Part Two: "Child abuse casts a shadow the length of a lifetime" – Herbert Ward

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You may recall a blog written last week from one of our guest writers about bullying. Part Two will be featured today. Take a moment, sit back and read as her story continues. As a word of warning, while the story itself is not graphic, it’s full of emotion and shows just how detrimental sexual abuse can be to a child and how it affects them through life. We need to be there as advocates and a community to prevent this. We need to give the victims a voice and reassure them that it is never their fault.

PART TWO

Let’s see dear reader, where did we leave off? Oh yes, my older brother had been sent back to New Jersey to live with our grandparents. At first I liked the idea, since now I would have mom and dad all to myself! Things went well for several months. I was spending a lot of time with my new and only friend, I learned how to fish-with a bamboo pole and I really enjoyed it.

My mom’s friend had been out of work for some time. She still lived in Jersey with her only daughter.  Mom told her how nice it was in Alabama and that jobs were plentiful and she should move down south.

And, so she did.

Mom’s friend’s daughter was a natural beauty with blond hair, blue eyes and could sing and dance and do  about anything just perfect. I never had any ambition to do the things she did, but I did like to watch her!  We became very close.

She and her mom moved to a small development across town from us. It wasn’t nice like ours, but there was a creek that ran alongside the house that had crawdads, and they were fun to catch! She also lived near a public pool and since it was summer, it was nice. Mom had her friend watch me quite a bit so she and dad could go out.

My “cousin,” that’s what we called each other, always made friends easily. On one occasion, she introduced me to an older man that lived across the street from her. He was in his early 40’s, married with no kids. He worked for the electric company and had these really cool meter locks and he gave them to us. He was tall and thin and his face was long and drawn. He had a slick of jet black hair and was very pale. He looked like a vampire to me – I love vampires! He would tell us jokes and show us tricks always friendly and always polite. Never saw his wife though, well, at least not then. He always commented on how pretty we were and that we almost looked like grown up girls.

aac65f96e75d8ad0c616744c234d44baNow dear reader, I can tell you that yes, the most unthinkable was done to me and to my “cousin.” The man told us that if we ever told our parents, he would kill them and then kill us. We didn’t tell. Well, at least she didn’t.  It was sort of an accident that I told. Mom was watching my cousin that night and after she picked her up she overheard a conversation between my “cousin” and me. We were driving and although I don’t remember everything that we said, I remember my mom standing on the brakes and screaming “what did you just say?” to me. Of course, I didn’t want to be dead or have my parent’s dead, so I said, “I don’t know.” Most of the car ride to my house is a blur, I remember mom telling us to stay in the van. I remember daddy coming out of the house, his face was red, I thought I was going to be in trouble. He scooped me up and ran me into the house. Mom grabbed my cousin and ran her into the house. Daddy called the police, mom didn’t want them called. She called her friend at work and told her to get to the house right away. I remember mom being mad at dad for calling the police, she was embarrassed.

When the police got there, all of the neighbors were looking and I’m sure wondering why they were at our house. Mom was so angry! Her friend got there and she told her about the conversation. Her friend immediately ran to her daughter to hold and comfort her, my mother looked at me like I was dirty.

They took us to a gynecologist to have us checked out, and the doctor confirmed what we had said. They arrested that man, but this was the south and we were northerners.  We didn’t stand a chance.

We went to court. We had to tell a room full of people we didn’t know what happened to us. Mom and dad sat together in the court room, mom hung her head the whole time, daddy cried. Mom’s friend mouthed words to her daughter while she was on the stand, the case was thrown out. The man walked away with a $25 fine. His wife called us whores, we were 8, and she called us whores. Mom and dad’s relationship was never the same afterwards. I wasn’t allowed to tell my brother or my grandparents. I had to hide it.  Mom’s friend moved back to Jersey, she couldn’t deal with living there anymore.

Over the years, my “cousin” became a beauty queen. She was beautiful! Local, county, state, she took all the titles. But, she had a secret. She buried it with drugs and random sex. One day, she crashed her car, she went through the windshield. She was high.

 I realized over the years, that if you were fat, no one wanted you or found you attractive, so I buried my secret with food. I was no longer the green-eyed, freckled faced, beach baby, I was fat and no one looked at me, and that is just how I liked it!

Mom never would talk to me about it, she didn’t like me anymore. I was fat and dirty, and she made sure I knew it until I was 19 years old.

I only told my big brother about this 10 years ago, he apologized for not being there, but what would he have done?

Okay, dear reader, this was a tough story. I never received any therapy for what happened. I watched my mother grow to hate me and blame me for what happened. I never understood what I did wrong, until one day it hit me, I didn’t. And the next day, I apologized to myself and I changed.

To be continued with Part Three.

Thoughts, suggestions? Email Jennifer Kaysen at Jennkaysen@gmail.com

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Cumberland County ranked last place in Child Welfare in New Jersey. Let’s stand up for our children and do something about it!

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