“Don’t you remember I’m your baby girl? How could you push me out of your world? Lied to your flesh and your blood; put your hands on the ones that you swore you loved..”
For the Love of a Daughter- Demi Lovato
Throughout my entire childhood, I was always told to keep my mouth shut when it came to personal topics. When I was younger it was “Don’t ask why the boy has darker skin than you.” Or “Don’t ask to go to the bathroom outloud in front of everyone.”
However, as I grew older it became “Don’t tell anyone that Mommy and Daddy are fighting.” “Don’t tell anyone Daddy threw you out of a chair.”
One of the main ones was “Don’t tell anyone at school what’s going on.” Why couldn’t I tell my favorote 3rd grade teacher what was happening? It perplexed me to no end. By telling this to the brunette 7 year old who wore headbands like her favorite shirt, you manipulated her. You manipulated me.
Most people who suffer from child abuse are taught to keep their mouths shut, whether it be out of fear or because they’ve been manipulated into thinking it’s okay. No one will speak up. It’s as if all across America a deep, dead, silence has washed over. Well I’m breaking the silence here and now.
My name is Taylore Nicholl Mullins. I’m 17 years old.
And I am a victim of child abuse.
Was that too taboo for me to say? Did I offend anybody? Or should I have kept my mouth shut?
Should I keep my mouth shut for the every 10 seconds a child abuse report is made*?
Should I keep my mouth shut for the children like me who had to hide bruises underneath clothes at school, afraid to run at recess because their sleeve may slip down?
Should I keep my mouth shut for the between 4 and 5 innocent children who die of child abuse every day in America?*
Because it’s the truth?
Here’s the truth.
My father was abusive. Many would find that hard to believe, but he was. He was a brilliant actor though, I had to give it to him. As soon as we were out of that front door it’s like he slapped on a mask full of deceit and lies. On social media too, you’d find millions of pictures and happy statuses about his oh-so happy life.
But just because someone’s life looks crystal and clear, doesn’t exactly make it so.
Nights were normally black as coal, with a raging volcano inside my dad waiting to erupt at any second. We walked on eggshells attempting to avoid waking it but sometimes, we’d step too hard and lava would spurt everywhere.
But did I tell anyone?
Because I was taught by YOU that I couldn’t, remember? I’m supposed to keep my mouth shut.
I am 1 in 10 children.
Think it’s easy to overcome the effects of that abuse? You’re wrong. 80% of abused children will meet the criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder by the age of 21*. Even if the abuse ended in their early childhood, it haunts them for eternity.
I was lucky to leave my dad’s house this past year and have an amazing support system help me glue my broken and missing pieces together again. But it wasn’t easy. I still, to this day, have nightmares about him. He haunts my dreams. He hovers over my brain like a vulture ready to attack it’s prey every day. Most children aren’t as lucky as I was. Many have it way worse. And sadly, sometimes the vicious cycle of abuse is perpetuated through offspring.
Somewhere in America tonight, there is a child crying himself to sleep because the hand of his abuser went too far. He is helpless. He is broken. And the only savior he can count on is us.
We have to cut the taboo stigma that lies around talking about child abuse. These children need us, and if we are going to help them, we have to be able to talk about it.
People these days are too focused on their blessings or wants that they forget that not everyone is as fortunate as they are. “It’s too complicated to talk about” is most excuses.
Okay then. Well, go back to playing your Candy Crush but you have no room to complain about how our world is deteriorating at your family gatherings when it is deteriorating because of people like you.
We have to change it.
Justice will be served to my father one day soon. But WE have to help those who cannot help themselves
Until next time,