Friday, May 2, 2008

Take it Seriously Part 3: Aarone Thompson

Deidra at Black and Missing but not Forgotten has posted the story of Aarone Thompson, a 6 year-old in Colorado who was killed by her father Aaron Thompson and his girlfriend Shely Lowe after years of abuse including denial of food, cruel punishment, and denial of medical care. Aarone's death is solely the fault of her father and his girlfriend. This post isn't meant to assign blame to anyone other than the abusers. What we wish to point out is that this death (and many others) could possibly have been prevented if friends, family, and other bystanders had acted on the information they had.

While the depth of the abuse the children in the Thompson-Lowe home suffered may have been unknown,the indictment against Aaron Thompson reveals a pattern of abuse that was not kept secret.

The [Lowe's]sister told a therapist that Lowe and Thompson punished Aarone for "peeing" by putting her in a coat closet. It goes on to explain that sometimes it would be part of the day, other times it would be part of the day and all through the night. The sister also remembered the last time she saw her sister, saying she was in the closet and was going to be there all night as punishment for "peeing."

Aarone's bed-wetting is also detailed in the indictment as it was Lowe's responsibility to clean her. Aarone's older sister explained that she heard Thompson giving Aarone a "whoopin'" in the middle of the night. Another sister also said Aarone got "whooped" with a belt by Thompson for "peeing" in the closet.

In two paragraphs there are three adults who have been made aware of this child's circumstances, including a therapist who ought to recognize the signs of abuse and should know what avenues to take for reporting it. In addition, the indictment goes on to report that Aarone's grandmother stated that she had never met the child and never seen any pictures. During the course of the police investigation it came to light that there were no credible reports of anyone having seen Aarone for 18 months prior to the time that Thompson reported his child missing.

So many times when any kind of domestic abuse culminates in murder, friends and family will report things that were said or done that they just didn't take seriously. Sometimes they legitimately think there is nothing to worry about, but all too often people do not intervene because they don't want to get involved in "someone else's business" and end up looking foolish.

Family violence is not a private matter. It is a blight on our community and there needs to be a visible public stance that it will not be tolerated.

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