What do I do?
A letter from Amber, June 7, 2008

After receiving the below letter, I suggested to the author that, with her permission, we would circulate it to our list members and invite their responses. She agreed. Our mutual understanding was that we would substitute a fictitious name -- "Amber" -- and not disclose her contact information.

Readers wishing to respond can reply to PTAVE. We'll vet their letters in order to filter out any material we deem inappropriate, and forward copies to Amber. For Amber's protection, we will not facilitate direct communication between her and those commenting on her situation.

Readers are invited to write to riak@nospank.net with "Amber" in the subject box.

Jordan Riak, Exec. Dir., PTAVE

Hi, I'm 16, my name is Amber. I sent an email like this to similar organizations, but I don't know if they will respond.

I've been researching rights of teens because of incidents at my home, and I've found that corporal punishment is (disturbingly) legal. Now I feel trapped in my situation.

My dad used to hit me when I was younger, but once I reached a certain age, I started threatening to call the police, and he stopped. But recently he has started slapping and smacking me again in his fits of rage. I can't do anything but cry over it and try to find somewhere to "hide" (for a lack of a better expression), because I've found out that it's perfectly legal for him to do this.

I feel so depressed and humiliated, I've resorted to stupid things like cutting myself (as melodramatic as that idea has become), which I used to when I was 12 - 13 because of things my dad had said to me that hurt me so bad. I really make an effort to keep my dad from getting angry at me. I get straight A's in school, I don't do drugs/smoke/drink/go to crazy parties/sleep around/sneak out late/or anything like that. But there isn't enough I can do.

I feel trapped. I feel worse and worse after every incident with my dad. It's like my life revolves around "what's going to happen next." I can't ask anyone for help because it is legal for him to hit me, and I can't stop him. I'm just a kid.

I don't know what to do. Is there anything that can be done? I can't runaway, because not only do I have no where to go, but the police will just find me, bring me back, and I'll be in for another beating when I get back. As long as it doesn't leave a bruise (which smacking normally doesn't, and he knows this), he can hit me as much as he wants...

What do I do?


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