Domestic Violence & the War on Our Girls
Each year millions of young girls, women, young boys, and men experience first-hand the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual effects of domestic violence. Each year, millions of people go unheard. As the story of Bresha Meadows, a young fifteen year-old girl who shot and killed her father while sleeping in their home, circulates the web I can only imagine what pain has took place in the young girls life throughout these short years. Tomorrow, October 6, 2016, Bresha Meadows will face a prosecutor to decide if she will be tried as an adult, or given the support and protection she needs in light of these traumatic circumstances. Yesterday I learned that Bresha is now on suicide watch and that led me to question many areas of support, restoration, love, and prevention that are still left untouched in our society for victims of domestic violence and various other commonplace tragedies, especially affecting young children.
Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio not too far from where Bresha grew up, and experiencing since the age of two my very own mother deal with the cycle of domestic violence this story alone strikes many cords within my own memory. As an outsider, or one who has never experienced the effects of domestic violence and abuse, especially from an age where you are most vulnerable and tainted it can be hard to see the affected as nothing more than a mere victim. As a young girl, watching my mother being hit, disrespected, threatened, subject to fear, and more at the hands of a lover not only took a mental toll on me but my sisters as well. To this day we still deal with the effects of trauma in ways even we do not at times recognize and I believe the buck needs to stop somewhere. It is time we protect our young girls.
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1 in 4 women have been victims of severe physical domestic violence in their lifetimes. Surprisingly enough this does not stop these sorts of tragedies from taking place. With knowledge of these statistics and many more, young girls are still left to find hope in their homes or situations all amidst the fears of simply living. The psychological effects for young girls can be ever-present and far more damaging if left un-talked about, unaddressed, and unheard for any reason. To be present today, in a world where a young black girl is on the verge of losing her life either at the hands of the system or in regards to her current state truly saddens me. I am all too familiar with nights of not being able to tell family members about the pain we were all enduring at home, being too fearful to speak up, and being too small to fight for myself or my mother, and being too drifted into this unsightly domestic normalcy to fight anymore.
I pray for the mental healing of children and young girls who have not had the strength to fight. I hope for a world who sees psychological abuse and scarring as big of a misfortune as it truly is. I hope that future girls will have the support, the therapy, and the love they need to be salvaged from domestic corruption before it is all too late.
I have shared a small poetry piece in light of this story and in respect to all of the children/young girls who have ever had to carry the burden of domestic violence with them:
“When home is a hell, a young girl cries and is not heard. When home is a hell, a young girls voice is what shakes the ground, stirs up the devil, splits her in between the two who have birthed her. When home is a hell, it is hot, and the girl is too thirsty, her mouth is too dry, her body is too weary, to fight. When home is a hell, she dreams of leaving - but what is leaving when she still cannot flee the hurt? When home is a hell, she can only trust herself and most days she is not even sure if she is herself, or if she too is becoming someone else. When home is a hell, a young girl tries cracking open the sky while she sleeps. Forgets what winter feels like in the city. Cannot fix her lips to speak. The abuser becomes only animal and in the mind she is prey and only prey. Not daughter, not friend, not child. She is waiting to be swallowed. The fear lives inside her young, ripe, and sweltering belly. She would eat but there is no room for anything but the pain and fleeting moments of stillness and normalcy. But what is normal, when home is a hell? And the hell becomes familiar. And the years have been far too many. And the warmth that was once there between the two who birthed her has become the unbearable heat that scorches all who have known it. She watches as some remnants of said love comes, and goes, and comes, and goes, then just goes all together. Learns to smile instead of cry, to suck on her saliva when she is thirsty, to take her mother’s bruises for souvenirs of sentiment. She adapts to the heat, until her skin smells of smoke and space. She learns to watch with every eye open as love burns. As everything she loves burns and waits for her to suffocate.”