Joyce 🐝 Bowen Brand Ambassador @ beBee in Black CityVP Hive, beBee in English, Creative Writers Public Speaker • RAINN Feb 13, 2017 · 5 min read · 1.3K

My Story of Abuse

My Story of Abuse

What is the view of child abuse? I struggle with that question.  I've found that child abuse survivors are viewed as damaged goods.  I see pity in people’s eyes.  I say, don’t see me and my ordeal—understand that there are children out there right this second that are undergoing the same kind of ordeal.  Young, dead bodies discarded like trash by the side of the road or on beaches…  See them and know that they’ve been released.  Children are toys—property of the adults who produce them.  Not everybody plays nice with their toys.

I kept my eyes down as a child. I didn’t know the moon could be seen in the daylight sky until my 3-year-old son pointed it out to me.  When he said, “moon”, and pointed up to the sky, I scoffed, then looked up and was amazed.  There it was.  At that moment, I realized I had kept my eyes down all my life.

It is difficult to convey to you in words just what an abused child experiences. I want to reach deep down inside you, find your greatest fear and turn it into some physical form that walks beside you daily for years.  That form will invoke constant, terrible fear; and you must take its hand as you traverse those years when your body is growing, developing; when you are most helpless and dependent.  There is no escape.  You must endure it.  You have no choice.  There is nowhere to go.  Remember—that physical form enveloping you in fear is right there.  Tendrils slowly emerge from its hand, and they merge into yours, crawling up inside your arm.  Fear morphs into a blob and surrounds you.  You can't break free.  Fear becomes pervasive for years on end.  A constant in your everyday life.

By the age of three, I had two permanent physical deformities. I remember being in the hospital and fervently hoping they would not send me home.  I felt safe in the cage-like crib guarded by kind adults who took care of me.  But they sent me home—minus part of a finger.

I don’t remember much after that until the age of four when I could run. Take your fear by the hand and run with me.  You cannot escape.  There’s going to be pain.  The thing that is chasing you is going to train you to lie still, don’t scream, and don’t cry.  But you are four, and terror forces you to try to escape.  The lock to the front door is too high up, and you can’t reach it.  It's just there up above the doorknob. buried in many layers of white paint.  You pray for the day you can reach the lock and run outside.

By the time you can reach the lock, you realize it is senseless to go outside. You’ve come to understand that people know what is happening, and you believe that they just don’t care.  They don’t want to get involved.  God knows what is happening, and he doesn’t care either.  The fantasy that you are adopted, and you have birth parents out there somewhere who will realize they have made a terrible mistake; find you, and rescue you has become an illusion—not real.  You are utterly alone.

Now you are maybe seven or eight. Fear is your constant companion.  You’re running again, but something stops you.  It’s been years living in terror.  On the one hand, you have pain.  Pain is inevitable.  There’s nothing you can do to stop it.  But fear?  Fear could be something you can control.  Your little legs are trembling almost like they have a mind of their own.  But with the sheer force of your will, you stop them from moving.  You submit to the pain to shorten the length of time you have to be terrified.  A first step….

Eventually, as you experience the pain,  your young brain helps you feel like you’re floating.  The chant your abuser spouts that accompanies each blow is barely heard, but you note the information in order not to repeat whatever offense has earned you your beating.  Ahhhh, and the pain is less.  You have to remember to cry out enough to satiate her desire to inflict pain.  Even though she told you not to cry, you instinctively know she needs affirmation.  No cry?  Longer beating.  The fear is gone.

You are about nine. By this time, you believe everything you’ve been told.  You are a bad kid who deserves whatever happens.  You don’t tell anyone what is happening because that was something for which you’ve already been beaten when you were five.  What you do start telling professionals in your elementary schools is that you are a bad kid.  They should just give up on you because you are beyond bad.  They try to help you move beyond it, but you know it’s hopeless.  They just don’t understand.  You are such a horrible human being that when you lie in bed at night, you try to stop breathing.  But something whispers to you that death is also the only escape.  It becomes a friend.

Now that you have walked with me, perhaps you have a better understanding of the havoc abuse wreaks. A child needs love, but what is love?  For me, if someone didn’t abuse me, they didn’t love me.  Why I didn’t perpetuate this kind of abuse, I’ll never know.  I started to, but nipped it in the bud right away.  Everything inside me screamed I could not do to my children what had been done to me, yet I worshiped my mother until well into adulthood for her effort to make me, “a good person.”

I’ve mulled over what constant fear must do to the developing brain… I have traits that I view as being hardwired.  I have an acute awareness of my surroundings.  I am in constant survival mode to this day.  Dr. Christine Courtois states that trauma victims tend to be revictimized again and again.  I can attest to that fact.

I was lucky. I chose a course of action that helps me understand the effects of trauma.  I studied psychology.  I’ve been crawling around in my brain for years.  I’ve succeeded in alleviating some of the effects.  The current trend in psychotherapy is to keep evaluative thoughts a secret from the patient, much like medicine years ago.  In other words:

Many of you probably don't know or remember a time when a dying or deathly ill person would go to a medical facility or doctor, and they simply would not give you the information about your condition.  I remember when my grandfather went into the hospital to die of colon cancer.  He asked if he was dying and they told him no.  I remember him groaning on a stark white pillow; gaunt- and sallow-faced; head lying in the brief sunlight of evening as cancer ate him up inside.  Now it's nearly impossible.  If you are dying, they have to tell you.  Not so in psychology.  Ssssshhhhhh...  It's a secret.  The patient can't handle it.  There is no collaboration or discussion.  Changes need to be made.

But hey, let’s go back to the beginning. Small children are suffering these kinds of things right this second.  Some die.  Jeremiah Oliver’s body was found by the side of the road stuffed in a bag.  He was five.  I share my experiences with you not to elicit pity.  I want to elicit action.  Use your voice and your keyboard to shout for better care for children.  One child dies every five hours.

Children’s protective services are underfunded. There aren’t enough social workers working in the field.  It is my belief many are too inexperienced to recognize this kind of abuse.  Deadly abuse.  I was always clean and fed.  But I was being killed, and these kinds of abusers often have excellent social facades.  If a child is rescued out of a home, there aren’t enough places to put them.  They need heavy-duty services to help them to recover.

Complex Trauma often goes undiagnosed, in my opinion. Complex PTSD can be the result.  Other circumstances can result in Complex PTSD, but this is the one in which I am interested.  Children are dying.

YOU can make a difference. Enforce and reinforce Mandatory Reporting laws.  Make penalties for not reporting harsher.  Many professionals abhor Mandatory Reporting.  I’ve seen professionals who are designated Mandatory Reporters ignore the law.  I’d like to see professionals that don’t report three times lose their licenses.  It’s better than children losing their lives.

Copyright 2017 Joyce Bowen

About the Author:  Joyce Bowen is a freelance writer and public speaker.  Inquiries can be made at
Sobre el autor: Joyce Bowen es un escritor independiente y orador público. Las consultas pueden hacerse en

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Preston 🐝 Vander Ven Sep 12, 2017 · #13

Thanks for this Story. I enjoy walking with others and learning from their trials. I also went through my abuse as a child. This was severe and even lead to brain damage, thus my epilepsy. It's wasn't until I was in my mid-twenties that I realized that my trauma hurting in my life at that moment wasn't the physical damage, yet the unforgiveness of my own. This was the hardest conquest I have ever had to overcome.
For years it was like carrying a backpack of painful memories and chains attached to my legs. A close friend help me realize that if Christ can forgive everyone of our sins, then I can forgive those you pained me. Yet, that decision was mine. It was not in a day either. After I completed this journey, I was free.
With this freedom, I wanted to find others who are currently in the same pain I was in, and help them from their present danger. That is one reason I became a foster parent. The next step is to guide them with the hardest journey, "Forgiveness."
The story of Joseph is Genesis was one that had always help guide me. He was innocent yet terrible things happened to him over and over. This happen so he could be were he could be where he was needed. I understand as a grown man, my past help grow and guide me to where I am needed today.

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@Joel Savage Thank you for reading it. Thanks for your comment.

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Joel Savage Feb 17, 2017 · #11

User removed

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@CityVP 🐝 Manjit ahhh yes. I have been at the mercy of the whims of others so often that I collect many things. I have 5T external hard drives.

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CityVP Manjit Feb 13, 2017 · #9

#7 Last year there was a site called and they had this facility called "collections", where you collect people under their interests - I thought the idea was brilliant and I ended up setting up 95 categories and had read and collected over +5000 profiles.

Then someone there decided that they were going to a new system and announced that in the "collections" pages will be scrapped. It was their site and their decision. This is how marketed human beings are - it has nothing to do with personal. They were not interested in what this media meant to people, it did not fit their business model and so employed a more simpler model of focusing on personal brand.

In noticing your fight it is not the first time I have come across people with your fighting spirit. At I had come across over 20. Just like that the site was wiped clean of all collections, but not before I realized that some people dedicate their "work" to this form of seeking justice for others. Abuse does not start as canyons, it starts as tiny cracks.

What you write is tell your story, but what you actually do is fight for justice. That was the name of that collection I once had at "fight for justice". I have zero respect today for but plenty of respect for the stories of those people I encountered, people whose names I should have recorded but did not because I naively thought info on a cloud stayed there.

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@CityVP 🐝 Manjit yes--so true. I went on to be sexually assaulted by a predator who victimized disadvantaged children. That is a much longer story spanning years of tracking both him and his victims.

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CityVP Manjit Feb 13, 2017 · #6

When I first found the web my curiosity revealed my naivety. The first niche social network site I joined was back in 1998 and the site called and such was my naivety that even as I interacted in the discussions there, I did not know what a yoni was. The moment I saw what it was, I could not believe that I could not see it, it was just a case of OMG.

That OMG pales in comparison to one particular discussion I had. The discussion was about bulimia. As a naive individual I wanted to understand bulimia and why this condition of self-image effected women. One of the answers I received I was not ready for and even today the chill of the answer registers to my bone.

I was curious enough to initiate a private chat with one of the women who took part in this group. It is in this conversation that I both realized that I had ventured into something much bigger than me and that I was a million miles removed from.

I asked this woman about bulimia and explain what it was. I will never forget her answer. She told me that as a child her father asked her mother to hold her while the mother watched and he would thrust his penis into her mouth. If this isn't horrific enough, this woman was disabled and so was objectified as a thing by her parents.

This discussion group that discussed bulimia was a gathering place for women like her to share their humanity and not simply there misery, this was not a place where someone liked me belonged. What did I get from that woman is the hidden truth of what sits behind these conditions that we call bulimia. This was one woman's story about what happened to her. One is enough.

It is not bulimia I am talking about here it is abuse. Later I discovered the horrific accounts of disabled people to widespread abuse simply because they were disabled. Those that want meaning to be about work miss the meaning of home, they miss this.

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@Todd Jones Hard to find healing when I know children are still out there dying. I should be dead myself.

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