Trigger warning: child abuse
Dear past neighbors and bystanders: Thank you for doing nothing all those times you heard or saw something. Thank you so much for not helping me to escape, for not calling the police, for not giving a damn about the little girl with big scared eyes and long dark hair. At first, I meant this in sarcasm and now, I mean it genuinely. Thank you for being so terrible and neglectful because you taught me that I had to rescue myself that I can rely on NO ONE.
Submitted by Anonymous
Mother, [trigger warning: rape, child sexual abuse]
I’m tired of fear, shame, self-hatred and secrets. And no, mother, you have never prove yourself a protector or someone trustworthy for me to stop keeping this a secret. Unless it’s toward a man and he hurt someone. Then you’ll give him all the protection and support in the world. If you ever wanted to start a Christian ministry for abusers and rapists where you can tell them how they’re wonderful and how you’re totally on their side through all of it, and how you’ll totally help them work their way back into situations where they have ample opportunity to abuse because you just care so much about them, you’d be real good at that. Not even a half-hearted, insincere apology needed! Not for the poor abusers and rapists in this world who might actually have to suffer for what they did. What a travesty if that happened!
You as good as told him it was okay. In fact, it was almost explicit – you let him know that he could do whatever he wanted to me because you would never hold him accountable. You would never see me as human either. So you are as much to blame as he is, and I hope you realize that one day – one day, when I stop having to have secrets – and you suffer everyday of your life with the knowledge.
But, knowing you, you’ll probably just join that theoretical ministry and feel the utmost pity for yourself that anyone could dare hold you accountable for what you’ve done.
[Trigger warning: child abuse, physical abuse, psychological abuse]
You fucked up. A lot. You drank too much and enacted corporal punishment out of rage. It happened to me because it happened to you, both at home and in parochial school. Violence towards children was normalized for you, so you didn’t grasp that it was wrong until it was far too late. I understand that. And while there are a lot of things I will never understand (like why you’d always hit me but never my sister), at least you understand what you did and why. You’ve made major efforts towards becoming a better person; you quit drinking, you cut the caffeine out, you started practicing Zen Buddhism…and you apologized, not so that I’d forgive you but because, as you said, you “fucked up. And when a person fucks up this badly, the least they can do is apologize, and try not to do it again.”
It’s because of these things that I’m able to forgive, if not forget. Because you did all this, not in an attempt to earn my trust back (because you rightly understand that I will never wholly trust you again) but because you decided you were never going to be that person again.
To my mother:
You know, when the man who beat me bloody apologizes for it, it’s not really a good response to tell me it never happened. I remember, quite clearly, screaming for help, pounding on your locked bedroom door while dad kicked me over and over again. You locked my sister and I out of the house for hours, in the rain, in the snow, in sub-zero winter and 100+ degree heat, so you could talk on the phone. If we had a snack after school, you made us skip dinner AND breakfast the next day. You forced us to wear shoes so small our feet bled. You punished your autistic children by forcing us to walk around in crowded, noisy shopping malls for hours (IN THE TOO SMALL SHOES!). I remember. My sister remembers. What’s more, dad remembers it too. Are we ALL “imagining things?” Do we ALL have “false memories?”
Somehow, I find that unlikely.
While dad makes efforts to become a better person, you become worse.
You are a monster. I can’t even bring myself to write anything more than that.
To My First Grade Teacher- [Trigger warning: child abuse, mental/emotional abuse]
It has been over 30 years since you were my 1st grade math teacher. It is ok if you do not remember me. I would be surprised if you did. However, I have not so easily forgotten you. I suppose it says something when a woman of 37 has memories as strong as I do about you. I would not get your hopes up, though. This is not to thank you for a fond memory of math or your teaching abilities or anything even close.
What I would like to address is your treatment of me as one of your students. Rather than help, you yelled. Rather than try a new method, you yelled. Rather than switch me to another math class, you yelled. Rather than have me tested to find out if I had any learning disabilities, you yelled. I will also mention here the more, how shall I say, favored, a child was all the help and cheery smiles in the world went to them. You yelled at a 7 year old too scared at this point to understand ANY math-let alone any math being taught by you. You are just lazy, Jennifer. Ring any bells? My personal favorite was making me such a nervous wreck I peed my pants in class. Nothing like being bullied by both my teacher AND classmates.
I will not trouble you with my life-long tale of being scared to death of and horrible at math. I certainly would be remiss, though, if I forgot to mention I graduated with honors from college and attended an Ivy League school for my graduate program. My career has allowed me to make a difference with people. You know… HELP them. In case while you are reading this you should sit back and wonder did I really behave in such a manner? Yes, you did. Did I actually make fun of a child that had difficulty understanding? Yes, you did. In front of OTHER children? Yes, you did. Did I really not help this child? No, you did not. In fact you made a problem much, much worse than it had to be. I doubt I was the only one.
For your sake and the sake of all the children you have taught I hope at some point something or someone forced you to take a long hard look at your cruel behavior. More so what that cruelty does to children. I have lived with my outrage at your behavior for over 30 years. My time of carrying this around is finished. And as much as I would like to say I hope you are a miserable, I will not. I do believe, though, that if someone is as cruel to a child as you were, even just one… they have enough ugly in them to last their entire life. You are probably stocked for a few lifetimes.