abused childI am so lost and I really have no clue what to do. I’d like to think I always have all the answers in life but sometimes I’m left speechless and feeling helpless. This is one of those times.

There is a girl that my oldest son was good friends with that lives up the road from us. She’s a great girl and spends a lot of time here with me and the kids. Her and I have gotten pretty close. My son had told me of times her family has been abusive toward her and how angry it made him, but teenagers can sometimes blow things up to be more than they are. I started paying attention, and what is happening is hurting me deeply.

She was over last night telling me about the things she is experiencing at home. Her mother slaps her around, and her older brother and younger sister beat her up. She’s a very kind girl with a very soft heart, and from what she says she has turned into their own personal punching bag. My heart breaks for her.

Her parents are threatening to send her away because she tries to stand up to them when she is getting hit, it does no good but escalate things. I suggested she talk to her counselor at school, her response was “then the services come and take us all away and have a big investigation and I just can’t do that” and I realized it has been an ongoing problem. I think they’ve been down this road before.

My best friend growing up had the same life, almost exactly except her father was abusive – not her mother. I watched in horror as her family did horrible brutal things to her and I couldn’t do anything but cry with her. I feel like I am back in those same shoes again, sitting and crying for a girl I can’t help that I love dearly.

I don’t know if I should make a call and report what I know is going on. She has a history of self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and severe depression. She has problems in school, she’s failing almost all her classes, and all she does is cry. I love this kid and I hate to see her spiraling so fast to a place I know is not good. Her parents will not even put her in therapy when she is hurting herself and very depressed.

I could use some help from my peers, have any of you had to step up for a child you loved and intervene? How do you do it? I don’t know if I can have that much courage or strength to turn her over to a system that I know will fail her as bad if not worse than her parents already have. She is a beautiful, smart, sweet, caring 15 year old girl and she deserves so much more in life then this.

Any suggestions?

Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt, available under a Creative Commons attribution license.