This morning, when I was walking my dog, I passed a house just as a young woman rushed into the front garden yelling at the top of her voice: ‘Come here! Come here!’ Her tone was ugly. She went into the house and slammed the door. I walked on, pretending, as we Brits do, that I hadn’t heard.
Then, two little boys appeared from around a corner and walked slowly towards the house. They must have been about 6 and 8 years old. I didn’t look back but I heard the door open and the woman yell a torrent of abuse at the children. It was so loud and so abusive that I jumped and so did the dog! God knows what it did to those children. I stopped and listened. I could hear the woman shouting from inside the house and the children crying and shouting back.
To me, what I saw was emotional abuse, but should I report it to the NSPCC or should I keep quiet? Was she just having an off day? We all have those, don’t we? We can’t be perfect parents only ‘good enough’. Was her behaviour to those two kids ‘good enough’ or should she be pulled up by someone working in the filed of child protection and challenged to recognise how abusive her shouting and yelling actually was?
I walked home feeling very depressed. At the moment, in the UK, the figures for rape and sexual crimes against women and children are high. Child abuse is high. What are the incubating factors that make boys grow up into men who abuse women and children? What will those two little boys think of women if they are treated like that by their own mother? It’s not just mothers who behave like that. Most abuse is carried out by men. Maybe that’s why it felt so shocking to hear a woman emotionally abusing two little boys like that? For that’s what it was.