Who are the real “High-Risk” kids?

Do you know there is such a thing as “high-risk” children when it comes to the risk of being sexually abused? Any idea of who they are? I’ll give you a moment to think about it…

Any idea yet?

They’re usually children from lower income families, uneducated parents, often single parent family. Wait before you think I’m generalizing it. I’m not saying single parents of low income and little education can’t take good care of their children or protect them from abuse. But there are actually studies that suggest children from those environments are more likely to go through some sort of sexual abuse.

That’s what I have a problem with. Everyone in the school system, social working system, medical system or whatever are warned of those kinds of high-risk children. My professor of Child Development Psychology talked about these high-risk children. That’s great for them. Even though they’re more likely to be hurt somehow, there are people looking out for them, in and our the school system. They’re also more likely to be protected from it.

The problem is, these “high-risk” children are only called that because they’re the ones whose abuse are actually exposed. The so-called “normal” families, the ones who have higher incomes, educated parents are much better at living concealed, fabricated lives, filled with lives, in which sexual abuse is never exposed when it happens. And their children? They have no one to protect them, because “things like that don’t happen to children like them”

Having PhD parents who make over 100k a year won’t protect children from being sexually abused, and I know that first hand. The problem is the mentality of people who will never look at those children, who have such comfortable home lives and think something so nefarious may be happening to them.

That makes them even more afraid to tell, that makes them even more willing to believe the lies their abuse will tell that no one will ever believe them, because they have known their whole lives that children like them are not raped and tortured and beaten. Other types of kids do. Not them. No one will ever believe them.

So, who’s high-risk? Who’s at risk of not being protected or believed? Who’s at risk of having to keep a secret their whole lives out of shame and doubt and not ever knowing if they’ll be believed? Because “things like that don’t happen to kids like you,” they have been told.

Unless someone changes that, they’ll always be unprotected. And at risk.

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It Doesn’t (Always) Get Better

Don’t get put off by the post title, this post isn’t going to be nearly as uninspiring as it sounds, I promise 🙂

First off, this isn’t about sexuality, despite the obvious reference here. The title of the post comes from a recent argument I had with someone. It was the usual “It gets better” argument, something that has become a mantra to people, a way to comfort others, which started off from the advice to teenagers that will get out from a difficult situation on nonacceptance — whether it comes from themselves or others — and their lives will improve, and it started being used to people with depression from other sources, mood disorders, mental illnesses. Except people don’t seem to realize there’s a clear flaw there.

Look, I’m not gay or trans, so, I can’t say how hard it is, or how it gets better. But, from a stand point of view, and from numerous testimonials, I’m guessing, it does get better. Or at least, you have the possibility of getting better. At some point of your life, you can see the light. You can see a way out of the darkness, you can see happiness.

Which is leading me to the second part of the argument I had. It all started when someone said, another classic, “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary situation.” Again, flawed. Because not all situations temporary, are they?

I’m not here to condone suicide, though you know I’ve thought about it. I’m just saying, that while some things are temporary, some are not. While some things get better, some do not. And that’s where my problem with these motivational speeches lie.

When you’re Bipolar, that’s not temporary. That’s something you’re going to have to deal with for the rest of your life. There are meds that can help you manage it, but it’s always there. It’s always there when you snap at someone for no reason, when your boyfriend wants to have sex and you don’t because your libido doesn’t exist from the meds, when you feel yourself building up to (hypo)mania and see no way of stopping it. It’s always there when someone talks about Bipolarity and you can tell them all about it, and they look at you weird, because they have no idea how you know so much about it, “It’s for a story,” you say. It’s always there when you realize that you have so many drugs on you that you don’t know what’s you anymore. But you can’t quit them. Ever. For the res of your life, it’s going to be there. So, no it’s not temporary. It’s something you have to live with every day.

And some people, they go through every day. I do. Some days are harder than others. Some days aren’t even that bad. We keep going. Thing is, though, some people want to be done with it. Can we blame them? Can we walk up to them and say, “Hey, it’s a permanent solution to something temporary?” When you KNOW that they’l have to live every day of their lives… managing? How is that fair? That speech?

And “It Gets Better?” When I was 10, I started getting depressed. I didn’t understand it, but I get it now. When I was 12, I was thinking about killing myself. I don’t know much of what I thought back then, because I used to rip my poems (wish I didn’t!). When I was 16 and had my first very, very bad bout of depression that I remember, I waited for things to get better. I got therapy. I got meds. But they didn’t.

I graduated High School. Things still didn’t get better. College wasn’t all that great. I lived abroad for a while. Nope. I changed college majors. Maybe that was it, you know? Another very bad crisis. I got a job I loved. Still not better. I even got a hell of a nice boyfriend. Not. Better.

But, you know. maybe that’s it. Maybe realizing that things do not get better is a good start. Because when you stop expecting them to, you live each day, as a single day, you live each good isolated moment, and that’s it. Of course, there are frustrating days, and days I hate the world and lots of ‘why mes’. But… knowing that, that sometimes it doesn’t get better, it helps. It helps me enjoy the good, instead of looking for better. Maybe that’s it. The good and the bad, all rolled into one, in seconds, minutes, hours and days.

And I keep living. Until I don’t.

The Perfect Kid Syndrome (AKA Signs of Abuse People Often Miss)

I’ve been thinking about this lately.

As the few of you who actually read this blog know, no one ever noticed when I was being abused. And I guess blaming people for that is natural, even though deep down I know it wasn’t anyone’s fault, not really — the only person who’s at fault was the man who raped and tortured me for those years. Still, in my case, there was an aggravating factor for people not noticing, that is more common than most of us will realize, and that’s what I want to call attention to.

I wasn’t an easy kid. I was hyperactive (though not ADD or ADHD — I was tested and passed okay) and apparently I was just too smart for my age and got bored easily. So, I was creative and got into trouble quite a bit. My mom was called at school often enough, and I was grounded all the time. Mind you, I wasn’t a bad kid, I just wasn’t an easy kid.

Then, when I was ten years old, this man came into my life. At very first, I don’t even think things changed very much, but, soon, oh, but they did. Teachers, parents, school counselors are often ‘trained’ to look for the classics signs of abuse: children misbehaving, grades dropping, acting out for attention. But what when the complete opposite happens? Because that’s what happened to me.

Things at home were not easy. The man who abused me beat my mother and myself, and sexually abused me. I guess the way I found to get some kind of “control” was to fix everything else in my life, because, all of a sudden, I became the perfect child. No more being hard at school, no more being “creative”, bored or anything. I was a model kid in behavior, grades, everything. Maybe if someone had look at the more subtle signs — like how I’d have major breakdowns at a 90% in a science test in 4th grade, they’d seen something was wrong — but they must have been so pleased with my ‘maturing’, they attributed it all to perfectionism and my changing to growing up.

And that’s how my abuse went unnoticed for about two years. I didn’t act out or misbehave or got bad grades. I helped with special projects, aced most tests, got involved with extra-curricular activities and had never behaved better. People were impressed and proud. Not once anyone even thought to ask if there was something going on with me.

Even after my abuser left, this went on. By then, my mom went into a depressive spiral, and it was up to me to do things at home, pay bills, take care of my brother, get us food, for years, or these things wouldn’t get done. I was as perfect of a teenager as a teenager can be. I never defied my parents, I never screamed or argued or acted out — I did everything I child could possibly do to be… perfect. Did I mention I got great grades? Yeah.

By the time I was in 10th grade and couldn’t handle the pressure, I started cutting myself. I think it was the first time someone first realized something was off with me. My friends caught me and begged me to stop. (Though, I remember I religion class in 7th grade that was about drug use that I was so tired I kept my head down, some kids started asking if I did drugs — AS IF, I was perfect, remember?).

The other day, I was talking to a student of mine, she’s about my age, and she was telling me how she went through eating disorders and no one ever noticed. How she tried so hard to be the smartest in her class and the perfect kid or attention, but that never worked. And I told her that the hardest thing is being with people every day that don’t notice what you’re going through. And, then, I told her, that she was the first one in my class I noticed, because she was smart and quiet and perfect, and she reminded of myself. I guess because of I went through, I’m wired to see things different, to pick up on different signs.

What I mean is, many times, people, especially kids, are going through things, and we won’t even realize, because they don’t have the ‘standard’ behavior expected, and that just breaks me. I wish there was more awareness to the different kinds of behaviors we could possibly expect — though I know everyone reacts to different things their own way.

Anyway, I think this is it. I know I hardly ever write here, and people rarely read this, but I hope it can help at least one person.

Love,

“Abby”