( continued from previous post life 6-14 years)
A new chapter, entering state care. So as stated in the last blog I was entered voluntarily by my parents to state care for up to 3mnths. I was collected after school and driven to a town 30 mins away and placed with 2 middle aged ladies I entered care in my tatty school uniform, broken shoes with a school bag of books and nothing more. On the first morning my new carers sift through their cupboard finding clothes of theirs which may fit me. I looked a bit silly but the clothes were ok, I was so embarrassed when they drove me to the local school to meet the principal to enrol but at least I wasn’t naked.
I remember the school giving me a bag of uniforms which I could use. I was to start school the next day; I was excited about the possibility of new friends and a possible new life. The staff all seemed lovely and the principal was very kind. When we arrived home a friend of the carers was there to drop of a bag of clothes which had belonged to her daughter.
Her daughter and I went inside and sifted through the clothes, it was almost like playing dress ups, everything was really trendy stuff I had never seen before and would never of been allowed to wear at home. Things went smoothly at first I made friends with the girl who brought the clothes, kids at school were pretty nice to me and the teachers were great. One day after about 3 weeks a church minister approached me, he said my mum had asked him to check on me (I hadn’t heard from her or my family at all) he said I was allowed to meet with him at the church and there would be no problems, so we set up to met after school. He took me home to my carers, this totally shocked them. He said we had an appointment and that he would return me after a couple of hours, because he was a church minister the carers agreed but I could see they were not happy. I remember driving to the church residence with the minister but I do not remember what occurred or what was said. I remember that night when back with my carers I had a bit of a meltdown, my carers had gotten used to me screaming in my sleep but I don’t think they had ever seen me just break down and cry kick and scream over anything.
I remember the next day being collected by docs and swiftly being returned to mum and dad in my home town. It was a weird feeling I was rather torn on some level excited to be back with my family, my blood I dearly missed my siblings even though we didn’t really have a relationship but they were very young so I couldn’t blame them. I loved my brother he was my only full blood sibling and I feel a strong need to be connected to him even though he hates me. Dad was overly nice whilst the Docs worker was there handing me back gave me a hug but it was empty, I remember the smell of his flannel shirt it made me feel ill. Mum was stiff and distant busy talking about all the conditions of me living back in her home. The docs’ worker soon left I went to my room clutching at my garbage bag of things. I remember hoping straight in bed still clutching at the garbage bag, I slept with it as I was so afraid it would be taken.
Very early the next morning I was awoken by my father the same as I used to be “come on get up there’s work to do” I quickly got up and picked some clothes from my bag and got dressed. I remember walking out in to the dining room ready to start, dad spotted me and starting yelling “what the hell are you wearing” “you look like a tramp” I started crying , I mouthed back and said they were nice clothes I liked them. He picked up his metal work esky and threw it across the room, it hit the side of my leg and I buckled under the pain. He came at me in an almighty rage ripping the clothes of my body calling me horrible names like slut and hoar. I remember running away that morning to my besty around the corner, she was shocked to see me as she didn’t know I was back and we had not had contact since I left. She got me some of her clothes and her mum made me breakfast.
I stayed with her for a night or 2 and then docs found me a new carer, this time I would go to a town 45 minutes away and live on a farm. They were a well to do farming family, the house was lined with beautiful things and the homestead was grand (well to me anyway) I had again only a few things this time it was a shopping bag of clothes my besty lent to me. This was the pattern which occurred throughout the first 3 months in care I was placed with carers, docs would outline to them what my mother determined my issues to be. They were all told I made my family’s life hell and was trouble, so this is how I was treated everyone was harsh, cold and just like my mum. Nobody cared to stop and see what I was actually like. The smallest issue and they would say I had to go. Some carers were fence sitters, they would talk to me , get to know me but wouldn’t allow me near their friends , never took me out in public, asked me not to speak to their children just stay in my room or in designated areas of their house. Every now and then I would get a glimmer and be invited to do something with the family, like farmers would allow me to help feed chooks, check on sheep or walk to the mail box to check the mail. In that 3 months 2 carers stood out , one who was gentle and kind and wanted to keep me she was part of the local dental clinic and had known me since I was 4 even though I didn’t know her other than the maybe 3 times I had a school dental check. Her husband was the local butcher he was nice, always calm. He loved fishing and making his home brew.
She would talk to me all the time; we would sit and watch the price is right giggling away.
She introduced me to wonderful things I had never experienced like hot chicken and mayo on bread rolls.....yum yum, I loved it so much whenever I stayed with her she made sure there was a bbq chicken ready and waiting. She let me eat chocolate bars and gave me my first bra and Levi jeans. Her kids had left home so she didn’t really have much for me to do but we would sit and talk for hours.
My mum and dad harassed her and her husband to no end, sometimes they would sit in their car out front of her house or their work, they would criticize them and hurl abuse at them. Mum told docs that they worked past school hours and so docs said it was unsafe for me to stay because nobody was home when I returned from school. I think the longest stay with them was 2 weeks, but throughout my 4 years in care I would stay there often as a go between placements my mum hated this. The other carer who stood out in those 3 months was a young lady who was 20.
I was her first foster child, she had a boyfriend who was a biker and they lived with another couple who had 2 kids all 7 of us lived in a 3bdr housing commission home which backed on to the western rail line. She was fun there were no rules, and her goal was to give me everything. She gave me loads of candy every time we went out which was every day.
She bought me roller blades, hairspray and lip gloss and other girly stuff. I felt happy but uncomfortable with her and her mates. I mean being spoilt was great but it just didn’t seem right. I had already formed in my mind very strict rules for I was determined no matter what happened I didn’t want to be a statistic.
Being in care I quickly learnt nobody expected me to achieve anything, everyone expected me to be on drugs or drinking & smoking, everybody expected me to have run INS with the law. They all said that was my future and nothing could be done about it I was too damaged and that’s just what is the norm for kids in care. One carer said to me “no point getting to know you, I’m just your baby sitter till you end up in jail or dead” her words stuck with me and made me determined to prove her and everyone else wrong. Anyway the carer who was 20 lived a let’s say controversial life style. Her and the mates smoked cannabis, drank and loved piercings and tattoos. For awhile I was designing tats for her she would take them to tattoo artist in the local city, he would pay her for them and sometimes she would get them on her body.
When her friend s visited I was the little tat artist prodigy, I hated it but at least drawing let me zone out. Again I stayed with this carer on numerous occasions and often whilst other teens where in her care also. It was common to share placements with other kids and you quickly learnt that you basically followed each other as we were bounced from place to place. So in that 3 months I had 13 carers 5 high schools all in different location within a 400km radius, was totally unstable and was rejected by carers and my parents and severely beaten over 15 times but guess what I was still only a state ward under my mum’s wishes the department did not step up and say “right this has to stop” they just continued as is until the following event occurred.
It was the end of the 3 month period and I was sent home to my parents. this time no cosy chat just me and a bag of stuff left at the front door , a quick swift here you go and see you later. I went straight to my room and didn’t speak to anyone, when I got there I was shocked there was nothing in my room. No bed, no desk, no clothes or toys (not that there was ever toys) nothing just floor boards and boarded windows. Mum and dad were right behind me they ripped the bag out of my hands and said “right this is how its gunna be” “you want stuff you earn it,” “you need to earn your place in this family” “this stuff is no longer yours” “you’ve been spoilt all these months well it stops now”. I was angry, scared, upset, torn and just totally bewildered I sat in the corner and cried for hours I was locked in the room till morning unable to even go to the bathroom. I remember trying to get the boards of the windows but I couldn’t, all I got was splinters.
The floor was cold and dusty. I could hear them talking about me, they were telling my siblings how they would make sure I didn’t destroy their lives. The next day mum and dad said I had to get a job to pay for everything I needed including food, clothes and items for my room.
They refused to support a waste of space like me as it detracted from the needs of the other kids. At school I made some posters seeking babysitting jobs, most girls my age were doing it so I thought it should work. I put them up on my way home from school, I was trying to do the right thing and show initiative and make mum and dad proud.
By the time I got home mum and dad had found out about my posters, they were furious.
Dad picked me up and threw me in to my room I hit the wall full force leaving a dent. Dad started kicking in to me and then mum jumped on me and held me down (she was a large women) I was suffocating and could not move. I remember mum yelling in my face telling me how useless I was and how I had embarrassed her and the family by putting up the posters. Dad kicked me in the side of the head when I said “but you told me to get a job” I was in immense pain crying uncontrollably. Mum got up and started to walk away still calling me names and telling me how worthless I was. Dad was telling me to get out and never return I was not family and did not belong with them.
I slowly got up and tried to leave as I did dad grabbed me by both arms pulling me back, mm turned and grabbed my hair pulling my head down “see that speck of dust on the floor? It worth more than you” and she sat in my face. Dad let go and stormed of saying she’s not worth it let her go she can f...... off out of here and not return ungrateful bitch. As he walked off I stupidly said “good I hate it here anyway you are the worst parents in the world” with that mum lunged at me and swung at me in a claw type motion in one foul swoop she ripped all the gums off my top teeth, blood began to poor out of my mouth and the stinging was unbearable she turned and walked away. As I hobbled out of my room through the house to the back door mum and dad were calmly sitting down to a cup of coffee and my siblings were in the lounge watching TV one sister was curled in the corner sobbing (she always did this). I ran to my bestys house around the corner, her mum put a wet face washer on my mouth and drove me to my old carer the dental nurse over the other side of town.
Once there she was horrified and rang the doc’s manager at his home. He came straight out to her house, he looked at me took some notes and then left my carer who took me to the hospital to be cleaned up, they took some photos fixed me up and then my carer and I went back to her place. At around 10pm that evening the doc’s manager came back.
He had been with my parents talking about what had happened. He took my carer aside and spoke with her; she raised her voice for the first time in my presence and started to cry. The manager asked me to go to the car, so I did. That night I was returned home to my parents. When reading my file last year I read the managers affidavit about this incident he clearly states “In my opinion Melina was assaulted by her parents this evening” after much discussion and changes in stories the parents admitted to the assault”. I have spoken with the parents and they have agreed to Melina returning to the family home and assured me they will not disturb Melina tonight and a case worker will visit in the morning.
A case worker is not recorded as ever attending the home in the days after that event. I took it upon myself to leave the next day and stayed with my besty around the corner. A few days later at school a new incident occurred which has scared me for life. My mother was angry that I was living with my friend (she hated her) mum was friends with the principal of my school; they were both lay preachers at the same church. Mum was well respected in the school due to her various roles and had a strong relationship with the family GP and the local Psych Nurse.
That morning mum rang the school and had a discussion with the principal (I did not know this at the time but now know due to reading the files and reports) she told him that I was dangerous and she feared for the safety of other students and the school, she claimed I had threatened to kill teachers and students (which I had not, records show I was a high achieving student who until placed in care was liked by staff and was never a problem). The day was a normal school day, everything was quiet and calm. I was sitting in maths class with an older teacher and I was next to my besty that I lived with.
She and I had a quick 30 second spat about who owned a stupid plastic green ruler. The teacher asked me to step outside; I told her I thought she was over reacting but calmly went any way. I went and sat at the end of the hall were you had to go if sent out of class. Soon the school counsellor appeared and started freaking me out, she was getting close saying things like, “I want you to stay calm”, “how are you feeling now? Do you feel in control?” “ I don’t want you to stand, just sit and wait for the principal calmly” this was so weird because normally you are just left there and when the bell go's the teacher comes gives you a slip and off you go. Suddenly the principal and 2 other staff come around the corner they take my bag and basically smother me in to his office.
Everyone steps away quickly and then it’s just me and the principal he shuts his door and stands in front of it, he says “help will be here soon I want you to stay calm....can you do that” I’m so confused by this point I ask him to let me out and he refuses. The walls started closing in on me and I was finding it hard to breath. Only the week before I had been sexually assaulted in that school which everyone knew so being cornered in a room with a male acting weird was really not helping me stay calm.
I started pacing and he kept coming towards me trying to grab me. My bag was near the wall so I grabbed my impulse from my bag and started spraying him to back off I was so scared. The next thing you know 6 burley police officers stormed the room, the principal stepped aside and they grabbed me now I was kicking screaming, scratching biting what the hell was going on!
They picked me up and carried me out over their heads my pants were coming down and I was fighting for dear life. I was thrown in to a police car and an officer sat on me to keep me still, we want a round the corner to the hospital. I was dragged in there screaming and still fighting. I was restrained on a bed and injected with drugs. Mums friend the GP was administering the meds and soon the Psych nurse showed her face. Nobody would tell me what was going on. The doctor gave the police extra needles and drugs, they quickly put me back in the car, crushing me and pinning me down to keep me still. They drove super fast to the city just 100kms away soon we were at the local mental hospital, I was dragged in side. I really didn’t feel well and the world was spinning. A doctor came and everyone else backed away. He calmly asked me to come and sit in a room; I said I would only go if everyone left me alone. He promised nobody would come near me. I was placed in a room with one of those double mirrors; I sat quietly on the chair sobbing looking out the window at the other patients in the secure garden area. 4 hours later that nice doctor walked in and said “you can go home now” I sat in the waiting area for awhile and then a docs worker arrived to pick me up nobody said a word. According to the reports on my DOCS files and in my medical records, my mother and the principal had me scheduled based on my mothers claims that morning. The Psychiatrists at the facility refused to take me they said their observations and their reviews of records showed there to be nothing wrong with me. I could not be scheduled for no reason; I was not mentally ill or a threat to society. The report from the psychiatrist said I was simply an abused child who had been treated poorly and was now traumatized. He warned that their actions that day were unacceptable and potentially damaging to my future and current overall health and well-being. It states that he would not be surprised if I lost faith in every human being. I was driven back to my home town and dumped at my old carer the dental nurse’s place it was very late at night, I remember her running at me and squeezing me so tight. She was crying and her tears melted in to mine. I remember her telling the docs worker to get out as she slammed the door. She wrapped me in a blanket and sat with me in the lounge all night that night.
We didn’t speak much but we both understood each other. Somehow, I ended up in bed and woke well in to the afternoon the next day. Not long after I woke up one of her work friends arrived. He was cool we had chatted briefly before about his love of hang gliding. He arrived with the biggest basket you could image overfilled with every chocolate you can imagine. He sheepishly gave it to me and said “I put lots of milky bars in there for you” they were my fave. He and my carer sat and had coffee and I sat watching TV rummaging through my basket of goodies. After he left I asked my carer why he brought me the gift. She quietly said “he was at the hospital yesterday for work and he watched what happened, he was terrified by what he saw” it was “him who told me”. We didn’t say much after that but I understood. After these events DOCS lodged papers with the courts to have me made a ward of the state till I was 18years old. The whole town was abuzz with the events and what had occurred, people were mad and wanted action taken against those involved.
After about 3 placements it was decided I should go out of area to a boarding school so as to calm the situation with a hope of making it all just go away. Nobody wanted to accept responsibility for what happened, and docs didn’t like people asking why nothing was done years ago and why did this happen. Mum and dad were charged with child abuse and ordered to stand trial. So now the next phase begins as I leave my home town for boarding school. Again writing this is hard and I need to break it up. What you read is only segments of my life some parts are just too horrific or to unsettling for me to disclose at this time. Please if you think someone is being abused speak up, because you may be the only person who will.
NB: any reference to "dad" unless otherwise stated is in fact my "step father" as i did not get to grow up with my biological father.