"Are You Sure?"

I was sure I always felt I was two people.
On the outside I was always smiling,
I was always the one to make plans.
'Let's go here' 'Let's do this.. or that'.

At 14, I know I was presented with a medal
For obeying the 8th Guide Law:
A Guide Sings And Smiles Under all Difficulties.
For being two years in hospital
And surviving two major operations
No one knew the real pain and fears were elsewhere.

Later, at work, I was called "Susie, the singing secretary."
From 9 to 5, I was the happiest person you could meet.
I loved my work. I never took a day off and was never late.
It was easy. At work, like in hospital, I was happy and safe.
I could put on an act to fool everyone.
Because no one really looked.
By 4.30 it got harder to smile, sing and be so 'sunny'
But I'd learned never to tell. Never to let the mask slip.

I had tried to tell someone that my smile wasn't always real.
But I'd been betrayed. I wasn't believed.
I was asked: "Are you sure?"

Yes, I Am Sure!

Yes I am sure I was abused when I used to pray, "Please God don't let it be for me" if the phone rang. Even in my twenties I got a black eye because my best friend rang to say "Hello".

Yes I am sure I was abused when I was scared witless in case the postman called after I'd gone to work Because then I might not get my mail.
I was scared to get mail even if I was there to collect it.
I was scared of it being taken from me. Of being told again and again.. "I don't know why you're looking so pleased, it won't last long. People only write because they feel sorry for you. You've got no real friends."

That was a lie of course, but I'd never dare say so. There were folk who cared about me and who didn't understand but respected my plea not to phone or call at the house. I could never subject them to the evilness I'd had to live with. I Loved My Friends

Yes, I was sure I was abused when every morning, winter and summer alike, I had to go early to work with soaking wet hair and dry it on the radiator in the toilets because I was only allowed a bath and hair wash once a week - if I was lucky.

Yes, I was sure I was abused when I had to eat all I could at work because there'd be nothing to eat at home. I had to give over all my wages, I was only allowed to keep a little for my dinner each work day.

Yes, I was sure I was abused when I was too frightened to speak, yet scared of not speaking. For what got one beaten today was what was wanted tomorrow.

Yes, I was sure I was being abused when I was told what to watch on television, and was too scared to turn it over even when my abuser was out.

Yes, I was sure I was abused when every dog we had would soon disappear. Except the one I loved best. We had to take that to the police station and tell the policeman we'd found it.

Yes, I was sure I was abused when I had to watch my three sisters being beaten, kicked, and screamed at, and being told "If you don't stop snivelling, I'll give you something to snivel for"

Yes, I was sure I ws abused when I had managed to save up for a record by The Rolling Stones only to watch it being smashed in front of me as soon as I got it home - being told "I'll Not have that filth in MY house"

Yes, I was sure I was being abused when the only 'filth' I ever heard or knew about came from my home, from my abuser's mouth.

Yes, I was sure I was abused when I could never win. When I was told "Only 'normal' people are allowed in MY house" My best friend also used a wheelchair so could not come. Yet I got hit because I never asked her and was told. "Why do you never bring your friends? Are you ashamed of your own home?"

And I'd felt abused again, when the one I'd told asked me, "Sue are you sure?" How could she not believe me? How could she think I would make up such lies about my own mother? Why did she think that my mother could not do such things to her own daughters especially one who uses a wheelchair?

So Yes, by not being believed, by making it seem my mother was right when she'd beat in to us "You're wicked. You're evil. You're stupid and ugly. No one cares about you No one will ever love you. No one else will put up with you.", I felt more abused. Because every time we don't listen and care and believe, we add to the victim's pain and the abuser's power. It tells the victim, it's your own fault, you must deserve it and you must put up with it.

My abuse ended 23 years ago, but other folk's abuse continues. Their pain is made worse by our indifference our silence and our disbelief. As a community we must listen to all victims, whoever their abuser. Abuse hurts. It's hurting men and children as well as women. Women abuse each other, their men, their children. Men abuse each other, their women, their children. There is no difference. Abuse is abuse and must not be allowed to flourish, nor should it be excused or belittled because the victim is someone we feel cannot be abused.

I told but wasn't believed because my mother was my abuser and because I use a wheelchair. But women do most certainly abuse. I know. I survived to tell the tale.


This Page was created On 6th February 1999