Trigger warning for Hurts Me More Than You series: posts in this series may include detailed descriptions of corporal punishment and physical abuse and violence towards children.
Extra trigger warning for Jennifer’s story: descriptions of blood in relation to physical abuse during menstruation
I am 17.
Funny how the majority of my life is a blur; I have very few clear memories of my childhood. I believe this is because my mind is suppressing the worst of the abuse.
But I do know that every day my oldest brother was beaten for mocking and hitting me and that at least once a week I and my other siblings were beaten.
Rather than talk to my brother about why he felt the need to bully me, my parents used belts which only exacerbated the issue. And of course, I and my two other siblings were ambiguously “disrespectful” and deserved beatings, no matter that everyone we ever had contact with thought us perfect.
I remember the times we hid from my father when he came home and read the list my mother kept of infractions the children committed and deserved being beaten for. The four of us were always found out and told to “line up.” Listening to my older siblings’ screams and being a helpless bystander knowing it would be my turn next was so much worse than the beating itself. Listening was much more psychologically damaging. Thanks to that damage, I was incredibly introspective.
It was a habit of mine in middle school to sneak out and wander the streets by night, fascinated by the stars, doubting God. One day I was caught by a police officer, who called my mother at 3 a.m. I was menstruating, but my father beat me anyway, until I had lost about a quart of blood, my legs coated in it. The combinations of cramps and blunt force created the most excruciating pain I have ever experienced.
That was four years ago.
Today, I still recoil when people reach out to me. I still cringe at the sound of a belt. I am still not free from them; indeed, today my sister has healing scabs on her arm from our mother clawing her.
And the worst, most depressing, soul draining thing is not the scars, but how I have no recourse but to watch her cry.
In my childhood, my parents mocked people who used the term “spanking,” saying they don’t call it what it is and they are right. Any form of physical punishment is violence and damaging. Not only to the one being hit, but to everyone hearing the screams.