By K. Hecht, A. Hosack, & P. Berman
Claire is doing well at school with the help of Mr. And Mrs. Carson’s babysitting. She has really been getting along well with Davy’s Head Start teacher. The teacher doesn’t judge Claire for being in foster care, though Claire is sure this is what makes the neighbors laugh when she walks out in the neighborhood with Davy. This teacher is different. She never laughs at her and answers all her questions; Claire feels she is finally understanding four-year-old Davy.
Larry’s thoughts about Claire and Davy aren’t taking this happy turn. Larry is furious with Claire, and his life began going down the moment he tried to forgive her and took her out to dinner. She should have been more grateful. She had even sent her stupid foster parent after him.
I can’t believe this! How could she do this to me!
Larry drove away as fast as his car could accelerate to get away from Mr. Carson. When he dropped her off, Claire’s face had just begun to swell. Claire had deserved what she got, but he couldn’t count on someone who would be a foster parent to recognize that. His anger was still boiling hot as he opened his front door. He needed to chill out so he would be ready for work. He knocked off a few beers and watched TV; the game he was watching had put Claire’s ugly behavior out of his mind.
When the police knocked at his door, he peeked out the window and saw the car. He panicked and hid in the dark on the floor until they left. This choice turned out to be a mistake because they went right to the bar where he worked. His boss was furious when the police showed up, as they emptied out the bar just by walking in. When Larry showed up later for his shift, his boss demanded an explanation. Larry lied and said the police were probably going to arrest him for not paying his parking tickets. His boss said to get to the police station and pay up; police were bad for business.
Claire cried all night after signing the complaint the police brought her. Mrs. Carson noticed her swollen face in the morning and made her a special breakfast. Even the blueberry pancakes only brought a small smile to Claire’s face. Yes, Larry had punched her, but still she loves him; he is Davy’s father. Claire went through tremendous emotional upheaval deciding what to do.
It isn’t easy to press charges against someone you have deep feelings for, even when they have really hurt you. Claire is fortunate that she had the support of the Carsons as she talked to the police about what happened. She slowly came to the decision; she had to sign the complaint.
Larry didn’t go home thinking he had assaulted Claire. He felt he had acted like any man would when his woman was mistreating him. Larry was furious with Claire for taking Davy’s side against him. Many women had let Larry know they found him attractive. But he had waited for Claire to learn her lesson, had saved money to take her out to demonstrate he forgave her, and what had she done? She had talked about her brat instead of just listening to what he had to say. She had even sent her stupid foster parent after him.
If people throughout our communities learned to recognize the warning signs of dating violence and intimate partner abuse, they could be like the Carsons and help victims take the steps they needed to protect themselves. Consider taking time to educate yourself on some of the common signs of dating violence/intimate partner abuse. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/domestic-violence-and-abuse.htm