It would be untruthful for me not to say that I wasn’t once terrified that I would somehow continue some of the abusive behaviours as a parent, that I was taught. Abuse is an ugly word that many people don’t want to talk about and has this insidious way of trickling down intergenerationally.
Learned behaviours is often the pattern of abuse. Not always, but often enough. Research suggests that approximately one third of all individuals who were abused or neglected as children will subject their own children to some type of maltreatment. I believe that it is my responsibility to know these things. I already know that knowledge and love are imperative tools in healing and powerful weapons against destruction if you yield them right.
I have never had to fight against repeating such learned behaviours now, as a parent, those were just my own nasty fears. Learning all the scary stats during my academic career as a social worker definitely perpetuated those fears. But, I’ve been lucky in my older years. I gravitate towards stability and being nurturing and advocating on behalf of these issues. I can’t even imagine resisting urges to be violent or verbally or mentally un-kind.
These things are a part of me, but I know that I would be in a very different place today if I hadn’t gone back to school and received a college education. If I hadn’t torn myself away from unhealthy environments, toxic relationships and self-medicating as I became older. If I were less of a fighter, less of a survivor I can’t say that I don’t know for sure, that I wouldn’t be in a much darker place today based solely on my loving heart, kind soul and good intentions.
I hope that this International Day for Girls shines more light on specific issues like abuse, and the effects that living in such can have on a young girl. I believe that a single day truly can be a powerful tool in change, where we come together to advocate for action. Where we actively invest in our little girls so that they may reach their full potential.
As Girl Speakers Bureau member Saba told a room of Diplomats at the United Nations: “All women were once girls, but not all girls will become women.” - Because I am a Girl