Abuse is a very serious problem in America. Sexual, emotional, physical, phycological, mental and even drug abuse, all these can have a serious impact on a child’s rearing. A child who has been physically abused is likely to be abusive when they grow up and have children of their own. A child sexually abused may avoid sexual contact or even worse get involved in prostitution, and a child exposed to drugs may grow up to be a drug dealer. After my mother decided to leave us, dad was not able to care for all six of his children so the government separated us. My youngest sister and I were taken by Aunt Fel, who was a lesbian, and her girlfriend who was a bi-sexual. After a fight one night my Aunt left and never came back, leaving us in the care of her abusive ex-girlfriend. Raised by outsiders, My youngest sister and I have experienced every form of abuse imaginable. We were physically abused on a daily basis, sexually abused by numerous friends and family members of our legal guardian, and at five and nine years old we were often either drug or alcohol induced in order to sleep early. We have experienced life the way no child should and I have vowed to break the cycle of abuse that kept me constantly attempting suicide. My album of “Precious Memories” was nothing but a hollow shell and I had to fill it somehow. Life had to have more meaning and abuse was not an option. We had to escape the abuse… We had to be happy…We had to find our father.
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Armed with just the vaguest memory of my father’s face but knowing exactly the last place I saw him, I packed our things. With a trash bag of clothes in one hand and my sister’s hand in the other, we walked from Pulantat, Yona in Guam to the Ylig River, some Seven or so miles from where we had started. My baby sister by then was complaining of being tired and thirsty, many passers-by have stopped to offer us a ride, but I knew better than to go with strangers. It was not until a school bus pulled up beside us and the bus driver offered to drop us where we needed to go that I let my guard down and accepted a ride. We came to Toto Village, I thanked the bus driver and said goodbye. There was a guard shack that I did not remember and the guard would not allow us in. He asked for my father’s name and luckily I knew it, however he was not familiar with the name so he made us wait in the guard shack until we saw my father. We were there from probably 11:00am to about 5:00pm, between this time the guards have switched, as one shift ended and another began. The second guard was very kind to us offering us his lunch and buying my sister and I a drink from the nearby vending machine. It was sometime after 5:00pm that a man pulled up to the guard shack to present his identification card. I could see his face but he could not see us through the dark tinted windows of the guard shack. He seemed very familiar but I was afraid of rejection so I dared not say anything, The guard turned to me after taking the man’s ID and asked “What did you say your father’s name was?” I answered “Antonio Cabrera”, with a smile he turned to my father and said “Your kids are here with me”. My father then had to pull to the side to park and come into the guard shack. My father assumed it was my other siblings who were in the guard shack, thinking they got into some kind of trouble he stormed in the door with a disappointed look on his face, but after seeing that it was Kimberly and I ,his expression changed. After 10 years of not seeing each other, I was afraid that he would not remember us. However, as soon as he saw my face there was a glow in his and with the biggest smile I had every seen he gathered us into his arms and brought us home. We told dad about the treatment that we had to endure and he reassured us that we would never have to worry about it again. We then learned that dad had been taking his children back a little at a time and that my sister and I were the last ones to join the reunion. This is my favorite memory and from then on I had the chance to make more memories filled with happiness and love.
September 11, 1989 I met the man who was to be the father of my children. We had a few things in common which helped bind us together. We both enjoyed nature, fishing and hunting. We loved the outdoors and being in the wild and sporadically went on camping trips. July 15,1990 we had our first daughter. Although we were both so young we had to begin thinking about our daughter’s future. Employment was a joke in these days considering the minimum wage was $2.15 an hour, but we managed to survive, by cutting out unnecessary spending. By April 06,1992 we were on our 2nd child. My family was growing, I had a husband who loved me and two beautiful daughters that we absolutely adored. Like all relationships we too have had our share of trying times but we vowed to love eachother through thick and thin and on April 11,1998 I became Mrs. Alvin A. Pinaula. My husband and my children have helped me to overcome my past by giving me the love that I lacked as a child and with their love continually reminding me of my vow to break the abuse cycle. This love added to my album of “Precious Memories” and I thought I could never be any happier than I already was, but then the grandchildren came along.
February 09, 2009 Aleeyah Anarie Pinaula came into my world. She had complications during her birth and had to be isolated for nearly 2 weeks. She had had a bowel movement while still in her mother’s womb 2 days before her birth and was swimming in her own excrement. She managed to swollow some of her waste and her blood pressure was fading. After 2 days of Labor my daughter had to be induced in order to avoid a still born. Eleven hours later my grand-daughter took her first breath that was followed by the faintest cry and panic in the delivery room. she was rushed to the ER of the pediatric ward, where she had tubes protruding from her mouth as the nurses and doctors scrambled to vaccuum every last drop of dung from her tiny body. By day 4 her crying had become louder but was still to faint for the doctors, which indicated to me that her lungs were rid of most if not all of the manure that she had swollowed. However, she was not ready to be released. Although they managed to vaccum out the last trace of waste from her lungs, she had developed an asthma like symptom that was restricting her airway. It wasn’t until they changed the formula they were giving her when she started showing signs of improvement. They then discovered that she was allergic to dairy and put her on a strict diet of soy milk. After nearly two weeks of continous praying and not beeing able to hold her, I was estatic that that moment had finally arrived. My husband and I hugged eachother, with tears of relief streaming down our face, and bowed our heads in prayer with humility and gave God the glory due him. To add to our excitement of being new grandparents, our second grand-daughter Cadence D’ana Manglona, was born five months later with a clean bill of health. With double the laughter, double the fun and double the trouble, our family is now complete. With more love than I can ever imagine and happiness beyond measure I can finally say that I am one of the few children who broke that cycle of abuse.
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Unfortunately, my sister still bears the signs of her childhood trauma. She lived a wild life as a teenager and got pregnant when she was 17, due to her use of drugs during pregnancy she lost her child. She went on to have 9 more children from 3 different men and on 2001 the state of Louisiana found her an unfit mother and placed 6 of her children into foster care due to child neglect and reckless endangerment. My sister has been in and out of prison since her teenage years and has chosen the wrong path. Although we extend our hand to her she refuses to heed an advice and has shut the family out. My father constantly worries about his other grandchildren that are in her care and for now she has severed all ties with the family. If you have been abused, you have the power to stop it. Life is all about choices, how we choose to live it and the decisions we make greatly impacts us in a way that defines who we become as adults. The cycle must be broken. Will you be the one to break it?
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