April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. If you suspect something, say something. Sometimes the child is too afraid or confused. If you have experienced something, share your story so others know they aren’t alone. And most importantly, if you are experiencing anything- we are here for you.
You know the classic saying “if only I knew then what I know now” – here is what I would say to my younger self. And to any other girl going thru the same struggles.
First off, you are beautiful the way you are. Put down the diet pills, the laxatives, stop trying to make yourself throw up – you don’t have to look like the covers of magazines. Your large thighs will help carry you thousands of miles and you’ll eventually find your dimples endearing.
Second, it’s okay to suck at gym class. Go anyway – just have fun. Stop skipping class because you are afraid of embarrassing yourself – that other kids will make fun of you for coming in last. Before you know it – fitness will be the thing that saves you – it becomes your whole life.
Third, it’s not okay the way he touches you. Forget what your mother tries to convince you or what he says as he slips some alcohol into your “virgin” piña colada or when you wake up and he’s in your bed. I wish I could hold your hand and take you to the authorities. I know it’s all confusing – don’t worry – justice will eventually be served.
Fourth, put down those razor blades. I know it seems like the only way to make the pain go away – to have to hold all of these secrets inside. Go downstairs and tell your dad & stepmom – they will still love you. I know it’s scary when you cut so deep and it doesn’t stop – that should be a clue.
Fifth, one vice always turns into another if you don’t address it. The drugs and alcohol are only masking the pain. I know you don’t feel worthy- but a man that hits you doesn’t respect you or love you. You deserve a man that treats you with all of the respect and love in the world. He will come. But you also must love yourself before that can happen.
And a final note, you are powerful beyond your wildest dreams. I know at times it feels like your back is against the wall but I promise nothing in front of you is larger than the strength within you. All of the dark times will fade away and you will achieve success far greater than you imagined. I believe in you. You’ve got this.