This child abuse story from Cheryl page was created July 31, 2007 and was originally posted on July 21, 2007 as story #163.
PLEASE NOTE: This story has not been edited for grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure or Internet-eze. Where necessary, I have edited for length and inappropriate or gratuitously graphic content.
Cheryl is from ISA, Queensland, Australia.
The following child abuse story from Cheryl depicts:
emotional abuse and physical abuse by Cheryl's family, sexual abuse by a foster
dad, and abuse at the hands of the government
The child abuse effects on Cheryl: runaway; sent to juvenile prison for wayward girls for running away; teenage pregnancy and subsequent abortion, then another teen pregnancy that resulted in the birth of a son; government removed Cheryl's son from her care, at first temporarily, but after fighting for custody for 3 years, they took him permanently; this story also identifies the child abuse effects on Cheryl's son after he spend most of his childhood in foster care
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I come from the WOTS family (Ward of the State) and I would not only like to speak up against my family, but also about
I was physically, emotionally, sexually and
financially abused by mother and two of her husbands. Other family members,
friends of family and neighbours didn't want to get involved and I was left to
deal with it on my own.
The first husband basically put a gun to my
head, warning me that what goes on at home stays at home. The second used his
personal relationship with police officers, leading me to believe that they
would believe him over me.
At fifteen I had had enough and ran away. When
I was caught I was charged and sent to a prison for girls. At sixteen I was
released into community housing for girls such as myself but I did not view myself
as a criminal and certainly wanted better for myself. Others believed I thought
I was better then they were, which then led to them being physically abusive
toward me. I so wanted to get away from this new abuse that I found a foster
home for myself.
As a juvenile offender made a member of the
WOTS family I had to remain under our governments control till I was eighteen.
So when I fell pregnant at sixteen and the foster family sent me back, they
aborted my pregnancy.
I found another foster family, and had to
face my new foster father climbing into my bed with a statement that I owed
him. I was also still on probation till seventeen and lucky for me, my
probation officer was good about it and let me move in with a male companion of
my own choosing.
On my seventeenth birthday I discovered I was
pregnant again. There was no way I was going to let our government take another
child from me, so I moved in with my natural father and his parents. Several
months later I had a healthy baby boy. I stayed until I was eighteen and no
longer a ward of the state. I moved back to the town [where] the father of my
new baby lived.
Three weeks later our government took my
welfare payments off me because I had not filed maintenance action against the
father. This left me with no other choice but to ask my family for financial
help. In return they filed a false complaint about my care of my child and I
had DOCS on my doorstep. To be sure they would follow it up, my family told them
I had a five-week-old baby rather then a five-month-old baby.
DOCS immediately started laying down rules. I
had no family and after using community child care services a number of times,
they told me no one was to care for my child but me. I found this extremely
difficult, but they told me if I didn't do this they would take my baby off me.
When things did not come together for me with
my son's father I spent nine months trying to get by on my own. Rather than
risk somebody else relieving me from my motherly duties for a break, I told the
DOCS that I could no longer do this all alone. They took my child and put him
in foster care. I had been getting counselling and had had DOCS representatives
tell me I needed to be forced to face up to my problems. So while my son was in
care I went back to my mother's house and the juvenile prison I had been kept
in. Coming face to face with my mother and one of my abusive stepfathers was an
experience in itself. After that I decided I wanted to return to my hometown
where I grew up as a young child. I still had friends there. As soon as I
arrived back I got a seasonal job on a station and then applied for the return
of my son. At the time I was living with my grandmother. Then my mother got a
divorce and came back to town. She started dating my first evil stepfather and
brought him around with her when she came to visit her mother. Every week she
would ask me if she could have my son for awhile and every week I would find
some excuse to say no.
In the end it all became too much for me. I
needed and wanted to get myself and my son away from her, him and the situation
I faced with them coming to visit. DOCS had told me to stay in touch with the
foster family that had cared for my son, so I asked them privately if they would
take him while I get a job and a place of my own. The foster family was not
willing to do this without DOCS involvement so I had no choice but to go back
to them for help. I was not going to risk giving him to somebody else and then
have DOCS take him from me permanently.
After I found a good job and a place of my
own I requested custody of my child and custody was denied. They used the
original false complaint filed by a family member three years earlier and took
my child from me permanently. He was raised by the foster family he was sent to
until he was twelve and when he started getting into trouble they sent him to
many other caregivers. Year after year I had asked them to give me back my
child and year after year I was told he would not be returned unless he wanted
to come back. So he was shifted from home to home until he was fourteen, and
then he was given back to me. By fourteen he had had plenty of experience in
lies, drugs and theft, so things did not go well with him living with me and my
two young girls I had by the time. I wanted DOCS to take him back several
months later. His previous foster family refused to take him back because they didn't
want him causing trouble for them over Christmas, so I organised a job out of
town on a station for him. When Christmas was over he returned to his foster
My son grew up being told that I never wanted
him. How he felt about that he made very clear to me later on in life. Now I
have a grown child with children of his own that I cannot see. In fact I am not
sure I want to because he has grown into a very large and angry man. He may not
believe the truth and on paper one of his foster parents appears to have a lot
to do with why he was never returned to me.
Why do some people believe that speaking out
about family is all good until that family becomes our government? How can we
fix the problems of abuse unless we address all sources of it!
NOTE: Information pages on this site were based on material from the
Canadian Red Cross RespectED Training Program. Written permission was obtained to use their copyrighted material on this site.
Child abuse story from Cheryl was re-formatted May 30, 2015
From Victim to Victory
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