Judging Eyes

There’s a little girl living around the corner from you. Most mornings you see her while standing at the bus stop with your daughter. She always stands off quietly by herself.

You look at her and wonder, “Why is she not with the other children?”

You notice her hair is till messy from rising out of bed. Her shirt is wrinkled up and the jeans look like they really don’t fit. Suddenly she looks up and makes eye contact with you. She will force a smile on her face and you see the yellow of her teeth.

As a mom you see the poor dental care and think, “What’s wrong? That poor little girl. Doesn’t anyone look after her?”

She feels your eyes on her and she’s ashamed of how she looks; to her your eyes are burning judgement. The girl wonders if you can see what she’s feeling.

“Can you see me standing by myself? Can you see how I feel?” she wonders. “I know how bad I look, but you’re not supposed to know why.”

The little girl is about 12 years old. You see how pretty she could be if only she took better care of herself. Her eyes are a sparkling blue water and you can see the sadness on her face. She wishes no one would notice her. She wants to be like your daughter, but she can’t. She’s trapped and doesn’t know what to do. She wishes her Mom loved her.

“My mom doesn’t even care that I look like this. She doesn’t notice me at all.”

You look a little closer at her and you see her arms have open sores on them. To you they look ugly and infected. Your reaction is to pull your 10 year old closer to you so she doesn’t catch anything.

You’re not sure who this girl is, but you see her every morning and she always looks the same.

You start to wonder about her parents. “My God,” you think. “Who could let this child look like that? Why don’t people take care of their kids? That poor thing must feel so horrible.”

You see the other children standing around in small groups together, but this girl isn’t part of them, nor is she invited to join them. The other girls also turn to look at her. They point then turn away; saying things which you can only imagine.

Then you watch as the girl pulls her arms in around her; clutching her books tightly against her chest. She is hoping it will block your judgement of her.

“Please don’t think bad of me like they do,” she thinks to herself as she sneaks another glance your way. “If you knew what I had to do last night what would you really think of me then?” Her mind keeps going with questions, “Would you let things happen to me like that if I were with you? I can never stop him or say anything to him. He is supposed to be my dad and take care of me, but he is so cruel to me. He always hurts me, but I can’t help it. He just keeps coming after me.”

While you wait at the bus stop with your daughter to watch her and make sure she stays safe, you turn your back to the girl and keep a watchful eye on the other kids around you. The girl never steps out of her safety boundaries; standing alone, close to the bushes every morning without saying a word to anyone. She just glances around and sometimes gives a shy little smile your way as she ponders on her life; deeply wishing that someone would take care of her. She wants her mom to notice her, but when the girl was woke up this morning she was just told to get ready.

“Get your ass out of that damn bed and get moving.” she recalls. “You are not staying home with me so you better not be late. You get moving,” her mom yells up the stairs.

As the little girl stands quietly by the bushes her mind is racing with memories and flashbacks of her night. She barely got any sleep and she feels utterly exhausted, more tired than any adult working a full day at two jobs. This child is standing there amazingly strong, but completely exhausted from her trauma. He had attacked her again after sending her brother and sister to bed last night. He made her put on that nightgown again and touched her all over.

She starts to question silently, “Do you see what he did to me? Do you see the stains he left on me? Can you please help me?”

Maybe for the past six months you have noticed she has gotten a little worse in appearance or actions. “Still; no one else in town has said anything about this family, so why bother?” You say to yourself, “I don’t want to step in against those people. Her dad is up at the bar where her mom works everyday, then he goes home with the kids. I’ll bet something’s happening there,” you think. “But it’s not my place to say anything. I just hope with those sores she stays away from my daughter.”

The girl’s mind is still spinning with all of her fears. “He touched me, pinched me, probed at me. He made me do things that were so nasty. He told me how ugly I was as he pushed me away. Then when I fell on the floor he got really angry and grabbed me by the hair.” She rubs the top of her head as she’s remembering the night of terror. “When I fell what caused him to get so angry? I never know what it is that makes him so mean with me, but it happens all the time.” She wishes she could tell someone what happened and holds back the tears as her mind drifts back. “His hand swung up out of nowhere and landed hard on the side of my face as he started beating me; yelling about how disgusting I am.” The bruise on her face was just starting to show a little on the side this morning. She saw it as she was getting dressed, but apparently you didn’t see it. “You can only see the filth on me,” she thinks as she glances over again.

You are still standing there quietly watching your daughter and secretly looking back at her. Your eyes burn on her though. She knows you can see the ugly sores on her and her greasy unkept hair. She knows you can see her wrinkled clothes that she dug out of the dirty laundry this morning. She didn’t have anything clean to wear, but it seemed her little sister had all kinds of cute things to put on. In truth, the girl had on her sister’s underpants because she didn’t have any of her own.

Now she starts to think about what might happen if she reached over to you. She knows she would break down crying. Then she remembers how he had threatened her. She was supposed to call him, “Dad”, but all he did was hurt her and he told her,

“If anyone finds out about this your mom will get angry and they will take you away from her, but I’ll come to find you and when I do,” he said to her, “I will gladly kill you. No one will ever find you again. You will be buried somewhere deep.”

Those words were branded into her soul just as his touch was burned into her skin. The girl is trapped in her nightmare. She can’t reach out to anyone. She’s afraid of someone noticing her,

“What if they say something to me,” she wonders. “What am I suppose to do if they ask me about the bruises or the filth growing on my skin? If they tell anyone he’ll kill me, but I need someone to help me. I am just a little girl who wants to have friends to play with and have quiet when I do my homework, but most of all I just wish I could take a bath again.” This little girl standing so brave is screaming inside, “Please help me, but be careful what you do or say, he will hunt me down; he will kill me!!”

As the bus pulls up and the other kids start rushing forward to get the best seats, the girl stands back. She waits patiently, making sure to stay out of everyone’s way. You notice she is aware of everything around her as she steps away from the bushes. While you guide your precious, beautiful daughter to the door you hope inside that the infected girl behind you doesn’t sit down next to her. The girl sneaks past you.

“I can’t bump into anyone,” she worries. “Please don’t pay any attention to me. If I can get through the bus ride and through my school day I’ll be alright, but then I have to go home. When he gets home from the bar tonight he might still be angry or he might want to do that nasty stuff.”

As she gets on the bus to face her day of fear, her deepest thought is knowing that nothing will change in her life. No one will challenge her parents, and even if they did, he would still be there; haunting her.

“Please help me I’m trapped!!!” she quietly screams inside.

(c) Patricia A. McKnight
Author: “My Justice”

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16 thoughts on “Judging Eyes

    • Indeed my survivor friends, how would anyone feel if they were ignored rather than helped, carrying this secret has been a horrible nightmare. This was my life and I carry the physical scars from the filth that ate away at my skin from not having the safety to bathe. Thank you for your support and sharing of this blog!!!

  1. I know so well the screaming inside, while working very hard to stay completely quite on the outside. I’m sorry you had to live through this. Thank you for sharing your story with the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse, and for speaking out.

    • Thank you Tracie, yes it is all too often that as survivors of child sexual abuse we carry many secrets and want to just scream out, but as children we could not. Now it is important that we do so that we can create tougher laws and punishment for those who harm our children; we can educate others on the very deep long lasting impact; we can initate an awareness against this horrific crimes in others. I am honored that Blog Carnival is sharing my story, so very important to get all of our stories of an unbelievable survivial out there to others. thanks so very much 🙂

  2. Your story made me so sad because I know that girl with the ratty hair and nasty clothes. My class reunion is next month and while I’d never consider going, all the time I think back to how things could have been had I been like the other kids, how the kids ignored me and judged me without knowing the facts (but probably would have done the same if they knew the facts). I feel robbed that I didn’t have a normal school experience with parties and field trips and sports activities and a circle of supportive friends.

    • It is hard to think back on who we were and how life was for us then. Remember you are NOT THAT PERSON ANY LONGER!!! You have blossomed into a huge beautiful rose with glitter and sunshine. Go to your reunion with bells of pride knowing that you are no longer that child. hugs and blessings, thank you for commenting here 🙂

  3. Thank you for putting this article in the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse so that more survivors can read it. I can relate to your family secrets and the inner screams and the little girl standing off by herself. My abuse wasn’t so obvious as yours. I want to take the little girl that you were and just hug you and hold you until the screams go away.

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  5. TRICIA ANN COMES OUT TO PLAY

    She hid in the shadows of my soul
    For so many, many years
    But now I feel her presence
    But she still has many fears.

    Around the corner, she takes a peek
    Sunshine warms her little face,
    So much she wants to play and laugh
    But she feels so out of place.

    Loosening the grip, she held so tight
    That kept her safe for oh so long,
    I can feel life come back to her
    Oh what joy!! She is becoming strong.

    On that couch the monster would grab her
    Then, she would climb far into that closet,
    Trying so hard to keep the light out
    From seeping inside the cracks, oh how she wept.

    So much joy she expressed with a little girls giggle
    When she held my children and played,
    But then gone again, I have not felt her since
    No clue did I have, that she quietly did lay.

    So many terrifying years, so much sadness then
    Pulling layers upon layers of tape from my soul,
    Not wanting to feel, not wanting to hear,
    Nothing felt safe; she slid deeper down the hole.

    But she pulled back those heavy layers, slowly peeking
    Making sure all was safe and good,
    That all the pain and torture is gone
    Can she now come out, does she think she should?

    Tears, pain, torture, are they truly gone,
    Able to let her feel again,
    Inside he reach’s to hold Tricia Ann
    And guide her ever so gentle.

    Safe again after many years of torture
    Hearts so broken with dreams that shattered,
    Are they finally gone, gone for good
    Hopefully, never to be heard, silenced forever.

    She is able to feel again, thanks to Trish
    Inside this man reaches to hold little Tricia Ann
    Guide her to the light, so very gentle
    Letting her play, because now she can.

    How he smiles at her, protects her
    Sees her grow inside,
    To a new awakening a new beginning
    No more fear, no need to hide.

    Seems like magic, a gift Trish was handed
    Tricia can unwrap the many layers that protected her
    Giving her life, to spring to freedom
    A new beginning, she is starting to stir.

    Inside herself, Tricia Ann looks
    At the beautiful present, how her eyes did spark,
    But too afraid that she will do something wrong
    That will send her back to the closet so dark.

    Trish hears her asking if the present she can open
    But doesn’t know just what to say,
    But God whispers “yes” it’s yours, enjoy”
    Oh how happy she was that day.

    Free at last Tricia Ann laughs with glee
    Trisha now her heart can heal
    Thanking God for his strength to her
    Those layers now gone forever peeled.

    ©Mary Graziano
    June 11, 2013

  6. Sorry Trish this was suppose to be at the top of the poem ❤

    Beautiful artwork by my wonderful friend Michal Madison
    http://www.michalmadisonart.com

    Put together from the writings of
    Patricia Mcknight/Fndr/CEO Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery at Crisis Support/Mentor/Key Note Spkr/Advocate/Author/Radio Host — with Patricia A. Mcknight.

    • You are truly an amazing soul who brings truth & life with your writings. Always know you are in my spirit and will forever be a treasured friend, ty 🙂

  7. Thank you so much for telling your story. I too was the girl in the class who couldn’t take a bath and was judged for it. All people see is a disturbed child. They must learn to see the signs of incest. It is so important to inform the general public. You who have suffered most are our most eloquent voice, and I am deeply grateful to you.

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