I met Mya a few weeks ago. After asking her sister why Mya doesn’t speak much, I couldn’t have imagined her answer to be quite so overwhelming. I found out that she had been recently raped. And my heart broke in two.
She’s seven years old.
If I were sitting next to you, I would ask you to close your eyes and think of a seven-year-old that you know. Are you overwhelmed? Me too.
I knew I had to help Mya. She didn’t speak. She didn’t even know how to take the cap off a marker. I helped her as she learned how to hold a pen and put the cap back on a marker. I asked her to draw and colour, but she didn’t really understand. Her paper included lots of scribbling.
We’re going to continue working together. For now it means that she colours as I talk and try to slowly draw her out. She taps me on the shoulder when she needs something. That’s all she can do for now. The neglect and abuse that she suffered have exacerbated symptoms of a psychological disorder.
There are so many children like Mya.
These kids are vulnerable because of age, developmental delays, or lack of education. Many have suffered abuse at the hand of relatives and family friends and cannot fathom a way out.
Likewise, many women have experienced trauma as a way of life. Many men have grown up in a culture where beatings were commonplace. The cycle of abuse repeats itself over and over again.