Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘children and abuse’ Category

the children of death row_FB

As I writer I love a good quote, the one that had been on my screen saver for months at the time of this writing was written by Ernest Hemingway and it read: “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” My true sentence will come a little later.

Have you ever read something that compelled you to take immediate action because you were so moved?  Well, I had one of those moments tonight as I was relaxing in my bed watching Ted.com (Ideas worth spreading) a site where you can listen to discussions on a wide variety of topics.

I was randomly scrolling through the new content, the first speech was about how the world is over-medicated and over-diagnosed, but that is another discussion.  It was the second talk that inspired me to get out of my comfy bed and write to you.

The speech was by a lawyer named David Dow and it was dated January 2012. In the speech, he talked about learning about life from a death row inmate.

While I am sure that deep down I knew that each man on death row was once a child, hearing him say that each one maybe lived in abuse, witnessed it, was abandoned or lived on the streets struck me to my core as I thought about all of the children that live or have lived in dysfunctional homes, my son included.

What really hit me was when he said that 80% of death row inmates in Texas had been in the juvenile system as well.

He talked about how at one time these little boys still had a chance to be supported before they turned to murder which forever sealed not only their fate but that of another human being.

Once the murder was committed, it then became too late to help; after all, a murder was committed and innocent life was taken.

As a mother that escaped a violent childhood and marriage, I knew all too well how the way we grow up impacts who we become.

I also know that it was by the Grace of God, my dedication to being his mother, and endless prayer that my son turned out to be one of the most amazing men you can meet.

Sadly, this is not true for the 2,624 men that are currently sitting on death row, counting down the days until their last meal.

The men on death row were once children too

I was far from being the perfect mother. To this day I vividly remember sitting at my kitchen table talking to my sister as we discussed that I should leave this man before the baby was born.

I was 27-years-old and had always been insecure and unable to trust my gut which I am sure stemmed from my dysfunctional childhood. This insecurity caused me to think that all of my life decisions were the wrong ones. I feared that taking my child’s father from him before he was even born would haunt me for the rest of my life.

Little did I know at the time that keeping his father in his life would be what ended up haunting us both for the rest of our lives.

My son was one of the lucky few men to be able to break the chains of domestic violence and a dysfunctional home as an adult, something I will be forever grateful for, especially when I see my grandson who lives a life of safety, love and security.

Again, sadly not all young men will have the strength or resources to break these chains, and while it is too late to turn back the clock for the young men currently on death row, it is not too late for us to change the future for the children that are growing up now, that may currently be destined to have their last bed in life be a small cot on death row.

I write to support women in the aftermath of domestic violence so this was written with you in mind.

If you are like I was and you play that old record in your head, “I can’t take them away, the kids need a mother or a father,” trust me, you are not doing them any favors.

Ok, enough about that, so what brought me to tears and made the jump out of my comfy bed to write to you tonight, it was something this young man named Will said as he shared a horrific memory from when he was 5-years-old and living with his mother who was a paranoid schizophrenic.

The children of death row lived in abuse

The night before Will was about to be executed his lawyer, David Dow, asked him, “do you really remember your mom trying to kill you when you were 5, or do you just remember others saying that she did?”

The young man replied, “no disrespect, but when you are 5-years-old and your mother is chasing you around the house with a butcher knife that is bigger than you are and she is screaming she is going to kill you and you have to lock yourself in the bathroom and lean against the door and holler for help until the police got there, that’s something you don’t forget.”

If this is not a true sentence, I don’t know what is.

After his mother was hospitalized he was sent to live with his older brother who would eventually kill himself with a bullet to his chest.

Will was then bounced around from family member to family member until he ended up living on his own at around 9-years-old. He then joined a gang and committed multiple crimes until the most serious one that he had been on death row for, murder.

I try to imagine my young son who was around 5 when his father was removed from our home, he would eventually have counseling and support but even that was not enough to save him from the aftermath of abuse.

I then try to imagine my little man being pushed out into the world all by himself and forcing him to figure out a life that most adults struggle to deal with.

My truest sentence, “if you remain living with a violent person your children will have a greater chance that they too will be violent or attempt suicide or like I did they may become passive and allow someone into their life that can easily take advantage of them.”

This is from my own experience as a child that tried desperately to be invisible in a very dysfunctional home to trying to comprehend as an adult why the man that said he loved me also tried to stab me with butcher knives and hold me, hostage, in my own home as he threatened to chop me up with the large ax he held in his hand.

Because I felt he needed to have a father so bad I was forced to watch as my son has had to struggle much of his life with remembering his father sitting him on top of our kitchen table while he had me pinned in a chair. His father held a switchblade to my throat and said, “say goodbye to mommy.” My sweet little blonde hair blue-eyed little boy who was around 3 to 4-years-old at that time said “bye mommy,” in his happy little voice as if we were playing a game.

I am sure that Will’s memory along with what I watched my son live through triggered the emotions in me tonight. I encourage you to watch the video by David Dow, you can find it on Ted.com under David Dow.

After you watch it decide, is it really worth ruining the rest of my child’s life to stay with a parent that is unstable just for the sake of having that other parent?

This is not about men or women, both can be toxic, it is about saving our children!

While Will’s story is heartbreaking, David Dow doesn’t just give us hope but real solutions that we can stop violence and prevent another child from ending up on death row if as a society we put the funds into supporting these children when they are young before a life of crime even happens.

This is about keeping our children innocent and off of death row.

When something like this really moves me I feel compelled to share it with you in hopes that we can prevent suffering in the world, especially for our children.

They say one person can’t change the world but David Dow has managed to change it for the countless men that he has supported on death row, he understands that these men were all someone’s little boy at one time.

If this moved, you pass it on, there is still time to stop another little boy from ending up a death row inmate, maybe even your little boy.

After this article was finished I realized more advice on how you can help was lacking. 

Most of us don’t know what to do, you may read this article and think, this was sad and then return to your hot cup of Starbucks or scroll through your social media for a bit. If the image of these young men continues to sit on your mind and you want to do more, make a donation to a local charity like the Domestic Violence Hotline, a number that many of these young men may have called at one time for help. 

Find a local agency that supports disadvantaged children and give your money or time, they both make such a difference. Become a big brother or find a young man to mentor. If you have a voice, share this with the world like I am doing.

While I do not have all the answers, I am willing to speak out and hope that you will join me in this fight to save our children.

Love & Peace,
ReBecca

Read Full Post »

I received the following comment from a young man that came to the site recently.  He wrote the following:

Hello.

My name is J. i have recently became a domestic abuser. please don’t automatically judge me. i think the fact that im actually texting on this site shows that im a good person. i just make bad choices because of my anger issues. anyway, i hit my girlfriend once on two different occasions. although both times i was hit first, i still didnt have a right to hit her. i just reacted after i was hit. i need advice. i know i need counselling. i really love this girl & i dont know what to do. i know we might not get back together & im prepared for that. i just need my best friend back. i would kill myself right now if i knew it would get her to forgive me. thats all i want. please give me some advice. i dont know what to do & i dont have anyone to help me. thats why i went searching for this site. please treat me serious & answer me as soon as possible. im really lost right now & i just cant stop crying. o & please dont take my message as if im going 2 commit suicide.

I responded with what I could, telling him that he must deal with his anger and offered some resources.  Most that I have spoken with that have anger issues lived in some type of abuse as a child, went through something that causes this anger.

I have a link on the site to Family Violence Intervention Program

Please share what you will in support of this young man, as I said, violence must stop with the abuser, how else?  If you have managed to calm your anger and want to offer first hand advice to the young men and women out there please do so now.  Do you run a site that supports those dealing with anger issues?  What books can you recommend?

We all have a role in stopping violence.  Let’s start with this young man.

Love & Peace,
Rebecca

Read Full Post »

As I writer I love a good quote, the one that has been on my screen saver the past 6 months or so, written by Ernest Hemingway reads:  “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

My true sentence will come a little latter.

Have you ever randomly read or seen something that is just what you needed to see or read at that moment yet you didn’t know it yet?  Have you ever read something that compelled you to take immediate actions you were so enlightened ?  Well I just did.  I was taking some down time tonight,  I was in bed with my favorite pillows and decided to watch some Ted.com.  This is an amazing site that offers informative ideas and talks.  Like normal I began to  randomly view the videos listed from top to bottom on my tablet.  The first one was about how the world is over mediated and over diagnosed, I agree with that one but that is another discussion.  It was the second talk that inspired me to get out of my comfy bed, right in the middle of a Rays game and post, almost as if I had no choice in the matter. Trust me, once in bed it takes a fire to get me out of it so I knew this was important to write while the topic was fresh in my mind.

The speech/discussion was by a lawyer named David Dow, he spoke about learning about life from a death row inmate.  It blew me out the water and bed!  I agreed with what was said and had thought of this many years before of the lives many must have had prior to getting to where they were now, on death row.  What was said makes sense and really hits home, for every death row inmate there was once a young child, either lived in abuse, witnessed it, was abandoned or lived on streets. I was blown away when I heard that 80% of death row inmates had been in the juvenile system, I believe the numbers were for Texas but don’t quote me.  The children, mostly boys, still had a chance to be helped, before they turned to murder and forever sealed their fate and that of someone else.  Once the murder was committed, it then became too late to help, after all, a murder was committed, an innocent life taken. Now, it is to late to turn back, but not too late for us to change it for the other children destined to have their last bed be on death row.

I encourage all of you that play that old record in your mind, “I stay with the abuser so the kids have a mother, father.” You are not doing them any favors.  The boy that is discussed in this speech didn’t know his father and lived with his mother who tried to kill him with a butcher knife when he was just 5 years old.  What brought me to tears and made me take action was the following truest statement I have ever heard when hearing about abuse as an adult remembering abuse when he was 5.

The night before the young man was about to be executed his lawyer asked him, “do you really remember your mom trying to kill you when you were 5 or do you  just remember others saying that she did?” The  young man said, “no disrespect, but when you are five years old and your mother is chasing you around the house with a butcher knife that is bigger than you are, when you have to hide and lock yourself away in the bathroom until the police come, you don’t forget what happened, ever.”  That is not word for word but you get the idea.

My true sentence, if you remain living with a violent person, your child has a greater chance they too will be violent, struggle with violence or in many cases, try to take their life, or they may become passive and will be abused by their girlfriend or husband, boyfriend or others in their life.  This is from my own experience as a child and then from watching as my son struggled with how to handle remembering his father trying to kill me in front of him with that switch blade to mommy’s throat as his father told him, he was around 3-4 year old, to say goodbye to mommy.  My son smiled and said goodbye mommy.  Neither one of us will ever forget that, but I know the memory is so different for my now 22 year old son.  It is a burnt in memory he can’t erase.

I encourage you to watch the video, then decide, is it really worth ruining the rest of your child’s life to stay where you are staying?  I can’t take care of telling you all the details of how to leave here, what to do, my heart right now is with the child that will never be the same.  I hope this made sense, it just rolled off my fingers tonight as it came into my head.

Please pass on this video, I greatly feel this is a step in the right direction to help stop the cycle of violence.  The story isn’t just heartbreaking but the speaker actually gives hope that we can stop violence and children ending up on death row.  Comment with  your experience and thoughts after viewing this video.

When something really moves a person and they share it with others, one by one, the world changes.

Love & Peace,
Rebecca

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: