WARNING!!! THE STORY BELOW IS GRAPHIC IN NATURE AND COVERS THE SUBJECT OF CHILD ABUSE.
All too often we are captivated by horrific yet true stories that are seemingly unfathomable. Whether it’s our poor response to natural disasters as in Hurricane Katrina, acts of terrorism as in 9/11, or school shootings as in Columbine High School. Then there are stories like Shaniya Davis whose mother treated her own daughter as a commodity and sold her as a part of human trafficking where she was raped then killed. These stories affect the families directly associated with them as well as many of us who get a glimpse via newspapers or television.
I salute those like Captain Young and others from the nation’s police departments, fire departments, hospitals, and military agencies who regularly put themselves in harm’s way in order to protect the lives of others…especially our children.
Not every story makes the headlines, such as the one you are about to read. I feel as obligated to post this as I do sick to the very pit of my stomach. We must fight with every bone in our body to put an end to child abuse! Be vigilant and trust your instincts. If something doesn’t look right with a child, it probably isn’t.
Here’s more from my conversation with LAPD Capt. Young…
Affrodite: I’m sure you’ve been able to see a lot of things over the years. I know you have worked with child abuse and rape. I look at that and think I don’t have the heart to work in those areas the way you did.
Capt. Young: It was tough.
Affrodite: Would you like to share a story that touched you personally during that time and what about it made it so memorable?
Capt. Young: I’ll tell you, one of the most difficult assignments I’ve had was working in the Juvenile Division in the Abused Child Unit because in a specialized division we handle cases where the the children were victims because the parents or guardians did something to them…We have 21 stations so there’s a Juvenile Division within each station, but they handle if the neighbor abused the child…There was a case that I’ll always remember. A little girl, probably about 18 months old. Her father had been molesting her. It’s hard because I still see her face, just a cute little girl, and it was sexual molestation. It wasn’t physical. We went out to the house and we met her, and she was just the sweetest little girl. The mother, of course, was in denial. The case was reported by another family member not living in the home so that’s how we got there. We took the little girl, and this is where I just (she pauses)… We took her to the hospital as we normally would do for medical treatment…and these nurses were examining her and the doctor, and when they took off her clothes, all I heard was [a loud gasp]..I’m coming in there because I want to see, too…and oh my God! The nurses started crying. The doctor who was a man was tearing up, and I’m like what? So they showed me. They showed me her private area and they said that was the worse case of gonorrhea they had ever seen.
Affrodite: Oh my gosh!
Capt. Young: And I had never seen gonorrhea before, and I was thinking, ‘Oh my God! That’s why she was crying all the time.’ She was in so much pain, open sores, everything. I turned and I looked at my partner and I said, ‘We’re going back to that house. We’re going now, and everyone is going to jail.’ So we went back. Mom was in denial when we told her what the results were from the hospital. She said, ‘Oh, she got it from the toilet stool.’ I said, ‘Ma’am, I’ve never had any children but I do have nieces and nephews and at 18 months how do they hold up [on the toilet seat by themselves]? This is a little girl!…’ So we had the mom and everybody get tested, and the mom had gonorrhea. There was another daughter in the house who had it. We found dad and he was like, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’
Affrodite: It reminds me of that story that was in the news about the girl, Jaycee Lee Dugard, that had been abducted. I wrote about it in my women’s column but I focused on the women behind that story (click HERE for story). The female police officers, Lisa Campbell and Ally Jacobs from Berkely who sensed something was wrong and went the extra mile of doing some follow up.
Capt. Young: Yes, people don’t do that often enough.
Affrodite: And then also looking at that Phillip Garrido’s wife Nancy Garrido because the media attention went straight to him like as if, I mean, I know, usually the man’s the main perpetrator, but I still feel like women play a role if you are there and witnessing it and not reporting.
Capt. Young: Yes.
Affrodite: So as you’re telling that story about the girl, I was wondering if you have anything to say to women who are in these situations. I understand that there’s a level of abuse that is happening to them too, but do you feel they’re equally responsible?
Capt. Young: They are equally responsible…He’d have to kill me for me to hold that secret of abuse that was happening to not only my child but to someone else’s [as in Garrido case]. This is a child that they took off the street from a family and brought home and tortured basically in the backyard for all of those years.
Affrodite: And nobody knew.
Capt. Young: But the neighbor, remember, they were saying that they had heard funny noises but he never called.
Affrodite: Yes, and it’s a shame that there’s more than one story like that out there.
Yes, there’s still more with Capt. Young to share with you so stay tuned as she offers safety tips for women and answers your questions submitted on Facebook and Twitter.
affrodite.net– all Capt. Young interview post
affrodite.net– Peas In Their Pods creates the Rilya Alert
Columbus Women’s Issues Examiner– Heroes and monsters. The women behind Jaycee Lee Dugard’s capture and abduction.
LAPD official website– Captain Ann E. Young (BIO)