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Girls/ Children

Dear Amy,

I am thirteen and spend equal amounts of time with my mother (who is single) and with my dad who just remarried an old girlfriend who he dumped when she was pregnant. He did not have a relationship with this woman while she was pregnant or until the baby was about 18 months old. During this time he would assure me that the baby she was having was not his. At other times he would tell me the baby could be his but that he could never be with this person. Paternity was a question.

Suddenly last year my father tells me they are going to get married. I had no idea that they were seeing each other. They got married and that is where my biggest troubles began.

At first they made me sleep on the floor of the living room of her apartment while my dad slept in the bed with her. the baby slept in a crib in her room and the nanny had a room of her own. This made me feel really second rate. Not until I said something to my dad did he "move" me in to the room with the nanny.

My father and stepmother have nothing nice to say to me. I am always criticized for my tone of voice, body language etc. I am happier and safer in my room.

The biggest problem is that my father has no problem hitting me across my face whenever he is frustrated with me or does not like that i I disagree with him. I have taken my concerns to my mother and she took her concerns to the Child Protective Services in our town. They could not do anything for me except encourage my mother to tell me to call the police or run to safety if he did it again...especially if he leaves marks on me. this is a hard decision because i know that he will only get angrier and punish me worse. my stepmother does not do anything to help me.

Well, i was just out of town for a soccer tournament. my father got mad at me and my stepmother got mad at me for not "properly greeting them when they arrived". I traveled to this town with some other girls in a carpool because my father could not drive me there because of his work schedule. They came a day later. Anyway, when my father got us to our hotel room, he hit me across my face and locked me in the hotel room by myself. i called my mother (long-distance) and she tried calling my dad but he would not answere. my mother thought it was very wrong for him to leave me in a hotel room in a city so far from home and then not pick up his cell phone when we tried to reach him. She called the police to check on me. and you can imagine what happened tome next.

Is it right for my dad to continually hit me in my face, at home and in the car? Is it right for my stepmom the encourage it or do nothing about it? My father always talks about how he was beaten as a child and how wrong it was. Now he does it to me on a weekly basis.
What should I do? Where can i go? Am I old enough to chose where i want to live even though my parents have joint physical and legal custody of me?

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Kaitlyn


   

Dear Kaitlyn,

Occassionally I receive a note at Ask Amy that sounds so outlandish that I can't believe it's the truth and then as I say to others when I describe the site, I remember you can't make this stuff up. Life is more ridiculous than fantasy. Your note fell into this category -- you write with such honesty and what you write is so hard to comprehend. Not because I challenge it's validity -- in fact, the exact opposite, I know how true it is and that is hard to comprehend. I hope that you are taking care of yourself and I think that there should just be a way for you to press charges yourself or bring a motion to the court to cease visitation with your father.

There is a group called Advocates for Children and they take on such cases in the name of protecting the children. Not seeing your father, might feel like its own limitation, but certainly can't be worse than the abuse that you are certainly subjected to. Given my own personal experience -- I don't know my father and later learned that he was a convicted kidnapper -- I am a firm believer that family doesn't have to be defined by biology. You don't have to force yourself to have a relationship with someone just because you are biologically related to them. I think that this is a great lesson and one that even if we don't act upon we should consider, especially in your situation where your father certainly doesn't respect you the way we should respect family members.

I hope that helps and let me know how else I might help.

Good luck and take care of yourself,


Amy

 

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