Friday, January 13, 2012

We held no counseling groups for most of December as every available inch in the shelter was taken up by donations of toys, pajamas, and gifts for the women. When I returned after New Year’s, some of the children I knew had left, I hoped to their own apartments, as opposed to returning home to the batterer. 

Two new kids, a boy and a girl, greeted me in a friendly way and stayed to talk while I ate supper in the dining room. They seemed trusting and sweet and were kind to other children.  

That night, given there were many Christmas toys still available, my supervisor left word that each resident and visiting child could choose a Three Kings’ gift. The boy I’d met at supper picked a typical male toy—no surprise there. The “new” girl, though, picked a super macho transformer in red and black.

She is in early elementary school, beautiful, slim and sports a fashionable haircut. She’s not masculine-looking or -acting in any way. So why such a strange choice? I’m not sure but maybe it’s not so strange. 

Kids come into the shelter still very much cowed by the masculine power and control in which the batterer has smothered them. The more afraid the child is of the batterer, the more s/he may identify with him. And identifying with him may at least provide the child with some sense of power and strength.

Fortunately, this little girl’s mother seems strong and up to the task of separating from her abuser. Let’s hope she’s done it soon enough so her kids can, too.

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