Monday, March 29, 2010

Introducing Stephanie

Monday morning came sooner than usual for me.  I didn’t like getting new clients because that meant the child had suffered some kind of trauma in their lives.  However, I wouldn’t have chosen this career to not get any work.  I was hear to help my clients.  So I arrived at the office early to read over the client file.  Stephanie. Age 17.  Lost her virginity to rape at 12 by two neighborhood boys. She was also abused physically by her father.  The father was in counseling. Her rapist disappeared after her parents confronted the boy’s parents.  The last incident with her father was the most recent.  This was going to be a difficult one.
I read through all the notes.  Stephanie’s mother didn’t leave the father after the details of the abuse came out.  Stephanie had been seeing a boy older than her and he was in the house when the father got home.  Stephanie told the police that she hadn’t had sex with the boy “yet” and her father came in and ran the guy outside. The father went back in her room while she was half dressed and made her take her clothes off.  He told her to lay down on the bed and he touched her breast. He then asked her what she was going to do with a boy that size and then put his fingers between her legs touching her private part.  He then said to her, “you don’t even have a smell yet.”
I wasn’t quite sure what that meant but that’s what Stephanie had in her report.  He then made her lay back down and he took his penis out and put it on her.  Then he put the head of his penis on her private part.  When she started asking why he was doing that to her and crying he stopped, pulled up his pants, and left her in the room humiliated and confused.  This happened when she was 14.
The last incident by her father happened as a result of what Stephanie reported as a lie spread by someone in school she didn’t like.  The girl she didn’t like had written her phone number on the boy’s bathroom wall.  She wasn’t allowed to have boys calling her at home.  Boys started calling her house phone asking for her and every time they did, her parents would get mad at her.  She tried to explain to them what happened in school but they didn’t believe her. 
Coincidentally, a boy she did know, who was her boyfriend at the time, called the house, knowing he shouldn’t have, but his sister had been hit by a car and he was calling to tell her.  Her father answered the phone at the same time she did.  The boy told her the story as the father was coming up the steps.  Her father grabbed the phone from her, hung it up, and called her a liar.  She tried to explain to him that the boy’s sister had been hit by a car but the father didn’t listen.  He called her a liar again and smacked her. Then he started hitting her like she was a man, punching her and finally kicking her. 
The police report said that she had a black eye and her lip was busted. She also had bruises on her ribs assuming from the kicks.  She had run out the house after the assault and went to work not knowing what to do and definitely not knowing that her eye had started bruising.  By the time she got there, she had a black eye.  She knew her lip was busted because she had been holding a towel to it the whole time she had been driving to work.  She could explain that, or so she thought, but she wasn’t able to explain herself out of the black eye. 
One of the waitresses at her job, whom she didn’t really know, made her sit down at a corner table and tried to comfort her.  She had been shaking and every time someone asked her who did this to her, she wouldn’t say.  The manager started going down a list of people that he knew. Her mother. Father. Boyfriend. Best friend. Every time he would say someone she would shake her head no except when they got to her father.  They asked in the same rotation about three times before they had their answer.  No shaking of the head on the father.  They knew it had to be him.  The waitress who had made her sit down, Stacie, offered to take her home with her.  Not knowing what else to do and afraid to go home, Stephanie complied.  Stacie took her home with her and called the police.  The police arrested her father that night and Stacie went to court with the caseworker to get temporary custody of her.  Over the next few months Stacie got sick and was unable to care for her.  She had been with Stacie for nine months before coming to us.  She had been placed in foster care but ran away with the boyfriend she got the call from that horrible day.  When the police found her they brought her to us.  Over the weekend she had been in a foster home with someone she knew from school. Now it was time for us to help her deal with what had happened to her.  Her first caseworker had gone on leave and now she was assigned to me.
It was 8:55 am. She would be here any minute.
I got up from my desk and asked Nicole to bring in some orange juice and donuts.  I wasn’t going to take the girl through the routine of asking her to tell me what happened.  I had it all in front of me.  She was due to go to court for her father the next day and I just wanted to see what mental state she was in.  I would ask for a continuance if I had to. 
I saw Ms. Myles, the foster attendant walking with a tall, light-skinned, slim female.  She had long brown hair past her shoulders and she looked tired and worn out.
Ms. Myles introduced us and then left quickly.
“Hi Stephanie.”
“Hi,” she said looking around my office.
“Would you like some O.J and donuts?”
She looked at the table and took one of the jelly donuts.  She chose the strawberry one. My favorite too.
I waited as she took a bite.
“How are you doing at the new home?”
She gave me this sarcastic look as if I should know. 
“Are you getting along with everyone?”
She shrugged her shoulders, taking another bite of her donut.  She looked past me and focused in on something.  I didn’t want to seem intrusive so I didn’t turn around to see what had her attention.  I just waited. 
She stood up and walked over to my book case. She was looking at my pictures.  I had random pictures of landscapes I had taken.  My past time was photography. 
“You don’t have personal pictures in here,” she observed.
“No, I don’t.”
“So you aren’t married? No kids? No family?”
“I do have family but no I am not married and I don’t have kids.”
“Hmm..,” I heard her say.
I was being interviewed.
“Do you know why I am here,” she asked still with her back turned pretending she was still looking at the photos.
“Yes I do.”
This time she turned around to face me and crossed her arms.  You could tell she was more angry than anything.
“Your father abused you physically and mentally.  You were also raped a couple of years ago.  You ran away from your last foster home. Your parents are trying to petition the court to get you back. Meanwhile, you are in a new foster home.”
I made a point of stating all the facts.  I could tell she didn’t like sugar coating.
She looked out the window at something far off. 
“How are you doing with your rape?”
Ouch.  That hurt.  But I didn’t feel as if she was attacking me.  I believe she was looking for something in common.
“I am taking it one day at a time,” I said slowly trying not to seem uncomfortable with the tables being turned.
“Is he in jail?”
“Yes he is,” I said praying silently that he stayed there. I don’t know what I would do if he was released from jail and I lived to see it.
“That’s good,” she said coming over and sitting down in front of me. 
She poured herself a cup of orange juice.  Then she poured me some.  Time for business. The tables turned again.
“I don’t like the place I’m at now.  Its cool as far as the actual home but there is a boy there that gets on my nerves and I try not to be around him and the so-called foster parents are a trip!”
“Why is that?  How does this boy get on your nerves?”
“He keeps invading my space and touching me.”
Not good.  She didn’t need anymore unwanted sexual behavior towards her.
“In what way does he touch you? Is he the son of Ms. Tiller?”
“No he is another foster child.”
I made a note to find out more about the kids in that home.
“How is he touching you?”
“My leg. He keeps rubbing it and sometimes before I smack him he tries to put his hand near my crotch!  I feel like I am saying No on repeat!”
She was angry and had every right to be. 
“I will look into this today, ok?”
She looked at me searching for signs to trust me or not.  I didn’t want her to notice how irritated I was right now.  Why would they put her in a home with a boy anyway after what she has been through? Were their no other homes available the night they found her.  I was going to find out ASAP.

1 comment:

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