Home Life-Free If we don’t protect children who will?

If we don’t protect children who will?

Contributed by Columnist Sarah Hudson Pierce

According to Safe Horizon, which is the largest non-profit victim services agency in the Burroughs of New York City, one in ten children are being abused.

As an activist, who witnessed and experienced child abuse in an orphanage, I must take a stand for those who have no voice.

The Bible says, “It’s better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones” which I think applies to anyone who is helpless, such as children, the elderly or those who are mentally challenged.

According to Safe Horizon, which is the largest non-profit victim services agency in the Burroughs of New York City, one in ten children are being abused.

How  would you like to be a defenseless child who has no voice? Recently I was talking to someone who thinks we shouldn’t be whistle  blowers, ones who take a stand on such issues as child abuse which really agitated me, causing me to respond that if we don’t  report child abuse we are just as guilty as if we had molested or abused the child ourselves!

If not, why not?

I can’t help but ask why would anyone not want child abuse exposed?

After being in a loving foster home, I could hardly believe the abusive orphanage where I landed. Rather  than be a victim, I decided  in October, 1962, at the age of fourteen,  that I would make it my mission to expose what often goes on behind closed doors. 

I was shocked when   a ten-year-girl asked  me to step into the bathroom with her at church.  In horror I watched her  unveil massive layers of blackened bruises beneath her clothing.

Without hesitation I told her “tomorrow we will go to the school nurse.” I knew  I’d gone against the home.  I nervously  watched the clock at school, dreading my punishment.  Still I felt proud of what I’d done.  Just as soon as I arrived back at the home, I boldly hurried off the bus and told the superintendent who was waiting for us.

Instinctively I knew he was looking for the one who had reported an employee.

I was verbally slapped in the face  when he said me he’d tell my housemother because the nurse had kept my name anonymous when she visited the home.

She lectured me for hours, telling me how she had  beaten her daughter with a garden hose so severely she had to be put to bed.  She didn’t dare lay a hand on me because she knew I would report her.

My punishment was to be one month’s grounding — and I wouldn’t be able to bathe or wash my hair.  I was to wear the same dirty clothes to school and church for the duration of my grounding. 

I suppose she thought this would make me look stupid.

Fifty-eight  years later I  smile because it  backfired on her the following Sunday morning when she suddenly remembered that was to be the day of “Open House”,  when the home showcased  our immaculate cottage to display our “wonderful home-like” environment to the many church members who might choose to visit the orphanage and leave a contribution  to the “worthy cause” so they might be hoodwinked into feeling good about their generosity as they recalled our plastic smiles and well-groomed appearance.

Never did my housemother fly so fast to see that the older girls helped me wash, set and dry my hair in a day before blow-dry hair styles.

Though more than  half of a century has passed  and the abusive housemother was finally fired the following year, and my own sadistic housemother was later fired, I’m  proud of the shy, undersized, awkward fourteen year-old girl from the backwoods of Arkansas, who took justice into her own hands back then and continues to do so, being the activist that I am, as I strive to be  an advocate, a voice to speak out for those who appear to have no voice!

Even  though the orphanage has moved and changed their name court records show abuse still reins while they home school their children which makes  it harder to report the abuse.       

One house father is serving time in prison   for  repeatedly raping and sodomizing a young girl in 2003.    (She was unable to report the abuse until she went home.)

In 2010 I compiled and published a book of true stories  written   by   these adult children (many in their 50’s and 60’s) because they  wanted to finally be heard to give some closure to what went on back then and perhaps to prevent future abuse.

If we don’t protect children who will?