A local advocacy group hopes to lower the cases of child abuse across the area by improving the dialogue about the issue.
Wednesday afternoon, 34-year-old Jessica Marie Vargas was arrested after she told an FBI investigator that while angry, she pulled her 6-year-old son by the scrotum so hard that she ripped it and then tried to repair it with super glue.
She did not seek any medical attention which he finally received after his father came home and saw the injury.
It's a disturbing story that shocked very few people at ChildSafe, a local advocacy group that provides services to abused and neglected children.
"Unfortunately, given the numbers we have in the city, it is kind of just another day for us and the work that we're doing," said Randy McGibeny, director of programs. "It's not to minimize this situation, but we see a lot of horrific stories and that's one of the ones that's hitting the news."
The boy underwent surgery at San Antonio Military Medical Center to repair the damage.
Physical healing has already begun but there's also the psychological damage that takes more than stitches. Traumatic events of abuse can often lead to mental health and behavioral issues.
"Without positive coping skills, they're going to turn to negative coping skills and those negative coping skills have long term impact on their health," he said. "The longer they're participating in these negative coping patterns, the more impact it's going to have on them mental health wise as they get older and socially it's going to impact them. That's going to impact their trajectory in life negatively for a long amount of time."
According to ChildSafe, last year there were 6,205 reported cases of abuse and neglect in the San Antonio area, the highest in Texas. McGibeny said attempts at prevention need to grow to help reduce that number but getting people to talk about abuse has never been easy.
"Until the community as a whole starts to talk about the issue and it doesn't kind of become taboo to talk about children being abused in our community and we stand up and say this is unacceptable as a community, then we can start to change the culture," he said. " If I can get somebody to think twice before they lay their hands on a child or get them a resource that they can contact or call because they're angry or they understand that a crying child in a crib is not going to die and if you can take five minutes away from that child without shaking them, then I think we've done an effective job."
ChildSafe currently works with 14 local school districts to help educate employees about noticing signs of potential abuse. They hope to reach out to more PTAs and parent groups. The non-profit is also looking to the public to help with donations. It receives funding from the city and state but lost $120,000 in federal funding because of sequester.