Despite the Odds
For Child Abuse Prevention Month, we offered our youth the opportunity to have their voices heard and write a feature story for our blog. The below piece was written by a young woman named Jasmine.
April 7, 2017 – â€œDid I do the right thing? What will happen to my parents now? Theyâ€™re the only family I ever knew, my brother and sister are going to hate me now.â€ These were the questions and worries running through my mind after I told my high school guidance counselor about the abuse I was going through at home. I was seventeen at the time. I am now twenty and have been in foster care since January of 2014. I have come very far from where I was, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Today I want to tell you that it can be done!
For about six years of my life I was physically abused. Actually, thatâ€™s an understatement, I was held hostage and tortured by my dad and stepmom. Inhumane acts would be done to me; things you see in movies or murder documentaries. There were so many days I wanted to go to school and not come back. I felt as if I had no outlet or room to breathe, every day was a mystery as to what mishap I would come home to this time. I knew nothing else. My junior year in high school was the worst; I skipped school countless times because of a busted lip, swollen eye, or open wounds.
Although I knew what my dad and stepmom were doing to me was wrong, they always said they loved me, therefore I felt guilty deep down knowing that I betrayed them. Why hadnâ€™t you said anything sooner you might ask. It was the toxic love and manipulative minds that held me hostage. Psychologists say that childhood is a vital part in oneâ€™s development and I find that to be very true! Those words and scars stuck with me, and it affects the way I look at myself, think of myself, and love myself.
Pretending you know none of that, I want you to know that I am resilient, self- aware, empowering, passionate, confident, and happy. However, these characteristics didnâ€™t develop overnight. I conquered all of that with help of the foster care system, social workers, mentors, and personal willingness. Iâ€™m here to tell you that despite the odds, it can be done!
Most youth in foster care arenâ€™t there because they want to be. I have been involved with many children through community organizations and events. Iâ€™m sure I can speak for all when I say that it is hard to heal. We put up a wall or facade to avoid getting hurt again. There are so many defense mechanisms that are used, but most of the time people see them as acting out. A part of healing is learning to accept and love yourself for who you are, and thatâ€™s very hard to do with some of the things we go through.
I feel what we all need is love, guidance, and motivation. Personal relationships play a huge part in this even though it can be hard to achieve; A relationship built from trust, honesty and understanding. Once the youth have this, I feel they will be more keen to their potential and realize they can strive for anything!