Want to know why I don't find it hard to believe that an abused child doesn't feel pain? Because I believe any 3-year-old who is abused at the hands of his own parents could learn to disassociate himself from pain. As a sheer act of survival. While I think, in this case, the abusive mom is probably just trying to shift responsibility for her horrific behavior, I think there's some real truth behind what she is saying.
Let me back up. Little 3-year-old Roman Bravo allegedly fell off a toilet and hit his head so hard that he had to undergo emergency surgery for a skull fracture and brain bleeding. During the time of his admittance, his doctors also found a lacerated liver and bruising on his arm and chest that led them to suspect abuse. He was also seriously malnourished.
And, sadly, that's not all this child has endured since he was adopted by his parents in 2009.
Other reported "accidents" since 2009 include a broken arm, scratches and bruises all over his body, and another head injury that required stitches. Sounds like the kind of painful stuff any sane child would want to block out, doesn't it?
Roman's parents, Angel and Osanna Bravo, were arrested last week after the boy's bathroom injury. His mother now claims Roman "does not feel pain," runs into walls and doorways, and once ate scalding hot mashed potatoes without complaint. She says he doesn't stop himself when he falls and picks at his fingers and body. These could be self-abuse or self-harming behaviors, which often stem in children who don't know how to cope with their feelings or anxieties.
While the Bravos describe Roman as a "difficult child," a teacher at his preschool describes him as "polite" and "nice" with no history of disciplinary problems. In custody, Osanna Bravo did admit sole responsibility for her son’s injuries, explaining she suffered similar abuse at the hand of her own mother.
There is so much wrong with this picture, I don't even know where to begin. It's such a sad case. Of course, the biggest takeaway I get from this story is how child abuse reverberates in so many ugly, horrifying ways.
Here's to hoping this young boy gets the help he needs and is placed in a more loving environment.
What's your reaction to this horrible abuse case?
Image via la Caja de la china/Flickr