July 3, 2020
By Kathryn Robb
If something doesn’t feel right, it likely isn’t. Kids know this. In the name of justice children raise their voices, often kicking and screaming. In fact, most will complain even when the imbalance is in their favor.
Cognitive scientists report that children have a sharp sense of fairness; the pleas from their internal scales of justice, balancing right and wrong, fair and unfair, are active at an early age. Every parent has heard he thunderous protest “that’s not fair!”
Unless the child is silenced.
As I was for years, every time my abuser slithered out my childhood bedroom in the dark of the night. Even at age 10, my sense of justice knew this was terribly, horribly — wrong. As it is for so many survivors, my fear and shame sucked the oxygen out of the room and swallowed my voice. As the walls closed in on me, the clamp tightened on the secret. Suffocating, that little girl folded inward, again and again, until she became so small that the only sound that could be heard was the silence of shame.
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