TRIGGER WARNING: descriptions of murder and filicide.
A couple are married for six years. Things are good at first, but the wife gets into an accident and has long term injuries that stop her from being able to work. She is still quite happy with her situation and does her best around the house. Still, they struggle a bit and even though the wife feels she is contributing in her own way, the husband starts to see her as a burden.
He tries to access local rehabilitation services, but there are long waiting lists. By the time they are offered, the wife doesn't want to go. She doesn't feel she needs them and is happy enough. She doesn't understand why her husband can't accept her as she is and is always trying to find new treatments to change her.
The husband is unable to force her or control her and becomes more and more annoyed with the situation. Rather than look for help or counselling for himself, he continues to try and change her. She is the one with the injury! She is the problem! He feels like all his money and time goes into caring for her and she does nothing to repay him.
He decides the best course of action is to kill her. She won't cooperate with what he wants and it's better to take her out of her misery. If he can't love her, surely no one else can!
So one night he suffocates her in her sleep. That was the nice thing to do. He is a little disturbed with himself, so he takes a bunch of pills, half-heartedly trying to kill himself. He ends up just throwing up and calling 911 to admit what he's done.
The news reports show happy pictures of the couple from before she was injured. They show recent pictures of her, injured, but with a broad smile, full of life. The reports paint the husband as an evil man, a sick man without compassion. Neighbours say they never expected such a callous thing to happen in their town. They knew the wife struggled, but she was a sweet woman nevertheless and everyone loved her smile. The citizens rally for justice for her. They want the husband to rot in jail. No mercy for him!
The husband is eventually tried and gets a life sentence.
The fictional story above is too often a reality for some families. The only difference is instead of a husband, it's a mother. Instead of a injured wife, it's an autistic child. And instead of citizens demanding justice, they feel sympathy. The apologise for the mother's actions. They make excuses for her behaviour and they ask why more services weren't offered to her to help her cope with her burden. They forget about the child - the innocent child - or paint them as needy, uncooperative, irredeemable. They spend an inordinate amount of time looking into the history and finding every moment the child may have become frustrated or lashed out. "Once he punched his mother," they say. "There was no fixing him." So what's a mother to do? Kill him, of course!
And services. If we only had more services then innocent, caring mothers would never have to kill their own offspring! Yes, SERVICES. If we had more of them - more places to hide our imperfect children away when we adults lack coping skills - then that would stop normal healthy mothers from killing their burdensome children.
All over the world, every day, people struggle. People fall on hard times. They lose their jobs, they lose their homes, they go to bed hungry. Sometimes their kids behave badly. Sometimes their children hurt them. Despite all that, they don't. commit. murder.
In the rare times they do, we don't turn around and say, "well, geez, if only someone had given them a new car or an extra food stamp that day, then maybe they wouldn't have killed someone!"
"You certainly can't blame him for committing murder, I mean the guy had just received a bad review at work the day before! Where were the services to help him?"
You can accuse me of black and white thinking, I really don't care. You can accuse me of not having a child horrible enough for me to understand. Go ahead. I say a healthy person doesn't consider their child horrible. A healthy person doesn't solve problems with murder.
A healthy adult walks away and gets help for themselves. A healthy adult takes responsibility for their own actions. A healthy and loving parent gives the child someone else, for a time or permanently, so that the child has the opportunity to grow and be loved by others.
I want you to know there are always other options. I want you to know you can show up on my doorstep, any time, day or night, with your child and I will not ask any questions. I will take them in, and I know plenty of other good people who would, too. PLEASE don't hurt or kill your child. They deserve more than that. They deserve life, whether you believe so or not.