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Since our inception in 1993, The Caring Place has written many articles in The Lebanon Enterprise. I have given insight of the feelings and the pain of domestic violence from the point of view of the women who have experienced it. I have explained to you about the struggles of the families who came to us, and what they face daily. We have also given the perspectives from staff.
Today, I am presenting you the heartbreaking perspectives from the eyes of a child. Please keep in mind that this is one child. So far this year, The Caring Place has seen more than 150 come through our doors.
It’s me again. Please let me get a good night’s sleep tonight. I have a spelling test tomorrow and I got to pass it. Mama said I could spend the night at Nana’s if I do. I wish I could I live with her all the time! It’s getting so bad here that I can’t sleep all night because she and daddy fuss so loud. I have to listen real close in case Daddy tries to hit Mama, I have to take care of her because she’s not strong enough to fight him by herself. I’m only nine years old and his fists hurt.
Remember, These are actual words from a child.
Last week, he came home really late and woke everybody up when he tried to pick up the baby and almost dropped her. He started fussing at the baby. He told Mama he didn’t want her or us, he told her she was ugly. Mama asked him in a nice voice to put her back in the baby bed. He broke her arm because he was so mad. The baby and mama were crying. Daddy was yelling at Mama and telling her it was her fault that her arm looked like that because if she left him alone, then she wouldn’t have been hurt. When me and my little brother came in the bedroom to see what was going on, Daddy looked at us like he didn’t even know who we were. The look on his face was really scary!
God, please make Daddy come home tonight in a good mood. Sometimes he is so mad it scares me. Sometimes he is mad and we don’t even know why. God, why does Daddy hate Mama and us kids so much that he wants to hit on her and yell at us all the time? What did we do wrong? Are we that bad? Why does he tell me that I’m not worth anything or call my mom names?
My friend Chad asked me to spend the night at his house two weeks ago. His mom was smiling and talking. His dad talked to me in a nice way and everybody in that house seemed so happy. His mom didn’t look at the floor when she talked to his dad, and he didn’t have to worry about being quiet when his dad got home from work. I was so scared for a second. There was a toy lying on the floor. His dad just picked it up. He didn’t look mad. He didn’t scream or hit anyone.
Chad asked me today if he could spend the night with me. I told him if I pass this spelling test then we would stay at my Nana’s house. So please God, let me get a good night’s sleep tonight. Let my daddy come home in a good mood. Let me pass my spelling test so that my friend won’t know what is going on in my home.
Again, this is just one child. Think about the many children whose voices are never heard.
Editor’s note: Delena Trent is the executive director of The Caring Place, a center for abused women and children that services Marion, Washington, Taylor and Nelson counties. In addition, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.