Dear Children’s Aid Society

Dear CAS

I have a little story I’d like to share with you, though I doubt you’d truly care. This is a story of a girl in your protection, that you failed. I was ten years old when I met her. Let’s call her Jillian. She’d already been dealt a crappy hand at life, and you didn’t make it any easier. Jillian lived in a home that felt more like a prison to her. You placed her somewhere you thought was safe, and then forgot about her. You sent people to “check in” but no one listened. So I hope that you will listen now.

We were only ten years old when we met. She had to explain to children our age that no, her parents didn’t give her up, and that no, she wasn’t unlovable, or thrown away. Do you know how hard that can be for someone, let alone a child? The worst part is that, that wasn’t the worst she had to put up with.

She had to have approval of how she wore her hair, what clothing she wore, what size of clothing she wore. Jillian wasn’t even in high school yet, but she was already so unsure of who she was, she was already following the demands of her society. She was afraid to make friends because she felt as though she’d be taken away all over again. How is that fair to do to a child who is still developing and growing? How can you tell them to get comfortable, and then rip the rug out from under them?

Fast forward to middle school. She starts having issues with her foster parents, and no one does anything about it. I am more than certain she expressed her issues, but they were pushed aside as she was nothing more than a preteen. As if she was any less of a person based on her age. She lived with her two brothers, and that made her life more bearable. Until one day, her life got flipped upside down.

She was being bullied, and her foster parents did nothing about it. She spent two years dealing with the same girl at school, and no one noticed she was hurting. That, or no one cared. Then her older brother is moved out of the foster home, and she breaks. That was the last straw. She began to self harm, because she had such a strong hatred for herself that she didn’t care what happened to her at this point.

Fast forward, and you guys gave her a few therapy sessions, but not enough to effectively do anything. Her self harm follows her into high school, and so do all of her insecurities. Would it be a surprise if I informed you that she was struggling with her foster mother at this point? Her foster mother didn’t approve of her style choice, and was rudely vocal about it. I believe that can fall under the category of verbal abuse. There were also cases of emotional abuse and mental abuse. Her foster parents used her younger brother to get her to behave the way they deemed she should.

In the winter of her sixteenth year, Jillian had made a few new friends. They just happened to be boys. Her foster mother had told her that if she kept hanging around them, people would get the wrong idea, and pretty much told her that if something happened, it would be her fault. Not to long after that, she was raped, and told no one because of how her foster mother made her feel as though she was a second class whore of a human being. Again, no one noticed, or cared enough to notice.

At sixteen years old, Jillian has made her mind up. She hated herself to the point that she didn’t want to be alive anymore. In her eyes, there was nothing that could be done. She tried to kill herself twice, and upon the second attempt her foster mother discovered her. Not only did she force her to go to the hospital when the woman didn’t think it was anything serious, she forced Jillian to walk in front of her younger brother in shorts, revealing all of the fresh self harm marks covering her body, which up until that point Jillian had done her very best to keep from him.

Once at the hospital, they questioned her about whether she had the intent to die, and she said yes, that she wanted to die, that she wasn’t happy with her life in anyway. The foster mother said otherwise, and claimed that it was all for attention, which in my opinion is a cry for help in and of itself, would you not agree? You choose to send her to therapy again, I’m guessing to cover yourself. Her foster mother deemed that it wasn’t working because she was still self harming, and decided not to send her anymore. She deprived Jillian of something that was actually doing good for her.

Later that same year, her and her foster mother got into a heated argument, and her foster mother punched her. There was a bruise for about a week, but again she kept it to herself, because 1) she knew no one would listen to her, and 2) if she left, they could take it out on her little brother, and she would never let that happen. When she had finally had enough and came clean about it all, you still barely listened. You made her feel like her confession wasn’t valid, like her experience wasn’t real. You moved her, and that was it. She faced years of abuse, was so depressed she was suicidal, and no one cared.

She finally came out and told her older brother about the rape incident. Her worker looked through her messages, and confronted her, finally someone acted as though they actually cared. They tried to convince her to go to the police, and all she did was laugh, because if you wouldn’t believe her about her being abused, then why should the police believe that she was raped? It is always her word against the word of the person she is accusing, and let’s be frank, they normally don’t listen to her. There was no evidence, thus no crime committed, right?

You placed her in another home, where the family seemed nice at first, but then they made it clear that she couldn’t be herself there either. She was a sin, an abomination. Your track record with choosing a home for her is laughable. Place a bisexual with a family who shoves their religion on other people. Great job.

It’s funny to me. She lived so much of her childhood hiding who she was, what she was feeling, she was pushed to the edge so many times, and the only reason she stayed around was because her little brother brought light into her world, and you wanna know the punch line? You kept him with the one family that abused her, and so they continued to torment her, even after she was gone.

They managed to fill her brother with lies, let him believe that she had betrayed him, that she broke her promise and ran away. He wouldn’t speak to her unless forced, he wanted nothing to do with her for almost a year, until he was finally adopted. You not only allowed this family to abuse her for years without listening, you allowed them to pit her own blood against her. You allowed them to use the only reason she held on for so long to be used to hurt her to the point of breaking.

You failed her over and over again. You sat idly by while she was broken repeatedly. You didn’t listen to her cries. You claim that they have a voice, but they don’t. They never have a voice. And that isn’t fair. They are put into your protection, and you fail them repeatedly.

Jillian was silenced, her light was almost snuffed out because you couldn’t take the time to listen to her side of the story. You labelled her trouble, and sat by while she was pushed to the point of wanting to die. She now suffers from diagnosed DEPRESSION, COMPLEX POST TRAUMATIC STRESS, and ANXIETY.

The best part of the story is that Jillian is still strong, she still has a heart that wants to truly help. She wants to be the voice you cant ignore.

Jillian, is me. You cant continue to ignore the children placed in your care. You cant just sit by while we are mistreated. I will be the voice the continues to scream in your ear until justice is served, until you hear me loud and clear. Until you hear the cry of every child you’ve ignored, every child you have FAILED, because I know I am not the only one.

Sincerely.

The Girl with Many Emotions

Advertisements

Clothing Size and Body Issues

I have had difficulty accepting the way mt body looks and my size. So many people will often think I’m crazy because I’m by no means a large person. I am a size six or seven in pants, a size medium in shirts usually, but the fashion industry makes it hard for me to love myself the way I wish I could, along with past trauma.

For those of you who are unaware, women’s clothing doesn’t seem to have a standard sizing system. It sounds like we do when we talk about how we wear a size small, medium or large in shirts, when someone says they are a size one or a size twelve, we sound like we know exactly what we are talking about, but honestly, I don’t think we do. I can say that I am a size six in pants and a medium in shirt, but that’s in Old Navy clothing. In Ardenes, I wear a size large or extra large in shirts. At other stores I can fit into a size small.

The other day I was at a thrift store, and decided to try on a few pair of jeans because I need new ones, and I grabbed a size six/seven, and to my utter frustration, they didn’t fit. I couldn’t get them past my thighs. Again I would like to state that I am about average in size. I was pretty well taught as a kid that my size equaled my worth. If I wasn’t a small waist size, then no boy would ever fancy me. That thought was cemented into my head more when my high school boyfriend of a year had cheated on me with a girl with an eating disorder. Here I was, a girl not allowed to wear smaller than a size seven(about 27inch) finding out that my boyfriend had cheated with a girl that was a size zero or smaller. It really took a large chunk out of my self-esteem.

So after my thrift store disappointment, I went to a local mall while I was home visiting one set of my parents and my sister. A store that I had gotten my favourite pair of jeans from was having a sale. $10 for a pair of jeans. That was great for a pretty much broke college kid. I went looking through the selection, and they had up to a size 25 inch then it jumped all the way to 30. The 25 was too tight, and the 30 would have been too big on me. They didn’t have anything between the two, and that broke my self esteem a little more.

Women’s shirts aren’t any better. One store you can wear a small, a completely different one you can’t get a small over your elbow. Women’s button up shirts can be the worst at fitting, because they have to be done up around the breasts, which can cause an issue. At this point I have basically given up. I plan to wear men’s button ups, a size or two larger than I need in shirts, and I guess I will have to stick to pants that will be worn out within a year to guarantee a good fit.

I am just so frustrated with clothing, and the notion that the number on a tag defines who I am as a person. I hate feeling like I need to be a smaller number to feel the same love as someone tinier than me. I am sick of the photo shopped images, the air brushed looks, and the fact that our clothing size isn’t regulated.

Sincerely,

The Girl with Many Emotions