Tuesday, 09 October 2012
This post was submitted anonymously.
I moved seven hours away from my family for college, but like many other fish in the academic sea, I make it home when I can. My boyfriend and my younger brother and sisters are there, so I try to shoot up the interstate when I have a long weekend. This has meant I’ve maintained relationships in my little town, and I want to feel out the Internet community for advice regarding an acquaintance of mine.
I met this girl – we’ll call her Kate – through a strange and kind of coincidental series of events, and we started texting. First important thing to know: Kate is fourteen years old. She’s significantly younger than me, so basically, she just hits me up for advice when things suck. I’ve only seen her a handful of times.
Background information: I got to know her through her older sister – let’s say Allie – who is also younger than me. Allie had her own long, dramatic debacle that mirrors what Kate is going through right now, and ended up with two babies before she was 18 and a “fiancé” that takes off for months, crashes with her and her parents when its convenient to him, and smacks her around.
Kate and Allie’s parents are totally messed up, so bear in mind that any advice you give cannot involve them at all. Allie’s mother slept with the father of her two children, and her father saw her “fiancé” punching her – while she was pregnant! – and just told him to “calm down.”
So, I know this will sound like some stupid MTV drama. And I think part of the problem is that they want it to be. But, anyway....
Kate met this guy – Juan – when she was 13. Juan is 26. He started in on her immediately, buying her flowers and lunch and that sort of thing.
Kate is morbidly obese and does all of her schoolwork online. She has no interaction with people outside of her very unhealthy family and reality TV shows. She has major self-esteem issues that she tries to make up for by being incredibly loud and brassy, wearing skimpy clothes and too much makeup, etc.
I picked a stereotypical Spanish name because Juan speaks Spanish. He speaks no English. Kate doesn’t speak Spanish at all. They communicate through applications like Google Translate. I’m a native Spanish speaker, so part of our relationship consists of her sending me things he has messaged her and asking me what they mean.
While I was home in Chile for a few months, Kate started sleeping with Juan. By the time I came back, she was having pregnancy scares. She was barely fourteen. She found out, during this time period, that Juan has two children and a girlfriend back in his home country. He’s also sleeping around. A lot – prostitutes, co-workers, you name it.
That’s all bad enough, but additionally, the way he treats her is horrendous. He “broke up” with her because she told him that he was her best friend and her boyfriend, and he found that offensive. “Oh, so now I’m just your friend?” He asked her. She said sorry and he said, “Olvida la relación – te metiste en gran problema, verdad?” “Forget about our relationship.... You’re in big trouble now, right?” When she found naked pictures of other girls on his phone, he blew up at her and “broke up” with her again, making it all her fault for invading his privacy.
When she was with her mother and couldn’t run upstairs with him to have sex with him, he “broke up” with her again. Every “break up” consists of a good week or two of her groveling – via text, Facebook status, voice mail, messaging – to get him back and him refusing her, calling her a “whore,” telling her to forget him, etc. He tells her she isn’t attractive, and that he never liked her.
Eventually, he’ll consent to “take her back” after a phone call from Kate’s older sister, Allie, or a visit from Kate’s mother, who actually does go and BEG this loser to “be with” her daughter!
It’s all a sick control game. When he feels she’s been “punished” enough, he’ll take her back, have sex with her again, tell her he loves her and wants to bring her to his home country with him (I often wonder how the mother of his children would feel about that). He’s insanely jealous and possessive. That’s what Kate thinks is proof of his “love,” though, and Allie and their mother encourage that notion. Her father is clueless.
"You’re all mine, I love you for always and forever, we have stupid fights but we’ll always get over them." That’s the vein of her Facebook status after they get “back together,” and the relationship status goes from “It’s complicated” to “In a relationship” with a guy who won’t let her be Facebook friends with him because it would impede the comments he leaves all over the half-naked Facebook pictures of other girls. She tells him she loves him and he laughs.
Basically, the same thing happened to Allie, and her two children are growing up in this environment.
Kate’s just a kid who’s barely fourteen. Obviously, this situation is poisonous. Juan is using her body as a doormat, she doesn’t understand that he is literally mocking her and that she deserves something better, and the people in her life that are supposed to protect her from being used like this are too busy egging her on to feed their own inherent hunger for drama. Kate’s not respecting herself and is falling victim to insane machismo that she has distorted into some kind of love story, but Juan is basically treating her like a sex toy.
So yeah, everything’s messed up. That’s not why I’m writing this post. My question is, do I have an obligation to do something? She's so young. Can I do something? Should I translate these things that he is saying that break her heart and what little self esteem she may have left? Do I give her advice and try to empower her even though I feel like it falls on deaf ears? Should I just wash my hands of the matter and forget about it?
Have any of you watched someone lose him/herself in a similar way? What did you do? What should I do?