I keep thinking about if one of the people that I had to show my “Battle” wounds too, had told the authorities, I may not have ended up in further abuse. If one person had stood up to my mom when she was screaming in my face. If one person had cared enough to say this isn’t right, would I hurt as bad as I do now?
Knowing the pain that I bear from child abuse, I don’t know how an adult can stand by and watch a child be hurt by their parents and do nothing. It takes a village to raise a child, but one person to wreck them for life. I hate when people tell me to just let it go. I can’t. No one can just let go of child abuse. Some one hurt you when you trusted them when you had no choice, it is the ultimate betrayal of trust. There is no way that I will sit idle by and watch a child be hurt knowing the pain it caused me.
I was not a bad child. I was quiet. I had straight A’s. I loved to read. Reading was my escape from the hell I lived in at home. When I wasn’t reading, I daydreamed about being rescued. I know, typical teen girl. I wrote poems. The themes were clear that I felt like something was keeping me from God’s love. (I will post some here one day.) My mom never read any of my poems.
When I was 15, I submitted a poem to a contest. A few months later I got a letter in the mail that I could have it published because it was in the top 300 out of like 10000. I was ecstatic. My dream was to be a writer and I was achieving that at 15. Well, I made my corrections to my poem, just minor typos. I gave the letter to my mom to send off. I begged her to buy me the book that it was going to be published in. It was thirty dollars, so she refused. To be honest, I think she sabotaged me, I found the letter in the letter drawer a few months later. I don’t think she ever sent it off. She knew how much it meant to me and she refused to even pay the postage to send the letter back. She could have helped make my dream come true, but she refused.
My mom could be excused by saying she had only gotten a 6th or 7th grade education. She hated living at home with her mother and drunk of a father, so she quit school and got married at 16. At 19, she was divorced and pregnant. She had to work to provide for her daughter. Then she met my dad, an insurance sells man, who was taking care of a foster kid that was a distant cousin. He was just coming out of an abusive relationship, or so he claims. He told me that his ex tried to kill him. I don’t know if it is true or not. Well, after a turbulent dating relationship they got married. Turbulent because my mom was paranoid that he would cheat on her.
They moved the two girls in together and they became friends. We shall call them Jeanie and Mae. Jeanie was my mom’s daughter and Mae was the foster kid. Well, one day, Mae gets into trouble and my mom decides she is going to whip her. Mae starts jumping on the beds to get away from her. My mom laughed that she was able to beat her anyways. We came into this home as unsuspecting, vulnerable children.
Another story that we heard growing up was one of my dad’s mom. She was an old lady that would take care of Jeanie and Mae when mom and dad were at work. One day, the girls got the giggles like pre-teen girls do. Apparently, the grandmother didn’t like it. She started telling them to stop giggling and when that wasn’t working she started hitting them with a stick. That made the girls stop laughing, but the grandmother told them to keep laughing or she wouldn’t stop hitting them. My dad would tell us that story like his mom did the right thing.
Time went on. Mae’s mom tried to get custody back. They went to trial and my dad lied on the stand. The lawyer caught him in the lie and Mae went back to her mom. Like many mothers who wanted their kids back, Mae’s mom courted her with ice cream in the middle of the night, late night movie nights, and etc. Well, after the custody was settled, Mae called my parents.
The conversation was heartbreaking. As an early teen, Mae was forced into prostitution and drugs by her mother. She called my parents for help. They listened to her sob on the other side of the phone and told her they couldn’t help her. They had to protect Jeanie. If they could turn a blind eye to Mae, why did I think they would help me. All of the decisions they ever made was to protect Jeanie.
So, a few years later we were put into this home after Jeanie was married and had step kids. In the beginning of our stay, we would all be sitting in the living room being read a story. The story our beloved mother read to us was A Child Called It. Basically in our minds, we were in heaven compared to that boy. We would pour praise over her for giving us a home and she relished it. We never asked for any of the stuff that happened to us. I firmly believe that all children should be given a home. They deserve homes because they are children.
There were times when she was mad and would get this look in her eye. It was a look that was pure, unbridled anger. Fear would strike my heart when I would see that look. Anything could bring it on. Mostly, it was because I read and loved to learn. My mom would pile on my chores to try to make it to where she thought I couldn’t read. I still managed to crank out over 400 pages a day. My secret was to sit in the back next to the dryer when I had laundry and read for the hour it took to do the laundry.
When I got caught doing my reading next to the dryer, I would get grounded for hiding. My books were taken away and I turned to music to fill the times I wasn’t allowed to read. I never read anything bad. I like classics like Jane Erye, Of Mice and Men, Native Son, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Good Earth, etc. However, I guess that intimidated my mom.
Part of me wonders if she knew I was being abused by my Uncle. Lately, I have been wondering if I was supposed to be a surrogate mother for his wife. She loved babies and couldn’t have any. With a monster like that for a husband, I am glad she couldn’t. But out of love that I hold in my heart for her, it is also heartbreaking. I don’t blame her at all. She knows my mom. She knows the wrath that comes after going against her. She was just caught in the crossfire and was able to be talked out of doing the right thing. If she is reading this, I want to leave her a message.
After the talk, that we had in your car, you know the tears I cried. You held my hand and told me that you understand. You said if you could do something you would. You hurt me so deeply. I thought if anyone would be on my side, you would. You know what he did, he told you what he did to me. I am begging you, if you love your children, if you ever loved me, do the right thing and turn him in. No one would blame you. How could you even look at him knowing what he did to me? He isn’t sorry. He just got away with it and he won’t stop. Now, you are an accomplice. You are helping him. You know it deep down in your heart. I know you do, I could hear it in your voice the last time I talked to you. Turn him in, before he takes you down with him. He isn’t worth it.
Like the rose budding on a Spring day, my hope that the end of abuse is near. The only way to end the tragedy of any abuse is to speak out. We should not let abusers hide behind the cloak of silence. What if by speaking out we can save others? What if by my speaking out, I am protecting some children from him? Then, I will shout what he did to me from the rooftop. Never again will I suffer in silence and allow him to walk in the sun hunting for another victim. I am not ashamed, because I was a child. My parents, him and every adult that had an inkling that I was being abuse should be ashamed. Never again will I stand by and see a child abused and not say anything, I will stand up. I will say, “No More.”