When Aunt Jenny first learned of the cutting from her husband, she stormed up the stairs to Lakota’s room and opened the door without knocking. Lakota was huddled in fetal position in her bed. She wouldn’t let Jenny see the cuts. She wouldn’t let Jenny touch her. This was the worst Jenny had ever seen her. Jenny decided to temporarily put her son in a motel room not far from home while dealing with the girl. Rumors flew at school. So it was no surprise when the cops arrived. Luckily for them both, they’d grown up knowing everybody in the department. While her husband talked to the cops, Jenny stood behind his four-hundred pound bulk as if she were standing behind a wall and eavesdropping. He asked them outright to forego the official report that might incriminate his son. He assured them that they would deal with this. And for six months, skirting the issue worked.
The day the middle son re-entered the house, Lakota retreated to her room where she started uncontrollably, violently cutting herself. She felt betrayed. She couldn’t believe that her Aunt and Uncle let him back in. He’d be back in her room that night, she knew it. The sad part was, she sort of enjoyed the attention. She’d never told anyone that. But she did. Like when her Aunt put her arm around her shoulder. It kinda gave her the willies and felt good all at the same time. She felt bad about wanting him, because she shouldn’t. So she cut herself with a single edged razor she found in the art department at school, first small cuts where no one could see them, just so she could feel some relief. But the relief never lasted. So she decided, she was going cut several deep, long and scary cuts. And she was going to tell.
That weekend, when she had a sleep over date at her BBF’s, she figured that would be the best time and place to confess. She showed off the cuts and started to cry. He’s back in her room every night just like before, she says. She wants to kill herself. Her BBF took Lakota by the hand, wiped away her tears with her sleeve and they walked toward the living room where her parents were watching a new series on HBO. She stood in front of the screen to get their attention. At first, they complained and thought she was kidding around. But when she insisted that it was important and could not wait, they turned off the TV and sat together on the sofa. Lakota showed them her cuts. Then she told them why.
The couple sat motionless, just looking without saying a word. When they finally spoke, they said that they were not really surprised. They had suspected something for some time. A pretty little girl like Lakota doesn’t turn as sad as she has unless something bad has happened to her at home. So, they put a call in to Child Welfare and Lakota smiled for the first time in years. Now, her aunt and uncle would have no choice. She’d be placed in a foster home, far away from everybody.
Eventually, Jenny notified Tony and Jan. They couldn’t believe what they were hearing. Her sister Jenny had been lying to them for six years! They phoned their legal aid attorney, who bombarded them with all the reasons why they shouldn’t bother trying to get Lakota back. Then they made calls to the attorneys they grew up with and begged them for help but were turned away. Acceptance slowly crept into their reality. They didn’t have the strength or the means to fight.
Lakota was placed with a single mother who lived mid-Island and had two daughters of her own. During Lakota’s resettlement, Tony and Jan were forbidden to see their daughter. Throughout the process, Jenny had full access to her niece, her new home and her new family. No one was held accountable.