There are times when you hear or read about something that touches you so deeply, you have to speak up about it. I had come across a story about a young girl named Gizzell Ford that was abused and eventually killed at the hands of the very people who should have loved and protected her. Gizzell was abused on a regular basis by her grandmother and father.
The most heartbreaking thing about reading this story is Gizzell’s words. As most young girls do, she wrote in her diary. She would write about things that made her happy and how she was being abused on the regular basis. Even with all the abuse, Gizzell had to endure, she still seemed happy and outgoing. She was looking forward to the upcoming school year so that she could just be an 8-year-old kid.
In Her Own Words
Gizzell writes, “I know if I be good and do everything I’m told I won’t have to do punishments.”
She goes on to describe the horrific things should have to do as punishment. She even had entries leading up to her death. Those entries are the most heartbreaking and haunting to read.
Gizzell goes on to write “I am going to be a beautiful smart and good young lady.” “I can do anything I put my smart mind to. People say I’m smart and courageous and beautiful.”
“I hope that I don’t mess up today because I really want to be able to just sit down, watch T.V., talk and play with everybody.” “I am going to be great all day.”
Sadly, she writes, “Not true.” “I failed.”
I hate this life because now I’m in super big trouble.”
These were Gizzell’s last entries in her diary. Her dead body was found in the apartment where she lived the following day. She had been strangled and severely beaten.
Unfortunately, Gizzell’s story is not unique. There is a report of child abuse made every ten seconds. A recent study found that a total of 1,580 children died from abuse or neglect. That is an estimated four to five children a day dying due to abuse or neglect. As large as that number may seem to you, many researchers believe that child death due to abuse and neglect are still drastically under-reported.
Unfortunately, the people who should have protected Gizzell failed her miserably. During an investigation, several months earlier, a doctor did not notify the Department of Child and Family Services abuse hotline that there were signs of abuse found on the child’s body. The truth is, it doesn’t matter that the doctor did not report what he had found. If the authorities would have followed up and taken the time to review the doctor’s report, Gizzell could be alive today. If the people whose job it is to ensure a child’s safety do not care enough to take the necessary steps to protect a child, how do we to expect the public to speak up when they see signs of abuse? Too many children are losing their lives at the hands of a parent or caregiver. It is up to us as adults to make sure not another young life is not taken due to abuse.
The only reason why child abuse is alive today, is because we as adults fail our children when we fail to listen to them. Listen to a child today! ~Heather Mc Clane