‘I am drowning under the weight of humanity, the scent of blood still coating my matted hair, I am lost in the maze to success, past memories threatening to take away my identity, I am a nameless statistic without a voice, my limbs severed to make way for the perfect life-form but I am strong and have a courage beyond my years and noone not even you ‘E’ can take that away from me’
Age 8-9: My Story Of Abuse
For those of you who read my post last week- and for those of you who haven’t you can find it here- I had shared my battle with abuse, a puppet of my master ‘the evil stepmother E’. Married to my father and in control of his heart it was clear that there was no way out of this tangled web of enchantment that I was entangled in. I was lost in a pit of darkness too afraid of my own shadow to fight back. It would take two more years to escape the prison that I had called my home but it was my courage that would set me free.
As Priscilla grew into a mischievous toddler she was curious to see who I was and why she had not come into much contact with me before. Unbeknownst to her I had been forbidden to interact with her because my stepmother was jealous of me being my fathers first born. As she grew more curious by the minute it was becoming harder to obey ‘E’s’ wishes and even ‘E’s’ screams could not stop the bond between sisters forming. I used to think to myself what is it about me that people detest, am I so bad that the mere sight of me causes you to scream and attack me until I am black and blue? This is where victim blaming must stop, we victims do not perpetrate abuse and should reject the assumption that we were made to be victims.
It took two long years for social services to get in contact, I was brushed under the carpet as a statistic until I was eight years old. I was running late for school and ‘E’ was having a field day calling me every name under the sun, enjoying the look of hurt etched across my face. Before long the screams became blows and she grabbed a dustpan hitting me until I was bruised and battered. My head was swollen and I could not stop crying, scared of what she could do next. All this time my dad had not even lifted a finger to shield me from her blows and begged me to ‘not tell the school about it’ in case she got into trouble. ‘E’ had entrapped dad in a tapestry of magic and he was flailing under her spell.
I rushed into school tears streaming down my face and made it just in time for class. My teacher peered at me and asked ‘why my head was swollen’ and I replied ‘ my stepmother did it, she hit me because she was sick of the sight of me’. Taken aback they rushed me into a meeting with my headmistress and they got in touch with social services.
It should have been a warning for them to take me into care there and then but they didn’t. Social Services began with supervised visits in the family centre, so they could keep a watchful eye on ‘E’ and six months later ‘E’ was let off for ‘good behavior’ and I was taken off the child protection register. What they didn’t realize is what a master manipulator ‘E’ was, behind closed doors she was the same woman, hellbent on shredding what little self-confidence I had to pieces. ‘E’ made me lie and tell everyone that everything was ok, that I wasn’t being abused.
On my ninth birthday my dad organized a birthday party for me and my friends and it was there that everyone saw ‘E’s’ true colours. For the first time I was having fun at home and my friends made me laugh until there were tears streaming down my face. My friend laughed so hard that she tipped her food onto the floor and made a little mess. ‘E’ was livid and dragged me over to the mess that my friend had made. ‘Look at what you have done’ she cried grabbing my neck in a stranglehold, ‘it is all your fault!’. As if humiliating me in front of my friends wasn’t enough she made me clean up their mess in front of them laughing at me as I picked up the remnants of their food. My friends now knew why I joined as many school clubs as humanely possible, eager for time where I was praised instead of berated for simply being alive.
I never really had a childhood, it was stolen from me to make way for more children who would supplant my place in my fathers affections. ‘E’ abused me because I was not her child, she didn’t love me because I was baggage from a previous relationship. What kind of monster would take away her step-daughters identity to placate her own insecurities? ‘E’ was that monster, over the years I have forgiven people who did not deserve my respect but ‘E’ will never be part of my life again and that is a fact. What she did was unforgivable and is a testament to her jealousy of a little child who had done nothing wrong but be born.
Near my tenth birthday we had gone to the beach and although I did not know how to swim I loved watching the sea majestically engulf the landscape, a shark among men. ‘E’ persuaded me to enter the water and I danced among the foamy waves giggling as the salt water splashed against my hair. My father had gone for an ice cream and she waded out into the water carrying me into the murky depths where there was a point of no return. Telling me to close my eyes she swam away leaving me to slowly submerge under the surface, drowning under the weight of the ceaseless ocean. I thought I was going to die..
To be Continued….
Photography- Jumanna Khanom
Dress & Hat- Asos
Sandals- Dorothy Perkins
Bag- New Look