July 13, 2021 – Dodge Co., WI – I have been prosecuting criminal cases for nearly 20 years. Day in and day out I have been confronted with the horrible things people do to one another. After a while it can be easy to view the world as bleak and lacking in hope and beauty. However, there are days when something happens to remind you there is hope, beauty and most importantly love in the world. Today was one of those days.
Detective Vickie Brugger of the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office, called us today and informed us she was on her way over with a “survivor,” who had made some care packages for other kids who have to go through abuse investigations.
Moments later a young person, in their early teens who had been subjected to abuse, arrived with dozens of bags filled with items of interest to kids. Each bag had some toys, writing material, a blanket and attached tag that said “you are strong, you are brave, you are a survivor.”
This young person explained that when they were interviewed in relation to their case, they were very scared, but comforted because they remembered to bring their ‘blankie’ with them. The bags they brought were filled with things this person said made them feel better and more at ease as they went through the investigation. This teen told us they wanted other kids who had to tell their stories to the police to have these things so those kids would feel more comfortable.
The teen’s mother went on to explain that this child had started a GoFundMe page to raise the money to purchase the items for these care packages. Then the teen constructed each package so a child in a future investigation could have the items, in the hopes the items would make them feel more comfortable during the investigation. The extra funds are being donated to groups that help abused children. I was speechless.
Our Office houses a forensic interview room where children who have been subjected to physical and sexual abuse, as well as children who have witnessed crimes, are brought to be interviewed.
The interviews are recorded and conducted in a scientifically-validated process proven to obtain the most reliable information, even from very, very young children.
I have witnessed these interviews, and listened to very scared and traumatized children describe unspeakable acts committed against them and others. These kids come to us filled with anxiety and fear, often still showing the physical and mental scars from what has happened to them.
We try to make them comfortable, but we can only do so much. Today this young survivor’s act of love for kids who have to go through what they went through has reminded me that hope, beauty and love are all very much alive in our world.
To our anonymous child partner – thank you, you have made a difference not just in the lives of some abused children, but also in the lives of those of us who have to do this work. We are eternally grateful.