Who can look inside a child’s mind and measure the impact of domestic violence across the years? In a response to a video on children in abusive homes, survivor Michael Morgan says it all: “I am one of those children. Even at 60 years old it still haunts me”. Most children that live in homes where they have witnessed domestic violence or have been directly abused, suffer due to the caustic environment they lived in. Overwhelming emotions are often long lasting. Personality disorders, anger and difficulty inmaintaining normal relationships are all quite common.
We need to listen to their voices, understand the beating of young hearts. This video made by a women’s shelter in Canada, speaks volumes.
Should children be taught to recognize the signs of domestic violence?
The BBC film Behind Closed Doors: Through The Eyes of the Child, screened on February 6, has been called an ‘honest and bruising portrayal’. Four children talk of their experiences with violence in their homes and about their emotions, a very brave thing to do. One of them, a 7 year old, has learnt to secure doors and windows to keep himself and his mum safe and also how to call the police.
In another BBC interaction, 19 year old Daisy, who grew up seeing her mother abused by her father, says that though schools teach you about sexual health they should also focus on healthy relationships.
"Everyone should be educated on the signs of control and the signs of abuse in relationships…They should be told what to do if they think their relationship is unhealthy and what to do if they think someone they know is suffering. I think this awareness will help stop so much suffering."
More than 15 million children in the United States live in homes in which domestic violence has taken place at least once. It is very sad to think that the identification of abuse should be taught in childhood, but perhaps that is reality and in fact a necessity.
More on effects of DV on children: