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An Opinion Piece (1 Viewer)

J

Jenaisis

Failed Attempts

A fireman. A doctor. A social worker. They all rescue people for a living. At least, that’s what they are supposed to do.
I was in third grade when I learned a real-world lesson; a tiny shrimp of a girl with wavy chestnut hair to the middle of her back and dimples that could melt your heart was let down. It had been a rough school year; my dad was not allowing my sisters and me to see my mother every other weekend like we were supposed to, and the beatings were getting worse. I could not protect my sisters for much longer because he was just out of control.
One afternoon, I had returned from school and was watching Ninja Turtles; my dad was outside working on his cars, so I could let my guard down a bit and relax. My sisters were scrunched on the faded plaid couch, their eyes glued to the cartoon. I was cozy in my miniature rocking chair with light-blue velvet padding; it was just my size, and it was my turn to use it. Just as we were getting to the good part of the show, my dad burst into the room. “What do you girls think you are doing?” he thundered. We were rendered speechless, because we knew that glare, those clenched teeth, and the redness of his neck; when he looked like that, he was not daddy anymore. I don’t think I ever got a chance to move or stand up out of my tiny chair before he swooped out of nowhere and struck me across the face. The blow hit with so much force that the chair and I both slid across the particleboard floor. I could hardly see when I finally opened my eyes, but I could hear him hitting them. I looked up towards the couch, and Jacquelynn and Jessica were shielding their faces and scrunching up into the smallest balls that they could. That’s when it clicked that I had to do something; I couldn’t stand seeing him hurt my younger sisters. Just hearing their whimpers gave me the courage to do something that I should have done before that day.
At school, I knew the counselor because I had to go to meetings about divorced parents. I knew it would be the safest way to get help. At our next meeting, I waited after everyone had left the room to speak with Mrs. Council. She smiled, like always, and made me feel like nothing I could say was unfixable. I poured out my story, crying the whole time. I think I missed my afternoon classes that day because I was completely inconsolable. I didn’t want to hurt my daddy. I loved him and didn’t want anything bad to happen to him; I just wanted my sisters to be safe.
The social worker came to our house a few days later. Jacquelynn, Jessica, and I were folding laundry while my dad was in his room. We heard a tiny knock on the door, and I went to answer it. When I opened it, I saw a short lady with peppered grey hair. She smiled and asked if my father was home. I didn’t know who this lady was, but I was a bit curious as to why she wanted to speak with dad. I couldn’t keep the pit in my stomach from growing. Was this lady going to save us from him? She seemed a bit too small to do much.
My dad came out of his room at the sound of company, so I withdrew back to the couch to watch with my sisters. “Mr. Rogers, I am Madeline Saunders from the Franklin County Child Protective Services. I need--,” and she was cut off. My dad slammed the door. That night was one of the worst nights of my life. He knew that we had told on him, and we knew that he knew. I don’t know which was worse, the pain from the beating or the pain in my heart from knowing that I had given up my father.
Social workers continued to come to the house, but with no luck. Dad would tell us to go to our room and not make a sound. We would sit for half an hour sometimes, peering out of our plastic covered window to see which knight would fail to rescue us that day, and with each effort, my heart would grow heavier. I had failed to save my sisters.
After a few months, they stopped coming. Those almighty social workers with their grandiose goals and ideals would do nothing but knock on the door and wait. They knew we were there, but they just stood there expecting my father to give himself up. Do you know what it is like to see salvation just a few feet away, yet you can’t reach it for the hand that holds you back? Three young girls who might have had a better childhood with their mother or a foster family were left to be beaten because the social workers couldn’t do anything more than knock on the door.
 
Hi jenaisis, I wont say I enjoyed your story as I know it was from real life experience. I will say that I find your writing style easy to read.

I just have a couple of questions that may help with your writing.

Why did you not speak out when social workers came to visit? Was it the fear you felt of your father? The beating was going to take place whether you spoke out or not. Were you afraid that they would be escalated? What thoughts were going through your mind during those visits? Did your school counselor talk to you again after you first told her of your father? What were her reactions? Were you afraid to continue to talk of the beatings that took place after every visit from a social worker?

I am sorry. It is more than a couple questions. The reason I ask, is that the story drew me in enough to want to know more.

The questions I posed are more for consideration if you write of other experiences; not to be answered for this story unless you intend to redraft it.
 

workingauthor

Senior Member
This feels more like a blog than anything else. Specifics would better serve this piece if it's meant to be something more. I'd suggest not relying on your reader to automatically know what it's like to have salvation a few feet away. Even if they did, it might be different for them than it was for you. Let the reader feel how you felt by describing it.
 

smilinghelps

Senior Member
I think workingauthor has a good point. Show the reader what its like to have salvation a few feet away and not save you.

Your writing was easy to read, but you've told us a lot and I'd love to be shown. You've got a great start--ask yourself how things felt--and answer them to us. It just needs filling, keep writing, you're doing great.
 

JohnN

Senior Member
Wow, a chilling story. I like your writing its easy to read and not ridden with cliches. This is the perfect start, however, I think it could do with more description as to what happened. I feel the end was slightly rushed.

Good piece though.

P.S. Separate your paragraphs with a line break
 

The Backward OX

WF Veterans
Why did you not speak out when social workers came to visit? Was it the fear you felt of your father? The beating was going to take place whether you spoke out or not. Were you afraid that they would be escalated? What thoughts were going through your mind during those visits? Did your school counselor talk to you again after you first told her of your father? What were her reactions? Were you afraid to continue to talk of the beatings that took place after every visit from a social worker?

The answer to all these questions is that the entire story is a fantasy, just like her "The Monster" in Critique and Advice.
 
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The answer to all these questions is that the entire story is a fantasy, just like "The Monster" in Critique and Advice.

I am not so certain about this. I once witnessed an event of abuse and just as I felt then, I feel now; that I want to abuse the words used to describe how I feel, but will refrain. At the time, I had to write a document of the incident. I omitted words that would incite because I felt they would serve no purpose and/or would down play what I witnessed.

Perhaps Jenaisis has not yet allowed herself to fully express her emotions or has other reasons to keep it simple by omitting explosive words.
 
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