How to help my abused student?
September 15, 2011 10:13 AM Subscribe
One of my university students is being physically, mentally and emotionally abused by their parents and has asked me for help. What can/should I do as their teacher?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I am a Westerner teaching at a university in Japan. About two months ago a 20-year-old (legally an adult) female student spoke with me confidentially about how her parents abuse her and she asked me for help. Her parents do not live in Japan at the moment, but do return once or twice a year and she is financially dependent on them.
At first, I honestly explained that I want to help her, but do not know how and that she should see the university counselor.
She refused saying she felt more comfortable talking about it in English (she's a returnee - having spent most of her childhood in the US). Eventually, we found an English-speaking counselor that she's now seeing once a week, but since she's having to pay for it with her own money I don't know how long she can continue.
She has been frequently emailing me wanting to talk about everything and I've been trying to keep a balance of being supportive without letting her become too dependent on me or letting it take too much of my time.
However, the stress and amount of time I'm dealing with all of this started to affect my personal and professional life so I asked for help from my colleague and a friend who both advised me to quickly and cleanly cut her off as she is an adult and has to work it out for herself. This is impossible for me to do as she is fragile, already distrusts adults and besides, I see her twice a week at school. Most importantly, as a teacher and as a human being, I feel compelled to do what I can to help - I just have no idea how to answer her questions nor what kind of advice to give her.
Any ideas or words of support would be appreciated and as this is an anonymous posting (because I'm unsure of the legal liabilities here) write me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. I won't be able to post replies anonymously on AskMeFi so thanks in advance.