In the quiet of the early summer lockdown of 2020, the fields and hedgerows were full of sheep’s parsley.
As she wrestled with uncomfortable memories from her childhood, the thick smell of pollen in the air reminded her of a time as a small child when she collected armfuls of sheep’s parsley to give to her mother. A present from a child to her mum that would have been gratefully received by most mothers, but not so hers.
The hurt she felt then as a little girl, with a bunch of ‘flowers’ for her mum, that were tossed to one side with a hurtful comment, stung yet again as she stood with her camera and the sheep’s parsley some fifty years later.
A child I has no voice or words to describe neglect and psychological abuse; Sheeps Parsley is a creative expression for those words that cannot be found.
Emotional and psychological child abuse is not subjective and cannot be categorised as parental tough love or teenage angst. The Crime Survey for England and Wales estimates that 3.8 million people have experienced emotional abuse before the age of 16; this abuse was most commonly perpetrated by a parent (ONS, 2020)