“It is our little secret”.
My stepfather uttered those words to me one day.
With those five little words my childhood was over in an instant.
It was between him and me. A secret. Our secret.
A secret which at first seemed special and exciting to my sweet, innocent self.
A secret which would soon turn into a nightmare. A secret which would steal my childhood and my innocence.
As I grew and the abuse got worse I tried to find my voice, only to discover at that point that it was no longer just our secret. No longer just his and mine. Instead it became my family’s secret.
As I tried to speak up as a teenager, my family chose to hide the abuse. They chose to stand by him and call me a liar. No longer was the secret between him and me, but between my family and me. A dirty little secret never to be spoken. Even now they stand by him, preferring to hide this dirty little secret away.
As I tried to speak up aged just 13 years old society failed me. Believing me, the authorities decided they did not have enough evidence to do anything and instead sent me back. They left me believing I was not believed. They failed to complete their follow up checks, instead leaving me at the hands of a monster. They failed me.
No longer was the secret between him and me, or even my family and me. It was now society’s dirty little secret. A secret that would stay buried for twenty years, until I once again would try, and succeed, to find my voice.
Society failed me. It is not complicated. It is never complicated. They failed me. Too lazy to make an effort or too scared to speak up, they instead left me alone. A scared, broken little girl.
The immediate damage was never clear. The damage only seen further down the road.
Internal damage caused by rape and sexual abuse. Verbal abuse that will never heal. Scars from physical abuse and self-harm.
Depression, Anxiety, PTSD and BPD creating a broken, scared, fragile woman so unsure and uncertain of her worth.
My childhood was taken. Thousands of children’s childhoods have been taken. Our innocence stolen. Our worth lost. All because of a dirty little secret that society wants to keep hidden. Not considering the baggage. The baggage that myself and other victims carry – yesterday, today and tomorrow.
It has to stop!
If you think protecting your child’s innocence means keeping the truth about childhood sexual abuse a secret, you are wrong.
Remember all too often all it takes is those five little words to take their innocence away; “it is our little secret”.
It is our responsibility to protect them. Not theirs.
It has to stop!
My childhood, my innocence was stolen.
Thousands of other children have their innocence taken every single day.
Only society can stop it.
Listen. Speak up.
Be a voice.
Save a child!
Thanks for reading
** Image courtesy of Google Images **