“The first time my mother was almost strangled to death, I was five years old.

Key word: almost.

And I think about how fucked up that sentence is, and how I thought it was normal for the longest time.

My Mother is quite literally a ride or die –

A cat with nine lives and I’m not sure how many she has left.

Because when my father grasps his hands around her neck, throttling her like a ragged doll, her body unconscious on the floor, I am paralyzed in fear in what happens next.

He said he would never do it again but he also said that the last time

You see, there are exactly 23 slashes on the door where a knife was gutted through

You see, the nail marks clawed across my bedroom wall is why I keep my door locked at home

You see, the blood stain in the living room carpet never quite leaves –

Trust me, I have tried so hard to scrub it away but it just won’t disappear.

But you see, the problem is…………you don’t see.

For many years, my parent’s domestic violence issue was kept a secret.

So marriage means something different now.

I learned that Love is synonymous for survival

To be there for each other when we were dying.

To be the life guard on duty when my father was drowning in alcohol

To become a martyr for an unjust cause, that breaks you down during the battle and leaves you a bloody mess.

And when you clean that mess –

you build yourself up with the pain and trauma now integrated in every fiber of your being.

But –

My therapist once told me that suffering in silence doesn’t make you stronger.

In a family where outing the secret was punishable through excommunication, I never got to share my side of the truth.

Which is why I am standing with you here tonight.

In solidarity with women like my mother and others who have survived violence of all kinds, it’s important to remember that we are all around you. Our stories are tucked away neatly behind the façade that we put to the world, so be kind. We come together tonight, unifying through the sacrifices we have made.  

Last night I dreamt about my mother’s cries and her pleas

let go, let go, please let go, let go.

That nightmare is still a reality”

-Anonymous

Physical Violence Within These Families

Child marriage puts not only the brides at risk of violence, but also their daughters or sons. They often face abuse throughout their lives, and according to GirlsNotBrides (https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/), child brides are most likely to believe that a man is justified in beating his wife.

The person who wrote this poem was someone who I know personally. Her mother was a child bride, and as a result, her family lived in constant fear due to the relentless violence.

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