Is mentioning abuse suffered as a child a no-no?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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bobbypin
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Is mentioning abuse suffered as a child a no-no?

Postby bobbypin » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:07 am

I feel that I am who I am because of that experience and if it happened to anyone else, they would be in a gutter with a needle in their arm. However, I wonder if it would be too gritty for a personal statement.

Thanks.

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MrPapagiorgio
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Re: Is mentioning abuse suffered as a child a no-no?

Postby MrPapagiorgio » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:30 am

bobbypin wrote:I feel that I am who I am because of that experience and if it happened to anyone else, they would be in a gutter with a needle in their arm.

Pretty bold statement you got there. Wouldn't be the first time such a topic has been written about and it definitely feeds into the overcoming adversity theme that is quite common among personal statements. Write it up and post it up here. Many posters are great editors of personal statements and others are simply willingly to edit yours in exchange for you editing theirs.

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FantasticMrFox
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Re: Is mentioning abuse suffered as a child a no-no?

Postby FantasticMrFox » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:33 am

MrPapagiorgio wrote:
bobbypin wrote:I feel that I am who I am because of that experience and if it happened to anyone else, they would be in a gutter with a needle in their arm.

Pretty bold statement you got there.

I agree with this; I wouldn't write it with such a tone. I understand that what you've experienced was difficult but a tone of this type wouldn't come off too well.

nsbane
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Re: Is mentioning abuse suffered as a child a no-no?

Postby nsbane » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:46 am

Your biggest danger when you write such a statement is to write the events in an emotional or dramatic way. And I don't mean about your personal feelings, that you are being emotional or dramatic. I mean the writing style: you say "my father relentlessly beat me, ignoring the feeble cries of my mother and the passionate entreaties of the neighbors." Versus: "On July 1998, my father was arrested and charged with child abuse. I was the child." The second version is more factual and does not try to color the facts with adjectives. Yet in many ways, it makes a greater impact.

The best thing to do is just write what ever is the first thing that comes to mind. If it's child abuse, go for it. But show it to some people, play around with it, and don't marry it just because you wrote 2 pages out on it. You may find that most of it is crap. But you will get material out of it, really good turns of phrases, and ideas for what you really want to write about.

postn0bills
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Re: Is mentioning abuse suffered as a child a no-no?

Postby postn0bills » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:17 pm

I wrote about the same topic. For me, regardless of the risk of writing about such a topic, it is the catalyst in a lot of life choices I've made, and in how I've shaped myself. I'd rather write about it and have my personal statement come from an honest, genuine place, than write about some other alleged "life-changer" that sounds contrived. However, I don't think the tone you're taking is appropriate, like the other posters have mentioned. It's happened to me, and I'm not sitting in a gutter with a needle in my arm.

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ggibelli
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Re: Is mentioning abuse suffered as a child a no-no?

Postby ggibelli » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:23 pm

postn0bills wrote:I wrote about the same topic. For me, regardless of the risk of writing about such a topic, it is the catalyst in a lot of life choices I've made, and in how I've shaped myself. I'd rather write about it and have my personal statement come from an honest, genuine place, than write about some other alleged "life-changer" that sounds contrived. However, I don't think the tone you're taking is appropriate, like the other posters have mentioned. It's happened to me, and I'm not sitting in a gutter with a needle in my arm.


how is this possible? he said if it happened to anyone else then they would be sitting in a gutter with a needle in my arm. I'm confused :shock:

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Errzii
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Re: Is mentioning abuse suffered as a child a no-no?

Postby Errzii » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:28 pm

The subject matter itself is probably not taboo. What you're trying to communicate with it and how you do it though is another matter.

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rftdd888
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Re: Is mentioning abuse suffered as a child a no-no?

Postby rftdd888 » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:29 am

I think you could do it. Then again, I am a 0L who has only done extensive research into writing a PS. Outside of drafting my own, I'm no expert. Take this with a grain of salt, so to speak.

I think you can write that. I think the tone you need to take is "this was a major event in my life that fundamentally changed me, pointing me in some way to the path that I am on now, preparing to enter law school . . ."

basically, I think you need to write it in a way that says "this is the major event that gave me purpose" and not come off as saying "this happened to me, I would like to derive a benefit from this". Be real, be purposeful, be elegant in how you present it. The point of your PS, should you write about that type of abuse, should be to inform the reader as to how this particular tragedy really shaped who you are or who you want to be.

the emphasis of the PS should be how the event changed you, so really explore that. you want your story (how it changed you, what you've done about it) to be so engaging that the fact that it all stemmed from a horrific experience should appear small standing next to your overall narrative. that gives your PS power, imo, because the antecedent is not overplayed yet still packs a major punch.

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IAFG
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Re: Is mentioning abuse suffered as a child a no-no?

Postby IAFG » Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:39 am

I don't think it's smart to write too much about being a child because professional school is about being a grown-up who is prepared to make adult decisions.

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FantasticMrFox
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Re: Is mentioning abuse suffered as a child a no-no?

Postby FantasticMrFox » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:26 am

IAFG wrote:I don't think it's smart to write too much about being a child because professional school is about being a grown-up who is prepared to make adult decisions.

I think this is quite valid but at the same time, if what you've experienced (let's say child abuse) led you to focus on children during your UG studies or volunteering/internships and you plan on that kind of law, I think you can make it work, but definitely follow nsbane's advice.

b33eazy
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Re: Is mentioning abuse suffered as a child a no-no?

Postby b33eazy » Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:04 am

It can be done.. I'm still writing my personal statement and it's about the abuse I dealt with as a child and how it formed the man I am today. Mind you, it will be difficult because it can't come off as too subjective (poor me type) paper. It has to be factual yet personal. It will be a difficult paper to write, but it can still be an amazing paper and explain what kind of person you are.

nsbane
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Re: Is mentioning abuse suffered as a child a no-no?

Postby nsbane » Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:14 am

IAFG wrote:I don't think it's smart to write too much about being a child because professional school is about being a grown-up who is prepared to make adult decisions.


I tend to think a good writer could write a PS about anything. If it's well written, it will be successful.




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