Like most survivors, I have endured a variety of painful, and even horrific events. Some of those were the result of decisions made by twisted individuals who understand only pain. Others were inadvertent. They were unintended consequence of well-intentioned, but ill-informed people.
Time, like a river, flows in only one direction. The past is done, and I can never rescue the boy I was. He is gone now.
Yet, each time I think of these painful experiences, I wonder if I can do some small thing, and help one child- this is my main motivation.
I think of those times I felt completely alone, sure that no other boy was being hurt in the ways I was being hurt.
I think of the daily hours spent self-injuring, and recall that I thought no one else on the planet ever did such things.
I think of the adult I told, and the punishment I received for "making up stories."
I think of the family councilor I told, and his refusal to work with me because it was outside his specialty.
Every child should:
Finding the courage within to trust an adult with a dark secret can be the hardest thing for a child in pain. Taking that chance, and then not being believed, or worse, being blamed is just unbearable. Every adult needs to be ready, and be able to hear that cry for help.
Feel Comraderie and Support
A common feeling among children being abused is the idea that it is only happening to them. Feeling utterly alone in the face of ongoing abuse adds new levels of pain to an often unbearable trauma. Children need to know that bad things do happen, and that there is help if they ever need it.
Even a well-loved, and well-watched child can be victimized. If the unthinkable does happen, the child need to be sure that some adults in his life are stable and strong enough to protect him in the future.
Sometimes telling is just too hard to do. Sometimes a child will speak through actions instead. It is up to the adults in his life to recognize a cry for help, and be able to truly hear and respond to it.
Every adult should:
Be able to recognize signs of a child in danger.
Be able to recognize a danger to child, even from an unthinkable source.
Understand the support that exists for the children.
Be familiar with support options for themselves No one needs to face the abuse alone.
Value their child more than a house, and more than a spouse. Be able to stop the abuse, no matter what the cost.