By: Saadia White
In the United States, it is estimated that one in four women, one in nine men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. This violence includes physical, sexual, emotional, economic, and psychological abuse by a current or former intimate partner. But what we don’t discuss enough is the one and fifteen CHILDREN that are exposed to this violence and that according to the (NCDAV) 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.
The impact on their mental health is just as astronomical as the victims of abuse. Children who witness abuse are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. They are also more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as drinking, drugs, and promiscuous sex. There are some laws in place to protect children from being abused, but definitely not enough and there is certainly not enough being done to protect their wellness after witnessing abuse. This needs to change. Trauma can have a lasting impact on a child’s mental health and development.
These children are the generational survivors!!!
Generational survivors are those who have witnessed abuse in their homes or been abused and survived. They are the children of trauma survivors who have passed down their trauma and in some cases their resilience to their children. These children are often fearful of speaking out about what they have witnessed in their homes, but they are also incredibly resilient. Recovery is possible for these children, and they offer hope for the future.
I am one of those Generational Survivor as a child I witnessed the Vicious and Violent attacks on my mother at the hands of her abuser. I was not in a good place mentally after witnessing the brutal beatings my mom took and I also became a victim of child sex abuse at the very same hands of her abuser.
I didn’t feel whole, nor did I feel like I could trust anyone.
When I finally told what happened to me my mother really didn’t seem to acknowledge it…. As a matter of fact she flat out said she did not believe me!
So I never received any therapy and even if she had acknowledged what took place in that time therapy especially in the black community was frowned upon.
That OLE saying “What happens in the Home Stays in the Home” it was forbidden to speak out against your parents or in my case a Step one…
As a time grew and I had to confront my ugly past alone I felt ashamed, confused and had very low self esteem, I was a chronic runaway beginning at the age of 9 and I continued to runaway even as a teenager entering into many toxic relationships. Needless to say I carried that toxic behavior into my adulthood years.
It was a very difficult time for me, I never had the courage to speak about the abuse that took place all those years ago. Although the nightmare continued to replay in my mind Daily!
My journey to healing did not begin until I was well into my thirties.
I often wonder if my mother knew what my non verbal cues were maybe she would have gotten us out of there sooner….maybe we COULD have both received therapy.
I will always be thankful for finding my way back to GOD and building my own relationship with him and receiving therapy….GOD and Therapy are the two attributes I could and can not live without!!!
I’m grateful that I was able to find resilience and overcome what happened.
Today, I’m an advocate for mental and emotional wellness, and I help others who are going through similar experiences. If you’re a survivor, know that you’re not alone and that there is hope for a better future.