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Friday, June 2, 2023

Children Can Be Silent Victims of Domestic Violence

The first time I saw a woman hit a man, I was about thirteen years old. She lunged from the couch and angrily pummeled her husband in the chest. Over the weekend, she also grabbed the steering wheel of a car, threatening to crash us all. Over the course of my life, I’ve witnessed women cut up furniture, spit on men, and couples have bloody fights in front of their children. I’ve known emotionally abusive men who manipulated women, hurling episodes of fidelity as a weapon. One kept his lover’s night clothes in the trunk of his car, leaving his teary-eyed wife to find it. And even in the dead of summer, windows were nailed shut because she preferred fresh air and would push windows up, but he preferred air conditioning. His son stole money from her elderly mother who suffered from Alzheimer’s. I recall the bank informing the woman that the money had been lost permanently.
Over the course of my life, I didn’t make the best relationship decisions. I observed abusive behavior perpetrated by males and females. To me, relationships were scary agreements. Parties were bound by secrecy of toxicity. Only a few knew the truth of what occurred behind closed doors. Depression stifled me, robbing me of childhood innocence. My love of books and writing was a defense mechanism to have an escape from people mistreating each other. Their titles and degrees didn’t matter. I relented to filling my life with pursuing education, not stepping confidently into dreams of a finding a stable man who could share a white picket fence and children to call our own.
Few people talk about the consequences of exposing children to domestic violence. I was robbed of normalcy because of it. It took me most of my life to pick a healthy relationship that hasn’t been speckled with bedlam. And for those parents who think kids can’t here the insults; slaps; and screams behind closed doors, they can. When little eyes hear adult conversations about toxic behavior, the risk is high that the child will grow up to have low self-esteem when picking a partner.
If people really care about a breaking generational curse, please don’t cosign cursing us by displaying poor behavioral examples. If adults are not getting along, it is time to move along. A home should be a haven for everyone—males and females. Just as men should not raise their hands to strike women, women should not provoke an ugly scene of retaliation.
During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, consider that one of the women I spoke of who antagonized a man ended up with broken ribs. Consider that another woman I referenced died of a broken heart because her husband was abusive. She could’ve survived on her own, but she didn’t believe it. I unpack traumatic memories, day by day, for the rest of my life.
If you are experiencing an abusive relationship with little eyes watching, wake up. Get out. Start over. Live.

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