I’m twenty-five years old and to this day I am frozen whenever I step outside. I am vulnerable, and fear that one day, whether I like it or not, my past is going to catch up with me. My past being namely my Father, who abused my brother and I from the day I met him, back when I was three. It’s been five years since my family finally escaped from him, and there doesn’t yet seem to be enough distance between what my life was and what it is today. My Father would burn us, choke us, threaten us with knives, beat us (usually with a belt, or hit us in the face. I have hearing problems and suffer from memory loss because of him.) He would keep us from sleeping and threaten to kill us, our pets, and sometimes himself. This is far from normal behavior; in fact, it’s downright pathological.
To all the teachers, guidance counselors and the like, grandparents, relatives and psychologists: if you know a child is suffering at the hands of a parent, don’t brush it off. Don’t stay silent because of what the neighbors will think. Don’t think it’s the child’s fault. I wish someone had helped me instead of telling me that I needed to be stronger. Instead of telling me it was my fault.
Please don’t overlook abuse. If you’re confronted with a child that can’t concentrate, who begs you to help them, I hope you make the right call. If you don’t you’re condemning them even long after the abuse has ended.