In response to her story shared here on the blog, Dawn has graciously offered to share a follow up piece with some additional information. Some of which is in response to the comments she received on her story as well as in general from those who know her.
I would definitely encourage you to check out her post, A Warrior’s story of healing from abuse, right here on SMP.
Thank you again Dawn for sharing so openly. Your story has inspired, encouraged, and validated so many. You are an amazing survivor my friend!
As a safeguard, I want to issue another trigger warning. The following is an open and honest post of a young child who was abused.
I would guess the number one question I get asked after I tell my story of abuse is “where was your Mom?”. The answer is this. I never showed her or told her directly. I mean, he told me to never tell or he would hurt my dog, my mom, my sisters, and anything else he thought would keep me quiet.
As a young child what I did tell her that it “hurts when I go potty.” She did what a good Mom would do, she took me to the doctor. I would tell the doc as a small child, that it would hurt, I have been looked at and probed by many physician. By the age of 12, I had two laparoscopic surgeries, six of those long blood sugar tests (where you drink the glucose and they draw your blood every hour for I think six hours), and a lot more lab work.
I have medical records that say the following “her vaginal opening is large for a child of her age.” and “Her hymen has been broken, but not by me.”
Two different surgeons, two different statements, no one came to my defense. By the time I hit the 8th grade or age 13, I had been so conditioned to never tell anyone.
The church school that I attended was also no help. I was taught that the father had the ultimate power…literally my fifth grade teacher taught us that as children we have no rights. And as female children we would never have any rights. “Even as Sara obeyed Abraham calling him Master…” We were to do whatever our parents said…and the wife was to obey her husband. It didn’t matter what my father was doing to me, it was supposed to be and I was supposed to obey. This is indeed, what I was taught, what was grilled into me…literally beaten into me.
When I did approach a teacher and tell her that I was having problems at home, she gave me the following advice. Pray about it. “I know your parents, they are good people.” I was told to read the Bible regarding verses about rebellion being “as the sin of witchcraft”. Perhaps I needed to fast and pray and get right with God.
My friends refused to talk about anything regarding sexual behavior as it would be sin to discuss such a topic. When I tried to tell someone, I was told that they were going to tell the Youth Pastor on me. The Youth Pastor called me in and spoke to me regarding my unhealthy thoughts and sin. He told my father. This of course resulted in much punishment.
No one could hear me or help me….. They knew that such a godly man, my father, would indeed be the person to go to for me to get guidance for my rebellious ways. Instead the result was his physical, spiritual, sexual, mental abuse escalating to torture. I believe when he saw that when I asked for help or tried to tell someone, they deferred to him. That gave him more power and eventually he felt that it gave him all power over me.
Falling through the cracks is serious. It hurts when I see how many people saw, knew, yet did nothing.
If a child asks for help in whatever way they are able, HEAR them and help them. We are adults … they are still just children.
If you would like to be a guest blogger and share your story, please contact me.
I think that one of the hardest things to deal with about abuse is society’s silent complicity with it. I firmly believe that the key to making it stop is to break the taboos surrounding it and for more people to start taking a stand in defense of the victim/survivor. Only then can the human race evolve from such barbaric practices. Onlookers need to move from merely being sorry to correcting those who take it upon themselves to violate another person and instead stand firmly with the victim. There need to be real consequences and a zero tolerance policy for such predatory behavior inflicted on the less powerful in our culture.
Victims who muster up the courage to tell must be reassured that they have some back-up in the long-term and that those in their environment will intervene when the worst happens; not make excuses for the perpetrator(s), not blame the victim, nor minimize what they’ve been through. This in turn will give more people the courage to tell and to ask for help who otherwise might stay in the shadows.
There should be absolutely no ambiguity as to where the blame belongs. There has been too much diplomacy and tiptoing around at a time when diplomacy is not warranted; too many people afraid of “offending” the persn(s) doing the abusing, and not enough people willing to stick their neck out for the victim when they see or hear something.
i have been trying to talk about my abuse and write about it but their are people who dont want to hear about it want me to be silence to go away just like my abusers to hurt me and my children. What does it take when these professionals are supposed to listen and believe a child but dont they cause further harm and in religion who do you turn to when other look the other way and can t be bothered to protect a child. When you go to the authorities thinking that your doing the right thing to get support for help from an abusive partner or when your child discloses about CSA and they call not only you a liar but your children and just see a mental health label not that this child has disclosed lets protect other children. But causes further harm and dont help both children what hurts they blamed me for not protecting my children. When my ex was interviewed by the police he was believed even though he has a mental health label to. I kept telling the social worker does his new girlfriend knows what kind of person he is she said so what she has made her bed lie in it. She knows what he has been interviewed by the police for nothing about protecting the kids or even child protection i had to go on that till the police found out in 2012 i was telling the truth about my domestic violence and took me of the child protection saying no evidence that i abused my kids.
Would you trust professionals after this would you trust a other human being after themselves not protecting kids after all they have had copies of reports written in 2010 about my ex abusing me and the kids and then also in the same report i was abused as a child and the police should have a copy of that because i gave them a copy in 2011. Also said in that report that im consistence with my past and what has happened to me. The local authority as well as the police have the same report written by a shrink in 2010. So why are they bullying me why because they no they have done wrong and want to hurt me. i thought i could go to the police again and give another statement about my childhood and my dv but who do you trust in my local police force. Who are the officers who want to help me or want to listen believe and validate my story or the ones who want to silence me.
Why is it hard for the police to believe people with mental health difficulties why is hard to listen what they have suffered from as a child why are their police in power who cant handle the truth they failed me and also the nhs trust and the local authority. Where were they when we disclosed in the first place and the mother and her children were not safeguarded nobody cared how many times i went to social services to say im worried about the children and her i was told go away were not concerned about your concerns because i knew what kind of man S was i knew what he was capable of doing and i tried so many times to protect his partner and her kids and was told to go away. I once asked an organisation in London for non abusive parents who children been abused and they said my story is typical of the way that mothers are treated by the professionals when children disclosed about childhood sexual abuse.
Why would someone go to the authorities in the first place when their child disclosed about sexual abuse why put yourself through such pain and distress that you failed your child. The humiliation and how i was treated in that meeting i was told by a police officer well you were asleep when you ex touched your child the pain of not knowing what really went on when both children disclosed they said that they had been touched sexually by their father but the out of hours social work team told me i mustn t ask questions and i told my child that she was brave and courageous and i told her that i wasnt allowed to ask her anything but if she wanted to speak that i would just listen. My other child the same thing i was never in any interviews with the local authority all i know that he touched them sexually but physically and emotionally . The local authority said that one of the CALMS specialists was going to do therapy with one child before the police interview her but then we gets a phone call from the school gates the police were going to interview my child in a safe house but i told the social worker but you said the CALMS team was going to work with my child before the police interview the social worker said yes she was told that by her line manager. Through this process i was also carrying on my complaint with the NHS Trust about my domestic violence as part of this the ex doctor was allowed to say my children were not abused. Has she had a conversation with my children has she had a conversation with me does she live in our home or does she really no our family. I dont know about the doctor or her life that is a big statement to call a women and children liars was she at the interview with the police when my child spoke to the police officer i dont know what happens in her home so why should she know what happens in my home.
This doctor was not my doctor at this time and she had that power to lie and say things about my kids, kids that she did not know kids that she caused further harm and nearly destroyed a family.
You see a shrink maybe once a month but they dont really no you unless your an impatient on a ward for a fixed period of time so how can you know about peoples lives unless you live with them. Doctors have the power to abuse their position power and try to hide what she said and done and the LA and police have protected her because of this and this doctor did this not caring how her words and the report could have a negative impact on a families life that the children have had no support therapy to deal with this refused support and help for one child said things to other professionals in my other child’s cases at the professionals in a children’s hospital also like now not letting my children attend school. The lies that social workers to protect themselves like i have paperwork to back me up in school college jobs in London even i was with the same doc for 11 years but social workers when writing their reports are not accurate with a persons life history or family or background. Today i went to access a solicitor and i have no privacy nor do my children this is abuse not safeguarding and bullying at its worse. This abuse of power and control of professionals of silence a victim and her children so when someone says protect others you try but your silenced again and again by the professionals who protect perpetrators but victimised and bully a victim to stop them speaking out.
Dawn, this makes me so upset. I can’t hold back the tears. I don’t understand what could your mother have been thinking when she got those reports from the doctor? A wife probably wouldn’t suspect her husband right off the bat, but was she not concerned that someone in the neighborhood was abusing you? I am almost just as angry with your, in my mind, neglectful, mother, as your monster of a father.
Hi Joy, You are not alone in your thoughts. Most of the people I tell respond as you have responded. However, in my mind….right now….in this time in my healing….I need to be ok with what happened with my mom. This may change or it may not. As I heal, I have new revelations, new memories, and new feelings, so it is all fluid at this time. Thank you for your anger for me. It is indeed validating and healing. Wishing you peace.
Dawn you are one of the bravest people. I wish more people would be so open so I am not so alone. Your story hit.me hard because when I went to our pastor and told him what was happening and that my father know it was happening but refused to help the pastor told me I was an evil attention seeker. He told me to pray for forgiveness and my soul would burn in hell for talking like that about a good man who was in church every morning. My mom had died so I turned to my aunt who called my dad who beat me for talking about private family things. I never told anyone or talked about it until years later when my abuser hugged my daughter. Everything came back and hit me like brick. My sisters seemed able to deal with better. My older sister stabbed him and moved in with my cousins. I think she was my first hero. You never gave up even after falling thru the cracks and you don’t seem bitter or hateful. I hope someday I can be that way.
Hi Hootie, I am so sorry you have had to endure all that you have endured. Uggh to have the feelings come back as that monster was hugging you daughter… Your sister empowered herself against the evil that was….she is amazing. No, I cannot give up, even after falling through the cracks. I cannot. He cannot win. He tried so desperately to break me….even now the flashbacks and the body memories haunt me…but he loses every day….every day that I am a productive person…every day that I break the cycle of abuse…. every day that I smile and live and love…he loses. I am a Warrior. and he…. he lost.