TW: The following text contains mentions of domestic abuse, both physical and verbal. It also contains mentions of violence and familial separation.
I have two homes – one where my father lives, and one where my mother and I live. As a child, I had no idea what domestic abuse was, although I lived in a household that was plagued by one. While I was unaware about what those words meant, their essence was marked in my everyday life. My experiences made me slowly aware of just how crucial domestic abuse awareness is.
Heated arguments between my parents was an everyday routine, their voices echoing along the living room walls, and reaching me under my bed, where I would be crouched, trying to block out the nose from my ears and the fear from my heart. With every argument, a part of my innocence would also be lost. I was slowly exposed to the darker side of adult lives at a very young age.
I had no idea that families were not supposed to function like this. Neither did I have any idea how strong my mother was. Every other day, her face would be marked by a new bruise, besides the pain she carried from the verbal abuse my father hurled at her almost every night. Yet she never stopped smiling for me, teaching me to be strong in the weakest of times.
One particular night, I remember an extremely loud argument between my parents. I recall hearing my mom cry out in pain and me running down the stairs to her rescue. I still shiver at the sight before me – my father towering over mom, who was on the floor with bruises on her face. We locked eyes for just a split second and some sort of finality seemed set in her eyes and she recognized a part of my innocence being lost.
The next day, we packed our belongings and left the house. The days that followed were particularly hard for mom, especially in terms of taking care of me while being all alone. By seeking help from support groups, mom working tirelessly to rebuild both our lives. I haven’t been back to our old home since then.
It wasn’t until I was a few years older that I recognized the pattern of domestic abuse that mom had suffered. The discussions we had in school, about mental physical health and the societal factors that affect it revealed to me what mom had suffered through. I slowly learnt the different forms of it and the how it affects the individual. But most importantly, I learnt about how crucial for today society members to be awareness about this issue as well as about the methods to tackle it.
Her resilience and her awareness about the idea of domestic abuse helped her get out of that situation. Despite years having passes since then, she is occasionally still haunted by the memories of those days, which return like the demons of the dark. On those and all the other days, I constantly support and love her. I recognize that she needs and deserves the reassurance and support from me to keep going on.
My father also recognized the impact of his wrongdoings, and began to seek therapy and assistance to help his behavioral tendencies. While he has gotten better over the years, things will never be the same as before. His presence today stands as the scars the past had left in our lives.
Domestic abuse is real. It can happen anywhere, across the world or right down the street. But that does not mean that we must stand helpless in its onslaught. My mother’s story serves as a reminder that domestic abuse awareness can change lives, and that with courage and support, anyone can break free from the cycle of violence and build a brighter future.
( this story is a creation of the writer and not a true story )