Today at work, I had to listen to the most awful 911 call from an 11 year old girl, who was calling because her mom was being brutally beaten up by her father. I can't even begin to explain how heartbreaking it was to hear this little girl scream like that. Eventually, her dad figured out that she was on the phone with 911, and then came after her, tackled her to the ground, and broke the cell phone. Listening to it, I didn't know whether to cry or throw up. It was terrible. I wish that we could save a copy to play for every parent who says that their children aren't affected by domestic violence in the home. It's always "they were sleeping" or "they were in another room" or "he's never hit me around them." Bottom line--it affects them.
Now, this next subject is going to seem like a big jump from topics, but I'll bring it back around, I promise! Okay, so I LOVE this new season of The Real World. This season is unlike the last few in that it isn't all about drinking, but rather about 8 individuals and the issues that they deal with in life. There's a young veteran from Iraq, a victim of family sex abuse, a transgendered individual, a Mormon who has taken a vow of chastity, etc.
On tonight's episode, one of my favorite individuals, Sarah, starts receiving calls from a person who won't identify himself to her roommates. Eventually, Sarah comes to the phone, and discovers that it's her dad, who was extremely abusive to her growing up, and at one point attempted to sexually abuse her. She hadn't given her father the number to the house, and immediately tells him never to call again. The dad responds in a way that I can only describe as completely asshole-ish. Unfortuantely, I have seen many men respond in EXACTLY the same way that her father does. The father from the 911 call above is one example. They are just completely malicious, in an effort to exert control over their victims again. Sarah wasn't having any of it. At one point, she says "I will NEVER allow him to make me feel like a victim. Because if I become a victim, he wins." She then went on to research organizations that she could help with doing art therapy with victims of abuse.
First and foremost, I was just absolutely DISGUSTED by her father, who was so intentionally malicious. I have an extremely hard time knowing that there are people in this world who operate in that way--who are INENTIONALLY malicious to those around them. But there are. I can only save my own sanity by thinking that those people just must be either evil incarnate and/or extremely mentally ill. But enough about Sarah's father--she's the person that I really want to talk about because I think that the way that she handled the whole situation was just so strong, classy, graceful, and inspiring...even though it was clearly something extremely painful for her. I'm sure that there are COUNTLESS young women who have already been inspired by her after this last episode.
(Watch it here)
Edit--Lisa shot me an email to discuss further, but I wanted to bring up something that she brought up in the email, because I think it may be something that you faithful readers may be thinking as well...
Lisa said (and I'm paraphrasing here), "I think I want her to forgive her father...I want her to be the bigger person."
I agree that I would ultimately like Sarah to forgive her father, but I think that forgiveness doesn't mean that Sarah has to let him back into her life as Chet seemed to suggest in the car. I believe that you can forgive someone, while also making the decision to not have them be a future part of your life. I think that it might be really empowering for Sarah to be able to say to her father, "I am not a victim. I have forgiven you in my heart, but I have chosen that you are not a person that I want in my life."