A Child Survivor Story: Joshua Harris, Age 15

A Child Survivor Story: Joshua Harris, Age 15

Joshua Harris, with permission from his mother, asked to share his Victim Impact Statement he provided in his abuser’s hearing on Survivorhood. Josh was between the ages of 2 to 13 when he endured his abuse. He is sharing his story in his words in hopes to help others and so that other kids don’t feel alone in their struggles.

“I felt helpless, wishing I could do something, debating whether or not to run out the door, but all I could do is watch. He walked in the kitchen and grabbed two plastic kitchen spoons. He broke them over me and my brother’s heads. After that he said that was for the dogs. He had made us go outside to the shed after he beat us.”

“Your honor, my name is Joshua James Harris. I have lived with Dennis Tims for a little over 11 years. Throughout those 11 years, I have been beaten, practically tortured, and held accountable for most bad things that would happen in the house. For the 11 years I have been with Dennis, he has never once held himself accountable for his actions. It was always someone else. The punishments would be extreme.

The day before he was arrested, one of our dogs popped in the kennel, and I had gotten her out of the kennel and put her in her exterior kennel. I was in the process of cleaning, and my mom had called me in to do something. I was in the middle of doing what my mom had asked me, and Dennis went out in the shed and saw the poop. My brother Jacob was outside with him. He screamed at Jacob to, quote, get his ass in the house, end quote. Then he grabbed our metal broom and bent it till it broke. He had beat my brother Jacob with the broom handle as I watched. Then he did the same to me.

I felt helpless, wishing I could do something, debating whether or not to run out the door, but all I could do is watch. He walked in the kitchen and grabbed two plastic kitchen spoons. He broke them over me and my brother’s heads. After that he said that was for the dogs. He had made us go outside to the shed after he beat us. He went there with us and made us clean all of the kennels and start with the poopy ones so that we would have crap on us the whole time. We had to pressure wash the kennels. Later he said I wasn’t moving fast enough and sprayed me at close range with the pressure washer. He walked over to the kennel I was lifting, and I thought he was going to help me move the kennel. Instead, he pushed it and hit me in the face with it. I felt hatred for him. I had a fat lip and a red mark going over my back from the broom handle. When he hit me in the face with the kennel, my tooth went through my lip.

Over the years I have experienced things that I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through. There have been times I have been beaten for accidentally leaving the fridge door open. If only I could express the hatred I have for that man. I don’t even want to use the word man. Anyone who beats children and women is a little kid in my book, like a wild animal looking for easy prey.

There is a slim line between discipline and abuse. Dennis broke that line to the moon and back. I probably couldn’t count or bring up all of the times that I have been beaten, but the worst part for me is that I couldn’t do anything about it. The way that it has been affecting me today is I can’t do much of anything without flinching, like I am going to get hit. I recoil when I get hugs. The most basic of things are hard to do. It takes me a long time to do simple tasks like clean my room. I keep to myself about most things. I don’t like to be touched, and I am battling depression, anxiety, PTSD, and ADHD. All I want is for justice to be served.”

Photo: Flickr – renee_mcgurk

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