Will you help me prevent a young girl of thirteen going on fourteen not give up ? Her name is Renee.
When I met her, she was homeless, a ten year old child on the streets by herself, as she was attempting to escape her mother
who was a prostitute. Her mother expected her to “turn tricks” now that she was ten. So she ran, and then experienced the ugliest
and darkest side on humanity at the hands of men who sexually assaulted her because they could.
Her abusers were not just men of the streets, but a school custodian and a principal. Yes they treated her like trash. Why ? Because she was just a homeless kid, and because they could. They were punished for what they did, but that did not erase the scars, the deep hurt and distrust she had for mankind.
I was lucky enough to find a family who took her in, and eventually adopted her. Now at thirteen, you might expect a happy ending. Not yet !
Besides the ongoing health problems she still experiences due to her ordeals as a child on the streets, foraging for food in dumpsters, trying to heal a broken immune system, she is so far behind her new sisters and other kids younger than her , that she is frustrated, shamed and angry.
She talks of giving up.
She just wants to be loved like other kids. She just wants to be normal. In my eyes she is special as she survived more than I could imagine, but sadly what I know is true. However, in her new world, she is different. She does not fit in yet. Other kids make fun of her because she is not as well formally educated, even though she has the street sense that allowed her to survive, where most others her age would have perished.
I tell her how special she is. I tell her that we each have skills, something special we can do with our lives if we only could see beyond our fears.
I tell her she has a loving heart even after all she has been through, and that she could teach others a thing or two about life.
I want her to write so that she can see that she has things to say that could move people.
I may be close to getting a nod from her to do just that, but she needs encouragement from the world that she feels at times has cursed her.
If you have the mind to send her a supportive note, please do and I will forward it to her.If you respond with a comment, i will make sure she gets it. It might just help turn the tide of her life. She may actually believe
there is life after all she has been through.
I remember something special about her that might help. When she was on the streets, my friends and I wanted to send her food gift cards for something decent to eat
while we were working to get her off the streets. She refused any gifts, even food. She needed to remain strong, and if nothing else, she felt strong on the streets. She did not wish to be dependent as that would make her weak. She did not wish to TRUST anyone, to then find out their real agenda.
Instead, since it was the time of the Tsunami in Japan, she asked if we could do something for those kids. That should tell you something about this special little girl.
She needs to know her life matters. She needs to see the purpose in her life as we all do.
Gene Benedetto, Psychologist
On-Line Support Group: OneStepAtATime.com
Hello brave girl, you have already suffered so much and it is obvious that you care about others such as the tsunami victims. Its a lot to contemplate right now, but when you are older, I believe that this desire to give others your help and care will be what also helps and saves you too! Don’t give up little girl, because as is often the case with victims of abuse, one day your experiences will give you the gift of insight into others suffering and you will truly be able to empathise with others and help them in a way that others could never do. You will be able to help them not to give up too! Love to you x
Thank you Kathryn for taking the time to share a message of hope with Renee.
Gene Benedetto, Psychologist
Just the fact alone that a person that goes through so much and can remain so strong and is so selfless, shows that they deserve to give themself a chance at succeeding. Sadly, people are made fun of and hurt, but we must not give up. Giving up only gives the enemy what they want. Just because you were abused, does NOT mean that you aren’t normal, it just means you went through something extremely hard. You made it through dark times and you ARE amazing for that. Writing what you went through WILL inspire others and maybe, help yourself. You are so young and there are so many GOOD people in the world. Don’t let the people that are cruel hide the fact that there are people just like you that are more than decent. Please do not give up. When trying to get through something difficult, giving up never helps. As painful as something must be, you must strive to succeed. You’ve already done so well at fighting to get through everything. Don’t stop.
I feel you are and will become very inspirational to children as well as adults. I hope you decide to write and tell your story. You will gain confidence and even more strengh and closure from it as most abused people do.I know we all look for acceptance . Try not to focus so much on what others think, you have a good strong heart follow it and you will find purpose and happiness. Renee you are wise beyong your age. My thoughts and prayers are with you .
All the Best. Steve
Hi Gene, I hope I can still send a message to Renee. It’s kind of long and it ends with my first name, so if it doesn’t all fit on here let me know and I will email it to you. You can edit as you see fit. Roger
I just want you to know that I think you are one of the bravest, wisest, most selfless and caring people that I have ever heard of. I was in the military and I think you are much braver, wiser, more selfless and caring than I am. But you’ve given me something to strive for.
Listen, I know that you are trying to deal with a lot. You are probably trying to deal with your past, present and future all at once. You are probably trying to deal with pain and fear and doubt and anger and maybe even hatred. I know you are probably feeling overwhelmed and even tired of it all and want to “give up”. I understand because I am tired of dealing with my past, present and future, fear, doubt, anger and hatred too. Everyday I think about “giving up”. But do you want to know what keeps me going? I know there are people who care about me and would be very sad if I ‘gave up’.
I know there are many people in your life that care very much for you too. Your new family care about you. I know for a fact that Gene cares very much for you and he is so proud of you, too. And now there are some people that you’ve never met, including me, who care about you too.
I heard that you are thinking of writing about your experiences. I hope you do! It could inspire people to help others or seek help.
I have also heard that some kids in your school are making fun of you. I wish there was something I could say to help with that other than kids are mean. The best way to beat them is to prove them wrong. You have already proven, to me and others, that you are braver and stronger (mentally, physically) than they are. You have even proven that you are smarter than they are, but in different ways. Prove to them that you can be as book smart as them also.
Good Luck and Keep Strong! Your New Friend, Roger
You are a beautiful person. Please don’t give up. The fact alone you cared about the children in the tsunami, while you were experiencing your own hardships shows you are a wise, and strong and inspiring person. I am sorry there are kids who are being mean to you. They are insecure with themselves and some of them are probably jealous and because of this, they will have a hard time when they are older. When I was in school, a lot of kids made fun of me too. I also experienced hard times growing up but not as difficult as surviving on the streets alone. Always remember it was not your fault and you were hurt and will still be hurting inside for awhile, but this is normal and it’s ok to cry.
This is a poem I wrote that I share with my friends going through hard time:
U Gotta B Strong
You gotta be strong
Hold tight and hang on
Learn to cope
Thrive on hope
Deal with life
Not a knife
All you bared
Don’t be scared
Don’t hold it all in
Breathe out, breathe in
Take a chill pill
Roll doen a hill
Just let go
Let tears flow
Just cry the pain away
And to God pray
Let it out
Write it out
If you need to weep
Hug and rock yourself to sleep
Untill you feel that calm
And you are ready to move on
Tara p.s.- Hang in there please! We all love you!
Tara, I really liked your poem! Thank you for sharing it!
You are warmly welcome and I am glad you enjoyed it.
I hope Renee is doing well. =)
Renee, I have read your story. I too was the victim of sexual abuse starting at age 3 by members of my own family.My father was in a public position, and would tell me not to tell anyone. I had no one on my side. I was depressed and felt worthless. Because of the abuse, I was withdrawn and was picked on and bullied at school. Eventually, two weeks after graduating high school….I moved out. Some nights I spent here and there, sometimes even sleeping in my rustbucket car. No one seemed to understand me and I was too ashamed to tell. I focused on making my own way in this world, deep down knowing it was not my fault. It was not your fault either. You did nothing wrong! Please, don’t ever ever give up!!!! I felt like that too….but if you give up, they’ve won. You are stronger than that!!!! Prove to yourself you are better than your abusers. Choose to help others,which in turn will help you. Whenever you feel down remember what you have already accomplished! I wish I could give you a big hug! One more thing, it is totally OK to accept help. It does not make you weak. Much love to you Renee !