THE Call (Part 3)

Smith: “Alright, let’s talk about the physical side of the abuse.”

Me: “This is where I feel like I don’t have a lot of information to offer… I don’t know how much it got worse after I left, and I was almost never at home this summer, so I didn’t see a whole lot…”

Smith: “What do your parents do in general?”

Me: “Well, I can tell you what they do lately, but it’s not the same as what they used to. But that’s what I’ve seen.. It may or may not have gotten worse…”

Smith: “Ok, what do they do lately?”

I always try to play it off like it’s not a big deal just because I’m aware it could be worse…

Me: “Well, they mostly just toss and throw us around..”

Smith: “What do you mean by that?”

Me: “Well, they throw us across the room, throw us up the stairs, shove us into the wall…”

Smith: “Can you give me an example?”

Me: “Ummm… well…. One of the last things I saw was when my dad picked up Johnny (he’s 6, but he’s the size of a small 4-year-old) and threw him across the kitchen, from the table into the island.”

Smith: “When did this happen?”

Me: “Well, I saw it no more than a week before I left. But I know Jace told me it happened again after that.”

Officer Smith paused between questions a lot to take notes, which just made me more nervous…

Smith: “Do they ever hit you guys?”

Me: “Well, yeah.”

Smith: “Do they ever hit you with objects?”

Me: “Well, yeah.”

Smith: “What kinds of things do they hit you guys with?”

Me: “Well, it just depends on the nearest objects. A lot of the time they’re really small, but sometimes we’re not so lucky…”

Smith: “Can you give me an example of a not-so-small object?”

Me: *hesitates* “Well, one time I saw my dad hit Jessica (she’s 8 now, but at the time she was 6 I think) with a 2×4…”

Smith: “A TWO BY FOUR??!?! Would you elaborate?”

Me: *hesitates* “Well, it was a year or two ago, but one time my dad got mad at her and hit her in the back with a big wooden plank.”

 

WHY DIDN’T I STAND UP FOR HER??

Oh yeah, because every time I tried standing up for one of my siblings, this is what generally happens:

[Me: “Dad, please don’t hit Jessica with that 2×4!”

Dad: “I can do whatever I want because I’m the parent! I can punish my kids however I want! You can’t tell me how to be a parent!”

(Imagine a huge, 6’ 220 lb. man screaming this at your face while he’s holding a huge piece of wood.)

Dad: *beats me with the plank*

Dad: “Is this what you don’t want me to do?”

Dad: *beats Jessica with the plank harder than before*

Me: *begging my dad to hit me instead of her*

Dad: “Why would I hit you instead when I can torture you both at the same time by hitting her?”]

Even though I really would rather be the one being beaten with a stick, that’s not how things work in my house.

 

Smith: “Do your parents ever break the skin or leave visible marks?”

Me: “No. Everything they do is in a way that won’t leave any proof.”

My father is a fireman. Therefore, he’s seen parents do terrible things to their kids. Therefore, he knows what will leave marks. He has figured out what will NOT leave marks and uses those tactics rather than other forms of punishment that will leave proof of abuse.

Smith: “Can you give me some examples?”

Me: “Well, my dad knows that throwing us down the stairs risks us breaking our necks. So he throws us up the stairs so we hurt our legs at the most. It’s mostly just to scare us… Or like my mom stabbed Jace with plastic knives. She wanted to scare him and maybe inflict some pain, but she didn’t want to break the skin and leave scars.”

Smith: “She stabbed your brother with plastic knives??? Will you elaborate?”

Me: “Well, the first time was a year or two ago, but he told me while I was up at school that it happened again.”

 

I didn’t tell Officer Smith the story, but I’ll tell you here. I don’t know the more recent story, but I remember the one a couple years ago because I was actually home at that time.

[Jace: *sitting in a banana chair, playing a videogame*

Mom: “JACE, YOU BETTER TURN OFF THAT VIDEOGAME!!!!”

(My mom isn’t big and intimidating like my dad, but her scream is shrill, cuts to the core, and fills our entire 5,000 square foot home.)

Jace: *unaffected by my mom’s voice* “Ok, Mom, just let me save and I’ll be right downstairs.”

Jace: *goes to save videogame*

*15 seconds later max*

Mom: *suddenly right behind Jace* “I TOLD YOU TO TURN THIS GAME OFF!!!!!”

Mom: *stabs Jace in the back, shoulders, and neck with a plastic knife before he can react*]

All I could think was “What the heck??? Are you for real??? What on earth are you doing???”

 

Smith: “Is the abuse equal among all the kids?”

Me: “Well, it was even worse than all of this when I was little. But then as Jace and I got bigger and older, there were younger, smaller kids to take our place, so they started taking more of the beating. Now Kira and Kourtney are bigger, so Jessica and Johnny are more physically abused than us older kids. But my parents emotionally abuse us now because it hurts even more than the physical stuff did.”

THE Call (Part 2)

Smith: “I met with the counselor you talked to right before you left. He said there was some abuse going on in your home. What kind would you say is going on?”

Me: “Physical and emotional. *pause* But I wasn’t home for a year, I don’t know how much information I can really give you… I feel like I won’t really be of much help.. Jace (my next oldest brother) would be able to help you more….”

Smith: “Well, I would like to ask you some questions now, and then depending on what you tell me, I might meet with him as well. Now would you say there’s more physical or emotional abuse in your home?”

Me: “For the older kids, emotional. For the younger kids, physical.”

Smith: “Let’s talk about the emotional abuse. What kinds of things are being said.”

Me: “Well, my parents tell us we’re worthless and insignificant and that we can never do anything right…”

Smith: “What phrases do they use specifically?”

Me: “We’re worthless. We’re insignificant. We can’t do anything right. Oh, and they remind us that they’re our dictators. I hate that the most.”

Smith: “How often does this happen?”

Me: “Every single day without fail.”

Smith: “Who do they say these things to?”

Me: “All of us kids, including the youngest ones.”

Smith: “When was the last time you heard them use one of these phrases?”

Me: “The last day I was home this summer.”

Officer Smith seemed surprised… Partially because he’s close to both of my parents. Partially because I talk like it’s normal for parents to talk to their kids this way. I wasn’t aware that it was abnormal until I started seeing how my friends’ parents treated them.

I didn’t include that my parents have said worse to me… I felt like he just wanted the usual phrases that they used on a daily basis, and he seemed satisfied enough with my answers.