Updated: Oct 30, 2021
I don't think I will ever forget the first time I called Child Protective Services to make a report. I couldn't have been more than 21 when I made the first mandated reporter call. At the time, I was working at a daycare in my hometown as a preschool teacher working with the 2-year-olds when I noticed something that just didn't seem right. Over the course of several weeks, I noticed odd behavior from one of the young students. She would make gyrating motions of a sexual nature with other students and would grab her private area. Then one day, I was assisting her in the restroom as you often do with preschoolers when I noticed that her vaginal area was red and inflamed. She looked at me with that cute little face and said, "It hurts Ms. Lori." I went to my site director and told her what I had witnessed and she immediately instructed me to place a call to the agency.
I remember being thoroughly uncomfortable making the call even though I knew I was doing the right thing and was potentially saving this little girl from a lifetime of abuse. I had to tell myself that it was ok to butt my nose in reminding myself of the greater purpose, keeping my student safe. I had to remind myself of this again after CPS went to the family home and the inexperienced social worker disclosed that it was me that made the call. The mother of the little girl came into the center furious that I would make such a call. "How dare you accuse us of abusing our daughter! You had no right!" she screamed at me threatening to unenroll her daughter. Needless to say, I had no voice of my own at the time so I just did my best to avoid mom and dad at pick-ups and drop-offs. I remember how awkward the room got when they would arrive. About a month later, the little girl's mother came into the center thanking and hugging me for making the report. "Thank you for paying attention to my little girl". She explained that during the investigation it was discovered that her 15-year-old stepson had been sexually violating her daughter for a couple of months.
After this initial report, I found that I would be divinely and repeatedly placed in a position to do the same for other children. I realized that because I was a survivor myself, I was almost hyper-sensitive to the classic signs of abuse. Moreover, I discovered that when I followed my intuition, I could save someone's life. I guess one could say that I have been an advocate for survivors long before I ever professionally adopted the title. I am, "Nosey With A Purpose" and I am proud of it. I encourage you to do the same. You could save a life.
If you are a parent or caregiver and would like to know some of the characteristic signs of sexual assault, book a free coaching call with me today.