Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tough Days

Every time I'm given the info for another child for me to go see, I get excited. I'm so in love with my job, that I honestly can't imagine myself doing anything else. What I do truly doesn't feel like work. But then sometimes I'm faced with situations that make me question the whole damned thing.

The other day I was given a girl's info. She was between the ages of 5 and 7 (remember, I can't give identifying details). I read there had been issues in her home. I planned a good day for me to stop in and see her. I couldn't quite find the street, so I called a girlfriend that told me where it was. I've lived in Atlanta my whole life and I don't scare easily. However that was only the second time in my life that I've been scared in an area. I've walked up and down Bankhead, Candler Rd, and Old National Hwy on numerous occasions with no problems, but I was so freaking scared as I drove down this street. My friend accurately described the area when she called it "lawless." I saw so many people that were walking ghosts. They had no spirits and no souls, they walked the streets, darting out, as if a 4,000 pound vehicle hitting them would be the least of their problems. I tried my best to play it cool, but driving slowly through that neighborhood was certainly not what I wanted to do. I cursed to myself when I had to make a u-turn in front of everyone, announcing to the world that I was not only fresh blood, I was lost fresh blood. I quickly called the mother of the child I was to meet with and thankfully got her to tell me exactly where she was located.

Once I made it to the home, I was amazed at the condition of it. Honestly, if it hadn't been occupied, I'm sure it would have been deemed unfit for residency and torn down. My plan was initially to meet with the little girl and her mother, but their home was in such a sad state that I instead offered to take them to McDonald's. The mother declined, but she told me that I could take her child instead, so off we went.

There was a McDonald's in the area, but I decided to venture out to another one. I couldn't bear to be out there any longer than I had to. When we got to McDonald's my little counterpart quickly became a favorite to everyone there. She was so friendly and outgoing. The workers there complimented her and she talked to them with ease. She easily answered my questions about school and her family life. It was clear that despite living in such immense poverty, she was raised in so much love. I knew I had to eventually embrace the topic, but I really didn't want to. I didn't want to bring it up, when she was so happy. But I did. I had to. I had a job to do.

I asked her to tell me what happened. And she described how a young male friend of the family molested her in her sleep. One thing that I know I'll never forget is that when I asked her how it made her feel, the only word she said was "guilty." She was so young to know such a heavy word, and to now have to attach such a heavy word to such a terrible situation was just wrong.
I was absolutely horrified. As a professional, I knew to remain brave and strong for the little girl. I praised her for being brave enough to tell her mother and I assured her that she did absolutely nothing wrong. Amazingly, as we discussed it, she didn't withdraw. She didn't say she'd had any bad dreams about it, and she simply tries not to think about it. We agreed to call him another word other than his name, because she didn't like to say it. After she'd bounced around McDonald's for an hour, I decided it was time to take her home. I hugged her goodbye and I promised her that we would go out again. I bid goodbye to the family and left.

I got into my car and threw down my purse. I started the engine and I rode to the the traffic light that led out of the area. I stopped at the red light. And I cried like a baby. I sobbed so heavily. She was so brave and so little and he took her innocence. Yet she managed to smile and laugh. No one would ever think she'd been violated in the worst way. As a woman and as a mother I was outraged at what happened to her. I cried big heavy tears until my body was exhausted.

I might seem tough, but I'm only a woman.


Free to be ME said...

I could almost cry reading this. Stuff like this hurts my soul. :( I`m so sorry, but knowing that she still has such a happy spirit shows that we all can bounce back from even the worst hardships.

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