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Should i intervene in situations like this?

Discussion in 'Domestic Violence' started by Snowwhite, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. Snowwhite

    Snowwhite I'm a VIP Donated

    I hope I'm posting this in the right forum.

    A few years ago, I witnessed something that, to me, looked like a sign of domestic violence. I was waiting for the train, and this little girl was sitting on the edge of the platform, with her feet dangling above the rails. Someone who was standing near her, told the girl to get up because it was dangerous, and then told the girl's mother that it was not okay to let her child sit there.
    The mother then proceeded to grab the little girl by the arm and speak to her in a threatening voice about how horrible the child was for "embarrassing" her mother like that in public. The way that mother looked at her child was just ice cold.

    Back then, I didn't say anything. I really wanted to, but the little girl had already gotten blamed for the other stranger standing up for her safety. I didn't want to make things even worse for her. And because there was no clear sign of violence, calling the police was no option. All I can do now is hope that someone in that little girl's environment knew what was going on and engaged child protective services.

    I've thought about this situation many times, and I want to know what is the best thing to do when you see a stranger mistreating their child like that.

    Should I stand up for the child, or will that make things worse?
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  3. Sunfl0wer

    Sunfl0wer Member

    I wonder the same. From my experience, talking to the abuser is not really helpful, they just try and hide it better. The next best thing for me has been to call a special line that we have in France to report any suspicion of abuse towards children, and hope for the best. I am not sure how much more we can do to help when we're not in the thick of it, but I'm also open for suggestions.
    dulcia, Rain, Snowwhite and 1 other person like this.
  4. Sideways

    Sideways I'm a VIP Premium Member

    It's not an easy thing to let other parents do parenting their own way. You're clearly troubled by this particular incident, but I'm not sure it amounts to abuse. The mother reacted badly when it was pointed out her child was in danger.

    Parents can behave pretty out of character when their kid has just had a brush with death, yeah? Often what they wanna do is shake their kid and scream "You just scared the bejeebuz outta me - don't ever do that again!"

    In situations like this, where the lady could be mother of the year the rest of the time? If I was going to 'intervene' it would probably just be to ask the mum "Are you ok?" Like, is she coping? Because there's actually not much else you can do.

    Having a history of abuse makes us more aware of what abuse can look like, but sometimes it can make us a little too quick to judge a situation that we don't really know much about...
  5. Snowwhite

    Snowwhite I'm a VIP Donated

    Thank you, @Ragdoll Circus . You gave me a new perspective on it :) I also feel less guilty now about not doing anything at the time. Your reply was very helpful, thanks!
  6. Neverthesame

    Neverthesame A Mind The Dead Have Ravaged Premium Member Donated

    I have a few questions, if you don't mind.

    Where was the mother when the child was sitting on the edge of the platform?

    Could the mother see the child sitting like that from where she was on the platform?

    How old do you think the child likely was?
    scout86, mumstheword and Snowwhite like this.
  7. Snowwhite

    Snowwhite I'm a VIP Donated

    @Neverthesame of course I don't mind :)

    The mother was standing only a few meters away. There were multiple people there, but I'm sure she could see her child sitting there.
    I think the girl was around 9 years old.
    Neverthesame likes this.
  8. Neverthesame

    Neverthesame A Mind The Dead Have Ravaged Premium Member Donated

    @Snowwhite Thank you.

    The anger displayed by the mother could very well be what Ragdoll suggested.

    My theory is that the mother was, for whatever reason, not really paying attention to what was going on right in front of her. When the stranger called her on her inattention to a dangerous situation.

    At around 9 year's old, her kid really should know better than to do that, as she should have been able to read the numerous warning signs, stating not to dangle any part of her anatomy over the edge of the platform.

    I would think the mother was probably mad at both herself and her daughter. The daughter for putting herself in harms way. Herself for failing to notice.

    That's what I think might have been the reason the woman was so angry with her daughter.
    mumstheword, Snowwhite and scout86 like this.
  9. scout86

    scout86 I'm a VIP Premium Member Donated

    This sounded so much like MY mother, it never would have occurred to me that it was a rare thing. But, as @Neverthesame said, by 9, I darn well knew how to avoid setting her off and I did.
    That approach is rather brilliant! (Also not something I would have thought of!) My mother was a narcissist, it would have totally defused things if it suddenly became about her. And, I suspect with a "normal" person, they might have paused to consider that their behavior was concerning and that might have allowed them to switch gears. I can't see where it could possibly hurt either. Great idea!
  10. Friday

    Friday Raise Hell Moderator

    There are times in parenting when anger is appropriate. When your kid has just endangered their own or someone else's life? That's one of those times. Because you need them to register that what they just did could kill them, or could kill someone else.
  11. Snowwhite

    Snowwhite I'm a VIP Donated

    @Friday you are absolutely right. When a child does something dangerous it is completely appropriate for a parent to get angry with them.

    What bothered me about this particular situation wasn't the anger itself, though; it's that the mother likely already knew her child was sitting there and didn't do anything about it. She only got angry with the child once the stranger had stepped in and confronted her. Not because her daughter had endangered herself, but because she felt embarrassed.

    That said, I agree that I very well may have misconstrued the situation as abusive, because of my own hypervigilance. Everyone's responses have been very helpful and I appreciate you all sharing your insights :)
    mumstheword, scout86, Rain and 2 others like this.
  12. anonymous

    anonymous Forum Anonymity Premium Member

    I once saw a woman in the street grab hold of a small boy (who I assume was her son) by the upper arm, get right into his face and scream "What the f*ck is wrong with you, you little c*nt! I'll f*cking well give you something to f*cking cry about in a f*cking minute!" He must have been all of 3 years old.

    I figured if that was how she treated him in public God help the little bloke behind closed doors. But I didn't have a name or an address or anything to report her to authorities. And I was pretty sure if I confronted her I would be told to 'f*ck off" in no uncertain terms.

    It made me sad because I couldn't figure out any way of helping the little boy.
    Snowwhite and mumstheword like this.
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