Are Black Children Killing Themselves To Avoid Abuse?
When I was around 8 or 9 years old I tried to kill myself.
The first time, I threw myself down a narrow flight of carpeted stairs. The second time, I tried to poison myself by drinking peroxide. I had to lie to my adoptive mother about the limp, the twisted ankle, and the burns on my mouth and throat. The truth that I had intentionally tried to hurt myself would have led to another whupping.
I don’t think I had yet learned the term “suicide” or fully understood that it would result in the permanent end to my life. I was desperate. I was in pain and full of repressed resentment and rage. But I could not take revenge on my adoptive mother so I turned it onto myself in a futile attempt to take control over my own body and fate.
I was tired of being on the receiving end of belts, switches, extension cords, wire hangers, and my adoptive mother’s violent hands and harsh words.
Tired of being afraid and constantly feeling unsafe at home and walking-on-eggshells anticipating the next whupping. Tired of being denied bodily integrity. And so I’d rather maim myself or die than suffer again at the hands of the woman who was supposed to love and protect me.