Most of you who read my blog on a regular basis know that thus far I have focused on the orphan crisis. However, if you have read my mission you are aware that I have another, I guess, “push”. That push is creating a movement to stop violence against children. Well, maybe a “movement” is a grand idea to have, but with God all things are possible! I have so much hurt in my heart for the little ones who are victimized and helpless to defend themselves. There are way too many kids in this world who are abused, neglected and many, many times it could have been prevented.
One story in particular really made an impact on me. The story of Lauren, the girl who was locked in a closet for 6 years of her life. Lauren was adopted by a wonderful woman who raised her from birth until she was just under two years old. Lauren’s bio mother showed up and said she wanted Lauren back. Shockingly the courts entertained this idea and allowed trial visitations. Eventually the courts granted custody to Lauren’s bio mother despite the fact that there was evidence of abuse upon return from the visits. Our system makes no sense sometimes?!
Lauren, around age two
Firstly, I cannot imagine how painful it must have been for Lauren’s adopted mom. To raise this beautiful toddler for almost two years as hers and then be forced to let her go live with people she knew in her heart were already hurting her. I cannot even fathom. Adoptive parents, can you imagine this?? I would love to hear from you! If this isn’t already heart-wrenching, wait till we delve into Lauren’s life in her new home.
Once Lauren was taken to her new home, where 5 of her other siblings lived. She was not allowed to live and play with them. Instead, 2 year old Lauren was stripped naked and thrown into a small dark closet. Her mother put a radio outside the closet door to muffle Lauren’s cries. Lauren had no concept of day and night, she had no light. She was not let out to use the toilet, but instead forced to defecate on herself and the floor. She was rarely fed and at times her mother made her eat her own feces. This little malnourished girl began enduring beatings and torture like cigarette burns, freezing showers, bites, knife cuts and more as punishments for not behaving as they wanted her to. Lauren eventually became the subject of group rape parties, where she was repeatedly raped and sodomized. She was also regularly raped and sodomized by her mother and her step-father.
The mother and step-father treated Lauren this way for six long years. Six years of nobody reporting it. Six years of near death, barley surviving the torture her captors inflicted. Lauren’s siblings were aware of her presence but did nothing, probably for fear they would end up taking her place if they told. Lauren learned to speak from listening to the radio outside her closet door. It was on 24 hours a day.
Lauren could have been saved long before if only someone would have had the courage to report it. Interestingly, the day prior to Lauren’s rescue, an anonymous tip was called in and an officer showed up to do a check. The officer only stood at the front door, and only saw 4 out of the six children. He later recalls hearing Lauren’s radio coming from the back bedroom, but didn’t think to do a home inspection. The officer was satisfied and left, marking it off as all clear.
Amazingly the very next day when the mother was gone, the step-father decided to go knock on a neighbors door. He had decided to come clean. He and the neighbors were good friends and their children played together often. He asked his friends to follow him to his house where he told them about Lauren. The couple could hardly believe what he was telling them, but soon it became very real when he opened up the closet door. In the darkness, sat a naked, lice infested, scarred up, dirty little eight year old girl who looked like she was only three. She was so tiny, she was described as a Holocaust child. Lauren had peeling, infected and scarred up skin due to laying in her own waste for so long and her severe lice. She had to have reconstructive surgeries to repair her body from all the damage, and doctors have said that she may never be able to have children due to how severely she was brutalized. Her teeth were broken and she had damage to her esophagus from eating drywall, plastic, and wood in place of food. This child had truly endured some of the most horrific abuse and intense pain imaginable.
Horrified at what they were seeing, the neighbors called the police who came and arrested them both.
The closet Lauren lived in
Ironically the first officer on the scene was the very same officer who cleared the house the day prior. Poor Lauren would have died if the step-dad had not suddenly grown a conscience, seeing how the officer failed to demand the inspection of all six children during his visit. Lauren’s story has been featured on Dr. Phil and she was courageous enough to tell her story on national television
My goal here with this story is this: people knew about Lauren, I mean, aside from her abusers and the crowd of pedophiles who hurt her throughout her short life. People came forward after she was found and admitted they knew about the girl in their friends closet. Neighbors suspected it because they knew of a sixth child that was never seen. Yet nobody bothered to call it in. I can only assume that some were afraid that if they called it in they would be on police radar for their own indiscretions. Has anyone ever heard of anonymous reporting? Then again, how many times have we all heard about multiple reports being called in for child welfare checks, etc. that were never followed up on by police? Why and how in all the world do the authorities ignore reports of this nature? Really? We all need to step up, step out, and really be aware of those around us in our lives and neighborhoods. Even if you notice a child in the grocery store who looks like they have been abused, go around to the next isle, and call in an anonymous tip! I’m serious! This is not an isolated case, there are literally hundreds of documented cases of horrific child abuse/neglect that others knew about and never reported it. Don’t believe me? Stay tuned for my next post which will be about another little angel who suffered unimaginable abuse. She too could have been saved if only those who knew reported it.
Oh my mom heart! I have a 20 month old daughter and cannot imagine her being hurt in such a soulless way. Combined with the orphan crisis, I am truly seeing how Satan and his demons work in our world. They get such a hold on some people and sadly, innocent babies like Lauren become victims. Lauren’s story literally made me fall to my knees and cry out to God. Hyperventilating with tears streaming down my face, I begged God to show me how I can stop this from happening to other kids. With His guidance, I came to the conclusion that education is what I can do to help prevent this sort of thing. Showing people what really goes on behind closed doors and empowering them to be brave, stand up and call it in!
How many of us have turned a blind eye when maybe we shouldn’t have because we don’t want to get involved?
I want to use this as an encouragement for everyone to ALWAYS SAY SOMETHING, EVEN IF YOU THINK IT WILL TURN OUT TO BE NOTHING!
I kept a lot of the brutal details out of my story above. However, I do encourage you to please go and read the full version of Lauren’s heart-wrenching ordeal. She is a true survivor and an example of forgiveness. Please go to the links below. Please make sure to click the arrow at the bottom of each page as there are multiple pages for each part. Part One , Part two , Part three , Part four
I need everyone to join me in praying for these kids! Pray for others to have the courage to step forward. Pray for a changed world.