April was child abuse awareness month. I may be a month late, but I think any month is a good month to raise awareness.
If heinousity was a word, it would apply to child abuse as much as atrocity, and horrific do. Many times children live with such unnecessary pain and heartache, and have no idea abuse is not normal. It may take until the teen years for them to realize that what goes on at home is abuse.
Usually, abusive parents are very careful to keep their young children within their sight and control, and strictly warn the kids they are not to say anything to anyone. Ever. The children grow up burdened with a huge load not ever meant for children to carry. If they do speak up about the abuse they get ostracized by their parents for betraying the family, if not more severely beaten.
As a small child, I have only about two dozen memories of the first ten years of my life, and most of these memories are of some sort of abuse. Once, I feared my mother’s wrath so badly I had to beg my grandmother to interfere.
I have zero memories of the table and chair I had my daily meals on. I have no recollection of what our dishes or the kitchen looked like.
My grandmother often witnessed my mother’s angry outbursts when I got yet another angry-fisted beating. My grandmother was in her late seventies and did not have the strength to fight my mom off me. She would plead with her,
“Enough, enough!” she would say. “Stop, that is enough.”
Often my mother heeded her pleadings only because she did not want to stress her elderly mother.
I must have been around eight when I was once forced to stand in the backyard naked, while neighborhood children made fun of me, as a punishment. I was forced to wear shoes that were too small and left my feet blistered because my mom liked the shoes. From the time I was a toddler, I was subjected to the strong fumes of peroxide and harsh perm solutions because my mom did not like my fine dark hair and wanted a lighter-haired child with curls. I look at my pictures from toddler age to the age of ten and see a little girl with frizzed, chemically-damaged hair.
In public, I would be secretly pinched very hard and told I would get it at home if I did the slightest thing that upset my mother. My mom even boasted of hitting me over the head with my baby bottle, glass back then, because I kept throwing up the evaporated milk she fed me since she could not afford formula. This was not a single occurrence.
Later, I received regular beatings because I talked in class at school. My mother feared the neighbors would hear, so if I screamed loudly when I was beaten, I would be beaten harder. I had to hold a lot of that inside. I was an only child and often ignored at home, and was desperate for another child’s company and that’s why I talked in class.
These are a few examples of the brutality I received as a child, yet no one ever did anything, other than my grandmother trying to intervene on my behalf. Yet, some kids have it even worse!
As an adult, I wondered if I had exaggerated some of the poor treatment I received even in my teens.
Then one day my cousin, just a year younger than me, and I were talking about childhood and I told him I never felt close to my mother. He surprised me by saying something like,
“Yeah, I know; your mom was really mean to you. I always found it very disturbing how she treated you, and felt so bad for you.”
His remark took me aback at first, but it brought a refreshing breath of healing to my soul. It was a confirmation that someone else had witnessed what I experienced.
It took me until my late twenties to be able to forgive my mother. After years of asking God to help me to forgive her, one day I woke up and felt lighter, and with a sudden realization that I no longer carried a grudge for my mother. I believe God did some kind of miraculous work because the resentment was gone just like that, though the residue of the heartache never completely went away.
As a daughter, I tried to be the best I could. I knew my mom had a very hard life and though that did not give her a right to treat me so badly, she did see me into adulthood. I always honored her birthdays and Mother’s Day, took the long trip to her house at least twice a month so that she could spend a few hours with her grandchildren, and they could get to spend time with her.
There are children all around us that are experiencing unbelievable pain in their homes from the people who are supposed to love them.
Some keep their pain hidden deep within, and are quiet like I was, extremely well behaved and afraid to act out in any way because they know what they will get when they get home. These children are often very serious, and seem years older than their peers.
Don’t always look for bruises on abused children. I bruised easily so my mom kept her punching fits focused on my head, shoulders, and upper back. The bruising never showed.
And, I was always dressed very nicely so to anyone else; I looked like I was well taken care of.
Other children act out their pain. They hit other kids, are mean, lie, steal, break things, cuss, and break any rule they can because they have been beaten so many times they have become hardened.
Some look neglected. Their clothes are dirty, or they wear the same clothes day after day. Their hair is unkempt. They look and smell un-bathed.
Some children are not beaten at all, but are told they are worthless, stupid, and unwanted. They are yanked and shoved, and made to feel like a nuisance.
All of these children know they are not wanted, and will often grow up to be teens who live lives without boundaries, they abuse drugs, and or get in trouble with the law.
Many adults abuse children because they were abused themselves.
Other adults who were raised in ghastly abuse do everything they can to not treat their kids how they were treated. They want to parent the exact opposite of how they were parented and are successful to an extent. Though they may have a few blow ups themselves, they force themselves to be different.
Child abuse is a horrifyingly evil. There is no other way to say it. We should do all we can to help abused children. As a former foster parent, I believe that abusive parents should have their children permanently removed form their homes if the abuse continues.
I had a very painful life, and often wonder how different my life would have been had someone stepped in.
No child deserves to be abused.
There is a video circulating Facebook of a Malaysian young mother who repeatedly slapped, kicked, smacked with a pillow, and one time looked like she was about to twist her infants head; and this went on for over four minutes! The video was so horrific, I had to stop watching it. When I saw this video, it made me so sick to my stomach I had to write this post. You can read more about this here.
Please, let’s raise awareness of child abuse.
By ~ Elizabeth Yalian 2014 ©http://hiseyeisonthissparrow.com. ♛