*Kyra has given permission for me to share her story here. Our desire is to help other families by sharing our experiences openly and honestly.
Kyra* is a miracle child. Her father had serious fertility issues and our marriage was falling apart so sex and procreation was not a priority. Despite this we had 2 boys and I honestly thought we would never have more children. But God had a different plan and that included Kyra. Despite our difficulties, Kyra was born 10 years after her oldest brother and 5 years after the next. She had always been a child of complete joy. Always smiling, always positive and always just so incredibly sweet. Kyra loved people and they loved her.
In elementary school, Kyra was diagnosed with mild ADHD and severe dyslexia. Her learning disabilities have never defined her or confined her, she accepted them and kept moving forward. Grade 8 changed that. She was assigned a classroom with none of her friends. A huge blow to a social child who depended on her best friend especially for help with words or understanding directions. Despite my meeting with the principal several times Kyra was kept in a classroom where she was routinely bullied by the other girls and frequently left out of activities. But high school was where her mental health struggles really blew up.
In our divorce agreement it was stated that all our kids were to go to a specific school. Despite my oldest son being assaulted there his first day of school, and my middle son buying drugs from "one of the dealers" at the school, Kyra's father was adamant she was to attend this particular school. Kyra wanted to go to a country school nearer to me where her best friend was going and none of the bullies would be attending. Having been threatened with court action if I signed her up at another school, Kyra had no choice but to attend Lourdes. She was so upset with her father she decided to live full-time with me, unless he was to change his mind. She has been in my care since this occurred.
She had an incredibly hard time making friends at the school and was terrified of the girls that had bullied her before and as a result she started suffering from panic attacks at the school and at home about going to school. This was when she started cutting herself to deal with the anxiety.
As a parent, there is little that is more heart breaking than feeling like you are failing your child. I felt like I was failing her.
Kyra was also sexually assaulted at the school by a "friend" who thought that repeatedly poking her in the vaginal area with a yardstick under the desk would be "funny". She left the class in tears and the teacher never even noticed. After Kyra reported it to the vice-principal she was made to sign a no interaction boundaries agreement with the perpetrator, effectively making her feel like she was equally to blame. We were informed later that there was no incident report because a teacher had not reported it.
It was then that Kyra chose to enter into a relationship with another student. She just wanted to belong, and she wanted to have a friend to hang out with at school. It was a year and a half before I could get Kyra removed from this school and in that time this kid raped her three times, and manipulated and controlled her so thoroughly that she would rub at her arms until they looked like raw meat.
Fortunately I was working at a non-profit and my director at the time was a huge help in getting Kyra and I through this horrible time. She would let me pick Kyra up at school and bring her back to work. That first year Kyra missed 25 percent of her classes because she just couldn't cope.
At this time Kyra was 14 years old and was diagnosed with severe depression and medication was recommended. I was able to get her into counseling with a therapist who specializes in children and teens and that has helped. Due to these traumatic experiences Kyra, now 16, was diagnosed with PTSD from being at Lourdes and from the relationship she was in. She was having suicidal ideations this past summer and as a result is now under the care of a child and adolescent psychiatrist, as well as her counsellor, and is taking Prozac to help her cope with the ongoing symptoms.
This is her story.