Child abuse is an ugly reality for millions of children across the United States. So, when bystanders saw this woman hitting her child, they felt they had to step in. However, in this case, many believed the punishment handed out didn’t fit the crime.
The scale of child abuse in the U.S. is enough to take your breath away. Referrals to child protection agencies involve around 6.6 million children each year. Not only that, but between four and seven kids are killed by neglect or abuse every day.
According to the Every Child Matters Education Fund, over the last decade more than 20,000 children have been killed – in their homes – by members of their own families. That’s almost four times the amount of U.S. soldiers slain in Afghanistan and Iran. Obviously, this is a serious and deadly problem.
To be clear, there’s never an excuse for child abuse. In general, many cases are the result of parents who suffered abuse themselves. As a result, families can get trapped in a cycle of abuse being inherited.
In this case, Angela Armendariz was involved in a divorce from her husband. However, she saw her estranged husband arrive at school and speak to their nine-year-old daughter. For this reason, she flew into an explosive rage.
One of the other parents caught the horrific exchange on camera. Armendariz looks deranged, slapping her daughter and appearing to pull her hair. The poor girl appears to be trapped in the car, her caregiver brutalizing her.
As a result, the video is hard to watch. Her daughter cowers at the edge of her seat, covering her face with her hands to try and fend off the blows. Moreover, it’s important to recognize the barrage of verbal abuse she’s also forced to take.
Armendariz is so involved with slapping her daughter she doesn’t even seem to notice the camera. Indeed, she behaves as if what she’s doing is acceptable. The fact that she’s abusing her daughter in broad daylight in a parking lot is somewhat telling.
Eventually, one of the bystanders removes the child from the car. She opens the side door and lifts the girl out. The daughter looks shaken and does not resist being taken away.
The girl’s father, Jesus Armendariz, was seen to be visibly upset during a later interview with local news outfit KWES. He was told by officers that he should refrain from watching the footage, for fear that its “graphic” content would upset him. However, he decided to watch it anyway.
Under those circumstances, his tears can be entirely understood. He also claimed in an interview that this was not the first time that his ex-partner had abused their daughter. Allegedly, he had complained to authorities before.
However, with no proof of the abuse, Jesus was left frustrated. Although not explicitly stated, the abuse of his daughter may have been a factor in the couple’s divorce.
Unfortunately, Angela Armendariz is yet to face much punishment for her viciousness. She was arrested by police and charged with child injury. Later, she was released on a bond.
In the meantime, Jesus has been awarded custody of his daughter. At the present time, there has been no follow-up to Angela Armendariz’s case. Other than a protective order issued against her, there’s been no sign of further punishment.
Understandably, Jesus was upset and frustrated by the entire ordeal. In 2016 he told KWES, “A lot of kids get beat up and they get killed. If my child was to go back to her, you think that behind closed doors she’s not going to beat her again?”
It’s important to remember that Texas enjoys being a low-tax and low-service state. Essentially, this means that people pay less tax but receive less by way of public services. Unfortunately, this seems to also include child protection.
As a consequence, there is less of a safety net for children in abusive homes. Sadly, the statistics for Texan children speak for themselves. Compared to wealthier states or states with stronger safety nets, the likelihood of a child in Texas dying from neglect or abuse is doubled.
Jesus explained to KWES that despite his unhappiness about the abuse, he was initially not given custody. Following the separation, he claims authorities said, “It’s in the best interests of the child to be with her mother.” Obviously, this was a mistake that could have been avoided.
As a result of the ordeal, the CPS is trying to evaluate how much “traumatic stress” the girl was put through. The truth is, we may never know the extent to which she was abused. And it seems the investigation will continue for a while yet.
Sadly, by and large, children who are abused are often left with mental scars that last for years. Furthermore, children who have suffered abuse may find it challenging to form relationships with their own children later in life. Let’s hope this isn’t the case for the girl in this video and that she makes a full recovery.