MARCH 18 — Imagine pain shooting up your spine. Another beating on your back and mind. Imagine blood spurting out an old pus. A wound infected by yesterday’s fuss. No, don’t turn away, as tempting as it may seem! Stay and imagine, so to know how to act. Because yesterday's abuses of children will again fade in the past.
The voices get louder past two years. The screaming rings through your ears. You don’t quite know what you did wrong. Maybe it is because you were born. You cover your head, but the kicks get the tummy. You wish more than ever, you could think of something funny.
Are you still imagining? You try to muffle your cries, but somehow it escapes your lips. The next blow does it, and as if by instinct, you scream for help... out the door, out the window, your screams travel through the neighbourhood, the schools, the clinics, the shops. But nobody hears. Nobody comes near.
Are you still imagining? Stay with me. Because if you don’t, you won’t know what’s next. It gets better. Everything seems strangely calm. Nothing seems to harm. You see the hands continue to raise, and the piece of wood coming like a blaze. But you don’t seem to feel any more. Everything is a haze.
Are you still imagining? Not long more. The sights dull. The mind has wandered. Far from home, far from torture. Your prince or princess emerges. The shoe fits. You escape finally to a castle far away. Away from the normality you once knew. A life you thought was what every child like you lived and knew too.
The end is near. Are you still imagining? You can open your eyes now. You see the lights on the ceiling, and white coats by your side. The whispers say treatment will take months, not nights. Till then your castle is here beside other beings. Many are children, staring at the ceiling.
Your eyes close. Somebody finally hears... not your scream, but your last breath.
You can open your eyes now. Wake up! Now listen! Because the next time someone screams help, you will pay attention. No longer helpless, no longer ignorant. Superheroes we are, because we can imagine, and have “powers” to act. From making a call, to making a stand. Not saving the world. Just saving one child. Because One Child is the World!
This piece is dedicated to all lives lost in one form or another through child abuse.
* Brendan J. Gomez is an applied psychologist and senior lecturer at HELP University
** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.