On January 12, 2016, Sen. Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis) released a shocking chronology of child abuse reports made against Oregon foster care provider Give Us This Day. The chronology details widespread abuse, including neglect, physical violence, sexual assault, and rape. More importantly, however, this chronology represents a stark visual demonstrative of a chain of victims’ reports echoing into vast silence. In forty pages, this chronology illustrates the damaging ambivalence of an organization that failed to address a rampant epidemic of abuse against some of the society’s most vulnerable children.
It has previously been reported that Give Us This Day had engaged in years of abuse and financial misdeeds. While the recent misdeeds and tax evasion has been thoroughly reported by the Willamette Week, this new chronology reveals that Oregon Department of Human Services has been turning a blind eye to the abuses at Give Us This Day for over a decade.
The chronology repeatedly identifies instances of abuse followed by a note that no investigation occurred or was pending. This is especially disturbing since Give Us This Day was designated to handle the most extreme cases of abuse and neglect. These are children who have already experienced abuse by their families and are then thrust into a situation where they are isolated from loved ones and friends only to be re-victimized in their foster home.
The chronology reflects only the abuses that were reported to Oregon DHS, and like all forms of abuse – especially sexual abuse of children – the vast majority of abuses are never reported. And, as with many victims, these children’s reports were treated with apathy by those charged with protecting them. These children were taught, in nearly every instance, that even if they report, they will receive no help and likely continue to be abused.
Shockingly, no excuses were made in this report, no explanation for the ambivalence of the state agency tasked with protecting these children. When the media isn’t looking, no one seems to attempt to explain away victim’s complaints by blaming the child for their clothing, or questioning their honesty, or suggesting that they merely misunderstood, or perhaps wanted attention. Instead, victims receive less than disbelief, they get no protection, no security, they simply receive silence and a simple notation in a file: “No investigation.”
The full chronology of offenses can be found here: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2015I1/Downloads/CommitteeMeetingDocument/82327
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, please call us today at 1-888-407-0224 or use our confidential online form. We will treat you with discretion and respect.