It absolutely amazes me that a situation like this story can even exist in our society. But then, I look around at my neighborhood. This is not the type of neighborhood I had expected to live in when trying to plan for my future, years and years ago.
This story is about a young girl. She had been the victim of sexual abuse from her step-brother. She had been made to live in the family basement, without a bathroom, and starved for food. I gentleman passing by saw the young girl and asked if she was all right.
“(CNN) — A Wisconsin man who stumbled across and alerted authorities to a young girl investigators say was kept in a basement, starved and sexually abused, said Tuesday she looked much younger than her 15 years — "like she just came from Auschwitz."
Mike Vega of Madison was on his way home from buying milk at the store when he saw what looked to be a girl, "8 or 9 years old," he said, outside, wearing pajamas but no shoes. Temperatures were below freezing.
"I thought that was odd … So I put the car in reverse and rolled down the window and asked her if she was OK. She said no, she needed help," Vega told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin.”
Ya know, it is simply a miracle that a child can reach adult hood now a days without being the victim of some sort of violence or abuse. I imagine, that this miracle is less realized in the lower income neighborhoods throughout the country.
I have a background in Law Enforcement. It has made me pay attention to the local youth as they have grown up in our neighborhood. But, even I do not know my neighbors, the families, or even their names like the neighbors I had when I was a youth. I mean, my parents knew who their children hung out with, where we went, and so on and so forth. But, they also knew the kids in the neighborhood that we did not hang out with. And, knew almost every family for at least three or four blocks around where we lived. I do not know if this was out of concern for our welfare, or due to their being social butterflies, but they knew everybody.
I have lived in this neighborhood for the past 10 years. I do not even know the last names of my two closest neighbors, or the names of any of the local youth my kids do not hang out with. I may not know the “gangster youth” down the block by name, but I do know who they are and where they live.
The point I am trying to make is that we as a society are allowing things like the story subject of my writing today to occur, because we have allowed ourselves not to embrace our neighborhoods like our parents did before us. It would be real hard for the neighbors to abuse a child like the girl in this story, had anyone in the neighborhood been aware of the neighbors. At least, that is what I would hope.
In this case, thank the good Lord for the alertness of a passer-by.