Domestic violence affects children, too

Jessica Armstead
82nd Training Wing military spouse

Many parents believe they can hide domestic violence from their children, according to the Family Violence Prevention Fund.

Research, however, suggests that between 80 to 90 percent of these children are aware of the violence.

Even if children do not see the violence, they can still hear the screams and see the bruises, broken bones and abrasions.

There are many myths about how domestic violence affects children. I
recently heard someone say, “Children aren’t affected because they do
so well in school.”

In my own personal experience, I always had a 3.5 to 3.7 grade point
average, and I never studied, mainly because I could not concentrate at

My grades never faltered, simply because school was “my safe place.”
There, I was always around adults who didn’t scream and fight. Children
tend to thrive in places they are happiest.

I always felt safe, so of course I did well in school. I was
comfortable there. I could forget everything that happened at home,
until I faced going home again.

Another myth I’ve heard is, “He’s a good provider and wouldn’t hurt the
children,” or “She loves her children and would never do anything to
hurt them.”

When mom and dad are fighting, children usually stay out of the way, at
all costs! When parents fight, children hear the screams and curses.
They hear the common, “He’s your son!” or, “She’s your daughter!”

When I heard those words through my bedroom wall, it felt as if someone
punched me as hard as they could in my chest. I felt like it was my

When I heard those words, I felt like they didn’t love me anymore,
passing my name like blame to each other. I felt like a mistake.

Parents hurt their children every time domestic violence occurs.
So the excuse of, “He or she would never hurt the children” becomes a
tragic lie that more often than not children discover firsthand.

With domestic violence in the home, the family suffers every day.
One of my friends shared, “Kids don’t want to be separated from their
parents,” but they also don’t want to see one parent treat the other
like crap all the time and listen to the screaming and throwing of

They don’t want to have to walk around on eggshells wondering, “What kind of mood is everyone going to be in today?”

Even if kids don’t hear the fighting, or if there wasn’t any fighting
the night before, they can feel the tension and hatred in the air. No
matter how much parents say it’s not the kid’s fault, they always think
it is. I always thought if I had done the dishes or had picked up my
brother’s toys, he wouldn’t be yelling at her right now.”

Eventually, children silently wish that parents would go their separate ways so they would have their happier life back.

My friend told me, “I can’t describe to you how happy I was to finally
see my parents split up. Of course I was upset, but we were moving on
with life and actually having some kind of life together.”

This month – Domestic Violence Awareness Month – I urge people to take
a stand and speak out against domestic violence. Children in these
homes remain helpless and rely on us to protect them.