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aharon Offline
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Unhappy My friend's abusive father - July 2nd 2009, 01:23 AM

Okay, since I'm a math person lets define some variables first :
X = my friend, a 13 year-old girl

Alright, that was only one. Oh well. So, here's the story:

X is a year below me in school. We met in an music (the type isn't needed) class, and we've been relatively good friends since. We live in a very affluent area, and go to a school district that is the best in the entire state (which one of the largest in the nation in terms of both population and size). So you'd think we're all well off and happy. And so it seems at first.

However, after getting to know X very well, and becoming pretty much best friends with her, I realized that with her, this well-off-and-happy idea didn't fit her.

At first, I began noticing her apparent lack of any self-esteem. She would say things like, "I play so horribly at [her instrument; name censored]". This is despite being one of the top 10 players in the state. And then, this would sometimes lead to things life "Life isn't worth living, especially mine". I didn't really know what to say, and would always respond back, "Of course it isn't" and then make a joke to move on to another topic just to prevent any awkwardness.

Today, I learned another piece of the story which warrants taking it here.

Her father, at least, is a very traditional Chinese man. (I don't know about the rest of her family.) He believes that women are inferior to men and has, seemingly, always begrudged having a daughter. (She has a younger brother, who is idolized by her parents.)

This is manifested in lots of ways: I learned this because she was on the verge of tears after being sent out for the mail and then having a box thrown at her on her return because her brother started crying which was "her fault". But, this seems just to be the tip of the iceberg. Allegedly, her father takes her temper out on her regularly, throwing boxes and papers and metronomes and really, anything else, at her because she doesn't meet his musical, social, or academic expectations—and, worse, she has bruises and cuts that she gets from these things.

Her father also makes her council her parents if they have any arguments: she has to take them into rooms separately and make them talk it out. That has been going on since she was 7.

And, I'm sure that there are other things going on—possibly even sexual, but I doubt it—in this same vein of abuse.

Now, the real thing is what do I do? She feels that it would be best in her long-term future, such as getting into good colleges and such, to stay here—and I have to agree. If she were to go into the foster care system or something like that, she might not have things thrown at her but she also wouldn't get the first rate education for her future. So that's really not an option. Are there any alternatives?

Thank-you very much to anybody who managed to wade through this entire thing
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TheBabyEater Offline
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Re: My friend's abusive father - July 2nd 2009, 04:34 AM

Her mental status and happiness is much more important that her grades. Keep that in mind, both of you. This is quite dangerous if you think about it, to the point that it's deadly depending on the circumstances. Grades really don't matter when you're dead.
I sudgest that you overcome awkwardness (cause it WILL be awkward. It sucks... but yeah..) and just... front up ask her how things are going on at home.

Other than telling an adult and having them work this out, there's not much else you can do. She might not be put in a foster home unless her mother and aunts and uncles are all unable to care for her or abusing her as well... Which is kinda unlikely... Her mom might, but all her relatives? She might have to move, and while moving sucks it's a lot better than a foster home or being abused like this.
Other than that, you can become closer friends and stuff, get her to open up to you about it (which is very hard for her, trust me, but way worth it) Help her through this as much as you can by being there for her and stuff. If things get real bad one day, she can have a friends house to go to for awhile.

Personally... I would tell an adult after getting more information. Because even if she says she's fine, she might not be, get depressed, and I don't want to go on...

Good luck.

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floatingangel Offline
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Re: My friend's abusive father - July 2nd 2009, 01:15 PM

hey hun, is there any teacher in school that she can talk to? what is happening in her family is very damaging to her and it doesn't matter how well she accomplishes anything if she's still facing these problems that hurt her a lot. and it's obvious isn't it? it's probably very hard and near impossible to talk through to her parents on her own, and it'll help if a responsible adult like a teacher can help open up communication channels. it's not right for her to be treated like this. she probably loves and respects her parents, but you have to tell her that she has the right to stand on her own. it's the 21st century now and asians have moved away from the whole conservative primitive view of guys being better than girls. let her know that she is a worthy person who has every right to be proud of herself and not to let her parents dominate her like that. she's still young and it's probably hard for her to stand up for herself, so do try to help her by constantly affirming her and offering to go with her to see a teacher to discuss her family issues.

and the voice of truth tells me a different story
the voice of truth says "do not be afraid"
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