Sunday, August 28, 2011

Here We Go Again

I haven't posted anything for a while because it has been a wild 2 weeks with Kalisha and I was afraid that if I started writing and had a glass of wine, I might drink the entire bottle by the time I was finished writing.
Kalisha has an unfortunate talent to seek out the neediest of people who ride on the Citilink busses. ( I was going to say the 'biggest scumbags' who end up taking advantage of her, but I changed it to neediest)
When she finds one, she latches on like a barnacle on a boat.
It isn't that she needs friends; she has friends. It isn't that she needs sisters; she has sisters. It isn't that she needs attention; she gets lots of attention.
Several years ago, she was in her early twenties, chronologically, but early teens emotionally and maturity-wise. There was a woman who befriended her and told her she and her boyfriend would keep Kalisha safe from all of the evil people she might meet. One day, when Kalisha was ranting about how she was old enough to make her own decisions, etc. she took off with this woman and stayed at her apartment. For 3 days, she was held captive by the woman and her boyfriend. They burned her with cigarettes, took her seizure meds away if she disobeyed, raped her in every way that is humanly possible (and a few that aren't) knocked her glasses off, kept her cell phone and threatened to take her clothes if she tried to get away. She believed everything they told her, including the fact that I was going to shoot her if she came home and that I already had a grave dug for her body.
They finally let her go and she called me. I had no idea what had transpired in those three days of hell. I called the police. They made reports, took pictures of the burns and she told her awful story over and over again. But, in the end, the detective didn't take it to the prosecuting attorney because Indiana has a statute which states that Kalisha's IQ, which is in the low sixties, makes her too bright and she should have been able to get away. (Kalisha is reading Jaycee Dugard's story and doesn't understand why the law is different in CA. I don't either.)
I was not her legal guardian at the time, so I could not press charges. I called Dr. Pratt who is an expert on autism and is in charge of the Indiana Resource Center for Autism at Indiana University; she also knows Kalisha. I asked if she would be willing to come to FW and talk to the detectives and explain how Kalisha thinks and why she didn't try to escape. She would have been happy to do that, but no one wanted to talk to her.
The night she returned home, she sat on the living room floor and told my friend, Patti and me everything she had been through. As she talked, she would say "Write that down!" when she remembered something else. Patti and I got sick to our stomachs just hearing it. You can't even imagine some of the scenarios.
A few weeks later, she said, "You know, Mom, they don't have Jesus in their hearts or they wouldn't do those things. I am going to pray for them." I told her that was wonderful and I was praying for them, too. Only I was praying that they would go straight to hell!!!
It has been several years, but she still sees them, on the bus, occasionally and it makes her very nervous. We did get a restraining order against them and I did go to court and become her legal guardian. If I had been her legal guardian then, I could have pressed charges and they might still be setting in jail. (I'm still voting for hell)
I can tell you that I can hardly make myself write this because it stirs up so much emotion in me. I am so afraid for her, but I also know that I can't keep her locked in her room. A year or so after that episode, she met a transient woman named Keisha who was going to keep her safe, also. She didn't sexually abuse Kalisha, but she definitely was a manipulator and a liar. She was an Amazon woman and walked for miles to eat at the Mission. Kalisha wanted her to be her friend, so she walked too. Blisters the size of half dollars covered Kalisha's feet. This time, I used my power of legal guardianship and had the police go pick her up at Keisha's apartment. (That's another post)
There have been others. The bus driver who had Kalisha buying her things all the time and hauling frozen turkeys from the grocery at Thanksgiving, the one who borrowed her I-Pod for 'a minute' and never gave it back, the one who talked her into bringing 2 cats home in a stolen carrier.
Kalisha has a wonderful behavioral consultant who meets with her every week and she recently found a therapist that she can talk to (that hunt will be another post). Her entire team tries desperately to help her see the danger of her choices of friends and how to say 'no'. She does have other friends but there is something that draws her to certain people and nobody knows what that is. Kalisha doesn't know, either.
She was doing so well. She was keeping her commitments and her appointments and going to the library and in general, being healthy and happy. Then about two weeks ago, she started talking about a woman named Cari. She called her several times a day and called her "Sis". My stomach turned into knots and I knew we were in for a wild ride again.
It started with just meeting for a few minutes at the bus stop, then it escalated into having Kalisha come to her apartment for a few hours each day. I insisted on meeting her, so she came to the house. I tried to impress on her the importance of setting boundaries for Kalisha. I suggested she tell Kalisha to not call her more than 4 times a day, but she said, "Oh it's all right. I don't care how many times she calls me." So much for help from her. I also tried to impress on her the fact that I have the legal right to send the police to her apartment to get Kalisha, if I need to. Kalisha can't stand the smell of cigarette smoke, and yet, she will set in that smoke-filled apartment for 2 hours at a time.
I wondered how long before the favors would start. First, she borrowed $3 from Kalisha. Then, she called one afternoon last week and asked if she could possibly bring her 4 adult cats and 5 kittens over to Kalisha's bedroom just for a couple of days. My first thought was 'Are you f---- kidding me?!??!'(sorry) but what I said was, "Absolutely not."  Kalisha begged me to do it, not because she would have taken care of them or because she would have been happy about the smell, but she was afraid that Cari would be mad at her if I didn't.
I know all the things you are thinking right now...why don't I just tell her "NO"? Why do I let her ride the bus? Why don't I just stop her when she leaves?
I do allow her to ride the bus because it is her only form of transportation. It is hard to physically stop her when she outweighs me by about 50 pounds. Besides, I really don't want to get into a fighting match with her, although I could. I use words, contracts, consequences, privileges, etc. It does seem a little less intense this time. Perhaps she is getting a little better at understandingthe harm in her choices. One can only hope.

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