” The door slammed close and there is an unsettling feeling in my stomach as I hear the foot steps down the hall and smell the strong odour of alcohol in the air. He has been drinking again and in the silence of the night I hear him verbally abuse everyone in the house, cursing his wife and children provoking a reaction. My siblings sneak into my room with sheer fear on their young faces and climb into bed with me covering their ears with their small hands as we all await in terror what comes next. The yelling begins, two voices screaming for what felt like hours competing to be heard. Then it stops…and all we hear is the sickening sounds of kicking , fists landing on a human body and faint cries to PLEASE STOP! “
Domestic Violence is more common than people think and when I look at the statistics of domestic violence in Fiji, 64 per cent of women have suffered from this form of abuse rating Fiji amongst the highest in the world in violence against women.
But what about the children of domestic violent homes?
Does growing up walking on egg shells around the perpetrator or living in constant fear for your safety affect a child?
The answer is YES! Of course it does!. Witnessing domestic violence in the home when one of their parents are abusing the other plays a tremendous role on the well being and developmental growth of children witnessing the violence. These children may suffer from head aches, bed wetting, fatigue, self abuse, anxiety, aggression , denial, substance abuse, depression, desensitisation to aggressive behaviour, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and may even commit suicide.
As a person who grew up in this environment I can honestly say that it was not easy learning that what was “my normal” wasn’t normal at all and it took years for me to accept how dysfunctional it was and years to “rewire” and change the way I viewed the world. And trust me, breaking the chain and choosing to nurture a healthy relationship with yourself and others is possible. I will share with you 3 ways that can help you change your life.
Children who grow up witnessing domestic violence may feel very isolated and embarrassment about their home situation and hearing a parent use the popular saying ;
” What happens at Home stays at home “
Stamps that emotion into the child forcing the child to repress their sadness and drift further into seclusion. However, I encourage you to speak out and seek help and advice from a trusted school counsellor, a religious leader, your friends and other family, a medical professional and the authorities. Don’t be afraid to talk about what really happens behind closed doors because you have the right to live in a safe environment and sharing your story can help not only another survivor but yourself as well.
NURTURE A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP
Growing up in a home where domestic violence is a normal occurrence may emotionally stunt a persons growth and nurturing a healthy relationship with Oneself and others may prove challenging. But don’t be so hard on yourself and remember that you are not alone. In learning to nurture healthy relationships you need to gradually build your confidence, rebuild your life with things you enjoy, reconnect with loved ones and take time to reflect and recover. It may take awhile but you are well on the way to a better you.
YOU HOLD THE KEY
When transforming your life and breaking bad family habits you hold the cards. After all it is your life. You can choose to let a bad situation define you and victimise you or choose to rise from the ashes like a phoenix and live.
Because you are in control and you will make it through this. You are a survivor.
Thank you for reading this blog and I hope that you find it helpful in your road to recovery. If you have any suggestions on other ways to change your life or would like to share your story, please don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments.
Have a blessed recovery 🌷