November is Child Abuse Prevention Month
On her 10th birthday, Victoria Martens died a horrific death that demonstrated communities of towns and cities have inadequate plans to protect our children. Community plans are the key to success and to waking up everyone to the extreme dangers our children face. I have seen these dangers first hand, but did not understand what was hiding right before my face. I witnessed an 8-year-old being pimped by her brother, but I was only 8 myself and did not know anything except she was being harmed. Years later, my brother ran into her and found that Cathy had spent the first 17 years of her life being raped by her grandfather and father and pimped by her brother. Unlike Victoria Martens, Cathy survived.
In Maine an abuse complaint at a preschool was filed with DHHS, but was deliberately ignored by someone within DHHS. If notice had also been filed with the town in which the child resided, would it be more properly addressed?
Victoria had filed a complaint to a family friend five months before her death. that her mother’s boyfriend had tried to kiss her. The friend reported this to the school and the school reported it to the police.The police ignored the report and after Victoria’s death they lied, stating they had investigated. The New Mexico town where Victoria lived had no plan in place for protecting children, even though it had been court ordered for both police and town officials.
Does your town have plans to keep informed about complaints so that no other child will die from rape, strangling and stabbing? Can our students help us understand why Victoria did not tell an adult at school herself? Her father no longer resided in the home, but the mother was trolling for men to have sex with her children — Victoria and her brother. We need to do a better job. No child in any town should feel there was nothing they could do to change a bad situation. Every child should know and be part of a child protection plan. We are all one family and child abuse prevention is essential.