Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Did I Do the Right Thing?

Yesterday, I had to make a phone call that I didn’t want to make, and I have been sick about it ever since. Emily came home from school yesterday and was very upset about something her friend at school told her. Apparently, Emily's friend told her that her mother’s fiancé had physically abused her for disobeying him. Basically, her story was that she was sent to her room by the fiancé, and when she left her room to answer her mother’s call, the fiancé shoved her back into her room and started hitting and kicking her and also slammed her down onto her bed. There was also some mention of blood being in the vicinity of her eye. Emily was so worried about her friend being abused that she insisted that I call DCF to report it.

Here’s the thing that has me so upset: What if this girl was just making it up for attention? Since I don’t know this girl or her family, and I didn’t speak to her directly, I really have no clue if her story is true or not. Of course, I had to err on the side of caution, because if she is being abused and I did nothing, then I would be to blame for letting it continue.

Now here’s where I tell you my dirty little secret. The reason why I am so upset is because I know what it is like to have someone report you to DCF for something that is completely untrue. About three years ago, someone called DCF and claimed that I was beating Sarah with a belt because she wanted to live with her father*. I have always assumed that it was just some spiteful person from my ex’s family trying to help him wrestle custody of the girls away from me. But I had to wonder if it was just some other random person who truly believed that awful thing about me.

Because of the claim, a social worker from DCF had to go to the girls’ school and pull them out of class to question them about it. I was humiliated about the whole thing because everyone at that school knows me and my girls. Back then, before I had Katie, I was a regular volunteer at the school. I couldn’t help but wonder if the incident made anyone lower their opinion of me. The social worker also had to come to my house to make sure that the girls were living in a proper home (you know, with walls).

I would hate to be the cause of anyone else unnecessarily going through the same thing that my family and I did. Of course, in the long run, I guess it is better to be safe than sorry. Ugh! I hate feeling like this. The stress is giving me heartburn.

*Of course this was completely fabricated. When the girls found out what the accusation was, they were shocked to think that anyone could or would beat their child with a belt. Oh, what a sheltered life they lead.


Heather said...

Oh, Melodie, I'm so sorry. I know that you KNOW you did the right thing, but it doesn't make it any easier. I've been there, and it's tough even when you know it's right. And I'm so sorry that you have been through this before, on the other side of the situation. Some people are just cruel.

Anonymous said...

That's hard Melodie. I've never been in that position, thank god. You did the right thing.