The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children
Domestic violence happens more than most people think. It happens in households with high incomes just as much as it does in poor households. It really doesn’t matter what religion, race or political party you are. Most people from every walk of life have experienced domestic violence or know someone that has experienced it. We all feel terrible when we hear the horrific stories of the victims of domestic violence, but the victims that are affected the most are the children. When children are exposed to domestic violence in their households it can have a devastating effect on them that can sometimes last a lifetime.
I grew up watching my mother being abused by my father. My mother eventually healed from the physical wounds, but I don’t think she ever recovered emotionally. I am so happy that my mother had the courage, with four small children, to leave my father. The effect of witnessing domestic violence in my home was life changing. As a child it was a secret that you could never tell to anyone so you begin to withdraw from friends and family so that no one will ever find out.
As I got older the effects of domestic violence surfaced in my relationships with men, my behavior in school, my confidence was gone, and I experienced unexplained fears of things that people do every day. I made a vow to myself that I would never allow my children to be exposed to domestic violence. I taught them to respect and love each other. I tried to create a home of peace where my children could always feel safe. I sometimes think because of the domestic violence I experienced, it changed me into a different person, and I sometimes wonder where I would be today had I not gone through that.
Parents need to really realize that you are not only hurting your spouse when you are violent, but you are forever affecting your children’s lives. There is no rewind button to fix the permanent damage that is done when your child witnesses this kind of violent behavior. I have never publicly talked about this, but I feel like I want to share my story to help others that may be experiencing domestic violence or for those that are the doing the battering. If you are being battered and you have children, please think of your children and leave. It may be hard and you may suffer financially and emotionally for a while, but you will be saving your children from a lifetime of ill effects from witnessing such violence. If you are the one battering, please get help. There are many places you can go to ask for help. Talk to you physician, your pastor, talk to friend and ask for help. Children are innocent victims and don’t deserve to be emotionally abused.
Lastly, I would like to say if you see a child that you believe is being abused or witnessing abuse in their home, it is your responsibility as a citizen to call law enforcement and try to save that child. Please don’t look the other way, because so many children are suffering a lifetime of emotional turmoil because of the horrible violence they witness.