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. Continue reading
I banged on the locked door screaming in horror, begging my mom to let me back in. My grandmother pleaded with her to open it. The neighborhood kids laughed and shrieked,
”Look! She’s naked!”
I tried to hide behind my grandmother. My mom opened the door, but blocked the entrance.
“Oh, no, you stand out where everyone could see you.” I rarely disobeyed her, this time I didn’t move.
“Don’t you dare hide. Stand out here or I will give you an even bigger beating!”
“She is just a child. Don’t do this. Let her back in the house,” my grandmother interceded.
“No! She needs to feel the shame I felt today when that black b***h humiliated me! How does it feel to be ashamed? Maybe you won’t embarrass me anymore!” Continue reading
It’s not something I talk about often, but when I do tell people I was born in Havana, Cuba; the first thing they ask is, “Was your dad in the military?” When I tell them that he wasn’t, their next comment almost always is, “Why were you born there? You don’t look Cuban!” With that in mind, I suppose my cousins “look even less Cuban” than I do. As babies, each of my cousins qualified for any Gerber Baby look-alike contest, with their blond curls and big blue eyes.
My paternal grandparents were directly from Spain. My maternal ancestry is also from Spain with a few drops of French in there somewhere. What most people don’t know is that in 1492, Columbus claimed the island for the Kingdom of Spain. Cuba remained under Spain’s ruling until 1898. Most of the original Native Americans living in Cuba died because they were subjected to harsh slavery, or died from Eurasian diseases. A thousand or so survived, many escaped into the mountains. Thousands were then cruelly ripped from their homes and families in Africa to replace the lost native slaves. Cuba’s ethnicity is somewhat different from the typical Latin America people imagine. Continue reading