Abuse Remembered, Abuse Relived
Letter to PTAVE from Singapore, January 22, 2012
I appreciate and applaud your organizationís efforts to protect children from physical violence, as I have been subject to such treatment when young, and I live with the psychological consequences every day.
I remember when I was 8 (this was in 1992) and had returned home from shopping with my mother when my father entered the living room where I was seated on the sofa. He accused me of making him and my mother quarrel. When I asked what I did, he said I made Mummy buy a toy for me such that they quarreled over the finances. I clarified that I just told Mummy that I liked the toy but never forced her to get it for me Ė she bought it of her own free will. My father still insisted that I made them quarrel, and when I protested, he came over to me and slapped me, alternating each cheek for about 10 times each, and my voice was shaking as he was slapping me as I was crying. I recall many incidents when I was hit and dragged across the floor by both my mother and father. When I was 17 my father was still hitting me, and he even threatened to break my arm. I spoke to my fatherís psychiatrist friend who promised to speak to my father should he hit me again, but when that happened the psychiatrist changed his tune and said I was living in my fatherís home and that my father had every right to do anything he wanted. If I was causing so much trouble at home I should move out, he said, but my parents refused to let me move out, nor did I have the financial ability. Approaching a lawyer at a free legal clinic, I was reprimanded for using my parentsí money to travel to that centre to do something against my parents. Even the policeman refused to take my case and scolded me for being argumentative when I tried to convince him to take me seriously. In the end, I physically retaliated against my parents and was sent to the mental hospital, and was even sent for one night to the police lock up. At the hospital the nurse told me ďAre you the one who makes your mother so scared that she even refuses to visit you?Ē She said my mother must be a very strong person to put up with a daughter like me.
In Primary school my teachers taught us that if parents hit us it is because they love us, and it is for our own good. If we are good, our parents will not hit us, and that if there are problems at home it is always the fault of the child, and if the child obeys the parents all will be well.
After living so many years in fear, now I need psychiatric medication and see a counselor regularly. I have difficulty with assertive behavior and am trying to change my motivation by fear to motivation of love of living, by trying to do things because I think independently that they are good and right, not because I am afraid someone will hit me if I do not do them.
I wish your organization every success, and hope such anti-spanking laws will be introduced in my country.