Cities across the country are experiencing a historic spike in intimate partner homicides, and violence in general, that is greatest in racially segregated, high-poverty neighborhoods. Black men make up 6% of the population but over 50% of gun homicide victims. Black women, Latinos, and Native Americans are also disproportionately impacted. The loss of life has devasting consequences for family members and cascading harms for communities. As just one example, research shows that exposure to firearm violence—including as a victim or witness—makes it twice as likely an adolescent will commit a violent act within two years.
IMPACT ON CHILDREN WHO WITNESS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Children in homes where one parent is abused may feel fearful and anxious. They may always be on guard, wondering when the next violent event will happen. This can cause them to react in different ways, depending on their age:
Children in preschool. Young children who witness intimate partner violence may start doing things they used to do when they were younger, such as bed-wetting, thumb-sucking, increased crying, and whining. They may also develop difficulty falling or staying asleep; show signs of terror, such as stuttering or hiding; and show signs of severe separation anxiety.
School-aged children. Children in this age range may feel guilty about the abuse and blame themselves for it. Domestic violence and abuse hurts children’s self-esteem. They may not participate in school activities or get good grades, have fewer friends than others, and get into trouble more often. They also may have a lot of headaches and stomachaches.
Teens. Teens who witness abuse may act out in negative ways, such as fighting with family members or skipping school. They may also engage in risky behaviors, such as having unprotected sex and using alcohol or drugs. They may have low self-esteem and have trouble making friends. They may start fights or bully others and are more likely to get in trouble with the law. This type of behavior is more common in teen boys who are abused in childhood than in teen girls. Girls are more likely than boys to be withdrawn and to experience depression.4
Our children pay a price for a crime they never committed, and as a result, they go on to repeat the cycles of abuse as a victimizer or victim! They hurt people because they are hurt people.
My Story... A.W. Burgess
My father died while I was in the womb. He was justifiably killed by Baltimore police from the aftermath of a Domestic Violence occurrence with my mom and her family. So before I took my first breath, domestic violence had already impacted my life, DNA, and bloodline. I was told he was an evil person who tortured my mom. My aunts and uncles said he would spit in my mom's face and assault her in front of them, daring them to do something as he pulled his gun out, pointing it to them.
I was the reason for all of her trauma and drama according to her. My mom blamed me for his death, and the reason why she "Should have aborted me!" I was the reason why she drank. The reason why she could not get married. The reason for her stillborn baby with a married man! The reason she wouldn't come to my games, and for the few games she did, she was a drunken spectacle. The reason why my aunt and uncle could abuse and torture me. The reason she tried to take my life as a child one night.
I watched my mother and aunt get abused! They shifted their abuse on me! I went on to become a family, friend, neighborhood, and school bully! Then I graduated to a teen, young adult, and adult Abuse(Her)! As a result, I ended up in prison at the onset of my senior year of college when it seemed as if I had everything to live for.
Then I received the required mental health! I found out what made me violent! “IT” was revealed and so I got healed. I learned how to cope with life skill sets & coping techniques! I fell back in Love With Me! I Committed To A Lifetime of Mental Health Management!
Through the assistance of so many caring people, I broke the generational trauma & curses, cultures, and cycles of violence, secrets, and silence in the bloodlines of my family. Now I help others do what was done to permanently heal me. We help citizens to preserve the sanctity of the family, while providing equity, restoration, accountability, and mental wellness solutions to ALL of our communities.
I was helped by people speaking life into my existence! The only regret I have is I did not listen to my friend when she told me I needed help. I sincerely apologize to her and her family as she never deserved my abuse and it was never her fault for my abuse. I apologize to the others I have harmed in any form or fashion.
Today it is easy telling the world "I am a former domestic violence offender!" The most difficult thing is knowing that I had intentionally harmed an individual who loved me more than I loved myself at the time. I harmed a SHERO! Heroes and Sheroes should never be intentionally harmed!!!!!
I rise each day to help God save a life and a legacy!