Domestic Violence

March 9, 2012
By Anonymous

Hours have passed since you have been arrested. Your eyes burn, your jaw aches, your hands shake. They make you take a shower with a timed showerhead that shuts off every time the water begins to get warm, then they make you dress in worn clothing. The socks are stretched and yellowing, the sports bra is faded white, with so much starch it crunches as you pull it on over your head. The shirt is too big, the pants too long. However, the nastiest thing is not the crunchy bra, nor the yellow socks, but is, instead, the underwear. They are white-faded-brown with yellow stains in the crotch. Your stomach churns as you pull those on as well. After that they walk you down dark hallway after dark hallway, until finally you reach your cell. Straight back is your bunk with a special green sleeping bag that’s as stiff as a board and, immediately to your left is a connected metal toilet and sink. You step in, and the door slams shut behind you. Closed in, with nowhere to go you sit on the bunk and watch the camera that’s watching you.

On December 12th, 2011 around 8:51 PM I was accused, arrested, incarcerated, and then later found guilty of domestic violence against my mother. As far as my mother and the courts are concerned this was a fair allegation. To me, it is neither fair, nor is it true. The night I was arrested, there was substantial evidence that I was the attacked not the attacker.

The truth is, in many domestic violence cases the victim is blamed and arrested for simply defending themselves against the perpetrator. In adolescent cases there are many reasons for this. First there is the issue of finding a place to stay if it is decided that the parent be arrested. Second, it is the cops duty to recreate what happened, using everyone’s perspective of the situation, but most of the time since the minor’s age is against them , the responding officer doesn’t put much weight on the minors side of the story. Third, adolescents are ill-represented during the arresting period and even during court. To stop these gross injustices I propose that law enforcement be required to do more in-depth investigation into domestic violence cases.

In domestic violence cases of all kinds it is mandatory that the responding officer arrest one, if not both, of the parties involved. Unfortunately, for the minor, cops almost always choose to arrest the adolescent, out of convenience rather than out of safety of the child. This is a problem because not only does it put the wrong person behind bars, but it also dumps the minor back into the same bad situation the started out in. In other words, their arrest doesn’t solve the problem, but instead makes the situation worse. Instead of stopping the cycle the authorities are remedying it, which will eventually lead to another confrontation that can become even more magnified that the first one. Many cases have shown abusive parents who have beaten their children to death, this final and deadly confrontation preceding so many before it. However the courts did and continue to do nothing prevent such horrid things. Instead they sit by and watch as these helpless children continually get beaten and thrust back into bad living situations.

Domestic Violence is a serious and sensitive issue in today’s society. Not only does it cause physical problems, but physiological ones as well. Children who are victim of domestic violence are five to seven more likely to experience psychological problems. Studies conducted, have shown that these children who have been domestically abused or so much as had been exposed to domestic violence more often than not, suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a mental disorder commonly associated with combat soldiers. The symptoms related to PTSD are; reliving the event, less involvement with others, hyper-alertness, and an exaggerated ‘startle’ response. The severity of these horrific memories, having caused it. A study in London, on children’s brains have shown that the area of the brain that identifies when a situation is going to turn bad and/or when something could end in pain, is more active in children who are victim of domestic violence than children who have grown up in normal and healthy home environments. Statistics also show that 30-60% of people arrested for partner abuse have also abused children in the household as well. Also, more than 90% of prisoners in United States prisons’ have experienced violence as a child. On top of that, three of four children who are victim of domestic violence repeat ‘the cycle of violence’ when they are adults, whether it be causing the violence themselves or taking on an intimate partner who is abusive.

There are several psychological effects in children that come from domestic violence. The statistical probability of becoming dependent on drugs and alcohol are fifty times higher. These children are more likely to commit suicide and/or become incarcerated. Third, they can come to experience emotional issues such as grief, shame, guilt, self-blame, fear of abandonment, anger, helplessness, powerlessness, depression, and embarrassment. Children who are victim of domestic violence are more prone to behavioral problems like acting out, being withdrawn, being aggressive/passive, refusing to attend school, parent-like behaviors, lying, being extremely defensive, attention seeking, bedwetting, nightmares, delinquent behaviors, reduced intellectual skills, and mood swings. These children are more at risk to social problems including isolation from family and friends, erratic behavior in relationships, trust issues, and poor coping skills.

Many people think that these children deserve to be arrested; that they are just throwaways. Delinquents. Yet this excuse that these people propose, doesn’t explain the three children that die each year from domestic violence. Their opinion is not based off of fact, but instead on biased opinion. They don’t know the lives of these adolescents. They only know the theatrical tale spun to them by the children’s parents.
Knowing the physical and psychological effects Domestic Violence has on children, wouldn’t you want to do something to stop it? There have been so many cases where adolescents have been wrongly accused and even more children who are abused who stay silent. Help stop the violence and make a difference- and more in-depth investigation into these domestic violence cases will help.

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