Cynthia - chico, California
Entered on April 15, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Every child should have the safety of a home to comfort them, whether it is their parent’s home provided, a guardians home, an orphanage or a group home, this I believe.

I walked home from school every day with the apprehension of my step father’s mood. Anything could set him off on a rampage. Tardiness was unacceptable. If I was late, I was to do my chores and report back to him. My consequences of disregard impelled standing in the corner. It was “for my own good” he said. The punishment of standing in the corner was easy, but the one-gallon full milk jugs held straight out in each hand that was difficult. This lasted for every minute late and extra time for every minute not held straight out. Now I’m always on time.

As the years went on, my stepfather dabbled in and out of drugs with a side of marijuana smoke. The effects kicked in only to intensify his moods, bipolar at the most. My mom received the brunt of my older brother and my misbehavior. I was twelve when I began to notice bruises; I remember she would go to work with black and blue marks. Once she endured a broken front tooth, blaming it all on her lack of grace in mobility. Her coworkers never saw the wiser, that really my mother, after a twelve hour shift arrived home to fight a war of mistreatment. The abuse became so severe, every other weekend was a “pack your bags we are going to a hotel, I’m leaving him for good this time.” We always went back.

With age, I formed my own opinion, becoming the target of his cruelty. The worst of it was around the end of his reign. My sophomore year, he was shooting heroin daily. Being older only meant harsher punishment. Once I incorrectly washed the dishes, oatmeal scum left on a single bowl. He pulled every dish we owned out and threw it in the sink for me to rewash. It took four hours through tears and pruned fingers. The only punishment that was the least bit of a reward was being locked out of the house when he needed a fix. That was my time, I went to friends houses and felt normalcy.

My mother left after the bully hospitalized me from a near choking to death. I am reminded of that day vividly by the scar that became from a chain link fence as I took what I thought to be my last gasping breathes. This defacement lies across my left fore-arm.

Even with all the chaos around I still received decent grades and socialized well with my peers. I pulled through a bad situation, but some kids aren’t as lucky. Most don’t survive or worst some mimic this behavior on later generations. Children have a given right to a safe home, full of comfort and love. No kid deserves abuse, I surely didn’t.