This is a difficult piece for me. I remind myself every day that five children in the US will die today. Baby Doe already had her deathday. She is, for me, a poster-child for what happens when we deny the incredulous—parents and caretakers kill and traffic their children. Another face that haunts me is the face of Jeremiah Oliver. Wait—let me swipe the tears from my face.
Yes—I’ve been tagged a crusader. The first time I was called that was when I was sitting across from a police detective.
“You’re quite the little crusader, aren’t you?” He said.
I was ashamed. I threw my eyes down, but hey—it’s true—when it comes to children I am rabid. Anyone who abuses a child to death or sexually mistreats them is a devil in my book. I think I’ll have T-shirts made up. CRUSADER
Is that what it really takes to care about children? A label? C’mon—that can’t be—shouldn’t be. Caring about children and realizing some are in danger should be a common obsession. I’m not talking about everyday discipline. I’m talking about outright danger.
I’ve met people who were trafficked as children. I’ve met people who were abused as children, and I barely survived my own childhood. The stories I have heard are terribly haunting. No wonder I am a CRUSADER.
Let’s get back to Baby Doe. According to an article in The New Yorker, Baby Doe was found wearing polka-dot pants, wrapped in a zebra blanket on the shores of Deer Island in Boston Harbor. She was thought to be about 4-years-old. No cause of death could be determined. Her mother and her mother’s boyfriend were arrested in her death.
Wait. I have to stop. I sit cocked in my chair, elbow on armrest, with my hand over my mouth; my eyes closed to ward off the moisture building in them. Deep breath. Moving on.
I react this way because I know this death was simply a respite from life. That what went on before was too terrifying for most to comprehend. I know because I lived it as a child. I faced death every day from my earliest memories at seven months. I call them “fear memories.” I know how it feels. Death is merely a climax.
The February 1, 2016, issue of The New Yorker outlines the deaths of several children at the hands of parents or caretakers. I highly recommend the article, “Baby Doe. There are many YouTube videos on Baby Doe and Jeremiah Oliver. I’ll leave you with one in memorium of Bella Bond, “Baby Doe.”
photo retrieved from The Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Copyright 2017 Joyce Bowen