Monday, September 30, 2013

The Most Horrific of American Crime

As I was flicking through the TV guide this weekend, I came across a 2009 movie that I had never heard of and, after reading the description, thought I'd give it a go. "American Crime," a true story,was one of the most disturbing films I have ever seen.  The focus of the movie was on extreme child abuse in America in the 1960s.

Without going into detail about the graphic depiction of child abuse portrayed, I can say that whatever you could possibly imagine with respect to this despicable crime was shown and then some.  It made me sick to my stomach.

The little girl who was guilty only of being truthful, caring, and protective of the others in this household was mistreated beyond belief.  To say that the mother who initiated and then perpetuated such horrific torture was weak-minded and perhaps treated badly as a child herself is simple not an excuse we should accept.  She was the adult; she knew what she did and what she allowed the rest of her children to do was wrong.  She relished the control she had over the victim as well as the control she brandished on the victimizers.

When this child finally succumbed to the inhumanization she was subjected to on a daily basis, the mother was brought to trial.  She, of course, denied that she inflicted any pain of the girl, complained she was not in good health, and couldn't supervise her six children every minute of the day and night.
She accepted no responsibility for the child's death.

I pray that such evil no longer exists in America.  But, I know it does.  My heart bleeds for the children who endure horrible torture day in and day out even in the year 2013.  Many of them just don't have the courage to speak out; many of them have no one to tell.

As an educator for all of my professional career, one of my priorities was to be vigilant with respect to the physical, mental and emotional status of my students.  If a child came to class, dirty, hungry, and/or bodily marred, I made it a point to investigate and report it.  Later on as an administrator, I encouraged all of my staff to execute due vigilance as well.  I know we did what we could; I also know we didn't do enough and that such abuse continued right under our very noses without detection.

Ultimately the mother was convicted of first degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison.  However, after serving only 20 years, she was released in 1985.  She died in 1990.

The people who commit such vile actions should be put away for life without the possibility of parole.   Yes, child abuse is perpetrated throughout the world, but to still run rampant in America where we pride ourselves as a civilized nation who value our young, it is a crime! It was a crime in the 1960s; it's still a crime today.