When I was a little girl I thought violence was normal. It was not uncommon for my father to come home screaming, whip off the belt, smack us with his hands and fists, throw us against walls, forcefeed us, stuff our mouths with tabasco sauce, lock us in rooms and other such inhuman treatment…but this was life, this was normal. My entire neighborhood knew what was going on, the weird part is some people liked my father more than the rest of us. It took almost a decade of this treatment before my mother was able to leave. It was hard, we had to hide and leave everything. We dealt with him stalking us, restraining orders and the disappearance of our entire way of life. But my mother was strong, she fought and fought and fought. He did find us but my mother was always quick to inform police and gather evidence. My mom was unrelenting in court. She got us our house back and my father was forbidden from ever seeing us again. Me and my siblings all suffer from anxiety and PTSD as well as the emotional loss of a father and confusion as to why this happened to us. But all of us are in college now, my mother just finished law school and we are alive. WE ARE ALIVE! And if she had not been strong we might be dead, we would be alot worse off and we would not have the amazing chances we have now. I’ll never forgot the silence of my neighborhood, and when I pass by the “Garden of Rememberance” for domestic violence victims in my town I am angry and hurt at the way we were put out of site and out of mind. I think about how many other children whose moms could not get to where my mom finally got, and all i can hope and beg for is that if you know someone is being abused you inform the proper authorities because by being silent you only help their abuser.

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