When I was a young girl, I worked in a pre-school for Handicapped Children. We would have to do home visits often, to see if there were things that could be changed in their homes, to help the children's progress. It was heartbreaking to go into those apartments or trailers, the situation these kids lived in...were often of abuse and neglect. Sometimes we had to get CPS involved, and they tried to get the kids out of these homes and away from their abusers.Each time the child didn't want to leave. I wondered why they wouldn't want to get out of these situations and once CPS worker said "it is familiar to them, this is all they have ever known, leaving the situation seems worse because it is the unknown". Heartbreaking is the only way to explain it.
When I read this survivor's story from the Chainbreakers Foundation, I wanted to share it. I remember well, getting used to the dark (as a child of incest). It isn't until you get out of that situation, into the light ...that you realize how bad your situation and perception was. This story is to ...once again help all of us to surround ourselves by light, and also to bring that light to anyone around us who is still suffering in the dark! (If you need information on how to help a friend or loved one, please go to this web site below...)
The light switch goes off. It’s dark. I can hardly make out shapes and objects. All I have to do is wait. Sit frozen and wait until I can start to see again. Just a small wait in the dark and things start to become a little more clear, a little more comfortable. There is my nightstand; there are the piles of clothes on the floor. Why did I leave my closet door open again?
After a while I can see so “well,” I hardly notice that it is dark. My eyes have adjusted. I can freely and contently move about the room; things appear normal. I can see so clearly again. There is almost no notice to the darkness that has taken over the room.
My mind jumps to all those comments. Comments that enrage me; “Tamara, your room is a mess. Come out into the light.”
The light? What are they talking about? I can see just fine. My eyes are adjusted to the dark. Things are clear to me. Things make sense in the dark. I have learned how to get from one place to the next without tripping. Dark is normal for me.
It happens. Someday cracks the door open. That small amount of light allows me to see the things that I couldn’t see in the dark. There are my headphones I have been looking for, what is a bag of crackers doing on the floor?
I then become lucky. Winning a million dollar lottery lucky.
That same door that kept people out for so long, comes down. The hinges ripped out from the wall socket. The door is destroyed. Not only is the light pouring in, the blinds are then opened and I am introduced to sunshine. Sunshine?? Sunshine??? I have been longing for sunshine.
It is at this moment I see the room I have been sitting in for 10 years. This room is chaos. Things are turned upside down, broken, nothing has a place. How can I let my children live like this? Broken glass is all around me. How could I possibly be sitting in this place for so long and not have noticed? I feel stupid, embarrassed.
. . .
I crave light. I crave sunshine. It’s been so long. I finally have realized how to answer the question, “If things were that bad, why did you stick around for so long?” The truth; I had no idea I had been sitting in a dark room for 10 years. I got lucky. I got lucky that somebody pushed down that door and allowed me see the light. I love you Deneka Strom!! You forever will be my angel! ~ Tamara Chamberlain
"We cannot liberate victims; we can only educate them.
They must liberate themselves."