Posts Tagged ‘cruelty to children’

I was recently triggered and got to thinking about the event that caused the triggering. This story is not triggering to read.

I was eight years old when my teacher assigned the class a book report. Most of the kids chose short books. I had always wanted to see a particular movie, which my mother did not take me to, so I asked to read that book for the book report. It was a full-length paperback novel, so my teacher tried to discourage me from reading it for the book report. However, because I insisted that I wanted to do it, she relented.

Sure enough, a full-length novel was too long for me read in the time period allotted. I was only eight years old, and a young eight at that (recently had a birthday).

My mother took no pity on me. She sent me to my room and would not let me out until I finished the book. I had already read hundreds of pages, but I simply could not handle the last 25 pages. It was too much. I could not see the words through my tears.

Instead of reading the last 25 pages with me, my mother punished me. I was grounded for weeks. Then, S (my most sadistic abuser) abused me terribly, saying that it was “punishment” for not reading the whole book. When my teacher compassionately asked me if I had really read the entire book, I looked her square in the eye and said, “Yes.” I had been punished enough.

I took from this incident that doing five times as much as everyone else was not good enough. I had to be perfect, and I had to get it right 100% of the time. Anything less would result is severe consequences.

I was thinking about this incident as I was driving my son to school, and it hit me – He is exactly the age that I was when this happened. The child cannot get through a simple chapter book yet, much less a novel written for adults. How cruel to expect this little boy, who is not developmentally ready to read an adult book, to punish him for not being able to do it.

And then, for the first time, it really hit me just how cruel these adults in my life really were. I was just a little kid.

For some reason, in my memories, I seem older than I was. I look at my little eight-year-old boy who is clearly such a little kid, and it drives home just how cruel my abusers were. I cannot fathom how they could look at a child that young and innocent and do the things that they did to me.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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