Sunday, June 14, 2009

When Justice Fails the Children: PART IV, Kristy's story by Debra Sanders

When Justice Fails the Children: Kristy’s story
Part IV

At the time that I received Kristy’s first email, I had not been a practicing educational psychologist for several years. Officially, “retired” due to the head injury and its ongoing ramifications, the final version of Panache was just heading into print, with a scheduled release date of November 18, 2008. My world had become a quiet one, with pecked out words as my companions and the daunting task of having to learn the business end of writing a book, despite the fact that remembering any new information seemed a monumental,and quite possibly impossible, task.

About a week before I heard from Kristy, my website went up and although there are many Debra Sanders out there, this time when Kristy performed what I was to learn was her ongoing search for me, the website was the first to pop up on Google. Clicking on the link, the first thing Kristy saw was my picture and she realized, “Oh my God, I found her. I really, really found her.”

And so, through the contact me box on my website, Kristy sent that initial communication and at 3:17 in the afternoon on August 24,2008 I responded with this:

"Kristy, all I can say is that for the first time in several years, I spoke about you two nights ago...That you would out write me out of the blue less than 48 hours later, is simply astounding to me. Please write and tell me how you are, where you are.

Kristy’s response, composed as rapidly as I had written mine, told me she was living in XXX, having moved there from XXX a few months prior. "The hardest part of living there", she said, was that she was "in a very rural area and there were no therapists who specialized in dissociative disorders". She went on to say, “I still have a LOT of problems cause of the abuse. I am diagnosed with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) and I have 11 different parts.” Kristy went on to explain that in the last state in which she had lived, she had an excellent therapist and had been functioning well enough to hold down two part time jobs—one at Wal-Mart, the other as an aide in a head and spinal rehabilitation center.

I found it almost as surprising that she had been working in the area of head injuries as I found the simple reality of having been contacted by her.

As is common when two people reconnect with an interim of fifteen years between contacts, there was an initial flurry of emails, with Kristy filling me in on some basic aspects of her life. She did not know what state her parents were in, refused to refer to them by name, but rather simply called them the “A**holes;” and she had gotten her GED at nineteen. “How I did it I I have no clue since I left *** middle I never did any school after that. During that time the abuse got worse since there was no school to escape to and that's when K.left being the core part.”

Kristy went on to explain that no therapist had ever been able to help her integrate (merge her independent parts) because K. had not resurfaced since disappearing fifteen years earlier. One of the reasons they had been looking for me for so long, Kristy explained, is that she thought maybe K would emerge in order to talk to me and if they could stabilize their mental health, she was thinking about prosecuting her parents for the abuse she had endured.

“I told K.I found you since she mentoned you a lot when we were younger and I knew you too since I watched her but she seemed scarred maybe you and her can work stuff out. But its up to you.
I want to get her your book do you think that's a good idea?”

Almost immediately, I received an email from K:

“Ms Sanders its K. are you mad at me for being a bad girl? i sorry i was bad when you knew me. i only did what daddy an mommy told me to do. They were so bad to me i sorry i didn't tell you what they all did to me i wanted to but i was afraid to i knew it would never stop. i miss your letters you wrote me in school even though mommy always found them i tryed to hide them but when you have to strip as soon as you get home she'd find them. i hope you dont mind i told kristy about you. i dont want to be out in this world anymore i like being safe inside. you will like kristy shes not like me shes brave. after i left school daddy moved into my room and he became my husban he told me noone would ever protect me so i better not tell another person. mommy became meaner to and she started hurting me too. i cryed for you when they were not around which was very seldom and then id go inside and cry to kristy i couldnt keep doing it so kristy took over. i wanted you to save me but i knew you never would why would you when i was so bad. kristy told me she found you and it scared me cause how could you still like me after what i did. i protected mommy and daddy instead of you and you never hurt me they did. did you ever know how bad it was for me i remember you tryed to get me to tell you before mommy got in the way then you tryed to get me to write it to you. i couldnt i hope you know why. although i wanted to so bad i dreamed of telling you and you saving me but id wake up with daddy having sex with me so i knew i could never tell. im going to go back inside please dont tell mommy and daddy i wrote to you”

I received this email at noon, August 25, 2008—not quite twenty-four hours after the first contact.

OMG, I thought. Holy, holy shit. Is this for real? Clearly, I need to establish parameters.


Now my head was really spinning.

TBC. Read on to find out what else K and Kristy wrote and how I established a non-therapeutic relationship with her, while wrestling in my head with the ethics of continuing written correspondence.

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