tw police abuse

Today, I witnessed child abuse.

Today I experienced something terrible. Whilst browsing in my local Debenhams department store, I witnessed a man physically abusing his 4/5 year old son. He shouted at him, pushed him onto a display sofa, held him down and punched at him repeatedly with a closed fist. Jasper and I intervened, and despite the verbal abuse we received from the father of the boy, Archie, and another man, we stood our ground (although I did cry a lot). The man said that they were play-fighting, so I asked Archie if that were true. He shook his head. I asked him if his dad was mean to him and if he hit him. He nodded, and made punching motions with his fist. The father then asked his son if he loved him. He shook his head immediately. At this point I couldn’t handle seeing the child in that much distress, and asked him if he wanted a hug. He nodded, and so I picked him up, cuddled him for a minute and rocked him back and forth. Giving the boy back to his father was the hardest, most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever had to do, especially since Archie then hid from his father in a clothes rack, burrowing further in when the men tried to touch him. I insisted that the police were called, but the two men had already taken Archie back down the escalator. Archie was looking back up at me on the way down. Later, we then had to go down to the police station to give a full official statement. The father had since been arrested and been locked in a cell, and Archie was colouring pictures in police custody. It was an extremely traumatising experience, but I know that Archie will be better off now. His mother came to the station too (Archie’s parents are separated and the father has weekend custody) and although I didn’t see her or Archie again, the officer who took my statement said that the mother was thankful that Jasper and I intervened, and worried for the welfare of her son. I know I will never forget Archie’s name, or what it was like to hold him, or the heartbreaking, helpless feeling of letting him go.

TL;DR

If you witness child abuse, don’t ignore it. Make sure that the police are called, and do everything in your power to protect that child.

There’s a huge problem with that viral photo being spread of the two adults passed out from a heroin overdose with a child in the background. The police department that snapped these photos offered no real solutions to the heroin epidemic. They didn’t provide any links, phone numbers, or other resources to help those in need. They don’t address the dozens of things that need to be addressed especially how law enforcement contributes to the cycle. From the post: 

“It is time that the non drug using public sees what we are now dealing with on a daily basis. The poison known as heroin has taken a strong grip on many communities not just ours, the difference is we are willing to fight this problem until it’s gone and if that means we offend a few people along the way we are prepared to deal with that.” 

Right… so all I’m getting from this stunt is that you want people to pat you on the back for being heroes and elevate your egos at the expense of a child’s pain. Addiction and those it harms is fucking real, they don’t need you to plaster their uncensored photo all over the internet. That child doesn’t need his photo to be shown to the world - his privacy was never even considered before his pain was posted for the whole world to weigh in on. 

Honestly the officers can say all day that they posted the photos to raise awareness or whatever bullshit they’re claiming but they were too busy praising themselves to actually bother posting resources or anything of substance. Like, you don’t have to post these images to start a conversation on child neglect and/or addiction. Doctors, nurses, EMTs, social workers, therapists, rehab workers, and a dozen other professions directly interact with addicts too and yet they manage to keep themselves from posting pictures like this every time they do their job. 

Person A used to believe in happily ever afters. They met Person C, and thought that they might have met the one. Their thoughts were corrected, however, after one of Person C’s violent outbursts, that ended with Person A rather bruised, both emotionally and physically. Person A quickly headed to the police, desperate for a safe way out, only to find, that as Person C is [famous, politically connected, a fellow cop, etc.], none of the officers are willing to give Person A’s case any thought. Months [or years] pass, and Person A begins to think that there is no way out of this horror of a relationship. Until Person B, a brand new officer at the force, shows up and witnesses Person C attacking Person A. Person B quickly arrests Person C, not caring or knowing about their status. Person A is incredibly grateful, and as such clings to Person B, both for help dealing with the upcoming proceedings, and emotional support. Do Person A and B end up together? Is Person C arrested? Will Person A get a happily ever after?

Potential Can of Worms: "It's Discipline, Not Child Abuse"

So, there’s this video going around on my Facebook feed (I live in a pretty conservative area, so that might contribute to its popularity). It’s captioned “It’s Discipline/Not Child Abuse”. It’s a dramatic clip of two police officers approaching a house because of a recent call. Mom answers the door, is confused. Turns out the kid called the cops because “she hit me with this belt!” Further investigation reveals that the kid had skipped class, his mom found out, confronted him about it, he lied, and so she smacked him three times on the butt with a belt. One of the policemen pulls the kid aside, asking him questions: has this ever happened before (no), did she hit him anywhere else (no), did she use her hands or any other object (no). Kid says “That’s child abuse! I have rights!” which, apparently, he heard from his friends.

At this point, the officer proceeds to FLIP OUT. He says, “You don’t EVER call the cops on your mom!” and tells him he got some crappy advice from his “playground buddies”. At one point he hands the belt (which the kid had brought out as “evidence”) back to the mom and says “you know what, ma'am? Hit him again.” The whole thing culminates with the officer telling the kid “If this ever happens again, I’m going to come back here and take this big old belt [meaning his uniform belt] and use it on you.” Exit officers, screen cuts to black.

I have some thoughts about this, as copy and pasted from the post I made after sharing tis video.

While there is a key distinction between “child abuse” and “discipline” that I feel needs to be explored more fully, I feel like this video does a poor [read: absolutely horrible] job of actually addressing it.

1) The kid says he heard about child abuse and his rights from his friends, which means the authority figures in his life (parents, teachers, etc.) have not actually explained to him what abuse is and what forms it can take, as well as not explained to him what his rights are or what they mean in connection with other people. While that IS a huge topic, it is possible to explain and discuss such things at a developmentally appropriate level, and I honestly feel like such discussions should be freaking mandatory. Children and parents both should learn exactly what forms abuse can take so that they can be aware of it.

2) The policeman said, “Don’t you ever call the police on your mom!” What happens to the kid who actually *is* being abused? What happens when they see this, and hear, “It doesn’t matter what is happening to you, Never Call The Police. You will get in trouble for calling the police on your abuser, and the police will not help you.” While there are some kids who do not understand what abuse is and may overreact, we have a responsibility to make sure that the channels that are meant to protect the innocent remain open to the people that need them.

3) The mother’s actions may not have been abusive, but the police officer’s actions certainly were. No crime had been committed, as far as I understand it, and so verbally assaulting a minor and threatening bodily harm is wildly unacceptable. That is not his jurisdiction. The mother can make decisions on how to discipline her child, but a stranger with less than thirty seconds of information has no right to behave in such a manner. And it makes me angry to think that such behavior is being lauded, even in a rhetorical situation. We need discussions and understanding, NOT threats.

This has been another of My Opinions™. Good night.

Using Writing With Colour Respectfully

@bubblerobot said:

I’m impressed that you responded to my reply with a post. I did not mean like an info dump. We are people too asking you for advice. And you are right about the librarian thing. It’s frustrating, but librarians can’t get mad at the same question over and over. shooting a simple privet message directing them to the navigation page is better and more helpful. If you can’t or don’t want to answer that question directly please ask us more questions before answering…So we can get a full idea. like I said it’s really hard to get everything we want to ask done well in tumblr. I get it’s frustrating and you are really putting yourself out there. But it’s also frustrating to read through a blog and only hear I am doing it wrong. I’m following you, I know I’m doing it wrong so I’m trying to figure out how to do it right. So even like a focus on one example that’s new to your blog on ask post would be nice. thanks

In response to: On Asking WWC Questions Without Prior Research and Research Guides and Writing With Colour  

We reply to extremely entitled attitudes we feel compelled to call out in detail, in the hopes they will learn. We are replying to you again for the same reason.

>>It’s frustrating, but librarians can’t get mad at the same question over and over.

Your example is null and void because librarians (as like all service workers, which we are), can and do get mad whenever they are asked questions that are clearly marked in signs. Read through Not Always Right and the bulk of questions are about people not reading the signs. These people make any service worker’s job living hell, and they make our lives living hell.

We have signs. If you click the “ask” link on our blog, you will find the FAQ… and the question I replied to was in direct violation of that (which I said as much in my reply). If people circumvent the FAQ by directly typing in an ask, that is their fault, not ours. The very top of the FAQ says to check the tags, first. We have a navigation which is also visible on mobile. On the computer, we also have a custom google search so you can literally treat the blog as google without having to ask a single question. If people ignore those, it’s their fault, not ours.

Most service workers are not in a place to show anger because they are at risk of losing their jobs, hence why you do not see it. “Can’t get mad because I will lose my job so I pretend to be polite” is not the same as “can’t get mad, period”, because “can’t get mad, period” is something no person can ever do. By requesting that we not get mad, you are acting in an abusive capacity. Emotion and tone policing where there is no grounds other than “you could be nicer in the face of hate and disrespect” is abusive, and a form of invalidation.

We run this blog for fun, in our spare time, and we have no such qualms about telling people when they have overstepped. This is doubly true because society as a whole has a racial bias against us, therefore they expect the service worker mask to be who we are. They do not entertain the possibility that we are not service workers full time, and that, in the back, we complain about people who expect us to be the racist caricatures they’re used to reading and watching. The very caricatures we try to fight against.

If you expect us to be absolute in our service work, you are not ready to write us. Even the most staunch activists need breaks. Even the most polite get mad. Constant service to white needs is the cause of most racist caricatures (note how many PoC tropes are “kind ‘ethnic’ mentor helps white character achieve goals”) and is exactly what we are standing against.

The matter is closed. We demand people respect the signs we have put up, and we are allowed to get upset when people insist we must still be polite when being constantly disrespected. If you got mad at my post, you are part of the problem. If you followed the rules and wanted to be a good ally, you would not even be targeted by that post. But you felt targeted. And that says more about you than us.

Additional Reading: 

~ Mod Lesya

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Horrifying video shows an officer violently arresting a black female high school student

A video first reported by WIS-TV in South Carolina shows what appears to be a school resource officer violently subduing a young black female student at Spring Valley High School in Columbia. Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott told WIS-TV the student was not following the officer’s commands.

youtube

(via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4tOUF_BJPE)

TW: Rape, violence, police abuse and murder

This is important. PLEASE WATCH & SHARE THIS. This is an interview we conducted with Baltimore Black Panther and community leader Reverend Annie Chambers about the murder of her grandchildren by the police, and the long history of violence against Black people in Baltimore. 

This interview was conducted back in 2012. I blame myself for the video cutting out after 47 minutes. The camera died and I didn’t have replacement batteries. Someone in the Baltimore area should reach out and follow up with Reverend Chambers if possible. 

What we’re seeing in Baltimore today is the culmination of years decades  centuries of continuous violence and oppression against Black people at the hands of police and White supremacy. 

How do women get sentenced to jail time for killing their abusive partners but cops that shoot unarmed children get to call ‘self defense’? She is literally fighting for her life and defending herself from being battered and beaten but she goes to jail instead of the racist trash pig that rolled up and gunned down a black kid in under two seconds. Right.