“Little Blonde Girl – Looking For A Family.. Will Do Chores!”

One of the most important moves of my life was when I was 10 years old.  At the time I was living in the Eileen Corbett Center in East Vancouver.  Basically it was like a jail for kids. By this point I had moved a total of 62 times since I was apprehended at seven years old.  So in a period of less than 4 years I would have moved over 60 times. Eileen Corbett  was a bad placement, they were apart of my lawsuit that took place starting in 2009, settling in June 2005.

Eileen Corbett was a placement that had each child in their own small locked room, with a window that was also locked so that it didn’t open wide enough for even a child to escape.  I did manage to gain quite a record of AWOL’s from E.C though.  I ran every chance I could.  This “home” was a terror for each child that was forced to reside there and to endure the ongoing sexual, and physical abuse.   I have a pretty clear memory now of what I went through there.   I didn’t remember fully of the terror until I was in my late teens when I suffered very intense flashbacks, and visceral reactions.

Some of those “homes” were simply a couple nights here, and a couple nights at another… I spent quite a bit of time sleeping in the Emergency Services office in New Westminster as well.  Many nights.. it got to the point that they wouldn’t even look for an emergency shelter for me to spend the night at – they would point to the leather love seat that was located in the lobby of E.S and tell me that I was just going to have to sleep there for the night.  Usually my social worker would then come in early and get me either back to my home – or start the task of trying to find me a new foster home.  Other times I would just get up and leave after getting myself warmed up, and got some food inside my belly.  More often than not I would convince myself I needed to run again.

I knew towards reaching age 11 that my luck was really going to be running out soon.  If they (Ministry) couldn’t find a permanent home for me – at least before I turned 12; well that could mean that I was going to be put into a locked facility long term.  This is something that Karen had been telling me over the last couple of years.  At one point they were so desperate to find me a home – they had actually posted an ad in a couple local newspapers for foster me.

One day I received a visit from my social worker to say that they had found a group home to move into.  It wasn’t going to be permanent, but it was supposed to be the last placement before my forever placement.  The place I would call my home for the next 18 months; Morley House.  Morley house was one of 5 group homes run by Browndale Care Society.  It was based out of Vancouver, BC.

 

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Morley House would be a life changing place for me.  It’s where I would meet my future “Mom” Anj.  I met Anj very soon after moving into the group home.  I remember it being around Christmas time, there was still snow on the ground.  I remember the day a little bit when I first met Anj.  She was a resource worker for Browndale Care Society – she was not a foster parent – and hadn’t thought about being one until the day she met me she said.

It’s kind of a sweet story – Anj said on her way to Morley house that day she was pulling up onto our street and saw this little blonde girl walking up the side of the road with a large sign made out of cardboard with writing on it that said; “little blonde girl wants family, will do chores!”  Anj said she was both heartbroken and filled with love at the same time.  I guess now looking back I feel sad for her too – I was so willing to try anything!  I didn’t know it then, but 18 months later I would officially find out that Anj wanted to take me in and foster me permanently.

 

April 19, 1988

The following is an excerpt from my Ministry File, no words have been changed or altered.   

April 19, 1988

Dear Mr. :

Thank you for referring nine year old Carrie Bush.  The child is seen in the office for a period of just over three hours.  She was brought to the office by her social worker, Karen Zilkie.

INTERVIEW

Carrie is a very pretty, blonde haired child.  She seemed quite comfortable in the office.  In interview , she was direct and forthright in responding to my questions.  She co-operated fully when taking the psychological exam.

This child is tense and nervous.  She has a low frustration level.  Like may disturbed children, she reports that she often feels angry but she does not know why.  She experiences stomach aches and headaches.  I asked her when she gets these symptoms and she responded, “When I run too much or eat too much my dad punches me”.

Carrie reports before she was apprehended, she lived in a house with her twelve year old brother, Jason.  She states that a girl named Jude lives in the basement of the house.

According to Carrie, her older sister, Teresa, was taken away and adopted because she was beaten by her parents.  Carrie stated that her parents used to lock Teresa in a cupboard.  She said, “I used to let her out”.  Carrie reports that she has been in foster homes three times before her parents beat her.  She states that her parents also beat her brother, but that her brother does not want to leave home so he “will not tell” .   She states that her parents have told her that she should not tell either.

Although Carrie reports that both parents beat her, it seems that Mr. Bush is the most frequent offender.  Carrie says that he is “real mean”.  She states that he beats the dogs too.

This child has been in an environment where there is a great deal of marijuana smoking and alcohol drinking.  She says “we would have a lot of money if my dad didn’t smoke drugs”.  She reports that friends come over to the house and her dad buys drugs from them.  She names Jude downstairs and a certain Luke and Susie who bring the drugs.  She calls the drugs “pot”.  She reports that one day she got beat because she did not look for “roaches”.  I asked her to draw a “roach” for me and she drew what looked to be a cigarette butt.

There does not appear to be much money or food in the home of this child.  She reports that they hardly ever eat anything but sandwiches or Kraft dinner. At her foster home she says she gets sandwich meat and lettuce and other things.

When I asked the child where her parents got their money she said, “that’s a funny thing, they phone someone and say “that need money because they have three children, two , four, six , and they have no food to eat”.  The child states that she does not understand this.

In my opinion, this child has also been sexually abused in her parent’s home.  Using the anatomically correct puppet dolls, she demonstrated how her parents have sex on the carpet in their living room.  She says, “they are drunk and out of their minds”.  When I asked her if her dad hurt her mom she said “no, they like it”.  She said that she and her brother watch.  She reports that her brother says “wow look at that”.  Then when her parents are out of the house, he forces her to have sex with him.  He takes her clothes off and holds her down and inserts his penis in her vagina.  She says it hurts. When I asked her if she got wet when this was happening she said “sometimes”.  When I asked her where she got wet, she said, “where he puts it”.  She does not know the correct names for the genitalia.

When asked if anyone has ever done to her what her brother does, Carrie responded that a man names Claude who was baby-sitting her did it.  She demonstrated how she was lying in her nightie watching TV when he came and rubbed her on the perineal area.  According to her he also penetrated her vagina digitally.

A technique I use to determine the person to whom a child is most closely bonded is to ask them to draw me a picture of their most favorite adult.  This child was not sure whom to draw but eventually she drew a picture of her current foster mother, Heidi.  This indicates that she is not strongly bonded to anyone for she has not know Heidi for long.  There is some emotional bonding to her parents however.  When I mentioned that she had recently had a birthday she said that it was a terrible birthday because she was not with her family.  She said, “I’m going miserable without them”.  However, she does not wish to return to a home where she is beaten.

PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTS

WECHSLER INTELLIGENCE SCALE FOR CHILDREN REVISED (WISC-R)

The WICR(R) test results indicate that Carrie of average intelligence.  Her full scale I.Q. score is 96.  Her I.Q. on the verbal part of the WISC(R) is 95 and on the Performance part is 100.

There is no significant difference between the Verbal and Performance I.Q.  but there is significantly low score on the Information subtest of the Verbal part.  This suggests that the child is not learning in school.  She told me that she is kept home from school “when I get child abuse”.  When I ask why, she replies, “because I have bruises”.

SEXUAL ABUSE INVENTORY (SAS)

The Sexual Abuse Inventory is an 81 item true/false questionnaire which has been designed for children ages seven to seventeen.  the questionnaire was designed to elicit information about the child’s feelings of tension, self worth, family support, moral development and sexual involvement.

Responses indicate that this child is experiencing emotional tension and anxiety.  She reports depression and worry.  She feels that she  needs more love and attention than she gets.  She does not believe things will turn out well for her.

The child reports no support in her home.  She did not trust her father.  She answers “true” to the question, “I wish I had a different father”. She indicates that she would rather have been raised in a different family.

Her responses to items about specific sexual acts indicates that she has been involved in sexual acts which include fondling of the breast and perineal area and penetration of the vagina.

As a result of this child’s moral development, she feels guilty about the abuse.  She feels that children should not have sex until they are at least sixteen years old.  She does not enjoy talking about sex.  She feels that she has been used by others.

SUMMARY

Carrie Bush is a disturbed youngster.  She is anxious and depressed.  Feelings of anger sometimes overwhelm her.  She does not understand the reason why she feels this way.  She is not strongly bonded to anyone.  She looks for affection and attention where ever she can find it.

It is my opinion that this child needs protection from the physical and sexual abuse which I believe she has experienced in the home of her parents.  At the present time and for the next few years of her life, her emotional problems will require special attention.

Please call if you have questions.

 

Yours Truly,

Monica D. Angus, Ph.D

Consulting Psychologist.

 

 

Lost Entry

It`s been a few weeks since I have been able to get my ass in front of this computer to blog – I was feeling overwhelmed by my previous post regarding a former foster parent (Wayne Haydamack) and the sexual abuse that started at the age of 8 and lasting another four years.  I have no memory of what made Wayne finally give up with me- however I do know the abuse lasted 4 more years before the ministry was finally able to sever all forms of contact between Wayne and myself.   More importantly however is that my previous blog on Wayne is the first time I have ever written, talked or openly shared my memories pertaining to any sexual assaults on me – as a child.  I can’t believe sometimes that I am so afraid to write and talk about the sexual abuse, I thought I was fearless, I was a survivor? Yet many years later my mind, heart, body…fingers even fight with the keyboard to get the words out. 

Funny thing is,  I used to think and share my opinion to others that I really was not that affected from the numerous sexual violations I endured as a child.  In fact, for the first 30 years of my life I truly made light of the act of rape.   I had made a complaint sexually assaulted many times over, and over again – I do remember But, four years is a very long time for an eight year old girl I feel like I have been really struggling lately.  It`s almost as if I am lost in my own skin .  Not many people in my life know the battle going on inside my brain, body and soul lately, or how bad it has really gotten.  I feel unfocused in my goals, where I was so clear for most of my life.   I was always confident that I was going to have any life I worked for.  I always had big dreams that started as a very young child. 

I`m finding myself feeling lonely a lot lately, in fact I would say that the past 3 years have been the  saddest times in my adult life.  Even though I have had friends and family that have been there for me.  Those that love me , those that I love so dearly in return; amazing husband, three beautifully delicious children, can’t leave out our little pooch “Rosco“ – all tidied up in a bow…so to the naked eye out there, I bet you would start praising me right away.  OK , I made it technically.  Saying that I ‘made it’ is usually what people say when they hear even a  fragment of my story. 

I am very blessed, and recognize how lucky I am to have loyal, loving husband that works very hard to provide for our family.  He helps to ensure our children grow up in a safe, supportive, and loving home. My children never go without.  They even have their very own beautifully furnished and painted to their liking.  For example; my oldest daughter has a beautiful pink room, with a white canopy bed (with the actual pink canopy) and the dresser and side table to match.  Each has their own color, at first it was what I wanted, however now that the kids are getting older they have more say how their room looks.  I digress.

What I really want to say is that I am very aware of how blessed I am to be in the situation that I am.  When I start to show weakness, others are quick to remind me of how lucky I am… you know, considering.  Well, I do know.  I am currently beating the odds – and should be celebrating all the cycles I have broken all the while remembering to thank god that for my unwavering sense of resilience.  It was always one of my best qualities; the ability to get the fuck back up on my feet and keep fighting.  I did it because I could.  I refused to allow myself to become a part of that cycle.

At a young age I started to compare my “resilience“ or as I understood it to mean my strength in coping and healing was to one of those blow up clown, that no matter how hard you try to knock that fucker down – it just keeps popping back up really for another blow.  That’s me, that clown balloon. 

But, at times I feel as though my family made the easy choice.  They just get drunk, high and have very little respect for themselves – but mostly they just don`t give a fuck about what anybody else feels about who they are or what they do.  They don`t work.  In fact, they feel entitled to say the government, and everyone in the fucking world owes them.  Then they can spend up an entire lifetime spewing hate and anger to the very ones that are after all – paying their living expenses.  All of my immediate family has been on welfare from the get go.  Their clown balloon deflates though, it`s covered in masking tape, trying in vain to keep them in the game and able to fight for their own existence. 

But they were weak, all of them.  Sometimes I just think that being weak, and allowing myself to be broken, shattered so badly that I gave up – well that’s the easy route.  My sister gave in.  My heart aches when I say that, I have guilt that weighs heavy in my heart that I am sure will be with me until I die.  She is broken, completely shattered, leaving her empty inside and unable to see the beautiful soul she really is.  She is an IV drug user/addict (crack, meth, heroin, crystal meth, cocaine…) and a sex worker in various towns throughout the lower mainland, such as Surrey & DTES Vancouver.  

Then there is my brother, J, who is four years older than I am.  By the time J was 21 years of age he already had a murder conviction along with several sexual assault convictions.  But even before those crimes, my brother was sexually abusing me when I was 7 years of age.  I always say that my parents raised him to be a killer. They raised him to be cold.  Never cry.  Fuck them before they fuck you.  He began to enjoy the suffering of the vulnerable.  There should be no surprise that my brother ended up being so violent giving the extent of abuse that he was forced to endure for the first 18 years of life. They broke him.  The last time I saw my brother in person he was being tried for murdering a man in Maple Ridge in 1995.  Even though my brother was in custody, in shackles behind a very thick plexi glass; I was terrified.  At one point during the trial Jason noticed I was in the courtroom watching and this made him very angry.  He glared hard at me; I knew he hated me already because I told on him for sexually abusing me – but this was so much more intense.  He made a very clear ‘slitting of the throat motion with his cuffed wrists looking dead at me. 

To be honest, I did not realize his trial was being held at that court room or courthouse before getting there with a high school law class on a field trip.  Some of my classmates started coming up too me shortly after arriving at the courthouse saying that they believed that my brother is in one of the court rooms.  Students were already in seated and silent, in amazement that they knew the sister of the defendant that brutally murdered someone just to see what it felt like to watch someone die.  I myself couldn’t believe it was happening. 

I need to explain as well how the hate and or punishment were dispersed between me and my siblings.   From the age of approx.…4 years of age I have reoccurring memories of the clear biases that my parents had in terms of us; their three children. This is something I can say for sure though; my brother was treated differently from my sister and I entirely.  My parents often referred to my brother as a ‘King’,  this was simply due to the fact  that my brother was a male. I don’t ever recall hearing my father say this – but I do have several memories of my mom explaining to me how she and our father felt about each of us.  Our brother was a boy, therefor he would be excused from a variety forms of corporal punishments each of us would receive from either parent.  My mom would say that boys do not need to be hit as often, as girls are naughty and they don’t always understand how important it is too listen.  She would sometimes say that girls were more sneaky, conniving and more inclined to rat out their family.  From as early as I can remember my father has always despised my sister.  I have flashes of conversations between my natural mother and I discussing my sister.  I was always very cautious talking about my sister to anyone of my family members; but especially my mother and father.  Many, many times throughout the years I can recall both my mother and father making snide comments when referring to the time she was forced to live in a closet and bet tortured without any sign of mercy.    

When T was at the age of 7 she ran away – she was quickly found and apprehended permanently from our mother and father. For the following seven years I always wondered and worried over how my sister was doing.   I worried about her. I missed her, and that’s hard even for me to understand because all my memories are with her both locked in my parents’ bedroom closet, and slivers of flashbacks to the many beatings and even witnessing her being forced to eat her own feces.  She was made to eat her own poo because she went to the ‘toilet’ within her small bedroom closet that was her world.  I know that she would be in there day and night.  Sometimes they would allow her to come into my bedroom, but usually that was too standing in the corner and wait for her next ass whooping.  After nearly two years of horrific abuse that my sister endured, she was finally supposed to be safe.  I remember believing that she was doing so well.  My mother told me that she only went there because they offered horseback riding, ballet, and other fancy activities and belongings that we for sure would not be able to enjoy if we were still in our home.  

The way I see it is that my sister has a target on her back.  How can my mom and dad already have decided that Teresa was more of a burden than they had planned? My mom has said too me several times when I question why my father hated my sister SO much.  I can honestly say that to this day I still do not understand where this deep rooted resentment and hate stemmed from.     

Here’s The Thing Though…

I want this blog to be more than just the “boo-hoo” bullshit – I want to encourage not just surviving but thriving.  But honestly, that is just so hard right now.  I am going through a tremendous amount of stress.  It’s not the regular everyday kind of stress you know?  It’s the kind of stress that most people don’t understand.

I started this great job just shy of a year ago.  It’s the first time that I feel like I fit you know?  I feel competent, useful and able to do my job very well.  I absolutely love talking and supporting people, especially during times of difficulty – I think I am really good at it.  Before working in the hospital as a Diet Clerk I had been working in Social Work in the DTES for nearly ten years.  I loved that work as well – but just like all the other Social Support Workers – I got completely drained emotionally and physically.  The job was a daily, hourly – minute by minute trigger for me.  I think I did that job because I understand and empathize with the broken people down there.  Every shift I would remind myself – even out loud at times, Carrie – this could have been you.  In every statistic I have heard I am a complete anomaly.

Just look at my brother and sister… My brother is a convicted murderer and sexual offender.  My sister has been neck deep in drugs and crime since a teenager.  They are the statistics people are talking about, comparing me too.  Most don’t survive what we went through.  And, please don’t think that because my siblings have heartbeats that they have survived.  They are still in their nightmare.  They just never had whatever it took to break away from it all..to believe in something else, or themselves.

I’m made of something different…I’m too fucking resilient if you ask me.  I’m fucking Teflon.  At least I know for sure I was.  I got myself out of that – early on I began my fight for happiness and freedom from hurt.  I am happily married with three beautiful healthy children.

Here’s the problem.  My family, my abusers are still out and around.  They are in my world.  My mother and brother have showed up at my work – for a legit reason, but my mom saw me and has been trying to contact me since.  I’m absolutely terrified.  My brother has been in the same building as me.  My brother wants to kill me.  My brother hates me so much.  My brother used to sexually abuse me when we were young – I told the school staff and they reported it.  My brother has hated me since, he blamed his sex crimes on the fact that I had ratted him out when we were younger.

My brother is a killer.  He has been involved in at least five sexual assaults.  He is out in this world – free to hurt someone else.  Before his release after serving a ten year sentence for the murder of Donald Keats of Maple Ridge, BC – the people who were assessing him had said that he had expressed his desire to slit my throat from ear to ear.

I am afraid.  I am tired of being afraid.

Here’s the thing though…I’m not giving up!

To Believe or Not To Believe… It’s About More Than That Though.

Oh, so you don’t believe me?

I think one of the hardest parts of being a survivor of any or all the horrific and traumatic abuse I endured is the fact that most of the people that I share my story with rarely believe me.  Sure, they give me the usual head nod, “omg” … but then it just turns into a sarcastic disbelief.  Most times they say they believe you 100%, but soon you find out they thought you had to be making it up all along.  Then, to top off calling me a liar in so many words – they say something else so infuriating; “Well, it couldn’t have been that bad – look at you now..”  Oh, so because I found resilience and strength it is no longer possible to have gone through any or all of it? How is that fair? And then because I am living my life the best I can – although I am still struggling every day – just because I am not in jail, a junkie or worse then someone can not imagine how that is possible… sometimes they say that they could never survive an ounce of what I had to bare.  In which I always respond – it is incredible what our bodies and soul can actually heal from, and I am forever blessed to have been given the balls to do so.

I have 8 large boxes that are full of my life story – provided by the Ministry of Children and Families, and then all the extra research that was done by my lawyer who took on my case against the Ministry.  It is full of doctors reports, social worker notes/reports, court documents, police incidents and so much more that took place in my life dating back to when I was nearly six months old.  Those files are so important to me because of the fact that they provide solid tangible proof of my history.  Regardless of what anyone thinks – I have proof.  Regardless of what ever I may tell myself sometimes – I know that I can go into my closet and pull out my files and see for my own eyes that it was all true.  And, regardless of what anybody thinks there is a reason I continue to talk about what happened.
I did survive it…it was not ever just a sad story I would share to get sympathy or attention.  Or as my mother has been telling me and anyone else that will let it slip through her lips that I have been lying all this time just so I could get put into the system in order to get “things”.  She says I wanted toys, new clothes and all the things I must have seen other people get.  So I came up with this elaborate story to be able to find a parent who would buy me things.
I guess one question I have for her story – and so many others who think I am flat out liar; how the fuck does a 6 year old know about sex?  Sorry for the anger in my tone…but really… Do you know a six year old fluent in blow job techniques?  How did I end up with so many bruises, lacerations, rips and tares that were shown in pictures and doctor exam forms?  Did I make those up?  All for toys?? All for a fucking haircut??
I know this is an old issue, and at my age why should it matter what people believe or not.  However recently it came up in a very real painful way and it’s left me feeling freshly wounded, raw and angry even.  Let me explain…
A few months ago I was in the middle of an argument between my husband and his Aunt.  It was a silly argument, but at the time it was very heated.  During this argument I said that she was flat out lying about something she had JUST said moments before – which is when she blurted out that I was a liar too.  I said tell me what I lie about, because I knew there was nothing I had ever said to this women that was a lie.  This is when she said it.  Her next statement to me would rip open every half healed trauma that lived in my body, soul and mind.  And she was so sure of herself…smug even.
She said, “We all know you lied about what happened to you in your childhood, we know that couldn’t have happened to you!”
After being a part of this family for nearly 17 years, I can honestly say her statement shocked me to my core.  I felt like the whole world just dropped all around me, that I was left standing there all by myself.  I could hear my husband asking her how she could say such a thing, after all we had been through.  I heard him bringing up the fact that I had been to court, been on the news – evidence heard and seen to prove I was not lying…  Yes, I thought.  Exactly.  How could she say such a hurtful and cruel blanket statement like that?
Truth is … she still has no idea how painful her words were to me.  I know they are just words.  But I thought they knew me, really knew me.  My husbands family are incredibly important to me.  And I can honestly say I thought they believed in me, and my story.  It was a different kind of heartbreak for me this time.  And the aftermath of the fight just solidified how I feel about myself and my role in my “family”.
Unfortunately, I responded poorly to my aunt-in-law after her comment to me.  I called her a fucking bitch.  And, even though she tried to take back her comment once she saw how much destruction it ultimately caused, the damage was done.  And, even worse – once the rest of the family heard of the fight, it was clear they only heard that I had called our Aunt a fucking bitch.  Her damaging words seemed to go unnoticed besides for my husband and myself.  Sure, a couple members said they understood how upset I would be, but then I was told several times over that they couldn’t and or wouldn’t get themselves involved.  I was even told that because I was not real family, not blood family – that they would not be able to stick up for me either.  Another stab in my heart.  Not that they could see that.  All they wanted from me was to kiss and make up with her so the “family” could get back to normal.  But for me, nothing was ever going to be the same – even with some kiss and make up bullshit.  I now knew what they really thought of me. It made me feel kinda foolish having so much faith in their faith in me.
The thing is I have evidence.  I have photos, police reports, social worker notes, court documents – even video.  But, it’s not enough.  Mostly because ignorant people rarely want to be educated about what they believe they know about.  My in laws don’t want me to talk about my past or my struggles.  They tell me to forget about it, don’t talk about it – it only makes it worse they say.  I say, no it only makes it uncomfortable for them.  People would rather not hear about it, not know the truths – stay ignorant in their safe bubbles.  People like myself make them uncomfortable.  So – they call me a liar.  They whisper among themselves instead of talking to the one person that could clear up any questions they may have.  I have always been an open book – but rarely am I picked up and truly read and understood.
So this question of believing or not believing is a very sensitive one.  I ask – what is it that I have said that would make you not believe me?  Usually it’s just that it’s so unbelievable one could treat another human being so poorly, especially one they love, or a child.  Of course, it’s that I apparently look like I have all my shit together – so it’s couldn’t have been that bad..right? I ask, what gain do I get from sharing these stories?  Clearly I don’t get pity, or money or sympathy.  I’ll tell you why.
I share my stories because that helps me heal.  Simple.  If I am quiet, and secretive about my struggles then they become too hard to manage.  My past eats away at my soul when I stuff them down.   But, when I am able to talk about it I am free’d of shame, disbelief and guilt.  When I share my really scary stuff – the shame is taken off of me and put where it truly belongs; on the abuser.  It helps me feel less alone, less crazy, less afraid to talk about it.  Talking about it can remind me of how far I have come.  It can sometimes me feel a sense of pride and accomplishment to share my story, that feeling of “see I did it, I survived when no one thought it possible!”  I have to say too…just because it was years ago doesn’t mean it’s over.  It’s never truly over.  I am still having flashbacks, anxiety, and depression.  The scars I carry on the inside also spill over to the outside of my body, and seeing those can sometimes send me into a PTSD downward spiral. It seems impossible, but some memories come as though I was remembering them for the very first time.
I also share my life stories because I know it helps others who may have gone through the same or similar experiences themselves.  Those who are not able to talk about it, or are afraid to talk about it.  Those who have been told like myself to be silent.  Those who hold all that shame inside when they should never feel one ounce of it – I tell them my story as to support them to unleash that burden.  When people ask me how I have survived, how I have ultimately flourished even – I tell them “I talk, I talk and talk and talk… ” When I talk about it I am healing myself.  I know it hurts sometimes to talk about it, but in the end it makes me stronger.  It allows me to be bigger than all that horror.  I want the same for others, I want people too feel OK, even brave for sharing their stories.  As they should be.  Even writing this blog I feel better, I feel proud.  I feel like if even one person gets it – I am on the right track, I am fulfilling my purpose.  I didn’t survive all that horror just to keep quiet and fit in where I can.  It’s impossible.  The moment you can no longer hear me is the moment I have let myself give up, and I wont.
I will not allow the fact that people refuse to listen or believe me change the belief I have that knowledge is power.  The more people that know exactly what has and or is still happening in our world will help others to escape from it, or survive it.  They will see the signs they need to see in order to help others.  They will know that even when it seems to unbelievable – it’s not.  It takes courage to share your story, especially the unbelievable ones.  Be courageous and brave.  Most of all have yourself be heard!  Keep talking – I know I will.

My Sister’s Apprehension: Actual Social Worker Notes from Ministry File, Dated in 1983

July 22, 1983
This worker was on weekend duty this date.  About 7:00pm, I recieved a
call from Constable Mike Hawkes of the R.C.M.P.  He said they had a
seven year old at the police station.  The child, Tereasa Bush,
apeared to be badly beaten.  Hawkes requested I attend the family
residence with him when he returned Tereasa and confronted the
parents.
Because my house was close to the Bush residence, Constable Hawkes
brought Teresa over.  When they arrived Teresa was sitting in the
front seat of the police car drinking a soft drink.  She has on a very
short flannelette nightie, panties and Constable Hawke’s sweater.  She
smelled strongly of urine.  As chatting was difficult (the car motor
was running) we went into my house.  Once inside the following was
noted: Teresa was bruised on her forehead, the area around her eyes was
quite blue (lack of sleep?), her hand and foot were bruised.  I
checked her back, there was bruising from the waistline to mid back
with an obviously belt mark mid-rib cage under her arm, also a
distinct bruise mid-back.  I pulled Teresa’s panties down, her behind
was black, blue and red with some distinctive bruises.  Teresa said
she was very stiff and sore.  She was also very dirty and smelled
strongly and urine.
At this point the decision was made to have Teresa medically examined.
Constable Hawkes phoned the hospital to advise them of our arrival
then contacted the R.C.M.P  Identification Officer to have him meet us
at the hospital for photos.
I took Teresa in my car to the hospital.  As we parked in a gravel
section of the parking lot, I carried Teresa over the gravel to the
blacktop (Teresa was barefoot).  One of my arms was under he back, and
the other behind her knees.  Teresa cried out that my hand was hurting
her back so I adjusted my arm to higher on her back where there were
no bruises.
Once in the hospital, we were taken to the admitting clerk’s office.
The clerk asked Tersa where she lived to which Teresa replied;
“I don’t have a home anymore, my parents don’t want me”.
A few more questions were asked then Tersa abruptly asked if she could
use the bathroom.  The admitting clerk ran and brought back a jar for
urine specimen.  I accompanied Teresa into the bathroom.  After a few
moments of what I thought was peeing, I asked Teresa to wait and would
help her collect a urine sample.
“I’m not peeing, I have diarrhea”. Teresa replied.
The diarrhea went on for some time and Teresa was in obvious
discomfort.  I went and brought a nurse who checked and said there did
not appear to be any blood. Teresa said she had diarrhea for two to
three days.  By the time she had finished the diarrhea nearly filled
the toilet.
We went to the emergency ward and were shown into a small room off the
ward.  Dr. Fike arrived and began a detailed examination of Teresa.
He the began a stick man type of drawing illustrating the injuries.
Teresa was fascinated by the art work and made comments about Dr.
Fike’s artistry (or lack the of).  A short time later the R.C.M.P
identification officer came into the room.  Teresa was naked under a
hospital sheet.  The officer told Teresa he wanted to take some
pictures of her.  It was at this point Teresa showed the first real
sign of fear.  We talked for awhile.  The constable assured Teresa
that he had seen little girls naked before as he was a father of three
lettle girls and often helped them bathe.  Teresa became more relaxed
so the officer took some flash pictures.  He then started a game with
Teresa about how many stars Tersesa saw everytime the flash went off.
After the Identify Officer’s departure Tersa had to use the bathroom
again.  This time she did urinate and we were able to collect a urine
sample.  While we were waiting got Dr. Fike who was busy on another
part of the emergency ward, Teresa and I talked.  This is when I got
her version of events as follows:
Over a period of a few days, Teresa was beaten and belted by her
mother, booted by her father and picked on by her brother Jason and
Carrie.  During the afternoon of July 21, 1983 she had gone to Mc
Donald Park without permission.  Jason told his mother and Tersa was
beaten again upon her return home.  During that night (or early hours
of the next morning) she left the house by the door.  It was dark so
she had gone to McDonald Park and slept near one of the buildings.  It
was cold (she had on only a short nightie and panties) so she walked
around and found a yard with shrubbery where she slept until morning.
tersa said the shrubbery was warmer than a tree in McDonald Park.
Early friday morning she walked to a store on Tranquille road.  She
met some other children who gave her money.  She went into the store
and bough a drink and some candy.
She wandered around all day and then went back to the yard where she
slept.  There she knocked on the door of the residence and asked the
lady who answered if she could come in and live forever.   The lady
took Teresa into the house, washed her hands, fed her supper and then
called R.C.M.P.
During the wait for Dr. Fike some x-rays were taken.  Later when I
spoke with Dr. Fike he indicated that Teresa would be admitted to the
hospital for observation.  he was pretty sure there were no broken
bones or internal bleeding but he wanted to be sure.  I asked dr. Fike
to make it standing orders on the ward that no one visit Teresa except
myself or andother MHR personal, or the R.C.M.P  I left Teresa about
10:00pm as she was waiting to be taken up to the pediatric ward.

I went to the R.C.M.P Station afterwards.  I accompanied Constable
MIke Hawkes and Corporal Wilf Bells to the Bush residence in my
vehicle.  Before our departure, Constable Hawkes advised me that he
and another member had been over earlier while I was still at the
hospital and had both Carrie and Jason strip down to check for
bruises.  Both children appeared ok.
When we arrived at the Bush residence, I advised Carla that teresa had
been apprehended by myself due to what appeared to be parental abuse.
Carla then refused to discuss the matter further with the police
officers present.  She asked them to wait outside, which they did.
While the officers waited outside Carla admitted having slepped and
spanked Teresa, saying the child was a problem and always had been.
Carla said she was gald we had Teresa as she was going to phone MHR
and have Teresa taken.  Carla said Teresa was always getting into
trouble with lying, that Carla had to go to school every other day as
Teresa had told the teacher some great tale.  I advised Carla that
neither she nor Blackie were to visit Teresa on the ward at Royal
Inland Hospital.  Carla then made some confusing remarks about Blackie
not really living there but she told the police he did for bail
purposes.  I asked Carla to contact me Saturday afternoon if she
wanted to enquire about Teresa or discuss the apprenhension further.

July 23, 1983
During the afternoon the 911 operator contacted me on behalf of Carla
Bush.  As I was on my way to the hospital at the time, I asked Carla
to contact me around 5:00pm.
When I visited Teresa on the ward she appeared rested and in better
spirits.  She indicated that she had had a bath and lots to eat.
Again, Teresa told me her parents didn’t want her anymore.  I then
went to a store downtown and bought Teresa some activity books and
crayons.  I had also given her some of my old costume jewelry.  She
was particularly pleased with this and wanted to wear most of it at
once.  We visited with another patient on the ward and then I left,
promising to visit Teresa again the next day.
Later that day, around 5:30 pm I received a 911 operator on behalf of
Carla.  I returned the call (payphone).  Carla inquired about Teresa
and I assured her Teresa was better but still stiff and sore.  I asked
Carla to bring a change of clothes to the office as Teresa would need
something to wear upon her discharge.  Carla agreed then asked if she
would be stared at by the office staff when she came in.   I replied
that I had no idea but I had doubted it.  She then asked how many
would know about the apprehension.  This type of questioning went on for
sometime, until I told Carla to put the clothes into a bag with my
name on it and have a friend deliver it to the office.  Carla the
inquired about court and what happened next.  Would she be charged?  I
indicated that I did not know if she would or would not be charged, it
was up to the R.C.M.P and Crown Counsel.  I advised Carla to phone me
Monday at the office and we could arrange a time to meet, probably on
Tuesday, and she could then discuss proceedings with the social worker
assigned to the case.

July 24, 1983

I visited Teresa today in the hospital.  I took her garden flowers for
her bedside table.  She was pleased as everone else seemed to have
flowers except herself.  We chatted and visited around the ward before
I left.  Carla had asked me on the phone the night before to give
Teresa a hug and kiss for her.  When I told Teresa of this, she put
her arms around me and waited to be kissed.  I left the ward promising to visit the next day.

July 25, 1983

Upon arrival at my office, I advised the District Supervisor of the
happenings on the weekend.  Marty Lovick was immediately assigned to
the case.  As we were discussing the case we were interrupted by a
phone call from the R.C.M.P advising us that they were on their way to
arrest both parents.  The District Supervisor instructed Marty and I
to attend with the R.C.M.P and apprehend Carrie and Jason.
We did this, and returned to the office to arrange foster placements.
The children were dirty and obviously hungry, it was noon and the
children had said they had not yet had breakfast.  Both children were
very talkative and gobbled candies left in the staff room.
Jason and Carrie were later placed in the Larson Foster home on Stardust St.

Later that day, I visited Teresa in the hospital.  the nurses advised
me that Dr. Burkell of the Burris Clinic had taken over the case and
wanted me to call him regarding some additional tests for Teresa.  I
advised Teresa that her mom and dad had been picked up be the R.C.M.P
and were now in jail.
Teresa said, “I think I am going to cry”.
I gave her a hug and cuddled her and assured her everything would be
okay.  She bounced back quickly and asked about seeing Carrie and
Jason and the home she would be going to when she is discharged.

July 25, 1983

I spoke with Dr. Burkell.  he wanted me to run a few more tests on
Teresa before her discharge.  Dr. Burkell indicated that he had copies
of all the hospital charts and was prepared to follow up with Teresa
as a patient.  Apparently, when Dr. Mabee had visited Teresa in the
hospital over the weekend, Teresa had told him she was afraid to go
home.  Dr. Burkell commented that Teresa appeared to be a bright,
cheery little girl but he recommended a psychological assessment.  I
made the appointment with Dr. Burkell for full examination of Jason and
Carrie for July 27, 1983.
Jason and Carrie were apprehended.  All three Bush children were
ordered retained by Ministry of Human resources pending a hearing on
August 29, 1983.

Carrie and Jason originally apprehended after Carla and Walter were
charged regarding abuse of Teresa.  All three children have gone on vacation with their respective foster parents.

Plans are now:
Provide supervised visits with Carrie and Jason after August 8, 1983
Complete court documentation including notices
Plan with Lawyer Carter as to how we will proceed and what we will ask for
Keep contact with the R.C.M.P regarding charges

July 28, 1983
Conforming with Judge Blair’s order, there is to be no parental access
or visitation with Teresa and only supervised access with Jason and
Carrie.  A previous order restricted Carla and Walter from entering an
MHR Officce for harassing MHR Workers.
File now opened and assigned to Social Worker, Marty Lovick.

-Marilyn Brooks, Social Worker

August 29, 1983

Court was held today regarding the custody of the 3 Bush children.
Evidence was heard, with our lawyer calling all Ministry of Human
Resources, witnesses etc.  Judge Simpson adjourned the proceedings
until September 12, 1983, 9:30am.

-Marty Lovick, Social Worker

September 12, 1983

Judge Simpson’s order regarding the Bush family is as follows:
Jason and Carrie to be returned to their parents and their C.I.C files
to be closed.
Teresa was made a permanent ward by consent of the parents and will
remain in the current foster home while further plans are made
I will return Carrie and Jason the afternoon, September 13, 1983.  I
will keep a F.S file open while planning for Teresa.
-Marty Lovick, Social Worker

So from here onward my sister would never return to my parents, but
they saw fit to return my brother and I.  This is where the nightmare
would really begin for me.  Now that my sister was gone it was me that
was in their way.

a memory…

We may not have had a lot of money, friends or status…but my parents had their crazy things  they made sure we did in case anyone else saw us. I say that it was crazy because it wasn’t whether or not my siblings and I had shelter, or food … but it was whether we had combed our hair and brushed our teeth properly enough each morning before we produced ourselves in front of the world.

My mom and dad made a big deal about his ritual. Sometimes my father would make a joke about it, when asking me if I had combed my hair…and I replied yes – he would always joke and ask “which one?”… Dad… I would say. Of course all of it. Which, of course I had. I would NEVER not do it. Why would I risk the back lash that would occur…that was just about to occur.

I was sitting in the back seat of our Nova, with my brother Jason. We were parked in the gas station; my dad was positioned to get gas. My dad had his arm stretched out behind my mom’s back, as she sat in the front seat, listening to my father. “Did you brush your fucking teeth Carrie?, cuz it sure as fuck doesn’t look like you have brushed it in days!”
“Yes Dad, I did. This morning when I woke up…” I replied terrified. Of course I did, and he knew I did. There was a hair brush beside my pillow for when I woke up, and I knew that right after that – I would go across the hall and brush my teeth. Why would I ever take the chance that this would happen?
I’m not sure how long this conversation went on. However, at some point my dad explained to me and Jason how the next while was going to play out.  Dad was going to drive Jason and I home right after he finished at the pump, at that point Jason would time me for exactly 15 minutes. At which time I was to brush my fucking filthy teeth until they were fucking bleeding. I had only 15 minutes, and that’s fucking it. My brother was to watch me, and make sure I didn’t get a second longer than the fifteen minutes my father so generously was giving me. If my teeth weren’t fucking white when my parents go home my dad was going to kick my fucking teeth to the back of my fucking head.
I can remember standing in my bathroom brushing my teeth franticly. My brother was standing at the door staring at his watch the entire time, all the while giving me the count down. Whether my father was home or not he was going ot make sure I only got the 15 min I was allotted.

Usually when my brother was left alone with me he took the time to hurt me in a more intimate way, but this day he knew our parents would be returning very soon… he just didn’t have the time. I remember looking in the mirror and asking Jason over and over if they looked white enough to him. Jason never reassured me…and made sure the water was off and brush put down at the 15 minute mark.
I waited for my parents return, shaking and terrified. When my father returned he was already upset about something completely different. He never brought up my teeth again that day.