The following is based on a true story. The author wanted it to be shared anonymously:
I grew up in a home where black and blue bruises on my body was a norm. My father’s violent fists rained down on my mother and I every time he was in a bad mood, which was often. Most of my friends looked forward to being home on weekends, sleeping in and spending time with their families. Not me; I dreaded going home. The minute I entered it would feel like a battlefield. Home for me was never safe - it was toxic, it was painful, it was fear.
I was the shoulder my mother cried on. I was the one who calmed my father down after his episodes. It was overwhelming. I couldn't turn to anyone, I felt so alone. It was a family secret that I was ashamed of. My mom would hide in a room whenever he would beat me because she was too afraid to stand up against him.
I begged my mom to leave him, I kept asking her why she didn't or wouldn't. She told me she had nowhere to go, she reminded me we were in Canada, a country that was foreign to her, and that she could barely speak English. She told me that once you are married, you accepted your fate. She told me that the only places that we could turn to were filled with drugs and people with mental illnesses. She told me that no one would want to marry me if I came from a broken home. She told me that this was a test she was being put through from our Creator. She told me that every house has problems and that this is what life is. She told me a million reasons why, none of which mattered as his hands turned into fists as he shoved me against the wall yet again. None of them mattered as I heard her screams from their closed doors. All I knew is that we had no one to turn to and nowhere else to go. She told me to not trust anyone in this foreign country because they would just deport us back to where we came from. I told her it would be better than living with him, that I want to tell someone, that this is not right. She told me that if I ever called the cops on him, she would never forgive me, that I would be dead to her. She's the only one I had, I couldn't betray her.
I would dream of a safe and hidden place where my mother and I could escape to. A place where we could start over and piece our shattered lives back together without my father's presence. A place that would be safe for minority women like us. Unfortunately, nothing like that existed back then. So my mother stayed with him, and as a consequence, I stayed. Some days she insisted he treated her better than she deserved and that she loved him and other days she insisted that he needed her. All I knew as a child was that home is the place I hated the most and that there was nothing we could do to stop my father. That he was all we had if we wanted to keep a roof over our heads, and food on our plates. So we suffered, and we stayed. Even though we survived and our bodies healed, we carry the mental and physical scars with us. The nightmares didn't stop, the mistrust of society didn't stop, the depression consumes us, making just breathing painful; the helplessness, the pain, the dependency continues.
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