07 July 2013

The Stolen Childhood

I really like the character Boo, a tiny girl role in the animated film Monsters Inc.. Big eyes with adorable laughter. Running to and fro with the oversized monster costum. She is so funny. But every time I imagine the joy Boo, I did feel pain, feel as drawn into a deep hole, back to decades ago during which I should enjoy childhood instead of the experiences of the violence those not only caused physical harm and psychological harm .... also stole all my childhood memory that I will only pass once.

Sexually harassed by a next-door neighbor at the age of barely five years, then three years later, shamefully abused by my biological grandmother for three years, as well as tortured and physical violence until late adolescence. This terrible experiences lead me towards adult, sometimes I was crawling with wounded blood red soul to pass moments, vulnerable to be the next object of violence without ever knowing it.

When sexual abuse occurs in a child, her/his childhood is gone, replaced by a huge black hole that will dwell into adulthood, where s/he feels that's where s/he deserves to be, where I've felt that way, up to nearly a lifetime of letting life ruled by the who just want to take advantage of my vulnerability. If this raises questions in your mind ..... Yes, I had a lot of sexual experiences that I do not want even rape back at the age of 24 years by a famous old singer whom I handled his concert, working together with the youth bureau of a national organization of church fellowship. Once again, I was thrown into the dark hole, even deeper.

The traumas of violence never handled until I was 33 years old, in 2006 when I started to have a medical therapy. At that time I was facing separation because of an unfaithful spouse who always lying to me for the rest of our wedding. Even though, I began it not start from understanding the trauma, I was just treating the effects of the separation and the critical trauma effects, which makes me have a bipolar personality, potentially did self harm for many times because I kept thinking that I was useless, unfit to continue living in a very cruel life and would rather die only. Unfortunately therapy performed in a hospital in the city of Bontang-East Kalimantan, that was tinged of mal-practice considering they giving dangerous psychiatric drugs are not through direct consultation with me but through my partner who would provide inaccurate information to cover his betrayal at that time. During that treatment, I was in a state of delirium, really worsening the effects of trauma.

I moved to Jakarta and continued with better treatment. It made me much more to recover and start thinking about the next step to a better life. I had started it all in a very sadden situation where I was not able to send my children to school and had experienced eating a pack of instant noodles with rice with my children, but honestly I feel free and liberated from danger and stress. My real learning process starts from that point. I learned more about the issue of sexual violence and other issues related. Learn how trauma arises, the effects and the possibilities of appropriate therapy. Join the support group and break the silence for a struggle that I'll continue to do until later. Working hard for a dream, no more children who lost her childhood and had to stay in the dark painful hole for their lifetime.

I will never forget what happened. Sometimes, in a very depressed state and a very sad moment, I still experienced the effects of trauma and feel tortured. But I've been able to take the whole experiences as the part of my life, fighting to take my whole life back, and practicing harder to control the effects of trauma during exposure. However I am aware, I will never be able to restore the lost childhood, and for that I still feel there is a gaping dark hole in me.


  1. I read this post and got a slight flashback of the sexual violence i experienced when i was a toddler and it took me 19 years to finally talk about it. i realize what sexual violence really mean when i finally studied gender n experienced talking to people on gender n sexuality. thank you so much for sharing ur story both here n twitter. agreed.. nothing can restore the lost childhood but i guess what we can do now is to pay it forward help help others so no one will ever experience the horror. thank u so much.. this is so inspiring :)

  2. Dear Helga, certainly you will never be able to go back to your childhood and fix the broken things there. But one thing that for sure you could do is helping children from loosing their beautiful experience of being kids. Lots can we do to help kids continue their dreams, make them come true, that way can help adults whose childhood was stolen restore their pride for today's life. Instead of shedding tears for our past, let's not to forget some kids may have at the brink of the similar disasters that we experience. We do have the power to stop this.