CC image courtesy of Flickr, Edmund Garman.
HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Caleigh Royer’s blog, Profligate Truth. It was originally published on April 14, 2015.
Being the survivor of childhood/adulthood abuse is not an easy place to be.
And I say ‘survivor’ not victim, because I am not the abuse I suffered, I am continually striving to rise out of the pit and to protect myself, parent myself, and heal myself. There are times when I realize just how much I’ve had to do to pick myself up and make sure I am in most ways a functioning adult and that is heavy knowledge. I wasn’t taught anything about how to be an adult. I just knew how to take care of kids, how to grocery shop for a large family, how to cook, clean, be chief book and . I didn’t know anything about money, I didn’t know anything about budgeting. I taught myself or carefully asked people I hesitantly trusted.
Child abuse is not taken seriously in this country, especially among the people where it happens the most. Child abuse is not taken seriously when it’s the adult victims/survivors of said abuse finally breaking decades of silence to speak about what they endured. Those adults, myself included, are ridiculed for making things up, for not remembering circumstances correctly, and for just being bitter, angry, depressed. Well, let me tell you something, children have the purest bullshit meter I have ever seen in any human being. A child knows when they’re being lied to, when someone is not to be trusted, but what to do we adults do? We laugh off their terror, we brush off their tears because what do children know. It makes me sick to my gut to see children dismissed especially in situations of suspected or confirmed abuse.
I learned fast to not cry when talking about the daily abuse I saw and experienced at home. Somehow my tears of absolute heartbreak were seen as a manipulative tool and were taken to mean I was trying to make my story real when it wasn’t. There’s a part of a child that simply dies when they face a constant stream of abuse. If you know what to look for, it’s visible in their empty eyes, their lack of enthusiasm for activities, it’s their acting out and bullying other children. Adults look at children who act out or who even bully and all they see are misbehaving children and they look on them with disgust. What adults and other parents don’t look for is the cause of the acting out. Yes, I’m aware that some children just act out because they can, but more often than not, there is some sort of abuse triggering their need for attention or their need to dominate other children.
I have watched my siblings be those misbehaved, acting out children that no other family wanted or wants anything to do with. I have sat by and watched as we were rejected by other kids because we were so desperate for love and attention. I have also seen people brush me off time and time again because they just saw or see rebellious kids, not the hurting, broken children I see because of the abuse they daily suffer.
My sister is one of the strongest and bravest people I know, but she is seen as a rebellious little girl who is out of control. She is seen like that by the very family who offered to help, by the parents who are friends with my parents. I understand where they are coming from with their point of view, but I see the tears, I see the brokenness she tries to hide, I see the fear and pain from years of being thrown around, emotionally and physically. The adults don’t see that, they just see what they want to see because it is too hard to face the reality of child abuse. It is too hard to dive in and try to fight something of such a strong stigma as child abuse.
I understand the fear of hardship when it comes to people who could be advocating for more awareness of what really goes on in a large percentage of homeschooling homes. Tackling such a huge problem as child abuse takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of breaking in you as you face the realities these kids, myself included, have had to face and still face on a day to day basis. I don’t know very many people, outside of the private circles I am apart of on facebook, who are willing to put in the enormous amount of effort it takes to fight those perpetuating child abuse. Reality isn’t pretty when you enter the world of child abuse, but shame on you world for not taking seriously the horrific crime of child abuse.
There is so much more I want to say, but I am running out of steam now. I am constantly amazed at the scientific studies that are starting to come out revealing the drastic effects of emotional abuse on the brains of children. I don’t understand how people can be outraged about something in the media but then completely ignore the realities of that happening in their backyard. Innocent ignorance I can tolerate, it’s the turning a blind eye upon those who are hurting I can’t.
Pay attention to what happens around you, maybe you can help a child who is broken inside.