How Witnessing Domestic Violence Can Have Lifelong Effects

Dear Priscilla Bennett Friends,

According to a recent study, witnessing domestic violence as a child could be just as damaging as being abused. When a child is exposed to either violence directly or witnessing violence, the fight or flight mechanism of the child is activated on a regular basis, and that is not normal. In some cases, witnessing the violence is worse because the child may carry guilt —watching something they were helpless to stop.

Children who watch inappropriate ways of handling stress can have trouble learning proper ways to solve problems along with many other issues. They can be more prone to anxiety and PTSD and more likely to become alcoholics, drug users and suicidal.

Santina Proctor witnessed horrific abuse of her mother when she was a child. “I would sabotage relationships when I felt like the people were getting too close to me. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with PTSD.” Since then Proctor has started her own non-profit called, “It’s Not Your Fault 91” to help others. She provides support to victims and encourages others to get the help they need because she knows the devastating effects of witnessing domestic abuse.

In my novel SOMETHING TO BE BRAVE FOR, Rose witnesses her mother, Katie, being beaten by her father, Claude. Rose tries to stop it by screaming, “Daddy, stop. Don’t hurt my Mommy,” but is unable to reach Claude. She comforts her mother after it’s over but remains hypervigilant and disturbed.

Take good care of yourselves,