Monday, November 06, 2006

Battered Women & Childhood Bullying

My daughter was one of those kids who it seemed wore a "Pick on Me" sign throughout their childhood. In case any of you have not been in that position, believe me when I say it is a horrible place to be.

There was a period of time in high school that she rode the bus home from school. There was one girl in particular who seemed to get a big kick out of picking on her. This same girl was in a crowd of girls who that same year jumped on another teen and hurt her pretty seriously. I'll call this girl "Jane".

I saw this story in our paper this is about "Jane":

A woman whose toddler was beaten to death by a former abusive boyfriend four years ago died Sunday after being beaten by her live-in boyfriend.

City Police arrested and charged Boyfriend “John” (Name removed) with murder Sunday. The murdered woman, “Jane”, (Name removed), 28, died at approximately 8:45 a.m. of a traumatic brain injury in the neuro intensive care unit at City Health Medical Center, the County Coroner said.

Paramedics responded to a 911 call from the couple’s home at approximately 2:30 p.m. Saturday and found “Jane” unresponsive. It appeared as though her boyfriend had beaten her, and City Police were called in to investigate, Police said.

“John” and “Jane” were the only people at the house. Police said “John” admitted to hitting “Jane”, but didn’t know what started the argument.
The couple had known each other all of their lives and had been living together for about two years.

“John” was employed at (Name removed), but “Jane” hasn’t worked consistently since her son died in 2002.

“Jane's” 3-year-old son, (Name removed), was severely beaten and dumped in the woods about 300 yards from his home 4 years ago.
Her boyfriend at the time, was charged with the boy’s murder.

Police spokeswoman said “Jane”, who previously worked at the hospital in our Medium Size City, had been suffering from depression since her son’s death, and “Jane’s” sister had been caring for her daughter.

“John” is being held in the Medium Size City Jail. He is expected to be served with a warrant and arraigned in front of a municipal judge at 8 a.m. today.

I tried my best to teach both of my children to never, ever pick on other kids. I taught them to even try and befriend someone they noticed was being picked on mercilessly.

You see, I too wore that "Pick on Me" sign for several years of my childhood. I learned at the very beginning of Junior High to "hold it" to keep from going into the restrooms at our school. The restrooms were a dangerous place to find yourself alone in junior high when I was a kid, so I would wait until I got home every day.

I am so saddened to think of this young woman, a woman my daughter went to school with, dying that way after losing her baby son to an abuser four years earlier. What was it about her that attracted her to this type of man? What was it that made her feel she deserved no less than to be beat on? What made her stay? Is it the same thing that made her pick on other kids when she was young?

I lived with an abuser for 24 years. I know all too well what makes a woman stay like she (and I) did. I got out though.

Friends, teach your kids to be nice. Teach your sons (and daughters) that hitting is NEVER an option, even if you think "Mine would never do that", teach them anyway.

Bullying is a horrible thing. The old diddy I used to hear growing up, "Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones but Names Will Never Hurt Me" is not true either. The scars they leave are sometimes permanent.

And please, teach your daughters they deserve better.

I hope Jane and her son are rocking this very moment in one of Jesus' big ole rocking chairs. Rest in peace Jane.


Mama Mia said...

This story is very sad. I feel for you, your daughter and Jane.

I have seen over and over (through work, my children's school and the variety of extracurricular activities that I help with: Girl Guiding, Scouting, etc) that the children who bully frequently have something very wrong in their home life. I wish I could take them home with me and add them to our family. I have worked hard to realize that I cannot save every child.

Shinga said...

Sad, lovely,, thoughtful post.

The story had such an air of inevitability about it for all of our rational belief in choices.

Regards - Shinga

Kelley said...

Amen. I try very hard, everyday, to teach my oldest what's right and wrong. He has come home on a few occasions telling me about some kids pick on others. I'll ask, "Did you take up for that kid or did you join in?" "I didn't do anything.." he'd reply. So I put it on him. What if they were doing that to you, would it make you sad? Well then that person feels the same way you would feel, very you want someone to be sad? I've since heard stories about him taking up for others. He does have every right, however, to hit back if some kid punches him. He knows how to take up for himself. When I was younger, I was a popular kid, having been fortunate enough to be cute and my parents dressed me very well...isn't it sad that is how it works? My best friend, however, who lived across the street from me, always looked a mess, clearly wore second-hand clothing, never really looked clean----but she was my best friend in the world. People at school would call her "Germ". I would get so mad. I'd yell at my other friends and tell them how stupid they were and how great Lori was. They still remained my pals but never did befriend Lori. How sad is that??? I never did back down though. They didn't speak poorly of her in my presence. I think I've always been that one who latches on to the underdog and defends them like a pit-bull. I want my son to be the same way, on his own. I know this all sounds so self-serving but that's not how I'm intending to tell the story. Point is, I know people like "Jane" and I can't understand what gets them there. I can't imagine having lost my child that way---and you know she was abused as well. I guess what I'm saying is that if we can't defend others and stand up for them, we certainly can't stand up for ourselves. Makes you wonder what she must have gone through as a child... And I understand her story is much different than yours. Many women think they have found the most wonderful man---and they have, at the time---they fall in love, get married, and then the abuse starts. I can understand that a little more. As for Jane and her situation, there has to be so much more to the story.