From the start of her ex husband’s new relationship with another woman, Erica Hammel always got an “off” feeling about the live-in girlfriend. Unable to pinpoint what her gut was trying to tell her, she continued sending her son to his dad’s house for overnight visits, until realizing who this woman was when she got a phone call she wasn’t expecting.
Hammel felt exceptionally uneasy every time she would pack her little boy’s overnight bag, knowing he would be staying in a home with a woman who caused the hair on the back of her neck to stand up. The concerned mother was helpless against a court ordered custody arrangement, forcing her son to go with his father even against her motherly instinct.
Her feelings about her former spouse’s girlfriend, Rachel Edwards, were not of jealously or general distaste for someone trying to replace her in her son Wyatt’s life. It was much worse than that, beyond not being able to trust her, but feeling like she had some skeletons in her closet. Unfortunately, Hammel’s sense about her was right, and not being able to do anything about it has made her pay a lifelong price, according to a description of what unfolded.
When Wyatt was about 2-years-old and on a mandatory visit with his dad, Hamel got a phone call letting her know that her son was in the hospital. He had suffered a skull fracture with significant brain damage, as result of being violently shaken by Edwards, who unleashed a fit of rage on the little boy. Wyatt’s prognosis was grim, and he teetered on the edge of death each day for weeks while he was in the hospital, LiftBump reported.
After multiple brain surgeries, Wyatt is finally home, but he will never fully recover. It’s been a year since the abuse occurred that nearly killed him, and he suffers partial blindness and is cognitively impaired. After this happened to her son, Hammel found out that Edwards had previous child abuse convictions. She said she searched the Internet for information on her back when her child’s father began dating her, but she turned up nothing. There was one thing she said that could have possibly prevented her child from suffering this abuse, and now she’s trying to get it.
Just as there is a registry for sex offenders, Hammel would like the same type of public list for child abusers, Fox News reports. She believes that if estranged parents were privy to this information, it could be helpful in custody battles, and it would ultimately keep kids safe from whomever their parent dates or is associated with. She’s begun a petition to make this “Wyatt’s Law” a reality.
While some may argue that publicizing people’s records is a violation of individual rights, there’s something that they’re missing. Just as sexual abuse damages victims for life and perpetrators put other people in danger, the same applies to physical abuse and abusers. Nobody would wind up on the child abuse registry for something misconstrued or innocuous, it would require a charge of legitimate abuse that puts other people in imminent danger if they’re spending time with the convicted individual.
It’s time to start taking harm to children more seriously, making it a priority over giving a “parent” right to a child simply because they share the same DNA. It’s the kids who suffer simply because the system seems to favor not punishing a parent for their poor life choices.