Saturday, March 22, 2008

Domestic violence of the worst kind**

**Before you read further, please be aware that this post will contain descriptions and discussion of violence and torture. If you are troubled by things of this nature, or if you have your young child reading with you, please enjoy some of my other postings or come back to visit another day.**

**If you are interested in reading the entire article from where I am taking my quotes, please click on the title of this post - it will take you directly to the article.**

Over my career, I've seen some pretty horrendous things: rape, sadistic treatment, broken bones, awful bruises, fractured skulls, name only a few. This is not to say that I've haven't also seen wonderful things as well, but let's be frank, most of the time there is far more bad than good. That's just life. It's sad to say, but because I've seen so much, I've become very immune to a lot of things that should be appalling to any humane person.

So when I come across something that stirs those feelings of wretched disgust, and brings tears, I'm almost grateful because I know I haven't completely lost that part of my humanity.

This lady's name was Dorothy Dixon. I say "was", because she is no longer on earth. She's in heaven, I'm positive of that. God knows when a sparrow falls, and he surely didn't forget this lady.

She was 29 years old, and six months pregnant. She had a one year old little boy. She was also developmentally disabled. She slept on a concrete floor in the basement on a thin rug and dirty mattress. She ate whatever she could sneak from the refrigerator. She was used as target practice for BB guns, had boiling water poured on her, was burned with glue guns, and beaten with an aluminum bat. Her clothes had all been burned, so she spent her time naked. The money from her social security check was stolen every month.

She finally died after one final beating with some hard object. Her pregnant body just could not take anymore. Her little boy weighed just 15 pounds when social services came to pick him up to take him to a foster home.

Her autopsy results showed that "X-rays revealed roughly 30 BBs lodged in her. Deep-tissue burns covered about one-third of her body -- her face, her chest, her arms and feet -- and left her severely dehydrated. Her face and body showed signs of prolonged abuse. Many of her wounds were infected."

The people who did this? The other people in the house were a 43 year old woman, a 35 year old woman, an 18 year old boy, a 16 year old boy, a 15 year old girl, and a 12 year old boy. According to all reports, the 35 year old woman "befriended" Dorothy when she worked at a regional help center where Dorothy was a client and brought her to live with them so she could gain access to Dorothy's social security money. The abuse and torture was just part of the fun.

This all happened in Alton, IL. Alton is a fairly small place, and this home was located in a residential part of town. Didn't the neighbors notice anything? Or hear any screams or cries? Or hear the sounds of a BB gun being discharged?

"Riley considered Dixon her slave, making her rub Riley's feet until Riley fell asleep and forcing her to run naked around the house when she got in trouble, the neighbors said."

Apparently the neighbors did notice something was wrong. Apparently at least somebody had been in that house, or had spoken to someone living in the house to know about the feet rubbing, and know that Dorothy was being treated like a slave. But nobody did anything. Nobody could take two minutes of their time to call......anybody. Police, social services, a domestic violence center, a local pastor...nobody got called. What a small act that could have possibly saved a life.....

I have no idea how delayed Dorothy was or if she even had the mental capacity to try to find help or let another person know what was happening to her. Chances are that, even if she did, she was so terrified, and so sick from her treatment, that she could not help herself.

But somebody knew what was happening to Dorothy, and that somebody did nothing. Nothing.

It wasn't "their business." They "didn't want to get involved." I've heard these platitudes from so many so-called neighbors, friends, and family members over the years when asked what they knew about an abuse situation that happened on their block, next door, and sometimes even right under their own roof.

A violent situation becomes ten-fold when people who know about it do nothing and allow it to continue.

When someone becomes aware of an abusive situation, no matter if it involves an adult, a child, an animal, the environment.....anything.......turning a blind eye or a deaf ear to that situation must break God's heart. Of that I am sure.

We are to be good stewards of what God has blessed us with, but we are also to be good stewards of each other. And that means open your eyes, open your ears, open your MOUTH! Speak out for the animals, the children, and the adults who cannot speak for themselves.

Her name was Dorothy Dixon and I will never forget her.


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