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Friday, September 10, 2010

Victim. Where is the SVU?

It was almost five years ago, when I saw her. I do not think she was white but kind of whitish! She had a little bit of Native American in her. She was in her thirties, taller than usual and one of those quiet type. She always wore a pony tail and had freckles on her face, and she had an infectious laugh which gave her an innocent look. She was jittery and very anxious, biting her nails all the time. She had two children but I can not recall if those were boys or girls.

There was something about her. She always looked scared, like she was watching her back. She was reluctant to be examined when I saw her first. Every time I would examine her she would cringe. I remember telling my wife years later that she looked so scared and anxious that I should have explored the reason behind it a little more closely.

I saw her most of the times for minor ailments like headaches or joint pains. Then I started to notice bruises which she could not explain. She had a big jagged scar on her belly which she explained was from a previous surgery.

One day she came to me with multiple bruises. I was suspicious and asked her bluntly what was going on. She was hesitant initially but finally gave up and started to talk frankly. She came from a family where she was abused as a child. She was divorced; she had no place to stay so she was still living with her ex in-laws. Her ex-husband was physically abusive and whenever he would swing by his parent’s he would have his way. One time he punched her so hard that it caused perforation of her bowels. Just imagine the brute force required to hit someone so hard, that it would burst someone innards. Envisage the desperation and sacrifice on her part to continue to live in this situation so that her kids could have a roof over their heads. She fit the profile of a child who is abused; they have a higher chance to end up in a similar situation.

I was very upset hearing that, I advised her to call the authorities. I told her if she would not then I will. She refused and told me that even if I call them, she will never press charges. I advised her to go to one of the safe houses or shelters around Tampa. To my surprise when I called a couple of places around Tampa I was given a run around. I was so surprised that considering that we see all these ads about resources available to us in news and magazines, when you really need them you can not get them. Every place started with eligibility requirement which she did not qualify for. I even asked a supervisor how much beating would she need before we can get her in one of these safe places. They did not like it. I wonder where the SVU (Special victim units) are.

When she was leaving she was smiling…. what was behind that smile I can only imagine. I never saw her after this episode. Sometimes I wonder what became of her. Her kids should be older now, I hope she is too.

About the picture: I stole this picture over the web. Woman displaced after the flood in Pakistan.

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