When Abuse Is a Child’s Normal

**trigger warning: abuse description**

If there had been a safe place for me as a child, what would I have said? I didn’t know sexual abuse was wrong. I only knew it caused me physical pain and made me want to hide away. It sent me far from this earth place, to other dimensions, so I could endure it.

I didn’t know being beaten was wrong. It was my normal. I had to be stripped of my sin. I was a bad child. All children were born bad. If only I could learn to be good, then maybe the beatings would stop.

I didn’t know demons weren’t real. They lurked in shadows waiting to jump into me and make me do horrible things kids do, like laugh or play, cry and want their mother and make me loud, even though I was deaf. If I sat through enough demon casting out sessions, endure the fistfuls of hair pulling, face slapping, pinching and screaming, maybe the demons would leave me alone.

When torture is a child’s normal, what do they view as worse than that? What is there to tell someone; if there even is someone to tell?

I would one day find out that demons are real. The only difference is… They’re human.

S.C.

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