Imagine the worst case of child abuse you've heard in the past few years. Now double it. You might be somewhere near the horror of what happened to the Washington State toddler who had bleach repeatedly poured in her eyes.
And now for the coup de grace. The woman charged with this heinous cruelty is the girl's own mother. Jennifer Mothershead (hard to believe, but yes, that's her real name) has been charged with first-degree child assault for allegedly causing permanent vision damage to her then 15-month-old daughter in May 2011.
I have just one question.
How did it get this far?
Pardon me if I sound naive, but I don't think a normal person simply wakes up one morning and says, "Today, I think I will become a monster." And monster is really the only word I can use to describe the kind of person who pours bleach into a child's eyes, describing it as "eye drops" to "treat" an eye infection. A "mother" certainly wouldn't do that.
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So if Jennifer Mothershead did this to her daughter, she is a monster, plain and simple. How did someone not notice this side of her before? Why wasn't this little girl already living with her father (who is now her legal guardian)? I don't mean to shift blame for this despicable act to anyone else.
But when child abuse is this depraved, I have to wonder: weren't there signs that this person was not fit to care for a young life? Didn't someone see something was ... off? Maybe they didn't. Maybe this is just my reaction because I want to live in a world where there are signs, where we can prevent children from suffering such unspeakable horrors. Sadly, instead, I live in a world where there are people who pour bleach in the eyes of an 18-month-old child.
Did you ever have the feeling that someone just was not fit to be a parent? What tipped you off?
Image via Vox Efx/Flickr