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Smacking – Part 3.

January 25, 2012

Slight delay in this post as I have had the most horrendous toothache for a few days. It started at New Year and then on Sunday night it was so bad I honestly would have rather taken pill after pill than continue to go through it. Luckily my mum was on the end of the phone and talked me through it.. I don’t even know how to describe it.

Way worse than having babies. Way.

Anyway – smacking story – there is a reason for this story – I do really want to help other people and there are some facts and details in the way that we dealt with this that I would never have known save for the help of my very good friend, C.

We arrived at the children’s Ward anyway – probably around 6.30 or just before. Kit would normally have been having milk around this time and he was grumpy and clingy to me. Obviously wondering what on earth was going on.

There were several ‘worse things’ about this day and I can’t keep saying ‘one of the worse things’ as it doesn’t quite get across how awful so much of this was. When we arrived at the Children’s ward we were let in and basically all the nurses acknowledged Dave and Anna by name. This didn’t really register with me until much later on in the evening when it suddenly dawned on me that everyone … everyone in that ward knew why we were there. We were suspected of abusing our children. The knew Dave – he was an officer for Children’s Police Protection Unit and they knew Anna – a Social Worker from Children’s Services. And they all said hello like they all knew each other. I cringe when I think of the minutes of discussion – they don’t look like the type, or worse, they do look like the type, which child? All of them?

Gossip gossip….

Dave explained once we were in a room that the next step would be a Paediatrician would come and examine Ella’s finger and would also want to look at Kit seeing as Rowan had described the morning with his grump over the mobile phone.

We weren’t quite prepared for what followed though. Anna was clearly watching us – I felt very watched. My every interaction with the children was being observed. Kit was clambering over everything. Standing on the bed, shaking the metal frame, throwing himself around and generally having a whale of a time. Luckily we had some snack biscuits for him in his bag and he was munching on those one after the other. Ella and Rowan were showing off as they are likely to do when faced with adults who are watching their every move and interested in every single word they have to say…

The Paediatrician explained that he had to x-ray Ella’s finger and check for a break and it was kindly explained to me that if Ella’s finger was broken then I would be charged with ABH against my child. A lot of the time now events in my memory are jumbled of this evening. There were times I was in the room with all the family and then there were times where I was next door either alone and talking to Dave and Anna or just Dave. Sometimes BN was with me and sometimes not. I pretty much sobbed my way through the evening when not in front of the girls. I didn’t cry in front of them at all.

Ella’s finger was not broken – as we knew and then the Dr explained that he needed to examine them. Whilst we watched and helped a little a Dr examined Ella from head to toe. including removing her underwear and examining her genitals for signs of abuse. He held an A4 piece of paper where he recorded every single abrasion or mark, cut, scrape or bruise on her body as if I was watching some kind of TV program. To be honest she basically had nothing on her. She had a scraped knee and he asked her how it happened and she said she’d fallen at school. He marked the injured finger and that was it. I kept jolly throughout reassuring her. Ella giggled her way through the whole thing. Her little nervous laugh when she’s not quite sure what’s going on. She does the same thing when she’s in trouble but when she’s not sure quite how much trouble she’s in. Rowan got very unsure at this point. She was in a plastic hospital chair up against the wall and when the Dr started to examine Ella’s bottom, Rowan said ‘I don’t like this anymore, I want to go home.’

My heart absolutely broke for her.. I saw a sudden flicker across her face of ‘what on earth is going on here that I don’t know about…?’

We reassured her quickly that the Dr was just looking at Ella to make sure she was well after she got hurt and Rowan, bright spark as always, said – Ella hurt her finger, why is he looking at her bottom?

What could we say? I just said it was fine and that we’d be going home soon … I remember digging my nails into my hand to stop me from crying.

He then looked at Kit – the Dr I have to say was just lovely. He was an older Indian man and he quietly glanced sideways at BN and I and said he was not concerned in the least – he even said he would expect to see far more marks on kids of their ages just from life in general. He told us not to worry.

Would have been nice not to have to.

Kit was amenable thankfully – he was also stripped naked, nappy off, bottom examined, penis, every inch of his body scrutinised and appraised. I wanted to shout at everyone to just get away from them. Stop touching my babies and STOP IT RIGHT NOW!

But you can’t. You have to let them. And it killed me.

I can’t ever forgive the people that made that happen. Ever.

After this I was taken into a separate room. Kit fell asleep in BN’s arms as we sat and listened to Dave explain what would happen next. I was to be questioned under caution the following day at the Police Station. I didn’t understand at first. When Dave said he wanted to talk to me, I thought he meant that he would be coming round to the house. I asked what time – he was kind it has to be said… he was very gentle with my feelings – probably worried I was going to go into premature labour or collapse. I was so distressed. Sobbing with no tears left.

He wanted my version of events. My side of the story. My chance to explain why all of this was so very wrong. Except of course that isn’t what he wanted. He wanted my version of events to see if I needed to be charged with a crime. Punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

I mean really? The reality of this still hasn’t really dawned on me.

I was asked to attend the station the next day and if I wanted a solicitor which I declined. After this, Anna asked me to sign a voluntary request not to be left alone with my own children. I didn’t even really get it. We asked questions. I wanted clarification of how far this went… how does BN go to the toilet? I do bathtime every night upstairs by myself while BN cleans, tidies, hoovers and gets bedtime drinks ready – is that allowed?

They said just to use common sense. BN had to be within earshot of me with the children. He couldn’t go out and leave me with them. He couldn’t go to the shop. Or to work. I wasn’t allowed to be alone with my own kids. Anna feared for their safety. Until she knew not to.

Around 7.30, the girls were given a couple of slices of toast each by a nurse. They were waning in their enthusiasm for the situation although credit to them they were never naughty, they were bored. But I think by this point they were aware that perhaps there was something else going on that maybe they didn’t understand. I certainly think Rowan had an idea. Although she wouldn’t have known what.

We were released. We called a cab. We got home. We gave the girls cereal, we gave Kit some milk and put him to bed. We sat. We stared. I cried. BN made phone calls to the people we had called. I stared. And cried. Great wrenching sobs. Small tearless weeps.

I sat like that in a daze really – till around 1am when I felt I could sleep. I was awake by 3am and I just lay there looking at the ceiling, weeping, thinking, imagining all of the bad things to come. BN woke up and put his arms around me and I just lay there. And I felt very alone.

I think even in the position I’m in – a very strong, loving, trusting relationship – I felt very alone. I wasn’t prepared for that at all.

It’s one thing having your family examined – it’s another thing being the reason that it’s all happening.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. Tilly permalink
    January 25, 2012 1:54 pm

    The last time K was in hospital, with suspected pneumonia, we had to strip him off. One of the docs noticed that he had ‘excessive bruising’ on his shins and called a nurse over to take notes. I explained that he is in a football team,and had karate three times a week, but they wanted to check for more bruises ‘particularly on his upper arms because that would show that someone had forcibly held him while kicking him’. Or, that he’s a six year old boy who plays sports and is a clumsy bugger. What peed me off the most was that they said this in front of K and my mother in law too, and that the nurse was staring at me hatchet faced. I did manage to stay calm, it didn’t go any further, but I wanted to scteam at them: do you know what six year old boys are like?! I can only imagine how distresses you all must have been.

  2. January 26, 2012 2:59 pm

    That’s awful – they also said to us at the time that they were looking for bruises on the upper arms and legs – a sign of concealed abuse. Just horrendous 😦

  3. mumof4 permalink
    January 29, 2012 5:30 am

    I feel such anger for you even just reading what you had to go through.

  4. February 13, 2013 10:51 pm

    Those that know me well know that my house is reasonably tidy and reasonably clean. I don’t dust every 5 minutes. I do not have OCD. Kids clothes are clean, beds are clean, kitchen and bathroom and clean but do I dust skirting boards religiously? Erm no.

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