In orphanages and homes for the adults, violence was the norm and most efficient way of managing people. Children and adults that fall into this government legalized a system of violence against the person, then it is almost impossible to help. Kommersant special correspondent Olga Allenova continues to talk about the boarding schools, which should not be, about the people who have the right to live a different life, and how these people can help.
- “I was in the STUMPS near St. Petersburg, and it’s hell. More than a thousand shadows”
- They call themselves “plaid”: for what can be in tree STUMPS
- “The apartment is no longer seen – I was brought to the STUMPS, and now I’m a nobody”
- What else is a dream doomed to internat
Too long tongue
Natasha – slim dark-haired teen, though she is 27. From birth she was alone. She had no friends, relatives. She recently, thanks to the volunteers, began to leave the boarding school to the labor workshop with a small NGO. Natasha asks him not to mention the name of NGOs and even the city: “I’m so zashugannyh. If they are injections I do? Tablets can be spit out. You can even swallow it, and then the fingers in his mouth – and into the toilet. And the prick – this is it. The end. And I still believe that I will have another life”.
A few years ago she was moved from orphanage-boarding school for children with mental retardation in the psycho-neurological internat. About life in the STUMPS she says calmly, even indifferently. As if all this is happening not with her but with someone else.
– The nurse at the orphanage said that I have a mouth and STUMPS me prune. The first night in the STUMPS I was given in the evening tablet. Said soothing. And there was in the room with me girls, they said, “do Not drink, will be bad.” But I did not believe them. I don’t trust anyone. I drank it, this pink pill. In the morning I’m shaking, I feel bad, I fell of the bed. The girl was with me in the house, she helped me up.
On the second day they gave me this pill, on the third I drank, but I was getting worse, I was falling, head spinning. Once the nurse came, and I sprawled out on the floor, she says: “do Not approach her, she’s faking”. Then I started asking about these pills, and I said, “I warned You, you fool”. And that their normal drink. Showed me those who lie all day in bed, shits himself. And said that they too were given these pills and they are sick on the head of steel. I realized that, too, might be a fool, I’ll be in the toilet. And they stopped drinking. The nurse is sometimes forced to open his mouth, but I have learned to hide their cheek.
These pills I just stupidly accumulated, then time to drink. And when many of them gathered, bedtime prayers – if you suddenly die, for God forgave me. And if He doesn’t want me dead, if he wants me to survive, then let him give me another life, but not here.
I drank them. In the morning I was really bad, I don’t remember anything called an ambulance. I got injections, IVS, but no one knew why I hurt so bad. I haven’t told anyone that drank a lot of pills. Came a man, with a notebook. The questions were asked. I said that every day they give me pills, I drink them and I have them bad. And then the pills I was canceled. More pills are not given. I don’t faint. And volunteers come to me.
Natasha remembers her neighbor Lida, which once helped.
– She is in pain. And she gave this pink pill to calm her down. Not teeth treated and soothed Lidco. And she could not sleep, sleepy walked along the corridor, mumbling. When the temperature under 40 has risen, her doctor took. And I myself pulled the tooth. Shattered and ripped. He was sick. But if I went with this problem to the nurse, I would have given this tablet. And I gave the word that no more than one pill of this drink. I’m afraid of injections sleepy. From them to me really bad.
We sit with her in a small workshop during lunch break. The room is unoccupied, except for the psychologist working in this NGO. The psychologist knows the story very well Natasha – she’s talking to a girl for two months. Since then, the volunteers met Natasha, her life changed dramatically. She believes her biggest achievement is that we learned to talk about their feelings. In the orphanage the child feels that he himself, his thoughts and feelings – unnecessary, shallow, uninteresting. And all his life he hides himself in the present, wants to look like anyone but myself. He does not love himself, and often hates is that his parents, he blames himself in the first place.
– When I was little, I prayed that God gave me a family, – said Natasha. – Why did the children leave? Probably just people don’t know that the orphanage was bad. There’s nobody loves you. I was crying so much that I threw. Thought I was mental. I thought so. I put the diagnosis. Mild mental retardation.
The volunteers say that the diagnosis is Natasha, maybe, and invalid, because it is very sensible reasons. But it can only identify the doctor, and who in the region will conduct an independent medical examination for orphans from the STUMPS? Volunteers there is no such authority, the NDA, too. If the country has earned the Institute of distributed custody, then NGOs, which are included in the register of providers of social services could become a partial guardians, along with a boarding school and deal with the issues of education, health, leisure activities of their wards. But while the bill is not even passed second reading.
– I always remember myself in a boarding school, – Natasha thoughtfully rascherchivayut pencil a sheet of paper. – When I was little, we lived a girl. She was very offended senior. Beaten, called names. She often cried at night. Once she came in with blood on his lips. She wanted to run away. I didn’t understand that her behind the fence no one is waiting. I feel sorry for her was being bullied. I told her: “You run until you arrived”. We were locked up for the night. I helped her to escape. She had a sick leg, she was unable to get out through the window. I got out, opened her bunk, and she left. But she got caught. Suffered she and I. It was transferred somewhere, I didn’t see her anymore. And I was punished for a long time.
I ask Natasha how she was punished – and suddenly realize that this could cause her severe pain. But she sits with a pensive, calm face, and I again catch the same expression of detachment, which has already seen before.
– There are punished in different ways. In the dining room, handing out food, but there are children sick, they spit into a bowl. I was seated with them at table, piled my plate all the slop. And if you do not eat, I will “bathe”. Well, drown in the bath.
Gathered cold water in a basin, dipped his head and kept. You twitch and hold you. Well, who, adults, teachers, babysitters. Yes, and the older children used. Who was on duty, and he was hurt.
I think they had the team to punish me, because before that I was not beaten. So I bath not tolerate. When you see the bath, I became ill. Even in the face of the cactus popped. And I was stupid, all the while arguing with the teachers. I was so loud. I was criticized that I have a long tongue. Me for it and beaten. I didn’t talk, so we sat quietly in the office. To educators in the cabins ate, drank tea. Here I sit at the wall – and slammed against the wall. I said, hurt, but not on the head. I need it. But was beaten on the head.
She continues to quietly withdraw lines on paper. I despondently silent. Take her by the hand. She suddenly drops pen, covers his face and cries. “I have never regretted. No one is ever spared. I was a child and I was beaten like an adult”.
– Natasha, is it impossible to tell?
– Told – angrily, she wipes his eyes with his hands. – One day we were taken into town, we danced on stage. And in the hall sat the Commission. And then this Commission to us to be photographed. I said into the ear of one lady that hit me and drown in the bath. She patted me on the head and said that he will understand. And she told the Director, and I was again punished. Last week I lay alone in quarantine. After that I went to concerts.
We silently drink tea. The psychologist asks, if not tired of Natasha and if she wants to end the conversation. “No, – answers the girl – I’m talking to you, I feel better”.
– In the orphanage have not talked to the psychologist? – I ask.
– Came a couple of times the lady asked how I was doing, – indifferently meets girl. – I didn’t want their psychologists. I myself learned how to stand. When I turned 16, I was already nobody touched. Afraid that I have a long tongue. You know, I’ll never forget. I guess I’m vindictive? Sometimes, doing something and suddenly remember. Every day something to remember. The cactus this, then bath. She does not want to remember, but still remember. Now at the orphanage, these teachers are gone, they are retired, I guess. Don’t know how to live there new children. I hurt for them. Perhaps they too are being bullied. And they have no one. I’d like to help them. But how?
Natasha is incapacitated. A pension on her hands do not give. His she had no money, and although it works the STUMPS, gets no salary.
– In the STUMPS are forced to work, especially in winter, when the snow should be cleaned. My girlfriend moved back, laying a month. And I my floors. But I kind of like it, so time passes faster. My and think about something else.
She wants to buy a laptop and phone, she even wrote a request to the social Department. Promised to consider.
– My account the money, it’s my money, – says Natasha. – And they say that the Commission must assess whether I can use phone and laptop. And they can appreciate it, if I don’t have a laptop and a phone?
Violence as the norm
In the charity Fund “Arithmetic good” there are long-term projects, in which experts communicate with the grown up orphans graduating or have already graduated from the orphanage, and help them to adapt in life. Head of psychological service of the Foundation Natalia Mishanina said that the story of Natasha – a typical. Children’s homes are often refer to violence as a very ordinary part of their lives.
“I had to care for the girl, let’s call her Sveta, she came to me in 15 years – says Mishanina. – Such a beautiful, and considered themselves “ugly”. With boys its relations. We worked with her for a year and could not get to the bottom. Children from orphanages are very afraid to reveal that part of the story which hurts the most hurt. We worked a lot on her appearance, on her back. She showed me an image of a beautiful woman, which she wanted to be like, and we have found it most features from this image. And only a year later, when she believed in something beautiful, she told me her story.
It turned out that Light was in the orphanage in 9 years, just did not get along with the caregiver. She made her braid braids, and the girl didn’t want to. One day she woke up in the morning – and she’s one half of the head has been shaved and painted with green paint. After that she withdrew into herself and stopped contacting people. She has a complex, she began to consider herself ugly. She even showed me the photos – that she’s bald, that cap, that the hair grows back. And I saw how it had hurt to look at these pictures. Therapy helped her, now she’s fine, she’s already finished high school, lives independently, she has a young man.”
But Sergei was not so lucky – he was never able to compensate for the pain of wrongs done to him in the orphanage. Serge, how many boys orphaned, hated my life, the orphanage and himself. Every year before his birthday, he ran away from the orphanage in the native village. He was caught and returned back. He was put in a psychiatric hospital the day before my birthday.
“I hate my birthday”, – he said to the psychologist. In the “loony bin” was not a prisoner every time he was rude, swearing or fighting. Serezha was diagnosed with “mild mental retardation” and said that with this diagnosis 4 times a year to be in the “nuthouse” – fine. He still thinks this is normal.
“He told me terrible things – and thought it was the norm, – tells Mishanina. – One day he was lying in the ward in a psychiatric hospital, and the boy in the next bed tried to go out the window.
He was taken by the nurses, tied up and beaten. Serge recalled: “I heard his bones crunched”. But he said it in such a mundane voice. This is the most terrible.”
Now he’s already 23 years old, he came out of the orphanage, standing in the queue for housing. The diagnosis of “mental retardation” took him in the orphanage because he “aligned” behavior, learned how to negotiate with teachers, and to hide pills under the tongue. After graduating from College lived in a Dorm, then have different friends, but never stayed in one place for longer than six months.
“He’s a lone wolf, doesn’t know how to build relationships with people who do not know how to keep relationships with women, – says the psychologist. He can’t live alone, but anyone constantly can not live. It is difficult to resist, even in a good job, he had to change it. He has a craving for dependency loves to race cars, as if seeking death, the point of anguish. Like he wants to feel that he is alive. This is due to his childhood trauma, attachment disorder”.
According to Natalie Mishaninoj, to help these children, but the sooner they begin work psychologists, the more likely: “If we manage to grasp, and to motivate changes in life, in himself, understanding of one’s own resources – something years to 15 you can still catch. But, of course, not everyone is able to help you, because it depends on the child, and from the depths of his childhood trauma.”
At the state level to help them actually do not have. In orphanages and boarding schools have staff psychologists, but teenagers do not appeal to them, says Mishanina. Moreover, they consider that the psychologist can “lay” their Director, and they will be in the “bin”. And they believe that going to a psychologist is a weakness while in the orphanage, you can’t be weak. It is necessary to create independent centers of psychological support, because the NGOs working with such children is only in capitals. And still it is necessary to train psychologists to work with children’s injury – according to Natalia Mishaninoj in Russian universities there is still no such education programs, and psychologists who want to do it, forced to seek special training on working with trauma, loss, attachment disorder.