For me, the 'opening of my eyes' was during an internship in college. As I was cleaning off an old computer (by 'old' I mean one that had Windows 98 on it), I came across a paper that a friend of mine wrote in 2003 as a class assignment for college. It is about part of my experience on the Cherokee Reservation back in the early 90's when I interned as a Guardian Ad Litem.
While I was re-reading this for the first time in 7 years, there were a few things I was reminded of:
1. I was/am very blessed to have a wonderful set of parents and a great childhood.
2. If you think a swat on the butt of a child for misbehaving is abuse, you are mistaken.
3. It's important to take good notes.
4. There are things you will never be able to "un-see".
5. A good cry cleanses the soul.
To understand, read below:
September 2, 2003
The first case Kathy was given involved a young boy with deep scars on his right shoulder. Kathy’s heart ached when she discovered the scars were from cigarette burns. Apparently the young boy’s father had been careful to put his cigarettes out high enough on the boy’s arm that his T-shirt would conceal the wounds. Teachers and friends were oblivious to the torment the young child endured at home. To her dismay, Kathy soon discovered this sort of case was typical in her new role.
The twelve-year-old had suffered so much at the hands of her stepfather. The trial that had offered a sense of closure and relief for so many did not end Anita’s suffering. Anita was still carrying her father’s child. Anita’s mother tried to force her daughter to have an abortion, but the unborn baby was considered evidence in the case and so its life was spared. On a number of occasions, Anita had talked with Kathy about the baby. The young girl wanted to keep the baby and raise it. Kathy suspected that more than anything Anita simply wanted something of her very own. But Anita wasn’t allowed to keep the baby. Once it was born, Social Services forced Anita to put her baby up for adoption. Anita, on the other hand, was never removed from her home.