The Mind of Anne

Archive for November, 2017

November 3rd, 2017 The Dark Garage

Sweet Little Girl

Sweet Little Girl

There was a little girl who was 7 going on 8 years old. On a lovely summer day, she crossed the street to her best friend’s house to play. She was so happy in her play clothes – shorts and a T-shirt, bobbysocks and sneakers. It was so different from what she wore to school where girls had to wear dresses every day. It was summer. It was time to play.

The little girl crossed the street and her best friend’s house seemed unusually quiet. She was used to the constant banter with a little Italian mixed in. This fiery family loved each other fiercely. There were slamming doors and loud conversations. Their home was a fun and loving place to be. The little girl knocked on the door and was greeted with more silence. She was confused but figured they just weren’t home.

As she started to head home, the little girl noticed a neighborhood boy standing by the garage. She didn’t know him well. He was a friend of the older neighborhood kids and about 12 or 13 years old. He always seemed a little grouchy. He had diabetes and the other boys taunted him even though he was their friend. But he seemed nice right now. He told the little girl that her friend was in the backyard and he would show her how to cut through the garage to get back there. The little girl followed him into the dark garage.

Older Boy and the Garage

Older Boy and the Garage

That’s when things got scary for the little girl. As soon as she got in the garage, the older boy slid the door closed, plunging them into darkness. Then he grabbed her by the arm and pushed her onto a chair. While the little girl struggled, he tied her to the chair using jump ropes and whatever string he could find in the garage. He found colored chalk that the little girl and her best friend used to draw on the sidewalk and play hopscotch. He drew all over the little girl’s face and arms and legs over and over.

The older boy pressed down so hard with the chalk. She hated the feeling of his clammy hands on her face and arms and legs. The welts on the little girl’s face and arms and legs hurt. She was afraid of what the boy would do next. She was afraid he would never let her go. She was afraid to scream. She started to cry.

After what felt like hours, the boy untied the little girl, told her to quit being a baby and pushed her out the door. The little girl ran home as fast as she could. She was afraid to tell her mother. She was afraid the older boy would come after her. She was afraid she would get in trouble for following the boy into the garage.

Chalk and Welts

Chalk & Welts

But the little girl’s mother knew something had happened. The welts on the little girl’s face and arms and legs were red and angry. She questioned the little girl. In a fit of tears, the little girl told her mother what had happened. The little girl’s mother was angry. They were going to that boy’s house to confront him. The little girl cried because she didn’t want to see the boy. She didn’t want to talk about it anymore.

The little girl’s mother persisted. They marched down the street to the older boy’s house and knocked on the door. The boy’s mother answered the door and impatiently looked at the little girl as her mother revealed what the bad boy had done. Without a bit of empathy or remorse and ignoring the obvious welts all over the little girl’s face and arms and legs, the boy’s mother dismissed the issue saying her son’s sugar must have been off and quietly closed the door.

The little girl’s mother felt helpless. Obviously, the boy’s mother wasn’t going to do anything about her son’s behavior. That bad boy’s father was a big deal in town. The facts of the matter would be twisted and turned. There would be no justice for her little girl that day. They slowly walked home, cleaned up the little girl and went on with life.

Fargo - Season 3 Episode 10

Fargo – Season 3 Episode 10

This wasn’t the first time and it wouldn’t be the last time this little girl would feel injustice. Was it violence? Was it assault? What do you call an older boy overpowering a small girl? Was this gateway behavior that would escalate to sexual predation? Over 50 years later, these questions remain for the little girl and many like her. As a society, we need recognize how we continue to tolerate aggressive behavior. Parents need to work to raise sons who respect and value women and girls. And maybe men need to consider #HowIWillChange . Meaningful change starts in the home and in the heart. And the time for change is now.

Oh, and if you hadn’t guessed it by now, the little girl was me.