Be Strong and Move On

February 18, 2011
By , Los Angeles, CA
It all started when I was born in 1995 and we lived in a hotel near downtown L.A. (my mother was a single mom). After months and years passed, this guy named Jose met my wonderful mom. After that, he started to live with us in the hotel. That’s where all the mistreatment began when my stepdad Jose started to live with us.

I thought he would be a great guy with me, my brother Giovanni, and my sister, Jeanette. The days passed and he treated me with respect. Honestly, I thought to myself, “Ok wait, if this nice guy is treating me with respect, then I should do the same as well.”

After all, people like to be treated with respect. Immediately, I started to call Jose “Dad.” He liked it when I called him that because he could see that I really liked him.

However, as time passed, my stepdad started coming home extremely angry and he would take it out on me and my sister. He would get his thick heavy belt and hit us. We would scream and try to run away really fast. Sometimes, my older brother would see my stepdad hitting us and he would try to protect us. The next day, I would go school with bruises all over my body.

The teachers would ask me, “What happened?”

I worried that if I told them my stepdad would get in trouble. I didn’t want him to go to jail because I loved him a lot and I hoped that he would change. Therefore, whenever they asked me what had happened I would just say with a shaky voice, “Oh, it’s nothing. I just fell when I was playing with my friends. That’s all.”

They always believed me. They would tell me, “Okay, just be careful next time...”

Sometimes, when it was time for us to leave, my mom would come pick me up and the teachers would ask her about my bruises. My mom didn’t know about the beatings because my stepdad would do it when she was working. Moreover, when I would ask my stepdad to buy me new fresh clothes, he would tell me, “No I only have money to buy your little brother Alexis new clothes for right now.” I thought to myself, “I understand my stepdad because Alexis was the only flesh son he had.”

He would say, “You know your little brother comes first.”

I replied, “Yeah I know, he’s the smallest in the family but I need new clothes.”

Again he would tell me, “Yeah, I know you do, but you’ll just have to wait.”

I would replied with tears in my eyes, “But my clothes are ripped because I have to use them over and over again.”

Eventually, when I was 10 years old, Jose left. He moved to Mexico and I thought I would never seen him again. Afterwards, I regretted ever calling him “dad” because maybe he didn’t deserve to be my father. I felt lonely, like there was a hole full of emptiness in my heart where my real father should have been.

A couple years later, I finally asked my mom about my real dad. She told me that I could meet him. She took me to the jail where he was locked up for crimes he committed while he was drunk. I didn’t care that he was in jail; I was thrilled to see my dad, even if he was behind bars. We talked for about an hour and I smiled the whole way through. When I had to leave, he told me, “Don’t worry, Wendy. Everything is going to be fine. We’ll see each other again. Tell your mom to bring you here whenever you want to see me.”

I responded with tears in my eyes, “Ok, Daddy, te quiero mucho!” (I love you much)

He replied back to me crying, “Yo también te quiero mucho hija, cuidate (I love you too, take care) bye.” He gave me a kiss on the cheeck, after that my mom and me left.

When the years passed my dad had got out of jail and fortunately the first thing that he did was to go and visit me, my sister, my brother and my mom. When my dad saw that my stepdad came back to get his things, he was angry at him for what he did to us. My dad just got Jose’s things and threw them out of the house. After my dad did that, Jose didn’t want to leave the house. He said that it was his house because he paid the rent. Luckily, my dad went in the house and grabbed his things and threw them outside and closed the door in his face. After that happened, my dad asked me and my sister Jeanette if we were okay.

We replied shakily, “Yes, we are ok. Thanks, Daddy we love you.”

He responded with kind words, “Thank God he didn’t do anything else! I love you girls too!”

I confessed to him, “I was scared for a moment, Daddy.”

He asked, “Why Wendy?”

I mumbled, “Because, I thought that he was never going to leave.”

He answered with a sweet tone, “Don’t worry, honey, he won’t do anything to you ever again. As long as I’m here, he won’t.”

I said with a relief in my face, “Ok, Daddy now that I know that you’re here with me by my side, I feel safe now, thanks.”

As more months passed, I had a better life with my dad because like that I felt more safe and sound than with Jose. Also, I had this feeling before, that sooner or later my real dad was going to come back for us and he did! I didn’t have to worry about me getting hurt or anything like that anymore.

What I have learned from my experience is that out there, there are so many people who are going through the same pain as I did. Therefore, no one should stay quiet, if anything is going wrong at home. You should never hide anything from your parents because all they are trying to do is help you to not to get hurt. That’s why if something is wrong, you should tell someone right away you, before that person does anything else to you.

I think that most men who are abusive think that they are showing how strong they are. However, the truth is that you can’t get respect from scaring other people. A good man should look after his kids and help them when something is wrong, even when these kids are not his kin and flesh. I know that from now on, I will be careful with who I choose to trust in my life. To all of the girls out there, think twice about whether you really want to be with a guy for the rest of your life. Will he be a good husband and father? Does he have a bad temper, get angry easily, or yell? Could he end up being abusive? Ask yourself these questions before you make a decision that you might regret.

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