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This is the seventh post in this series, to start from the beginning, please click here.
Disclaimer: I wrote this in 2013 to share my testimony with the world in the hopes of helping other children faced with abuse. Most times, you will be the only person to advocate for a child that cannot stand up for themselves. Children in abusive situations are taught to conceal every aspect of abuse, so if you by chance are able to see something, it may be the only opportunity for rescue a child has. Please take the appropriate steps to report child abuse. I have since rewritten and updated these posts to make them more understandable and up to my current writing standards.
This post is different from the rest. Seven years of hell is a lot to write about. And my mind has shut out so many memories that I only have bits and pieces left. It’s hard to write these things in order so this post is just a string of random memories.
How I learned to tell time
One of his favorite lazy ways to punish me was to have me stand in the corner. I would stand until my legs got numb. I wasn’t allowed to move or scratch an itch. And he would often leave me there to stand overnight while they all slept. I got so used to it I started imagining that there were shapes in the wall since it was textured.
One weekend I had been sent home with an assignment about learning to tell time. I wasn’t on restriction and he asked me what I was working on. He grabbed the paper from me and asked me a question. I didn’t know the answer so he made me stand in the corner. The question was what time it was on the clock. I racked my brain to figure out the answer as I stood there.
And when I finally figured it out, I told him the answer. But he wouldn’t let me get out of the corner. This is how I learned how to tell time. I never wanted to answer his questions incorrectly again.
All the endless rules
There were so many rules in our house that it was near impossible to keep up. We were never allowed to be dirty. It was even worse if we ever stepped in puddles. We had to sit a certain way and talk a certain way. He would make us walk with books on our heads for our posture, and if the book ever fell he would beat us.
Sometimes while we were out at recess we would look at the gate surrounding the field and play area we were in and he would be standing there watching. He would follow us home without us knowing or just be lurking in the shadows somewhere as if he had nothing better to do.
My sister and I would walk home from school together every day until she went to junior high. It would rain a lot in Washington but we never played in the rain. However, as you’ve read in my previous posts, I liked to be daring sometimes. I told my sister that we wouldn’t get caught and that it would be fun.
So when we were almost home, walking in our apartment complex we looked into the sky and started to catch raindrops on our tongues. Since we weren’t allowed to be children this was something we had never done before, and it was fun for us. As we walked and giggled with our heads to the sky I felt happy and free.
But as my head dropped down so that I could pay attention to where I was walking, there he was. He had parked his car in the middle of the street and was just staring at us. The fear went to the pit of my stomach and I started trembling as I said quietly, “Amanda, look!” As we walked up to the car he rolled down the window, told us to go home and he would meet us there.
It was raining and he wouldn’t give us a ride. When we got home he was already parked outside and upstairs waiting for us. It was times like these where I wished I could run and never look back. I wished I had wings to fly away or could just find another family to live with.
But instead, we walked up those steps and opened the door to him and his rage. He spanked us until he was content and until we couldn’t sit. As always, he spanked me in silence because I wasn’t allowed to cry or scream or even whimper. He used to say, “A hard head makes a soft a**,” every time he whooped us. When it was my sister’s turn she cried, but it didn’t bother him. There were a lot fewer lashes for her but that made me happy. I never really wanted him to hurt her.
Holidays for us were a joke. I never had a birthday party growing up and neither did my siblings. My mom would get us cake most of the time, but what would start out as a celebration almost always ended up as a beating.
At one time in our apartment, we had next door neighbors that would babysit me after school. I told them that my birthday was coming up. So when he and my mom came to get me the mom asked them what they were going to do for my birthday. Being the fake people that they were they made something up and said they were going to take me out to eat. The walls in those apartments were thin and I’m guessing she had a clue as to what was going on so she asked if her daughter could go with me.
They said yes, and my heart leaped.
I knew there was no going back now, they had no choice but to take me somewhere. So on my birthday, they took me to Denny’s. It was the most I had ever done for my birthday and I loved every second of it to the fullest. Other children would have probably been ungrateful but for me, it was the best couple hours of birthday ever.
When we got home, of course, he beat me because it was my fault that they had to take me to dinner but I didn’t care. I got to go to an actual restaurant.
Growing up in that house has always made me loathe holidays. I’m finally getting away from that years later, but looking back it was always something that I dreaded.
Christmas would come and some years I would get nothing because I was in trouble. So instead of opening anything, I had to sit and watch my sister and brother open their couple of presents.
One year my mom went to some type of organization and told them we were poor. They asked us for our Christmas lists so I wrote down everything I had ever dreamed of. On Christmas morning I almost had a heart attack because we got everything we asked for. Including a new bike for me. He was in such a good mood he said that we could take my bike up to the elementary school and play. So off my brother, sister and I went. We had so much fun. When we got back home I noticed that I lost the bracelet that my brother had given me.
He, of course, found out and took away all my presents, put my bike on the back porch and I never rode it again. It sat out there and collected rust until it was thrown in the trash.
For Valentine’s Day, kids would always bring all their valentine cards to class with candy and pass them out. I never passed anything out because he never let me buy anything.
His rules were to always put all the candy in a bag and put the bag on top of the fridge as soon as I got home so that he could eat the candy. When I was in the fourth grade, he thought it would be a fun lesson to teach me how to take pills.
So he took a box of the Valentine candy sweethearts and told me to swallow them one by one after he set a glass of water in front of me. I choked and choked and he beat me after every time I failed. If I swallowed one without choking he wasn’t satisfied and made me try again until the whole box of candy was gone.
When it came around time for Father’s Day we would make presents in school to bring home to our dads. But I didn’t have a dad, I never wanted to give him my gifts because they didn’t belong to him. When we would make candy molds of tools or write about our appreciation for dads I would always wonder what it would be like to have a “real” dad. I would think about how all the other kids got to go home to their “real” families and celebrate Father’s Day that coming Sunday and have fun. Meanwhile, I never looked forward to the weekends because that meant two whole days with no breaks from him. When I was a child, to say I was jealous of the other kids is an understatement.
The best day of our lives
When I was in the fifth grade and my sister was in the seventh, on a Saturday morning, he woke us up and told us we could go anywhere we wanted to outside. We didn’t know he was high, so we believed him and thought he was just being nice for once.
Let me give you some backstory on this. We had boundaries everywhere. We used to try to swing high on the swings just to see the kids playing at the pool during the summer. Because we weren’t allowed to cross the fence of the playground. Not to go to the field right next to it, not to buy a soda from the vending machine. Nothing.
But this time he said we could go anywhere.
So we went to the edge of our apartments in the woods and climbed trees, we talked about how we could move out there and never look back. Other kids were with us and brought supplies to build forts, we had fun for hours. Completely forgetting about all of our troubles back home.
And then my brother came and asked us what the heck we were doing and we needed to go home right away.
The whole way home my brother told us how much trouble we were in and that we were supposed to be in the playground.
When we got home we told him that he said we could go anywhere and he acted like we were crazy and beat us. I could never understand why he wouldn’t remember telling us that just hours before beating us. But I know now- he had to have been high.
The one time he was nice to me
He was a very paranoid person, most likely due to the crack he smoked. One time, while I was on restriction I heard him starting to scream at my sister and brother in the living room.
He was convinced that they were talking to each other with eye signals from their designated spots on the couches. Even though they told him that they were not he told them that they were now on restriction and I wasn’t.
It had been the first time I was off restriction in months. I didn’t know if my siblings were guilty or not, I was young and had never heard of such thing before. Obviously, they weren’t doing anything wrong but I couldn’t help but be happy that I finally got to watch TV.
He told me he was going to take me to the bite of Seattle the next day and I couldn’t wait. So the next day came, he rubbed it in my sibling’s faces that they weren’t going and he actually took me. I couldn’t believe it. Out of all his broken promises, we got in the car and went.
We walked around for hours while he ate food and didn’t share with me. When we went inside a building he told me I could pick out any toy I wanted so I picked out a wooden top. He said that we would come back to get it but we never did. I didn’t mind, he was always full of empty promises.
I got to spend a day outside in a place I had never been before and so I was grateful. My siblings were on restriction for a long time for their offense and while they were I mostly wasn’t. There were always small moments like this that came when I was almost at my breaking point. Moments of hope and small bits of happiness.
It seems like my life has always been made up of these moments
I can’t look back and not see God helping me.
I know that God doesn’t make choices for us. That if we were His robots and He controlled us that he would have never laid a hand on me. I know that he chose to beat us and my mother chose to let him so I don’t blame God for any of it. And I know we are part of a fallen world that has been tainted rotten with sin, and that sin controls people and their choices.
I thank God that I am free from that control and I hope the man that abused us is too. I’ll never know if my mother is, she says she’s saved but if I were to judge her fruit then I would be forced to believe something different. I pray for her salvation. And I hope one day she will come to realize what she did to us.
“Say to them:
‘As I live,’ says the LORD God,
‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked,
but that the wicked turn from his way and live.'”
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Please feel free to share this, my hope is that through my brokenness I can save other children from abuse.
Are you a victim of abuse? How can I pray for you?