A letter to parents from a parent. Please take the time to read this and feel free to share. We need to start a conversation about child abuse and the repercussions of what this can do to the victim later on in life.
Tonight I heard something that literally broke my heart. I can’t go into too many details but I’ll give you a basic run through of what I was told.
A young girl of around 17 was being physically abused by her parents. As a strictly religious household (I can’t say which religion), they felt she was doing things that to them was bad.
We are not talking about anything really bad. It was things like getting home 5 mins later than planned. Getting a grade less than expected in school. Not helping enough around the house etc etc.
She was expected to do a huge chunk of the chores and she did what she could. However, For these parents, nothing was ever good enough.
They physically punished her all her life but as she grew up she began resenting them and became more and more distant.
During that time she met a young man around the same age and they began dating. He had no mother figure in his life as she’s a drug addict. It was just him and his father at home. The father wasn’t bothered by his son having a girlfriend so young.
The girl was in a very low place and was so touched that someone was showing her attention. They spent more and more time together until they became an official couple.
As a religious girl, any form of intimacy before marriage is a huge sin. She knew she could never tell her parents about him.
THIS IS THE PART I WANT PARENTS TO READ. PLEASE.
Because of the physical abuse she suffered at home, and knowing that her parents believed they were doing the right thing in disciplining her like that, she felt very much alone. And she grew more and more attached and close to this young man.
Had she been able to speak to her mother or father they would have been able to tell her what to look out for, what is normal, what are red flags, and generally have someone to turn to if things go wrong.
I totally understand the religious aspect but there’s reality too. We cannot, as parents, turn a blind eye to what our children are doing simply because we don’t agree with it. We need to go at their pace or else we end up with children who resort to lying to us and us not being aware of what they’re experiencing.
One day after she was hit by her parents she decided she had had enough. She secretly packed a bag and ran away to her boyfriend’s house. No one knew where she was because she was unable to tell people about him, for fear of reprisals and being judged.
The man and his father were thrilled. They had a young woman there “to do women’s work”. She was trapped. She had to do all the laundry, cooking for all of them, was expected to clean the house, and if she complained she was told “be grateful we opened our home to you”.
One day there was an argument and put the blue the man hit the girl hard. He obviously apologised and said it would never happen again. She believed him. And of course that was just the beginning of 9 months of abuse. He beat her all the time.
She was covered in bruises. And she was mentally falling apart. Her parents tried to track her down and begged her to come home. They promised they would stop abusing her and things would change.
Then she had a breakdown and ended up having to be in a hospital to deal with her mental health.
When she left, she went home. Her parents stuck to their promises and never hit her again. But the damage was done. She was so used to being physically abused that she was spiralling in a cycle of abuse.
Of course there was no way she could tell them about the man so she lied all the time telling them that she was “staying with friends”.
When they were out around people they were the “perfect couple” and everyone thought they were happy. She was good at pretending. After all, hadn’t she been taught how to lie and pretend she was okay when her own parents abused her?
She had NO ONE to talk to. She had no relationship with her parents close enough to be able to tell them what was going on.
At one point there was a party and they went. She drank a lot and passed out. The next day she knew something had happened but couldn’t remember it all. Only small flashes of memory came to her. She still doesn’t know what happened that night. She probably never will.
She did remember that the man’s father arrived at one point and called his son aside and in front of several young women asked him “who do you want to f*ck tonight”? His own girlfriend was right there. Imagine the pain and humiliation she experienced.
If only she had a parent close enough to open up to… after almost a year she’s now finally realised that this was not okay and is classed as intimate partner violence, aka domestic abuse.
She’s tried to cut off contact but all the threats he makes and the fact they have to be in the same place during the week (I can’t elaborate) means that she will keep seeing him.
How different would things have been if she hadn’t been abused? How many people who have been abused get involved with people who end up abusing them as well? If they don’t get the right help and therapy it can continue throughout their lives.
We, as parents, can change things. We can be better people. We can be less judgmental and more understanding. We don’t have to throw away all our beliefs. We just have to meet them where they’re at.
The alternative is this story. A young girl unable to tell anyone her body was covered in bruises and she was scared of her boyfriend. And his father.
Luckily she has found someone to talk to. She’s also got professional help from a therapist. And hopefully with time she will heal from the trauma of her childhood and of this abusive relationship.
She says “if I had a mother I was able to talk to the way I can talk to …. I wouldn’t be in the situation I’m in. I would have been able to discuss with her the things that worried me at the beginning so that I didn’t have to waste almost a year of my life alone with my thoughts, trauma and pain fighting my attachment issues. She would have told me this wasn’t acceptable. It wasn’t normal”.
She cried looking at the photos of her body with the scars of the abuse she suffered…. No one should have to live like this. We all deserve to have our needs met. We all deserve to be cared for and to be able to share our concerns. We all deserve to have felt love from our parents and to love others. We deserve peace. We deserve therapy. We deserve… to be our authentic self without fear of repercussions.
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