“Trauma is the most avoided, ignored, denied, misunderstood and untreated cause of human suffering” – Peter Levine.
I have suffered a great deal of trauma. I mean if you’ve been abused in every which way possible for 21 years you’re not bound to get out of it unscathed.
I didn’t have a standard childhood filled with happiness and positive development. Most families are nurturing and loving, raising their children to be happy and kind. My parents did their best for the most part.
They didn’t know what my uncle was doing to me. They didn’t know that I was a scared little girl confused that her uncle did things to her that her other uncles didn’t do. “why does he do it to me but doesn’t do it to anyone else”, “I don’t like it and I’m scared and hurt, but I’m confused about my feelings because I’m a kid and he’s my uncle who is suppose to care for my like my other uncles”.
I come from a very big family and as a child loved visiting everyone. Except for him. He was an evil old drunk that had power over innocent little me. He did things that shouldn’t be done to children. He molested me. Many, many times.
This happened for many years because I didn’t have a voice. It felt wrong but I didn’t know it was wrong because I was raised to respect and listen to my elders. My parents didn’t think to teach me safety around family members because they trusted all of them.
When I was 12 I thought I found my voice. It was holiday season and we were doing the rounds visiting family members. We got to his house. As usual he smelt like yeast (too many beers) and my aunty was being a good host providing us with tea and snacks.
My aunty and family were in the room beside us, my uncle and I were in the kitchen. He started rubbing his hands down my sides and as soon as he did I yelled “STOP IT”. Everyone came rushing in. I was relieved. My daddy’s going to save me. I’m going to be okay. My family looked angry, so angry.
what Then my aunty stepped in. “let’s have a chat pet”. She got me alone and told me everything is okay and what he is doing is okay because he’s just drunk. I lost my voice. I hate what he is doing to me and I don’t want to go through it any more but my aunty is telling me it’s okay? It’s okay for my uncle to do this? Why is it okay? Why is it me? I couldn’t tell my parents otherwise I would be in so much trouble. The situation was “resolved” on my aunty and uncles end.
I was a child being told it’s okay to suffer at the hands of a family member. For me it was like a life sentence.
It was good that I screamed, because after that I stayed in sight of my parents or a sibling whenever we would go there. He would get a grope in every now and again but that beats being molested. That was a win for me.
I often wonder if my parents questioned anything after that incident.
Fast forward 2 decades and he’s now dead.
When I received the news I didn’t cry. I was in shock that the man who destroyed my childhood finally died. It was a day I waited for my whole life.
I no longer cry when I think back about my childhood. He’s dead now so he has no power over me and I won’t let him have power over my mind for the most part.
A lot of me hopes he suffered when he died but there’s that one part of kindness that just tells me not to think negatively. I want to piss on his grave but I also don’t want to get charged for it. I want to spit in his face but there’s no face to spit on. I want to tell him how much damage he has done but if he were alive he’d just fetch another drink.
It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it happens to many of us.
“Australia is one of the only developed countries where there has been no methodologically rigorous, nationwide study of the prevalence or incidence of child abuse and neglect” – AIFS.
Early intervention is key. If you or anyone you know has a child that is or has suffered abuse please seek help and report it. In Australia we have non government organisations and community services that specialise in early intervention for child abuse.
The help is there you just need to be strong enough to step up and get it.
Don’t let what happened to me happen to your child. If my parents spoke to me instead of my aunty I could have gotten the help I needed as a child.
More stories to come… See you next week.