It is common to feel alone when growing up with domestic violence. No one talks about it. We grow up believing our experiences are normal, and that our feelings are wrong, or they make us weak. The good news is that this is beginning to change.
Governments worldwide are recognizing the alarming scale of the problem of growing up with domestic violence. In fact, many government and public reports were essential to the research and evidence I presented in my book Invincible.
Somehow, though, the awareness and open discussion are not occurring in our everyday lives. Childhood Domestic Violence remains almost entirely off the radar of our social consciousness.
This was clearly demonstrated through our Emmy-nominated children’s program, produced in conjunction with Nickelodeon, Family Secrets: When Violence Hits Home.
So why has this epidemic been so widely overlooked from a public awareness standpoint? Domestic violence has very high awareness. Yet the impact of growing up living with domestic violence still has very low awareness.
For example, compare our social awareness around bullying to awareness around childhood domestic violence. There’s no comparison, unfortunately. Why? Based on my research, there seems to be a general reluctance to talk about something that has been so stigmatized.
How do we begin to shift this habit of silence? Society changes as its masses of individuals change. Each of us must find our voice and speak our truth about growing up with domestic violence. Only then will we find a social openness to discuss the issue of children living with violence and mobilize organizations and people to do something about it.
Can one person’s story make a difference? Can your story make a difference? Yes it can, and your story can stand side-by-side with others. Because right now one billion children and adults continue to suffer in silence, struggling with lies they couldn’t help but learn, and without the information and awareness necessary to unlearn those lies.
Once a few brave souls step forward, more and more will follow.
In the meantime, please share in the comments below if you ever felt that you had to keep your childhood experiences or home life a secret? How did that make you feel as a child and later on as an adult?
Thanks for sharing.