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A Book that Changed Me: "Don't Ever Tell" by Kathy O'Beirne

I read this book when I was barely a teenager; I would never want to read it again, but it's something I always feel compelled to recommend.

By Karina ThyraPublished 8 months ago 3 min read
A Book that Changed Me: "Don't Ever Tell" by Kathy O'Beirne
Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

I've read many fiction books in one sitting, but the moment I picked up this particular book, I couldn't put it down. I was around 11, about to turn 12, on my first trip to Thailand with my family. I noticed it on my parents' shelf and decided to bring it with me. However, it wasn't until the long journey to Mae Sot that I finally started reading it. The book was called “Don’t Ever Tell” by Kathy O’Beirne.

It was the first non-fiction book I had ever read. I vividly remember how harrowing it was, and I felt an intense anger on behalf of the author for all the abuses she had endured. She was younger than I was when I read her book during a holiday, and that's when her story began.

Kathy suffered abuse and neglect from her parents, and she was later sent to Catholic children’s homes which turned out to be horrible for her. Being raised Catholic myself, I was appalled to discover that there were church-sanctioned institutions that prioritized profits over the needs of the vulnerable. However, it wasn't until years later that I had access to the means to read exposés about the religion I had grown up in. At that time, on a dimly lit bus late at night, en route to a distant Thai province, I was clenching my teeth as I read.

There were parts of the book that felt particularly harrowing to share. One must read it alone to truly comprehend the full extent of what Kathy went through. Most of the people she encountered in her early life were either there to be cruel to her or outright abuse her. She had a faithful dog, and when that dog tried to save her, it too was taken away. As I read, I became acutely aware of how lucky I was, for I could never imagine living the life she had experienced. I couldn't put the book down, even as I struggled to catch my breath at how vividly she recounted her experiences. And I believe every bit of it. Encountering betrayal for the first time becomes a core memory.

It happened to her at such a young age.

There are numerous instances where the adults in her life failed her, not only by failing to protect her but also by not providing the care she needed.

Reading her story left me feeling angry and frustrated. It imparted lessons that I'm fortunate not to have experienced firsthand.

By Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

It taught me to stand up against anyone in a position of power who uses their influence to manipulate situations in their favor, no matter how minor - especially within the school environment.

It taught me to support the victims of institutional abuse. Even if evidence is covered up, it will still be present. Everyone who has lived through a harrowing experience, escaped it, and survived to share their story should be believed. Nobody would willingly want to relive such terrible experiences, but by recounting their stories, they help illuminate the issue and prevent others from enduring the same ordeal.

By Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

It taught me empathy. Growing up Catholic in a small town, I often find myself surrounded by people who prioritize the unborn over those who are already living. However, after reading this book, I reached the conclusion that women should have the autonomy to decide what they want to do with their bodies, even regarding what might be growing within them - no questions asked.

This book was powerful, and even though I barely remember all the details now, I'm happy that Kathy was finally able to tell her story.


About the Creator

Karina Thyra

Fangirl of sorts.

Twitter: @ArianaGsparks

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  • C.S LEWIS8 months ago

    great job what are you waiting for you can join my friends and read what I have just preperd for you

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