It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Hurt

I loved childhood games until they were twisted into abuse

Emily Jane Lacy
Human Parts
Published in
6 min readSep 26, 2023

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Image by Sam Williams from Pixabay

TW: child sexual abuse.

I’m 9 years old when I meet the man and his son for the first time. They come to our house and mum and the man have a chat over a cuppa. The boy comes to play with us in my sisters’ room. He is the same age as my little sister.

I think the boy is very strange. His skin is pale white and he is fat. He reminds me of Harry Potter’s mean cousin from the book I read before bed each night. I’m sure my siblings also think the boy is strange but we don’t say anything. We are supposed to be nice and welcoming to the boy because his dad will be looking after us so Mum can go to work.

We tell the boy we are playing mums and dads. We have a little shop set up in the corner with paper money and pretend food and the house is in my sisters’ wardrobe. The boy says he plays mums and dads a different way. He says he will be the dad and I will be the mum and tells me that we have to climb into bed together. I don’t want to, but I’m supposed to be nice and welcoming. I climb into bed next to the boy and he pulls up the covers.

I don’t like the way the boy plays mums and dads, it makes me feel sick.

When Mum is home the man is nice. He smiles and plays with us and makes us breakfast. Before Mum leaves for work she tells us to be good and to do everything the man says.

The man is different when mum is at work. His smile is gone and he locks us outside. We aren’t allowed to go back in until he calls us in for lunch, not even to go to the toilet or get a drink of water.

We tried to tell Mum that the man is sometimes nice and sometimes mean, but the man laughs and twists our words before they reach mum’s ears. It’s spring so the weather is warm, but playing outside all the time means that I have to come up with a lot of ideas for games. One of the games I make up is called Kid Detectives. I got the idea from my book called, The Famous Five.

Our first case as Kid Detectives is to prove to Mum that the man is mean when she isn’t home. One morning I make sure to take a little notebook and a pencil with me when we are locked outside. I write down all…

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Emily Jane Lacy
Human Parts

Writer. Reader. Dog Mum. Wife. The 'L' in LGBTQIA+. She/her.