A mother in South Carolina was arrested last month for using profanity in front of her children. Apparently Danielle Wolf let a few eff-bombs slip because her kids were messing with loaves of bread while grocery shopping in a Kroger store. A nosy fellow customer (who later apologized and mentioned the abuse she received as a child colors her perception) called the police. Wolf was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and will appear in court September 12.
Meanwhile, mothers are being arrested left and right for letting their kids play in the park alone. Perhaps the authorities involved in these cases should focus more on making playgrounds safe places to play instead of victim blaming for the wrong that could occur there. Why should kids be in danger at the playground in the first place?
I hope you see the problem here. Arresting a mom for exposing her children to people who might harm them is just a way to shift the blame of criminal behavior away from the people harming kids to the women in the story. Remember, it’s always a woman’s fault! What next, women arrested for walking down alleys in short skirts because they might be attacked? Women arrested for driving cars because we might get hit by drunk drivers? Women arrested for leaving the house because some dastardly villain might drop a piano on our heads?
I’m sick of all these BS “mom arrested for nothing” stories. Sure, we can debate the real-world intelligence of leaving your kids alone in a park or how not cool it is to verbally abuse a child. Talk about that in the comments all day. I’m not saying I’d embrace these poor choices myself, although if I’m not allowed to curse anymore I may as well get fitted for my orange jumpsuit right now. The problem I have is that these women are being arrested for it.
Why is parenting in the hands of the law?
After what we have seen in Ferguson the past few weeks as well as plenty of other stories about police brutality and misconduct (don’t forget about the baby harmed by a SWAT team grenade attack on the wrong house), what makes the police a better keeper of children’s safety? Unless there is clear danger or real abuse, the legal system needs to keep their eyes on bigger fish to fry than moms going about their day.
I see a lot of comments on these articles like, “she should keep her legs closed if she doesn’t want to take care of her kids!”. No one ever says, “the father should have kept his pants zipped”. No one ever comments, “feeding, clothing and housing a child is a major obligation, therefore women in this capitalist society should have judgement-free access to birth control and abortion care”. No one ever comments on an article about a mom arrested for leaving her kid in a cool car while she runs into the store for for milk, “wow, she’s doing a great job making sure there’s food in the house”.
We have to quit blaming and arresting mothers for the problems society created. We need involved fathers. We need social support systems. We need lower qualification for food aid, Head Start programs, better public schools and more resources for single parents. We don’t need another single parent sitting in jail for trying to make ends meet.
Let’s arrest true criminals – murderers, those who swindle the government out of millions, parents who give their 9-year-old an uzi – and stop bending the scope of the law to police word crimes and free-range parents.
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