I mentioned my oldest cousin and the butchered barbies. Back then, as a kid, I just thought she was evil. Now in retrospect, I wish someone had been paying attention to her and listened when I “tattled” on her. There may have been a chance to save her from the life she had that no one was seeing.
I’m going to call her AMB to protect her identity. When I was a kid, most of my clothes and toys came from AMB. Clothes got to me intact, but the toys were always butchered. Many times the Barbies’ hair was cut off, limbs were missing, their faces were graffitied with marker or their clothes were destroyed. Her penchant for ruining things before giving them to me should have raised a red flag with someone but it never did.
She was a rich kid too. Her mom MAB worked at a bank and her dad did… Well, I don’t remember, but money was never an issue. They had the newest and best, and even a “show living room” that you were not allowed to sit in or step on the carpet. And yet AMB stole things. She was a wicked shoplifter at a young age. They put her in a jail cell for the night once, and she laughed at how funny it was and how she’d just have to get better at it. She really had issues, and no one was paying attention or helping her.
The most disturbing thing was the rape games. I’m trying to remember how old we were. I know she was a few years older than me and we were almost old enough to not play with dolls anymore. When we played dolls, there was often rough sex between Barbie and Ken. I was always bothered by that. I wanted to play horse stables or running a restaurant, she wanted to play mean sex. She even used hand lotion as the, well, you can imagine what the white, thick stuff represented when she put it on Barbie’s privates, breasts and face.
It didn’t stop there though. When we played pretend she frequently wanted to play an older man. Somewhere in it the attempted touching and shaking me and foul words would make me nearly cry. She’d stop and laugh and call me a baby. I knew something was wrong with her, and I asked if maybe someone did something to her, but I was told, as so often was the case, to shut up and mind my own business. I didn’t understand until much later that her father was abusing her. All that rage and those sick games were a result of the abuse.
Later in life she ended up being promiscuous and in a marriage where she was beaten. I actually felt guilty for not telling anyone about what I thought might be going on when we were kids. But I was trained never to speak to adults, and never tell people things that happened at home. I was a bad little liar if I did. I still wish I could have known and had the courage to find an adult who could help her, and me too. But we were lost children. Lost in violence and abuse and unseen by anyone who could have helped.
I wish she could have turned out like me. I may be poor to this day, but I’m strong and I have learned so much. I love and am loved. Last I heard she had gotten away from the abusive husband and run right to another. I haven’t had contact with her since the early 90’s. I pray that she’s okay now.
All this goes to show that people need to listen when kids talk about what happens between them. Listen when your child feels wrong about something. Pay attention to the games children play. Pay attention when they act out. Even if it’s not your child, you may see signs of abuse or other issues. Look and listen. Save the children early so they have a chance at becoming whole and healthy people.