Inspirational
Comments 18

What Children Shouldn’t Know

DVribbonWhen There’s Violence in Their Home

On that afternoon when I sprawled on the floor of my office, painting pictures with two little girls, I thought about what is REAL in their young lives.

….the angry words and slamming doors that wake them in the night

….the bruises on their Mama’s face and the sadness in her eyes

….the love they so desperately need that isn’t freely given, or given at a price

….the fear that tomorrow will mean another move, a different school, a brother or sister left behind

….the knowing too much too soon, and the possibility of a future that’s a repeat of their present

domestic-violence

Children — like these little ones brought by their mother to the domestic violence agency where I work and volunteer — are the innocent victims of grown-ups’ bad choices. By no fault of their own, they bear scars they will carry for their rest of their lives.

For these 31 days of October, we work to create awareness of Domestic Violence. For every day of their young existence, these girls and other children like them live it. They live the statistics that confirm violence in the home is a problem — yes, even in our rural Midwestern community. Statistics like these:

  • One woman is abused every 9 seconds.
  • 1 out of every 3 women suffers abuse of some form.
  • 87% of domestic violence is witnessed by children in the home.
  • 40% of those children suffer from anxiety, 48% from depression.
  • Men who as children witnessed their parents’ domestic violence are 6 times more likely to abuse their wives than sons of non-violent parents.

Last week, after I shared these truths and more with those gathered in support of Domestic Violence Awareness, a woman who bears the scars of her parents’ broken lives bravely shared her heart.

April Maley was nine years old when her father killed her mother. After years of abuse, some of it directed at her, he did what he had been threatening to do for some time. He beat her mother, then shot her. And then he pointed the gun at his little girl and told her he hated her.

As April read to us from her own account of that horrible event, her voice choked with memories that were as fresh for her as the day she tried to wipe the blood from her dying mother’s face.

She recounted the angry words and threats hurled at her by the father she had tried to love, and her heart broke all over again.

And we who sat at tables listening, fell silent. We were reliving the terror with her.

“I went to her side and knelt. As I did, one breath released from her body. I realized years later that I was there when she took her last breath, and then she was gone.”

April tells her story of violence and abuse in her book “I Will Not Be Silent”. And when asked, she speaks the unspeakable so that violence in the home wears a face and becomes real to those who might help break the cycle.

Much healing has taken place in the three years since she wrote the book, says April. Her husband, children, family and friends support her as she travels around the country reliving the heartache of a little girl who suffered because of her parents’ choices. She says that maybe someday she will write another book — a book of redemption.

At the close of her book, April writes this:

“I am now walking with God, hand-in-hand, to finish this chapter of my life. I hope to be able to change lives for the better, even if it is only one person at a time. My goal is simple and strong: to show how the cycle of abuse doesn’t have to continue from generation to generation. Certainly I fell into the abyss along the way, but with God’s strength, I picked myself back up and am here to tell people that I’ve seen it from both sides. I had my own issues with abuse, alcohol, and the associated self-created messes, but I have also committed myself to a life of recovery.”

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In support of April’s mission, and to help spread awareness of domestic violence, I am giving away an autographed copy of her book, “I Will Not Be Silent”.

Share a comment about this important issue below, and I will enter your name in a drawing. (If you don’t win the book, you can learn more about April Maley here and order her book here.)

Domestic violence must be stopped. Will you help create awareness — this month and every month?

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This entry was posted in: Inspirational

by

Welcome! I'm so glad our paths have crossed. I am a traveler, just like you. Blessed with four sons in various stages of adulthood, my life is full with following their adventures and working alongside my husband on our small family farm in a beautiful Indiana valley. A writer at heart, this blog is in step with my determination to pause and relish the moments, people and events that challenge, motivate and inspire. Join me on the journey.

18 Comments

  1. Connie says

    Ingrid, I admire your work in this organization. After being at the banquet, and hearing April’s story first-hand, I’m not sure I could read the pages of her book. Shame on me….. so much easier to just not read the book. Ignorance IS bliss. Thank you for all you do for these families, especially the children.

  2. Karen F. says

    This is such a difficult subject, but it needs to be written and spoken about. I hope she can someday write her book about redemption too. What a gift that would be!

  3. It is so sad to see the effect that domestic violence has on children. Perpetrators will sometimes use the excuse that the children were in a different room, so they haven’t harmed their children. We all need to fight together to combat domestic violence to protect not only the victim but their children. They are victims too!!

    • You are absolutely right. And, sadly, the greatest danger is that they are learning harmful behaviors that can carry over into their own relationships. I plan to check out the work you’re doing for Domestic Violence Awareness.

      • Yes, they can grow up believing that they too should put up with abuse in a relationship because they may think that is the norm. We really need to teaching children about healthy relationships as part of the curriculum.
        If there is anything you’d like to know about the work we do don’t hesitate to ask.

  4. Monica Wilson says

    I did not know the statistics were so high. I was not at the banquet, so I was not able to hear her story. I would like to read the book. God bless you and the work that you are doing.

    • Thanks, Monica! Most people don’t know how big this problem is. And we’re seeing more abuse among teens. It’s important to create awareness and offer help.

  5. Aunt Lila says

    Ingrid, Once again need I say what is happening..I wish I could have been involved in this month..I need a release and helping others may just be it..When those who are close to you are hurting, and prayer just doesn’t seem enough, I want to dig in with both feet and help..You just may have hit my nail on the head..Thanks again for all you writings, Love you…

    • Thank you, Lila. It’s tough when we have to stand by and watch. It would be great to see you get involved in this work. We’ll have to talk.

  6. One day my hope is to be able to share my story and help other women be survivors of abuse. I look forward to reading Aprils book and gaining more strength and guidance as I walk this journey to free my life of this abuse and give my 4 boys the future of being strong, non abusing men. I think that making Domestic Violence be known and that its such an important issue will allow women to feel like they don’t have to hide any longer.

    • Thank you, Tish. Shedding light on domestic violence is the best thing we can do for those who feel they have no voice. That, and pointing them toward help and hope. May God strengthen you for the task of sharing your story.

  7. Annette Aumsbaugh says

    I’ve not heard April speak nor do I know her whole story except what I’ve just read. I grew up in a home where I watched my mother be beat by my stepdad on a regular basis. She stayed with him for 8 years. Thankfully she left him before something as horrible as what happened to April’s mother happened. This was taking place in the 60’s and back then as a little girl I would ride my bike to the gas station to call the police and no one would ever come they had been called so many times I guess they just quit coming.

    • My heart breaks for you, Annette. So many children today live in this terror and turmoil. Praise God your Mom left. Thank you for reading this and for responding.

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