'Friendly' approach to child protection fails Minnesota families, leads to more abuse
A special report
November 17, 2023
The first blow from her stepfather - a slap across the face - landed when Jayma Lawson was 3 or 4.
Over the next nine years, she suffered dozens of attacks, ranging from bruising spankings to sexual abuse.
She told her mother, who didn't believe her. She told her grandparents, her therapist and a school counselor. At least some of those reports were shared with authorities. But many of those claims went unchecked for years.
"I know what it feels like when you are not heard by the people who are supposed to protect you," said Jayma, who is now 18 and attending her first year of college.