With the recent developments in the Daybell/Vallow case, including Lori Vallow’s extradition to Idaho, the biggest concern involves the location of her two missing children.
News and media reported multiple accounts of family members and friends asking her to present the children and bring them home. As rumors have circulated, many students at BYU-Idaho have expressed concern for the children and interest in Vallow’s trial.
Talking with multiple friends and classmates revealed one core point: concern for the safety of the children.
We at Scroll believe in standing up and speaking out on behalf of children and all others who can’t defend themselves.
The Daybell case has become more prominent because of the small area where we are located. In most cases, we don’t expect child endangerment in the heart of a predominantly Latter-day Saint community like Rexburg. We try to see the best in people, and sometimes that desire hides, from our sight, the worst in others. Only when it blows up do we finally realize how serious the matter is.
Abuse and neglect continue to rise and as bystanders, we feel horror every time we hear of the victims that are hurt daily.
According to DoSomething.org, more than four children die every day in the United States due to abuse and neglect. There are over 2.9 million cases of child abuse, some by family members, reported every year, and children that have experienced abuse are more likely to have psychological disorders and be arrested as a juvenile.
These are only statistics for children experiencing abuse; imagine factoring in data concerning defenseless men and women of all ages around the world.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that “24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year.”
If we feel intense worry for two missing children, how can we not feel concern for those experiencing abuse in circles close to us?
We empathize and follow news stories, but I would say sometimes we are not prepared to recognize how close to us these situations can be.
Even though we might not have the perfect answers or the knowledge that allows us to act on situations, we can still understand the issues around us. Multiple websites and hotlines, including the National Domestic Violence hotline, provide training and materials that give information on how to recognize abuse and what to do when it becomes a concern.
We consider children as the most defenseless because they rely on their parents and/or guardians for support, love and the necessities required in life. This needs to extend to people of all ages currently suffering from abuse in other situations.
Becoming involved and recognizing signs of abuse does not mean being nosy; it means to be concerned for the welfare of others. We don’t need to address abuse as an active attack on a person’s character; rather, it should be prompted by the concern for the victim.
All of us have a role to play in learning to address and help others in these situations. Speaking out could mean making a report to the proper authorities; it could mean addressing the abuser directly if the situation demands, or it could mean lending support and encouragement to a victim.
If we make the decision to speak out and not let the suffering of others go unnoticed, we can and will be prepared to address different situations that we are placed in.
This might not be a concern we have right now or something that we have experienced before, but making the decision to stand up for those who can’t will never lead to regret. Preparing ourselves for future situations, whether we stay in Rexburg or move somewhere else around the world, can affect the well-being of others, one person at a time.