a rather sad state of affairs

running across the street the other day to catch my bus home, i noticed a woman with a large piece of cardboard standing on the opposite corner. you couldn’t make out the writing on it, but the cardboard was far larger than your usual homeless signs. as i got closer to the sign, i was able to read what she’d written on it. i wish i hadn’t.

the top part said “don’t report domestic violence, because washington state will take your children away.” i didn’t read the rest of it; partially because my bus was just pulling up to the stop, but also because…i just couldn’t believe what she was saying. don’t report it? you’d rather keep your kids with you and risk your abuser killing not only you, but your children? what kind of mother are you?!

i don’t think i’ve been that worked up over something since netanyahu’s speech to congress several weeks ago, and it took pretty much the whole bus ride for me to forget about it and calm down. and when i did, i could sort of see her point, although i don’t think it’s the one she was trying to make.

it’s been widely documented that washington’s child protective services is a hot mess. more than that, it’s about to crumble upon itself. it started with the appalling story of justice and raiden robinson, and it just continued from there. so it would stand to reason that if this woman was familiar with the department, she’d have reason to fear that her children being taken from her and being punted into the system could result in them being worse off there than they were with her.

i can also see that she might feel like she’s being punished for doing what she’s been told, over and over again, is the right thing to do. intellectually, we’re told that an abusee leaving his or her abuser, getting out and getting help, is something that can be damn near impossible for a large portion of that population. and unless you’ve been in that situation, don’t make assumptions about what can and cannot be done.

this is where i have to heave a big sigh. yes, i can see her point (to an extent). but it’s more a commentary on the state of CPS than anything else. and i have to wonder, would she ever be able to forgive herself if she’d been allowed to keep the kid(s) and one of them ended up hurt? or worse, dead? it’s the lesser of two evils, i think. yeah, there are problems with the system. it’s got failure written all over it, in bright red sharpie. but it doesn’t always fail.

so to the lady with the sign, i’m sorry. but i think your kids are probably better off away from what is quite possibly a toxic situation.

*image via lothlorien.typepad.com

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