The War on Drugs for Her
She had just turned fifteen. Excited to attend a music festival, it was a large one for under eighteens. She was a good girl, though some of her friends had a wilder side. They did like to party. While she was at the music festival the police were conducting an operation, to curb the use of recreational drugs. Twenty or so teenagers, including herself had been taken almost seemingly at random by the police officers.
It was a hot day, so she had worn very little. She was roughly handled as she was taken away. The police officers accused her of being in possession of drugs. She had not even tried alcohol yet. She looked a certain way and was hanging out with friends who apparently had been caught in the past with such contraband. This assumption had allowed the police officers to take her.
She was made to strip naked, the uniformed adults ran their gloved hands over her body. They were indifferent to her embarrassed state and made her feel like a piece of meat. Her legs were spread as she stood, with a mirror they looked up into her genitalia and then a latex covered digit took her virginity. The pain was sharp. The finger twisted and probed into her, finding nothing. She began to shake, her blood was on the finger of the glove as the officer ripped it from their hand and discarded it like a full condom.
She was told that she could get dressed, she was “free” to go. She did not sleep well that night, she told her parents what had happened. Though she did not go into details. On the television news the police spokesperson was matter of fact as the cameras captured their professional manner, three of those who had been strip searched were in possession of contraband. For a little while there was some condemnation and outrage, it passed. But for her, she continued to have nightmares.
The sight of a uniform caused a rush of fear inside of her, she felt instant fright and then afterwards when the sickness had past an anger that she could not unravel. She was seventeen when it happened again. She had been in a car with some friends when the police pulled them over. They searched the teenagers and found that the driver had been in possession of enough drugs to get the others in trouble. It was alleged that there was enough to sell. The driver was accused of being a dealer. Though she had never been aware of him doing that.
She had to attend a court, she was frightened, ashamed and embarrassed. She did not know what was going on. People in strange costumes spoke on her behalf and an old man in ancient attire frowned at her, he said that she and the others had to be taught a lesson. They needed to be punished. There was a war going on, and she was now treated as an enemy combatant.
She was sent to a youth jail. It was called something other, but it was jail for those not yet legally adults. Once there, she was forced naked and more adults in uniform wearing gloves searched her body, they were rough and indifferent. She was now a Prisoner of War, she felt as though she had no real rights. She had been found guilty of a crime. Her pleas of innocence were wasted tears in a storm.
The months dragged on, repeatedly she was stripped naked and made to reveal her insides to those in uniforms. They never found anything, her body no longer belonged to her. Drugs destroyed lives she had been told repeatedly, now it seemed that hers was added to the list. Though she had not tried drugs yet. She was pretty, she was aware of that. She had been told it on and off since even before she had become a teenager. She had a sweet smile, though she no longer showed it. Being pretty in jail is not a quality one wants.
She learned that lesson one day, she had been taken, molested and then she felt the savage thrusts of a man. It hurt. The guard threatened her. He ripped the condom from himself just as that first police officer had removed the bloody glove. She quivered in her cot that night, her tears stung. She did her best to avoid the uniforms, it would be over soon. The nightmares, the memories they will never leave.
She was eventually allowed out. The pretty smile was now a wary frown, bags hang under her eyes. She fought with her parents and most of her friends now treated her as though she was contaminated. Did they know what had happened to her? She found part time work and soon mashed into different scenes. The nightmares tortured her most nights. It was then that she first tried drugs. Legal ones, prescribed. For her sleep. Eventually she began to self medicate. The “banned” drugs came later, they were to help her forget.
In her fragmented mind state, strange men took to her body. She had learned early on that it no longer belonged to her. Uniformed or not. It was all the same to her now. She found herself in hospital, a ‘junkie slut’ a nurse had said to another as she lay lost in a purgatory of hurt with a drip in her arm. Once she was discharged, more professionals from the government visited her. These were paid to be compassionate, they spoke to her as though she was a victim. She was now given money, put on schemes to help her buy groceries and they even paid her rent.
She was now called a victim, not because of the imprisonment, the kidnap, the shame and the rape. Because she had tried to lose those memories to drugs. She was now a statistic, to further fan the war. No longer an enemy combatant, a child soldier, she was one of the wars innocent victims. A lost addict used to justify the uniformed crusaders. More like her to follow, because of her means of escape. For her, that was what the war on drugs felt like. Now that she is “clean” the memories still hurt.
Ugh.. As father of a young daughter, it’s been said I’m over protective… this piece reinforces that I may not yet be protecting her enough…
Another deeply thought provoking work.
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