Karen answers Peggy

Comment by Peggy on January 31, 2009 3:24 am

Dear Karen,

If what happened to you happened these days what would you have done different? Do you think you would still have alternate personalities?

Your story shattered my perception of abuse. I assumed those who were abused asked to be abused. I assumed child abuse was a form of discipline.


Dear Peggy,

It’s true, times have changed, but being abused has not. I’m not sure how I, as a child, would’ve reacted under the same circumstances these days.  I believe things may have been different because today there is more awareness of child abuse through knowledge, education in schools, in the media, and bringing cases to light. Back when I was a child, out of shame, not much was discussed about what went on behind the closed doors of one’s home. Children feared telling secrets for fear of more abuse, or possibly even death.

I attended Catholic school, and never once did anyone help me. No one wished to get involved.  So they ignored obvious signs that something was terribly wrong with me.  I believe that ignorance was a large part of this, people not knowing what to do.  Or, thinking if you ignore it, it will go away.  Afterall, as in my case, I dissociated and didn’t appear to be a abused at times, and this must’ve caused confusion to those who suspected anything. I’ll never know.  I believe most people may have suspected something and thought, “she looks okay now,” and then let it go.

I’m not sure if my mind would’ve created alternate personalities today.  The fear and pain that created my alters in the first place can still happen in today’s world.  Today, I believe most people who suspect a child is being abused will do something about it. The silence has been broken. People talk.

Remember,  multiplicity is not something you are born with.  It is acquired from repeated trauma caused from severe child abuse. If I knew as a child what I know today, despite being threatened into silence, I would’ve kept talking until someone took me seriously and helped me. There was always proof close at hand if one knew where to look.

No child wants to be abused, asks to be abused, or deserves to be abused.  I am glad Switching Time has changed your thoughts on this.  Discipline is an inappropriate excuse to abuse a child, it’s sickening and devastates a child’s entire life.

Thank you for your questions, and especially for coming to a better understanding of the tragedy of being a victim of child abuse.



1 Comment

  1. I would like to add to what Karen has written to Peggy. I was being sexually abused starting from before 2 years of age. I was also physically abused daily. I had parts that took the sexual abuses and buried them – I don’t imagine I had the language or cognitive skills to formulate what happened to me so the memories were fragmented and stored as snapshots of visual memory, auditory memory, kinesthetic (body) memory and pain memories. As an adult I’ve integrated those memories to make sense of them – various parts held each aspect.

    As a child – I had a part that went to school, that part usually didn’t get interference from the part(s) that were physically or sexually abused. The school part had learning disabilities that probably stemmed from dissociation but there was nothing that would have given the school reason to believe I was being abused. I had other parts that played in the community. My mother was very good at looking the part of the best mom in the world when under the view of the outside world. My father turned a blind eye to much of the abuse or was absent for a lot of it. If the child is not “whole” it’s very easy for an uninformed person to miss the abuse.

    While abuse is more likely to be reported these days that’s not necessarily a guarantee the child will be protected because the parents have more rights than the children. Again, if the inside part, that presents to whatever agency interviews the child, if that part acts as if everything is fine because that’s what’s safe for that child’s system, protection is not likely to happen.

    I am keenly aware of the kinds of behaviors that might suggest abuse in children – including dissociative behaviors. We need to educate society of how abused children “look” or manifest their abuse and then we need to educate our governing bodies about the importance of ensuring the child’s rights over the rights of the parents.

    I just wanted to clarify the amnesia aspect of DID that affects the chances abuse will be reported and stopped.


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