I used to hold a lot of anger against the people in my life that did not help me. Then I realized that was a lot of anger to hold onto, and a lot of people to be angry at.
There have been a lot of people throughout my childhood that failed to act when they should have, or they acted in a way that just made my situation worse.
My elementary school teacher severely underreacted concerning my sexual inappropriateness. I don’t have to tell you how that went over. Knowing what I know now, I don’t think my teacher’s response was appropriate.
Perhaps if someone had intervened, I could have been rescued. Then again, who would believe that a child was being sexually abused by her own mother? In the 90s, mother-daughter sexual abuse was just beginning to be studied. I was so programmed, I doubt I would have had the courage to tell the truth.
Then there were all of the teachers and guidance counselors who I begged not to talk to my parents, the ones I expressed fears of going home to, the ones who didn’t really know how to respond. No one ever got involved. No one questioned why I regularly peed my pants throughout elementary, middle, and high school.
The doctors and nurses never picked up on my panic whenever my mother was in the same room. They saw my unwillingness to be examined as just being shy rather than my feelings of fear and disgust. They never questioned why I seemed to have a UTI at every physical.
Family members either never realized what was going on, or chose to remain ignorant. My parents were very skilled at appearing somewhat normal, so I don’t blame people for not noticing, or not being 100% sure what was going on.
Was I that good at hiding the signs? I doubt it. Looking back on the times I remember, I think there were multiple instances in which something should have been reported. But nothing ever was. I continued to endure the pain and people continued to turn away. Maybe they were confused. Maybe they didn’t know it could happen. I don’t know.
But none of this matters now. I can’t change what happened to me. I can’t continue to hold on to the anger I have felt towards these people for so long. I hope they never feel like they were at fault; I hope they never feel guilty. It wasn’t their fault. It wasn’t my fault. It was my mother’s fault, and it was my father’s fault.
I can only use my experiences to initiate change. No child should have to endure abuse. The signs should not be ignored as they were in my case. People should not be afraid to report their suspicions. Ignoring it does not make it go away.