Last Updated on May 16, 2023 by Cindy Bekesi
Are you a child of domestic violence? How do you know?
This may be the first time you’re coming across the words “child of domestic violence”. You may be wondering what these words really mean or if you might be one. This question may have never entered your mind until now. But now that you’ve seen these words in this syntax, you may find yourself asking if you might be part of this category. Or you may have suspected that you were all along, but you never really had a name to call what you went through before. So, you may now be unsure if “child of domestic violence” really applies to you.
It is simple to determine if you’re a child of domestic violence. The key question to ask yourself is: “Did I grow up living in a home with domestic violence – a home where there was violence between my parents or caregivers?” The violence may have been physical, or non-physical, where words were used as weapons. Or both.
If you grew up in a home like this, you experienced Childhood Domestic Violence. You are a child of domestic violence.
Maybe in the home, the children were physically hurt as well. Or maybe not. But the one thing you should know – and the science is very clear. Witnessing violence against a parent is just as damaging as physical child abuse, if not more so psychologically. And the violence witnessed doesn’t need to be anywhere near as extreme as in our Award-Winning documentary film to have a significant impact. Plus that word “witness” doesn’t quite fit because it doesn’t adequately describe the impact of the experience.
This question is the first step to understanding your identity and discovering your true self, because this question has never really been asked or answered openly before, until now. And as is evident from research, conversation begins to transform the meaning. Talking about it begins to transform how you individually view yourself and your beliefs about who you are meant to be. It begins to transform how we collectively view this issue in our society and the commitment we make to address what UNICEF calls “one of the greatest human rights violations in the world today.”
Pulling back the curtain of Childhood Domestic Violence
Once you ask and answer this question then you can begin to delve deeper and get answers to other important questions you’ve never been able to answer before.
“Why do I feel so worthless?”
“Why can’t I open up and trust others?”
“How do I feel less alone?”
“Why am I angry all the time?”
“How can I have more good days than bad?”
It is only by first understanding that you were a child of domestic violence that you can pull back the curtain. This leads to understanding the impact your childhood experience has had on your life. Only then that you can realize how many are impacted and that you’re not alone in this. It is only then that you can begin to unlearn the false beliefs and values you learned in childhood that may still be the cornerstone of your life. It is only then that you can learn to control the meaning and transform your life for the better.
But the first step is to ask the question, answer it, claim the experience, and learn your identity. Before you can change something, you must first understand and talk about it.
Are YOU a child of domestic violence?