Friday, November 06, 2009

A Story for Dave

"May I tell you what happened to me?"

Throughout the day she had been a shy particpant. She never offered to come up to do a role play, but always did when asked. She had one of those smiles that was 'too ready', it made her look younger, less formitable, and like she was ready to laugh at herself before others had the chance to ... that, and of course, she was beautiful. I enjoyed to growing sense of confidence she had during the day, learning to claim the word 'no', learning to claim the space around her, learning that a smile is not always the best defense.

When the day was over I was saying my goodbyes particularly to those I know well. Then I saw her waiting, 'May I tell you what happened to me?'

I braced myself, she was so young, so pretty, so eager to please. Me, I'm losing the capacity to take the body blow of an abuse report and stagger back to concious action. "I met this guy at school. I thought he wanted to be mates. I wanted a friend to hang out with so I said I would hang out with him. Then he started texting me awful things. Dirty things. He was mad at me, he wanted to do things to me. When I saw what he was texting I couldn't show my mother. She doesn't use words like those. Those words would have upset her. So one day when I was walking home I saw a police officer, I asked him if I could ask him a question. He said that I could and then I showed him those messages. He got really upset and told me that I'd done the right thing. That boy doesn't bother me anymore, I think he's a bit afraid of me.'

I stood there with my mouth hanging open. I wanted to embrace her and hold her safe for a long time. It's a wrong thought, but was my thought. But then SHE DOESN'T NEED TO BE PROTECTED, she can do it herself.

I've been waiting for the sun to come out the other side of abuse.

Well, it just did.


Gary Miller said...

Sometimes it's those who seem to be shy and retiring that turn out to be the toughest.

I'm not surprised you stood there with "...mouth hanging open.".

Wonderful post Dave.

Kristin said...

What an amazing story!

wendy said...

Good for her! Thanks for such a hopeful story.

Anonymous said...

An amazing story! Very inspiring. It gives me great hope.

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

That story brought tears to my eyes. That young woman is the beginning - a turning point. And I celebrate that! But what about the people who can't tell the police officer - or anyone about what is happening to them?


theknapper said...


Princeton Posse said...

Now that was one smart police officer. Good on him!

liz said...


Stephanie said...

I'm glad she found a way to tell and share her experience before it got worse. But, as a mother myself, I can't help but get caught on this part: " When I saw what he was texting I couldn't show my mother."

That scares me, in part because I know I try very hard to control my own language and I show that to my children. I don't want that to be a reason they cannot tell me something, especially something that is being done to them.

Years ago, a young boy in my life was hurt by an older boy. The older boy told the younger boy if he told anyone the younger boy would be punished and the cops would come take him away for being bad. The older boy "told" and proved to the younger boy that it was all his fault. The younger boy's mom spanked him and called him names.

Then, we were told about the incident as he was sent to our house. But there was a wrongness about it. Why would the younger boy do such a thing? Where would he have been exposed to such a thing?

Slowly I coaxed the story out of him. He was so afraid I would be mad. He was even more afraid that I would tell the cops. But in the end he trusted me and I was able to help ensure the older boy could never hurt him again.

I would hate to think that boy, now a young man, would think he couldn't come to me because of the words another had used.

Laurie said...

Thank you for sharing her story. As a parent of a young daughter this gives me hope.

CJ said...

I used to read you before I went offline and have found you, now that I'm back. Your posts are amazing and this one is what it's all about!! Kudos to you! I will be back to reading you all the time!!

Liz said...

Great Story Dave!!


Laura said...

That is a powerful and hopeful story. Thank you.