An Arkansas mother and her boyfriend are behind bars, facing charges of abuse after the woman’s four-year-old daughter was found with bruises and scars, according to The Root.
The toddler was clearly a victim of long-term abuse because police said that when they asked the little girl her name, she told them it was “idiot.”
The mother’s live-in boyfriend apparently referred to the impressionable child as “idiot” so often that she really began to think it was her name. He also reportedly zip-tied her to her bed as a form of punishment.
The police found the girl after responding to a call from the Cooper-Anthony Mercy Child Advocacy Center where one of the staff members reported a malnourished toddler who was being abused at home.
The girl reportedly had deep purple bruises, a black eye, swollen cheek, a mark on her forehead, and scars that had begun healing on her back. She also had marks on her wrist from being tied down.
The girl’s mother— 30-year-old Jennifer Denen — and her boyfriend Clarence Reed, 47, have been charged with domestic battery, permitting abuse of a minor, and endangering the welfare of a minor.
Denen admitted that she had witnessed Reed hit her daughter with a plastic bat and attested to the fact that he regularly called her “idiot.” Making matters worse, she confessed that she had never sought medical treatment for the child.
Reed even admitted to the abuse he inflicted on the girl, claiming he called her idiot as a joke and trying to justify zip-tying her by arguing it was punishment for climbing the kitchen cabinets.
Denen actually has a total of six children who lived in the home with her and Reed. The couple has only one child, an 11-month-old, together.
The four-year-old and 11-month-old are now in the care of the Arkansas Department of Human Services and the other four children are with their biological father.
The child’s treatment is beyond disgusting. Words can hardly describe the outrage this situation incites, although, the sad reality is that child abuse is a common crime.
A California mother and her boyfriend were also recently arrested for leaving her three young children barefoot in a hot desert without water as a form of “punishment.”
It is extremely likely that the four-year-old wasn’t the only one of Denen’s children to experience abuse inflicted by their mother or Reed. The Child Advocacy Center employee who called the police may not even realize how his or her actions impacted these kids’ lives; they probably were thinking it was all in a day’s work.
What makes stories like these so heartbreaking is that there are couples in this world who would give everything for an opportunity to be parents and love and cherish their children, but they can’t physically have them.
Yet, there are people like Denen and Reed who have no trouble reproducing, but don’t deserve to be parents.
Banner Photo Credit: Garland County Sheriff's Office