I looked on as my father yelled abuses at my mother. He kicked her in the belly, in the same belly that had housed me for nine months. I was scared, I wanted to help but I was scared. Of what help could a 10 year old girl be against a muscular 42 year old man?
It happened all the time. He would yell at her and kick her and beat her to a pulp at the least provocation. His reason today? She had made his food grow cold. How was it her fault that he had come home four hours after she had served his food.
I hear her crying as he turns and fixes those blood red eyes on me. He has been drinking again, I smell it. He looks at me like I am some pest and raises the belt, YOU ARE USELESS, he screams. JUST LIKE YOUR MOTHER.
After that all I hear is the crack of his belt and my mother shouting, LEAVE HER ALONE. I can’t see anything. The tears sting my eyes. I hear the door banging. Shameless man, my mother mutters as she holds me to her bosom. The belt landed on my eye. He blinded me in my left eye and I live with it for life It was only after this he left, but I can’t get the sight of my left eye back.
How do you repair such damage inflicted on a young innocent child caught in a very violent situation, that has now left her scarred for life? she was not born disabled but has been made disabled by the one person that was meant to protect and care for her.
I believe it is very important women are given the voice and support they need to help them leave an abusive and violent situation. Below is a quote from Roia Atmer, a domestic violence survivor.
“But I think the responsibility falls on the community as a whole, not just refuge staff or social workers or police. We must believe women. She knows the situation best. Understanding and trusting women is one of the most important things society can offer to create safety for a woman and help make her decision to leave that bit easier”
It is very important that family and community gives support to women, listen to the silent whispers they make, the silent cry of ‘ help’ in her eyes, the look of hopelessness as she pass you by, the fear in their eyes when the abuser is around.
It is quite understood that much cannot be done until the victim speaks out or ask for help, but if we start to give voice and support to survivors of domestic violence, this will send a powerful message to victims, which will give them voice to ask for help, knowing they will be heard.