Domestic violence is a huge problem in society. It exists more in the lives of women then it does in men. It’s not hugely recognized with men because there is this stigma stuck with us that men are able to defend themselves as opposed to women. But it happens. Men are battered as well.
I grew up in a home where my father openly beat my sisters and I. My mother tried her hardest to defend us, but she also “Stood by her man”. There were three of us only that lived with mom and dad. Remember in my first blog, I mentioned that my oldest sister was not from the same mom, so she really didn’t feel my father’s wrath as much as the three of us did. My second oldest sister left home as soon as she graduated high school. Returning only temporarily after college. She grew tiresome of the constant negativity and decided to pursue a better and brighter future, here in Pennsylvania. A very smart decision on her part.
My third oldest sister however stood for a while. I will admit that she did take several blows for me when my dad went into one of his rages. She did suffer greatly. I stood home with both my parents until the age of 22. My parents became tired of my inability to be responsible, hold a job, and care for my daughter. That didn’t stop my dad from putting his hands on me though. When he hit us, he’d hit us as if we were men on the street. He didn’t care.
I remember once my sister jumped in the middle of him trying to hit me and he beat her with a cordless phone. My childhood friend ran from my home across the street to hers and told her mother. The police showed up shortly thereafter. My father was placed in handcuffs and taken to the 3rd precinct in Bay Shore, NY. The police were no strangers to our home. They were there constantly, if not for my dad, for me! During this particular incident, I remember my mom sitting on the front stoop crying and I was standing next to her. One of the police officers were in front of us just staring at my mother with no remorse. I remember vividly him asking her “Why do you allow this man to beat your daughters?”. Her reply was “It’s discipline”. That cop yelled at my mother from the top of his lungs when she answered with that statement.
Because of the way we grew up, I knew no better. I thought that hitting was a way of life. So any relationship that I was in, I sought to be hit. Boy was I wrong. It became so bad that during my relationship with my third son’s father, he would literally beat me until I bled. In front of my two oldest children. I grew so tired of it that I started to hit back and that was how our relationship continued for several years.
My parents left the state of NY. One year my mother came to visit me while I was in this disastrous relationship. She came with my sister from Pennsylvania to visit. We sat in my living room, my sister and I on one couch and my mother and my ex on the couch directly across from us. We started talking about abuse in relationships. Vividly I recollect my mother saying “I never raised you girls to tolerate a man hitting you!”. My sister KNEW at that point I was going to lash out. She put her hand on my ankle and squeezed so tightly as to say “Shut up, let her vent”, but I just couldn’t. I looked at my mother dead in her eyes and said “You say you didn’t raise us to be hit by a man, but yet you allowed our father to beat us like men!”. She couldn’t say a word. Shock rung though her. She looked at me with such surprise, as if she couldn’t believe her own daughter would respond that way…
Well I did, and I never regret it. It wasn’t until I met Tony, that I realized that hitting wasn’t love. I tested his waters several times before. I tried to get him to hit me because that’s just what I was used to. He never did. He never raised his hand to me. Not even his voice. Tony never argues back, never looks for a fight and if we disagree on something, he will bring it down so that it won’t escalate any further.
Being hit is not fun. Walking around bruised and sore is no more fun than being hit. Worse, the emotional scars that one carries for the remainder of their days is horrendous. I know, first hand. My father and mother are still married till this day. It has been well over 50 years. My dad has changed so much and recognizes that he did his daughters very wrong. My dad also revealed years ago a very frightening family secret. He was brutally abused by his mother. Far more worse than what he did to us.
So you see, abuse is a learned behavior. This might not be a scientific fact, but it is my opinion. We learn what we grow with. If you eat a cherry by it’s stem first, your children are likely to do the same.
There is help out there for battered PEOPLE. Not just women, MEN AS WELL!!! Break the cycle and learn to love yourselves before you lose yourselves. Going through life with external and internal scars is a horrible way to live. Just look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself “Do I deserve this?”. No matter what you feel you’ve done wrong or how bad it seems, no one deserves to be hit.
Stand up to hands up.