I’ve heard child care judges wonder what becomes of all the abused children whose cases they hear.
Some of us grow up and become child care lawyers.
We’re not instantly recognisable.
Like Eleanor Rigby, I wear my mask.
I champion causes.
I read parents’ psychological reports, reality dawning as I scroll anxiously to the “Recommendations” section to learn how to put my 12 year old self back together.
In court, the expert psychologist gives her evidence: “if you ask an abused child how they feel, they don’t know”.
In one sentence she has ripped my mask away and with it any remnants of security.
In a fleeting moment, I’m aware this was also my response age 12:
I was naked.
A deep breath and I’m just about functioning again.
An imperceptible pause to others.
Traumatic for me.
I know this because in my job I read reports telling of the ongoing impact of childhood trauma.
So I know that forever I’ll experience my life through the prism of a child’s shattered dreams.
Footsteps outside my bedroom door.
Like Humpty Dumpty, I had a great fall.
But there is no way all the king’s horses and all the king’s men will ever be able to deal with this mess.
So on I go, desperately trying to put everyone else back together.