She was a shy, quiet girl. Her classmates didn’t know so much about her, because she didn’t like to talk about herself. Her neighbors didn’t know her well, too. If they greeted her, she mostly didn’t greet back. It was not because she wanted to ignore them or to be rude. She was just scared.
Her name was Jeanette Marie Maples. She loved to read and she loved school. Actually, she was two times awarded for perfect attendance. But then, one day, she stopped coming to school. Her mother decided Jeanette would be homeschooled.
*the rest of this post can be strongly triggering and disturbing, so if you feel such content can upset you or trigger your own memories or trauma, maybe you would consider not to continue reading*
Jeanette was not allowed to talk to her siblings or invite her friends to her house. Her mother often forced her to stand facing the wall with her arms up for hours. If she dropped her arms, she would get another beating.
She was beaten regularly and forced to sleep on cardboard only like a wild animal so she wouldn’t leave blood all over the carpet. Her mother also denied Jeanette food and water.
When she died, her body was starved and dehydrated. Her lips were maimed from being beat over a long period of time. Her face was disfigured and her head in bandages. On her hip, she had a large area of skin that had been torn away and you could see the bone.
There are many news and websites articles about Jeanette’s torture and death, and I don’t want to repeat what had been already said, so here are some resources:
Jeanette’s story is very sad and harrowing. She is one of the many victims of child abuse whose parental or guardian “love” cost them their lives.
Suffering and death of these innocent children can be prevented. We should not stay silent if we observe some child in our school, neighborhood, or anywhere else is being abused physically, mentally, or sexually. Children cannot defend themselves against adults. Most often they are so paralyzed by fear that they can’t do anything to help themselves. It’s up to us, adults, to be observant and brave enough to speak up.