Before sitting down to pen out this post that I’m putting up tonight I had an assignment to complete for my Diversity in Education class before tomorrow afternoon. We had been told to read a book from the list that was provided to us on the first week or so of the class starting, and I choose the book “A Child Called It”. This seems to be the most popular of the books from the list, thus I decided that I would probably enjoy reading it the most. I did. The story of David Pelzer shook me to the core of my being, and not for the fact that I didn’t believe something like that was possible, but for the fact that I knew it was.
Child abuse is something that seems so far removed from the public eye that most people will forget that it happens all too often. Too many cases of child abuse go unheard or are just glanced over quickly and nothing is done about it. Sometimes it’s not even easily seen that someone is being abused by a parent or guardian until it comes out later on in that child’s life. I can personally attest to this as I have been a victim of small-scale abuse.
My father mentally and emotionally abused me for the majority of my life, and for the longest time I wasn’t even aware of that fact. I had always felt estranged from my father during my younger years, because he never really paid much attention to me or my brother if we didn’t have something major going on. He never showed up to support me at anything that I was a part of during my school years, and when he did he would always critique me. I was never good enough to earn any praise from him that wasn’t given to pacify the other people who would possibly overhear what he said to me. Being ignored wasn’t nearly as bad as when he started to openly degrade me.
About the time that I had started my freshman year of high school, my mother and father were spending more time in Dawsonville, GA taking care of a dying relative that at home as a family unit. Not that I particularly cared much for my father being home anyway. My mother would be gone Saturday morning and come back late Sunday evening when my father would arrive at the house my relative was living in. Every weekend I had to deal with a father who would drink way too much liquor and said he was only doing marijuana, but the odds are that he was possibly dabbling in other things that had a bit more oomph to them. I got use to having to either find a place to stay Saturday night, or be exposed to yelling about how I wasn’t cooking dinner for my father’s whiny ass and his friends which would usually escalate to throwing punches and him attempting to strangle me once or twice. After he tried the strangling thing and I gave him some amazingly bloody scratches he never tried that again, but the verbal abuse was even worse than anything else.
I constantly told that I was fat. My brother has always been on the slender side of things, as has my father, and so I was told that I needed to lose weight or else I wouldn’t be attractive to anyone. He actually mooed at me more than a few times as well. The reason that I still have to be overly critical of everything that I wear is because I was always worried that I would look like a cow and he would moo at me if I something fit a bit too snugly on me. Up until 2 years ago I couldn’t wear clothes that were actually my size, and I would have to buy things that were too big for fear that I would look like a fat cow. He didn’t stop at calling me fat though. When I got accepted into Berry College for my freshman year of college he decided to tell me that I would be back home crying in over a month. I was, apparently, not strong enough of a person to handle having my own responsibilities. When he would take the hurtful comments too far was when the verbal abuse would escalate to trading blows with each other. Most of the time I would end up with multiple bruise and possibly dripping blood from at least one place.
Things have calmed down since my parents divorced some 2 and a half years ago now, but there are still some residual things that I fear are always going to be with me. I can’t hear yelling without feeling the need to start yelling back cuss words for fear of having to defend myself. My temper is still held together by a shockingly short fuse, and there are triggers that will set off this temper for no reason at all. The point is that abuse, rather of a smaller scale like mine or over-the-top like David’s, really does exist. If you see someone being abused, either by a spouse or parent, please alert someone immediately, because you could be the savior they need.