Erin's Story - Child Abuse and Domestic Violence
My name is Erin and I am a survivor of child abuse and domestic violence. I am now 25: This is my story :
My story of child abuse and domestic violence begins right back when I was only 4 years old. What I believed that was happening to me was normal. My cousin Stacy, who was older and would come babysit my siblings and me, started touching me. I had it repeated to me that it was ok and it's just a game. I was not to repeat what was happening to me. I wetted the bed sometimes and I would fight baths. My mom and dad never knew what had happened. I had no idea this was child abuse. Stacy disappeared and I didn't know why.
As years came a long, I watched my dad go from being an alcoholic to a drug addict. I visited him in prison before he was an alcoholic and when he got out, that's when the drugs started and the domestic violence in the form of mental abuse and other stuff: I watched my mom get beat up and yelled at, called names, and cheated on. Watching domestic violence in the home is also a form of child abuse, as was his behaviour directed specifically at us children. My dad would get angry at us and tell us to get up the road, we don't belong here. I dealt with it until I was 15, my dad got arrested for buying too much sudaphed to make methamphetamine. I told my mom I was moving out.
I moved in with my boyfriend and his parents. For years I did good and graduated school. He was the first person I told about my sexual assault from my cousin and the child abuse. 17, I went from watching my nephew and niece get taken away from my sister because of my dad and she had to fight to get them back even though everything came back negative.
I went to my parents house and my dad didn't have a care in the world, he was sleeping. I called drug task force on him, they did nothing. Came in our house after my mom washed mine and my brothers hair with lice shampoo and vinegar, we all came up negative except my dad. Enough to keep us in the household.
I stood up to him one day and I just stood there, shaking and crying. He called my mom a retard and I told him he was the retard. His response was I was the retard too for standing up for another retard.
Finally 18 and I get a call in the morning, my parents and brother are sitting on the curb in handcuffs and haz mat is at my house. My dad was shipped off to jail yet again. It took my mom leaving him to change his life for the better. My mom put herself in the same situation with someone else and my dad is on his road of recovery and he helps others try to change their lives around.
23 years old and I admit to my parents finally what happened to me. My dad didn't believe me, it being his family, told me my mom filled my head with nonsense. My mom didn't know, I told her and she told me that she stopped having her babysit because she caught her touching my sisters. She never knew that she'd done it to me the most and for so long. Going through so much child abuse already in my life.
21 years old and my first child's father and I split due to domestic violence. I had to escape and go into a domestic violence shelter for mental abuse. Took me 4 months to complete and I got a car, job, and my own place. So are so good! Thought I was out of that pattern.
Not the end though, I put myself into another abusive and violent relationship. 23 years old now and my ex fiance, who is now in prison, got his one last time to beat me up on March 28th 2014. I had broken up with him 9 days after our engagement on Feb 14th. I met someone else who I'm still kind of seeing. My ex fiance came in my home, covered in the smell of booze, and he not only beat me but sexually assaulted me too. He had been beating on me for over a year. All sexual charges were dropped in court because there was no dna evidence that he sexually assaulted me. He's been denied parole once already and has almost served 2 years.
I've had to go through counseling and I've taken Zoloft and trazadone. I've been diagnosed with ptsd, anxiety, insomnia, and major depression due to all the child abuse and then the domestic violence experienced as an adult. I feel like someone follows me and when I'm in certain areas, I get paranoid. I have terrible nightmares of being choked, punched, and scratched.
I'm now 25 and I've caught on to mostly what I do deserve. It's still a never ending battle of trusting people and thinking they will change. I've been seeing the same guy for almost 2 years and I'm 7 months pregnant. In the past I've had him grab me by the throat and throw me up against the fridge, I've had him rip an expensive shirt off me, and he's bit my nose and chin leaving bruises. That was the last straw. I sent him pics of me sitting in front of the police station and pics of my face. He told me he would lose his job if I did that and he would never do it again. I believed him and still til this day, has no laid a hand on me.
Words hurt the worst though. I've went through him telling me this is not his kid and to abort my troll. Even tried convincing me to give my unborn son up to a family member. He gets in bad moods and calls me a retard. Tells me I'm not "wife" material and I don't make him happy. Currently can't work cause of dizzy spells I have and I have blacked out at work and hit my head on the floor. He thinks I'm after him for just money. In all reality I just want my sons dad in his life. My first son sees his dad every other weekend. I won't force a bad relationship on myself or for my kids to see, I know things will get better as long as I do it myself.
There are ways out, you just need to trust yourself. You can believe some people will change because they do. My dad is my inspiration and my hero. Not only started from rock bottom, no money and no job. He now had a place of his own, he takes care of my brother who has mental issues himself, and he runs his own business. If negative keeps being thrown your way, even if it's not physical, get rid of it.
Mental abuse is so much more hurtful because there are scars left on your heart and mind. People can't see them but you can feel them and they will always be there. The marks on my body are gone but in my dreams I feel them all over again. I've always told everyone, I wouldn't even wish anything like this, the child abuse, the disrupted childhood, the domestic violence relationships, to happen to anyone, not even my worst enemy.
I hope this helps a lot of people to understand that child abuse and domestic violence is not ok. We need to stand up, not only for ourselves but the children who watch. They know what's going on and they will grow up thinking its ok to hit someone or say bad things or they'll be the ones taking abuse.
Let's make a change.
A growing body of research points to a definite link between adult domestic violence and child abuse. These connections are pervasive. Forty-five to seventy percent of battered women in shelters report that their batterers have also committed some form of child abuse. Even using the more conservative figure, child abuse is 15 times more likely to occur in households where adult domestic violence is also present. Women who have been beaten by their spouses are, in turn, reportedly twice as likely as other women to abuse a child. It is also estimated that 3.3. million to 10 million children witness domestic violence each year. Many child witnesses of domestic violence experience increased problems themselves.
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In another of Lundy Bancroft fantastic books, The Batterer as Parent takes the reader inside of homes affected by domestic violence, imparting an understanding of the atmosphere that battering men create for the children who live with them. It show how partner abuse affects each relationship in a family, and explains how children’s emotional recovery is inextricably linked to the healing and empowerment of their mothers. Also cover the important but often-overlooked area of the post-separation parenting behaviours of men who batter, including their use of custody litigation as a tool of abuse:
To order in the US: The Batterer as Parent: Addressing the Impact of Domestic Violence on Family Dynamics (Sage Series on Violence Against Women)
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When Dad Hurts Mom. This is a must-read for any woman with children still in or finally out of an abusive marriage. He covers the myriad of ways in which children witnessing domestic violence are affected, the prejudice in the legal establishments and the patriartic world has made the life of female and child victims of abuse difficult. And then he gives you tips on how to conquer this situation and help heal our kids from the trauma of witnessing abuse:
To order in the US: When Dad Hurts Mom: Helping Your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse
To order in the UK: When Dad Hurts Mom: Helping Your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse
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