When we hear about the legal troubles that people face, we often fail to realize that even convicted criminals have pasts that somehow brought them to their current situations in life. A recent Colorado domestic violence case emphasizes how someone who might be seen as a criminal today could actually be a victim at the same time.
According to The Gazette, a 19-year-old mother who is now charged with attempting to kill her child is involved in more than this recent child abuse case. She is also reportedly a victim of sexual assault on a child and reported the alleged abuse to authorities only a few years ago.
Why are sources revealing this tragic detail about the young mother?
Reports suggest that the domestic violence suspect's history as a victim of abuse could possibly help her in court. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that about one-third of abused children become abusers in adulthood, likely due to what abuse did to their mental health.
The young mother is accused of doing nothing when her aunt bound, gagged and placed her daughter under cold water, nearly drowning her. But mental health professionals stress that the mother ignoring such actions wouldn't be a surprising reaction if she truly is a former child abuse victim.
As part of likely post-traumatic stress resulting from the former sexual abuse, the defendant's natural response to a situation that reminds her of her past would be to disconnect from it as a means of avoiding childhood memories. It is possible that her defense attorney will address the defendant's past because of this theory and how it speaks to the mother's compromised mental state.
The next hearing in this Colorado case is scheduled for May 6. We will follow the case and post updates when they are available.
The Gazette: "Mother charged in daughter's near drowning allegedly raped by stepfather," Lance Benzel, 18 Apr. 2011