It’s 9 o’clock at night. She’s sitting on the couch holding their one year old daughter. Her husband comes home, she smiles at him and says “Shhh, she’s sleeping”. She reaches down to brush the hair from her sleeping daughter’s face when she’s slammed back against the couch when he punches her in the face. She doesn’t cry out. She doesn’t say anything. She knows if she does that the beating will be worse. She doesn’t draw attention to their sleeping daughter in her arms or he will hit her just because he can. As he continues hitting her she covers her daughter with her body to protect her. She wants to move away from her daughter so she turns around and lays the child down.
She can’t move. He’s hitting her harder and harder on the back of her head, her back, and shoulders. She holds herself up by holding onto the back of the couch. Her husband is hitting her harder and harder on the back of her head, her back and all she can do is protect their daughter from getting hit. She looks up through tears, blood and a swollen eye to see their 5 years old daughter and 3-year-old son standing on the staircase. She gasps, he stops, looks to what drew her attention away and saw their children. He pushes past them to go to their bedroom. She rushes to clean up and to put the children away before joining him in bed, or the beating will continue.
- 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
- 1 in 7 men will experience domestic violence.
- A woman is beaten every 9 seconds in the U.S.
- Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including threats or use of violence.
- Other terms for domestic violence and abuse include intimate partner violence, battering, relationship abuse, spousal abuse, or family violence.
- Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, gender and other factors.
- Both women and men can be victims of domestic violence. (I know I’ve said it before but let me repeat it, MEN CAN BE VICTIMS TOO-even though they are less likely than women to talk about it)
- More than 3 million children witness domestic violence in their homes every year. (3 MILLION CHILDREN)
- Children who live in homes where there is domestic violence also suffer abuse or neglect at high rates. Around 30%-60%.
Years later the 3-year-old boy is 17. The mom had divorced his father, remarried and yet the boy is troubled. He has been since he was 7. He’s a violent child and he’s getting worse. The mom has tried everything and had asked everyone she could think of to get help for her son when he was growing up. The school, counselors, police –no one would help. It’s now too late, he ended up in jail.
- Without help, boys who witness domestic violence are far more likely to become abusers, thus continuing the cycle of violence in the next generation.
- Without help, girls who witness domestic violence are more vulnerable to abuse as teens and adults.
- When the 1-year-old daughter turns 19, she marries a violent man, has a son by him and he’s now violent to their son too.
- Girls and young women between the ages of 16-24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence –almost triple the national average.
- Only 33% of teens who were in a violent relationship ever told anyone about the abuse.
- 81% of parents believe teen dating violence isn’t an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue.
- 82% of parents feel confident that they would recognize the signs if their child was experiencing dating abuse, a majority of parents, 58%, said they could not correctly identify all the warning signs of abuse.
DO you know what the warning signs are? They can be jealousy, controlling behavior, quick involvement (like moving in together after meeting the day before), isolation, and verbal/mental/physical abuse to name a few.
I am one of the 82% of parents who is confident that I could/would recognize the signs if their child was in an abusive relationship. As a parent, I KNEW when that 1-year-old little girl was getting involved in a violent relationship/marriage. I tried really hard to make her see what she was doing, to no avail. Now I must live with the fact that my grandson is angry all the time and I worry that he’ll grow up like my son did, violent.
This story isn’t only true, but it’s my story. I am the young mom holding her 1-year-old daughter while my husband was hitting me and hitting me and hitting me. I didn’t know there was help out there. I didn’t know I needed help. I didn’t know that my situation wasn’t normal. I never knew!
I grew up with an abusive mother and step-father. So to me, this was normal, it was routine, it just was.
My 5-year-old daughter is now 27, married and has a beautiful 2 month old daughter of her own. She knew what happened with her mom and siblings and went the other way. She is married to a man who is great and wonderful to her and their daughter.
As of today, my son is now 25, married, with 2 daughters of his own. Going to jail helped him as he had to take all kinds of classes even anger management classes. He’s doing really well now.
My 1-year-old daughter is now 23, divorced, and is in a better relationship now. She has found that if she no longer takes her ex’s abuse and calls the cops that he calms down and speaks gently to her and their son. She is to this day, fighting for full custody.
If you know of someone who is in an abusive situation get them to call or email a victim or abuse hotline. Or if you can’t or they won’t don’t blame them. They are scared of change, or other reasons. But if you can, be there for them.
So I ask each one of you, HELP change the facts. Speak up, speak out and help make a difference for victims of domestic violence.
You’re probably wondering: How? What can I do?
What you can do is:
Donate Goods: shelters need help in providing clothes, shoes, games or other things specifically for children.
Volunteer: find out if your local shelter allows volunteers to come in and work with children.
Talk About It: so often, needs are overlooked, not because people don’t care but because they aren’t aware.
You can contact your local city for domestic violence prevention/child abuse prevention. So please, SPEAK UP!