Jay's Story - Child Abuse and Domestic Violence
Jay grew up as one of many children witnessing abuse, thinking this was normal. Her story also shows the link between child abuse and domestic violence, as well as her determination to protect her younger sibling from witnessing abuse or being the victim of child abuse himself. This is Jay's story:
I grew up witnessing domestic abuse. My mum would get beaten by my father. When she wasn't there he would turn to me and my brothers. I used to sit in my room and hear them fighting then I'd hear my mum scream and I'd know he'd have hit her. To be honest, at the age I was at, I actually thought it was normal. I thought that many families where like this but now when I think about it I was in denial because I never mentioned it to my friends or teachers.
Some research indicates an overlap between domestic violence between adults and the sexual and physical abuse of children, with some studies putting the comorbidity rates as high as 40 per cent. (Saltzman, K.M., Holden, G.W. and Holahan, C.J. (2005) ‘The psychobiology of children exposed to marital violence’)I can't remember the first time he hit me but I can remember the times he did. He used to get angry and kick me hard or grab me by the hair. Afterwards he'd say sorry and tell me he wouldn't have to if I just did what I was told, so I used to think that every kid got told off this way. My older brother would get it worse than me and my mum faced the most hell but even though I was always the last person he'd turn to, witnessing and hearing the pain my brothers and mum were experiencing hurt just as much as a kick in the stomach.
Finally when I was 8 years old my mum got rid of my dad, but it didn't stop him from causing trouble. He used to come round and corner my mum in the kitchen yelling abuse at her. By this time my little brother was born and I would run upstairs with him trying to tell him it'd be okay while my oldest brother would try and pull my dad off my mum. I remember one time when I was 12 my dad found out my mum had a boyfriend. He came round and called her a slut saying she was a cheating whore but they had been separated for years, yet my dad seemed to have it in his head that they would get back together. He grabbed her by the throat and yelled abuse. I really thought he was gonna kill her in fact if it wasn't for my oldest brother I think he would have.
There were also times when he'd cry in front of me, saying he wished he could come home and we could be a family again. He would say he hadn't done anything wrong which confused me because by that time I realised that he had done something so wrong and sinister. I'd tell my mum what he had said and how he'd cry, she said it was emotional black mail.
Importantly, it is now recognised that violent men may continue to abuse women and children after they are separated. If there is ongoing contact with the child this can lead to the further abuse or even death of women and children. (Saunders, H. (2004)Twenty-nine child homicides: lessons still to be learnt on domestic violence and child protection, Bristol: Women’s Aid Federation)
Nowadays things are better. My mum divorced my dad and he is going to classes to help him. There are times though when I go see him and he gets angry. He still scares me, and even if any man looks like he is gonna get angry I get scared. The last time my dad hurt me was last year when he said he'd pick us up from school I was a bit late so he left me. I didn't think I was that late so I called mum. She called dad and he came and got me but he was really angry - he chucked my mobile at me and it gave me a huge bruise on my hand which hurt when I wrote.
I'm now 13 years old and decided to find more about domestic abuse because it has not been long since I started to realise the horror I faced when I was young. Has it affected me? In ways yes. Last year I began self harming to get rid of the emotional pain I was going through. I felt I had no one to talk to. With help from my friends I am getting better but its a long road. It has helped me in one way though. Seeing what my mum went through has shown me to always be strong and I will never let a man hit me and if one does and he is my husband/boyfriend I won't give him a second chance, I'll leave. I know many women find it hard like my mum but if it happens to me I hope I can be strong enough so stop it.
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.
Return from Jay' Story- Child Abuse and Domestic Violence to Domestic Violence Stories
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Domestic Violence Stories
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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