Wednesday, June 17, 2009
In a previous post , I illustrated the difficulties I'd been having with some neighbors living upstairs from us, in our apartment complex. Aside from dealing with these individuals, our stay here has be fairly pleasant.
Until one day...
I was thrust into an uncomfortable situation where I had to act quickly. I overheard the father upstairs beating his 4 year old son. This was no ordinary spanking...this was heart breaking. I could hear every slap as his fathers hand landed on his little body. I could hear the little boy running from one side of the apartment to the other attempting, at no avail, to escape his father. I could hear the whimpers and pleas coming from this child, begging his daddy to stop.
For someone outside this situation looking in, it may seem like a no-brianer to know what to do at this point. But for the first time, I wasn't sure. I can honestly say that I know how people feel when they claim that they don't want to get involved in situations like this. I knew that if I called the police or CPS, there would be many consequences for this family...one of which would be eviction. I knew first hand that their previous living arrangements was a shelter, and I knew that if they were evicted, they would return there. I also knew that if I called the police, the neighbors would assume that it was me who reported the incident, and therefore I felt like I was setting myself up for future confrontations. It took me all of 10 seconds to realize what I should do.
I called 911.
I realized that no matter the consequences of my phone call, I had an obligation to protect any child that can't defend them self. There has been so much death here in Indiana in the last 9 months, and I couldn't, and wouldn't, be responsible for not reporting this abuse. In 6 months time, 10 children (I believe, I may be off a little bit) have been killed at the hands of their parents. My only question to myself before hitting the "send" button on my cell-phone was, "How could I NOT report this?"
Since then, life has been a little more difficult. As soon as the police left that day, the mom upstairs stomped down to the leasing office to file a complaint against me for calling the authorities. What a joke! Later that day, she was ranting and raving to other neighbors about me calling 911, calling me horrible names, and threatening to beat me up if CPS came knocking at her door. I just had to laugh because, for a waisted 10 seconds, I was worried about her and her family being thrown to the streets. So I filed my own complaints. She's lucky I didn't call the police about her threatening me...I didn't think I had a leg to stand on since she didn't speak to me directly...that's the only reason.
Needless to say, I haven't been the only one to complain about this family, and me filing formal paperwork detailing the events that transpired, was enough to start eviction proceedings. I'm not proud of the fact that I was a part of her being kicked out, but I am not the one who beat my child, threatened a neighbor, allowed my child to pee on her air conditioner, left a loogie on her doorstep, allowed my boyfriend (with a larceny felony) to live with me and therefore commit fraud (their apt. is a government assisted unit), ...etc. I finally came to the conclusion that they evicted themselves.
Life has a way of presenting difficult situations, and I think that it shows the depth of a persons character depending on the way they deal with these dilemmas. By all means, I am not tooting my own horn, I just feel like I've learned something about myself that I didn't know before. My loyalties in life are to my family, my good friends and to those who can't protect themselves. This, I've learned, is not up for debate.
I don't know what will happen to the family upstairs. I don't know if their children will be taken away. I don't know if they will be homeless next month. What I do know, is she put herself in this situation, and although I will still worry about the welfare of the children in her care, I did everything in my power to protect them...it just came down to me protecting my own family, and that was higher on my list of priorities.