This week’s post is going to be different and much of it will be in someone else’s words. Last week, 20/20 aired a two-hour special on the Turpin child abuse case. This case hits close to home because this is the field I work in. I help run a child abuse clinic and I work alongside clinicians (paediatricians, nurse practitioners, psychologists and social workers) who play a huge part in speaking for children who cannot speak for themselves. I’m passionate about where I work and the population we serve because these little patients deserve responsible adults to act in their best interest when so many others have failed them.
In her interview, Diane Sawyer sat down with two of the Turpin daughters, Jennifer and Jordan. Jennifer is the eldest of the thirteen siblings and Jordan is the hero who courageously escaped the only place she knew as ‘home’ in order to get help for her ailing siblings (some of which were on death’s door). My husband and I watched in absolute horror as the girls recounted, in painful detail, their years of horrific abuse and cruelty at the hands of the people who were supposed to love them infinitely. I won’t retell their story here as this case has been widely featured on all the major media networks already and accessible for all to search.
What I wanted to share and one of the major take-aways from this, for me, were the words of Jennifer Turpin’s classmate. Her last year of attendance in school was grade three and her classmate at the time was Taha Muntajibuddin. When he (along with the world) learned about what eventually became of his former classmate’s life, he publicly posted a profound call-to-action on Facebook. I am inspired to share his heartfelt letter and I think it should be read by everyone. Below is an excerpt:
Reading Taha Muntajibuddin’s words, I can’t help but believe this all starts at home: the teaching of kindness and compassion, of awareness and understanding. Every child deserves to grow up in a safe, caring, and loving household where healthy meals await, warm baths are drawn, and a great bedtime story tops off the end of a jubilant day. This is where children should be taught about privilege and the power of friendship. You simply never know what someone else is going through. Be kind.