How could you not know?

One of the things that I’ve always questioned about my teenage years was how anyone could know about what was happening to me, the abuse that I was living through, and not do anything about it. There was one incident that I remember where the school administration were told about what was happening, and I will always feel like the follow up from that was completely inadequate, but in general I think there was a significant problem.

They didn’t know. These were people that I saw every day, and as I’ve got older I have questioned over and over again why they didn’t help me, and I’ve finally come to that conclusion. I didn’t often come to school with the marks of a beating on me, and so I wasn’t an obvious victim.

I think that many of them worked out things were not right when I was kicked out of home and then moved out into a boarding situation, but by then it was a bit late. I was sixteen and my more vulnerable brother was out of the country. He was safe, and I was surviving. What more could be done?

But for much of the rest of the time, I think that it just passed under the radar. My deteriorating mental health was a sign, but I don’t think it was recognised. The plain truth was, no-one helped me because no-one knew. No-one was looking for problems, maybe. I don’t know. Maybe they were and I was just not showing the signs that things were wrong.

How could they not know? Well, my own father missed the fact that I was so desperate to get out of my situation that I attempted suicide. Things just aren’t that obvious when you’re mentally distressed in the way I was. It wasn’t a lack of caring on their part. It was just hidden from view.

I used to ask over and over again why no-one helped. I think now I wonder why I didn’t ask for help over and over again until someone listened.

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