Marina, born in the Ukraine, arrived at the Mothers Unit when she was 23 years old with both her children- Daniel, 3.5 years old and Anna, 2 years old. She was sent from a town in the north of Israel after the welfare staff of the town was deeply disturbed with her brutal life story. Even though she harmed her children and neglected them, the welfare staff believed that she has a basic right to get rehabilitation opportunity.
Marinas’ mother died at childbirth and Marina was raised by her father and sisters who rejected and alienated her. To her understanding it was because she was blamed for her mothers’ death. Her family members abused her all the time, for example: if she would not clean her room they would tie her out in the back yard for hours.
When Marina was 14 years old her family sold her to a crime organization that traded and sold women. The organization forced her to prostitution services. When she was 18 years old that same organization brought her to Israel, and sold her to a local organization that continued turning her into a sex slave. The pimp that bought her and used her is the father of her 2 children. He also took her out of the brothel she was in. The father was arrested and put away in Jail.
Prior to his imprisonment, he made his mother responsible for Marina; his mother humiliated her and turned her into a cleaning slave. After some time she was transferred to a hotel room and once again was forced into providing sex services. At this point the neighbors reported to the authorities that Marina seemed drunk and that she was neglecting her children. When examining the situation it turned out that Marina would give her children alcohol: “For them to be quiet”.
The family’s’ absorption in the Unit was slow and filled with problems. However encouraging signs were showing from the start. These signs became meaningful several months later.
At the beginning of Marinas stay she was sad and depressed, shut down and expressionless all the time. She was passive and so detached that she communicated only after being touched. She did not express any positive emotion towards her children and was not interested in anyone else. She flooded the children with gifts and candy but did not set any boundaries whatsoever.
She would often burst out angrily towards her children, mainly towards Daniel. During these outbursts she would grab the child by his arm strongly and tightly and would drag him from one place to another while shouting at him, shaking all over, cursing him and the staff, and repelling any attempt at help that was offered to her. The staff and other mothers felt that these outbursts outs lasted an eternity. During this period of time the nurses understood from her that she thought she needed to stay at the unit “until her formal matters were all arranged”.
Her son Daniel would try to get close to her like a baby. When she would ignore him he would act like a criminal: he would hurt her, abuse her and abandon her. Daniel, against her will, would wander around in the building asking for gifts and candy from different people, act wild without control, stay away from her as much as he could, preferred to spend his time in the rooms of other mothers and eat dinner with them!
However, while the failures occurred Marina was precise at showing up to every treatment meeting, 3 times a week, which was clear that she was trying to understand her condition. From the beginning of her stay at the unit; Marina performed perfectly in all the physical aspects of taking care of her children: nutrition, cooking and shopping, healthcare, clothing, all preschool activities and maintaining cleanliness and order in her apartment. Marina succeeded in keeping to budget she was given and even started working- cleaning, twice a week.
Marina attached quickly to her therapist and to most of the unit staff.
During the treatment process, there was a gradual impressive progress in all aspects of her life: she enters relationships with other, looks, smiles and touches.
There is a huge change in her relationship with her children; she began hugging them and talking with them. Like a normal mother, she learned how to set boundaries for them. The staff enjoys watching how much she loves her children and how she is attached to them. Daniel and Anna became attached to their mother, and not out of fear.
Marina ended her stay at the Mothers Unit and went out to choose her home as a mother- responsible for taking care of her family unit and continues to strengthen.