The Courage to Tell

2 min
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Joseph was always the life of the party since he was growing up and everyone loved him. Whenever you had a conversation with him he always listened and gave his genuine opinion, while never judging you. Joseph was homecoming king, the star quarterback on the football team, and had straight A’s; however, at home life was drastically different. Nobody knew, but Joseph was the victim of child abuse by his dad, Terry. It all started the night Joseph’s mom left his dad for a different man. Terry could never wrap his head around this tragic night, so he began to drink, smoke, and eventually lost his job. Through all of this Joseph was forced to take up a job at his local grocery store at night, to support him and his dad. Joseph was drained from working late nights and studying until 3 A.M. to make sure his grades were kept up.

One night Joseph returned from work to find his dad on the couch drinking. Suddenly his dad came to his face, yelled at him, and said, “Get out of my house!”. Joseph, fearing for his life, ran to his room grabbed all his belongings and ran to his car. He stood stagnant in the driveway for about 30 minutes, not knowing what to do or where to go. He called his distant mother; unfortunately, it went straight to voicemail.

Joseph checked into a local hotel and fell straight into the bed face first. He bawled his eyes out until he fell asleep realizing the life that he was living was in shambles. When Joseph woke up he realized it was 7 A.M. on a Monday, and that he had to go to school. He dreadfully did his morning routine; however, he realized it was not that different besides the fact he was not at home. It was surprisingly similar since his dad was not there to help. He went downstairs to receive the complimentary breakfast the hotel provided. As Joseph sat down with his food which consisted of scrambled eggs, sausage, biscuits, and a glass of orange juice. He realized this was the exact same thing his mom prepared when he was little, back when everything was normal. He silently wept and wished life was back to normal. 5 minutes later Joseph saw that the time was 7:30 and school started at 8. He rapidly finished his déjà vu of a breakfast and drove to school; however, Joseph saw a family just like his once was years ago, and wanted something as simple as that in his life.

Joseph acted like everything was normal, and nobody suspected a thing, but his best friend Henry. After school finished, Henry went up to Joseph and said, “Is everything ok?”. Joseph poured his thoughts out to Henry and later went to his house. Joseph reluctantly let Henry’s mom and dad know of the situation. They gave Joseph the support he desperately needed during this time in his life; nonetheless, they were surprised how much he hid from the world behind the amazing life he showcased. One Saturday night Joseph could not fall asleep, but in his mind he knew what he had to do.

Joseph drove to the police station and told them about his troubling situation. The police officers drove to his dad’s place of residency and arrested him. Joseph knew it should have been done a lot sooner, but he couldn’t stand the thought of his dad behind bars. Tears flowed down Joseph’s face as he watched his broken father be taken away. Joseph knew deep down inside that he had done the right thing.

Courage seeps through the blinds in your house, the floors of your basement, and through the hearts of others you encounter. Three years later after high school, Joseph became a spokesperson for child abuse. He tells victims about the story of how he survived child abuse, the courage it took to tell someone, and how there is a life after it. Joseph is striving to make the world a better place from his saddening story. With every child that he encounters he lets them know that they have a voice and they should not be silent about what is happening at home. Joseph tells his story to many children in hopes that his courage to tell will inspire them to do the same.

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