It is time to shift pre­spec­tives

The Compass - - OPINION -

Last week saw the lat­est chap­ter in the trial of a Con­cep­tion Bay North woman con­victed on nu­mer­ous charges of child abuse (see re­lated story on A1).

This one opened with tes­ti­mony from a pair of so­cial ser­vices work­ers be­fore the pros­e­cu­tor started read­ing a pair of vic­tim im­pact state­ments from some of the nine chil­dren in­volved.

As Lisa Stead read the words aloud, there were tears from many in the gallery, along with the mother.

Their words were pow­er­ful as they strug­gled with the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing their sep­a­ra­tion from their sib­lings.

There was hurt, anger, sad­ness and re­gret at what their lives have be­come. There were vows to make it through this less-than de­sir­able sit­u­a­tion and come out on the other side stronger.

They were im­pres­sive words spo­ken from the lips of a child who may never know their sib­lings again.

When the two-hour long ses­sion had con­cluded, the Crown was look­ing for a max­i­mum of 14 years, while the de­fense was look­ing for a lesser sen­tence of eight years.

As we await her sen­tenc­ing on Sept. 9, per­haps it is time to close the book on the mother.

Per­haps we should look at help­ing the chil­dren. Per­haps we should look at fo­cus­ing our en­er­gies on mak­ing sure they do not suf­fer any un­due tor­ment­ing be­cause of this.

One child wrote about be­ing teased in school about the cir­cum­stances about their sep­a­ra­tion from the fam­ily.

It would serve us well to re­mem­ber that we were al­ways taught to show re­spect to oth­ers, to treat peo­ple as we would want to be treated.

Their child­hoods were ripped from them and their in­no­cence shat­tered.

We need to speak with our chil­dren. Tell them these chil­dren, as much as any­one, de­serve to be loved. They de­serve to have a wel­com­ing en­vi­ron­ment in school.

They don’t de­serve to be re­minded of what an abysmal sit­u­a­tion they were placed in.

They won’t soon for­get be­ing locked in their room at night or dan­gled over a ban­nis­ter.

It won’t leave them, per­haps with hours of ther­apy they will. Do we re­ally want to add to it? They should know it is not their fault. They should know love.

Their fos­ter par­ents will show them the love they de­sire, but that’s only one part of their lives.

If they’re be­ing tor­tured at school con­cern­ing this plight, will their home life be any bet­ter? They need our help. We should give it to them.

Ni­cholas Mercer is a reporter/pho­tog­ra­pher with The Com­pass. He lives in Bay Roberts and can be reached at nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

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