Annie's Story

It’s not always the tears that measure the pain ........ Sometimes it’s the smile we fake.
 

Often, I wish I could reach back overtime and whisper to my 13-year-old self-it’s going to be okay, don’t be afraid, in the end it will be alright. I obviously can’t do that, which is why I have created no more fake smiles instead, as suffering in silence is no longer an option. If you have come here, you are looking for knowledge, help and understanding. You may be a current victim looking for a way out, a supportive friend worried about someone, a concerned parent unsure on what to do, you are someone who cares. Which is perfect because I care too!


Throughout my experience of years of abuse by my stepfather I felt so isolated, disconnected and like I could not relate to one person on the entire planet. I felt alone. I was so silenced, living my life in fear. I acted ‘normal’ however, on the outside I was a perfect child a part of a great aussie family. I had great friends, played multiple sports and attended a prestigious school. I looked like any other teenage girl, but definitely did not feel it. When you’re young and some things aren’t going quite right in your life you expect your parents or someone around to know what’s going on, don’t you? They know about everything else in your life, even though you try to keep some things secret, so why would they not know this big bad secret, right?  That’s where I went wrong.


I acted ‘normal’ making sure to put on my fake smile every morning before I left my bedroom. I was waiting for everyone to see the “help me” in my smile, that I thought I was so clearly expressing. I expected the people around me to know what was going on, or to ask me hey what happened last night, are you okay? I was waiting for someone to put an end to it. The thing is how would anyone know something is wrong if you are expressing behaviour your regular self would. Even if you are sad sometimes or have an uncontrollable outburst most people would think you’re just experiencing ‘teenage hormones’ or its okay for people to be sad once in a while, they will get over it. You might express signs that to you would seem so obvious but are often ignored by others. This is why you must stand up and free yourself. I know this sounds challenging but don’t overthink, take a deep breath and roll with it as your life will change for the better (if I could do it, I know you sure can). 

 

Through growth, understanding and reflection of my own experience I have created this safe space, one I dreamt of finding throughout my years of abuse. Throughout my teens I was an assertive, alert ‘forward thinker’ similar to many of you, but was trapped in fear. Under the impression no one would believe me, as he held a high position in society, being respected by my family and all of his peers. This impression was completely untrue!


So, if you are a parent reading this, a mandatory reporter, a friend or this is happening or has
happened to you, you must act, speak up and not be afraid as child abuse is not okay - speak out!