I took this photo three days ago. This is the house where everything started, and everything ended.
I was six years old when I came to live with my father, my step mother, and my two half siblings. Even at six, I wanted a family life, and deep down I was hopeful. My mother had been unpredictable, frequently immobile, and I had only seen my father once in my life before moving in with them. And yet: I was hopeful.
When I was 11, my father started grooming me in this house. Soon after, he began sexually abusing me. In this house. The abuse increased in frequency and severity until I was 15, although I don’t remember how it stopped. I locked the door? He stopped because I was too old? I don’t know.
But the abuse stopped, and within a year things fell apart to the point that I left this house at 17, back to my unpredictable and neglectful mother.
The hardest decision I ever made in my life was leaving my siblings. All in this house. I left them here, and I felt like pieces of me had been torn out. No one ever knew any of this.
This looks like a pretty normal house, right? It looks like a lot of houses in a lot of neighbourhoods.
Make no assumptions folks. Do not rely on appearances. Listen to something deeper. I’m sorry to say that everyone who reads this will have lived on a street or in an apartment block – possibly next door – to a family where child sexual abuse is happening. We need to do better. Starting now.
2 thoughts on “going back (3)”
There was a very good piece about CSA by Sonia Sodha in last week’s Observer and a letter in response about how widespread it is . Grim reading but at least it’s getting some coverage. I know you’ve been in the USA so won’t have seen but you might Google these?
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you Jan – I will. I do think that momentum is growing.