From NYT: “the harrowing story of a 350-pound illiterate teenage girl who is pregnant for the second time by her father and horribly abused by her mother.”
Preface: I was lucky enough to get early screening ticket through a friend of my friend, Michelle, who knew that I’ve been waiting for the movie to finally be released (Nov. 6). #Precious is a movie that made me realize just how lucky I really am.
I’ve always known that through a combination of education, family and tenacity that I have a great life. My family and my experiences are responsible for every part of me - both good and bad.
Now on to #Precious. Some people are given everything they need to succeed and waste it. Some people are given a little and do alot. Some are given nothing and do nothing good. And some are given less than nothing. They are children that know only abuse and are just left by their “parents” and society to flounder. And we focus on their floundering - a life of crime, continuing the cycle of abuse and child neglect, etc. If you somehow hear that they were raised and treated horribly, it’s easy to just write them off and move on.
But what if you were able to go back in time to when that person was in his/her formative years? What if you could have done SOMETHING to change their path? Clarice Precious Jones only knew “love” in the physical sense. She had been sexually abused by both parents all her life, and had two children by her father. She was literally a punching bag for her mother and for all the people around her, and therefore felt she had no purpose or promise. She’d never been given a Christmas present and no one had ever held her hand before, and she was 17 years old.
When I was younger, I had two friends that were in abusive households. I asked my parents if they could come stay with us temporarily to give them a safe place and some distance from their abusers. I was told no because “What if they get hurt at our house? Our insurance wouldn’t cover a lawsuit.” My parents are not uncaring people. They just put themselves and us before others, and I cannot judge them for that decision.
#Precious, through social services, was able to meet several adults who were able to help her in small amounts. None of the adults were able to give her a stable, loving home, but one housed her temporarily. One provided an ear. One showed her affection and gave her what he could financially. The movie wasn’t the typical child finds hero and changes life-happy ending story.
This upset me at first. Why couldn’t they take her in and be everything she needed? They knew her problems and her history, and new she needed sooo much more than they gave. It was because they put their own lives, family and priorities first. And again, I cannot judge them because that is what we are supposed to do. They did what they could when they could and were able to keep their distance (for the most part) emotionally. I just don’t understand how.
I am married now and have a son. We own a small townhouse and my mother rents our finished basement. We physically have no room to take in a child or teenager, which I do regret because I’d love to be a foster mother and maybe even adopt someday.
But #Precious helped me realized that just because I can’t do everything doesn’t mean that I can’t do something. And I’m going to.
A good question was asked at the panel discussion that followed the screening. “Who’s responsibility is it to raise a child?” There will never be enough federal, state or local funding for all the programs that exist to help children or young mothers in need. And the workers in these programs cannot provide everything for them.
Several cliches were thrown around last night. “Make a difference.” “Power of Positive Reinforcement.” “Positive Role Models.” Whatever you call it - just do something.
I’m going to start here - http://www.casadc.org/ , where the panel ‘s moderator works. He was in and out of various foster homes and was a victim of abuse, and now helps foster kids. It’s a volunteer organization that requires quite a bit of commitment, but I will be able to actually help improve a life. That’s until we move into a bigger house ;)