“MY DAY HAS BEEN OK SO FAR”
(Samoa News was asked to publish the following writing of a Domestic Violence victim — it’s anonymous — by the local Community Outreach Organization, Back on Track. We do not usually publish ‘anonymous’ writings, however the organization assured that it is in the DV survivor’s own words, and that she gave her permission to share. The organization said, “Thanks for sharing these stories. They give people hope.”)
My day has been ok so far. I met some good people. I am starting to pick up the pieces of my life. Knowing that there are still good people in this world made me understand some things about myself. I have been going through a lot for the past six years and hoping for things to get better. I would love for my almost 10-year daughter to smile and be happy again, to be the smiley face that I love so much. She is so much more than she can ever could image. How does a person deal with one that is unhappy as you are?
As a parent, I want the best for her. I know she has seen and been through as much as I have and that is a lot for a child. Every day I try to think of some way to make it better for her and a bit easier. She has been my rock through these dark times. I do know there is light at the end of the tunnel. Our season is almost here. I am barely making it. Just a day at a time it seems like that’s what it takes. I lost my job and I live in the shelter with no money. My children give me reasons to be here and a purpose. They are truly the loves of my life. We will get through this tough time. I know we will. Like I said, one day or one step at a time is all we need right now. Knowing that home is where the heart is, I hope and pray that one day that we will make it back in one piece and alive.
For me being alive is what I need. As a parent, you want your child just to be happy. For me that has become a challenge. I feel like it is hard to break through this wall that has been put up and she has a hard time to letting me in. I really wish there was a way to help her express herself so that I can help her as well as myself to better communicate with eachother. I hope it will get a little easier as time goes on. So many things with her I wish to understand, so that I can know how she feels. At some point I’m hoping she willing to open up to me. Just lost in thought here. Today was just one of many that helped me realize that there are still people with their own stories. That is why I do not judge anyone by his or her cover but the content of who they are. In addition, I hope that I am not judged by my cover.
The kids are off to school and I’m trying to figure out my day. Wishing that each day is positive, not just for me but my children as well. My son comes to me almost every day and tells me that the other kids do not like him because when they hurt him, he tells someone. I wish there was something that I can do. I will try talking to the principle. I want him to feel good about going to school and that the other students like him. I know he is very sensitive. He is not a fighter, always kind and soft felt. How can I reassure him that sometimes kids behave badly because they were not taught to be nicer or that they see bad things that make them think it is ok to treat other badly?
For the past six years, I have been abused both verbally and physically. Never really got a chance to express the way I felt because I didn’t want to be called weak or a sorry person. Being made to feel that you are not a worthy person until someone needs you does not feel good. I felt like I was stupid, good for nothing, useless really. That is what I was told over the years. I really started to believe all of what was told to me. I thought, “How can I make my children believe that they are good when I felt this way about myself?”
I remember the first time I was hit here. A couple of weeks before thanksgiving, my children’s father had come home from work upset about something. I began to ask him what was wrong, he never said anything. I went to the restroom and when I returned he was throwing my child’s food because she said she didn’t want to eat because her stomach hurt. Then he slapped her to the point she fell out of her chair. I ran to her to see how she was. Then he goes inside the room and I follow him. I said, “if you have a problem with my child come to me and I will handle it” then he hit her again. I then flicked his hat at him and put my baby inside the bed. When I looked up, all I saw was his fist in my face punching me multiple times. All I could do at that time, knowing I couldn’t fight him, was scream as loud as I could for his mother who was in the other room. She opens the door to a scene of me in the corner and all my kids crying in fear. She asked me what I wanted. I told her I want to go back home to the states. She says ok, then walked out of the room.
For weeks she never said anything. One day I asked her when me and my kids can go so I can call my mom to let her know. She responded, “I thought everything was ok, so I didn’t make the arrangements”. All I could do was try to make it work. However, to this day there is a dent in the middle of my forehead. After that time, more arguing and more fighting.
I remember when his aunty (his dad’s sister) came to visit. There was so much abuse, hidden and swept under the rug. Every night when his mom and aunty would go out to bingo, he would start again. Sometime his dad had to stop him. After awhile the abuse started to turn, it would get better then it would get worse.
It got to the point where I didn’t want to be touched and I would lock me and my children in the room where we slept because that is where I felt safe with my kids. After time I tried to explain to him, what his mother was doing to us when he would go to work. He just did not want to believe. On several occasions when there was no food she would give me and my children leftovers from other people, half eaten hamburgers or chicken that had been bitten into. He said I was lying.
I would get up feed my children whatever was in the kitchen for breakfast and lunch and clean until he got home. Things still continued to get worse. His mom and I got into arguments only to find out it was because she wanted to play bingo.
One Sunday his parents went to church and when they returned I went with my children inside our room to avoid anymore fighting. Then I hear her fighting with the dad and my boyfriend. Next she knocks on the door, already mad at everyone, and says “Why do you keep the kids in the room?” I said, “I don’t want the kids to keep getting yelled at and hit. I feel safer in the room with them.” I guess she did not like that and slapped me in the face with her church purse. That was the first time I got hit by her, but it was not the last.
I came here to American Samoa to be with him. I trusted him, but everything he said was based on lies he and his mother told me. No job. No place of our own. I just dealt with everything until it made me sick. Forced to have sex when I did not want to, giving birth to two children here. I gave birth to one of the two children prematurely (32-33 weeks along in the pregnancy) and no prenatal care as well.
I never thought that there was help or even people that would try to help. I wish that my children did not have to see or hear anything. Even for the ones that experienced it. What kind of mother am I to let them go through this? This is why I am trying to get help to get us through these dark times. I can honestly say this relationship has been by far the worst. Always worried about what could happen because I went out for help. Thinking that I did not make the right choice and how it might backfire. So many thoughts go through my mind daily. Am I wrong for my feelings or any of my thoughts? I am trying to change the now because I cannot change the past. I have to start from somewhere.