Last week I was reading a post written by Tricia at Shout. After reading an Associated Press article about Raymond Daniel Thurmond, a Georgia man who was charged with holding his wife and four children captive in squalor for three years inside their mobile home, she posed a question to her readers.
Do we ignore our neighbors too much?
Her readers had much to say. Many were sickened and couldn't understand how this could go on for three years and not ONE neighbor noticed anything suspicious. Some believed that due to privacy issues, neighbors just don't want help. And others believed that we just do not have a sense of community these days. We no longer look after one another. The Village no longer helps raise the child.
This struck a deep chord with me.
There has always been abuse and neglect. That has never been different. We are just more exposed to these horrible stories because of our access to so many forms of media. We hear about it more often than we did years ago.
Now, that being said, I do agree that communities did exist that stood watch over one another. I believe those communities still exist in some places.
What I also believe is that there are many who, in the past and present, turned a blind eye toward unpleasant situations that did not directly concern them. People are afraid to get involved. They tell themselves that if they ignore it, it will go away. It won't be real.
What can they do anyway?
I grew up in a very abusive household. My father was an alcoholic. He was abusive in many ways to my mother. To my siblings. To me.
My father's family lived all around us. Literally. His parents, my grandparents, lived next door to us on the right. His aunt, uncle, and cousins lived in the other half of our house, a duplex, to the left.
The walls were not concrete. The sounds, I'm sure, carried. The yelling, the crying, the anger.
No one came. No one stopped him. No one protected the children. No ONE.