Lisa B. in her own words
by Lisa B.
She was standing at the front door, scared to death. Her heart was pounding hard, and her adrenaline was pumping in full force now. She knew she had to get inside, but she knew what was going to happen when she walked through the door. She didn’t have anywhere to go. She took a deep breath and unlocked the door and walked in.
Just as she thought, he was waiting for her. He grabbed her by the hair and without a word proceeded to beat her over and over with his belt. He threw her against the patio door. Every hit felt like a burning stab on her back. Her heart was hardened and her soul had given up a long time ago. With every beating she hoped and prayed that this would be the day that she would meet her Maker; that it would be all over.
She heard screaming behind her, as her knees buckled and her body went limp. She had given up the fight. He was still beating her. The screaming came from her mother, who grabbed the man, her father, trying to get him to stop. As he kept beating her, he grabbed her mother and threw her to the floor. The mother got up again and kept screaming, “Stop! Stop! Stop! You’re going to kill her!”
Her mother eventually was able to get her father to stop, and she was told to go to her room. On the way to her room she stopped in the bathroom. She closed the door and took off her shirt to look at her back in the mirror. She saw deep red welts and slash marks from the belt outlined all over her back. There was also some blood. She cleaned herself up, even though it stung and went to her bedroom. As she lay on her stomach she heard the yelling and screaming coming from the living room. She cried until she finally fell asleep.
That was me when I was 17 years old. And the man was my father, who would mercilessly beat me. I am now writing this letter to you, as a mother. I’m grown up now, but the emotional damage has been done. I went through many years of counseling and I was part of a 12-step group, Adult Children of Alcoholics. The pain has lessened some, but the emotional scars are still there.
Childhelp helped me a long time ago, when I didn’t think I had anyone to turn to. I called the Hotline and the person on the phone helped me through a tough night. She talked me out of killing myself that night. I will always be grateful for that. I don’t remember her name. It was such a long time ago. I was desperate, and her kind words and the love in her voice made me feel safe. I never told her my name. I told her I would hang up if she made me tell my name. She understood, and she let me talk, and then she talked to me, as if I mattered. I have never forgotten that.
I feel that there needs to be more public awareness about what actually happens to an abused child. I want to make the public aware of the fact that child abuse is done behind closed doors.
There aren’t any witnesses. That this happens on an ongoing basis; it’s not a one-time thing. Please help me get the word out there. Let’s get together and help our communities become more aware of this horrible problem. Help me realize a promise that I made to myself a long time ago: that if I made it through my ordeal, I would do whatever I could to help another child like me.