The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely mine and not connected in anyway to the United States Peace Corps.



He was sitting in the back seat, staring at his hands, trying not to show any emotion—pretending not to care. But his eyes betrayed him.  A mixture of anger, frustration, and despair welled within his tears and it was all his 13-year-old eyes could do to keep those tears from falling.  It was happening again, he was getting withdrawn from school, was being made to give up his football pads, his favorite teacher, his friends and there was nothing he could do about it. And I?  I had never felt like such a villain.

I know I shouldn’t feel bad about it, I know I was helping him and his mom get as far away from his father as possible. The best course of action for the situation at hand was escape to another shelter, another city—another life.   But it’s one thing to reason through the logical course of action and a completely different thing to walk down the hall with a 13-year-old boy who is leaving school and having to completely cut off communication with everyone he’s ever known.  The real world is never as fair or easy as the logical course of action makes it out to be.

He didn’t want to leave.  He wanted his father, his friends, and his life to stay the same.  He wanted to play in the football game that evening, it was his first time being a ‘starter’. He’s at the age where he is no longer a child to be taken by the hand and led blindly—he’s simultaneously old enough to be aware of the situation and young enough to not fully comprehend the outcome.  They say he’ll understand when he’s older.  I wish he didn’t have to wait that long. 

It’s hard enough to deal with abuse from the standpoint of an outsider when it involves two adults in a relationship they both choose to enter, but when you bring children into it, children who didn’t choose to be born to those parents, who have no control over the situation at hand, who are completely dependent on the very people* causing the problems—it makes my heart ache.

I’ve now been in this internship for 5 weeks.  For the past 3 weeks I’ve been the shelter manager for the women’s shelter here in Eagle Pass (which is actually not a true business yet, I’m also starting the business, writing up by-laws, figuring out a budget for the next 3 years, and filling out the necessary state and federal forms so we can be recognized as a legal entity rather then merely a group of people trying to do good, but that might be a subject for another post.)  and at times it’s tested me to my limits of patience and sanity.  I've had to explain to a 13 year old boy why it was important he move away from his life and everything he knew, I've had to drive an unsuspecting 12 year old boy to psychiatric evaluation, eventually checking him in for 7 days of observation and treatment. I've had to supervise CPS visitations for one of the women staying in our shelter, she gets one hour a week to visit her 4 children--all under the age of 8.

Abuse hurts everyone it touches but at the end of the day, I think it hurts the children the most.

As for R? i hope only the best in life for him from now on. he's one of the bravest kids i've gotten the pleasure of knowing.

*I say people because while I in no way blame the abused partner for the abuse s/he suffers and I understand that it’s hard to leave, if one stays in an abusive relationship s/he is helping to perpetuate the situation. No one else can make that first step to get out of the abuse but the ‘abusee’ and it is a step that must be made.

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