Trapped This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , Washington, DC
I knew you had been drinking. You stood there with two brown bottles in one hand, leaning against the door frame with the other. Your eyes flew around the room until they landed on me. My heart pounded when you announced that you were having your friends over for dinner and said, “I want you out of my sight girl, go on down to the basement.” When I refused to obey, you stumbled across the room to where I was sitting on the floor in the kitchen. I saw you lunge toward me and felt my throat tighten up when you grabbed the front of my shirt in your fist and pushed me toward the basement door. I smelled the alcohol on your breath and the cigarettes on your clothes as you dragged me down the stairs. Those smells still remind me of you. Shoving me onto the basement floor you yelled, “Go stand in the corner!” I knew this would be another night, one of many, when you would make me stand and prevent me from falling asleep.



Just as I felt the heaviness of sleep pulling my eyelids and knees down toward the floor you would come downstairs and shake me, forcing me to remain standing. This would go on throughout the night, depriving both of us of sleep, until I heard the sweet jingle of your car keys on your way to work in the morning. What a relief when I heard that front door slam shut behind you! Sleep would come so quickly once I crawled upstairs and sunk into my bed. Safe, for a little while.


You told the adoption agency you would take care of me, better than my own parents had before I was taken away from them at the age of two. Liar. How could you treat me like this? Why did you offer to take me at all? Why do I feel so guilty?


I'm older now and I have forgiven but not forgotten this foster parent and several others who mistreated me as I moved from one foster home to the next. I still struggle to trust people. Sometimes I can't even trust myself. Sometimes I feel my insides boil and I can get so angry...


But I am getting better. I stop, and I think more about things before I say or do them. It helps to sit down and draw, take a walk outside, or listen to my music to cool off and calm down. And it's important to keep hope. There are people who have given me hope. I am grateful to my teacher who noticed the marks left on my neck and cared enough to ask me about them. Its so important to ask. And I am grateful to my social worker for helping with me to find a better place to live and reminding me that none of this is my fault.



I have to always remind myself that there is nothing I did to deserve abuse. I have learned to be more gentle with myself and I am learning to love myself. When I am older, I would like to become a doctor or a nurse. I would like to be able to help other people like me who have experienced the pain of abuse. I know how it feels to be alone, to be mistreated, to have no control over where you go or who you live with.





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