“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice”- Bob Marley
I remember it was a Thursday morning and I woke up extremely late for school. I was rushing to get the bush, and I needed to brush my teeth before I left the house. I would have skipped the whole day, before I left the house without brushing my teeth. When I went to brush my teeth the bathroom door was locked because someone was showering. I waited and I waited for the person in the shower to finish until I couldn’t wait any longer. I grabbed a spare toothbrush and toothpaste and quickly brushed my teeth in the empty kitchen sink before running out the door. I barely caught the bus, but I made it to school on time.
Later that day I came home from school and my father was sitting on the couch waiting for me to arrive. He asked why I brushed my teeth in the sink, and I explained that I was running late, and someone was in the bathroom. He was upset and explained how nasty that was and how inconsiderate I was for opening new toothpaste. I really felt like he was blowing the situation out of portion. Yes, I shouldn’t have overslept but that did not warrant a massive argument. My father started ranting and I started daydreaming about whatever teenage girls think about at that age.
Halfway through my daydream my father started choking me. I felt his hands wrap around my neck and I couldn’t breathe. I fought back trying to get him to let go of my throat. I don’t know how long it was before he let go but it felt like forever. He let me go and I ran out of the house never looking back at him. I ran to my best friend’s house who lived up the street and called my aunt to tell her what happened. She came to get me immediately and I stayed over her house.
Once I got to her house, she called the rest of my family and explained to them what happened. My whole family was in a complete uproar and wanted my father punished.
I was at my Aunt’s house for three days, and I couldn’t miss anymore school. My aunt finally talked to my mother who advised her that my father denied choking me.
“I need you to tell me exactly what happened and this is serious so please be completely honest” my aunt said.
I explained to her the situation once more, and my aunt advised me that she believed me. Knowing that my aunt believed me made me feel good. Knowing my mother seemed to believe my father made me sick to my stomach. I couldn’t understand why my own mother would choose not to believe me. I would never lie about something so serious.
After five days my aunt advised me that she couldn’t keep me any longer. She advised she was taking me back home, but she would get me on weekends and the situation was far from over.
I went home and went straight to my room. I didn’t want to talk to my father, but more than anything I didn’t want to talk to my mother . For some strange reason I hated my mother more than my father. My mother was supposed to protect me from danger even if the danger was her husband . I felt like my mother should put me her child her first born first but instead she chose to believe her “man”. I vowed to myself never to be that kind of woman. The kind of woman who would let love or a man control her life. I vowed that day to always believe my child over anyone else.
Almost three months later I was talking to my parents about an issue. I don’t remember what exactly I was talking to them about, but I vividly remember blurting out to my father that he chocked me. I remember that without any remorse my father blatantly admitted to choking me.
“I choked you to get your attention” he said nonchalantly.
Shocked that he finally admitted that I looked to my mother. “This is her moment” I thought to myself. She couldn’t deny or ignore the fact that my father admitted to choking me. She had no choice but to react to my father’s shocking admission.
However my mother did not budge. She didn’t make on sound and acted like she wasn’t even in the same room. I hated everything about her. What kind of woman wouldn’t protect her child? What kind of woman could know that her child was abused but not care? It appeared my mother only cared about being married and staying married. I guess that’s what a good wife does. It was at that moment I told myself that I never wanted to be married if that meant sacrificing my self-respect, dignity and womanhood just to please a man. My parent’s marriage made me never want to get married.
Fast forward many years and I find myself sitting in my therapist office talking about my current day situation. I explained to her how even after my son’s father Jhavier girlfriend witness him punching me in the face in front of our three-year-old son she stayed with him and defended him. I explained to my therapist that even after Jhavier attempted to commit vehicular manslaughter and hit me with a car while her child and several other children were in the car she stayed. It was as if having a man meant more to her than standing up and doing the right thing. I hated her and I couldn’t understand what type of woman would stay with a man who showed no regard for life. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t feel like she deserved so much better. I pondered was her fear of being alone so great or was her self-esteem just that low?
My therapist asked me if Jhavier girlfriend’s actions upset because she reminded me of my mother. I realized I didn’t hate Jhavier’s girlfriend I hated what she stood for in my life. She was another woman willing to sacrifice her self-worth and respect for a man.
Present day I have a much better relationship with both of my parents. I love them and they are awesome grandparents. My childhood molded me into the strong take no nonsense person that I am today! My childhood made me vow to myself never to accept piece of a man because I deserve a whole man that will treat my son and myself with love and respect.
I would encourage all parents to trust and believe their children. Take action and protect your children at all cost!