Life after child abuse

Child abuse awareness month brought one student’s story to light

Howard William Kincade
Howard William Kincade looks back on the abuse he experienced as a child and knows now how it affected him even years later. Melissa Sue Lopez/Pioneer

Children easily become victims of abuse, often by their own parents. Biology and chemistry major Howard William Kincade said sometimes children at early ages might not realize that they are being abused.

Kincade said if kids only knew they were being abused, they could reach out and get help.

He said that when parents hit or yell at their children for no apparent reason, deprive them of food for punishment (or any other reason), if punishments are unnecessarily harsh or if parents over-invade their children’s privacy, miss their accomplishments or expose them to bad people, these may be abusive behaviors. All of these happened to Kincade when he was too young to realize he was being victimized.

Howard William Kincade Melissa Sue Lopez/Pioneer
Howard William Kincade Melissa Sue Lopez/Pioneer

Kincade said his birth father died before he was born. When he was 2 years old, his unstable, diagnosed bipolar mother dated a man in his thirties who physically abused Kincade when he was only a toddler.

“From what I remember, he burned me with ciggarettes, he trapped me under a reclining chair, told me to punch him and when I did, it didn’t really hurt him but he punched me back in the stomach, he put food for me on top of the fireplace mantel so I couldn’t reach it,” Kincade said.

He said his birth mother knew what was going on but she was too unstable to stop it or, he said, she might just not have cared.

Kincade said abusive behavior toward children must be prevented because the mental damage sticks with the victims for the rest of their life.

“I was 2 when that happened to me and I shouldn’t be remembering that stuff but I remember it almost like yesterday,” Kincade said.

He said the abuse continued to affect him after it ended, but it took years for him to realize how. At age 16, he noticed he’d become very uncomfortable with people touching him.

“I got chills and shied away,” Kincade said.

He didn’t know why. Then at 19, he was diagnosed with depression.

Kincade said his life tremendously changed in the year after his abuse began.

That’s when he was taken into foster care and  met the family that would become his own.

Kincade said someone called authorities and, as far as he knows, his abuser is currently in jail for domestic abuse.

Kincade was 3 years, 11 months, and 13 days old when his new family took him in.

Kincade said he quickly became attached to his new family, something he had never felt with his birth mother.

“My adopted mom said that whenever my blood mother came to visit, I kind of clutched to my adopted mom instead of her,” he said. “I just already had basically acknowledged  her being my actual mom instead of my birth mother.”

Kincade said there are not enough words to ever express how grateful he is for the affection he’s received from his adoptive family.

“In the first Christmas I ever had with them, my mom told me that I had over 50 gifts,” he said. “They treated me like their son before I was even their son. They loved me and took care of me.”

“My life now is amazing.” Kincade said, “I’m a supervisor at my job. I’m making decent grades. I have a girlfriend. I’m not being starved, I actually eat more than I should. I’ve got a nice brother. We’re both adopted. And, my parents pretty much have spoiled the crap out of me since before I was even adopted officially. My life couldn’t be better.”


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