My original post very much hit a nerve with close personal friends, with my fellow Chicago Now bloggers and also with the general public.
People reached out to me to tell their stories of abuse. Others privately told me I was doing the right thing. Strangers who know nothing of my personal character, much less how DCFS works, called me names and attempted to bully me from the comfort of the internet.
So I sat and took all of this energy in. I absorbed the pain, the urgency and the vitriol and got lost deep in thought.
Then I prayed.
So why didn't I call the police?
Because I knew the long holiday weekend was going to be a bloody one and a call about what someone allegedly heard being done to a child may not have been a top priority.
A person who hears a child possibly being beaten for ten minutes may not get a squad car to that address for quite a while depending on what asshole is shooting up the south side at any particular moment.
If it takes an overburdened and understaffed police force ten plus minutes to respond to a robbery call on a very busy night on the north side, you can imagine how long the wait would be down here with multiple shootings going on.
Yes a person takes priority over property but if there are no cars to assign to the call it will have to wait.
Some of you may not be aware that Chicago has a rather large gun violence problem and not enough police to deter the foolishness that is sweeping the city. I'm not saying Chicago's finest wouldn't have eventually made it out to my neighbors, but children can be sent next door. Bruises can be covered with clothing and lies can be told.
You know who would have paid the price for me calling the police? Whomever was on the receiving end of that spanking/beating last week, that's who.
I also suspect that my calling the police anonymously based on what I heard would of elicited a half assed response from any officers that would of come out unless I said the magic words:
"You need to perform a well being check on the child."
I didn't know to use that phrase until after I published the original post. Frankly, how is anyone outside of the police and mandated reporters of abuse supposed to know how this insane system works?
I have a tremendous amount of respect for police officers and the work they do. Yet when you have idiots willing to take someone's life and then you receive a call to check on a child based on something someone may or may not have heard correctly, you're going to go but I'd venture to guess that they'd leave in under 10 minuets---alone.
So the child could be in possibly greater danger, and a potential abuser has been alerted that they have a neighbor willing to call the police on them.
Sounds like an ideal situation to me.
Let's add to that scenario that I have no idea who resides in that house and their potential for greater violence. While the "no snitching" code of silence is being broken in urban America, it hasn't been put to bed yet.
Sticking your nose into someone else's business can have deadly consequences.
Yet the most disheartening information came from DCFS themselves. That's when I knew the social safety net has much larger holes than I could ever imagine.
Because when you place a call to report abuse that you "hear," that doesn't hold water with DCFS.
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