What’s the size of a little girl’s nose? Probably no bigger than a nickel. What do we see in a little girl’s eyes? Big pools of innocence and questions. Then why would someone take that little girl and kill her? What we do see in an innocent five year old child eyes is unmistakable. It’s the trust he or she has in knowing that we as adults will keep them safe. Then why would someone take a child and punish that child to the very brink of death? In graphic detail, the life of Ursula Assaid ends. This little five-year old was tortured to death by her mother’s boyfriend.

And as crazy as it seems, there were people who knew about it, had an inkling about it and even witnessed it; yet no one did a damn thing to stop it. This paper is going to give an idea of what we can learn from this sad event. This paper is going to give an idea of just how many of these children exist today. There are lessons to be learned from this little girl’s death. Lesson one is to realize that she is not alone in this. If we think that there are only a handful of children in violent situations in this country, we are so totally wrong. There are millions of abused children around the world and not only through physical abuse.

Mental abuse can be just as devastating because it can change the personality of the child in a most negative way forever. Lesson two is that we must keep our eyes opened to this kind of treatment. Basic instincts tell us that we are all too quick to turn our heads in the other direction so that we don’t get involved. This child was mutilated, hit, kicked and denied food and water. That’s only half of it. Yet, the mother stood by and did nothing, and that’s probably the grievous of sins. So it wasn’t only the killer, but neighbors, teachers and visitors who actually saw this abused child.

They are the people who contribute to the accountability for not stopping him from hurting her. How far, in any other instance, would they allow this to go on? Fifty five hours is extensive. Imagine how many children are out there that are continually being beaten and still no one adult can save them. So, Ursula isn’t the only child to be abandoned by adults. There were neighbors who did nothing. People who knew about it and witnessed it…did nothing. Why? They didn’t want to get involved. They didn’t want to put themselves out because it was just too much trouble. Let someone else handle it.

What could be so emotionally draining than to hear about an innocent child who died at the hands of the one who was supposed to be protecting him? What does this child think of as he or she is being abused, wondering who it is that is going to save him? What kind of mother allows a man, husband or boyfriend, to touch her child or reprimand her child in a violent way? This woman, Susan Assaid, stood by while her boyfriend used what was his interpretation of discipline on her child. He received thirty-five years and she received fifteen years. Wasn’t she just as guilty as he was?

For fifty five hours this mother stood and watched her child being deprived of food and water. She stood by and watched this child eat soap and then, she allowed her child to be dumped like a piece of garbage in a retention pond. She was just as guilty, yet, she lives a free woman somewhere in California. Donald McDougall was killed in prison by another inmate. But, she is now free and if she is so weak as to have a man run her life in a most negative way, as she did before, then hopefully she will not bear another child.

According to the Office of the Attorney General with the cooperation of Texas CASA, Inc. , in the year 2005 in Texas alone, there were fifty thousand children named as victims of child abuse. Reporting this kind of crime must ultimately be enforced. The very process of bringing an abused or neglected child to the attention of appropriate authorities is vital, and at best, it may prevent an abused child from suffering further harm. But, it is late intervention. We should learn that at the first sign of abuse, no matter how silly we feel if it is dismissed, we realize that it could be one of those incidences where an abuse is actually taking place.

This is not to say that every time we see a mother or dad spanking a child or yelling at them that they should be reported. I believe we know just by looking and listening if this is an ongoing event. If so, if your gut feeling tells you so, it must be reported to the proper authorities, even if you wish to do it anonymously, but it has to be done! It would be so much better to be embarrassed from making a mistake than watching a child’s funeral on the news. There’s a reason why we turn our heads to child abuse.

Many of us won’t watch a story about it on television or read an article about it because it hurts. We certainly don’t want to see the child’s face because it would just simply kill us, wouldn’t it? But, it’s really guilt we are feeling. Why haven’t we done something about it? How could a country full of adults, military people and law enforcement people not have been able to save that child? That’s when we have to ask….. why that child was born. What lesson did he or she serve? There’s only one answer, and it’s on us….