Once upon a time, there was a family of three, with one on the way. The one on the way came one day, when the little one was 18 months old. When the little one was 19 months old, the one on the way, was one month old, was smacked so hard by the father of the family of now four, that the one on the way who was one month old turned purple. From head to toe, a giant bruise. So tiny, so defenseless… so… purple.
The father was ashamed of his actions. But this was not the first time the father had expressed himself physically and violently. 30 months prior, the father had pushed the mother, and injured the mother’s shoulder. He was frightened, knowing he could be charged with domestic abuse; already his best friend knew he was a cannon loose. Already his best friend had called the cops. Already he knew he was guilty.
The family of now four continued to live on; the best friend had moved away; and arguments would resound across the room. Cabinets broken, game boys smashed, games thrown across the room. All these broken things cleaned up with a broom.
One day, when the little one was 7 years old and the one on the way was 5 1/2 years old, the two went on an adventure with their little red wagon. Their favorite stuffed animals, some food from the kitchen, away they walked from the home they were ditching. Were they running away from the violent tendencies? Or were they simply being Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer? Maybe if someone had hired a lawyer or a therapist, the fate of the little family and their pets would have been different.
The mother and father had tried to go to a therapist — the mother and father, together had gone many years past, but the visits did not last. Too much shame in seeking help; too much blame kept them away. So it would be another day and another filled with violent tendencies. (Why don’t schools teach about having healthy relationships?)
The family continued day after day with violent tendencies … law enforcement responded when the mother wanted to leave the home with the children, and the father would not allow them. What a coincidence that when the mother escaped, an officer was parked on the street, supposedly responding to another call. They talked with the father, saw the damage in the home, allowed the mother safe passage with the children, away from the home. It was for that day. Trying to break the cycle of violence, but again, so. much. shame. so. much. guilt. and so. much. of. the repeated cycle.
The father tried to justify it and called it “excessive discipline”.
The father had been raised hearing stories of his grandparents wrapping his mother up in a blanket, hauling her up over the rafters in the barn, and beating yet like a pinata.
And they laughed.
Violent tendencies or misguided tradition?
The little family moved away; too many responses from the local law enforcement. God was telling them to move, they would say. So away they went, from people they knew, to a different land where eventually they traded for some goats and sheep, and they had found a dog that they decided to keep. Two actually.
One of the dogs during an episode of violent tendencies… the father chased away. The father shot at the dog to scare it away. The oldest child cried, because it had been the oldest child’s dog. The oldest child found blood in the snow. The dog joined a wild pack and would sometimes come back howling… for the oldest child? As a warning to the father? Who knows?
The second dog was disobedient the father would say, so the father tied second dog to a thick abandoned power pole. Told the second dog to sit, gave the second dog commands, and when the second dog did not listen, the father kicked and beat the second dog. The father made them all watch; mother, oldest child, younger child.
There was also a cat. The second dog and the cat did not get along. Imagine that. And the father locked the cat and the second dog in a room. Made the mother and two children watch. Made the cat and second dog fight. The cat was a fighter. Second dog had already been abused and abandoned. Second dog submitted.
The second child tears in his eyes rooted for second dog — his dog. His love. The second child was attached to the second dog more than anyone realized. Many years later when the second dog died from cancer, the second child, would hate the mother more, blaming her, and angry, so angry, not allowing the mother into his home where he had a rescue dog.
She’s a sensitive dog, he would say. The mother and the second son would have a relationship that was in disarray.
Why did this happen? This craziness?
So they say.
The father would say (and the second child, too): “spare the rod, spoil the child”; it is necessary to discipline those we love.
The goats. There were three. One was pregnant with a goat baby. Disobedient was the goat, according to the father, so of course he “disciplined” her. He grabbed her by the horns when she would not submit. She twisted her body away, to protect her unborn baby, but it did not stop the father. He kicked her again and again in her belly. He kicked her unborn baby. Until she submitted.
Stop the story. This is too much. I cannot bear to hear it.
But the story does not end there. Yes, the baby goat was born. The father expressed remorse, but it continued…
The children, now older, growing hair in their pits, and hair as children do when they hit puberty, were deemed to be disobedient by the father.
Go find a switch, the father would declare. And the young men would submit. Lie on the floor in your stomach with your arms outstretched above your heads. Pull up your shirts. Push your bottoms down to your legs, the father would command. Down went the pants, bodies scrambling to clear space on the floor, as they lie down, genitals with hair pressed against the floor, arms above their heads.
Whoosh whoosh whoosh. The swish of the switch. He made them count the lashes. Red angry lashes across their backs, buttocks, legs, feet, a crazed look in the father’s eyes.
Why are you getting these lashes?!? The father’s voice would boom.
Because…and crazy reasons would come from the mouths of the babes, no longer babes, but young men, terrified of this crazed man who was their father… this crazed man who would continue to be dissatisfied, and continue to whip them.
Whoosh whoosh whoosh.
Where was the mother in all of this, you ask? She had been brainwashed by misinterpretation of the Holy Book, the crazy society that preached that women should be married, and not divorce, that problems should be kept in the family. And her parents, brothers, sisters, were thousands of miles away, because she had followed her husband, her God, into this crazy place of no escape.
Make this story end, you say? Eventually it does. But not without more drama. You see, the cycle repeats itself when there is no treatment. Move to another place, the same thing will happen.
Until the decision is made to break the cycle.
Even then, abusive folks will find ways to manipulate and gaslight stories, so the victims are not believed.
Listen. Believe. Be Love.
Stop the Blame.
Stop the Shame.
Our children are watching.
Our children are suffering.