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How Could I Have Known? This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Nothing in life can prepare someone for abuse; it sneaks up on people who are normal like you and me. How can a person possibly know if their parent will be an abusive parent? Day after day, life continues, until that moment when the wire is tripped, and the attack is unavoidable. The only way, I believe, one can truly know if their parent will be abusive is to experience it from them first hand. This was how I found out my father was one of those abusive parents.

In the beginning everything seemed fine, but looking back now I realize that my father’s strong feelings were festering from the beginning, and nothing was ever just fine. Questions always spin around my head wondering, “What did I do wrong” or “If only I was not so stupid; maybe he wouldn’t have hurt me?” Thinking back to that first incident I was no older than three-years-old. Something so simple was all it took to unleash the monster festering within his heart: a small glass of spilled milk. Such speed, everything happened so fast, I didn’t even realize he had grabbed me, and thrown me against the wall. Not a sound escaped my lips, that’s how terrified and in shock I was from what happened. At three-years-old my earliest memory revolves around fear with my mom cuddling me, screaming, crying, and yelling at my father saying, “STOP! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!”

After a while though these disturbances gradually decreased; however over the years I grew more observant. Without my mother to protect me, since my parent got a divorce soon after the first incident, I had to be more aware. My life was a constant battle, having to be cautious for land mines so I wouldn’t spring on another attack. There were always those little bits of mental abuse here and there being told how stupid I am, or that I’m worthless. What I found to be the most terrifying from this was my fathers striking eyes; his look could pierce anyone right through the heart like a knife. That look alway sent shivers down my spine, making me wonder if he was going to, at any moment, take a swing at me. I had grown accustom to a life of staying quick on my toes, waiting for what I knew would come; that all too familiar sting.

When experiencing something for so long one begins to take it for granted and forget about what made it so important to remember. Nothing happened. My father’s abuse just one day stopped, and I slowly began to forget why it was so vital to remember to always be on my guard. At this time I was twelve-years-old, a seventh grader in middle school, when the next incident of abuse happened. Early morning, it was like any other day, eating breakfast at the dining table, getting ready for school. My father turned to me, and began to shout at me about how ugly I looked in the clothes I was wearing, that they made me look like I was asking for it. All I had on was a Sunday shirt and jeans because it was picture day at school. He caught me by surprise and with his hands on my back he shoved me into a chair. That was the first year I didn’t get my picture in the yearbook because I had a bruise on my face from being shoved into the chair.

That bruise was an awakening for me, and I finally said to myself that I had enough. I went to my school councilor the morning on picture day and told them what happened to me. It has been almost seven years now since I have really seen him. When we tried therapy together to work out the issue he would persistently say, “I have not done anything wrong. I don’t understand why I have to be here.” It’s sad knowing that I will never get the apology that I deserve, but now I am in a better place where I am surrounded by people who love me.

Telling my story is hard and scary for me to do, but I believe it is important to let other people know child abuse happens. No one ever knows if they will become a victim of abuse, but maybe little things like being more aware of people can help spot the victims who are too scared to cry out for help. This way no one will ever have to say to themselves, “ How could I have known?”




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Misty V. said...
today at 11:55 am:
This story shows a really bold person, someone who didn't have a chance to develop a personality, perchance they might get hit, but still try and resolve the problem. This teaches everyone a lesson: always go to help when you are being abused. Nobody deserves this, and nobody deserves to feel like they do.  
 
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