no longer silenced movement

Empowering Child Abuse Survivors and Promoting Awareness

Tag: NOLO

High School Drop Out To College Graduate

This story is by a guest writer, that we would like to keep anonymous.

My story may be familiar to some of you who are reading it or completely foreign to others, I am a high school drop out. There is a certain stigma associated with being a high school drop out. Some people will say we are stupid, worthless, and that we are going nowhere in life. While the decision I made to drop out of high school seemed like the only option at the time, it is one I have truly regretted for a very long time. However, I no longer have regrets or self-pity. The choice was mine to make, but it was not a choice that defined me as a person. This is my story.
Growing up, I came from a poor family. Most people in my family dropped out of high school. From my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, most of them never finished high school. As a result of this, my parents held low-income jobs. There were times that our power got shut off, there wasn’t much food in the fridge, and there was never much at Christmas. While my childhood was mostly ok by emotional standards, the financial standards were less than favorable.
While attending school, I was very active in different sports and clubs. I was a cheerleader and on the student council. I was a very upbeat and social person that enjoyed spending time with my friends. However, this is when the unraveling began. My parents got divorced when I was 16-years old. My Mother had been setting up plans to divorce my Father for several years prior to the actual day she left. When I was in middle school she took me to see some apartments with her. For several years previous to this, she also set up plans for us to see a male friend of hers out of town periodically, all while reminding me not to tell my Father. After these awkward encounters, I harbored a huge amount of guilt and feelings of remorse that I had no control over.
After my Mother left when I was 16, it was just my Father and I in an empty house, and my depression began to set it. My Father was in a depressive state because his wife had left him and I felt as if I contributed to his feelings of sadness because I did not speak up and say anything to him about the man my Mother was taking me to see. Looking at my Father, I felt that I betrayed him and caused him a huge amount of sadness. My depression worsened and I was prescribed medication.
As I wrestled with these feelings of what I felt that I had done, my depression worsened to the point where I tried to commit suicide. I was hospitalized and treated at a youth facility where I completed a program for depression. When I was released, I found out people in my high school were spreading horrible rumors about me and I began to become more depressed and developed intense anxiety. Finally, after all the rumors, the giggles, and the staring, I decided that I could not handle the walls of my high school and I decided to drop out at 18 years old, with only one semester left of my high school career. Even though my family tried to convince me otherwise, there was no way that I was going back to school.
After dropping out of high school, I started partying intensely and hanging out with people that I should not have been. Fortunately, my sister offered to let me come live with her in another city so I could start fresh. The stipulations that she had were that I get my GED and find a job. Finally, after getting a good retail job and obtaining my GED, I felt like my life was finally getting back on track. I was happy because I had a wonderful support system with my sister and her family and I felt like I was talking care of myself. My sister then pushed me to pursue college because she knew I could make something of myself.
When I moved away for college, I found new opportunities and great friends. Unfortunately the freedom and the extra student loan money got the best of me and I was now a college dropout. At 18, I simply was not mature enough to attend classes because I was too busy being social and having fun. I did however, learn the hard way that life is not easy on your own. After having a part-time retail job, I found myself working full-time in a call center second shift.
The depression began to sink in because I felt like I wasn’t doing anything with my life and I felt very disconnected from the world and my family. At the age of 19, I found myself back into psychiatric treatments staying in-patient and in group therapy. This is where I really learned valuable coping skills and decided that I did not want to live a depressed life anymore. I wasn’t sure how I was going to manage, but I wanted to change and become a more positive, less depressed person.
My life completely changed when I met my now-husband. He comes from a very tight-knit family. His parents were very good to me and let me move in with them and they started to feel like family. With the support of my husband, he pushed me to go back to school. The night before I started m first math class, I bawled my eyes out because I thought I was going to fail. The funny thing is, I aced that class, along with every other subsequent math class that I have taken.
My life did a complete 180. I went from being someone who got poor grades in high school to becoming a woman who made the Dean’s list every semester in college. With every class, there were many challenges but the rewards were huge. Through this college experience, I have gained so much confidence and happiness within myself that I never thought was possible. Overcoming the obstacles of remedial math and science classes and being another poverty student statistic, were extremely hard obstacles for me to overcome. The self-doubt I also carried within myself was also another huge hurdle for me to cross over.
But, I made it. Now I can finally say, at the age of 25, I proved the statistics wrong. Mostly, I am finally happy with myself. Sure, I still battle depression but I have learned that there are ways to manage these feelings. The biggest thing I have learned is that we really can do whatever we put our minds to. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to attend college and have a chance to change my life around. What is important in life is how we go forward after we make a mistake. I truly regretted dropping out of high school and college but I found the motivation within myself to go back and face my fears. Now, I am happier than ever and will never have to face poverty again.

Not Just Survivors

As a survivor, you can change the world. You can motivate people again and again, and encourage them to do good with their lives. Survivors can do phenomenal work, but that’s not enough for the World. It cannot just be survivors who care. It cannot just be loved ones of victims. We need all the help we can get, including people outside of the tragedy that is Child Abuse.

According to statistics provided by childhelp.org, 4-7 children die each day to child abuse. While all child deaths are tragic, we hear about children dying in hot cars, averaging a few dozen a year, when child abuse loses 1,460-2,555 a year, yet they never make national news. We need to care more, and we cannot do it alone

The Rare but Potentially Fatal Abuse Nobody Cares About

I don’t know if you heard the story, but last year Boston Children’s Hospital suffered a lot of backlash after flagging a case as medical child abuse, which would result in the state taking the child away. Last year, I read a post that Boston Children’s wrote addressing the issue, and the comments were flooded with harsh negativity. People said they were awful, cruel, and despicable doctors trying to rip a child away from their parents.

Is that what people think? Do people automatically assume the parents have done no harm, and that the person taking their child away from their abusive custody is cruel? The case was difficult because medical child abuse is probably the easiest to cover up, and it is the least looked for abuse in children.

The case all started when Justina Pelletier, a 14 year old girl, was brought in by her parents to Boston for the treatment of mitochondrial disease. Mitochondrial disease, is not very common, it’s symptoms are not very unique, and it is potentially fatal if left untreated. The problem wasn’t only that it’s difficult to diagnose, but no formal test was done, called the “hallmark of mitochondrial disorders” by the diagnosing Doctor from Tufts Mark Korson. Besides the sketchy lack of tests and research done into her symptoms, mitochondrial disease is known as the go-to disease to medical child abusers.

For not having a clear and confirmed diagnosis, it’s important to note that prior to this, she already faced extreme surgeries. The 14 year old, never tested for a disease, already had a permanent port surgically implanted into her stomach to flush out her digestive system, a common problem of those suffering child medical abuse. Many were upset about the stance Boston Children’s took on the childs case, including the original diagnostician, saying they’re extremely intrusive.

They pulled the child away from her parents, the accused abusers, and prevented contact from them. What may seem extreme to the outside, how would you feel if it were a confirmed medical abuse case? You’d be praising the doctors for stepping in and insuring the safety of that child, while still working to get her well.

All abuse is important, and any suspicions should always be reported. Nothing is more painful than a child stuck in an abusive home.

The Silent Fight In America

Have you ever noticed how many arguments Americans involve themselves in Daily? There’s abortion, race, and the welfare system, oh and immigration, that I see people have everyday. The fight I rarely see? The one about child abuse, advocating for abused children, and foster kids (as a good amount of them come from abusive homes. I’m not saying the people I know advocating against child abuse aren’t doing a good job. Nicolette alone is inspiring people everyday, all while being in graduate school, and a pet owner(which might not seem like a huge commitment, but she treats her dog how I treat mine, and that requires constant attention); but child abuse is one of the few causes that, if you’re not a volunteer or your job doesn’t involve the subject, nobody has an opinion on it.

It’s weird to think how many people have an opinion about every topic, but not this one. It’s as if they don’t see it as a huge deal. If you looking at the statistics in the blogs bio (included by Nicolette via childhelp.org) you see how statistically speaking, those abused are more likely to have a child young, do drugs, and be imprisoned for one reason or another; ironic because those three fall back on everyone’s major problem with the welfare system. Of course there’s many survivors that become empowered by their tragedies, but it’s not easy. It’s hard to overcome abuse in a positive way without support system. When abused children are taken from their homes, they enter foster care…each year, an average of 20,000 kids, age out of foster care, never having a family, this traces back to another argument, about reproduction, but I don’t see anybody jumping forward to adopt the kids who need it most. Is it because they’re no longer babies? Giving a child coming out of a traumatic family home can help them to build this positive atmosphere for themselves, and to never give up, no matter what struggles they face.

Day 10, 11, and 12 of the 21 Day Challenge

Congratulations, you’re half way through!

Day 10- Who was your ultimate role model as a child and why?

Day 11- Does your role model from your childhood still inspire you today, and has your reasoning for that changed?

Day 12- What made you realize you finally needed to take steps towards recovery?

I hope you’re enjoying the questions, and answering them as if you’re the only one that’ll ever read it, in order to make it more effective. Don’t forget, feel free to keep your answers to yourself but if you’d like to share via your own blog ENTER THE TAG 21 day survivor challenge

Thanks for reading!

Day 4, 5, & 6 of The Survivor 21 Day Challenge

I hope the first three days you’ve felt a little bit more positivity flowing to surpass the lows. Here’s Day 4, 5, and 6. Remember this challenge is for you. It’s to remind you how incredible you are. You’ve gone through something traumatic, something that can easily lead you down a dark path, and even if it did at one point…you’re here now, and that matters. Never stop being proud of yourself.

Day 4: Write one thing you wish you could change about your past, preferably your youth, and think of something you can do to actually work towards that change now.

Day 5: What is the best experience you’ve had since you realized that you’re a survivor?

Day 6: What would you tell someone experiencing the abuse you’ve already endured?

Thank you for your efforts in expressing yourself in such a personal way!

Wear Tragedies Like Armor

work hard     While everybody has experienced at least one form of tragedy, none of us experience the same tragedy. Everyone who was abused as a child has their own story, feels their own way, copes their own way, and experiences pain in their own way.

Your story can seem so similar to the person next to you, and you can tell them you understand, but unless you’re them, you can’t assume you understand exactly what it is that they’re going through.

One thing, every child abuse survivor shares, is the need to cope, the need to not just survive, but the ability to thrive. You cannot get back the childhood that’s robbed from you, that every survivor shares too, but you can live your life in such a way, that you love it enough to make up for it. Whatever you wanted to do as a child, a sport, play an instrument, get singing lessons, dance, learn to cook or sew…all of that you can still do, and you will have yourself to thank for it. If you use your pain as motivation, and go after the dream career you want, and experience all of the hobbies that so many kids are blessed to have, you’ll feel a sense of fulfillment and love for yourself, that is so much greater than your pain. Passion is powerful, and there’s nothing it can’t change. If you can survive abuse, there’s nothing you can’t do, no age that’s too old, and no difficult task that you can’t accomplish.

You do have, within you, the ability to overcome anything, and just because you were unable to experience something in your youth, doesn’t mean you don’t deserve that chance now. Try all of the hobbies you’ve ever wanted to try, and go after your dream job like you need it as bad as food and water. Never let your past weigh you down, the darker your past, the stronger you are, and the greater the person that you’re capable of being.

How To Recover From Abuse

For this post, we want to hear from you. We’ve had an excellent growing support system for the No Longer Silenced Movement, and hope to continue that momentum. The founder, Nicolette for any who may not know, is working on building a program designated to those recovering from abuse. In order to do so, we need to know what works for you.

What works for one, won’t for another, but combined, we can find a recovery path for everyone, and work towards helping survivors of child abuse further.

So, What worked for you?

If you’re currently a survivor of child abuse, we’d love your insights!

What did you do? Did Therapy help? Any books? What did you feel after? What still helps you today? What activity eases your reminders of your past, while still feeling them?

We’d love to hear from you!

No Socioeconomic Boundaries

I recently wrote on my personal blog and will elaborate here, some things, like emotional disorders, have no socioeconomic boundaries…like Child Abuse, you cannot look at the stats of the quality of someone’s life and conclude whether they struggle and face either of these problems.

As shown in the statistics provided by Childhelp.org, we can conclude that the amount of child abuse survivors facing mental illness is exponentially high compared with most young adults of the same age. The major misconception with mental illness is that we feel someone who is struggling a particular day can tell you exactly what’s wrong, so you can try to fix it, some days your depression and/or anxiety get the best of you and you have no idea why. You hate that woke up, you don’t want to move from bed, you can’t imagine studying, or showing your face at work, you feel numb all over, and a type of cold loneliness, even with someone who loves you unconditionally…today you’ve convinced yourself they don’t…and the worst part of it all, is that you have no idea how to fix it or if you can. The pain can get so bad that is physically hurts to be awake, or sober in a sense, but even when the only thing in the world that you want to do is sleep, you lay there and cry, until you’ve emotionally and physically exhausted yourself to sleep for at least twenty minutes.

It’s not pretty, it’s certainly somebody dealing with the disorders would choose if they had a choice at all, but unfortunately, mental illness is not a choice. It has been romanticized and molded into this thing others assume people decide to pick up one day, like a hobby…but if you truly face these, you probably dream you could wish it away. Mental disorders are a constant battle, so I’m asking you this…if you love somebody who faces these diseases, don’t expect them to give you an outright answer, don’t expect them to go out of their way to talk to you, don’t assume a smile on their face represents a smile in their heart…but be there for them, ask them if they want to talk about it, if not, do what they’d like to do to help themselves. Always encourage therapy, nothing compares to professional help. Go for a walk with them, volunteer at a humane society with them once a week, have an arts and crafts night…anything that you believe will help their well-being, do it, and you’ll be forever grateful you made that decision.

“Faith is why I…

“Faith is why I’m here today and faith is why I made it through.”

-Jonathan Anthony Burkett

We can’t go through life thinking that if we’ve been let down before, it will continue. No Longer Silenced Movement is a way to remind those who have been abused of this. You should never lose faith in yourself. You have to have faith that you can overcome anything. It’ okay to lose your way sometimes…we all do that…but just remember that you survived from abuse, you will get through everything. Whenever we attempt to accomplish a goal, we come across road blocks. While we’re at these road blocks alls we can see is how many more road blocks we need to make it through, how much more time it’ll take, how much more work it’ll take, but we rarely look back and consider our progress. Very few times do we take a minute to think of all of the roadblocks we’ve already overcome…very few times do we look back and see how much work we’ve already done and how much we’ve already accomplished. You have to be able to remember all that you’ve done, if you’ve taken even one step in the right direction…you’ve done something great! You can achieve your goal if you keep doing everything you’ve done to make the first step. If you take the first step to get help, or talk to people who were also abused, you’ve accomplished something big. You’ve taken a huge step to help yourself…keep going in the right direction and never lose faith.