I’m sitting in a big room that makes me feel so small. I don’t even recognise the man sitting in front of me but he seems to know all about me from his conversation. My mum is telling him about the fact that I have started wetting the bed: how could she tell this stranger that about me? I felt so ashamed, each night fighting harder and harder to stay awake until my eyes were stinging; the covers over my head as I convinced myself that something came in the night to make this happen. When it really started is so hard to remember, but I know there was a time when it never happened. Chattering back and forth, I feel so very small; embarrassment presses down on me. I feel myself wishing that a hole would open up and swallow me. I had no clue as to why my mum would make me feel this way: I was trying to stop; I really was. Why was this happening – after all I was nearly 8 years old?
I was sitting in the classroom once more having been asked to sit at the back of the class; they were so fed up with me disrupting the class. They were there to teach me, but it seemed that I didn’t what to learn. If I did not learn then I would never get anywhere in life, well that’s what they were telling me: but I didn’t really understand the logic. There were children there that wanted to learn but it seemed I preferred the back of the class room. My mum was once more asked to come into school to see the head teacher; it was getting to be a regular thing. I knew that I would once more be punished that evening.
“Why can’t you be like your brother and sister?” my mum was shouting at me. Why did I always start the fight and act up; why did I feel the need to answer back? I was cutting off my nose to spite my face! What did that even mean? I would help with the dishes or I would be grounded for a week, so what they could ground me I didn’t care. I would run away one day then they would be sorry. I was sent to my room having chosen that the dishes could stay there forever as far as I was concerned.
The fighting had to stop. I was just so aggressive; they were now at the point of suspending me from school – in their words, that seemed to be the only option. Fighting would and could not be tolerated. Detention was a big part of my life but even there I would cause disruption; what could they do anyway – give me another detention? I had already lost count. It looked like the rest of my school years would be spent in this after-school activity.
I was sitting on the grass feeling so very sick; my head was spinning. I had to lean back just to stop the world from revolving. I knew that the bottle of sherry would be missed, but hey! I quite liked it in my room. I didn’t need any of them it was my choice that I was sent there; they were under the misconception that it bothered me but it suited me fine. I would just sneak out anyway they could not watch me twenty-four seven.
He was so much older than me but he treated me like a grown up; so where was the harm? It would only go so far because I was in control. Now I wanted him to stop but he was just so strong, he is telling me it’s ok but I’m so very scared. Well that was something and nothing; I did not understand what all the fuss was about. I’ll tell them that it proved that someone cared about me then they would be sorry.
The policeman standing in front of me asked me so many questions; my mind was racing just trying to keep up. How did it happen? Did he know I was under age? Where did it happen? Were we alone? I needed to see a doctor but why? I was not ill could I please follow this lady to be examined but for what? Where did I meet him? Did I know his name and where he lived? I put my hands over my eyes trying to shut the world out – the deafening sound of silence so craved for. I found myself wishing for school and the detention that somehow seemed right for me, to be alone in my room even though they thought of it as punishment.
Sitting here today, sharing the above scenario with you seems to be another life time away, but in truth these memories always stay close to me. The pain they used to cause is no longer present, and they are now used for the greater good. I am sure that something within this piece will have struck a chord with others that have lived through child abuse. So why is it that we act up? Talking to others throughout the years has made me aware that my past runs almost parallel to their own. The scenario may differ but the concept is too close to separate. So are we screaming out for someone to recognise what’s happening? We know the words cannot be said out loud but if they would only take notice. I guess it’s a shot in the dark that any attention that would be needed would then unearth the demons we were living with. To an adults mind that seems such a stupid thing to say, but we have to remember here that we were seeing things through the eyes of a child where our vision seems blocked, probably not even aware of the whys and wherefores.
To our minds we are shouting out the only way we know how; if we acted out we could no longer be ignored. I’m totally aware that my Statement sounds a little mixed up; but you see through the eyes of a child that’s exactly it. Simply put through our actions we are screaming out to be seen, because the words could never leave our mouths the consequence was just to grave. As children we see things through a child’s eye…… when we continue through life and become adults the past does not always make sense. In order to make sense of it we need to revisit our childhood at times in our life where we feel stronger and more able.
I will leave you with this thought rattling around in my head at this present time. A child suffering the terror of abuse could never shout louder, but as for being heard well that’s another matter . . .