Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2017 Finalist Entries

What Matters? Finalists 2017

2017 What Matters? TAS Year 5/6 Runner Up

A Girl with Lost Footsteps


South Hobart Primary School

They say that with time there comes healing but there is hardly any. It’s not exactly something to forget.

We moved to a new place for a new start. New start! Back then you liked those two words but now they mean nothing. You can’t run from the past, it’s never past. You thought you could run from everything and just forget it. Every night it catches up with you, whispers things you want to forget. Looking back I honestly don’t know how I made it.

It started with small disagreements, which was normal. But then it got bigger, the words didn’t seem to satisfy him so it turned to blows. Like a volcano you never knew when he was going to erupt. So we, the frightened villagers who lived under that terrible volcano lived in fear. As each day went by the fiery volcano, which was my father, continued to erupt even more frequently until the villagers feared they’d lose a life.

At school I tried to hide my pain, looking back I don’t think I was very convincing. Small things gave me away. The purple bruise-like shadows under my eyes from staying up all night making sure he hadn’t done what he said he would … that my mother, sisters and brother were still alive. I would dart to and from their rooms, muttering prayers I didn’t believe in, God had deserted me a long time ago. I cried a lot too, whenever I could. During break time I told my friends I had work to catch up on, if you think about it it’s not a lie; I had tears to catch up on.

It’s not like I could cry at home. He didn’t like it; I think it reminded him that we were human. Not the robotic slaves he wanted. When I was at home I’d bottle up my feelings until I’d thought I’d burst. When he hit me I’d try to think of happy things. Sometimes it only made it worse; these were things I didn’t have.

Surprisingly it was actually the words that hurt most. Even now they force themselves into my mind and make me sacred again.

Even though I was trying to keep myself together, I was falling apart. Then everything happened so fast.

There was a knock at the door. I opened it. It was the police. Instantly I knew. I stood there, dazed, shocked, happy, scared and jubilant.

Now I stand alone on a hill, free. I remember the blazing sun on my back, I remember the dry grass under my feet, I remember the hot sand between my toes, I remember the scarf that had imprisoned me for so long blowing in the breeze, I remember the taste of my tears. Mostly I remember that I was a girl with lost footsteps and from that moment on I was found.

I was one of the 1 in 4 children in Australia that is exposed to domestic violence. A report of abuse is made every ten seconds. Devastatingly 30% of abused children later abuse their own kids in Australia. Many countries have no laws or cultural rules protecting women and children. They can be owned like object. This has to stop!

I dream of when no child has to watch a loved one being beaten. When no child needs to cover their ears to block out the screams. When fear is not a substitute for respect. When a person feels safe in their own home. I’m not crazy or unstable, I was abused, I survived. Don’t be afraid, your story will inspire others.


Jenna Beck