The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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Teacher Lesson Return to "Eyes Wide Shut"
Eyes Wide Shut
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The writer describes the nightmare of not only living with a father who physically and sexually abuses her, but of being left unprotected by family members who knew what was going on. She goes into foster care and loses her relationship with her grandmother, who believes she betrayed the family by telling the truth.

Prompts for discussion and/or writing:

• Were you ever in a situation similar to the writer’s, where your family turned a blind eye to problems you were having? How did you feel about it at the time? How has not being believed affected you today?

• The writer felt loved by her grandmother. But her grandmother knew what was going on in the family and did little to stop it. Why do you think the writer’s grandmother didn’t do more to stop the abuse? What do you think the grandmother should have done?

• The writer’s grandmother dealt with the problems in the house by taking the writer out to have fun. Although she loved her grandmother, sometimes the writer was also angry at her, for not doing more to protect her from her father. Did you ever feel both love and anger toward someone, because that person was close to you, but also did little to protect you? What was it like to have those mixed feelings? Looking back now, do you feel more love or anger toward that person? Why?

• How did not being protected and believed as a child affect the writer as she grew older?

• A time came when the writer couldn’t hold in her secrets any longer. Did a time come in your life when you couldn’t keep family secrets any more? Why did you decide to speak up, and what happened when you did? How were you affected by speaking up? How was the family affected?

• The writer's grandmother rejects her because she spoke up about the abuse. Did a family member ever reject you because you told the truth about the family? Why did the family member react that way? Were you ever able to patch up your relationship with that person? Why or why not?

• What strengths does the writer discover about herself, that she never knew she had? What strengths have you discovered about yourself as a result of your family experiences?

Roleplay: Two teens, playing the writer and her grandmother. The grandmother believes the writer betrayed the family by speaking up about the abuse. The writer thinks she did what was right for herself and her family.
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