I am very familiar first hand with the fear that comes from being exposed to violence.
I was only a small child when my father passed away and my mother remarried, the man she married was very controlling and violent. The police were at our house after these episodes that shook the very core of my sister and my childhood from the time we were age 3 until we left home after high school. My mother was emotionally absent and there were violent altercations that led to property damage in our home.
My sister and I would be under neath our beds screaming in fear and traumatized by this. We were never allowed to speak of what was going on in the home and craved time with our loving grandparents.
After 8 years of this my mother divorced our stepfather and remarried again to yet another man who was controlling and violent and we also had moved away from our family of origin 3000 miles and felt very alienated.
Our new step father was a member of the chino mounted police and had fire arms in the house. One evening my sister and I were in bed , we were age 10 and 11 and there was a fight in the living room, our step father had our mother down on the floor with his gun to her head and yelled at her, First I am going to kill you then I am going to kill your 2 kids. I froze in absolute fear, my sister had the ware with all to open the bedroom window and jump out and run down the road to get help. we were living in a rural area and she managed to go to the nearest neighbors house and they contacted the police and sheriffs department. I was in bed frozen in a mental tomb of silence and terror.
I felt I could not leave my mother and and hoped something would happen to stop this all from happening. The next thing I was aware of is our home was surrounded by police and spotlights. an officer was talking over a loud speaker of sorts to get our step father to surrender. this went on for some time and eventually our step father did walk out and surrender to police and they took his gun away and put him in jail to calm him down or what they called a chill out time. he came back home 10 days later which was not desired by my sister or myself but we were kids and did not have much choice in the matter. after a few years our mother divorced him but we had already graduated from high school and left home.
Being raised around violence is challenging and traumatizing in itself but thanks to the compassion and strength of others we survived this and moved on. My sister ended up working in corrections at a prison and also on SWAT team which seems ironic. she also helped inmates to a better life and organized sweat lodges and faith groups in the prison she worked in. she developed a great sense of humor and exercised a great deal of compassion towards others.
I went to university and also did a lot of volunteer work. I founded Standing Tall A social justice organization and also did public events to address the issues of violence which were covered by TV, Radio and news papers.
Even though we were constantly confronted as children and young adults by violence we not only survived we moved forward to face the monster that frightened us as children.
That particular boogie man has no more power in our lives
This post was submitted in response to The Opposite of Violence.