When I was a Kid ... I Didn't Know I was Being Abused

When I was a Kid ... I Didn't Know I was Being Abused

This article was written by Colby, 22, who was in foster care for seven years, during this time he attended three different middle schools and seven different high schools. He is currently attending community college and participates in Cornerstones of Care’s Youth Educational Success (Y.E.S.) program.

When I was a kid, I didn’t understand what abuse was. I didn’t understand that when my stepfather would abuse me that it would affect the way I would think and do things.

When I was a kid, I didn’t understand that the reason I acted out was because my life at home was unstable.

When I was a kid, my parents didn’t understand what abuse was, and that it wasn’t normal. They didn’t know that the things they were doing to me would affect me for years to come. How could they? How could I? I guess nobody told us. Maybe they just forgot?

We became another family falling through the cracks. The kind of cracks you only know exist once you are in them. The ones that make you and your family realize that everything that happened isn’t okay.  It isn’t. But, they didn’t know. Now, they are being ripped a part by a legal system that is picking up the pieces of a broken family, and broken lives. All that's left is to figure out how to make it right. I guess that is better than the way it was. Isn’t it?

No, forget that. Let's cut out the middle man. Let’s make sure everyone know what child abuse is and the lasting effects it can cause.

Let’s make sure that every parent and child knows that abuse isn’t okay. We should put up a billboard, or air a radio commercial. We should put it on TV, if that is what it takes to make sure that everyone sees the cracks. That way, there are no broken lives, only families. Families that understand what abuse is. Families that see the cracks. Families that are better prepared to handle abuse.

I understand that educating people on child abuse isn’t free. I also understand that putting knowledge out there doesn't equal a world without abuse. But, I do think that abuse, child or otherwise, is a social issue. Everyone has to be involved in order to mitigate it.

I know this isn’t a new idea. But I am certain that if my mother understood both what abuse looks like, and the effects it would have on my life, she may not have watched indecisively as my stepfather abused me in front of her.

I love my mom, and everyday I wish that we would have better understood abuse, what it looked like and its effects. Maybe if we had, we may have never been taken from each other in the first place. Maybe, I could have had something close to a normal childhood.

I can only hope that someday, maybe others can learn from our experiences, and not make the same mistakes.

This year, as part of the national Child Abuse Prevention Awareness month in April, we’re asking our partners, and the entire community to #pledge2prevent child abuse, not just in April, but throughout the entire year. Let us know that you #pledge2prevent child abuse in your community and find ways to get involved by clicking the button below. 

I #pledge2prevent Child Abuse

Did You Know? 

Child Abuse Statistics