Comments for Child Abuse Story From Patricia

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Apr 22, 2008
Fear IS a great obstacle...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Thank you for sharing your story and thoughts, Patricia. What your mother and stepdad did to you was inexcusable. The physical and emotional pain must have been overwhelming.

Fear is a barrier on many levels. Friends are afraid to report for fear of losing their friendship with the victim. Family members are afraid to get involved or are scared of how reporting will divide the family. The system fears infringing on the rights of parents, but do so at the expense of the rights of children.

But children themselves cannot be blamed for not disclosing. To blame them would be to put adult values on these children. Abused children have every reason to be fearful, because their conditioning and vulnerabilities put them at great risk for further, even more insidious forms of abuse. It is up to us as adults to provide more education and support services so that these legitimately frightened children will feel safe to come forward. But again, the problem goes so much deeper...

Child abuse persists when there is a lack of support for both children and parents. Child abuse endures when there is a lack of understanding about what child abuse is. As long as child abuse is kept a "secret" by everyone, including those who suspect or know that it is going on, as long as abusers are not exposed and are free to inflict even the most atrocious forms of abuse, as long as children and youth are isolated and too afraid to disclose for fear of retribution, as long as the system continues to allow abuse to go on, unchecked, putting obviously abused children back into violently abusive homes, children will suffer. And as children grow up with this needless suffering, they blame themselves and perpetuate their suffering. We ultimately raise yet another generation of severely wounded adults who suffer physical as well as deeply emotional pain, and thus need further support services that are often not readily available.

Patricia, I hope you felt safe in the foster home for girls. I hope you found the support you so desperately needed. You certainly deserved both.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

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