Somedays I feel like I could write an entire volume of books on the oddities that come with working at a Children's Advocacy Center. Now, I know that all jobs have their quirks... really, I do. But, there's nothing like working with kids (of all ages) who have been sexually abused. On a daily basis, 3, 4, sometimes 8 or 9 children.. that have recently been victimized. On a rare occasion, we get one that has lied about it. (They are typically very easy to spot. But, sometimes, not so much.) Sometimes, it's just all one big misunderstanding.. I mean, a two year old's language is somewhat different than yours and mine. A few months back, a three year old told us that a ghost with purple hair and a purple suit came in through her window and molested her. Of course, we all got a good chuckle out of it.. and assumed that she watched a little bit too much television. Three days later it was discovered that her neighbor, who frequently babysat her, who had purple hair and tended to wear purple pajamas, snuck into the little girls room at night (through the window) and did in fact molest the little girl. None of us saw that one coming.
Lots of people say to me that if they could catch the "people" that commit these crimes, they would do fill in blank to them. And, yes, I too have an imaginary "hit list" of sorts. But, truthfully, I just want to see the perpetrators punished. Locked up. No priveleges. Actual JAIL TIME. Yet, time and time again, our justice system fails us. Fails the children. Over and over and over again. Just yesterday, one of our "alleged" (guilty) perpetrators got caught with x amount of drugs. The entire office cheered with delight, knowing that he would get far more time for the drug charges than for the habitual sexual offenses committed against his daughters. Jail time is jail time, but still, those girls have to live with the fact that their justice system failed them. Our court system fails to recognize that a four year old can give a testimony 100x better than adults can. A four year old can tell you what pajamas they wore that night, what t.v show was on in the background, who was in the other room, what they had for dinner, that the telephone rang 3 times.. children remember those details because they, unlike grown-ups, are not bogged down with 700 other daily tasks, and the stresses of keeping a house together. And because the justice system thinks that the little girl who saw a ghost with purple hair MUST be imagining things.... that babysitter could have probably gotten away... on to the next victim.
Working with these children is absolutely heartbreaking. Period.