Never a reason, just an excuse
How do you know?
Listen to your kids, listen to your friends, if they say something is wrong, believe them and seek help.
As a kid, I was sexually abused by my stepfather. Nobody knew, my entire family couldn't believe this man that had finally given us a life, finally a man that cared for my mother and a child that wasn't his, surely he was a 'good' man.
I was regularly threatened that if I spoke up about it, my Mother would suffer, she would be bashed and worse in front of me. I went into protection mode for her and one day, I couldn't take it, I told my family.
I wasn't believed, here I was, a young kid whose whole family had now arranged for me to be taken to counselling because I was trying to break up their marriage by lying because 'apparently' I was jealous my mother had found happiness.
Even through all of this, it continued, about a year later my Grandfather passed away, we'd always been very close, I'd go to work with him in the truck as a little fella, I use to go their place after school, he'd take me to footy, we were inseparable. I wasn't allowed at the funeral because I'd disrespected the family with lies of sexual abuse.
Eventually it came out, Mum seen the pain in my eyes one day and started making calls questioning the rest of his family, eventually he admitted the truth, but the damage had already been done.
Needless to say, she kicked him out there and then.
She then found comfort in a new boyfriend, he came back on the scene after a lot of years, they were an item back when I was about 2 or 3, the family was relieved, another 'decent' bloke.
What mum hadn't told everyone, the reason she left him back then was because he used to beat her, however he used to treat me like I was his own, so in a strange way she thought I deserved a man in my life as a father figure to help learn trust again, to feel safe, he promised he'd changed and even if he hadn't, she was prepared to take the risk.
I watched my mother beaten till she couldn't stand, broken bones, black eyes and torn skin, Once she was kicked down the stairs at the local surf club,of course she said 'I slipped', I seen her with a broken ankle, broken arm and ribs. Over the years I seen her go from an incredibly strong woman to a scared mess.
Every time I stepped in, I was pushed aside, he had her so wrapped up with his toxic 'love', nobody could reach her. I started staying at friends places, and more often than not, I slept on the beach or if it was raining I'd pull up under parked cars behind the Cecil Hotel or Northies in Cronulla, Sometimes I'd jump on the train and just ride for hours, usually I'd end up somewhere around the Cross, shit was a mess.
One day it changed, I went to Mum's, he'd beaten her again, then he turned his hand to me, I almost killed him, I was 16 by now and I wasn't going to see anymore lives destroyed. Although what happened that day, could of changed everyone's forever. After that, my girlfriends house pretty much became my new home.
As an adult, I learned the meaning of living with a house devil/street angel and lived with years of domestic violence. I guess I'd suppressed so much as a kid, I didn't see the signs that I too, was living with domestic violence, and just like what I'd seen growing up, the blame had been shifted to make it look like I was the bad one.
This is a small insight, it makes up many parts of my lived experiences that I talk about. the start of things that turned me into a social chameleon, to protect myself by just fitting in where I could.
It took me many years to realise, it wasn't my fault and what was done to my Mother wasn't her fault either.
There is never a reason for sexual abuse or domestic violence,
always remember, it's not your fault.
If you or someone you know experiences sexual abuse or domestic violence, I encourage you to Speak up. Seek Help.