By CHRIS GEORGE / Guest Columnist
To say that my mom was a wanderer would be an understatement, but that often came with a price. My mom was once dating a guy and they were living at a motel in north Birmingham and I was there to visit one weekend.
Even though it was a dump, Nanny felt it was important for me to be with my mom. As I look back, I often wonder if it was less about growing closer to my mom or Nanny showing me how life can be if I choose. As always, there was lots of drinking, cursing, and yelling.
There wasn’t anywhere to go in the one room motel so I was right there when mom’s boyfriend decided to back hand her. Mom recovered with blood coming out of her nose and she went outside. I thought she had left, but mom was a fighter. She returned with a fence post, told me to get out of the way and clubbed that man in the head knocking him out cold.
I thought she had killed him, but he awoke the next morning with no recollection of how he got the knot on his head and I wasn’t about to tell.
I share my stories for the purpose of showing others they’re not alone, different, or forgotten. There are many people within our county that pay daily just to get by. It’s not just in the trailer parks, but it’s behind the castle doors in our million-dollar homes.
Abuse can be physical or mental, and as the daily rates are being paid, they take a toll on everyone. Abuse leads to mothers worrying about their daughters, fathers spending money to treat their children and employers losing productivity due to sick time taken because the employee has a black eye or is not allowed to leave the house until her chores are done.
What we must do as a society is have compassion and understanding for those in these relationships. Telling them that they just need to leave is not a coping strategy or an out; it’s usually not even an option. Subtle reminders that there are places within our county that are there to help can be a start.
One such place nestled in Columbiana in the Shelby County Child Advocacy Center, commonly known as Owens House. I proudly serve on this board, and my profession has allowed me to see hundreds of families escorted through some very difficult times. April is Child Abuse Prevention month.
For us, it is a month to recognize those that that can help abuse victims, but for those victims, it is a price they pay daily.
Chris George is the deputy sheriff of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.