Monsters In My Closet

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Most people get to outgrow the monsters in their closet. I, however, was not so lucky.

My father was a terrible drunk. Unfortunately for me, he was an angry man when he was intoxicated. He beat both my sister and me. I remember being scared of his belt. The leather was rough and the welts stung my body. He broke my sister and I, because he thought he could change us into what he thought was better. We thought we were bad and deserved this treatment. We thought we were on our own.

But we weren't alone. My sister's and my experience isn't rare. Over 194,000 cases of physical child abuse are reported each year. That means a call to child protective services every two minutes and 50 seconds.

The effects of these beating don't end as the bruises fade. The memories eat at you, cause you to change into something, anything that will help you survive. But I, like many people suffering like I was, coped in an unhealthy way. Most children choose to either draw inward to heal within themselves, or they try to ignore their emotional problems. They pretend those obstacles don't exist.

I introverted. The social awkwardness I developed lead to much more serious problems on the playground. My social interactions lead me to being bullied. They bullying along with pressure from my father lead me into a depression, and eventually a suicide attempt.


What I always found troubling was the lack of counseling resources a child could receive. Many schools disregard bullying as normal playground behavior. Through elementary and middle school my cries for help were brushed aside as "whining" by the administration. Because there is little access to counseling for children, many develop behavioral problems such as trouble socializing or problems with anger management.

According to the National Institute of Health, there are supposedly still more behavioral problems for me to fear, like partner abuse and alcoholism. In fact, the Public Medical Journal has found at least 80% of people over 21 who reported child abuse met the criteria for at least one psychological disorder.

Those who are affected by abuse are stuck between a scary past and an arduous future trying to live with the monsters in their closet.

With a Perspective, I'm Gavin Nelson.

Gavin Nelson is 16 and completing his junior year.