I desperately scramble up the stairs, trying to escape the drunken monster behind me. Once under the safety of my bed, I silently wait. Suddenly my covers are ripped off me.
“Get downstairs”, he growls. “You need to be taught a lesson.”
This was an everyday occurrence. His ‘lessons’ consisted of him being the boxer and me the punching bag, or him the thrower and me the target. Like Olympic practice I guess, but he was throwing furniture.
At first I kept quiet, thinking of it as a test of patience. But when it seemed relentless like there was no scheduled break, I knew I had to tell someone. I approached our school counselor, yet one look from her told me exactly what I expected: “I was being silly”. I accepted her judgment and the ‘lessons’ continued until one day he didn’t go by the rules. So even after I was down, he kept going-punching and punching until he realized his blood-stained knuckles had knocked me out cold.
He presented his façade of lies, marching into the hospital, acting the concerned father he has never been. The doctors gobbled up the lies he served, not even sparing a second to consider any other options. That’s when the severity of my situation dawned on me.
It’s been years since the ‘escape’, yet the flashbacks still haunt me. I now suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and depression.
When the clouds of sadness overcome me, I often play the blame game. The contestants being him and me. Recently however, I started to consider the third party. The ones who are enjoying the little things in life, ignorant of the consequences of their actions. Those who made me prey to my father for another three years, yet are still unaware of it. This has to stop. For the sake of the other billion abused children out there, we need to stop turning a blind eye to this abuse.
My time at primary school was difficult. Although I was never bullied. I was shoved on the sidelines and no one would befriend me. I couldn’t sit still and always used to fidget because of the underlying thought of what was waiting for me at home. My teachers reported me as a distracted, unbothered child. But never once did they consider why? Their misconceptions assured them that “I was being pathetic” and I was a fool for accepting that. If only I had built a wall around myself, not allowing anyone with their meaningless suggestions to enter, I would have escaped a little unscathed.
My school was very sympathetic when my case was exposed. My counselor apologized profusely – no doubt fearing her early retirement, but this shouldn’t have been the case. What is the point of regret after the deed has been done? I believe in the ideology of being one step ahead. If my school had taken precautions by appointing independent listeners, who observe and ask instead of listening, they wouldn’t be feeling guilty now. Guilty of having watched a seven-year-old boy come and go from his hellhound of a home every day. No child should be expected to snitch over their abusive guardians when threats are looming above their head. These teachers need to start taking an active role over their students.
You know, I’ve lost count how many times I fought to get the attention of someone, begging for them to notice my plight as my father stood glaring. Despite my failed attempts, I pride myself for trying. Knowing the risks but hopeful of succeeding.
A year before the ‘escape’, I had a severe concussion, and as they were stitching up the gaping wound in my head, I tried to scream, "It was him!" The monster who was staring through the porthole of the door, his eyes boring into mine, warning me. Thinking it was because of the effect of my injury, the doctors muted me with anesthetics, dismissing the thought of the worried-looking man ever hurting me.
I also struggled for my neighbour’s attention. I would silently beg her with my eyes when he was watching and painfully scream my lungs out through the crack in the wall at night. But she was either deaf or plainly didn’t care as not once did she consider this as a cause of alarm.
Has the world become that heartless to ignore our pleas? Or is the system just failing us?
Why can’t we ever be loved, adored and cared for?
Writing up all these memories has brought tears to my eyes. I can’t begin to express all the sorrow and frustration pent inside me all these years. But what’s done is done and it will always be a part of me. But there’s one thing I know for certain. The blame wasn’t all on him for how I turned out.
It was on them.
It is on you.
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