The Story Of Lee
Every story has a beginning, and this story begins with Lee”s mother, Diane.
Diane was married at age 14 to a man with severe mental illness. By 16, she had a son and was pregnant again. Eight months pregnant with a baby girl, Diane filed for divorce to escape an abusive marriage and moved back into her parents” home.
Lee was born into a broken family, to a mother unready for parenthood. She was a beautiful child, complete with blonde hair and bright brown eyes. But by the time she was almost ready to enter school, her mother had become completely overwhelmed with her circumstances. When Lee was four-years old, Diane disappeared, leaving Lee”s grandparents to adopt her children.
If Lee”s grandparents had been nurturing and kind, her story might have been ended very differently. But Lee”s fate was one of pain and fear as her grandfather made her a victim of physical and sexual abuse. At school, Lee was in chronic trouble by age 11; she exchanged sexual favors for food or cigarettes. At home, she was beaten and assaulted regularly by her grandfather, a man in her life that should have protected her.
When she was 14, Lee was raped by a friend of her grandfather. The brutal assault left her pregnant. She was sent to a home for unwed mothers, at which she stayed for the duration of her pregnancy. Her baby was given to an adoption agency and she was sent back to live with her grandparents. When she was 15, her grandmother died. Her grandfather turned her out of the house. So began the years that online casino Lee survived through prostitution.
Lee had developed a reputation in the neighborhood as a troublemaker. If children tried to play with her, their parents lead them away. When it snowed, Lee”s best friend would try to sneak her inside through a bedroom window. When Lee couldn”t find an older man to put her into a hotel or a friend”s house to sneak into, she lived in a self-made hut in the woods. During the snowy months her fingers and toes would stay so cold and blue that they remained numb throughout her adult years. Eventually she decided to hitchhike south to find warmer climates. Throughout her childhood, as well as her time as a homeless youth, Lee had no one who took her in permanently. No one committed themselves to her well being. No adult cared what happened to the girl with big brown eyes. Over time, the little girl who had wanted to be an actress, just so everyone would love her – that little girl disappeared.
By the time she reached adulthood, Lee”s life of pain, rejection, fear, and victimization contributed to the development of serious mental illness. As a child Lee experienced horrible things that twisted her heart, mind, and body. And as a homeless adult, Lee did horrific things for which there is no excuse. Lee”s story began as an innocent child and and when her story ended, she was labeled a monster. Lee was Aileen Wournos, dubbed “America”s First Female Serial Killer”. She was arrested and charged for the murders of 7 men and was eventually put to death by the state of Florida in 2002. So why am I telling the story of Lee?
I”m telling you the story of Lee because Lee”s story always stuck a chord in me. Her life could have been so different. If there had only been one neighbor, one parent, one teacher that looked out for this child, she could have grown up to be so many other things. One advocate in her life could have not only saved her, but also the men that would become her victims. They could have saved at least 8 lives by just showing a hand of kindness and concern.
We see people in need all the time and always think that someone else will help. We pass by someone and think how sad his or her situation is, but we never look back. It”s easy for us to ignore people that need our help because we think it isn”t our place to get involved, that someone else will help, or that it”s their fault that they are in that situation. We are wrong.
In 2015, I”m challenging you to get involved. This is the year that we all need to step up and say enough is enough. If you see someone in need and can”t help them, find someone that can help. Don”t think that someone else will be the advocate that they need. Be that someone to make a difference in their story. Be the advocate. Be the change. Rethink responsibility.
Special thanks to Alicia VanNoy Call for editing assistance.
Stock photo, not actual.