Imagine a child who stays late after school, is always tired, who doesn’t take risks, has few close friends, lives in perpetual fear of new people and new situations.
Imagine a child who hides under beds, in closets, behind doors. Imagine a child who is afraid to go home, who is ever vigilant. A child who bullies others or who expects to be bullied. A child who carries a deep dark secret, and a heavy load. Such is the life of a child witnessing abuse at home. Home is a battleground and there is no safe place to hide.
I have worked with children and their moms for over 20 years and the pain these little ones experience always has an impact on me. They struggle with self esteem issues, they carry guilt when they hear their names mentioned in the parental arguments, they are angry, sad and confused. They are also at risk of continuing on the cycle of abuse by becoming either perpetrators or victims in their future adult relationships.
What can we, as a community, do to help these children? We can continue to raise awareness about violence against women. We can continue to financially support services in the area for women and children. We can take a stand against this violence by shining a purple light in our window and letting people know why we are doing this. Children who are witnessing abuse are also experiencing it. It is time to pull the children out from under their beds and show them that our community is full of people who care.
Cheryl Lynne Lacey,
Stopping the Violence Counsellor
Hope and Area Transition Society