In this blog, I will be mentioning things around sexual abuse, physical, emotional and financial abuse that could be triggering. If there’s anything we mention that upsets, triggers or prompts you to talk to someone, then please follow that feeling. You can speak to us or we’d recommend Childline: or if you feel like you’re in any kind of danger call 999 (and if you can’t talk press 55 after dialling).
When I was 11-14 years old
I lived in an abusive home. I would’ve never said or thought that “my home was abusive” – it was just the way my life was. I didn’t enjoy it but I didn’t think it was anyone else’s problem but mine and as long as I buried my head in school & blocked it out, I’m sure it would be fine.
There are many types of abuse; sexual, physical, online abuse, neglect, domestic, emotional, criminal exploitation and gangs, female genital mutilation and non-recent/historical abuse. I experienced emotional and physical abuse. “The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) estimated that one in five adults aged 18 to 74 years experienced at least one form of child abuse, whether emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or witnessing domestic violence or abuse, before the age of 16 years (8.5 million people).”
Experiencing abuse is unfortunately really common.
One of my saving graces was being able to run off to school and experience a completely different reality to the one of my home life but COVID.
The other saving grace was talking to someone. Yes. Don’t roll your eyes again. Give me a chance to explain how talking to someone helped me deal with the abuse in my home.
Witnessing, and experiencing the physical and emotional abuse in my home left me feeling very powerless. After all, despite being the eldest of my siblings, I’m not strong enough or independent enough to stop adults from doing things. So I just never spoke up about them. I didn’t tell anyone for ages. Till one day, it all came out. As in, I literally spilt my guts. Luckily I was in a safe environment with people that cared for me. But it was like word vomit. I didn’t realise how much I had kept in, nor how much it was hurting or how bad things were in my life.
Because I told the right people (they were youth workers) they were able to give me a mentor. Similar to how Big Sis Lil Sis runs. I met with her when I can. She spoke to me about her life and I realised that I wasn’t the only one who’d had a rough upbringing. She couldn’t erase the things that I had seen but every time I spoke, I felt lighter. I didn’t feel so messed up. She was my safe space where I could vent to. I knew that if things got bad, then I could trust her to help me be safe again.
I didn’t have to pretend around her. It takes a lot of energy to pretend you’re ok 24/7 when you’re not.
So, my biggest advice for dealing with abuse is to tell someone who can help.
If there’s something happening at home, I know a big fear is that you’ll be taken away from your family but, speaking from experience, that’s not their aim. You are the priority. So, whatever makes you the safest is what they aim to achieve.
If the abuse is happening online. You’re not crazy or overly sensitive for being upset. Abuse online can be just as hurtful as face to face.