My Childhood: Before Anyone Knew

You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it


Throughout my experience of years of sexual abuse by my step brother, I had feelings of isolation, fear, powerlessness, anxiousness and felt I could not relate to anyone. When I look back and consider these feelings, I did pretty well at hiding them from the outside world.

At the age of 7 my parents separated, which was a relatively civil separation and still to this day have a good relationship. I don’t remember a lot about my parents being together but what I do know is that I have felt some degree of resentment towards my mum and at times wished they stayed together as than none of this would have occurred. By the age of 8 I was being sexually abused by my now step brother. Initially I didn’t really understand what was going on, but the longer it went on the more I felt it wasn’t right. In my later years, especially once I had my car license I felt I had a little more control. This meant I could leave when I felt I needed too and if I knew my step brother was going to be around I would plan something with my dad.  

There was however, a stage in my childhood where my dad had a very abusive partner and their relationship lasted a number of years. They were together when I was aged 10-18, although I wasn’t around for the later years of there relationship. There were times throughout their relationship where I didn’t see my dad, not because I didn’t want to see him, but because I didn’t want to be a part of it all. The police were involved, restraining orders were put in place and broken, and she even went as far as to falsely accuse us kids (myself and siblings) of vandalising our school. I won’t go into the details of these incidences but what I will say is that it wasn’t very nice to see or experience. We witnessed a lot that we shouldn’t of at such a young age.

I remember spending one night hiding under the bed with my brother and sister, scared of what she was going to do. She also said a lot of nasty things that I think also contribute to my low self-confidence. I encouraged my dad to leave so many times, but he would always go back to her. She would manipulate him to make him believe he was at fault. I can now see my dad experiences low self-worth as a result of this relationship. My dad confided in me a lot which made it all the more difficult when he would go back to her. I would get very upset, I almost felt that he was choosing her over us. Anyways the point for sharing this is to express that I basically had to choose between seeing my dad, physically and emotionally abused by his partner, or being sexually abused myself. In both these situations I felt I had no control.

When experiencing the sexual abuse, I supressed the memories very quickly after, and was able to continue on with life as though nothing happened.  If you ask me, I would consider my schooling years to have been a positive experience. I had a great group of friends, received good grades throughout and embraced all that school had to offer. I believe I supressed the memories of what happened in order to regain stability in life. I kept myself very busy throughout my childhood; participating in extracurricular activities at school, playing sport, coaching and being fairly social. I was always a pretty responsible kid and didn’t get myself into any trouble. I found I could cope with what was going on, if I kept myself busy.

When thinking about why I never said anything for many years; my greatest fear was ruining the family. Along with this I also felt embarrassed, shame and guilt about what was going on.  

After finishing high school with the grades I’d hoped for, I moved  to Adelaide and started my university degree. I was in Adelaide for 3 years before moving back to my hometown to pursue my career. It took me a little while to find my direction, but I am now very happy in my current role as an SSO in a Primary School working with students with special needs and learning difficulties.

I am now 23 and I first spoke up about my sexual abuse when I was 20 …. 12 years later. 

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