Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Domestic Violence and Children

In the domestic violence training I teach we watch a video called SinnaMan (Angry Man in English). It gives a highly accurate account of DV from the child's perspective. While Boi is hiding under the covers in his room as his father decimates the living room Boi's pictures on his wall tell a story as they come to life. One of the things we know is that even when kids are in another room and not "seeing" the violence they are imagining it.  Sometimes their imaginations are even worse than reality. Their fears are larger than life, understandably so.

The night my mom left my dad he took his pistol into my bedroom while I was in the living room saying goodbye to my mom.  He shot the gun. In my head I saw and heard, can still see and hear, a herd of buffalo running through our house. It was how my young brain could understand the danger, the fear, the sound.

I was a little girl obsessed with "Indians" and the Wild West.  A buffalo stampede is what I felt I was stuck in.  It was terrifying and I wasn't sure if any of us would make it out alive.  Thankfully we did.  Just barely. Enough that my obsession has turned from all things Native Americans to helping other families survive and conquer domestic violence.

Kids see the violence.  They don't sleep through it.  They hear it.  They cower under their beds in fear. They see the aftermath--the bruises, the mess.  They feel the tension as it builds.  They believe that if they change how they act it will get better.

For more information on the effects of domestic violence on children please check out this video featuring Dr. Bruce Perry

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