I am thirty years old and was born into a family afflicted by alcohol problems. When my father drank he became violent. He abused my family psychologically, physically and sexually. As a child, I was often beaten and forced to do things that were beyond my possibilities and powers. When I couldn’t manage, I was often punished by being locked up in the cellar.
My father also used to take away things from me that I loved. For instance, he killed my pet puppy before my very eyes. Mama was helpless: she was a victim of violence herself. I was sexually assaulted by my father’s drinking mate. Sometimes we had to flee from father and spend the night outside in the field or with the neighbours.
When I was seven, I received such a severe beating from my father that I suffered a brain haemorrhage. I was unconscious for three weeks and spent six months struggling to survive. The right side of my body has been paralysed ever since and I now suffer from epilepsy as well. But this incident also marked a turning point for our family: It finally made my mother leave my father, and since then our life has become calmer.
This early childhood trauma has had an enormous impact on my life to this very day. I regularly wet my bed until the age of seventeen and became very withdrawn. Even today I often retreat from other people and prefer to remain holed up in my own world. I am afraid to speak my mind and usually do what others expect me to.
Four years ago, I followed my doctor’s advice and decided to undergo therapy. It helped me make the first steps towards a better life. I finally completed High School. I also underwent several operations to improve my physical abilities. After that, I started four therapies which I all dropped out of. I simply wasn’t up to it. Today I want to give myself another chance. I hope, with all my heart, that this time I can complete my therapy with the help of Blue Cross Poland. It has already brought about a positive change in my life. It has helped me accept the past and given me strength to change the future. But I am aware that my life continues to be overshadowed by my childhood experience.
*Ana is a fictitious name.
This project story is related to the project Blue Cross Poland Provides Innovative Services to Victims of Violence