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Day 5: Domestic violence hurts children too

Posted on 29 November 2000
 

Domestic violence hurts children too

Sanjeev* is the eldest son of six in his family. He was only 12 years old when his mother sought shelter at the WAO Refuge.

According to Sanjeev, his mother told him that she was beaten even before he was born. He started to witness the abuse when he was around two years old. His father was always drunk when he hit her. At one time, his father tried to hit his mother with a chair and threatened her with a knife. Sanjeev witnessed all these through a keyhole with the presence of his brothers and sisters.

The problem at home affected his schoolwork; he could not concentrate on his homework. He often felt scared and was always on the lookout for his father, fearing that he would hurt him like he did to his mother.

Sanjeev said, "I wish I could run away with my brothers and sisters, but I loved my mother and sometimes I loved my father". His heart was terribly torn after witnessing the abuse.

His father had beaten him up for mingling with boys from other schools. He slapped Sanjeev and threatened him with a belt. His father occasionally asked him for money. Sanjeev knew pretty well that his father would buy cheap liquor with his hard saved pocket money.

When Sanjeev was asked about how he felt towards his father, he quoted "Feel like kicking him!!" "One cent also won't give him!" and "He's no more in my family".

He pleaded to his mother to run away from his abusive father. Eventually, he followed his mother to WAO. While at the Refuge, curious as to what his father was doing, every now and then, he would call up his school friends to find out about his father. According to his friends, his father had told his schoolmates that Sanjeev was involved in an accident and died.

Sanjeev felt that his friends were very lucky because their fathers did not treat them the way his father did. He couldn't concentrate on his studies and often daydream about the abuse. Sanjeev also had constant nightmares about his father. He could never sleep well.

He would very much like to become a policeman when he grows up.

(* Name altered to protect identity.)

 

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