2. treat (a person or an animal) with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly.
synonyms: mistreat, maltreat, ill-treat, treat badly; More
This morning has started the same way every other morning has for the past week. I’m sitting at my computer, scrolling through Facebook and CNN with my doors and windows double-locked, blinds pulled tight and an aluminum baseball bat close at hand. This is the life of a family living in fear; a life of peace and stability shattered by the loss of innocence. Shattered by a single person that invaded our lives.
That I allowed to invade our life.
Should I feel this way? Should I blame myself? No. I know this, logically. I also know that I didn’t trust my instincts. I questioned myself in my daughter’s greatest time of need. I, in part, am responsible for my family’s current situation. I just “knew”, but I didn’t act.
My daughter is a beautiful, caring, empathetic, sensitive “helper”. She’s the perfect target for an abuser. She comes from a long line of abused women; myself not included. The women in my family have endured all types of domestic abuse and/or domestic violence. Knowing what they have been through and having counseled other victims of DV I know the signs. And yet… here I sit with that baseball bat close at hand while my daughter tries to rest peacefully in the next room.
I knew in my heart and in my stomach that something wasn’t right. But when you are the family member of a victim of DV you are caught in catch 22 situation. Had I intervened, I risked escalating an already volatile situation. Had I pushed him out of her life I risked a chance of her following him to the ends of the earth; thus placing her at greater risk of additional and harsher abuses. At least if they were home with us I could protect her. Or so I told myself. But I didn’t protect her. Instead I allowed him to break her heart and her spirit. I allowed him to steal her innocence and that part of her that always made her “her”.
This morning, and many more mornings to come, I am paying for my indecision, my confusion and my fear. Now we are all living in a different state of fear. Fear for my daughter’s safety and peace of mind. Fear for her person. Fear for her life.
My husband and I are taking all of the steps that we can to protect her and be present for her going forward. But what can we do to repair the damage that’s already been done? The answer is: nothing.
I know my daughter can and will heal. I know we all will. For the time being; however, I will keep my doors and windows locked. I will keep my blinds closed tight. And I will keep that baseball bat at hand. She deserves at least that. She deserves so much more. I only wish I had more to offer.