Blognonymous : Unspoken

This post was submitted to me within the ethos of Blognonymous.  As a panel we never edit the posts that are sent to us - we let them speak for themselves.  This time, I am finding it difficult to find the words to introduce this post.  The author tells me that she wrote this because she wants to raise awareness of the signs so that others can look out for them and help those in need.  She also hopes that just one person can find the courage to seek help after reading this post.  Please feel free to add your comments and thoughts at the end of the post.


To the teacher
You won't remember me. I kept my head down, never stood out. I would not be the one in the class disagreeing with you. I would always get my homework in on time. I would always do well at tests.  When you wrote my school reports you always said how mature I was for my age. You note I am not good in unfamiliar surroundings. I am a loner. I am not picked on by my classmates because I have a "don't come near me" invisible shield" but I also don't have many friends.
Think about it. Why would someone be more mature than their age suggests? There are very few good answers to this question. If you speak harshly to me I will cry. I will try and please you. It's the way I have been taught to behave. It won't take much for you to help me. I need someone to talk to. Surely it's obvious? Just because I don't have any bruises or broken bones you don't notice me. Because I am not aggressive towards you, you do not see me. Because I don't look skeletal you are not concerned about me.
The Mother
I know you were ill but you are not stupid. Isn't it a bit weird that a Stepfather would go and say goodnight to a 10 year old girl every night and shut the door. That he would not emerge for 10-15 minutes? When you came in and the light was off, what did you think? Even more weird, that he helped your daughter have a bath? Surely even you would see something wrong in that? Were you that scared of him that you let him treat us like slaves? That you let him take the belt to us both? You had supposedly "rescued" us from a life where we were beaten and starved. How was this better? What had you really fought for?
No? ok let's try something else then. When I told you what had happened, why could you not believe me? Why did you make me live there with you both. Were you that desperate to have someone to look after you? Let's face it, if you hadn't spotted what was going on then how the hell could you "keep an eye" on things to make sure it didn't happen again.
The Friends
I'm sorry. You had no idea what to make of me. I was never a very good friend. Neither were you but then you were way too young to understand what I was going through. Let's face it, I was too young too. I wonder if you remember me at all. By the time we left school I really didn't have any friends left. I wasn't much fun to hang out with. If you do remember me, it's ok, I understand.
I wrote this post so that those of you out there, either teachers or parents may have some idea what to look out for as signs of child abuse. It is not always the obvious stuff. It is not necessarily the harsh images you see on the NSPCC posters. Some abuse is far less obvious.
So watch out. When you think a child is very mature for their age, there is a reason for early maturity. If you are a mother or a father, you can watch out for things like a lack of eye contact with the abuser or a sense that the abuser has some kind of hidden power over the child. Encourage your child to tell you anything without consequence. You need to find a way to destroy the hold the abuser had on the child and the power is all about secrets and consequences. If they know they can talk to you about anything then it will be harder to have that power. And whatever happens, believe them and take action. There is NO circumstance where still being in contact with the abuser is the best option.
For teachers it is harder. But the one thing you desperately want is someone to talk to. I think more schools have counsellors these days but you are too afraid to talk to anyone. Someone has to talk to you. It won't take much. But it is possible. Teachers have so much to do it is difficult. But if they could just watch out for some clues and care enough to ask. All it takes is 1 person, 1 conversation and a way out can be found.