Portraits of the jersey shore seaside heights adult survivor childhood abuse

Adult Survivor Childhood Abuse

“I have worked all of my life driving trucks, or doing construction. I always worked harder than anybody else there. All the guys who have worked with me see me as this real tough guy, and I make sure of it. I never let anyone see a softer side of me, because then they would think I was weak and they would take advantage of me. When I was growing I had to be tough. I grew up with a man I called ‘dad’ who would beat me with straps, switches, extension cords or vacuum cleaner hoses. One day while my mother as at work, he just beat the hell out of me. I was so bloody, just bleeding everywhere. And then when he was done, he told me to go sweep the floor. And all I did to get beaten like that was ride my bike in my school clothes. I was so young then too, and I was so proud of myself that I could ride my bike. I didn’t rob no freaking bank. I didn’t hurt anybody. I just wanted someone to be proud of me.

“One time I was playing wth matches in the house and started a fire accidentally. I burned myself pretty bad too. I still have the scars from the fire on my hands. I begged my mom to not tell my dad. I told her, ‘If you tell him, please make sure there are armed guards with me. I just can’t take another beating, mom. I just can’t.’ She never told him.

“I didn’t put the pieces together that he wasn’t my real father until I was 15. My sister was the one who told me about it all. She was 3-and-a-half years older than me. It turned out that when I was 7 months old, my real father split. So after she told me I bought a train ticket, went to Newark where he lived, and met my real father. I was 15 years old, so nervous and excited to meet him, and he was so rude to me. He was so cold to me. He told me that my mom cheated on him, and that he didn’t even know if I was his.

“But because of Jesus I forgive my father. I forgave my stepfather, my grandfather, my mom, every one of the people who hurt me. I have seen Jesus come though for me time and time again. He has been there for me all along. That’s why I can keep going.”

~ Seaside Heights

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