By Johanna Calderon
Domestic violence is the biggest crime and victims don’t want to report it. Most mothers do not want to call the police because they may have children and do not have another place to stay or an income.
Because they have no other place to go, they stay with their abusing father, who continues abusing the mother. This traumatizes the children, resulting in an unhappy childhood. The children start having problems with their anger and act up in school, causing them to get suspended or even expelled from school.
A personal experience of mine was when I was eight years old and I saw my mother get hit by my father for the first time. I didn’t know what to do or where to ask for help. I knew that was wrong and I wanted for him to stop.
He was always drinking and became a different person toward my mother. He was very violent and caused a lot of problems. Even though he never hit me or my brother, it still hurt because I never wanted my brother to see my mother get hit. Before my brother was born, my mom and I were kicked out onto the street by my father and his sister.
We went to live with my aunt, but she never made it easy for my mother. I always saw my mother clean the house, while we were just living in the rat-filled garage.
When my aunt lost the house, we lived on the street for a couple of days. My father didn’t even help us look for a new place to live. He was busy drinking and wasting money on promiscuous women.
Finally, we found a place to live and things did get better, but it didn’t last very long. My father still hit my mother and the police even came to the apartment one night. I was scared because I wanted to tell the cop that my father was hurting my mother, but I couldn’t speak. They checked to make sure that everything was fine and then they left.
When I was 12 years old, I told my mother that my uncle molested me from age six until I was 12. My uncle used to take care of me when my mother was doing errands. My mother was there to support me, but my father wasn’t there when I needed him the most. He chose his brother instead of protecting me from him.
I was so terrified, I wanted to go way. Then my father left us and it was a relief. When my uncle passed away I knew that he couldn’t hurt me anymore and I remembered those years I had to fight hard to overcome what happened to me. I could not let myself give up.
My brother had to go to therapy because of what my father put us through. He wasn’t doing that well in school. He was fighting with teachers and students. He got kicked out of two schools and suspended so many times that I lost count.
For fighting in the schools, he was placed on probation twice, but now he is doing much better. Now he goes to a private school and has learned how to control his anger.
How far will the victims tolerate being hit over and over again just because they are scared to speak up and be alone? This can happen to women and can happen to men too. I know a friend that was getting hit by his boyfriend because he wanted to show him some affection in a rough way.
He would call me to tell me that his boyfriend bit his finger and hit his legs. I tried to help him by telling him to leave his abusive boyfriend, but he said he couldn’t because he loved him. The boyfriend found out that I knew about their problem and he thought that I told my friend that I wanted to break them up.
The goal is to reach to the victims to get help and leave the abuser, but no matter how many times a friend or family member tells the victim to get out, they’d rather stay with the abuser. Even though victims know that in some cases the victim has been killed by the abuser.
Speak up. Don’t let someone put their hands on you. Get out before you die.