My Memory and Experience as a Victim of Child Abuse


I remember my first encounter with child abuse. I was five years old. The day was normal, I was dropped off at the home of a family friend which was done every day. She was my caretaker for a while and I don’t remember being scared of her at all.  I remember going to the park in the neighborhood and I remember her home being dark most of the time. I was a quiet child who really did not require much. I played by myself most of the time; my mother was pregnant around this time as well. My caretaker had a son who was in middle or high school. On this particular day, I had an accident. I wet the bed, which was out of my norm, but accidents happen with kids! What happened as a result was a blow to my face. In addition, a firm scolding about not wetting the bed ever again. My mother picked me up; she asked about the mark on my face. I told her I fell out of the bed and she took me to the doctor and I said something similar. The only sign I gave that there was problem was not wanting to go back. I made up every excuse I could to not to go back to that place.

According to the data on the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, “Children most at risk of physical assaults by babysitters are younger (ages 1-3)”. The abstract also states, “crimes against juveniles (ages 0 to 17) shows that babysitters are responsible for a relatively small portion of the reported criminal offenses against children: 4.2 percent of all offenses for children under age 6”. It seems like a rare occurrence and while my experience was rare, it can happen. The experience shaped me as a parent and definitely made me leery of sending my children to daycare or even to a friend’s homes. I conduct tons of research on care centers, I interview parents, check the crime rate in the area but most importantly, I pay attention to the signs from my kids. Signs I look for include, avoidance of places, unexplained marks/bruises, and extreme acting out.

NCJRS Abstract – National Criminal Justice Reference Service

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My attacker was etched in my memory even though I hadn’t seen her in years. When I was 12, I am proud to say, I approached and confronted my former caretaker at a family function about hurting me in the past. My mother was shocked that I kept that to myself for so long! It felt good to confront my attacker. It was therapeutic and I felt a bit of closure to stand up against her. I consider myself lucky. 

Some children do not get the chance.

I also consider myself lucky that this was one instance of child abuse. So many children live with abuse day in and day out. If you ever notice a child who you think may suffer from abuse at home, school, childcare, etc. Don’t hesitate to talk with the child and be sure to contact authorities. The National Child Abuse Hotline is open 24/7 and can be reached at 1.800.4.A.Child. There are amazing services in place to help the child(ren) and family. 

“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.