After I witnessed a child being abused, I knew I couldn't stay silent

What I saw while shopping was heartbreaking.

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  • I recently witnessed a heartbreaking scene while grocery shopping.

  • Three women had a young girl trapped, pinning her against some shelves. One of the tormentors looked older than the rest; possibly her mother. The other two were teenagers — maybe her sisters. My gaze shifted to the girl, who looked about 8 or 9. The three were mumbling and laughing as the young girl cried.

  • Sadness flooded my heart.

  • I glanced back at the scene just as the older woman pulled the girl's hair. She started to sob.

  • "Shut up!" hissed the woman.

  • My brain swirled, and tears made it hard to see. But the scene did not stop. Instead the tormentors blurted, "We're going to leave you."

  • I imagined how that sweet girl felt:How could they be so cruel? They are older. They are bigger. They are supposed to help me.

  • The words screamed through my brain.

  • She slowly followed. She had no choice.

  • My heart broke, and tears burst forth. How many children are hit, slapped, pushed or yelled at by the adults in their lives?

  • Something must be done.

  • Throughout the generations, a lie has been fabricated that says children "deserve" what's coming to them. But it is just that — a lie!

  • Children are human beings with a heart and a soul just like you and me. They have needs and sometimes act out to communicate those needs. But they are not evil. They NEVER deserve abuse.

  • They do not "deserve" to have their hair pulled.

  • They do not deserve to be punched.

  • They do not deserve to be hit.

  • They do not deserve to be slapped.

  • They do not deserve to be yelled at.

  • EVER.

  • Children are learning. They rely on the adults in their lives.

  • They rely on adults to love them.

  • They rely on adults to feed them.

  • They rely on adults to help them feel safe.

  • There are better ways than physical force and verbal cruelty to help children learn and grow.

  • My husband's grandfather was whipped as a child. As he crouched by the shed, his backside blistered, he swore to never hit his own children. He never did. The hurt stopped with him.

  • It can be stopped. It can stop with you.

  • Decide today you will not hurt your children. Choose to treat them with love and respect — even if you never experienced those things as a child.

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  • Decide to be their safe, loving place.

  • Show them kindness, and how to live a life full of it.

  • Learn how to connect with your children so they know they are valued.

  • Discover how to set strong, kind limits.

  • Find the coping skills to use in tough times.

  • There is help. There are books. There are classes.

  • You can do it! You can stop the hurt.

  • Your children need you.

  • They are small. They are young. The world is a scary place.

  • Be the adult.

  • It starts with you and me.

  • It starts with all of us.

  • Let's stop the hurt.

  • Editor's note: This article was previously published on parentingbrilliantly.com. It has been republished here with permission.

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Damara Simmons loves empowering parents with knowledge and truth so they don't accidentally disconnect their cherished relationships.

Website: http://parentingbrilliantly.com

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