I can hear the screams coming from next door, again. It scares me the way they fight. It seems like the episodes are coming more and more frequently and each time more severe. Lindsay is wailing in the background. I want to run over and scoop her up! It’s so unfair. She’s the same age as my Bo. No child deserves to live in an unsafe environment, yet I know so many do.
Should I call the police? I think I have to. I could never live with myself if something happened and I didn’t at least try to help. Last time I called, Karen got really upset with me. She told me to mind my business, that Lindsay was fine. She wasn’t being abused. At 6 years old, she doesn’t even understand what’s happening. But when I look at Lindsay I know she knows. Her eyes tell the story.
Is that someone at the door? Oh thank God, it’s Lindsay. I’m so relieved, and yet angry she is frightened by what’s happening in her own home. Enough! I don’t care who gets mad. I’m calling the police. God, please show me how to help this child. You know I know her pain. The same thing happened to me. I can’t let another child suffer alone. Someone has to help.
It’s a story shared by many, a hidden shame played out every day in homes around the world. Each year, millions of children are affected by childhood domestic violence – domestic violence when children are present. It’s a sad and often cyclical tragedy that has affected more than 275 million children globally. UNICEF calls it one of the most damaging unaddressed human rights violations in the world today, and yet so few people truly understand its impact.
The Children of Domestic Violence (CDV) is a foundation that hopes to change that. They understand that children do indeed understand what’s happening, and the effects of what they witness can be as damaging as physical abuse. But despite the significant impact, they believe these children can – with our help – reach their full potential.
In partnership with the leading researchers in childhood domestic violence they’ve developed a cutting-edge certification program that trains, qualifies and guides caring adults to step in and offer support and hope to a child experiencing childhood domestic violence. Change a Life can help you be the one to make a difference. You may not be able to end the violence, but you can help a child or teen find a new path.
There is an African proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child”. I’m asking you to join me in becoming a part of a community that cares enough about our children to become more aware of the problem and more educated about the solutions. It only takes one person to change a life, and for someone that may be you.
If you are one of the 1 in 6 adults who experienced domestic violence as a child, please know that you are not alone. It was not your fault, and you could not have stopped it. Please take the pledge at Children of Domestic Violence and share your story. Your strength can be an encouragement to a parent or child trying to break the cycle.
I know it’s tough, but it’s time we stopped looking away. Regardless of whether the child is being physically hit, domestic violence in the home is having an impact on them. The video below is a raw, heart wrenching account of how truly frightening and overwhelming witnessing domestic violence can be for a child. Don’t look away. Be the one. Share your love with a child in trouble. Be the one. Support, without judgment, a parent trying to break free. Be the one. Save a life, and plant seeds of hope that last a lifetime. Our children are counting on us.