Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I wonder....

A post by Mile 191 got me to thinking. She mentions flirting with a male teacher at a young age and it triggered me remembering a story I wrote in 6th grade. I was....what...11 years old? Actually, I think I was 10 because it was the beginning of the school year. It was a writing assignment to describe something that happened over the summer. I wrote a very sexually charged story about something seriously inappropriate that happened with a 30 year old man, including drinking wine and other unsavory details. It never occurred to me at the time that it was wrong or disconcerting.....it was my reality. Manipulation and sex had been part of my life for many years at that point and I didn't give it a second thought.
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It occurs to me, though.....Why didn't my teacher give it a second thought? If you were a 6th grade teacher and a student submitted such a story about drinking, sexual activity and older men....wouldn't you do or say SOMETHING?? This was almost 30 years ago....not like today when teachers have to be so ultra-careful of broaching any personal topics with their students. Even if she'd turned it over to the principal, nurse, guidance counselor or someone...anyone...to ask me if I was okay. In the back of mind, I wonder if maybe my parents were called about it and it was dismissed as a young girl with an overactive imagination. But I'll never know.
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A few years later, my sophomore year in HS, I was a big time cutter. I used to lift Exacto blades from the graphics lab and slice up my wrists over and over and over. I often wore wrist bands (hey, it was the 80's) to cover the marks. But I also used to draw pictures of razor blades on my desk in every classroom I sat in with a caption "Choose Death" (Again...this was the 80's...remember the Wham! slogan of Choose Life). One teacher did approach me in a caring manner and asked me if I'd written that on the desk. Even though it was also written all over my notebooks, I said no, of course, and he let it go. None of my other teachers ever mentioned it.
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I just wonder how loudly a child has to be screaming for help in order for an adult to hear it and react.

2 comments:

beauty said...

Yes, the silence of adults at crucial times can be puzzling and disconcerting.

I can't imagine what must have been wrong with your 6th grade teacher, that there wasn't some kind of a response/reaction to your writing assignment.

Often children are the very last to be heard, and even when they are so seldom are their screams taken seriously enough for an adult to jump into action.

How sad for our society!

Angel said...

I have no answers because mine too were ignored. It saddens me to think that yours were also ignored. That says to me that it wasn't anything individual about us that they couldn't respond to, but something within themselves that they didn't want to.

My personal favorite was my SS (sunday school, in this case) teacher who "cared" enough to ask me why I seemed so unhappy. When I told her, she said that I only had x number of years left until I was 18 and an adult so I could get away from it then. ::jaw drop:: Yes, that was her idea of why it was okay for her to do nothing. I wish I could say that I had a pithy response that I shot back at her, but I was too shocked to respond. This woman had a reputation for being such a good, upright person (at the time I might have said "godly" but I learned better) who would help anyone, but she wouldn't help me? I had told her of my painful wounds and she in essence stomped on them in an effort to prove to me that they weren't that bad. Sometimes I think of her and hope that she still thinks of me. (That isn't as egotistical as it sounds. She sent me a card after I left home. I never bothered to respond because frankly that seemed nicer than saying what I wanted to say.)