This is going to be a quick post but I know I could write a book about this Shaniya Davis story. We know Nancy Grace won’t be covering it (at least not with the zeal of other cases) so we must get the message out ourselves. I’ve noticed the focus is on the mother and her nefarious behavior but what about the father who suddenly left the little girl in the care of a clearly incompetent person to begin with?
I hate to say this but if Shaniya was going to abused, mistreated or neglected for the majority of her life then perhaps she will be better off in heaven with the angels than forced to endure a life of hardship amongst a population of evil-doers.
So many of us have made careful, conscientious decisions about whether to have children and have been concerned about providing a quality life while others put no thought into it whatsoever. Or worse, they take pleasure in destroying innocence and crushing young spirits.
I was reading Malika Saada Saar‘s piece at the Huffington Post where she discussed the real-life fate of girls who are treated like the character Precious from that horrid book and movie:
American girls are subject to unacceptable levels of violence. One in three girls will experience sexual violence by the time she reaches 18. But, when girls with economic stability are hurt by sexual violence, the protective layers of functional schools, safe neighborhoods, and access to mental health services tend to buffer them from further exploitation. For girls at the margins, the experience of sexual violence pipelines them into the criminal justice system.
In other words they’ve been exploited, abused, left to fend for themselves and punished some more. It’s not simply an issue of race but also one of class. The working class and underclass populations will bear the brunt of it. I am really trying not to be overly dour here but the reality is this becomes a generational issue if these young girls grow up and have children of their own and never get the help they needed. Then that terror is visited on other innocent people. I’m thinking of the mother of one of the Dunbar Village convicted who discussed her own abuse as a child and how she’d been abandoned. She was also so very callous about the actions of her son and how he perpetuated that violence.
As I traveled this weekend I met another little girl also 5 years old. Her name is Ari and she immediately struck up a conversation with me. She was with her stepmother who informed me Ari was going to visit her father in prison. Ari clearly was in need of attention and affection because children who have enough don’t latch onto complete strangers the way she did with me. Yeah I’d love to think I’m just charming but I could see there was an unmet emotional need so we talked for nearly two hours. About her favorite foods, what tv shows she likes, what books she reads and she asked me a lot of questions.
Do you know this child asked me if I had “pretty” hair because I was wearing a beret and she wanted to know what it looked like! Of course that as wholly inappropriate but clearly her self-esteem has already been assaulted and she’s been trained to think of herself and other black women in a certain category.
Of course her stepmother complained to anyone within earshot that the child was “too talkative” and she was going to spank her if she wasn’t quiet but I assured the woman it was okay. I thought if I could provide some relief for this child by speaking to her and allowing her to talk then it was the least I could do. While I agree there was a discipline issue that needed to be addressed it was clearly because of internal chaos. I couldn’t say any of that though. Eventually she did fall asleep and we all parted ways.
I really hope little Ari makes it…but the odds are already stacked against her.