What Does Violence Mean To An Eight Year Old?

28 Aug


What does domestic violence mean to an eight year old?  Do you think they’d be able to give you a clear, precise definition?  Should they even know what that is?  They shouldn’t have any idea.  Eight year olds shouldn’t be exposed to things like this, but they are.  My question concerns the parents.  It bothers me that parents allow these things to happen in their home.  A home is supposed to be where children feel safe.  What happens when it’s the complete and utter opposite?  Is it right that so many children dread going home?  When people know certain things go on, they keep them hushed.  They sweep them under the rug or stay silent.  They don’t want to get involved.  They don’t want to start anything or get in the middle of anyone’s personal lives. 

You can try to imagine the terror that an eight year old goes through.  Hell, it doesn’t have to be an eight year old, maybe a six year old.  Even a four year old knows the difference between right and wrong.  A four year old knows that daddy shouldn’t be hitting mommy.  A two year old can hear mommy’s screams.  A twelve year old is almost old enough to maybe be able to physically do something about it but is still afraid to.  After being in a situation for long enough, you’re trapped.  You don’t know what you can possibly do but endure it and hope it stops.  You hope it stops every night.  But it doesn’t. 

I can hear the woman next door from me screaming at her children every day.  Every single day I hear her shrill voice shouting at them and I hear the boys crying.  They’ve looked out their window at me.  I’ve asked them if they were okay.  Are you okay?  Really okay?  They’ve just looked at me and nodded.  Several neighbors have called the police.  The police have gone out several times and found nothing wrong.  If the kids say mommy doesn’t hit them, then she doesn’t, right?  Wrong. 

Kids are so torn between what is in their control and what they want.  Kids will love their parents no matter what when they’re kids.  It’s when they grow up that they might talk about it.  It’s when they realize they have a voice that should be heard that they might say something.  Maybe they never find the courage to say anything at all.  And if they eventually do, it’s usually too late.  That child that was surrounded by destruction and terror is now an adult troubled by years of abuse.  Even worse, that child is now an adult that had to keep the longest running secret of his or her life.  Still, to this day, I bet they think about it; about the past and what exactly that meant.  It’s different for everyone.  Some people never talk about it.  Others grow up to repeat their parents’ patterns.  You either break the chain or keep it going.  What would you do?    


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