Forgotten Victims of Domestic Violence

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A lot of the time when we think of domestic violence our attention is focused on just the two parties that are fighting, the abuser and the victim. We rarely think of the children in the home that are watching. Yet each year an estimated 3.3 million children witness domestic violence. Some of these children are caught in the crossfire and sustain physical injuries. Even those children who do not experience abuse themselves are left just as traumatized as those who suffer direct abuse. This is part of my own story about the effect of domestic violence on children.

I learn early on to recognize the signs when the fight would escalate into violence. I knew that the safest place for me was to hide in a corner out of the way. I often covered by ears to try and block out the screams. It did not help for the screams still penetrated the gaps in my little fingers. I sat their in silence and hopelessness. I knew I could not do anything to stop it yet I felt guilty. Somehow I just knew the fighting was all about me, yet in reality the fighting had nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with the abuser and the demons inside of him.

Living in abuse there are never any carefree days. There is always constant anxiety about when another round of beatings will occur. You come to expect it as a way of life, or that is how it was for me, until one day all of that would change. One day my father the abuser came home from work unexpectedly and the abuse began. Little did I know that this day it would end so differently. The abuse went far beyond a beating and there I was focusing on a dead body laying in a pool of blood. I was totally oblivious to the fact that another life was being taken. Like a stain on my dress the stain of that murder will forever be a part of my soul. Once the impact of that one single event was realized, it was then that the devastation comes into full view. As a result our family dissolved. I no longer had with me my seven siblings. I now stood alone as an orphan, abandoned and helpless.

It took me a long time to become the whole women I am today and to put the past behind me. Yet it can be done. I tell the whole story in Family Secrets: Letters to My Granddaughters.
Listen to audio of first chapter.

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