A Florida woman, Scarlett Ruiz, was jailed when she “failed to report” the fact that her boyfriend punched her daughter in the stomach. But are we getting the whole story here?
There are multiple reasons she may have failed to report:
1. The boyfriend threatened her that if she reported he’d harm her.
2. The boyfriend threatened her that if she reported he’d harm her kids.
3. She thought the police wouldn’t believe her.
4. She thought the police wouldn’t be able to help her or that he wouldn’t be able to convicted.
5. She was traumatized and couldn’t do anything.
6. She was planning to tell but wanted to do it in the right manner at the right time.
She was criticized for not telling the hospital what happened when she took her daughter in (which, by the way, contradicts the claim that she “did nothing” after the girl was hurt; why would she take her to the hospital at all if she didn’t care or was abusive, and risk having someone find out?)
But suppose she feared the hospital would do just what the police did when it finally came to light…and punish her, thereby separating her from her children? (And what about the officers? Did they also “fail to protect” by not magically knowing a child was being abused out there? Or is this level of illogic only allowed in the service of woman-blaming?)
Common sense can easily show us all the other reasons- other than being “a bad mother”- that she didn’t report the beating, but, shockingly, police and law courts don’t usually have common sense, especially when nonwhite women are involved.
Keep this post in mind, too: