Monday, May 11, 2009

"Will Katie be okay?"

***Possible Trigger Warning***
Criminal Minds is one of my favorite shows on TV. It doesn't hurt that one of the stars, Shemar Moore, is totally dreamy!! Anyway, I was watching a TiVo'd episode over the weekend that really struck home.
A six year old girl goes missing from a mall. There had been a similar incident the previous week where another young girl was abducted from a mall and later found dead. The six year old girl, Katie, was at the mall with her parents and also with her Aunt, Uncle and their son. The families had separated in order to do some shopping. Realizing the girl is missing and it may be a serial killer because of the similar circumstance, the FBI BAU is brought in. The storyline develops as they do their investigation and realize that things are not adding up. They find an expensive gold & gemstone necklace that Katie had been wearing and it was torn off in such a way that indicated this abduction was personal and not random like the prior incident.
Searching the home of the young girl for clues to who may have a grudge against her, they discover she's been wetting her bed. They also find barbie dolls that are marked up with mouths and eyes blackened out. They determine a strong liklihood that Katie was being molested. The team takes to interviewing all the family members separately and eventually reveal that the uncle, her father's brother, has been molesting her for years. He had bought her the necklace as a keep-quiet gift. His wife (Katie's aunt) knew what was happening and, instead of turning him in or protecting Katie, she decided to get rid of the object of her husbands affection. She arranged this shopping trip and tried to make it look like Katie was abducted. She tied her up, taped her mouth shut and put her in a storage closet in some deserted back area of the mall.
Naturally, the BAU finds her just in the nick of time. She had no pulse but they were able to revive her. In the end of the show, Katie is being wheeled away in a stretcher. The Aunt and the Uncle are both being arrested. Their son stands there with the FBI agents and asks "Will Katie be okay?" The agent tells the boy that she will make a full recovery.
Full recovery? What do they know about how an abuse victim "recovers"? As they tried to revive her, of course the Mom in me doesn't want to see a 6 year old die and I'm hoping to see her breathe again. The abuse survivor in me is on the fence.....which way is she better off? Because there is no "full recovery" for someone who has been through that. And yes, it's a TV show......but that kind of molestation and the ensuing cover-up, silence, shame and pain are all too real for entirely too many children. They are reviving her to a life of questions, guilt, shame, isolation, anger and self-loathing. She's going to carry guilt and blame for her uncle and aunt going to prison, for her cousin becoming a foster child. She's going to run it through her mind thousands, millions, countless numbers of times why she didn't tell someone or say no or stop him from abusing her. She's going to feel dirty, different, ashamed and like she has nothing in common with other children her age. She is a little girl with adult experiences that she can't process and she won't feel like she fits in with peers at any age. She will feel fear, distrust, suspicion and unsafe wherever she goes. PTSD, depression, anxiety, panic attacks. She's signing up for years of therapy, maybe medications or addictions. Perhaps bad relationships and re-victimizing herself over and over. She's in for a lifetime of nightmares, flashbacks, sensory & body memories....things she can't make go away no matter how hard she tries.
Has she really been saved? Or would she be better off resting in peace?


Marj aka Thriver said...

Wow. yeah, good questions.

quacks like a duck said...

I've had a couple (accidental) near death experiences and I've wondered the same thing about myself... would I have been better off if I'd died in the fire? Would I have been better off if I'd drowned? Would I have been better off if I'd died of that infection?
Nearly all the time I'm glad I lived. But there are still times when I wish I had not.
It is truly a tough question.

Enola said...

I saw that episode. In my mind, I made up an ending. The cousin gets adopted by the little girl's parents. The girl's parents are strongly supportive of she and the cousin and get them intensive therapy. Both grow up to live "normal" lives, happily ever after. Possible?

Kim said...

Sure, anything is possible. What does it say about me that in *my* mind, the girls parents got divorced because they couldn't take the stress, the mom blamed the dad for what his brother did. The girl ended up a total PTSD disaster and the boy (cousin) ended up a career criminal from foster care?? Eek.