MOTHER of runaway child trying to cope with effects of negative fallout from social media and trauma of child’s agony. (Maria Bradshaw)
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DON’T JUDGE runaway girls unless you know the full story. That plea comes from a mother whose daughter ran away from home twice over a two-year period.
The mother whose name we are withholding because her daughter is still a minor, said she was disgusted that a social media site had put up a picture of her then missing daughter attracting vile and unsavoury comments from adults, who did not know the real situation.
She said that contrary to reports, her daughter did not run away “to be with a man” but that she was dealing with a traumatic situation which had left her depressed and suicidal for the past three years.
“She was raped when she was 11,” the mother revealed with sadness, tears streaming down her face. And she kept it inside for two years.” The mother said that she only found out when her daughter told a counsellor last year.
That devastating event, she revealed, had left her daughter withdrawn and suicidal to the extent that she was undergoing psychological care and was even on prescribed medication.
Explaining the details, the mother said she and her husband were overseas with their son who was undergoing a serious operation.
“We had to spend six months in the United States so I left her here with my mother. When we came back we realised that she was moving strange; she wouldn’t want to be around any boys and if you send her to the shop she wouldn’t want to go. She would lock herself away in the bedroom if anyone come to the house – she wouldn’t want to see them – a lot of strange things she use to do.”
Suspecting that something was terribly wrong, the mother said she questioned her child repeatedly but “she just use to keep quiet and cry a lot”.
Taken for counselling
It was only when she ran away the first time and was taken for counselling that they found out about the sexual attack.
“She said a man who was one of our cousins raped her and told her if she told anybody he would kill her.”
The news, she said, ripped the family apart especially given that the man had not been charged by the police.
“I feel really disappointed to know that we have been at the police back and forth, they called us in many times, she gave a statement and still nothing has not been done.”
She believed this situation and her separation from her husband, were affecting her daughter. “My daughter is very depressed, she cuts herself up with a razor blade,” the mother revealed.
That is why she was so overcome with fear and anxiety when her daughter ran away from home.
“When she ran away this time I thought she had done something to herself. I didn’t know where she was – if she was living or dead.” By day three the mother started to believe that her 14-year-old had actually committed suicide.
Throughout the five-day ordeal, she walked “all over Barbados” looking for her daughter.
“I was worried. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I was all around looking for her. I use to come home and cry and pray to the Lord to bring home my daughter. At one point I was telling myself she wasn’t going to return, honestly, I thought she had killed herself.
The mother recalled that on the day her daughter disappeared she actually received a telephone call from the child, but only realised it was a plea for help after the fact.
“She called me on the morning she went missing and told me she wanted to come home with me. I told her I was going to the hospital for her medication and I will call her when I was finished but when I was at the hospital I got a call from her dad saying they could not find her.
“I felt so bad. I felt as if I was taking my last breath. It had me feel like I was handicapped just to know the things my daughter going through,” she said.
As to the criticisms levelled at them on social media, the mother said the negative comments were not true.
“She is very quiet and reserved, always by herself. She don’t give no trouble, she is not rude, she don’t give you back any talk. I asked the teachers about her and they said she doesn’t give any trouble at school.”
The mother said she felt disappointed that she was painted as a bad mother.
“I have been there for both of my children right through. I am a woman that likes to be independent. I go out there and look for work. It is only because of my son’s condition that I have been out of work because I had to deal with him,” she said pointing out that her son had lost sight in both eyes.
As to her daughter’s picture being put on the social website, the mother said that had also left her depressed.
“When I see they had up my daughter picture big and bold it wasn’t good, she is still a minor.
And she also has very strong feelings about men who sexually abuse children.
“I don’t think that these guys should get bail knowing the children are minors. They should be locked away for a very long time.” (MB)