On Wednesday the STAR published the story of 13-year old Monique Gerson who has been missing since November 25, 2013. On Thursday I again contacted the mother of the missing child, Rufina Gerson, who appeared stressed out to say the least; still disillusioned by the ordeal.
During our conversation,Rufina gave the impression that she was flustered by her current situation. She made abundantly clear her thoughts on the matter and how disheartened she was by the frequency of Monique’s disappearing act.
“It’s not like she’s actually missing. She left and she hasn’t comeback. I don’t really know what to do because she has done this so many times”.
Rufina is finding it difficult to pinpoint the possible reasons her daughter would act in such a manner, as she doesn’t think that the problem stems from the household. She believes that there are sufficient nurturing family members around her and does not think that her problem is that she is being neglected or lacking attention.
“I don’t think the problem is at home because we don’t have arguments. She will be there with us, she will go to sleep and during the night she just goes,” Rufina says.
So what could be the problem then? Could it be that Monique is longing for a paternal figure in her life, some fatherly love, an ever present male that she can turn to? According to her mother, Monique’s biological father never played any role in her life, but her boyfriend (now ex) helped raise her as his own. “He had no children of his own, and he accepted Monique like his own child.” Even after he and Rufina broke up, he has still been providing caring for Monique, the mother says.
“This is emotionally draining me, to be going through this all the time” Gerson confessed, when asked how this experience makes her feel as a mother.
“I don’t even know if ‘giving up’ is the right term to use, but its leading up to that light”.
Rufina is tired of reliving this nightmare and she believes that because of the number of times that this has happened, people are not taking the matter seriously anymore. She believes that her daughter’s actions are causing those who are aware of the situation, to be dismissive and she doesn’t blame them. She mentioned that apart from herself and her family, many other people have been speaking to her such as their pastor, her principal and teachers. Her teachers claim that she behaves ‘okay’ in school, and this is adding to Gerson’s confusion.
The teenager’s mother received indication that her daughter may not be in immediate danger when she realized that she had changed her profile picture, and continued to update her statuses on Facebook.
“The first few times this happened I was feeling very bad, and now this is embarrassing. I am hurt because she is just thirteen, and she has her whole life ahead of her,” Rufina says.
She explained that her daughter’s principal and teachers have expressed their concern and have been very supportive and consoling to her; frequently inquiring as to what is being done and whether there are any developments. Rufina revealed that Monique’s homeroom teacher calls every day for updates. She also commends the police as she believes that this time around they are handling the matter with more urgency than previous times.
Before concluding our conversation, I asked the embattled mother what she would tell her daughter if she had the chance to speak to her right now. “I would tell her to come home, and whatever she is going through just tell somebody. If she does not trust me, she has enough people that care about her that are close to her, and are there for her. So just speak to somebody and tell us what’s going on. Because she’s not just hurting herself but everyone else that cares about her.”