“My name is Kate Wyler and I’m fourteen years old”. There’s something desperate about the way Wyler says it, as if she’s clinging to the wreckage of her identity. From my last session with Kate, a five minute introductory session in which to establish her problems, I only had time to discover the bare minimum about her and her issues. I’d dealt with numerous abuse cases-but this was something different. In all my years I had never had a case affect me such as this one. As soon as she started her story, she was in tears.
My mother and father married when I was two years old and divorced when I was 4 because she started using again. My dad suspects that she was using while she was pregnant with me as well. I went with my mother. She was a meth addict and a prostitute. I’ve already come to terms with the fact that my mother sold her body to keep up her habit. She said it was to keep food on the table but I stopped believing her when I was eight years old. She was a whore. A plain old whore. We stayed in a caravan on the edge of a filthy lake in an industrial area. Mother’s idea of hygiene was cheap perfume and keeping the counters clean. I generally survived on second hand smoke, toast and McDonalds. I was doing my own washing by the time I was five years old-I remember having to walk halfway across the lake so I could find a ledge in order to reach the water.
Parties were a nightly occurrence and cops a weekly one. Ironically my mother told me the cops were the ‘badies’ and so everytime they came I hid in my room out of sheer terror. I was always afraid, on guard, ready to fight for my life.
Often when my mother went to the room with a man, she would tell me too look through his jacket pockets if he left it in the lounge. So I did. I would steal the money he didn’t pay her and anything else that looked valuable. Soon I became sick of being stuck in the room while everyone else was having fun at parties, and so I began to...