Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Rehab Introductions: Sandy
Sandy had also married an abuser at age 19 and had also been pregnant. As did I, she and her abuser had a second child a few years later, an irresponsible decision for both of us. Abusive relationships are built on chaos, not stability, security and safety; life changing decisions are meant to keep the victim off balance. Our stories were so similar she had also had a third child later on. The difference between us is her abuser had abandoned her and her three daughters when she had moved in with her partner, a woman in her 20s. Sandy’s relationship with her partner was volatile when they were drinking and one evening things got out of control. They ended up in an altercation and Sandy’s partner called the police. The police arrested Sandy on a drinking related charge and assault, and, with no father in the picture, Sandy’s mother was called to care for the children. With this being Sandy’s first experience with law enforcement she or her mother had no idea what would happen next so her mother called the jail and told them Sandy must be suicidal; that must be the answer to her behavior. Sandy had always been “a good girl and never been in trouble.” Sandy was immediately taken to the suicide watch area and stripped. She was put in what inmates call “The Turtle Suit.” This is the same thing you wear when receiving an X-Ray. It’s a hard shield-like cover. You are naked underneath and it is very cold in the jail. Your cell is completely glass with a toilet in the coroner and you are under constant watch by other inmates. One night in The Turtle Suit is traumatic….she was in her Turtle Suit for three days. After the first day she was allowed a phone call; she called her mother desperately begging her to stop saying she was suicidal, trying to explain the consequences. Her mother would not relent. Sandy couldn’t cry, crying led to more time under suicide watch. The inmate “watchers” whispered this to her: “don’t cry or get mad or they’ll leave you in here.” Three days later she finally convinced her mother that she was not suicidal and was able to get out of jail. Anna had been assigned suicide watch during her last 30 day stretch in jail and chimed in while Sandy talked affirming her terrible Turtle Suit treatment.
Sandy was now “in the system.” Her children were assigned a Guardian Ad Litem and her GAL decided it would be a good idea to have her 19 year old daughter become the guardian of the younger two girls. Sandy was allowed visitation with her younger two daughters, as I was with my son. In a matter of just a few weeks her daughters had become uncontrollable. Everyone at work found out, and with her being a professional in the medical field, the story was scandalous, and Sandy was having difficulty making ends meet with all of the legal bills. She had to return to jail to serve out her time for two more weekends. She learned from others in the class to dress warmly and stuff dollar bills in her socks. Just sit there, don’t talk much and “do your time.” The other inmates, there for longer sentences, would try to swindle her money because pop and chips in the vending machine were the ultimate treat in jail.
Anna: young, attractive, smart, who had so much going for her, had almost overdosed the week before. The instructor was trying to convince her to enter a treatment program. She was just not ready to give up those pills….
at 7:56 AM