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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE – THE DEATH OF A CHILD

29 Apr

By Terry Loving

child-in-coffinTrain up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

“Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” Luke 17:1-2

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In homes where domestic violence occurs, fear, instability, and confusion replace the love, comfort, and nurturing children need. These children live in constant fear of physical harm from the person who is supposed to care for and protect them. They may feel guilt at loving the abuser or blame themselves for causing the violence. “Domestic Violence, Understanding a Community Problem,” National Woman Abuse Prevention Fund.”

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PLEASE NOTE: No matter what – abusers are still responsible for their violence and abuse.

I post a lot about the abuse of women, and I have also written about the not so exposed fact that men can and do suffer domestic abuse – yes, it happens. I would like to spend time talking about the children that live in violent homes, the “silent witnesses” to the evil tyranny that destroys many innocent lives.

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 We know that children die in violent homes – fathers, boyfriends, mothers, girlfriends, family members, friends – all at some point have caused the death of a child during a domestic violence incident. Domestic-suicides are on the rise, and sadly children are killed just because they are in the home – no other reason – they are innocent, but often found guilty by association. I personally know of a sweet 9-year old boy who was murdered along with his mother by her live-in boyfriend. The child was watching cartoons, and had done nothing wrong. His mother’s abuser called him “a momma’s boy.”

frightened_child_14694662

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Today, I want to focus on the death of children that are still living. Some label what happens to abused children as a “death of the spirit,” and rightly so. Even though the child who constantly witnesses violence and perhaps suffers abuse directly is growing up physically, their inner core – their innocent free spirit is murdered, and they spend their entire lives trying to unsuccessfully resurrect the dead child. They spend their lives in confusion and pain – left unto themselves to put the pieces of their shattered souls together to make sense of what they endured.

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One of the reasons that I held off writing this post, is the fact that I cannot speak for the children without disclosing my own painful experiences – they have shaped my life – and not in many positive ways. Not only are my experiences traumatic, but they are embarrassing, humiliating, sinful, evil, shameful and have caused relationship confusion over the course of my life.

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Perhaps much of the same scenario is within abusive homes without the presence of alcohol or drugs – from my standpoint however, I can only speak about a home filled with alcoholism and violence. My two brothers and I suffered in many ways – for me – unspeakable horror.

Disciplining Children through Beating

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For the women who are desperately trying to leave abuse, I commend you and please do not take offense to what I have written. Many of you are not alcoholics, poor, uneducated and selfish – my mother was all of these and more.It is my belief that if we are going to expose the horrors of domestic violence and abuse, we have to cover all areas. This evil comes in many forms and the perpetrators can be male or female.

I do not look down on my mother because of her lack of education and her constant poverty – but know this, alcoholism creates and exasperates poverty in many cases. I say my mother was “selfish” because she had many options to leave abuse, get help for her alcoholism, place her children in safe care, but she chose none of these options when presented. Alcoholism is an extremely selfish “disease” as it has been labeled. The Bible does not see this lifestyle as a “disease.”

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Proverbs 20:1 “Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.”

Isaiah 5:11 “Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine.”

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Children immersed in a culture of violence become insecure and lack an inner conscience that holds respect for others. They are easily discouraged and have low self-esteem. They live without hope. From such a life comes confusion, hostility and violence.” Roger Toogood, ASW/ACSW Executive Director, Children’s Home Society of Minnesota

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 CHILD_ABUSE_by_COR_IESU

There are many abused women who suffer abuse at the hands of one man for years. And there are others who continually find themselves in one abusive relationship after another – this is the case with my mother. She was not married to either of her abusers, and separated from my father whom she was married to. I never heard of my father abusing her, however, he had an alcohol problem as well. He left my two brothers and me when I was 3-years old.

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As an adult, I cannot understand why she allowed herself to be treated so badly. Out of all of her siblings, she was the only one that I know of beaten by violent men. Many of the men in our generation were alcoholics, and only one uncle was violent when he drank his poison of choice. I never heard of my mother being mistreated as a child, although her father left when she was young as well. I tried to connect the dots, but she is the only one who lived this way constantly.

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“Approximately one third of the men counseled for battering are professional men who are well respected in their jobs and in their communities. These have included doctors, physiologists, lawyers, ministers and business executives.” David Adams, “Identifying the Assaultive Husband in Court: You Be the Judge.” Boston Bar Journal, July/August, 1989.

 drunk-women

 Many times my brothers and I were hungry. I can remember going to bed hungry, getting up hoping there was breakfast at least, and going to school on the same empty stomach that I went to sleep on the previous night. There was no shortage of alcohol, only food. I can still see myself getting off the school bus with fingers crossed that there would be food at home – sometimes there was, and many times not. This is one of the atrocities of domestic violence and alcoholism.

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The wars at home are forever pressed in my mind. I can still see and hear that little girl screaming, “LEAVE MY MOMMY ALONE!” I can still hear the sounds of glass breaking, body slamming, screaming, and see ever still the sight of blood. I was in my thirties when I stopped having nightmares, and at the age of 61, I still have flashbacks and painful memories that haunt me and they will never go away.

foodad_hungrgychildren

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My brothers grew up and learned to abuse their wives. My oldest brother’s wife left him, and he abused a girlfriend that took his life. He was an alcoholic as well. Our home was a haven for anyone, young or old who desired to drink, smoke cigarettes and party. My other brother became a Christian and ceased to abuse his wife, they are still together – he refused to bail like my father did. I cannot say much more about him for he is still alive.

 

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Children often times rely on the abusers for food and shelter, but secretly wish they would disappear or die. I hated to see my mother’s abusers come home, and yet – I was glad to see any signs of hope that we would eat. If the abuser decided to stay away, especially when he got paid and my mother did not have money, we starved. During bouts of hunger I learned false pride. I had one or two friends then, and when I was offered food at their home I would kindly say, “I’m OK.” They knew I was hungry but they did not press the issue if I refused.

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We constantly moved due to evictions of non-payment of rent. We moved so much our family members called us “Gypsies.” I never understood that as a child. In the 60’s and 70’s, the Constable would plaster a bright orange eviction notice on the brick wall outside of the house. Everyone that passed by knew we were being kicked out. Often times we would have to bathe in cold water, and wash clothes in the bathtub. When the water went cold, and the food was scarce trouble was on the horizon.

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eviction

I was molested in the first or second grade – I cannot remember which. My mother had a job at the time, and she trusted one of her boyfriends to watch me because I was home from school with a cold. The memory is so vivid that I can still see the teddy bears on my pajamas. This was my first introduction to the male anatomy. I never told my mother because the devil threatened to “kill her.” Of course I believed him – why not – he beat her bloody, why not kill her too?

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Worst of all, my own mother betrayed me for alcohol. She got drunk with no money, and I paid the price. I wrote the details in my book – one that I have been too ashamed to publish – but asking God to give me strength if it will help someone else.

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I was always ashamed to bring friends home, which is why I had one or two. I would mostly go to visit at their home. I hated for anyone to see my mother drunk and I was very embarrassed. Our home was embarrassing as well – it looked like a war zone, and very dismal.

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HEALTH Alcohol 074058

I have given you the short version of some of the things I suffered as a child. I can tell you straight up, children witnessing domestic violence will kill the child that was meant to laugh and play like children should. I was never a child. I had to cook, clean, take care of the home and an alcoholic mother. I do not have fun child-hood memories that children should have. I mostly remember wars, betrayal and things I will take to my grave.

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 “Survivors of domestic violence face high rates of depression, sleep disturbances, anxiety, flashbacks, and other emotional distress.”  http://www.safehorizon.org/index/what-we-do-2/domestic-violence–abuse-53/domestic-violence-the-facts-195.html

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All of the above is true – survivors carry a ton of weight and the “flashbacks” never cease. I can watch a movie, read a book, work my ministry and my mind will click with another horrible memory. The sad part is, I struggle with my feelings towards my mother. The Bible admonishes us to forgive so that we ourselves can be forgiven. The problem is this, I will remember something, get angry, cry, and forgive – but the cycle continues to a point that I despise her over and over again. We did not have to go through her messed up life. She was selfish, and claimed to love her children, but she did not. Again, if you do not fit into this category please do not take my pain personally. Do all you can to not allow your own children to suffer and repeat the cycle of domestic violence and abuse.

depression

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I saved the statistics until last because I needed to make this post more personal. I have adult friends that have suffered and shared, but others who act like they were not affected – I do not believe that.

Another thing that bothers me is this – when children grow up under these circumstances, family members especially, neighbors and sometimes friends never consider the source. They will say things like, “Don’t let your daughter hang out with her,” or “He was a mean little boy.” They never say, “Man, they sure messed those kids up!” Domestic violence and abuse will kill your children literally and spiritually. Get out if you can!

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Save your children! You owe them that much and more. If not, they will pass on family dysfunction to the next generation. Every area of their lives will be affected, trust me – I know.

Don’t let your children die!

Ignoring the consequences of exposure to violence on children can negatively impact their cognitive development as well as their emotional and physical health (Edleson, 1999). Complicating these risks and negative impacts is the fact that these children are at higher risk for child maltreatment, with estimates indicating that as many as 70% of children exposed to domestic violence are also victims of child maltreatment (Fantuzzo & Mohr, (1999)

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COMMENT ON VIDEO

“I grew up in a home where I would have to fight my father to allow my mother to get away. There were times where I had to get my bb gun at 11-12 years old and aim at my father just to get his attention. The fights my parents had were bad, they dealt a damage to one another all the time but my dad had the advantage. Idk.. stuff like this just never leaves. Theres not a day that goes by where I dont stop thinking about it and this is 6-7 years later. No child should grow up in a home with violence.

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COMMENT ON VIDEO

“Some parents shouldn’t be parents at all. I was abused by a borderline personality disorder (look up the movie Mommie Dearest) mother and a father that enabled her behavior and many times participated in the humiliation, beatings, lies along with physical and mental abuse. My sisters and I suffer in our adulthood and we’ll continue suffering until the day we die. This type of pain never goes away.”

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COMMENT ON VIDEO

“i think i suffer a different degree of PTSD. Domestic verbal abuse and parents would argue all the time. But after all of that stopped my mother dies in a car accident. I still remember the day, songs i heard, games i played, book i read, and the warrant officer who told me the bad news. PTSD is hell in your brain. I cant socialize, have fun, and be an amusing human like i used to. it’s like half of your soul dies. time can heal it as it’s doing for me. but there will always be a scar.”

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5 Ways Domestic Violence Causes Harm to Children

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“Children may exhibit emotional problems, cry excessively, or be withdrawn or shy. Children may have difficulty making friends or have fear of adults. Children may suffer from depression and excessive absences from school. Children may use violence for solving problems at school and home. Children may be at greater risk of being a runaway, being suicidal, or committing criminal acts as juveniles and adults. Children who are experiencing stress may show it in different ways, including difficulty in sleeping, bedwetting, over-achieving, behavior problems, withdrawing, stomach aches, headaches and/or diarrhea.”

“Children who grow up in violent homes have much higher risks of becoming drug or alcohol abusers or being involved in abusive relationships, as a batterer or a victim. Children do not have to be abused themselves in order to be impacted by violence in the home.”    http://www.clarkprosecutor.org/html/domviol/effects.htm

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Parenting after Separating from Your Abusive Ex — by Dr George Simon Jr

“Remember that you have no power over the nature and quality of the relationship your children will have with your ex. And it’s extremely counterproductive to carry out a covert war against your abusive ex through your children. It will only demonize you in their eyes and invite them to over-idealize their character-deficient other parent. Instead, focus intently on the nature of your own relationship with them.”

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Effects of Domestic Violence on Children

“It was reported in 1992 that 63% of children between the ages of 11 and 20 who were in prison, were there because they killed their mother’s batterer.”

“Do statistics like this startle you? Do they make you think about the kind of situation the child must have been in to even think of murder as a solution? Sadly more children than you might think live in homes where domestic violence occurs on a regular basis.”

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Child Protection in Families Experiencing Domestic Violence

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PTSD in Children and Adolescents

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Post-traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents Exposed to Family Violence: I. Overview and Issues

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Women, Domestic Violence, and Posttraumatic Stress

Disorder (PTSD)*

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Child murder by mothers: patterns and prevention

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RISKS POSED TO CHILDREN FROM VIOLENT HOMES

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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND ALCOHOL

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THE THINGS WE DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT

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Domestic Violence: A Power Struggle With Lasting Consequences

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http://emily.last-memories.com/

“Child Abuse is real. It’s not something in fairy tales, or songs. It happens every day. Children cannot fight the real life monsters in their life, it’s our job as human beings with hearts to do it for them. We have to stop being silent and covering up. We must take a stand. We must continue the fight to stop child abuse. It’s too late to change what happened to Emily but let her story be a reminder to you, that we have to put an end to child abuse. For Emily, for the future of our children.”

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Alcohol is one of Satan’s tools of destruction. The book of Wisdom warns of becoming partakers and shows the results:

“Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has contentions? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
Those who linger long over wine,
Those who go to taste mixed wine.
Do not look on the wine when it is red,
When it sparkles in the cup,
When it goes down smoothly;
At last it bites like a serpent
And stings like a viper.
Your eyes will see strange things
And your mind will utter perverse things,
And you will be like one who lies down in the middle of
the sea,
Or one who lies down on top of a mast.
They struck me, but I did not become ill;
They beat me, but I did not know it.
When shall I awake?
I will seek another drink.”

(Proverbs 23:29-35)

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“Child abuse casts a shadow the length of a lifetime.”
– Herbert Ward

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bastard out of carolina

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

“This fine but shocking drama (which Ted Turner paid for and then refused to show on his cable outfits), based on the novel by Dorothy Allison, concerns extensive abuse endured by a girl (Jena Malone) at the hands of her stepfather (Ron Eldard), while her mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh) looks the other way. Anjelica Huston made her directorial debut with this film and demonstrates that talent also runs in the family when behind the camera. Difficult to watch but mitigated by Huston’s intelligent approach and sense of balance–as well as outstanding performances–this is a significant film best left to the most mature audiences. –Tom Keogh”

What’s more, Bone’s mother has to choose between her daughter and the man she loves.

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http://www.spiritual-side-of-domestic-violence.org

No portion of this web site may be copied, edited, or used in any form without prior permission.

© Spiritual Side of Domestic Violence Org., 2009-2013
All rights reserved.

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8 Comments

Posted by on April 29, 2013 in PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM ABUSE

 

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8 responses to “DOMESTIC VIOLENCE – THE DEATH OF A CHILD

  1. eahill58

    April 30, 2013 at 6:11 am

    Thank Terry for another wonderful article, painful as it is to read, you are very Brave to share, such a painful time, it will help others.My son is 23 now, and has Autism and learning dificulties,he will never have a Normal life,Marry, have children,like his brothers and sisters do,because at 18 months old he saw His father try to kill me, his development stopped there for many years.
    I have struggled to forgive His father, and myself, for not making hIs Father leave before he was born.
    My three oldest children have all suffered in different ways,Nathan 31,is a very anxious Person,always expecting things to go wrong,i am the only oerson who he shows how he really suffers,My eldest Daughter Rosanna,has suffered deppression,and our relationship has suffered because my second Husband also an Abuser stalks me, and true to type has done His best to ruin every relationship in my life,but He failed!
    My youngest daughter, Tash,was depressed as a teenager, and i home schooled her for a while,both my Girls have healthy relationships, with good non-abusive Men.
    They all saw too much from Jon,their stepdad,i remember Vividly being encouraged to get up from the floor after being beaten, heavily pregnant by Rosanna aged 5,while the others covered in the corner.Now she has ‘forgoten’ much of her childhood,at least thats what she claims,I hope so Much that the Lord has wiped their memories,they are all sucessful in their lives are nice People, not at all Due to me, but the Lord who has answered Mine and many others Prayers, but then i have a suspicion, probably prompted by the Enemy, that i am lying to myself!!
    The Effects never end though, and from the Day that the Pyscologist said’ Bens Autism is caused by Trauma,seeing His Mum being strangled’ .
    ,I made His Dad leave finally when He was 18months old, after the others begging me many times not to tke Him back before this, but we all know the ‘silver tongue’ persuasiveness of Abusers,we doubt our own MEMORIES eventually!
    Unknown to me i was pregnant again, after He had begged me for sex and promised to ‘withdraw’,i didnt want to have Sex with him EVER AGAIN,as we have all done,we give in for the sake of peace and the very real threat of a Fist in the Face,being a Selfish man of course knowing i didn’t want Sex, and His promise to ‘Withdraw’,he still went ahead, didn’t ‘withdraw’.
    I remeber talking to my Mum on the Phone,( He had driven my family away), and saying,’I am going to have to bring this baby up on my own,or i may lose it’crying bitter tears,remembering being kicked in my Pregnant belly before.I had made Him leave at this point, but was so terrified of being talked into taking Him back.
    So although the baby Joe did not witness any Violence towards me, he has grown up very troubled,and ran away from home at sixteen,to His Dad, who then abused Him,so now he knows,and has heard His Dad call me not ‘all there’ just a few weeks ago, he defended me, now does not want to see His Father ever again.
    It never ends,my oldest three seem to be going on with their lives,but Ben and Joe, seem to be lost in this Evil world….I know i would not be Here now if it was not for the Lord, He has done much healing in me,and my children, we all have a way to go,i pray for them every day to come to Him,and every night Ben comes to my room, sits on the Bed, waiting for me to Pray…He encourages me!!…
    It is painful, we make decisions for ourselves,as Adults, we choose to forgive,the Kicks Punches, name calling,we make peace,do the best we can in a bad situation, but our children dont,we all pay the Price.

     
    • ssofdv

      April 30, 2013 at 11:59 am

      eahill58, I thank God for you and your honesty. I am very sorry to hear that your children have been affected by the violence – this is an unfortunate result of witnessing such an evil.

      I don’t think I am as much “brave” as I am in pain. I am tired of carrying around this weight that causes so much depression in my life. For me, exposing the truth helps me to be real about my life at home with my mother. I loved her, protected her, tried to fight for her – and she betrayed me. I blamed myself for things that she and her abusers should have owned. As an adult, I am learning to place the responsibility where it belongs.

      Mine and your situation is common, although not many people will be as honest about it. On the other hand, there is a level of ignorance that causes both the abuser and the abused alike to not understand what is happening to the children that witness the violence. Of course, the abusers do not care. The children are invisible unless they too are targets of the abuse.

      You are correct, “…the effects never end.” Your “baby Joe” may not have witnessed violence towards you, but the unborn are affected as well.

      “It is painful, we make decisions for ourselves,as Adults, we choose to forgive,the Kicks Punches, name calling,we make peace,do the best we can in a bad situation, but our children dont,we all pay the Price.”

      I could not agree more. It is the children who pay the ultimate price. Whether the abused parent lives or dies, the children bear the brunt of the madness and have many difficulties in life as you well know. There should be stiffer penalties towards abusers who allow children to witness their evil. After all, they are damaging a life – for life! And we wonder why there are so many angry children in this world. This is one of the reasons.

      Many women try as hard as they can to save the relationship, change their abusers, and give up their sanity to stay with abusers they love. It takes education and paramount love for your child or children, most of all yourself to walk away if possible, and save the child. Men come and go; your children are yours for life.

      I am very happy that you are free from abuse. More so, I am grateful for your response to this post. It is my hope and prayer that your children will find peace within themselves, and go on to live productive lives. Keep praying for them as you do, always.

      Peace be unto you and your children.

       
  2. Andrea Canter

    May 1, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Domestic violence among children is a pitiful and disgusting act. Typically, children who suffer from physical abuse also suffer to neglect in a high degree. Not only does it leave physical scars, but it also leaves mental scars. Knowing that most children who are physically abused at home are more likely to abuse there own children is a very scary thought. In many cases, they grow to have issues such as bipolar disorder.

     
    • ssofdv

      May 1, 2013 at 9:54 am

      Andrea, I could not agree with you more – you are so right!

      Sadly, when adults are selfish and thinking of their own pleasures and comfort, physical abuse and neglect of children happen – too often. The damage to the mind is immeasurable, and lasts a lifetime.

      Thank you for helping to expose this atrocity.

      Peace

       
  3. ssofdv

    May 9, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    This comment was left in response to my post, “Domestic Violence and Victim Blaming.” I feel that it says a lot in reference to this post as well.

    seagreen415 commented on DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND VICTIM BLAMING

    I appreciate your blog. As a survivor of chronic and long term domestic violence, I have been blamed too. Nobody seems to understand that chronic victims learn to become chronic victims when they have no choice in the matter- when they are impressionable children being indoctrinated by the violence they see in every day life.

    Long before I ever became a victim as an adult, I was a victim as a child. I used to see my female peers being abused by their first boyfriends in middle school. I always said “I’d never let that happen to me.” What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was and had always been conditioned by certain dysfunctional dynamics throughout my childhood that left me with absolutely no sense of personal boundaries. In essence, my body did NOT belong to me, nor did my thoughts or feelings. I was never taught that I had a right to say NO!

    It was a natural course for me to hook up with an abuser as woman not once, but twice. It took great insight and an angel in the form of a caring stranger to make me realize what was wrong and to finally break free.

    Thank you for your words and help in getting the message across…….

     
    • ssofdv

      May 13, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      Adult Children of Alcoholics
      World Service Organization, Inc.

      http://www.adultchildren.org/

      A recommended safe place to share your grief and pain.

      “Many of us found that we had several characteristics in common as a result of being brought up in an alcoholic or other dysfunctional household. We had come to feel isolated, and uneasy with other people, especially authority figures. To protect ourselves, we became people-pleasers, even though we lost our own identities in the process. All the same we would mistake any personal criticism as a threat. We either became alcoholics (or practiced other addictive behavior) ourselves, or married them, or both. Failing that, we found other compulsive personalities, such as a workaholic, to fulfill our sick need for abandonment.”

      “We lived life from the standpoint of victims. Having an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, we preferred to be concerned with others rather than ourselves. We got guilt feelings when we stood up for ourselves rather than giving in to others. Thus, we became reactors rather than actors, letting others take the initiative. We were dependent personalities, terrified of abandonment, willing to do almost anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to be abandoned emotionally. Yet, we kept choosing insecure relationships because they matched our childhood relationship with alcoholic or dysfunctional parents.”

      “These symptoms of the family disease of alcoholism or other dysfunction made us ‘co-victims’, those who take on the characteristics of the disease without necessarily ever taking a drink. We learned to keep our feelings down as children and kept them buried as adults. As a result of this conditioning, we confused love with pity, tending to love those we could rescue. Even more self-defeating, we became addicted to excitement in all our affairs, preferring constant upset to workable relationships.”

      “This is a description, not an indictment.”

      Adapted from The Laundry List

       
  4. Phyllis

    July 9, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the challenges.
    It was definitely informative. Your website is extremely helpful.
    Thank you for sharing!

     
    • ssofdv

      July 9, 2013 at 3:35 pm

      Phyllis, you are very welcome! Thank you for stopping by.

      Peace

       

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