I am going to say something that shouldn’t be a newsflash to anyone who has ever read my blog, heard me speak, or been anywhere near me in the past few years. I HAVE AN AGENDA. It is not hidden, and I refuse to make any apologies for it. Want to know what my agenda is? It’s simple really…I am passionate about children. I truly believe that Prince chose me to be his mother. I was chosen because he knew I would fight for him, and he knew I would speak out to protect his memory. He knew I would fight for change – that I would fight to make it so that no other children would suffer the way he had to suffer.
Since my son was murdered, it seems like not a day has gone by where I haven’t heard about the brutal murder of another child. This week, I heard about another shocking case that happened in Fredrick, MD. A little girl named Anayah Williams was murdered by her father. As her father was beating her to death, her mother watched. As if the murder itself isn’t shocking enough, possibly the most disturbing element of this case is that when the girl was only two months old she had been removed from the home for having a fractured skull. Instead of recognizing that these parents were dangerous, our sick and twisted system put the girl back into the house (for the sake of reunification with her birth parents). She was murdered shortly after her return.
I would love to be able to say that I am shocked when I hear these stories. Our system fails children. Those who are tasked with the protection of children are more concerned about protecting the parental rights of abusive parents. They are more concerned with clearing their case load then potentially saving a child’s life.
Recognizing abuse: Most children who are abused don’t even know they are being abused. If you ask a child who has been abused their entire life if their parent abuses them, you will most hear something like, “no, he/she was a good parent.” If a child is used to being beaten with objects, having things thrown at them, and getting beaten to the point where physical marks are left, they might not see these things as abusive – this is their normal. While children who live through abuse might not be able to determine that their situation is not the norm, there are certain tell tale signs. For example, if a child is often seen with bruises that are beyond the occasional toddler bump, something might be wrong. Another tell tale sign is when you see a child who is clearly afraid of their parent. While it is normal for a child to respect their parent, a child should never be afraid that they are going to be physically harmed by their parent.
Doing something about it: Another unfortunate reality that I have noticed since the death of my son, is that many people choose to ignore child abuse if it isn’t happening directly in their home. When they hear of these child murders on television, they talk about how sad it is for five minutes, go hug their own child, and thank God it isn’t their reality. What people fail to realize is that the child who is being beaten up next door will one day show up on your doorstep. He will be dating your daughter, friends with your son, or maybe even a parent to your grandchild. Child abuse is not someone else’s problem. It is a society problem, and in order to end child abuse everyone must take responsibility.
A few months after I left Luc, I went back to his old neighborhood and spoke to some of the neighbors. I asked a few of them if they had ever witnessed anything disturbing. One man mentioned that he had witnessed Luc abusing a child in public, right outside this man’s house. When I asked the man why he didn’t report it, he said, “it wasn’t any of my business, so I didn’t get involved. I almost said something, but I didn’t want his anger to turn on me.” The man then told me to keep my head down, and that it would all work out for the best. Since Prince died, I often wonder what people like this man would think now. Would he regret never reporting the abuse? Would he look at my situation and think that things worked out for the best?
Recently, I was accused of having an agenda – as if this is a bad thing. If you are as passionate about an important issue as I am, you should be proud that you have an agenda too. I will never hide from my agenda. I will continue to have this agenda until the day when I stop hearing about children dying from abuse. I don’t want to just stop hearing about it because I stop listening. I want to stop hearing about it because I want it to actually stop happening.
Please join me – please have an agenda too.