Get Help Now!

Get Help Now!

From Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul

Get Help Now!

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain.
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

Emily Dickinson

“Now’s your chance to ruin my life,” my father said. How did I, a twelve-year-old girl, wind up in a situation like this? How did my early happy life get to this point? As far as I can remember, things really started to change when I was six.

I was the youngest child and the only girl in my family. One night, I got to stay up late and sleep in the living room—which was rare—and watch the Jerry Lewis telethon with my brother, who was eight. My oldest brother was away on a fishing trip, and my mom, who then worked all night, was on the job.

What I remember about that night was falling asleep and waking up in my parents’ room. I pretended to be asleep while my father did things that I didn’t understand and touched me in places that made me feel really uncomfortable. I wish I could have fallen asleep and forgotten the whole thing, but it isn’t like that. I didn’t know if this was normal or not; I was only six.

The next day he acted totally normal, and it stopped— for a while. I guess maybe he was scared. Then the abuse started up again, and it went on for six horrible years. I would try to lock my bedroom door to keep him out, but he’d make excuses.

He’d say, “Keep your door unlocked in case there’s a fire.” He would even ground me if I didn’t keep it unlocked. And since my mom had no idea of what was going on, she agreed with him.

I didn’t say anything to anyone because I was so scared of what could happen if I did. My father threatened to kill my family, himself and me if I told anyone. But my biggest fear during all this was what would happen if my mom found out. Would she believe me? Would my dad really do the things that he had threatened? What would happen?

When I was twelve, our town had a Christian concert. I went to the concert and accepted God into my life that night. It was a friend’s birthday, so I left early to go to his house and give him a birthday present. I ended up at a coffee shop, a place where my dad had told me he did not want me to go. After I had been there for ten minutes, my dad walked in and commanded, “Let’s go!”

I was so embarrassed and so scared of what he would do. We got into the car, and the whole way home he was yelling at me. I cried so much.

When we got home, my dad, my mom and I sat down at the kitchen table. They were going to plan my punishment for going to the coffee shop without telling them and for being there with older guys. My mom got up and went to their bedroom to do something, leaving just my dad and me.

He was yelling at me and telling me I wasn’t going to be able to do anything until I was sixteen. “I’m going to ruin your life,” he said angrily.

“If you’re going to ruin my life, then I’ll ruin yours,” I answered.

“Don’t threaten me!” he warned. Since he had his back to the kitchen, he did not see my mom walk in right when he said it.

“Threaten you with what?” she screamed over and over.

“Now’s your chance to ruin my life,” he challenged me.

“Has he been touching you?” Mom asked me. I just started to cry. My mom started hitting my dad, cursing and yelling at him.

“Get out! Get out!” she demanded loudly. I ran into the bathroom, and she came in, held me and apologized for not knowing what had been happening. She told me to go to my room. I ran down to my room and cried and cried.

“He’s leaving, Tia. He’s gone,” Mom said.

“Mom, we can’t stay here. We have to leave!” I pleaded. “Dad said if I ever told, he would kill me, our whole family and himself!” I was so scared. My dad could easily follow through with his threat since our house had a lot of windows. I didn’t want to die or have my family die, either.

“Pack up,” she directed. “We’re leaving.”

I quickly threw some clothes into a bag. She helped my fourteen-year-old brother get ready to leave with us. He was in another part of the house and had no idea what had been going on.

We just drove and drove, and cried and cried. Since that big concert was happening, all the hotels in our town were full. We had to drive over a hundred miles to a motel where we could stay and feel safe. Then we had to find a new house to rent in a different town.

That was two years ago. My dad was sentenced to at least six years in prison. I haven’t spoken to him since that night when we left our house.

I am so happy that my mom stood by me 100 percent. She left my dad and turned him in to the police without thinking twice. She filed for divorce, and now she’s happier than I’ve ever seen her. She’s remarried to the “perfect man” for her.

If you are being molested or mistreated by anyone and they are threatening you, it’s probably just a bluff. Don’t allow terrible threats to control you. No one should get away with that. Turn them in. Don’t wait for it to get worse. I suffered for six years!

No matter if you’re a boy or girl, if someone touches you and it makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s wrong. It’s a sin. Please listen to me. Tell an adult—a parent, a friend’s parent, a teacher, a pastor or the police. Keep telling, until someone will help. But get help now!

Tia Thompson, age 14

[EDITORS’ NOTE: To get help with child abuse issues of any kind call
Childhelp USA at: 800-4-A-CHILD.

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