A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

A Personal Story of Abuse

By “C”

I survived being spanked.


That’s really the point, isn’t it? I just… survived.

I remember running from my father in true terror that still sends chills down my spine, while he took off his belt in preparation for a spanking.

I spent a large majority of my childhood in fear that my father was going to sexually abuse me. There was no basis for it, or so I thought. It was a strange fear, and it made me feel small, ashamed, and confused. I recently learned that spanking can be a form of sexual abuse. It all makes sense.

I remember being bent over a knee, looking at my mother, begging for her to help me. She would just turn away. My mother never struck me, but she didn’t defend me either.

That was just as crushing as the abuse.

I have always said, “Well, every time I was spanked I deserved it.”

I now know that isn’t true.

I am an adoptee. Adopted shortly after I was born, so I have never met my biological mother, but something like that… well something like that never really leaves you. I’ve been plagued with feelings of inadequacy, fears of being alone, or being abandoned. I have always had “behavioral problems”.

I was put on medication after medication for my difficulties in school and behavior.

I thought I was broken.

My father’s father, whom I did not meet (committed suicide before I was born), was a volatile man. My mother remembers him in fear, saying that he was bipolar and his manic episodes were terrifying. I believe this is why she never stopped my father from striking me. She was afraid, though she’d never admit it.

My parents would never admit that they had a hand in my undoing, but we’ll get there.

I was raised in a Catholic family, going to Catholic schools. I asked many questions, most of which were met with “Go pray in the hall about what you’ve said.” I never quite bought it… When I went to my parents with these questions, I was met mostly with “Because.” Obviously this answer was never satisfactory, and acting out ensued. My punishment then was to kneel in corner, with my back straight, for however my parents felt was appropriate. Usually an hour at least.

When I protested, it was straight to spanking.

Spanking never made me behave better.

Let me reiterate.

Spanking did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING it was intended to do.

I continued to act out. They continued in their attempts to stifle me.

I would sneak out often.

They nailed my windows shut.

I sneaked out of the downstairs window.

They locked my bedroom door.

I picked the lock.

They pulled my bed to their room and locked the door from the outside, having to open it with a key in the morning.

One night, before the time they had started to lock my bedroom door, I sneaked out with a friend.

I was 14 years old, we met some guys at a restaurant. We did not know them.

I left with one of them to take a walk.

He raped me, I lost my virginity that night. Against my will, much like most of my life had been lived.

I saw someone in the window of a hotel that was close. I said help, they shut the blinds.

Just like my mother.

I didn’t tell anyone for a year. I acted out, violently. I was sent to therapist after therapist. I slept locked in my parents room, but so so far away.

I hurt myself often. If I wasn’t broken before, I sure was then.

My father continued corporal punishment, and the screaming. Oh god the yelling. To this day I will cry immediately if I’m yelled at.

I had a boy I was “dating” sneak into my house, unlock my parents bedroom door, and extract me from the house.

That was the last night I was in that house.

I was gone for 19 days. 19 days of drugs, sex, and shame.

I was 14 years old.

I lived under a bridge

On a tarp

Surrounded by heroin addicts.

I begged for change.

I ate discarded food.

I was homeless.

In that 19 days… I’ve never been more ashamed.

When I was caught, I was taken to a mental hospital. I had an extreme UTI that warranted heavy antibiotic treatment. After that was cleared, my parents decided to send me away to a boarding school in South Carolina. I lived in Indiana.

They didn’t take me there, they hired two people to take me.

They abandoned me.

I spent 5 months in that hell-hole, before I attempted to steal a truck to escape.

I was sent to Utah.

Again, I was taken by strangers in the night.

I spent 2 1/2 years there.

I saw my parents 3 times in those years. Talked to them on the phone once a week, and got to visit home once.

When I got home, they had moved a few towns away. I was in a new, unfamiliar place.

I didn’t talk much in those early days, but I wrote a lot.

Without getting off topic and going into too much detail, I will fast-forward. The point is:

This could have been prevented. All of this. There IS blame here. I made poor choices, but what else did I know how to do? There IS blame in spanking, and it is NOT with the child.



Your child will never forget a moment or a feeling about spanking. Not one.

I am speaking from experience.

I survived spanking, and had to survive much more as a result.

I have a son now, and I am working on my own temper. It is so difficult since I was never taught how to cope with my feelings, only how to hide them to avoid punishment.

He is just a baby now, but this change will take a long time. I can see my father’s temper in how I interact with my husband. How volatile I am.

But by god, I will never scream at my son, I will NEVER spank my son.


And I will do better because of it.

Signed “C.”

(I am 26 years old, mother of a 5 month old, intact, breastfed and baby-worn Boy)