Precious’ case is very sensitive; analysis of how individual characteristics, schools, family, and community impact this case. Additionally, this paper will present Precious’ case summary, legal and ethical considerations and finally, prevention, interventions, and treatment possibilities.
Case Summary, Precious
Precious is 16 years old and lives in Harlem, New York City. Her father has sexually abused her since she was three years old, causing two pregnancies. She is morbidly obese and illiterate. Her mother is emotionally and physically abusive. Her mother claims to be jealous of the sexual attention Precious’ father gives to her and blames her daughter for it. Her mother runs the house on welfare. She even claims Precious’ first child who lives with her grandmother for further monetary gain. As Precious is pregnant for the second time she is sent to a different school. Her teacher takes the time to teach her to read and write.
Precious’ social worker finds out that Precious’ children are a result of incest and rape.
Precious’ mother physically abuses her and her newborn baby, so Precious takes her baby and leaves. She breaks into her school for comfort from the cold, but her teacher discovers her and helps to get her into a halfway house. Her mother shares that her father has died of AIDS. Precious then gets tested and finds out that she is infected. Precious is empowered to take the steps today to have a better future for herself and her children. She cuts her mother out of her and her children’s lives and she has plans to get her GED.
Legal and Ethical Issues
Precious’ case has a myriad of legal and ethical issues to consider. Reporting child abuse and confidentiality differs by state. But in this case, Precious is a victim of a crime and currently in danger. It is important to document information and to let the victim know that in order to protect them, their confessions are not going to be confidential (Romney, 1982). But beyond helping Precious and her baby, there is a duty to warn other potential rape victims (McWhirter et al, 2013, p. 65).
Once Precious has discovered that her father died of AIDS and she is infected it is important to monitor if other people could become victims of retrieving this virus from her (McWhirter et al, 2013, p. 68). This is difficult as Precious also has rights to privacy surrounding HIV. McWhirter advises to report this information to the health department. There it will be kept private and shows the therapists attempt to balance the clients’ rights while still protecting other possible victims in the future. Precious has been through chronic trauma overlapped with being infected by AIDS and becoming an independent single mother could lead to and could find herself in a place of feeling hopeless or suicidal motivation. It is important to look for verbal cues such as “I don’t see how I can go on” (McWhirter et al, 2013, p. 267). It is always a good idea to go over the policies, procedures, limits of confidentiality, federal and state laws, etc. Since Precious is an adolescent and illiterate, this is especially important.
Based on a study regarding what resources helped adolescents best cope were in the following order: friends, at least one good friend, a good home, parental support, food supply, speaking up for themselves, stability in family life, independence, money for personal needs to be met, and a sense of humor (Frydenberg, 2008, p. 9). Precious did not have most of these basic needs.
Precious’ coping mechanisms are that she overeats, as she is morbidly obese. In addition, she ignores anything that makes her sad and focuses on a fantasy world where everyone adores her. This is a sign that she is disengaging and disassociating as a way to protect herself from the traumatic truth of her life. Instead of getting upset by her father raping her, she pretended like they adored each