Memories of my ordeal with the issue of child abuse raced through my mind as I leaned against the podium. Long, painful and sad memories. I tried to stop them but to no avail. Luckily, I was jolted out of my reverie by the opening of the main auditorium doors.
One by one, ten pairs of feet made their way into the auditorium – the last person making it in before the clock struck three pm. It was difficult for me to tell their feelings towards this session as their faces mirrored each other’s expressions of uncertainty.
It took a lot of restraint for me not to L.O.L (man, I’ve got to stop using these abbreviations when I text). And I couldn’t help but recall when I walked into a similar room many years back – in the same shoes as them. I was surprised by the response to my flyers. This was ten times more than the class I attended. Was I prepared for it?
(Get a grip. How do you expect to put them at ease if you’re so tensed?)
“Thank you all for coming. I’m glad you all took this bold step by responding positively to my flyers. I commend you for that. This is truly much more than I expected. And, in case you’re wondering, that figure will be zero.”
This generated a few smiles here and there. Yes! I smelt progress.
“As today is our first day, I want us to discuss the idea behind the creation of this club. I have a short introductory speech here that I’m hoping you’d like and understand. Because I sacrificed three hours of my sleep preparing it.”
A few more snickers. Lol.
” Well here goes nothing.”
Surviving Victim of Child Abuse
“During the early days of my childhood, I occasionally heard snippets of the rights children had. One that struck me then was:
Every child has a right to a safe childhood and a life free from violence.
Whenever I thought of that, I always wondered why that wasn’t so for me. Because my life closely resembled a battleground. Just that I was not fighting a war in an army. No, I was a civilian caught up in a battle I had no idea about yet ambushed on all sides.
Yes, I had that right but the experience of child abuse and neglect I had infringed upon that right.
Everywhere I went, it was as though I had a beacon for abuse. At home, I was a victim of domestic child abuse. My mother was so busy with work that she almost never had time for us. My dad was a serious drunkard and was free with his hands around us – always using the slightest opportunity to beat us (which I later found out to be “physical abuse”). Between the two of them, they had no regard for our needs as kids. Thus, my brother and I suffered terribly from neglect.
At school, my physique paved way for bullying. I wasn’t always this buff fellow that stands before you. As a matter of fact, I was the complete image of a scrawny, somehow geeky nerd (with glasses and timidity included). Seniors loved to push me around and my juniors stuck to name calling. It may not sound like much but I assure you – bullying is not anything a child would want to go through.
Effects of Child Abuse and Neglect
I know that the effects of abuse affect each and every child differently. For some, the effects of abuse can be severe and long-lasting. However, records show that some children who have been abused or exposed to domestic violence can and do go on to have productive teenage and adult lives.
You see, children are resilient individuals. Thus, being able to guide them through a recovery process is very crucial to their success. I, personally, can testify that it is the first step towards healing. Because the day I decided to respond to a flyer for the creation for a club such as this was the start of the healing process of the child abuse scars I had.
Records also show that children, once their safety is assured, can overcome the effects of trauma through supportive interventions (e.g. professional counseling).
The brain develops at an amazingly incredible pace during the early developmental stages of infancy and childhood.
Studies about early childhood development indicate that this development is in response to experiences with caregivers, family and the community (based on their quality and quantity).
Why am I convinced that this club will be a huge success? Well, let’s just say I’ve been in your shoes. I also know how grateful I was to have someone who understood what I was going through… someone willing to help me heal from the trauma. And I willing to be that someone for each of you.
If you will let me, then I officially open C.A.T.H.A – Club For Abused Kids. “