Calling in your neighbors for suspected child abuse can be scary, but here's proof that it's worth it. A frail and malnourished teenage boy was rescued this week after months of being handcuffed to a steel pole in his family's basement. Missouri cops say the 17-year-old had been living like that since September, subsisting only on meager meals of instant oatmeal, ramen noodles, and bologna sandwiches.
When they rescued the boy, cops say he was cowering in the basement, pleading, "I didn't do anything, I didn't do anything, I didn't do anything." The details get worse from there. But now the unidentified boy is safe and sound with a foster family that's already helped put meat on his bones. And it's all thanks to one woman: a neighbor who isn't afraid to come out and talk about the role she played in getting this child some help.
We don't usually get the names of these heroes. Calling in a neighbor, as mentioned before, carries with it a risk of ostracizing yourself from the neighborhood. What if you're wrong? Worse, what if you're right? You're the one who got the neighbors in trouble.
And yet, Crystal Anderson was loud and proud when she told the media that she knew she had to call authorities after seeing the boy handcuffed to a door and then hearing a scuffle next door.
Seeking her 15 minutes of fame? Maybe. But why shouldn't she? Anderson saved this boy from abuse, maybe even saved his life. She's already gotten calls from members of his family thanking her.
By coming out, Anderson sends a message to the world: you shouldn't be ashamed of being "nosy" or butting in, not when you're saving a child's life.
If only more people were like Anderson, maybe more of these child abuse cases would have happy endings.
As it is, this boy is now getting help, and in just a few days already put some meat on his emaciated frame. A 2-year-old was also removed from the home, preventing who knows what from happening to him.
What do you think of this woman's bravery and decision to speak openly about what she did for this boy?
Image via cdogstar/Flickr