An American Crime

Topics: Sylvia Likens, Gertrude Baniszewski, An American Crime Pages: 1 (283 words) Published: April 8, 2015

Tabitha Candelario
Understanding Child Abuse
Reaction Paper
The movie An American Crime was a very heartbreaking yet eye opening film. It is based on a true story, a very sad story, and a very horrific case of child abuse. The story of the events that led up to Likens' death is short and tragic, with many people to fault, including her own parents and sister. Her parents negligently entrusted her and her little sister's care to a woman they had only met once. This woman, Gertrude Baniszewski, was mother to many children and accepted Sylvia and her sister into her home for the simple fact that she needed the money the Likens were offering. However Baniszewski wasn’t fit to care of any of the children period and within a few months, Sylvia had become the victim of Gertrude's escalating abuse. Sylvia eventually became a prisoner in Baniszewski's basement for an excruciating 27 days, where she was abused and tortured by Baniszewski, and her children also including a number of other neighborhood children. How could this have happened? How could so many people be involved in such a horrible crime? This is what I though after seeing that disturbing yet eye opening movie. After Sylvia died as a result of her beatings, Baniszewski's was found guilty of her crimes and sentenced to life in prison with the chance of parole. Her children and the others involved were also found guilty and sentenced, each one eventually serving two years in prison. While Baniszewski's crimes are unforgivable, the thing I personally found most disturbing was how her example led to her children's and the other children's acts of cold, and cruel behavior towards an innocent teenager.
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