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You didn't deserve to be hurt
Written for the Sentinel
THE first sign of child abuse is when you remember how badly you were punished, but can't remember what you did to deserve it. The worst part of my being hit for no reason was that I no longer felt my parents were people who would help me if I got into trouble. When I was in third grade, an older kid undressed me in the park over and over again and touched my private parts, but I never told my parents because I was afraid I'd get hit for that, too.
Families are where you're supposed to learn about love, but sometimes you learn about fear instead. Everyone needs love, lots of it, and if you don't get it at home, you start looking for it other places. My own hunger to be loved made me look to guys for attention, and eventually sexual involvement led to an unwanted pregnancy. When I finally told my parents, they sent me to a place for unwed mothers.
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