Interview with Steve Easton

First let me thank Steve Easton for the two pieces he’s already contributed. They were indeed horror stories, but were in fact the tip of the iceberg. I have received many e-mails from people over the years about the horror of their childhood. This is without a doubt one of the most eye opening, heart wrenching stories I’ve ever heard. Steve and so many like him are the ones who will make a difference in our fight. It’s the courage shown by those who must carve said courage from raw materials, having nothing to work with, who will show those who feel helpless that there is hope. Steve is an inspiration to me and I believe he’ll be one to you too.

#1 Between what ages were you abused and would you like to expose the extent of that abuse or describe the worst memory you have?

I can’t remember when I was first abused but I know physical abuse, torture might be a better description, started when I was under 3 and sexual abuse was certainly happening by the time I was five. The abuse went on until I was 12 or 13 and certainly stopped by the age of 14 as I ran away from home and never went back.

The worst memory I have is difficult to work out there was so much horror. Real moments of anguish were being told that my sister (who was also tortured and sexual abused) died an unexplained death in a psychiatric hospital and a little girl my parents use to babysit took her own life at the age of 21. I have always been able to remember my dad sexually abusing me and my sister, have been through a great deal of therapy to deal with this and to a very large extent had put my childhood behind me. I was still very angry with my mother, which I had assumed was because she failed to protect us. I had always disliked the woman and saw her as little as possible because every time I had anything to do with her I ended up wanting to scrub myself raw in the bath. My mother died in 2010 and someone who knew my sister warned me my mother had kept photographs of us being abused and that my sister had hidden them in my mother’s attic. (I could remember being photographed while being abused but not who the photographer was). Anyway I sort advice from the police and did a comprehensive search of my mother house – which was a complete pit – and found nothing. In the processes of clearing my mothers house I took home a box of family photographs, sorting them out sitting in my favorite chair I found photos of family things like picnics, school photo and so on, then among them, as though they were normal, where explicit black and white photos of myself and my sister being sexual abused by my dad and mother. Me as a child of 8 or 9 sucking my dads penis, my sister playing with his testicles. Me touching my mothers vagina …..

I felt sick, sick, sick, partly because I was in my home, my 15 year old daughter was doing her homework at the table and my wife watching TV. It was also the fact that they were in with the normal family photos proving what I also felt somewhere that my mother thought abuse was acceptable and normal. I had no doubt that my mother was the photographer as she had always taken and developed photos and was trained as a chemist.

After this I started having nightmares and daymares and simple couldn’t get the photos out of my head. I started remembering more and more, went off sick, stopped sleeping at night because I’d didn’t dare sleep and was eventually diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Went back into group therapy, had some sessions with a psychiatrist and a clinical phycologist and after one hell of a painful year was back to my normal happy self. Oddly enough going through this also resulted in me telling my boss, who was completely useless, devious and dishonest, exactly what I thought of him in front of a large open plan office – he was demoted soon afterwards.

The other memory which came back, that for some reason is more disturbing than most, is my mother smearing her vagina with chocolate and making me and my sister lick her – I think I must have been 5 or 6.

#2 Were you aware that others, siblings, friends or your mother were being abused or did it seem you were singled out?

My sister who was 3 years younger than me was also being abuse and to my knowledge a girl my parents use to babysit for were also being abused and considering my dad was a social worker and later became a priest I suspect they abused lots of children between them.

#3 Understanding that many of us don’t realize the extent of how we were abused, when did you first comprehend that you were abused and when did it sink in and start causing problems?

I didn’t realize I was being abused, I just thought my family was normal, until I was nearly 13. At 12 3/4 I fell in love for the first time with a 12 year old girl. We used to spend hours, in a hideout we had built talking, and cuddling. One day she told me that her older married brother use to make her suck his penis and he use to lick her vagina (which she said she liked) but I mustn’t ever tell anybody because it was against the law and she and her brother would go to prison. So I told her what my dad did to me and my sister… I’m not sure at this point I recognized it as abuse but it was the beginning some insight – I really knew l I was being abused, later that year, when my father anally raped me and threatened to kill us both. It hurt like hell and bleed for ages.

#4 How did your abuse influence the way you interacted with those around you, co-workers, spouses and later children if you have them?

I was a very very angry and violent young man. I didn’t trust anybody and was absolutely determined to be independent. I hated bullies and tended beat the crap out of them if they tried anything with me. Initially when I ran away from home I didn’t care if I lived or died but eventually I developed an incredible drive to ensure I always had an income and could stand on my own two feet. I physically put as much distance between myself and my parents as possible, traveling round the world, moving to the USA, India and Australia for periods of time.

I actively avoided commitment and while I had girl friends I kept them at a very safe distance. Sex wasn’t a problem though I only like really gentle sex anything a bit “rough” I don’t enjoy. Twenty three years ago I met my wife and to my surprise fell in love, married and we’re still together. I still get moments of insecurity and annoy my wife by asking if she’s sure she loves me.

Over the years I have learned to trust and to love and control my temper. Today I am known for my patients, rarely raise my voice (though people dread me having a quite word) but still can get over the top when I perceive people being abused.

As a husband and father (and foster carer) I think the abuse I went through has made me a better parent. I was able to dismiss the way I was bought up as totally wrong so had to learn parenting from first principles. I believe children deserve love, respect, honesty and the right to have their questions answered however difficult that is for adults. I believe in clear consistent and reasonable boundaries but only to the extent that boundaries can be explained and justified.

#5 How did your children turn out, do you think your childhood affected their lives?

My biological daughter is nearly 18 and academically driven. In my view she is happy but possibly a little to grown up though this may have more to do with her mum having multiple sclerosis. In her view she has had a great childhood and says she likes as well as loves her parents. She invites us to her parties and we are Facebook friends. Surprisingly I’m not a particularly protective parent and believe children have to grow up, learn to live in the real world and to live with the reality that life isn’t fair. She is very assertive, independent and capable. We took her to India at just 14 and travelled 2,500 miles by train complete with my wife in her wheel chair. On a couple of occasions she ended up having to do things on her own in India and coped and now has the travel bug.

As a foster carer I have the real advantage of being able to relate to and understand what young people in care have been through and most of the young people we have looked after are now successfully standing on their own two feet.

#6 Are you comfortable discussing any substance abuse that may have occurred as a result of what you went through?

I think in part I survived because I found alcohol and various drugs such as nembutal and mandrax (Quaaludes) to be a wonderful anesthetic that made all the pain and horror go away. This mixture resulted in overdoses, being locked up, living on the streets and some very violent behavior.

#7 How did you overcome, if you have overcome this abuse?

For a number of years I didn’t care if I lived or died but eventually I somehow pulled myself together and started to value my life and see some hope for the future. I eventually agreed to see a psychiatrist and, then, one day I turned up for an appointment and he wasn’t there so I decided “to hell with him I’ll go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings”. I went to AA and haven’t had a drink or drug since which is now over 31 years ago.

#8 Have you tried to slow down the amount of abuse in
our society and if you have, how?

I have fostered children who have been abused. Politically I have successfully lobbied for funding for services for men who have been abused and who also abuse substances. I also trained as a councilor and spent 20 years working with substance misusers many of whom had been abused and though today I non longer work directly with people but advice on and develop strategies for moving drug misusing offenders out of crime and into treatment which gives me an opportunity ensure victims of abuse who are also substance misusers have access to appropriate services.

#9 What would you say to those still lost in the horrors of their past, can you offer any words of encouragement?

What was done to you was not your fault, not your responsibility, you were an innocent child. I have found the most helpful thing is to talk about my experiences and refuse to feel shame. My personal view is that if you wish to try therapy: group therapy is far more helpful than individual therapy though it is also more scary. You should be proud of yourself you are a survivor.

#10 This is not really a question; I want you to make up the tenth question. Ask a question you think I should ask and then answer it. You may make a statement here that expresses anything you think important, that I might have missed.

I went to hell and back what was done to me was totally unexpectable but today I don’t regret it because if I hadn’t been through what I’ve been through I wouldn’t be me and I like me.

Thanks again Steve, I’m glad to have met you and having done so, I will never forget you. Your life is an inspiration to me and redoubles my efforts from its telling. I can’t wait to read your book when it’s done. Please come back and give us the links we need to get it when that happens.

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Interview with Angie

Hi and welcome to Child Abuse Feedback. We want to thank you for being our guest today. Our audience looks forward to hearing your answers and know what you share will affect many lives. Please start by telling us a little about yourself.

My name is Angie Semertgakis. I am 32 years old and a mother of two amazing boys ages 14 and 9. I am a Corrections Officer and a Victim/Offender Facilitator. I am a survivor of sexual abuse.

#1. Between what ages were you abused and would you like to expose the extent of that abuse or describe the worst memory you have?

I was abused by my stepfather from the ages of 9 through 16. There are many terrible memories but the worst one that sticks out is the night time visits when he would come into my room and I would pretend to be sleeping. He would touch my breasts and then move to my legs. I would try to move so that he would think I was just moving in my sleep but he would find a way to move his hand up my thighs and touch my vagina. The scariest moments were seeing the shadow of him outside my room and knowing was about to occur. The other memories such as the time he grabbed my breasts on the motorcycle also stick out. There are so many disgusting things he did. Physical abuse also occurred.

#2. Were you aware that others, siblings, friends or your mother were being abused or did it seem you were singled out?

I know now that the “tickling” that he use to do to my friends was possibly abuse. He would tickle us on our breasts and inner thighs; sometimes so hard that we would all try to get away and he would grab us. He also physically abused my brother by sitting on his shoulders and smacking him calling him names.

#3. Understanding that many of us don’t realize the extent of how we were abused, when did you first comprehend that you were abused and when did it sink in and start causing problems?

It sunk in that something was not right when I was around 12 yrs old. The abuse before was things like “accidentally” falling into me and grabbing my breasts or butt. I did not realize anything until we were on his motorcycle and he pulled my hand to his crotch and when I pulled away he reached back and went up my shirt and grabbed my breasts. The pure disgust that I felt is uncomprehendable.

#4. How did your abuse influence the way you interacted with those around you, co-workers, spouses and later children if you have them?

I was very angry, died my hair black. I recall a time when a girl at school was picking on me and I brought a knife to school, got on the school bus, sat behind her, cut off her hair and stabbed the seat (many times) that she was sitting in. But I also acted the same (goofy) because I did not want people to know about it. Now as an adult, I was re-victimized by my stepfather again because he decided to tell me that he wants to run away with me and my children and proceeded to tell me about what he wanted to do to me sexually. I became depressed, suffered from PTSD and distanced myself from everyone. With my children I have made sure they know what abuse is and how to tell me if it ever happened. I think I may be paranoid, but the thought of them not saying anything makes me ill. My mother stayed with my abuser (even to this day) and it makes me sick. I would never ever want my children to feel the disappointment I have felt.

#5. How did your children turn out, do you think your childhood affected their lives?

My kids are amazing. Due to the abuse and the timing of the court hearings, I was 17 and pregnant. I had my first son at 25 weeks; he weighed only 1 pound nine ounces. But I have learned a lot from the abuse, I have learned to make sure that my kids are comfortable with talking to me about anything and everything. And so far, they do. My oldest son is now 14 and we are so, so close…

#6. Are you comfortable discussing any substance abuse that may have occurred as a result of what you went through?

My biological father was/is an alcoholic, as a kid before the divorce his alcoholism was so bad that the SWAT team was sent to our house at times. I luckily never got into substance abuse, I did not want to be like him.

#7. How did you overcome, if you have overcome this abuse?

Honestly, it will stay with me forever. I have moments when I feel like I am living an out of body experience; some sexual things with my husband completely freaked me out. Certain sounds, smells and touches still to this day make my head spin. However, the birth of my children, esp the first one has made me who I am today. If it were not for my son being a preemie and being so strong to overcome his near death experiences, I don’t know where I would be today. His strength has moved me in such a positive way.

#8. Have you tried to slow down the amount of abuse in our society and if you have, how?

I am a victim/offender facilitator with the NH Dept of Corrections. I help victims/survivors to come face to face with their offenders and speak their minds. It is a moving experience. I also made a bill in the state of NH, making it so that sex offenders who are no longer on parole cannot contact their victims (like my stepfather did). Before my bill, sex offenders could do whatever they wanted and say whatever they wanted to their victims.

#9. What would you say to those still lost in the horrors of their past, can you offer any words of encouragement?

My words of encouragement to those still having a hard time with their past is that they are SURVIVORS. They/we have overcome a traumatic experience and our strength and our willingness to survive has brought us to where we are today. I strongly suggest counseling if there are extreme cases of PTSD and to also get involved and help others who are victims, helping others brings this sense of belonging and a sense that we are brave and amazing people.

#10. This is not really a question; I want you to make up the tenth question. Ask a question you think I should ask and then answer it. You may make a statement here that expresses anything you think important, that I might have missed.

A question I would ask is: Who was the first person you told about the abuse?
I broke down one day and told my boyfriend. He gave me strength to tell my mom and she wanted to just do counseling and move on with life. I will always be grateful to my then boyfriend for his bravery and his strength to make me tell my mom and then the police.

We want to thank you once again for being with us today and commend you on the extraordinary courage you’ve shown. Together we can make a difference and remember silence is the refuge of the abuser. Break the silence, break the cycle.
Wow Angie you seem to be doing a great deal to help others. Thanks for all you do.
Did you know?
98% of those in prison for violent crimes were abused.
100% of those on death row were abused.
It’s not an excuse, it’s a fact, don’t get defensive about it, do something about it.
Prevention, prevention, prevention.

Toilet Training

Steve Easton

The more secure and happier I have become with my life and relationships the more of the horror of my childhood I can remember but this is one clear memory that has always been there. I’m very nearly three, playing at the bottom of our long garden, in the sunshine, by the compost heap. I liked playing in the garden; in memory the garden was huge, full of big plants and bits of interesting junk. I hated being in the house and spent every moment I could in the garden. I needed to have a shit, so I pulled down my shorts and underpants and squatted on the compost heap … My mother, who in my three year old mind, is huge, seven months pregnant and very frightening appears for nowhere, like a monster out of a childhood nightmare, screams at me grabs me and rubs my face in my own excrement. It’s in my mouth and nose …

My mother had a horror of shit (though she would never ever have used that word) … I remember her refusing to change my sisters soiled nappy, she’d get angry, put her in her cot, shut the door and wait for my dad to get home. When I was four my dad taught me how to change nappies so my sister didn’t have to wait so long but when I started school, she’d be locked in her room until I got home… the summer holiday when I was six, I help dad potty train my sister … it was scary because every time she had an accident my mother would go mad and hit me, or my dad or both of us … she didn’t hit my sister but kept telling her again and again she was dirty and smelly and no one loved dirty smelly little girls.

Oddly I didn’t end up with a complex about toilets at least not in the way you’d have expected – my personal revenge has been to suffer almost no embarrassment what so ever about bodily functions, (or anything else for that matter) and an obsession with finding the worlds different toilets. In the West we expect the luxury of a nice clean rest room with privacy, a sink and definitely a door. Much of the world doesn’t offer these luxuries. Toilets, if they exist, are basic to say the least. Some are bad, some are smelly, some are wet, squishy and you need to be careful where you put your feet, some offer no privacy and you end-up squatting next to a man reading the Gangtok Times and asking you kindly how you are enjoying India? How many children do you have? Where is your wife? What do you do for living? How much do you earn? ….. Some toilets are strange and peculiar, like the combination squat and weston style toilet at Siliguri Station where you catch the toy train up the mountains to Darjeeling; and the box with a hole in the floor perched over a 500 foot ravine in Nepal had wonderful views but was somewhat unnerving when it wobbled in the wind.

In most cases the total lack a toilet was better many third world pubic facilities and my practice on the compost heap came in useful. I spent a month trekking in Nepal and with no toilets it was necessary to hid behind a rock with a trowel, loo paper and a lighter to burn the loo paper afterward and of course there was also company sometimes. Squatting behind a rock one day a twelve year old Nepali entrepreneur arrived on the scene and proceeded to try and sell me Coca-Cola, dirty postcards and his sister, who would apparently do wonderful things to my body. One of the best-organized and tidiest alfresco toilet’s I have experienced was in Eritrea where I’d rather impetuously travelled to ride a very interesting steam train through the mountains. Anyway I was visiting a village (huts with mud wall, thatched roofs, chickens, scrawny dogs, parched fields, and hungry cattle and children) and needed to go – probably the result of eating some bad camel stew. I explained my problem with gestures and was escorted by the entire male population of the village to what I think, if I understood the gestures correctly, was the men’s toilet field. It was clean and tidy with a huge pile of human manure in one corner. Next I was presented with a plastic jug full of water. Clearly this was not an environment where using toilet paper would be acceptable. So here I was with an audience of about 40 villagers varying in age from 10 to a few who looked to be about 110 waiting for me to perform. This was a little embarrassing but it was either remove my pants and squat or have a nasty accident. So I did what had to be done and washed my bum with my left hand, as protocol demanded receiving nods of approval from my audience. An elderly gentleman took my hand and escorted me back to village, while my offering was neatly shoveled up and added to the villages fertilizer supply. Sitting in the hut drink strong black coffee and eating something nameless and yellow I felt very grateful that I’d learned to wash my bum with water and my left hand, which is an odd story in itself. In the early eighties I was on the island of Bali before it became a tourist destination. I was sitting watching the most beautiful sunset over a sea temple when a Balinese family came past and stopped to chat, well really we mostly made friendly gestures at each other. One of the children started looking in my backpack and before his parents could intervene my trustee toilet roll dropped out onto the grass. It proved to be a strange and mysterious item but with some amusing miming I managed to explain what toilet paper was for and watched the family look more and more horrified. More miming this time demonstrating how to wash you bum after going which somehow then managed to explain their method was far more hygienic.

This brings me to the worse toilets in the world, which surprisingly wasn’t on any trains, though some of them both on Indian, British, American and Australian railways are pretty disgusting. The third prize goes to the toilets at Detroit bus station, which I decided was the safest place to stay in the middle of the night when the waiting room seemed to be full of drunks and junkies. The second prize must go to a public toilet in Calcutta, which I couldn’t enter because of the smell and was amazed that my diarrhea got instantly better. The first prize must go to a hotel on the border between Nepal and Tibet. I arrived in the freezing cold and dark was shown to a horrible room by a man with an oil lamp climbed in my sleeping bag and went to sleep. Sometime before dawn a very ugly and insistent prostitute who I eventually had to pay to go away shook me awake… Getting up as the sun rose went on a fruitless search for something to eat and kept falling over frozen stones all over the hotel corridors … it slowly dawned on me these stones were frozen turds and the hotel was an open toilet.

Of course there are wonderful clean and comfortable toilets such as this one was in Panaji in Goa. I didn’t use it: possible because my mother would have approved.

Sorry Steve the picture you sent could not be converted by word. As I have spoken to hundreds of people, I have found that rich details, no matter how horrible a subject they pertain to, always indicate truth. It’s funny how much detail is burned into your memories when it is accompanied by hurt and fear. Thank you again Steve for your contribution and I can’t wait to see your interview when you’re done.

Interview with Marcia

Hi and welcome to Child Abuse Feedback. We want to thank you for being our guest today. Our audience looks forward to hearing your answers and we know what you share will affect many lives. Please start by telling us a little about yourself.

My name is Marcia. I am 36, married and have 3 children. I am British
and have a passion for the English language and learning. I enjoy
playing poker and reading.

#1. Between what ages were you abused and would you like to expose the extent of that abuse or describe the worst memory you have?

I was physically abused between the ages of toddler – 16. Mentally
and verbally I was abused from toddler – 33. As for the extent of my
abuse, that’s difficult to summarize. I found the mental and verbal
abuse hardest to deal with, as I always (and still do to an extent)
believed everything I was told ie, that I’m useless, thick etc, and
that he knew everything I was thinking, and if I had nasty thoughts
about him he’d know. I was MADE to watch horror films from the age of
7 repeatedly. We could watch the same film 3 times in a night, every
night and had to comment and rate them out of ten. This has seriously affected me.

He would also stand over me in the night, and as I woke I could see a
scary old man (he would wear a mask) staring back at me, this was
terrifying. The physical side was being repeatedly slapped around the
head, thrown about, and the worst incidence is when I had a bucket filled
with chopped food swung at my head. Luckily, I ducked, but of course,
because I did that, I got beat instead!! As I got older one or two of
the comments became sexually orientated. Then, when I was an adult he
began telling me ‘I was the same as him’, as in violent, aggressive,
mentally unstable, and, of course, I believed him. After all, he’s my
Dad, I loved him. Everything about me had to be perfect, the way I
looked, behaved, my house, my kids, everything. Even as a married
mother, I would panic every time I knew he was coming round, I didn’t
want to let him down. But, of course, I always did.

#2. Were you aware that others, siblings, friends or your mother were being abused or did it seem you were singled out?

My sister suffered the same abuse, and my mother was physically
abused by him. My sister suffered the worst physically and I did
mentally.

#3. Understanding that many of us don’t realize the extent of how we were abused, when did you first comprehend that you were abused and when did it sink in and start causing problems?

I first began getting depressed at 15. I remember this clearly. I
had a boyfriend and I said to him at the beginning of January 1991, for
some unapparent reason “I can’t see me making it to the end of this
year”. He too, after a few months became physically abusive, he even
tried raping me (another story!).

#4. How did your abuse influence the way you interacted with those around you, co-workers, spouses and later children if you have them?

My abuse has influenced my whole life. As a child/teenager, the
abuse I was getting never affected my relationship with friends,
although I never let anyone stay over or really even visit me. I
thought nothing of it at the time, it was the norm. It never even
occurred to me my home life was a real problem until I was 18, when I
had counseling for depression. I’ve always been frightened of men,
still am. From the ages of 15 – 20 I was used for sex by most men.
Looking back I see that I wanted someone to love me, want me and look
after me so badly that I let it happen again and again. At the age of
26 I was raped by someone I know. The strange thing about that
incident is that it has never really affected me! I was never really
close to my sister. Give her, her due, she did try, but I just found
her annoying. As for my mother, he is very vain and everything
revolved around her. She had affairs and although I loved her I never
really saw her as a ‘mother figure’. My relationship with all of my
children is great, but I do see myself as a ‘bad’ mother, at times. I
have no logic for this, I simply think that I don’t deserve them and
sometimes feel they would be better off without me. I got married at
22. I had an 18 month old and was pregnant. I know now that I did this
as a form of escape. Someone had genuinely fallen for me, and so, I
fell for him. It was never true love. I think we both know this. The
marriage lasted 3 years. It ended a few months into my 1st nervous
breakdown. Luckily, I had an amazing friend who helped me through this
time (18 months), she was truly fantastic. During my 2nd breakdown,
which began in 2008, I became so severely depressed both my husband
(who I have been with for 10 yrs now) and I had to give up working. Me
because the mental anguish I was going through was making me very
suicidal, and he because I couldn’t be left alone, and I was having
trouble being close to our youngest daughter, who was 3. I was under
the belief ~ because of things told to me by my father that I would
seriously injure her. I become convinced that I may even fatally
injure her. These feelings went on for approximately 1 year.

#5. How did your children turn out, do you think your childhood affected their lives?

My children, two of which are now teenagers and the other is almost
7 are wonderful. They are really loving, caring individuals. They all do well
at school and are very happy. They do not know about what has been
happening. My husband and I did a great job not getting them involved
or letting them sense my anxieties.

#6. Are you comfortable discussing any substance abuse that may have occurred as a result of what you went through?

I feel very comfortable discussing any part of my life, although, I
had hypno-therapy once in 2008 which traumatized me to the point
of never talking about it. It was the trigger to my breakdown,
although I had been leading up to it for a couple of months.

#7. How did you overcome, if you have overcome this abuse?

I don’t think I will ever overcome what I have been through. It’s
not so much the abuse itself, it’s the affect it has on my everyday
life. I hate being frightened all the time. I take everything
personally and my mood changes with the littlest of things. I
disassociated myself with my family over 3 years ago, which has helped
me feel freer. I would never let them back in my life.

#8. Have you tried to slow down the amount of abuse in our society and if you have, how?

I work in a school, and have let teachers know that if the subject
of child abuse comes up in the curriculum I would very much like to
play a part in it. I have a group of students with whom I have made
aware during lessons of what child abuse can consist of and have given
advice. I am very open with what I have been through when it comes to
abuse and also with my breakdowns. I like people to know they can come
to me if they need support or to just let it all out.

#9. What would you say to those still lost in the horrors of their past, can you offer any words of encouragement?

To those lost in the horrors of their past I would say ~ You are not
alone, there are many of us struggling with our daily lives. Do not
feel alienated. There are so many different ways of receiving help and
advice and plenty of chat rooms on the internet to connect with those
in similar situations. There is no pressure for you to be anything but
you. Do not deal with this on your own, get the help you deserve.

#10. This is not really a question; I want you to make up the tenth question. Ask a question you think I should ask and then answer it. You may make a statement here that expresses anything you think important, that I might have missed.

What would you of liked to have happened?

I would have liked for someone to step in, because plenty of people knew about this, and taken me away from home before it got to the point where my mentality was placed in jeopardy. I would have liked, and still would, for the social services to stop turning their backs on the most desperate and vulnerable people. What do I want to see, Justice?

It is hard to express a lifetime of heartache in such a short
interview. There are so many little details to events that I would
like to speak about but can’t without turning the interview into a
novel! The abuse is only a part of the – for want of a better word –
experience. Events days, weeks both before and after are just as
bad… The waiting. I still, to this day have suicidal thoughts. I’m
hoping they will pass. They are not as powerful as they used to be.
But for now, I’m learning to live with them.
THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR CHILD ABUSE.
Wow, the words you’ve spoken have such power. Please understand that so many of us are with you in your fight. We want to thank you once again for being with us today and commend you on the extraordinary courage you’ve shown. Together we can make a difference and remember silence is the refuge of the abuser. Break the silence, break the cycle. I’m so glad we met.

Abuse is Relative

Check it out!

As I move through my life I am bombarded with the stories of abuse. I have learned that many see it as some sick competition. I once though mine was the worst story I’d ever hear. I have learned, sadly, that it is not. Abuse is relative and each story is horrific regardless of the details.
Abuse is defined or broken down into several categories, physical, sexual and mental. I have always felt lucky that I was not sexually abused.
I have found that sexual abuse can actually be broken further to include physical sexual abuse and mental sexual abuse. I was mentally sexually abused. Both my parents had no morals and repeated had affairs during my childhood. I was their confident, their co-conspirator even their lookout many times. They would have sex with me in the room, in the car and many times in the same bed. This continued until I was 14. I held secrets that would cause the death of my mother and possibly my sibling and me. Some of our most horrific nightmare occurred from perceived events that never happened; the truth would have had us all die in the most violent way. I was like a prisoner of war who held too much information.
This warped my ideas on sex and its relationship to love. If the people who are constantly trying to define child abuse would read things like people post here, they might realize that abuse is abuse. It defines itself and need no help doing it. Don’t define, do something to prevent it.
Kennesaw Taylor

Bath Time

I want to thank Steve for providing this short piece. We need everything we can get. The only thing more frightening than what he wrote, is the parts most of us can read that he did not write. Heart wrenching.

 

Bath Time  by Steve Easton

I found myself, aged 54, for first time, relaxing in a hot bath for the first time in my life. After many years and different forms of therapy, varying from 2 years of group physiotherapy, through individual gestalt therapy and phycology to the odd, sometimes in both senses of the word, sessions with a psychiatrist it was discovery of dark chocolate and chilli bubble bath and peach and vanilla exfoliating body scrub that did it. The bath gently steamed and after scrubbing myself all over and washing my hair I found myself relaxing, the knots in my muscles started to loosen and my mind drifting pleasantly. Over the next few weeks I experimented with various bath concoctions including arnica and seaweed, which, being dyslexic, I initially read as arsenic and seaweed, and found a long soak induced a strange state of torpor.
Don’t misunderstand me: I had always had baths, and once I stopped drowning my pain with vast quantities of whiskey, I bathed regularly and kept myself clean. Once, after 2 months trekking in Nepal with no opportunity to bath (except one ‘hotel’ thats offer of hot water meant the broke the ice on their rain water butt) I was scrubbed all over by two Sherpas’ while having luke warm water tipped over my head.
But ultimately I didn’t like baths and was always in and out as soon as possible; always in under five minutes. Baths just didn’t feel safe. I knew some of the reasons but it took the nightmares the followed the death of my mother to fully understand the true horror of bath time.
The dreams start; I’m trapped in the dinning room of our house in Luton. I’m four. Their is flora wallpaper a big sideboard and my little sister is in her cot which has been pushed across the door.
I can’t get out – I’m trapped – It’s Mummy’s “special time”.
I hide under the table – My sister is screaming – her infant instincts know what is going to happen.
I wake shaken and upset.
I lie awake and stay awake till the cocks begin crowing and the dreadful racket of the dawn chorus begins. I lie there too exhausted to move. Eventually I get up shut the window; lie down and drift into an exhausted, fitful, sleep.
I get up jumpy watch TV, jump every time there is a load noise, returning to bed to my unfinished nightmare.
I dream for longer – I can see the underside of the table – the legs are held on to metal brackets with wing nuts. The wood is almost white and a green table cloth hangs down around the edges. It dark outside and the curtains are drawn. Dad’s not home, I really want Dad to come home. Mummy comes in with a towel, drags out a chair a reaches down to grab me by the arm.
I wake and round we go; constantly night after night the same nightmare again and again. The same cocks crowing, the same damned dawn chorus, the same sun rising …. I don’t want to dream any more so for a few days I find a tactic to avoid dreaming, not a conscience strategy; I simply stop sleeping until dawn. This works for a few weeks; I don’t dream, I don’t think. I shut down. I can’t help falling asleep.
The cot is pushed aside. I am dragged, I can feel her nails in my arm, my sister is carried, she sobs quietly. The bath is already run, it has bubbles and toys. The window is steamed up, the door is locked. My sister is undress and put in the bath. She is washed all over with pink soap and a green cloth. The soap goes into her eyes, into her mouth, she screams and mummy pushes her head under the water. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine ten, eleven……. She hauled up by her hair, chokes, coughs, screams and is pushed under the water again. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine ten, eleven……
And again, and again eventually she surfaces and is silent. It’s my turn next. I don’t get it so bad – I’ve learned not to cry or scream…
Mummy is silent: her eyes seem blank and she smiles to herself ever so slightly. I want my Dad to come home…
I loved my Dad and he has never visited me in my nightmares. We were living on an Estate in Luton – were my Mother hated her neighbors – she always hated the neighbors wherever we lived. Dad worked in London as a childcare officer and used to commute on the train. I remember when I was four he took me to his office, I remember the big hissing steam engine (maybe my love of trains travel came from this happy day), I remember sitting on a bench in Hyde Park eating sandwiches with my Dad and feeding the crumbs to the pigeons. In the afternoon to the theatre and saw toad of toad hall.
Dad must have found out about Mummy’s “special time” because by the time I was five he always gave me and my sister our baths. Bath time with Dad was fun…at least until I knew what he was doing was wrong…but that’s another story.
I think now I’ll have a bath with arnica and seaweed or chilli and dark chocolate and scrub myself all over peach and almond exfoliating body scrub. All I need now to fully enjoy bath time and is a loofa and some rubber ducks. Maybe I’ll get them for Father’s Day.

Interview with Savannah

Click on cover to check it out!!

 

Hi Savannah and welcome to Child Abuse Feedback. We want to thank you for being our guest today. Our audience looks forward to hearing your answers and we know what you share will affect many lives. Please start by telling us a little about yourself.

#1. Between what ages were you abused and would you like to expose the extent of that abuse or describe the worst memory you have?                  Book Trailer

Lisa Elizabeth Rose wrote a book pertaining to the abuse I took from different people in my life that I loved dearly and still love. It all was some very sad memories and I wanted to get over them, so I had Lisa to write a book about everything and had it published. The name of the book is “Southern Endings”

#2. Were you aware that others, siblings, friends or your mother were being abused or did it seem you were singled out?

See answer to #1

#3. Understanding that many of us don’t realize the extent of how we were abused, when did you first comprehend that you were abused and when did it sink in and start causing problems?

The problems it caused growing up began to ignite in my 9th grade year, my grades dropped and I didn’t care anymore because I felt worthless, a nobody, white trash.

#4. How did your abuse influence the way you interacted with those around you, co-workers, spouses and later children if you have them?

I withdrew as a child, always wanting to be accepted by anybody that was somebody and as an adult I began enabling, the long, long road to co-dependency until I broke that cycle and broke down to tell my story encouraged by a dear co-worker that was with me every step of the way. I am just now beginning to walk out into the world and really live life, it’s taken me 40 years to finally open up and love myself.
And my spouse and I are doing great now, he’s gotten help, and our children are strong individuals with a lot of knowledge and guidance thanks to both me and their father every step of the way. We realize we had our drama, our chaos, our hell on earth, but we had to do the very thing that we were never willing to do in the past, look in the mirror. My husband says, he left the church and now that he’s back in church, he is the man I fell in love with when I first met him, a good man.

#5. How did your children turn out, do you think your childhood affected their lives?

No, I protected my kids, kept them involved in outdoor activities, pushed them in school, and did all the things I never got to do as a kid, be there for them mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I always had that talk with them about their private space when in doubt and danger; I always put their needs first and made sure that they were safe as well.

#6. Are you comfortable discussing any substance abuse that may have occurred as a result of what you went through?

Not at all, as a matter of fact, some of those issues were discussed in the book.

#7. How did you overcome, if you have overcome this abuse?

Turning to the mirror, putting my foot down after the last episode of the law being involved in our life, walking away from being a controlling person over the man I married and allowed him to make his own mistakes and decision without my help. When I let go and let God handle it, he changed too, a true miracle.

#8. Have you tried to slow down the amount of abuse in our society and if you have, how?

Sometimes calling the law does not settle anything and sometimes calling family children services settles nothing either. I’ve learned that when I am approached, I just listen, give a hug and let them know that everybody has problems and everybody has a closet full of demons and there is nothing wrong with sharing with someone that will listen that has seen and been through as much as I have….just be there and listen, but if it’s a child, oh Yes, I will definitely intervene.

#9. What would you say to those still lost in the horrors of their past, can you offer any words of encouragement?

Nobody can change your situation but you, it’s all up to you if you want out, you need no one’s permission to leave, you are a strong individual and you will make it, you will survive, thousands of others have and so can you. There are too many open doors in this world and nobody deserves to live in hell or the hell of their past.

#10. This is not really a question; I want you to make up the tenth question. Ask a question you think I should ask and then answer it. You may make a statement here that expresses anything you think important, that I might have missed.

If you could go back to the child or the teenager you use to be what would you do for YOU? What type of advice would you give yourself?

Savannah Hudson Sterling

We want to thank you once again for being with us today and commend you on the extraordinary courage you’ve shown. Together we can make a difference and remember silence is the refuge of the abuser. Break the silence, break the cycle.