Ducky Diaries: A survivors voice

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A survivors voice

I was 8 years old.

I was being hit, kicked, punched, tortured.  I was used to this.  It was a weekly occurrence.  At least.

This time was different. It wasn't just physical. This attack broke me like a wild horse being rode. It broke my spirit which was all I had left. And is still one of my most painful memories.

I had to use the restroom and upon saying this I was told to stand still and hold it.  

When I no longer could hold my bodily fluids I urinated on myself and was laughed at and called a disgusting mutt. Embarrassment, shame, and fear flooded over me as I felt tears fall out of my eyelids.

My hair was gripped by a fist and my face was pushed down inches from the tiled hallway floor.  I was a "bad dog" and had to be punished.

"Bad dog! You pissed on my floor! BAD DOG!"

My nose was shoved into the tile and into my own urine.

As painful and embarrassing as it is to share this, I need to.  I suffered through years of physical, emotional, and mental abuse at the hands of my biological mother. 

I attempted suicide 3 times by the age of 10.

I had severe panic disorder and PTSD until the age of 18. 

I still suffer from occasional panic attacks at 29.

Why am I sharing this?  Now after 20 years?  

More than 3 million reports of child abuse are still flooding in, each year, now, today, in the year 2014.  It's still happening.

Why? 

What are we neglecting to see in ourselves and in others that is allowing this to happen? 

As a child abuse survivor, I firmly believe that we can end the cycle of child abuse and endangerment here in the U.S.A.  We have all the necessary options to eradicate these statistics, yet it is still happening! 

We have the resources!  The mental health advocates, counselors, therapists, infant and parenting classes.  Why is there still shame in seeking the help we need!?

I cannot speak for my own mother as to why she did what she did.  I don't understand how one can harm her own children and how people in her life that clearly witness her behavior would not force her into help.  To me that isn't love.  Love is protecting someone even if from themselves.   

I don't understand why she was not on medication to help her think clearly at all times.  And if she was why didn't she take it correctly?

I don't understand why she had no support system.  I don't know why she didn't reach out to anyone.

I don't understand why screams were heard by neighbors and no one even batted an eye.

I don't know how medical staff at the doctors office would walk by children with a blanket over their heads, being hissed at to not show their face by their mother wouldn't garner even a second glance.

I don't understand.

It's simple.

If you are overwhelmed ask for help. Do not be ashamed.
Have a support system that you trust. Educate them on child abuse.  It often starts at home or a close family friend or at the hands of a relative.

Educate them on the signs to look for.
 A child that acts out physically, sexually,  withdrawals or  flinches at physical touch or loud noise,  unkempt, dirty appearance, bruises or markings in unusual places. A child that wants to wear heavy clothing or a turtle neck sweater even in very warm weather may be hiding physical abuse marks or neck bruising.  An abuser will often avoid hitting the child on the face or body parts that can be easily seen.  

The child may limp, or move slowly if in pain.  Child may apologize often for no apparent reason or tell you they are 'bad'.  Child may show signs of fear or trepidation upon seeing the abuser.

If you're a family friend, be a friend.  Care about the parent enough to pay attention.  Do they look worn down, depressed?  Is the parent not acting like themselves?  Are they becoming increasingly short tempered with their children or spouse?  Are they confiding in you that they or something doesn't feel right? 

Offer to take the children for a few hours. Sometimes a break is all a parent needs.  If you suspect something deeper, offer to help call their family doctor or a counselor.  Be an emotional support buddy.  

If you are a witness, do not do nothing....    You may be that parent or child's LAST hope.  

At a grocery store and someone violently pulls, smacks, screams at a child, ask if you can offer the parent a break, even a 5 minute break, so they can finish shopping.  They may not even realize they are getting close to a breaking point. Your acknowledgement may help them take a breath and recollect themselves.  If they are a repeat abuser they will most likely respond to you irritably and or claim their child is 'bad' or use other put downs.   Pay attention! 


 If you can't bring yourself to do get in the middle of a situation  get a license plate number and call the National abuse hotline. 

If you are a friend or acquaintance who doesn't want to get involved, call anonymously. 

1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453)   National child abuse hotline

Use it. 

End the abuse.

Please.

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