MEMPHIS, Tenn. — According to a new federal study, children living with their mother and her boyfriend are 11 times more likely to be sexually, physically or emotionally abused than children living with married or biological parents.
In the wake of the death of a 4-year-old Texas girl whose remains were identified in Arkansas on Monday, those facts are sparking some critical conversations about who is allowed to watch over kids.
“I just want to find Maleah. I just want to find Maleah.” That was 4-year-old Maleah Davis’ mother before receiving the crushing news that her daughter had been killed. Police say it happened at the hands of her ex-boyfriend while she was out of town.
The case is filling national headlines and is sparking discussion.
One media outlet in Chicago issued a message to moms, “Your boyfriend is not your babysitter. Watch your own kids.”
The article listed many reasons for the headline, including the man your boyfriend is when he’s with you may not be the man he is when he’s with your child. The article also says some men may envy the attention you give your child and could secretly compete with them.
Len Edwards, the executive director of the Commission On Missing and Exploited Children, works to promote child safety. His philosophy is to inspect what you expect.
“It’s much more difficult to raise a child by yourself than it is with a two-party household. Because of the stressors that are involved, the economic stress, the relationship stress.”
“Children will lie to get out of trouble. They often will not lie to get into trouble. So if your child says he’s being or she’s being touched inappropriately, you need to inspect. You need to find out what’s going on, because, children, they know the restrictions being placed on them will be much greater if they tell,” Edwards said.