Beyond Lady Pandora – Episode12a – The Men In My Life – Beyond Lady Pandora
I woke up to Mother’s room-mate holding me down on the livingroom couch. I had fallen asleep there after sneaking in carefully through the kitchen window because the door was locked an Mother never answered. I needed a safe place to sleep. My Mother called the police and told them I had attacked her and threatened her, which was not possible because she was not awake when I came in. I was confused and scared. The police took me to child services where she met us. I was sat in a chair and workers were talking to her. I was asked about what she had said and I was crying, I tried to tell them that I did not understand why she was lying or what was going on but they did not believe me. They told me that she had signed over all rights to them for me. There was no mark on her, nothing, because nothing had happened.
I was taken to a room. There were people sitting in chairs, counsellors in chairs and then me, in my chair facing them. I was in a room. I was being asked questions and I was terrified, I told them the truth about my Mother but they just kept looking at each other like they did not believe me. They asked why I never told on her sooner. I said I was scared. They sent me away. There were no charges. There was no evidence. There was no proof of wrong doing on my part. There was no investigation. I was sent to seven oaks, a youth lock-up for underage girls who committed minor crimes. I was not charged, had committed no crime, I was in no legal trouble. Still, I was placed there since they apparently had no place to put me, yet I was not put in a group home. I was put in a lock up. None of it made any sense to me. When I asked workers what I had done, they said I was a runaway but when I pointed out that my Mother brought me in as she did and signed me over, they could not explain why I was classed as a runaway. When I pointed out I had never been reported missing, they could not explain it. It became clear to me that no one cared. I was examined for lice and disease but not for sexual abuse or abuse of any kind. I was told that on intake they had felt based on their interview with me in the large room that I possibly a sociopath and a liar but I came in crying and terrified. None of it made any sense.
Looking back, I know now that Mother wanted rid of me because she was not getting money for me from welfare because I was not attending school. I know that her friends told her to do this, especially her room-mate. I know that it was a way to toss me aside. It had nothing to do with me doing anything wrong, so much as just outliving my use to her.
The way it worked in that place was that you had a primary worker that you saw maybe once a week or so to talk in your room which had a magnetic lock on it. During the day, you were allowed to be in the main room, which a row of small rooms with bunk beds made of metal opened into. This main room had three rooms. Two were large, one looked like a livingroom and had a table to the right, the other led off of there with no door on it. It had a phone in it. You could only dial out if allowed. Between those two rooms was a small room enclosed in glass where the workers sat and watched us. There were two doors out, one led to the hallway which led to other “blocks” of children, the kitchen, dining room, and “school” classroom as well as medical room and eventually, the front door. The other led to the back which was a fenced outside area. It was prison. I was told that no one was allowed to stay there more than 6 months, it was considered cruel to leave a child there longer than that, it was inhumane. Classes were not really school, you did not learn much. You’d fall too far behind. Counselling was not truly provided, therapy was not provided. Everyone ate together in the dining hall at the same time, if the workers allowed you to eat with everyone else, which depended on if they liked you and how you behaved. Meals were made in the kitchen by the children chosen by staff and a staff member.
Money was given by the government to take care of us, for personal needs like feminine items and hygeine, for clothing, etc. Some children got to go shopping. I never did. I asked multiple times why I did not go to the hairdresser or anywhere like other children did. I was told that was up to my social worker who I saw maybe three times in the 9 months I was there. She claimed there was no money. I received neccessities only and only from staff there. My primary worker there attempted to talk to my social worker after months of my being there, ignored and without any care beyond neccessities but she too was ignored. She would just look at me sadly and tell me to keep holding on.
My Mother’s sister somehow got in touch with my worker and told many lies about me, I suppose she used her clout and training in psychology to do so. Who would believe a poor messed up kid over her? So, I did not get phone priveleges and was not allowed to speak with my brother or grandparents or anyone. They said it would be “dangerous” for me. I was kept in isolation most often, in my room. When I was allowed to go to class, I saw a poster on the wall about child abuse and since I had always been good at poetry, I wrote a poem about child abuse. Suddenly, I was interrogated about my grandparents and abuse. I was confused. They said my poem was beautifully written but when I told them it was made up based on the poster, they refused to believe me. They said I had been sexually abused by my grandfather. I told them my Mother and her friends abused me but I did not remember my grandpa doing anything to me like that. They called me a liar, they kept interrogating me. It was breaking me, all of it. I was getting very upset so they put me back in isolation as a punishment. I did not understand how any of this was supposed to be helping me. I never got visitors.
It was obvious to me that I was not even treated the same as other children. I was a throw a way. We had movie nights on occassion and I watched a male counsellor molesting a girl sexually, having sex with her under a blanket in the dark. The girls told me not to look but I stared right at him until he stopped. I wanted him to know I had seen him. I was so fed up with all of it. She had always gotten all kinds of special treatment and now I knew why. My primary worker just kept saying hold on but I asked her why I should if no help was coming. She had no answer. I began watching the staff, the time, talked to other girls about the magnetic locks and began breaking out every Friday. I would run, kick the door hard, run out and climb the fence and then run back to the city by foot to check on my brother. I would stay out for the weekend and then call to be picked up every Monday. I was told that doing this did not help my case but I countered that with the fact that doing as I was told did not help me either. They had little to say. They were only interested in keeping me there. Words do not justify the torment of being locked away for no reason beyond not being wanted and no one caring about you. I just kept running because nothing could get worse than how things were.
Eventually, they tried to transfer me to a higher security facility but I escaped immediately. So, they tried to place me in adult facility but I escaped in the first hour so they sent me back to seven oaks. Through all of this, there was not a single charge against me. I never went to court, I was never arrested. I was determined not to be left to rot away for no reason. Everyone tried to convince me I was doing something wrong but no one could tell me what, except trying to be free of being locked up without reason. I was pretty sure they were the ones doing something wrong but I was not stupid enough to think that I could beat them through legal means. All I could do was run. I was no one and nothing. I had no support or backing. I was just a kid no one wanted.
Finally, my social worker came to visit me for the last time, she was quitting because she was pregnant. I was going crazy. There was no sign of me ever getting out, there was no hope. I’m not proud of myself but I did the only thing I could think of to do, I threatened her. I told her that she knew they could not keep me locked up and if she did not let me out, I’d come after her. I did not mean it. I had never hurt anyone. I just wanted out. Luckily, she believed me after all she had done to me, she assumed I was that awful a person. She made arrangements for me to go to a foster home within days. I was so happy and when I got there, they seemed very nice. It was a couple with a daughter just a bit younger than me. They even bought me deodorant and pads and things. I had my own room. I was nearly in tears in gratitude. I would get to go school. But, then the girl, as soon as her parents were away from us, told me I had to run. She said her father raped girls who were brought there and that was why the other girl left who had been there. I was terrified. She said he would hurt me and I needed to run. I was devestated but we made a plan. We went to the store together and I ran as fast as I could. I was brought back to seven oaks and refused to go back to the foster home. I told them why. They said the girl had lied but there was no investigation, they had just asked them as if adults never lied. I did not believe them. My worker sent me to a group home instead.
The group home was co-ed with two girls or boys to a room. Workers were male and female. The other children there had primarily violent pasts while I was just a terrified girl who had been tossed away. The children did all the cleaning and cooking, attended school, had very strict curfews and were not really allowed out beyond school. We all just lived together, we were not supposed to get close in any way. It was just stupid. It was just keeping us alive and out of everyone’s way. Others were working towards going home but not me, there was no goal for me, nothing to look forward to. I was just going to be there until I hit 18. There was no counselling, no therapy. I was not given proper winter gear though it was winter in Canada. We took the regular bus to school, at times I was so cold I thought I’d just freeze and die.
I had no hope so I did not try at school. I did not get along well with one particular boy in the group home who had liked me, I did not return his affections, so he began calling me names and being very threatening and rude to me whenever he got a chance. I just wanted to be an adult and live my life, I wished none of it had ever happened to me. I warned him multiple times but he just kept calling me a slut, a whore, anything he knew that would hurt me. He was always acting as if he could do anything he wanted and there was nothing I could do. Finally, one day, I turned around and kneed him as hard as I could. I was small but strong and he flew down two flights of stairs without hitting a single step. I walked away leaving him there with the other group home kids. I thought perhaps he would learn his lesson and just leave me alone. I went and hung out with some friends and then went back to the group home.
Everyone was in a fuss. I figured he had gone back and told on me so I expected to be in trouble for fighting. I had not fought with anyone else or ever before so I did not figure I’d be in too much trouble. To my surprise, I was rushed into the small office, surrounded by staff. Everyone was mad at me and yelling. I tried to explain what had happened, it was not like they were not aware of his harassment of me. No one wanted to hear it. I was told that he was injured and had been taken to the hospital but was ok. His parents did not press charges as the workers told them how he had been treating me and he admitted it to them. I could not continue staying at the group home because he would be returning. They did not want me there. I did not understand why I was considered the threat. Now, yes, I should not have kneed him but how much harassment and threatening is a girl supposed to put up with from a bigger male in the same house on a constant basis before it is ok if she fights back and defends herself? Was I just supposed to wait until it got so bad so that he attacked me? The difference was that he had parents who cared and I had no one. Seven Oaks refused to take me back, nowhere would take me back. No one wanted me. They asked me what I wanted. I told them to send me back to my Mother and brother. She had created me, she had done this all to me and I wanted to see my brother. So, they gave me back to her, they made her take me back. She was not happy about it.
The day I walked back into the hallway of our apartment, she was physically banging my brother’s head into a piece of wood in the hallway that had nails in it. Thank goodness his head did not hit a nail but when she saw me coming, she went back into the apartment fast and I brought my brother inside after making sure he was ok. I was so fed up with her. She was just a menace in our lives. I told her to leave us both alone and just let us live. I told her if she ever put her hands on him again, I would put my hands on her. I was sick of her lies, her abuse, her constantly using us to benefit her. We were people, not sources of money, not garbage. She promised she would not touch him again. I wanted so badly to just have a normal life but honestly, I was not sure if it was ever going to be in reach.