Was your mother or stepmother: Often or very often pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at her? or Sometimes, often, or very often kicked, bitten, hit with a fist, or hit with something hard? or Ever repeatedly hit over at least a few minutes or threatened with a gun or knife?
Unfortunately, my students mention the abuse of a parent almost daily. They share it without emotion; as if it is common and no big deal. Sometimes, they celebrate how dad hit mom and she courageously hit him back – getting the best of him because he was too drunk and weak to do anything about it.
My mother was abused by both of her husbands. I was a witness.
The most unforgettable memory was during my 3rd grade year. It was the same year as when I attempted to enter the police car and received the whipping with the thorny switch from the rose bush.
They hosted a party in our home. Of course, I was sent to bed at a certain time and could only hear the music and noise. I eventually drifted off to sleep.
At some point, in the middle of the night, I was awakened by loud screams and objects breaking or crashing in. I got up – peaked out into the living room area and saw my stepfather choking my mother. She couldn’t breathe!
I ran and leaped on his back. He flung me off to the sofa without hesitation. I didn’t give up! I did it again until he let her go. He was cursing and asking her, “Where is it?”
I did not know what “it” was at the time. Later, I found out that she removed the spark plug wires from the car to keep him from leaving the party following some woman he was fixated on – something mom had observed during the party. She hid those wires and the car was dead.
After more hitting and choking she relinquished the wires. To keep her from calling the police, he took the phone cord from the wall outlet and left.
At this point, mom and I set out to find a telephone in the neighborhood. Both of us in our nighttime clothes and desperate to get help before he returns, strike out in the neighborhood looking for a home where the lights are on.
Down the block, there was an apartment building. We knocked on a door where there were several people (maybe a party also) who let us in. There was a phone on the wall in a hallway that they motioned us towards once mom asked.
I remember they were young – perhaps teens or young adults. They were teasing me in a playful half-mean way, while mom was on the phone. I remember a couple of them laughing as mom was still gasping for air while talking on the phone.
I stood there – arms folded and wishing I could gain superhero powers to end this nightmare!
The answer to question #7 is YES!