Community Connections: Children exposed to domestic violence
January 17, 2015
Mission statement: Advocates Building Peaceful Communities' mission is to diminish the incidence and impact of domestic and sexual violence, and other crimes against persons in Routt County.
The following story was told to me by a very special woman who wanted to share the pain as well as the healing that came from witnessing domestic violence as a child:
“I am the granddaughter of a victim of domestic violence and the daughter of a child victim of domestic violence. Until I was an adult, I had no idea about this family secret. I also believe that in those years, no one talked about it; no one understood the impact on women and children, and laws did not exist to protect victims of family violence. My mother broke that ‘generational cycle of violence' when she married my dad. He was a kind and caring non-violent man. My story is not about blame. It is about memories of my mother and of her healing.
“I remember my grandfather as loving to my grandmother as well as all of the grandchildren. This story is about the impact it has on children — on my mother. Edith, my mom, grew up in the 1930s and 1940s in the Midwest. Grandma worked hard in all that she did for the family, including cooking, keeping the house, caring for the three children and her husband. She was known to all as a beautiful soul. Grandpa drank sometimes and when he became angry, he became abusive. My mom recalls a time when grandpa was angrily chasing grandma through the dining room. Edith hid behind the massive drapes to stay safe as she feared for her mama. She recalls shaking so violently that she could hear her knees knocking. Grandma sent her home with an aunt that day. My mom still remembers her aunt's comment, "Lily looks like she is ready for her grave.” Those words stuck with Edith throughout her childhood. Mom tells me that she never would leave her mama to go play because of her worry about how her dad would be towards mama when he came home. He never hurt my mom. However, she was witness to many times of his yelling, knocking food on the floor and sometimes pushing her mama.
Edith's story is about a child who was exposed to domestic violence. It also is a story about resilience and healing. Children's exposure to violence is a national concern. Advocates Building Peaceful Communities' goal is to help families with safety, counseling, resources and confidential support so that children can thrive peacefully.
Diane Moore has worked in the field of domestic and sexual violence for 31 years and serves as the executive director of Advocates Building Peaceful Communities in Routt County. Moore previously worked as a community organizer initiating a crime prevention program with the Denver District Attorney's Office. She has been designated as an expert in intimate partner violence as well as impact on children; sexual violence and stalking in Routt, Moffat and Grand County Courts. Moore is a trained mediator and is a member of the local debriefing team.