Through a Child’s Eyes
By Staff Writer
Children from abusive homes may look perfectly fine to the outside world, but on the inside they are in terrible pain. Family violence can create a home environment in which children may feel threatened and have to live in constant fear. No one should have to live in fear of the person they love.
Domestic abuse is also referred to as: spousal abuse, battering, family violence, or intimate partner violence (IPV). It occurs when one person in a relationship or marriage tries to dominate and control the other person.
Domestic violence is a combination of physical and emotional abuse. Domestic violence and abuse does not discriminate. They occur amongst every one of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels. Emotional and psychological trauma are more severe than the physical toll of abuse. They leave long-lasting scars that can never be erased. Emotional abuse is sometimes overlooked, excused, or denied by the victim.
Gabriele Nieves knows what it is like to live in an abusive home. He was neglected by his stepfather and went through lots of abuse. “I felt like a house slave,” he said.
The thought of going home made him feel nervous and anxious, which led to depression. School became hard for him once The Department of Children and Families (DCF) started coming to the school. It took him years of therapy and communicating with his friends to get over these experiences. Boxing, basketball, and biking became a way for him to relieve his stress.
An article entitled, How Domestic Violence Effects Kids by Kara Tamanini, shows that around 3.3 million children from ages 3-17 witness domestic violence in the United States. Another article, Ten Alarming Domestic Violence Statistics in the Makers of Memories blog post says, “63% of all boys, age 11-20, who commit murder kill the man who was abusing their mother.”
These experiences with domestic violence impacts how a child develops emotionally, socially, behaviorally, and as well as cognitively. The emotional and behavior developments can increase the aggressiveness and anxiety the child has toward others. Many of these children also experience abrupt changes in home, schools, and parental separation.
In some cases the abuser would purposely abuse the mother or father to cause a ripple effect. A ripple effect causes the surrounding people to be affected and causes the event to be repeated. A child seeing their mother being abused can cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in a psychological trauma. These traumatic experiences can lead to depression and self-esteem issues.
John Smith (named changed for privacy purposes) also had to experience home abuse. The person that takes care of John had to experience domestic abuse and as time passed by this is all they had learned. Therefore, they put their children through the same situation. The thought of running away crossed his mind but he didn’t have the courage considering that he wasn’t old enough to decide where he wanted to live. “My cousins showed me how to grow up on my own because no one was going to fight my battles which was good in the long run, but my cousins weren’t the best role models.” He said.
He enjoyed shoplifting, destroying people’s property and making people’s life miserable for his own laughter. However, as years passed by he had his mind set to going to college this way he can get out of his house especially because music became a way for him to vent his emotions.
Some chronic health conditions that have been linked to victims of domestic violence are arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic pain, pelvic pain, ulcers, and migraines. IBS is a disorder that leads to abdominal pain and cramping it is caused by anxiety or depression. Ulcer is a discontinuity of the skin or a break in the skin that stops it from continuing its normal functions.
These children are not to blame for errors that adults have made yet they seem to be being punished for something they had no control over. Sometimes sitting alone in your room isn’t enough for a child to drown out their problems and fears. Mr.Cirincione, a staff member at the high school of Commerce said, “I do not like being around people who are always depressed.”
However, these people need the attention. affection, and approval that their parents have denied them. Their mother is struggling to survive and the father is too consumed in controlling everyone this causes the child to become abandoned physically,emotionally and psychologically. Therefore, they need the presence of an adult who can provide the help and encouragement to keep them from getting into a deeper depression.
Statistics at http://domesticviolencestatistics.org/ say, “Based on reports from 10 countries, between 55 percent and 95 percent of women who had been physically abused by their partners had never contacted non-governmental organizations, shelters, or the police for help”. There are many people who are living in a secret war in which they are forced to try to survive. Places such as: YWCA Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Unit (DVSA) and the Baystate Family Advocacy Center (BFAC) are programs designed to meet the needs of children, women, or families by domestic violence. We shouldn’t let these children go through all this pain and suffering.