes those of us that work with victims of domestic violence to ask the question, “What about the Children?”