She had run away. She had run away … from … but not … towards … anything. So, she went home.
The day after she came home, her mother said that the two of them were going to “talk with someone.” She told the young girl that “counseling” would be a good thing. She said that it would be good to “talk through” whatever it was that was making the young girl want to run away. The young girl thought maybe … just maybe … she could finally tell someone the dark secret that made her stomach churn and that caused her so much confusion and unhappiness. It was if she was living two different lives, not knowing which one was the reality of life.
They sat in a small room … the mother, the young girl, and the woman. The woman stared at the young girl and asked several questions, often repeating a question, with her voice becoming colder, harsher, with each question. Why had she run away … why was she so unhappy … again … why did she run away … why … why … why?
The time had come. The young girl thought, finally … she could tell someone. She braced herself and said … “Because my step-father is touching me.” The woman looked at the young girl and asked, “Would you be willing to repeat that in court?” The young girl replied, “Yes, he has been touching me for years.” The room became very still. It was so quiet the young girl could hear the unevenness of her own breath. Finally, the truth was out. Now, maybe she would not have to face each day with dread. Now she would be safe.
The woman looked over the young girl’s head and to her left, where the mother was sitting. The woman said …. “I think she needs some “cooling off.” The only thing the young girl heard from her mother, sitting behind her … was … “Yes.”
The young girl new something was wrong. Something was … very wrong. The next thing she knew, she was taken to a room. It was explained to her that she would be staying there for a while until she “settled down.” Her mother had stayed behind. The young girl stood there and stared at the woman, who backed out, slammed the door, and locked it. Her mother had taken her to a Juvenile Detention Center. There had never been an intention to help the young girl … only to silence her.
Even the woman who locked her up didn’t care. No one cared. As the young girl sat there on the small bed, looking at the door that had just closed, she wondered which made the loudest sound, the door slamming … the sound of the lock … or … that one word spoken by her mother … “Yes” … the sound of a mother’s betrayal.
There are many reasons given for a mother turning her back on her own child. The easy one is that the mother just can’t believe it. Often, the reason is “financial.” Sometimes, there is genuine fear of her boyfriend or husband. Maybe there is no “support system” or no family of which to turn. It can also be as petty as “What will people think?”
Whatever the reason may be … it’s not good enough. It’s never good enough.
Debbie Barth: 08/07/2017 at 3:00 pm EDT © All rights reserved
Debbie Barth is the author of The Promise Book; Tell Someone. She is the host of On The Grid Internet Talk Radio, and is also an Ambassador for India Hicks.